More Oppression

Thor’s day and an end to gym for the week. Quite vacant this morning and the podcast was passable, an episode of the British Ubuntu podcast. Nothing worth remembering but nothing outright boring either. The only notable thing was a bunch of bitchin’ about the lack of HW for Linux.

I have to agree with this. Every Linux box I have is repurposed. (I don’t count Android slabs as actually Linux any more than MS-DOS counted as CPM.) And after ten or fifteen such I have only had one, a Dell Lapbox, where the wireless didn’t work adequately. 

But I do rather dislike people who say they are going to have a client for Linux and then renege. Case in point. The MacKicgan company, which does NERD LaTeX SW, advertised for several years that its next version of the basic client would support Winders, Apple, and LINUX! Now it’s out and NO LINUX SUPPORT.

I do love prevaricative corporations. 

Anyway, MacKichan, no upgrade by this fellow. Unless you change your mind. And I intend to make you notable for your perfidy.

I will continue to run my old version on an XP box suitably divorced from the internet.

So much for excellence in NERD software.

Amateurs versus Nerds on Writing

Ice Cream day. And falling (as opposed to scattering) dihydrogen oxide being absent I assayed the park for a constitutional, which was essentially at my wanted, model rate. I was also able to listen to an episode (partial) of “The Pen Addict” [Link] where they were discussing made-to-order pens in terms of some pros and cons that I found inadequate. Hence this morning’s commentary.

The downside of special made pens are twofold. First, if it doesn’t work right, it never will so all is wasted. Hence there is a significant probability of not only wasted monies but crushed expectations. Not as badly as a child who becomes a justicer or used car salesman but close. The second is that if it works and works well it will be a great disappointment in future when you discover it cannot be replaced and when it dies, as everything except perhaps protons must, you have lost a valuable part of your existence. Rather like having a child discorporate before you. So getting a special made pen is rather a bigger gamble than the podcast protagonists indicate.

This consideration also led me to consider – again – the nature of NERD STEM writing. Writing is, and continues to be, a crucial and fundamental part of my daily activity. It is that way for most of my colleagues. And there are some characteristics that I have noted. 

  • Those who write as part of their professional activity eschew ballpoint pens.
  • Most use some sort of gel or roller ball pen but the truly serious use fountain pens and almost all of those eschew cartridges for bottle.
  • Pen appearance is the least important feature; comfort of writing, ease of mindlessness, and inking are crucial. 
  • Quality of pen is important, as measured by longevity and reliability. The ideal pen should last a lifetime. 
  • Ink is selected primarily for its mechanics – flow, cleaning – and optical contrast. Brightly colored inks are almost only used for grading student papers, not for serious writing.
  • Notebooks are gauged on how well they take writing with the preferred pen (or pencil in a few cases.) 
  • Serious writing is first done by hand and then transferred to computer. Some write complete manuscripts, others outlines only, before transferring and some delegate the transfer to students or staff (if trusted.) 

Probably more but I am sagging. Selah. 

OS Analogs

Thor’s day. End of gym week. Podcast was an episode of “Linux Luddites” Not very good. In fact, barely distracting. So I got to thinking.

When you buy an airliner you have to buy the seats separately.Seems Boeing/Airbus don’t want to be in the furniture business.

Now suppose you go to a motorcar dealer to purchase a motorcar. And they show you nice looking (exterior) motorcars and talk about (sorta) the mechanical performance but the interior is void. And when you ask about this they tell you that you can go to an associated store and purchase a steering wheel and gauges but you’re on your own for seats and such.

That MegaHard’s Winders Operating System.

operating     adj 1: involved in a kind of operation; “the operating conditions of the oxidation pond”;     2: being in effect or operation; “de facto apartheid is still operational even in the `new’ African nations”- Leslie Marmon

System n. [L. systema, Gr. ?, fr. ? to place together; ]   1. An assemblage of objects arranged in regular  subordination, or after some distinct method, usually logical or scientific; a complete whole of objects related by some common law, principle, or end; a complete      exhibition of essential principles or facts, arranged in a rational dependence or connection; a regular union of principles or parts forming tne entire thing; as, a system of philosophy; a system of government; a system of divinity; a system of botany or chemistry; a military     system; the solar system.

is like that. You buy it,and install it, and you can’t do very much with it. It may not have an email client. It has a rather sorry browser. It lacks an office suite but you can buy that from an associated store for an exorbitant price. And anything else you want is pretty much not there. You are on your own.

DISCLAIMER: This is not a pitch for LINUX. It’s a bash of Winders and MegaHard. I don’t care if you keep using Winders. I don’t care if you switch to LINUX. I do care about why I use LINUX and NOT Winders.

Winders doesn’t have loads of software in repositories to download and install and use. Their model is find a store that sells that type of software, pay for, install it (maybe,) and use it. Maybe. But whatever you want you don’t have much choice. And that choice will cost.

Ergo, Winders isn’t a complete OS. It’s an airliner analog. Not a motorcar analog.

Suffer Winders users.

Epicanthic Skynet

Saturn’s day. Once more into the park for constitutional and I did manage to push myself to my wanted number of laps. Took me 0.25 longer but I met the first recovery from indisposition metric. Now I can work on further restrengthening and even a bit more rapidity. 

Not a fun place here in Nawth Alibam. Everyone walking about waiting for the rods-from-god to fall from the sky in the aftermath of the Yankee government vertically copulating and let6ting the heathen chinee loot the data treasury. Although I do have to admit that it is a major victory for them. In one swoop fell they have totally compromised the whole Yankee government.
How, you may ask? By totally destroying the self-confidence of everyone who works for the Yankee government. (Which is why there are going to be some folks who conspire that this was actually done by the tea party or the libertarians.) In one swoop fell all confidence in financial stability of the government’s instrumentailty has been compromised and their morale is even lower than it has been – the latter the result of a disfunctional legislature and abusive presiedential candidates. Guys, it’s all right – sorta – to abuse the slaves when they are cheap and are gonna die in the mines quickly anyway but not when you have to rely on their loyalty and perseverence for thirty years. And not slitting the throats of incompetent political appointees who are the traditional chief kickers. Never ceased to amaze me the humans could actually not have any iota of gratitude in their systems.
Despite what the corporate oligarchs and their politician myrmidons say, the country can’t exist without a government, and right now it is in twilight zone. 

Instrument of value

I ran across this cartoon: [Link]

this morning.

It reminds me that the most valuable (personally) item in my bathroom cabinet is a flush cutter. For those who are not tool savvy (a few bogs are and a lot of geeks and nerds aren’t; go figure;) a flush cutter is a wire cutter with a single edge. The outside of the cutter blades are unedged so it cuts the thing being cut evenly. So far I have not encountered a child-proof (actually adult-proof) top that cannot be defeated.

In some cases the answer is to cut on the cap or top; in other the flanges on the bottle/container. But it works and I can triumph over the tyranny of drugstores, politicians, and manufacturers. 

At least in this regard. 

Not good for trimming nasal hair.

Coding is Power

Two day. Gym nicely vacant. Podcast episodes middling and unmemorable. Typical except for degree.

Jack Kerouac. “On the Road”. “Knowledge is Power”. Francis Bacon may have said it first but Kerouac was the one who taught it to public Amerika. Back in the ’50’s when the cool were beatniks. “The Wild Ones”. Stage setting for the hippies of the ’60’s.

Yesterday I ran across an article [Link] entitled “When the Heck Did Learning to Code Become Cool?”. The article is a bit thin. Vapid even. Everything prior to the ’90’s is irrelevant and nonexistent. But I can sorta answer the question.

When I went off to college in ’66, coding – called programming in those days – was cool. Post-Fonzie type cool. Astronaut cool. 

A bit of clarification: COBOL was NOT cool; FORTRAN was cool. And my nerd buddies and I could not wait to go learn FORTRAN. So we broke rules legally. We asked permission. And obtained it. And learned FORTRAN. And aced the course. And wrote great programs. Too many to list. All nerd programs. None of this GUI stercus. These were cool progams on either 5081 punch cards or reel-to-reel magnetic tape. We carried our programs under our arms, not in effeminate knapsacks. And we carried slide rules. No calculators then that weighed less than a hundred pounds.

And we were COOL. Because we could program. Even the Greeks knew we were cool. Not that we cared about them so they could still ignore us except when they had to step out of the way of a nerd carrying a tape reel. Or a briefcase full of notes.

Now I am not saying that was when coding started being cool. But it was already cool then.

Not in 1990.

1966.

Schmuck. 

Gravestone Computing

Two day. Mixed bag. The gym was sparsely populated but my indisposition has evolved into considerable discomfort when sitting and so I was a bit of a fidget bouncer. Also reduced schedule again today. 

The podcast, an episode of the Guardian’s Science Weekly, was about social bubbles, which were never adequately defined but evidently are not a film of liquid surrounding a bit of gas. They evidently have something to do with social media but that also was not to be defined, only the tyranny of privacy (and its abuses) variously decried in polarity. Which raises in turn the grey issue of cookies. Which I shall defer for some other time. 

But evidently one of the things merchants are doing with that harvested privacy data is figuring out what price an individual will pay for goods and charging accordingly. Apparently they haven’t figured out such complexities as the money value of time and such? 

On a related azimuth, [Link] I see that slablet sales were down 0.235 in first trimonth compared to last year. Only Megahard sales were up, which makes things even more dismal for corporate privacy harvesters.

Ain’t surprised. Been waiting for. 

Stop and think about it. Slablets are a very narrow ecological niche. They aren’t fashion accessories like slabones, and they aren’t tools like boxes. Yes, you can do some work on a slablet but it’s severely limited, rather like trying to build a house with plastic kids’ tools like those of SCP grandwhelp. So the primary replacement reason is breakage, not obsolescence or peer pressure. At least modaly.

I have a slablet. Use it once or twice a month when I will need some connectivity but not workability outside the castellum. Had it a couple of years. It’s a refurb so not new when I got it. Good enough. And that’s the watchword of slablets. 

So when everyone who has a use for one, or even a want, has one, they don’t replace till they have to. Need. Not want.

Market behavior follows. Saturation. Herd immunity. (Quick, tell Jenny McCartney,)

Selah. On to other pains.