Book Burning

Fifth day. Mediocre constitutional. Little air movement. But I did marvel at the city’s practice of energy conservation. The path was half-lit but the picnic pavilion was fully lit. And unoccupied. Is this a sign of poor management or just incompetence in government? Or both. In Greater Metropolitan Arab I suspect the latter.

After reading about how using the internet makes us think we are smarter than we are – the difference between long and short term memory _ ran across two articles this week on the demise of libraries.[Link][Link] These were typically composed contemporary journalistic rubbish: threats of dire doom followed by deflation and empty promises of good. 

As a result of these I found that college libraries are no longer intended for the support of faculty and student but for the gratification of the accounting officer, bursar or whatever. Having books is no longer important; not having books is because it does not waste money on shelf space.

No consideration of what significant thing might have been accomplished with that one bit of unknown information in that discarded book.

What do we call a society that cannot preserve its information? Suicidal!

Much ado was made about reaching out to underserved minorities such as the homeless and disinterested adolescents. At, of course, the price of reducing the services to those previously served. 

That’s the definition of disenfranchisement, isn’t it?

In my experience, Strugeon’s rule applies. 0.9 of all people don’t want to use the library. They don’t read. Or they can’t be bothered. Or they refuse to think. (Lots of these!!!!) 

And electronic books. Wonderful. Except that you can’t learn as well from a screen as a printed page. And you can;t get old books. Back when my library, the one I oversaw, got electronic books the head librarian was always pestering me to read the electronic books. Finally I got so tired of being nice that I told her the electronic book collection was trash. Geek books. Dummy books. No nerd books. But, to be fair, she went off and looked at the collection and came back and agreed with me. 

Electronic book publishing is a JOKE! A rather bad instance of galgenhumor. 

So don;t tell me how ell libraries are doing. They;re going down the tubes along with humanity and its civilization.

Free? Survival!

Yesterday I noted an article [Link] about how MegaHard can give away upgrades to WindersX absent payment to individuals. When asked MegaHard poo-pooed that revenue from individuals was negligible.

I beg to differ.

MegaHard is running scared. The last few releases of Winders have alienated a lot of users. Those who can afford to have moved to Apple. Others have moved to Linux either in its actual incarnation or its heretical incarnation of Android or Chrome. They have in effect lost the server marketplace, or so I am told.

But they have to have those individual users. Otherwise the cost of organizations using Winders goes up because their users are not getting skills at home. Also, if their customers switch to something else, the organization now has a business mismatch. They need to be compatible with customers or they will not be dealt with.

Yes, the corporate/government base is large but the individual base is larger. And therein lies control of infospace.

Semi-liquid Stupidity

Freya’s day. Not a pleasant start. Muggish. The weather beaver was saying something last evening about rain but he was highly incoherent, probably trying to say too much in too little time. But the air was not refreshing in the park. And the creek bed was unwetted.

So I had plenty of time to reflect on the failures of modern society/civilization. I have decided to entertain the hypothesis that one of the minor but weighty problems is stercus pumps. I speak in particular of the pumps incorporated into the containers of semi-liquids sold by corporations. Mostly lotions and soaps. There are two aspects of the problem.

The first is good product with horrible, ineffective pumps. This mostly applies to soaps. I have repeatedly purchased liquid soaps made by “organic” (that’s organic in the contemporary hippie sense, not the scientific sense of containing carbon atoms in the molecules. Duhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Stupid Bogs with Causes!) manufacturers and packaged in containers with pumps that flat DO NOT work. These are easily repackaged into a container with a good pump and the value of the product realized without frustration and alienation.

The second is fair product in annoying containers. The pumps are acceptable except for the frustration and alienation. This primarily applies to lotions packaged in asymmetrical, usually ovate, containers. The pumps on these containers can be turned OFF and ON and the ON position is at a pi/4 angle to the semi-major and semi-minor axes of the ovoid. This means that the container has to be rotated on the using surface and not only takes up more room but disrupts the regularity of arrangement. Sadly these semi-liquids cannot easily be recontained so I have been switching to lotion packaged in cylindrical containers. As a rules the lotions are not as effective but the containers are not annoying.

Which brings us to the role of annoyance in the collapse of civilization. It is hard to be creative if one is annoyed. Mad works, so does happy, but not irritated and disgusted. It is also hard to work on fixing things under such circumstances. If one’s petty annoyances cannot be fixed then real problems are quite out of reach.

Hence, the whimper that ends it all.

Ten Flop?

Saturn’s day. Wind down from yesterday so the constitutional was a bit less pleasant. But netter than months save yesterday. 

Megahard has rolled out ultimate winders, aka WX. Seems it too is fairly badly broken. [Link] Seems amazing to me that Megahard can have all those people working on just one product and they still consistently come up with stercus? Of course even the good ones, for those of us old folk who can remember 2K and XP and NT, started out that way. So perhaps Megahard can pull theirr gonads out of the motorcar crusher?
And then there is the Linux community. They produce lots of products and most of they are not stercus. But the ones that are often come from the biggest producers. Like Canonical who gave us Unity in place of Gnome 2. This is an improvement already? Only in Shuttleworth’s ego, I suspect. 
Although I have to admit to using Unity. Several times. The longest was four days. And I was having nightmares during my disturbed slumber. And it never worked right. I don’t mean worked comfortably. It didn’t do that by design. Not right for my head. But even the tweaks didn’t work. And who wants buttons fixed on a particular side of the window? Only Canonical and Megahard, evidently. 
I shall evade the obvious derogatory illusion. 
I don’t know anyone who actually uses WX yet. And yes, I have colleagues (and the occasional friend,) who use Winders. But they have other socially redeeming qualities. And we all have our mental failures. Even ones this big.
So I can’t say much about WX. Other than the somewhat less than speculative assertion that I am glad not to have to use it.

Ten Tyranny

Just ran across this article [Link] on Lifehacker. Seems that Winders X updates will be mandatory. Not only that, they get pushed and installed when MegaHard wants. No delays, no deferments.

Suddenly Linux looks a WHOLE BUNCH better, doesn’t it?

Like the advantages of freedom over slavery? Or democracy over dictatorship?

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.