Emergent Question

The podcast I was listening to this morning was an episode of “Linux Luddites” that I began back in gym on Four Day. There was a discussion of the motivations of Canonical. This included a rather frank comment about the Love/Hate aspect of Unity.

I reflected on this. And realized that I have a problem with it. Simply put, I have never met anyone who likes Unity. I have interacted with “people” who claim to like Unity but this has always been “people” who are unpresent and not patently human.

Which raises the question of whether there actually are homo sapiens who like Unity? 

Mind Hammer

Thor’s day. Last day of gym for the week. Listened to the first part of an episode of Linux Luddites. Fair. 

But there were some thought provoking moments, which is why I listen. That’s the primary value of human interaction: engendering ideas. And gratuitous reproductive activity while young. Which I am not. ORF.

Anyway, their comment on the spelling daemon in Linux was the first bit. The speakers thought it odd. I did not, and even communicated such to my colleague Magnetic Inductance Force. I had to wonder whether the comment indicated their education or their set of mind. I will accept the latter since it is a good day to be charitable.

The spelling becomes evident if one considers Sokrates and Jaynes and the bicameral mind. After all, one metaphor for an OS, particular Linux, is that it is a multicameral mind.

I shan’t even go into their blather about browsers. Such are more about the depravity of humanity than any metric of utility.

Selah. String to Push.

Video Rejection

Five Day. Air temperature almost 60 degF. Still air. Only a hint of bite. So quite a good constitutional in the park. Listening to a podcast of “The Linux Action Show” [Link] that is supposed to be about KDE Neon. Of course the ‘cast is too long for even the three days unless I really extend my listening into apres-walking time.

Why KDE Neon? Well, the 16.04 release of Kubuntu came out this week and I had been waiting on that because the 14.04 All-In-One on the lead partition of my Precision box basically went blotto a year ago. At which time I installed LMDE-MATE on the aft partition and stumbled with that for a couple of months until I hit on the idea of installing KDE Desktop on it which made it bearable but not enjoyable.

I like the rolling release and tried to explain to the Linux Luddite chaps that the golden mean is unappealing. That is, I either want to fiddle with the distro state once a week for a few moments or all day once every other year, but not most of a day twice a year. Why can they not grok this? 

Anyway, I booted Kubuntu 16.04 live and was thoroughly bored with it in five minutes. SO I debooted, yanked the USB stick, and returned to LMDE. Much as I hate to admit it, one of the reasons I run KDE is the adventure and there was no adventure presented in K 16.04. So since KDE NEON is supposed to be an experimental distro for KDE I set sights on evaluating it.

But before I could get to that part of the podcast, the antagonists/talking guys went off on some video editor and I got sucked off into a consideration of why I am NOT a video person.

Now to admit in today’s environment that one is not a video person is tantamount to admitting to being an anarchist or some other weirdo.That’s not a big deal for me. After all, I am a PHYSICIST and since we are like 1E-4 of the population of the Yankee Republic in number fraction, that’s a given. Why? is another matter. Perhaps it has to do with Asimov’s statement about in Amerika one man’s ignorance trumps another man’s knowledge. Yes, this third world country definitely believes in Freedom of Ignorance. 

Anyway, enough about social cancer. The reason I am not a video person is attention rate. That is, how fast do I attend to information? I should perhaps say that I am definitely a book person and it is a good media for me. I will read ten pages lickety split and then spend an hour on one paragraph. Or I may spend a week trying to read chapter one and then send the book to the library salvage store or the used bookstore via FD SCP. 

You can’t do that with video. It determines the attention rate. Or I should say, the attention rate is built in. So if I try to watch a video I either get bored or I wander off into a cognitive fugue. In either case, no more watching the video. This is especially the case with TED videos. Lots of my colleagues think TEED videos are G&W and recommend to me and I end up deleting the file after thirty seconds. Too much E, not enough T! IOW, TED videos as a class are BORING! To me, that is. 

Anyway, I know I can pause the video but that only works if I am wandering off in cognition. If I’m bored pausing turns into deletion and finding something else to attend. Not a video. Generally.

No wonder the GEN Y are so alien. They have disciplined themselves to this fascist tyranny. I weep for them. 

Divergence is the Ground State

Off again this morning to the park for constitutional. Air temperature eight degF less than yesterday. Better walking weather. 

Repeated the exercise of yesterday of listening to podcast but within a minute diverted by their discussion of “Convergence”, the new end goal of BIG IT. Megahard and Canonical, primarily.

It’s rubbish.

Smelly, stinky, nauseating rubbish.

The idea of convergence is in essence a race to the bottom. It’s the idea that the phonelet will be the computing – i.e. CPU and main memory – that one uses for all one’s computing needs. One metaphor is that this stays the same as one scales up the visual real estate.

I am not sure how this is supposed to work on the first scale up from phonelet to ‘real’ tablet but the scale up to lap or desk box is to dock the phonelet with the box. 

I admit this is a neat idea. But it’s flawed. Why would anyone cram a multi-processor (say 20-30 cores,0 especially one of the upcoming 3-D CPUs with special cooling into a phonelet. They’d be as thick as my first cellular, one of those Motorola Flip-Phones. Nice phone for the day but it was also a defense against muggers and terrorists.

And what about RAM? Most phonelets these days have 1-3 Gb of RAM. I want a minimum of 16 Gb and preferably 32 Gb in my desk box.

And how do we handle video? I want my lap box to be HD minimum and my desk box to be 4K minimum. How does a phonelet drive that or interface between its video driver and box’s?

By now I hope you perceive the ridiculousness of this. What I do on a phonelet – audio telephone calls and texts primarily with some eMail when I don’t have to pay for the data connection – isn’t what I do on a desk box. And that is the Achilles heel of Convergence.

If you do the same things on a desk box that you do on your phonelet, then convergence makes sense. Maybe. But if you do real work on a desk or lap box, Convergence is a Red Herring, a rat hole, a criminal diversion.

So please stop treating me like a schmucklet and drop this Convergence chatter. It’s annoying and diverts me from being constructive. Which you aren’t.

Which is why I am downusing MegaHard (zeroed except for support to Scientific Word) and Canonical (abandonment of ALL the ‘buntus.)

Freedom. Creativity. Happiness.

Into the Dark Past

Some time ago I ran across this cartoon: [Link]

and it brought back memories of my college days, particularly undergraduate at the Campus of the Black Warrior. I spent my freshman and sophomore years living in dorm. Because of my HS grades and being a Westinghouse Science Talent Finalist (and a Gorgas Fellow?) I was put in the honor (nerd) dorm Mallet. I don’t know who the dorm was named after but he was supposed to be a nerd as well.

The dorm had two stacks with four rooms per floor. The first floor rooms had shared between latrines; the upper two floors has shared among latrines. There were two landline phones in the dorm for student use. Needless to say I didn’t have to use the phone much those two years. In fact, I can only recall about three conversations. It was easier to hike over to the BIG dorm – Paty – with the cafeteria and pay phones to use the latter.

There were also no personal computers. In fact aside from research machines I think there were only two machines on campus: the administrative one for the business side; and a research support machine. I had access to the latter, an IBM 360 that we programmed in a mixture of FORTRAN 2 and JCL – Job Control Language. The media were IBM 5081 punch cards and one of the major burdens we carried were decks of such cards. 

I have already discussed the lack of calculators. Graduate students had access to rooms of electric (not electronic) calculator machines but we undergraduates got to use them only rarely. Mostly we made do with our slide rules and the mainframe. Oddly we undergrads had better access to the latter than did the grad students because almost all of them couldn’t code. In fact, my bachelor’s thesis was the first such that was purely computational. With a lot of negative comments by the older faculty who were unhappy I didn’t do any wet work. Of course the younger guys on my committee responded by asking what experiments I could have done?

In those days no one had any idea of a word processor or a laser printer. I remember typing papers on a typewriter – one key at a time in iconic fashion. Calculators didn’t even come about till I was in grad schule. And I had been in the workplace for over a decade before I bout an IBM PC. My office didn’t have them till two years later. 

Those were good times.

Franchise and Collision

Third day. Air temperature almost at the phase change. Sparse at gym. No weight bounders and one one educationalist. Podcast passable, a discussion of the Third Crusade.

Yesterday was a medicalist day. Survived. And then off to polls to do my microscopic citizenish duty. 

Evidently campaigns of fear, loathing, hate, and negativity work, at least in Alibam. The senator from Tuscaloosa who has done nothing positive (by his own claim) overcame significant competition in his own party. Evidently the capitalist oligarchs find him a loyal servant. Perhaps we should start calling him Darth instead of Senator? He certainly does seem to epitomize the dark side: uncooperative and greedy. Unless the democratic contender can prevail – unlikely given the money the incumbent receives from disreputable sources – we are stuck with his brutish intransigence for another term. 

In other news, [Link] we are told of a (minor) collision between an autocar and a municipal bus out in the land of golden earthquakes. This one – not the first – is claimed to be noteworthy because the blame – a largely useless concept outside of social/legal context – is uncertain.

I find it noteworthy because it demonstrates my concerns over the transition, and thereby, the ultimate success to/of autocars. The cause of the crash is patently evident. The autocar followed the rules of driving and the municipal bus – driven by a human – broke the rules. So fender bender. 

In a sense this is fortunate because it indicates that even with the best of drivers – and bus drivers do tend to be VERY good- breaking the rules around strict rule followers like autocars will result in collisions and casualties. There is likely no mixed solution. We must either be all conventional human guided motorcars or all autocars.

The chaos has begun. Enjoy it.

Automation Catastrophe?

First Day. Air temperature quite high for February, even here in Alibam. Gym sparse and the podcast episode, one of the CBC’s “Besy of Ideas” on senses, was neither obviously flawed nor adequate engaging. Rather like grits. 

Thus I had time to think on a couple of current subjects. One is the transition to robotic motorcars and the other is the impact of automation on employment. The impetus for considering the first was a TIME periodical article. This was a rather up beat, simplistic article – what else from Amerikan journalists? – that portrayed the transition as a simple now-then from human licensed driving to human prohibited driving with no bumps in between.

Wrong. The transition will be messy and nasty as all human social changes tend to be. Thoughts of the Pullman strike come to mind. What I cannot see is Alibam red necks easily giving up their rusted, odoriferous, smoking pickup trucks that they salvaged from junk yards to expensive autocars. For one thing, they haven’t the money. These are people who live off the grid almost, but not quite. Many of them have cellular telephones, all purchased at MalWart and using non-contract plans. I have no idea how they pay.

None of these people pay income taxes. They are always paid in greenbacks and will not accept checks. I doubt many of them have bank accounts nor credit cards. They purchase their petrol at off brand stations. 

And the autocar revolution will immobilize them. What they do for money will still exist as a requirement but they would be unable to practice their craft if they cannot drive their junkers. 

And in places like Alibam that probably means no laws restricting driving. So a massive increase in wrecks and a destruction of the state economy. But the local politicians can all brag of how they resisted Washington.

The second was prompted by an article [Link] claiming that automation will not disemploy half of the adult population. Some of the rationale does make some sense like the continued need for humans in stores. What it ignores is that even those jobs will be hideously underpaid because so many will want the jobs. 

No, this is even worse that the autocars, which are a part. If we continue in the Capitalist mode we are in, we will have a bloody collapse when the disemployed take thins into their hands and create civil war. Survival wars are nasty. No one cares how many of the enemy they kill. No prisoners are taken unless they have intelligence potential and they will be killed once their information expires.

The future is bright?