Propagation of Ignorance

Spitting again this morning. The constitutional was almost pleasant. The podcast drones on, at most moderately diverting but not really engaging. The only real attention grabber is the points of obvious ignorance. Sometimes it is amusing just to listen in on what bogs talk about. Not for long, mind, but for a while. A little while. About sixteen or so minutes usually.

I ran across this cartoon: [Link]

not long ago and I grabbed it because it epitomizes my experience with on-line courses. Not much better than a blank screen. I know the GEN Y like (?) them but I do not. Every one I have taken has proven to be a BAD teacher. And not in the slang way of good. I mean no learning. 

This is a problem when they are certification courses. I have told the tale of the credit card training course that was supposed to take an hour and took eight because it had irrelevant information relative the certification exam. This is one of the reasons people break rules. They aren’t taught well, if at all. And don’t get me off on politicians and constables and physical quantities. No state legislature has any idea of what speed is.

And while I’m on the azimuth, I noted yesterday [Link] that the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, another one of those things politicians do NOT understand and underfund dangerously) has found an aircraft carrier – Great Patriotic War version – that was used in nuclear tests post-war in the Pacific and then sunk by the Yankee Navy because they couldn’t figure out what to do with it.

Seriously? That’s what you do? Sink glow-in-the-dark ships and wait for Godzilla to trash Tokyo? Makes me wonder why the Neandertals died out. Much have been from disgust?

Unboot

I am in need of a bit of morale elevation. Been moodying for a week now. Not improved by the weather. And gym was a downer because the good arm bicycle was down for repairs which at the Scant City gym means never fixed or brought back on line nor replaced. I entertain the hypothesis that management there wants members to only life weight since they almost never fail or wear out. Never mind any concern for the wellness of the members, their only purpose is to keep up a cash flow to balance the losses of other “enlightened”management decisions and policies.

Hence I was rather brightened to read [Link] that the new Linux kernal – 4.0 – does not have to be rebooted after modifications. That’s very nice not just because it eliminates a grinding obligation that one really – REALLY! – needs to reboot and should be happy it’s not like Winders where you get a momentary box that says “REBOOTING!” and you lose what you have been working on for hours, but because it reduces the risk of the reboot failing due to bad patches. (Yes, I have had that happen enough to be in full attention and one is then confronted with whether to re-install or repave with a different distribution.)

I will be snide and comment that I fully expect Canonical to find a way to vertically copulate this.

Saturn’s Rings are Bumpy

Our discontent has returned. When I arose at 0415 – yes, I slept in; it’s Saturn day after all – the heat pump temperature sensor told me the external air temperature was 32 degF. And now at 0541, the Arab CCR weather station informs me the air temperature is 30 degF. 

So no constitutional in the park. I had to make do with a spin on the stationary recumbent. And I continued to listen to that episode of “The Pen Addict”. Diversion primarily. Cannot say that I am taken by a heated discussion of orange inks. Not that I dispute anyone’s use of them. In fact, I definitely don’t don’t contest it. They are more than welcome to my share. The furthest afield I go is red ink for editing and grading. And that tends to be fill the pen, do the work, and flush the pen. Carefully and thoroughly. My taste in ink color runs to dark blue through the so-called blue-black, which isn’t. Black that is. Black ink tends to be gummy. Makes a nasty mess if one doesn’t over-maintain the pen. Which is another source of problem. 

But this put me in mind of a couple of articles I had seen and offered some insight. First, an article [Link] entitled “Linux users alarmed over Windows 10 lockout”. The article is about how MegaHard has once more shown their grasping greed by implementing strong lock-out in Winder X under the guise of security. I hate to tell the author, who is apparently at least a bit of a MegaHard hack, that rather than being alarmed I am pleased. This will push a lot of mugwump users, those undecided between staying Winders serf or becoming a free citizen over the fence. And the ones who stay on the MegaHard are the ones we don’t want. The last thing the Linux community needs is a host of OS parasites.

Take that Canonical!

Let us face it. Winders serves a very useful function as the OS for the computationally impaired, the computer cripples, as it were, to steal an inappropriate paraphrase from that Agriculture secretary of years gone by. As a society we don’t object to industries that build products to make life bearable, even easier, for those with disabilities, do we? So why not for the acomputate? 

Further, this is a clear indication that MegaHard continues to run scared and its ‘make nice’ with Linux is maskarovka. From what I can tell WX is at best slightly less of a failure than WAte. And there are lots of better answers than a dual boot system. Although if you do have to dual boot the solution suggested by the author is good if it doesn’t trash the box. How deliberately setting that up helps MegaHard isn’t clear other than reign-of-fear.

I favor two such solutions. The first is to buy a WX tablet. They’re going to be almost given away since no one wants them and Android (and Fruit) control the slab marketplace. Then you can get a laptop with just Linux on it and either run W in a virtual box or not at all and move files to the tablet via stick. The alternate, which I practice is to hang onto that old WXP laptop for the W programs (program in my case) that is necessary and use the Linux box for all else. 

Yes, I hope MegaHard is giving themselves a lesson in floor painting. Or is it coffin painting?

Canoniacal Impropriety

Survived the expedition to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill. The most accurate comment I can make is that nothing screams robotic motorcar necessity as loudly as pickup truck drivers. 

But I survived. Despite these pickup truck drivers and the other crazy motorcar drivers in Huntsville, and returned to Greater Metropolitan Arab with only mental wounding.

And I went to gym this morning, last of the week, which is daunting since the weather beavers are foretelling No Constitutional this week out due to low air temperatures. Anyway the gym was delightfully sparse and the podcast, an episode of “The Linux Action Show” was provocative. This latter largely followed from an interview with Mark Shuttleworth. 

I am NOT a fan of Shuttleworth and the interview reminded me quite quickly of why. The fellow is singularly paternalistic. Too much of the interview was “the developers know what the user needs and I command the developers”. And “if you ain’t a developer, you’re slime mold”. So I thought it worthwhile to review why I don’t use Ubuntu any more.

I will mention, only in passing that my disillusion with Ubuntu came early on when the community – not Canonical nor Shuttleworth – abandoned Gnome 2. This led to considerable experimentation until I finally settled on KDE as my GUI/desktop of choice. 

But, and this is a Shuttleworth thing, in process I had to confront the Unity thing. I should mention that several years ago, when I first became a manager, I went to one of our mechanical shops and deliberate did a bit of work exclusively for people who are left-handed. I am right-handed but I wanted to experience the difference so I could better manage. 

Now, let me offer that, for me, using Unity (or trying to) is akin to working with those left-handed tools. I can use it but it is neither comfortable nor facile nor efficient nor effective. I recognize that it is more useful on the small screen but as for me, it is negative on the large screen.

That is not a show stopper. There are other desktops/GUIs, which come in their own sub-distros or can be installed in parallel. But I began to have a problem with a desktop organization who abandons its members for the sake of potential future members. 

But I also had a problem with the version updates. Here in the hinterland, internet connection is not always good. In fact, it is almost always mediocre to poor with the statistics strongly on the lower end. When I started using Ubuntu I could download a disk image of a version update disk. It might take a couple of tries but I could download (eventually), burn a DVD, and do the version upgrade. And only once was it a smashing (as in nuke-and-pave) failure.

Then the practice moved to internet preferred and then internet only version upgrades. And I have three failed version upgrades in a row. Three successive nuke-and-paves in eighteen months. So I gave up on Ubuntu. 

I run two desk boxes. One has Debian, the other SolydK. Both handle updates better than Ubuntu. I recognize that both are unsure from a futures standpoint but I do know that Ubuntu is going to have to get a whole lot MORE stable in its update process to bring me back.

Selah.

Computer Speed

Recognizing that the tasks are largely different, I have been keeping time-of-completion collection on my boxes and my cellular telephone. All are Linux based, assuming we can get away with calling Android Linux? Anyway, what I find is the mean time-to-complete a task on my cellular telephone takes four times as long as on my slowest desk box. 

And I’m gonna use this slab to replace my boxes? Put the Canonical crowd in a rubber room.

Quest for Books

Off to gym. Clear roads. Low density, zero weight bouncers and educationalists. Why does this correlate strongly with schule being desessioned? Podcast, an episode of CBC’s “Quirks and Quarks” was a hash of over-records so I had attention span to give to other things.

Observed on electromagnetic audio-visual receiver: Texas is still using prisons as asylums so if you are going to be mentally ill and/or a veteran, don’t do it there. 

One of my colleagues sent me a link to this picture

on the FaceScroll. This is a picture of the sowth side of the courthouse square of Huntsville. That was in the ’50’s or so when Huntsville wasn’t sure whether its future was continuing to do cotton or to embrace rockets and missiles and technology. 

The focus thing here is the building labeled T T Terry’s. I am not sure what all they sold here but I do know they sold public schule textbooks. Every year, I think in August, my mother and I and later, my brother, would go to the store to purchase out schule texts for the session. I am not sure of the economics of the matter; I think the state set the prices of the books. What I remember most clearly is a great unruly mob  of parents and bewildered, often evil, children rioting in place in a hot – horribly hot – building. I do not recall any rational system to the queuing except crowd dynamics. I do recall people, usually women, fainting and occasionally being trod upon. I remember a cacophony of unhappy, often violent talking, seldom paired in conversation. 

The people would inch their way to a long counter, attract the attention of a sales clerk, and state their requirements in terms of schule grade. Then the clerk would scurry off into the stacks and return with a stack of books. I do not recall the payment process but I think it was a separate queue and cash only; I do recall the difficulty of carrying the stack back out through a squirming, unhappy press of those not yet served. People movement was totally outside the care of the merchant. As were any injuries of customers. And, I think, any injuries of employees. I believe one of the clerks died of heat stroke one year.

By the time I was in high schule this system was long gone, replaced by a schule based system. But once I got to college I got to reacquaint myself with the process albeit at the Alabama Book Store at the campus of the Black Warrior. 

I also recall a more leisurely process in the summer of buy back. This was a less subscribed system since the fall exercise was so onerous, parents bent considerable effort to identify some acquaintance who had a child a year advanced so that a private deal could be struck for books. 

I also recall this was long before highlighters, those fiber pens with slightly glowing (?) inks for accentuating segments of text. In those days all we could do was write in margin or underline. I never did this. I think I was admonished by my mother not to as it diminished the value for buy back and was unfair to the next user of the book. At any rate, to this day I only use highlighters on photocopies that I will not pass on to others. Mostly I use sticky notes these days although I find that their glue deteriorates in a couple of years and my books, especially the ones that I disagree with, get rather fat.

I was asked once which was worse, highlighting or underlining. They are both horrible, in my opinion. Underlining is horribly distracting and highlighting is overwhelming visually. Both are anti-productive since I almost always find that what others think important isn’t. 

But I do still have a great affection for good book stores and libraries and I suspect some of that comes from T T Terry’s.