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.

Strange in the Mouth

I do detest winter. And while this is not nasty yet, it is biting and evil. And the nasty is supposed to arrive next week.

Spent yesterday morning in company of dentist. Had a couple of teeth crowned, at least initially. Now my mouth is that of a stranger. This leads me to wonder about all these nonsense things like brain transplants (mind transfers?) into cloned bodies. With or without fixes. But even if the genetics is the same, the environment was’t. 

I also ran across this cartoon: [Link]

I have to admit that the first thing I did was to gooey this Simmons chap. Not impressed. If it had been one of the Kingston Trio or some other folk musician, perhaps, but after all these are entertainers and we don’t really care whether they have any real mentation or not. Talent, after all, is not the same as intelligence. Or smarts.

I had a computer as a child. An older child, I admit, but that was in the ’50’s and ’60’s. But I had an analog computer that I built myself. Had to learn how to solder. And it crunched numbers. Heck, all computers crunch numbers but most of that crunching these days is like this Simmons chap. Entertainment. Not smarts.

Low Temperature & Computer Shmek

Freya’s day. Air temperature way down. Greater Metropolitan Arab weather station reports 32.2 degF. On the liquid side of the phase change. So no constitutional. Just a period on the stationary bicycle. And the morrow is foretold to be a bit lower. 

I do so detest winter. And the holidays, since they are the entryway of winter. 

Where is my suspended animation unit? I want to be able to skip forward in time over winter and summer, just enjoying fall and spring.

Speaking of enjoying, I ran across an article [Link] entitled “Tips To Make Learning Programming Easy” The tips are – I think – 

  • Commit to one programming language
  •      Java
  •       PHP
  • Break your learning into smaller goals
  • Language basics
  • Web framework
  • Using tutorials efficiently


I say think because the headings are identically formatted but a couple don’t make sense as tips. But then, most of them are rather ambiguously tips.

I’m not at all sure the first – one language – is a tip. Only an overdriven polymath would try to learn several languages at once. (It sorta works for Romance languages but going at, e.g., Latin and Mandarin simultaneously is going to almost always make sure you fail.

So while I agree with the dictum/tip/nugget/idea I think it’s so obvious that it either doesn’t need to be said or it says something for the stupidity level of people trying to learn how to code.

I started out with FORTRAN. In a college environment. Lectures and labs. And I dragged that model along with me through C and ADA and PASCAL and FORTH. Not necessarily the classroom formality, although that helps for me. But definitely the lecture and labs part. Which is hard, since learning a programming language is definitely a Type II course in Chad Orzel’s taxonomy.

(Incidentally, Chad recently lost a close adopted member of his family. [Link] Since FD SCP and I are sitting the grandog this week out, the wee hund and I sat a bit of Kaddish last night. Since a lot of what makes us human came through our long association, it seemed meet.)

As previously, JAVA and PHP are ambiguously tips. They seem to be recommendations of languages to begin with but neither strikes me as good. What I know about JAVA is that it is a necessary evil and PHP is unknown to me. Neither therefore is a real programming language in the sense of being fundamentally about number crunching. Real programming is all about number smashing and data handling and FORTRAN at least does the former fairly well.

Again, I admit I don’t do GUI. Command line and text files are more efficient and effective. Don’t need a thousand lines of interface code to implement a ten line integration approximation.

I won;t say GUI grappling isn’t a good business kill what with making APPs for Bogs, but that’s not what physics is about.

OK, I amend that a bit. Manuscript writing is a lot easier with pseudo-WYSIWYG.And graphification is necessary. But making pretty point-and-click is not the same as figuring out some whacked quadrature geometry and implementing it. I don’t want to do the GUI grappling and others don’t want to do the number bashing.

That pretty much retires the rest of the “tips”. I am not sure how you can program without learning how to partition the task, and I have never seen a tutorial that was either efficient nor effective. They often seem to be when compared to non-academic programming instruction. I once went to a noted vendor of computer training and found the information density SO LOW that I stomped out on the second day and initiated legal action against them for fraud and misrepresentation. 

The tuition was refunded along with the cost of my time. And they were blackballed for five years by the local training authority.

After that I stuck to real academics, mostly the U of Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill and my own, independent study. I found I learned more on my own.

One of the things I find distressing about this is how hard it is portrayed. When I started out all we had was main frames. The only textbooks were on COBOL and FORTRAN. Computer manuals were hens teeth. Today every language has a text and we all have PCs we can write code on. Lab exercises on our own. Without long queues and key punch machines. And today is hard?

Fear boys with bugs.

Warmth and Frigidity

Freya’s day. Air temperature high. Thermostat reported external air temperature of 60 degF. So I lightly bundled and sallied forth to the park for constitutional. To discover that my headlamp batteries were almost depleted. And that a mist was falling/engulfing. The weather beavers will likely call this frawg but this is an area that they stand almost always in error.

To say nothing of the accuracy  of their minimum air temperature forecasts.

So I fell back on one of my secondary hand lamps and trod the (highly cracked and uneven) walking path. Happily most of the christmas lamps were extinguished so I was not exposed to that horror very strongly. And the mist was no more than a minor nuisance compared to the protests of my legs – joints and muscles. Sometimes the promise of “Make Room! Make Room!” is attractive.

Meanwhile, I reflected – very briefly – on an article [Link] reporting that Winders Movable, aka MegaHard Cellular OS, is doomed. Seems they are at 0.022 of market and are projected to grow no more than to 0.023 by 2019. Not engaging. Happiness actually. If trustable, which given journalism probably isn’t.

More engaging is the question of whether MegaHard will put this discorporate equine on medical support just to maintain their fiction? I am of divided mental argument on this one so I will bide my time and watch. 

The bad part is that the “other” category is even lower. So unless some sweeping dynamic emerges we can weep for the likes of the FireFox and Ubuntu phones. Well, maybe not the latter. Except as a George to MegaHard and Gooey’s dragons? Especially since I heard this week that Canonical is scoping down the permissions in their phone implementation as compared to desktop. So much for their claims of the phone doing all. The wonder, however, is that anyone continues to do volunteer work for canonical, They have shown themselves to be as fascist and evil as “Adolph” the Trumpeter.

I am also a bit peeved at Mozilla. They seem to have cut loose Thunderbird.[Link] This indicates a serious mental deficiency on the part of their management. The closest comparison I can make, that is appropriate, is the Oneonta Telephone Company. The latter is a small rural (?) telephone company that provides service to Greater Metropolitan Arab (Mediocre service, but service nonetheless.) Some time ago they decided to contract out their ISP business and concentrate on land line. This despite their land line business steadily decreasing by o(0.1) per annum and ISP business increasing similarly. Classic case of business schule mismanagement.

The Mozilla situation is similar. FireFox has been slipping badly lately but Thunderbird is still a mainstay of the desktop client market. It has lost a bit but mostly due to Mozilla’s lack of support than market demand. The same cannot be said of FireFox which continues to lose against Gooey’s product. Not as nice a case study but still an apparently blatant example of mismanagement..

I suspect there may be some actual evil here. Since ThunderBird is a mainstay of the market it seems reasonable that the FOSS community may take it up and do wonders, once more proving how inept the IT SW industry really is. So is this actually altruism in action? The World Wonders.

And doubts. Mozilla may not be as evil as Canonical or MegaHard but it definitely is an organization on the dark side.

Not that I like Star Wars metaphors. Mostly because I disapprove of those who support slavery. But since this is a slavery thing it seems fitting.


Facebook Merit?

Brr! Sorta. Mostly summer hold over. That is, I got used to the increased heat of summer in Alibam so as winter in Alibam encroaches I have to get used to diminished heat. But I’m not going to prattle on about temperature mostly because I have been re-examining my understanding of temperature the last couple of months. And as I am evolving that comprehension, the weather beavers and mercury columns and electronic widgets are all suspect and cynicalated.

Must be mundane day. I just invented – maybe? – a new – sorta – word and the spell checker had a spasm. Anyway, not pleasant outside although worse now that to/from gym. Which was moderate density for a  mundane day and the weight bouncers were running behind so I was able to flee before their obstruction, grunting, and hulking threats were in full effort.

The podcast was an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” on the sack of the Chesapeake during the war of 1812. Part of a BOI series on the war that was such a paradigm for how to do an amateur war. And how even great nations can do war poorly. Of course being a Britcast there was no mention of the enslavement of American citizens by the Imperial Navy but what can on expect.

The best part was imparting how even with low tech war is nasty. But rational. At least then. Not clear now. Too much reach for politicians. Anyway. Mildly diverting which is about right for a gym visit.

On a less substantial azimuth, I ran across an article [Link] about a study run by an outfit called the “Happiness Research Institute” which just screams absence of objectivity, integrity, and honesty about how people who have eschewed (another good mundane day word?) FaceScroll are happier than those who have not.

Are those who break addictions “cold turkey” happier than those who remain addicts? How does one measure happiness? (Trick question, you can arguably observe happiness but you can’t measure it.) In this instance via a survey founded on the idea that counting noses is a useful measurement process.

I am told, by psychological types, that most addicts relapse. This study/article fails to address this.

As for myself, I consider FaceScroll a Listerine Thing. It is unpleasant and disturbing and seldom happy making. The cheerful, nice things are so banal as to be disappointing since they lack the richness of human exuberance. When someone tells you they have had good fortune then their enthusiasm tends to be infective but when they write on FaceScroll (or any social media) it propagates in a vacuum. So FaceScroll is rather vacant on the positive side.

On the other hand, there are incessant things, mostly political or religionist – the two are often indistinguishable in Amerika – that span a spectrum from annoying to infuriating. So the negative side is rich and vibrant.

But it offers a bit of merit in that a rational person – probably not most Bogs thereby – will reflect on why he/she feels so and perhaps examine one’s concepts and weltanschauung. And that has merit and value. Much as I detest associating any positive with FaceScroll. 

So what do the abstainers do to challenge their views?

Knights who say OS

Thor’s day. End of gym for the week. Sparse. Passable episode of “Linux Luddites”, the main detraction a totally boring interview with some fellow who has written his own OS.

So what? To bogs, writing an OS falls into the “What?” category. From what I can tell Bogs, or Ivory Soap of them, have no idea what an OS is. They think Windows and such are just brands. In fact they more strongly identify with then as brands than they do Dell or HP. Which is why hardware companies are having identity problems. 

Geeks, on the other hand, know what OS are but again, Ivory Soap fraction, would never try to do an OS. Geeks who write OS are divine. Or something like that.

Nerds, know what OS are. And if they can’t do something with their OS then they look for an OS that will empower them. And if they can’t find such, they write an OS. No fuss, no mess, just a learning and production process. 

Back when I walked to class five days a week, uphill both ways – at least part of the way – and occasionally (rarely!) through snow but through a lot of mown, wet, sticky grass much of the year, we all wrote an OS. Well, all the physical science nerds did. The real nerds. Not the fake nerds the Greek frats kept around to pull up their GPA and keep them in good (?) standing. You know the type: the ones who wear penny loafers with no socks even when they know they’re gonna get foot fungus and rot. And they did. As well as acid burns on their feet. Gravity.

Anyway this was in the days of IBM 360 mainframes, and JCL and FORTRAN 2. One step up from an HP-35 calculator that wouldn’t be available for several years. But a big step up from our ten inch K&E slide rules. Actually, the problem wasn’t the slide rules, it was the stopping and starting to write numbers down on paper. And this was before 0.5 mm pencils. 

But FORTRAN 2 was only wonderful in that it was easier to use than assembly language. (There were assembly language nerds but they didn’t bathe or shave and lived in caves – Nerdoldytes.) And it was infinitely better than COBOL which is like saying health is better than death. But it wasn’t number crunch friendly. Not really.

But what would make it friendly wasn’t something we could reach consensus on. So each of us wrote his own OS. And compilers. And kept rewriting. When we weren’t doing real work. 

If you see where D&D came from after computers and OS and compilers got better, you’re on top of things. Writing OS is sort of like being a D&D master. Sorta.

But better. 

But guys who wrote their own OS only talked to faculty and other guys who wrote their own OS. “Those who watch over Israel..”

Maybe they’re the rest? Film at Eleven.

Necessary Roughness

Genius is not easily abided. Look at Einstein’s wives. For that matter look at FD SCP. Or any of my long time colleagues. None of whom, I am surprised to announce, have tried, to my knowledge, to discorporate me.

So I was a bit amused when I encountered this article. [Link] It’s about the Cambrian “Parent” of Linux, Linus Torvalds who did an anus reconstruction of some folks who wrote rather sloppy code.

I have to wonder if they were over influenced by ADA or one of those popular languages that are dependent on cloud extraction of gold.

It struck a deep resonance. Positive.

I should comment that there are, IMHO, two types or styles of coding. One is when you code for one-time use; the other is for “permanent” use.

The former only has to work. Maybe even only work once. But it has to be trustable.

The latter also has to work. Every time within announced boundaries. And it has to be esthetically satisfying.

The code in this article fails regardless. Spectacularly.

Hence the sphincter resection.