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.


Saturn’s day. Also All Hallows Eve. Happily the weather is forecast to be abysmal so FD SCP and I can happily bunker down and not have to worry about the moral implications of dispersing body rot to immature humans.

Higher air temperatures than yesterday. Almost enjoyable in park. Since weather has turned I have returned to listening to podcast episodes on weekend to cut the discomfort. Today’s was an episode of Linux Luddites about a trial of Open SUSE. Not very positive so far.

I can recall purchasing an HP itty bitty lap box with Open SUSE installed. Recall I thought it horrible. Complained about it on a chat site and got bashed by a couple of corporate IT types about how SUSE was wonderful and I was full of mind stercus. Took me a few days to get over the bullying and by that time a Debian variant had been tweaked for the itty bitty and I blew Open SUSE away without a qualm about disintegrating my warranty. That act has since proven itself one of the better I have made in the computer world. 

But I don;t want to talk about Linux distros that are Winders wannabes. And their fan boys. I want to talk about what happens when you say “(Name of OS) sucks” on a discussion site. 

  • Q: Windows sucks. A: Yeah. But you can pay big bucks for this third party SW and it will suck less.
  • Q: iOS sucks.  A: Yeah, but that’s all there is so be happy.
  • Q: (Linux Distro) sucks  .  A: Yeah, so install a different one. The journey’s the thing, not the destination.
  • Q: Android sucks.  A: What’s Android?

I still have that itty bitty lap box and use it occasionally when I don’t mind nose grease on the screen.

Evolution by OS

Freya’s Day. The air temperature is adequate. I sallied to the park and had a moderately good constitutional. Not knowing the wind before I emerge from Castellum SCP, I have to guess at its speed and cooling. And my endurance of heating/cooling is shallow so some care is necessary. Gad, I hate being senior at times!

Anyway, had to bundle up a bit once I hit the trail and then debundle in the closing centameters, but otherwise moerately comfortable aside from some cramps. 

What’s a centameter? Not in most textbooks. It’s a hundred meters. Complement to centimeter, which is a hundredth of a meter. 

Not much deep thought this morning. The local constabulary is having a pharmaceutical collection this morning and FD SCP kept me bustling last evening gathering up decaying pills and potions. I shall be run off to the collection locus later unless I am surprised and she actually dons street attire. So I had to plot that a bit.

But the bulk of the staggering – mental and physical – was spent considering an an article [Link] sent me by my colleague Magnetic Inductance Force. This article is an autobiographical account of a senior who adopted Linux. That’s not news. Lots of retired folks are shedding themselves of Winders and Fruit for FOSS. And lots of them write about it. What sets this one apart is the search for independence and self-reliance.

This fellow discovered he was spending as much on annual maintenance – using Winders – someone to clean and polish his install, as on a new box. Then his maintenance chap relocated and he decided to try Linux. Love story follows. Ho hum. But what makes this different is that the fellow recognized up front and embraced that he would have to do maintenance for himself. Evidently he is one of those classical Yankees, the Thoreau of Walden Pond/Daniel Boone type that recognizes a need, hunkers down and does it. 

Very Heinleinesque. Very ’50’s science fiction protagonist. The self-propagating individual.

Like I say this is surprising only in how the fellow writes about it. If you take up Linux successfully, not as a pseudo-Winders user, then you have to take on doing it. Yes, the Linux community is modestly friendly – not pushy in the main although there are a few foaming at the mouth evangelists – but the extent of the help is advice and book loaning. No one maintains another’s computer. At least not among “REAL” Linux users.

I am obviously not talking about the people Canonical is trying to sell Ubuntu to. Admittedly Ubuntu is the minimum effort, minimum engagement distro of Linux. Lots of Linux Quakers look down on that (which really defeats the Quaker part I think,) but it is a good place for people to learn if they have the “Right Stuff”. Whether they are cybernauts. And if they can’t handle doing the small ‘it’, then they can go back to MegaHard or Apple. And if they can, then they can move on when the adamantine confines of the ‘play pen’ chafe and bruise.

Moral of story: just because we all have to do the same things we don;t all think of them the same. Or talk about them the same. Diversity increases Entropy. As in accessible states. And until you have accessed all the states, you still have learning to do. 

Unlike the folks who use Winders.

Sleeves and Systems

Week out. Saturn’s day. Mixing Greeks and Norse? Feta Danish? Herring Pizza? Or is that Italian? Anyway, chilly constitutional this morning in park. Frawg again. Bracing and I managed to get through before becoming chilled to tremor. But not very conducive to cogitation, I fear.

On which subject a couple of cartoons. First, [Link]

which addresses my habit of lecturing with one sleeve – the right – rolled up above the elbow. This dates back to the days when I wore a suit every day and a dress shirt with tie. I acquired the habit from one of my professors, John David Jackson, who lectured this way. It made eminent sense to avoid getting chalk all over one’s suit by transfer. I was fortunate to have Jackson as lecturer for non-linear mechanics which served to launch me, at least partly, on a career in dissipative physics. Being an INTRO it’s about the only form of dissipation I can enjoy.

Of course this was back in the days when there were still chalk boards. That is mostly gone and is one of the primary reasons I don’t care to lecture.

The second cartoon: [Link]

rather puts me in mind that the cartoonist is a benighted Winders serf. If he would switch to Linux this would not have been needed, which would have been a mitzvah since it isn’t particularly funny. Just sad.

I have no great expectations of the day. I suppose that is evident.