Jul 04

Protists and protests

Even though I don’t agree with Clarissa about some aspects of the “Occupy” movement and other worldwide protests, I think this analysis is spot-on, particularly this part.

Protesters release the tension through the carnavalesque but ultimately meaningless activities and are then ready to hand themselves over to the system they ranted against with an even greater abandon.

The Occupy protests or their successors will only achieve anything when they attempt to actually occupy or to take something – protests especially as they are conduced in the US, like comedy and satire*, more blow off steam than threaten existing power structures.

Protests might be necessary but they aren’t sufficient. The Occupy protesters should’ve, for instance, actually and physically occupied Wall Street and the large banks and then sent a list of cogent demands to Congress of how to reduce the power of the kleptocracy.

Yes, many would’ve died as there is nothing so staunchly and sedulously defended as wealth. But there is a cost to every action in this world.

*In authoritarian regimes, satire of leaders on state-sanctioned TV programs is often encouraged or at the least ignored as it is well-known to be a stress reliever among the hoi pollo subservient to that regime. Jon Stewart, anyone?

Jul 04

Surv

Anyone who thinks ubiquitous surveillance does anything at all to keep us safe is a pure damn idiot.

All it does is generate massive amounts of useless data, millions of false positives, and diverts attention from real law enforcement and investigations.

What it really does – and in fact is its main goal — is to keep corporations and the government in power. That’s about all.

Jul 03

Dougie E

The guy who basically invented nearly everything most people think of when they think “computer” has abended.

In addition to the computer mouse, Engelbart’s work at SRI from 1957 to 1977 helped develop tech innovations such as display editing, online processing, linking and in-file object addressing, use of multiple windows, hypermedia, and context-sensitive help, the institute said.

Add to that WYSIWYG, video conferencing, and collaborative real-time editing.

Engelbart’s Mother of All Demos is perhaps the greatest virtuosic achievement in practical applied computing technology ever, akin to someone in second-century BC Rome building a functioning 747 in a stable, rolling it down the Appian Way and taking off.

Jul 03

Not fitting

I think the main reason despite having decent social skills that I have trouble fitting into human social groups is that most people are primarily concerned with what others think of them, while I am mostly concerned with what I think of myself.

That sounds solipsistic, but I just mean that I base my ethical and moral axioms less from my social milieu and more from at least what I perceive as higher principles and more-reliable precepts.

Of course, no one can be completely unconcerned with what others think. Not if they want to live in a society of any type. But just saying that my priorities are reversed from the norm.

And it means that if everyone claims the sky is purple when it is in fact blue, I will be ostracized because I will invariably say, “That looks blue to me, ya’ll.”

I know because it happens. And I know it’s going to happen, and I can’t help myself. It’s not that I like being right. That really, truly doesn’t matter to me. What I don’t like is being a moron because everyone else has decided to be one as at the moment it’s the socially accepted way to be.

There will always be this distance, I think. It is an indelible part of who I am, and has been as long as I can remember.

Jul 03

Drive away quickly

Another reason to avoid Windows 8 – it nearly forces you to use SkyDrive, and it is very, very easy to lose everything that way.

After contact with Microsoft support he found out that his account was blocked because there was a  folder on his SkyDrive that contained content which was not allowed by the code of conduct of Microsoft SkyDrive. The folder was a private folder, not shared to anyone else.

The folder had four partial nudes in it. That’s it. And of course anything on SkyDrive is getting shared with the NSA.

Anyone who uses a “cloud” service for anything at all important is being foolish. There is no other way to put it.

Jul 03

Joy Formidable

Holy goddamn, what a performance.

I don’t even like the recorded version of this song. But I’d pay $20 just to see them perform this one song live. As the DJ at the end points out, only three people make all that glorious noise.

Ritzy Bryan (the singer) reminds me of a badass paratrooper I served with. I was a paratrooper; she, however, was a badass paratrooper.

What a great blend of the best parts of dream pop and thrash. And what fun they all are obviously having with it, too.

Jul 02

Brokeback Google

Google is now fully evil, but I am also dependent on them. Their search is better than anyone else’s.

Killing Google Reader, destroying the Blogger platform, NSA complicity, etc. And more I am forgetting.

Google, I wish I knew how to quit you.

Jul 02

Fug

The decline of the humanities is a feature, not a bug.

The result is not only relatively fewer humanities majors but also a generation of students who get out of school and don’t know how to write well or express themselves clearly.

Science and engineering are wonderful, and absolutely essential to the world, but those fields have little to say about value and ethics, nor morality, nor beauty, nor why one should choose one path over another.

Humanities teaches one to learn for one’s self why something is worth thinking about, and how to think about it – how to de-construct it and re-combine it and most importantly to examine alternatives. It is a possible (though not necessarily actual) threat to capitalism and that is the reason for the attempted – and largely successful — purge from schools.

Jul 01

It’s official: Microsoft is now run by morons

Does Microsoft even have any idea how much this will hurt their business?

I’ve done a lot of server roll-outs in my time and evaluation of new products. 90% of the time if it was a Microsoft product, the evaluation occurred due to a handy TechNet subscription.

In many cases I never would’ve even bothered to consider a Microsoft product if it weren’t literally at my fingertips to evaluate.

And that then lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars of software purchases.

Very smart – avoid $1 of piracy so you can “avoid” a million dollars in revenue. Sounds like a winner to me.

And this means that anyone who absolutely has to test something or learn it will now pirate it.

What the hell is wrong with Microsoft?