Oct 30

Ruining all software

Looks like Mozilla is about to ruin bookmarks, too.

It’s weird to me how when you say that you don’t like the Windows 8 interface, or hate Unity, or hate features being taken away that you use every few minutes, that it’s just because you “hate change.”

Look, motherfuckers, I’ve used more UIs (graphical and command line) in my long, long life of computing than nearly anyone alive who isn’t some old, crusty CompSci prof. I’ve been doing this since I was five years old or so. I could touch-type before I learned how to write. And if you’ve ever seen my penmanship, you might dispute the fact that I ever quite learned to write.

I’ve used TRS-80s. I’ve used Commodores. I’ve used Amigas. I’ve used Ataris. I’ve used Apples, since 1982 or so. I’ve used Tandy machines. I’ve used Solaris (CDE wasn’t too bad back in the day). I’ve used BeOS. I’ve used off-brand clones with custom GUIs that no one now even remembers and you can’t even find reference to on the Internet. I’ve used nearly every major Linux distro every released and many, many minor ones, since the 1990s. I’ve used NetBSD. I’ve used FreeBSD. I’ve used AIX. And I am sure I am forgetting many more.

So saying that I have a problem with change because I don’t like some busted-ass UI travesty that is turning my PC into a fucking phone is just a bit daft, don’t you think?

And really, who cares what you think? Experience isn’t everything, but I’ve been doing this whole “changing UIs” thing for a reaaaaaaally long time now. I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. I’ve been through more UI changes than most people have changed their underwear.

Part of it is that the computing world is turning away from power users and to consumers, which in general ruins anything good. The world is being turned into cable television. There is an ulterior motive, of course, and it’s not just about money. It’s about power. A free and open computing platform and free and open internet is a great boon for liberty and gives much power to regular people.

That was doomed to a short life. Lasted longer than I thought it would, and now it’s going away. About 1996 or so I remember talking with a friend about how general purpose computers were dangerous and wouldn’t last long, and that they were a complete historical aberration. I thought they maybe had 15 years left at the time.

My timeline was a little off, but I was perfectly correct in the way things would go, and are going now.

So no, I don’t hate change. What I do hate using my 30” monitor as if it were a phone. I hate being told I should love my oppression as the computing world is rapidly turning into cable television, with locked app stores rife with censorship. I hate my computer becoming less useful, less free and less powerful with every “upgrade.”

Most of all, I guess, I hate the ahistorical idiots who wallow in their own oppression and profess to love it.

Oct 29

Nexus -10

I was excited about the Google/Samsung Nexus 10 tablet that was released today, as it was alleged to have a 2560×1600 screen.

Rumor is, though, that the screen uses PenTile technology, which is a way of faking resolution.

To state it eloquently, fuck that shit.

I know that would hurt my eyes, so I am sticking with the iPad.

Too bad. Way to screw up something that could’ve been great, Google.

Oct 29

Hurry cane

And there’s no global climate change, right?

I’m a native Floridian. We live and breathe hurricanes. As the most hurricane-vulnerable state in the nation, and one of the most hurricane-vulnerable land masses in the world, it’s a yearly ritual to watch hurricanes develop and hopefully to pass us by.

One of my very first memories is prepping for a hurricane.

That is to say, I’ve been paying attention to hurricanes for a really long time. Nearly thirty years now.

And I’ve never seen a late-season (ends November 1) hurricane be so organized, so large, and actually strengthen as it goes north.

But I’m sure climate change had absolutely nothing to do with that, right?

Oct 28

Worship

Reading this article, this line struck me:

“It seems our profound fascination with serial killers is matched by an equally profound lack of interest in their victims.”

In America, where serial killer fascination seems most prevalent, we worship power above all else. And serial killers hold the power of life and death –  perhaps the greatest power of all for us mortal beings who have foreknowledge of the eventuality of our own demise.

It’s another – and perhaps the main – reason bankers and other rich fraudsters have never been prosecuted. I don’t think it’s just the influence they wield with their money over the political process, though that has something to do with it too of course.

Rather, I think it’s the worshipful nature of many Americans, including politicians, to the power itself they hold via their money, absent of any implied present or future quid pro quo.

A subtle distinction, I know, but to most people power itself is an enormous aphrodisiac.

Don’t believe me? Do something I’ve actually done and go in a department store on different days dressed in a really nice suit with short hair, an arrogant and confident air and see what you can get away with. Trust me, you can get away with damn near anything at all.

Try that with a ratty trenchcoat and long hair and see how long it is before security is trailing you even though you’ve done nothing wrong.

Power worship is another of those odd human things I can’t make much sense of.

Oct 25

Parker

This was my response to a woman at work asking me via email if I planned on coming to my company’s trivia night:

“At first I looked at the invitation quizzically as I usually don’t concern myself with trivial pursuits, but so as not to put my reputation in Jeopardy, I then asked myself the $64,000 question and decided that if I did well then my renown as a font of all irrelevant knowledge might daily double and so phrasing my answer in the form of a question, I was forced to ask myself, what would Alex Trebek do?

My brain bowled over and my head rang like a buzzer as if a family feud were going on in my skull, or perhaps that was just Regis Philbin being attacked by an enraged badger, but I did not need to ask the audience or phone a friend to know that though I do want to be a millionaire, it’s not likely to happen at company trivia night.

Though I will be there, and plan to press my luck.”

Oct 24

Ain’t no way

Every time I feel the temptation to break my new eating habits, even a little, I remember how unpleasant it was to be fat.

Pretty easy then to say no to that eggnog in the fridge.

Oct 24

Simulacrum

Most things we’d see now as advances won’t be needed when it becomes easier to transport reality around.

There are two paths to shaping the universe. One is to go out and seize it, and bend it to the will of intelligence.

The other is to create a universe and then live there. We’ll do the latter, as I suspect most intelligent species do if they don’t destroy themselves — which is the other possibility of our species.

That wraps up the Drake Equation nicely.

There is after all no meaningful distinction between simulation and reality if the simulation is robust enough.

Oct 24

Kissed

I don’t really give a shit about two women kissing either way, but the expression on the faces of the anti-gay protesters in the background is great and makes the photo.

Vz11Y

Perhaps it’s just projection, but many of them look disgusted and envious at the same time.

Also, the two kissing have enormous bags.

Oct 24

Harping on it

Why didn’t someone tell me before that there were electric harps? Very cool, but I’d rather see them when they are actually playing the piece, not just miming playing something they’ve already recorded. (I mean, they are really playing it even in the video, obviously, but we are only hearing the audio they’ve already recorded in studio.)

Oct 23

It’s a pirate’s life for me

Why you should pirate absolutely everything.

Contrary to this story, it’s not clear that Amazon actually wiped her Kindle (it might have been broken) – however, they did delete her account and left her with no recourse, and no books.

You know what? Pirates don’t have to put up with this shit. Ever.

The only sane, rational choice until companies stop being so asinine is to pirate everything, all the time.

Why would you ever do anything else?