Saturday, July 31, 2010

Jolicloud: The Hype and the VAPOR.

Jolicloud, ostensibly a "cloud application OS" is really nothing more than a new window manager. It's Ubuntu with all the control and features stripped away to prevent you from doing anything not approved by "Joli." You can't remove icons that promote paid features. It is in short, the AOL of linux.

1. It lacks any specific "Netbook" applications!
2. It has no 3G ability whatsoever!
3. It actually blocks and hides useful internet applications!
4. It has no real "cloud" computational ability!

These four strikes are reason enough to uninstall it immediately. But, I spent some time playing with it, looking around for hidden settings, and trying to find the control panel which IS there, but buried under "legacy" applications. Control Panel is legacy? How very AOL...

This is BigBrother meets Linux. It is seriously the AOL of the linux world.

Not only do I find it abhorrently false in its claims of being a cloud application Operating System, but it's not even vaguely cloudlike except in the vagueness of it all.

It's a cloud all right, it's vaporware.

Review of features:
No Cloud Features. zero points.
No Special Features. zero points.
Removes netbook functions. -100 points. [does the complete opposite of what one would expect*]
Removes user accessible controls. -100 points.

The only other "software" I've ever reviewed in my life that got -200 points is AOL.

Jolicloud really is the AOL of Linux.

* Negative points are 20 for misleading statements, 50 for failure, 100 for actual opposite performance. Worst score possible is 100.

Reasons you might actually WANT to use Jolicloud:

- You love having no ability to control the experience.
- You hate netbooks and just wanted a small laptop.
- You have no internet connection anyway.
- You've always wanted to write a ground-up 3G/4G phone system.

Well, now's your chance. Me, I'm removing this trash this weekend and going back to Ubuntu. The only advantage in trying out Linux based distributions is that I don't need to reformat the drive. I can use use the package manager to strip out the "jolly" and leave Ubuntu. Update, reboot, and I'm done.

Ubuntu has some issues too, but nothing on the order of powers that Jolicloud does. My recommendation is to never install Jolicloud at all. Go directly to Ubuntu for your netbook.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

We will sell you popularity: Twitter, Myspace, Facebook, et al.

I hate twitter, and all that pseudo-intellectual bullshit that goes along with "web 2.0" media hype garbage. A 'tweet' is nothing more than a text message. Period. What's so damn 2.0 about a text message? In 2010? Nothing.

Twitter has noticed this, and is now offering to SELL popularity, or promote you to other people on twitter if you pay them extra. This is the nail in the coffin scenario for any startup. When you have to cannibalize your own clients, it's bad.

This is such a stupid situation that I'm writing a 'what is 2.0' post for the Seattle P.I. and I'll link to that here later[1]. News flash: texting is not 2.0. It's 0.5, a step back!

I understand that corporations are desperate to make money, and that publicly traded corporations are under pressure to deliver increased revenue every year. They are not, really, but that's the common lie and I'll just skim over it here for the sake of argument. We all know they want the 'benjamins', and really most people don't have a problem with it because why? We want money too.

It's okay to want money. It's okay to get money through legitimate means. It's not okay to rob, steal, lie, defraud, cheat, or otherwise obtain wealth by nefarious means or at any cost.

When companies begin to become too powerful, they almost immediately start fleecing their clients. This appears to be a natural trend, but competition almost always erupts to put the brakes on that, because as soon as any company starts to get windfall it's going to attract attention from other companies. We can do this too, they say, and do.

That's why it's important not just to the consumer, to the civilians, but to other companies and the government, to allow an equitable market free of excessive regulation or monopolies. Any monopoly must be a government entity that is tightly regulated, and operated for the good of the public, not for profits. Why would you want to do that? Read my article on nonprofits and governance[2]. It's a good, but long, story.

When twitless announced that they're going to start mining their users for money, ala "popularity", also known as 'internal revenues', many greeted it with glee. They should be running. This is a very bad thing. It's bad for business, bad for twits [people who use twitter, and I'm in favor of calling them twats,] and is bound to end in a firestorm of failure. I follow twitter, somewhat reluctantly, because it's just hard not to watch a train wreck when it happens right in front of you.

What do you bring to your customers, Mr/s. We let them send 150 ASCII limited characters as instant messages to many different devices and via websites.

How is that different from any other instant messenger? It isn't, well, except that you can't send special characters, it's easy to spam, and our target demographic is lower-middle-class people with excessive vanity.

So how do you make a living from this? It's free. We shovel advertising at them as fast as they'll tolerate it.

Why would anyone want that when most IM services do NOT spoon-feed their users advertising messages? We get away with it because we say we're "2.0."

That didn't work for MSN, and why do you think it'll work for you? We think we're smarter than Microsoft.

Good luck with that, Twitter.

1. P.I. blog:
2. NP&G:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Danger of Politicising Science

The "three reviews" - all of which immediately rejected by tin-hat conspiracy wingnuts, have all concluded that "there was no mishandling of data." No intent to discriminate, slant data, hide information, or any other malfeasance of any sort. Period. Is that enough? Hell no, politicians are still trying to blast the scientists for not being "transparent enough," an argument that is patently bullshit. Even the article itself admits, and the critics admit, that ALL the data is publicly available. ANYONE on Earth could have compared the data and produced their own independent results.

The key word was COMPETENCE. "Anyone competent" could have obtained and analyzed the data. There we go. That's the heart of the problem. Politicians are NOT competent scientists, and they never will be.

This article continues on after this revelation, to vilify the scientists who were not "transparent enough" with freedom of information requests. The article fails to make note of the volume and frequency of FoiA requests that the CRU was subject to. It amounted to procedural terrorism. They were inundated with spurious, stupid, off-topic, irrelevant, and duplicate requests on an hourly basis from all around the World. I'd say that from all the evidence, they failed to respond only to a handful of the most noxious requests. So what failure rate is that, 1%? 5%?

That's not much of a glaring failure in the way that this article paints it. The media continues to play-up scare tactics and one-sided reporting as though it were professional journalism. Journalists should take note: You are not scientists either, not by quite a long measure.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I never fail to be amused and surprised by what I can get away with when using knoppix. I had installed Ubuntu as a dual-boot with Vista, and got grub errors on the reboot because the partition was too far out on the disk. The older BIOS can't read beyond the 1024 sector limit and the LBA on that BIOS isn't adaptive. So, I need to move partitions. Fine. Knoppix can do that.

First, "sudo testdisk" to repair the MBR so windows can boot. Reboot into windows and shutdown cleanly so that I can move the partition. Resizing it will take about 15 minutes. I'll make a 4 gig FAT32 boot partition and a 4 gig EXT4 partition in the beginning of the drive so both windows and linux can find their boot systems.

Parted on Knoppix runs fast and easy. I'd already installed Ubuntu so I don't need to redo that. I'm strictly moving partitions around, and then I'll reinstall grub so that it can find them. This laptop had no windows boot partition so I'm creating that using a freedos option. That way there's a windows rescue option if there are any viral problems.

Back in the old days it would have been a complete reinstall of both linux and windows to fix these issues.

Friday, July 2, 2010


If you or I pulled a gun and then shot someone, it wouldn't matter how much we argued that it was an accident.

"I'm sorry your honor, I only meant to tase him. I didn't realize that the totally different carbon steel Desert Eagle 12-round pistol had been drawn instead of the aluminum and plastic stungun. My bad."

That argument is as bullshit as the indifference the police [and pro-police conservatives] hold towards human life.

America on the whole views it as acceptable to kill people who are in your way, offend you, or don't gleefully adhere to the laws passed by a corporate-controlled congress of White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs).

That a nearby BART cop uttered the N-word means nothing, of course. An astonishing 39% of CNN polled respondents believe the police shouldn't be charged with anything. After all, the victim isn't a rich white dude.

Rights only apply to people who deserve them. That's the tenet of all well-established governments thus far in human history. I'm not an advocate of this school of thought, and the wiser among you detect my sarcasm.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Anticipation, and High Hopes.

There is only one thing more exciting than this trailer is to me, and that's the hope that someone like Jackson might decide to accept a deal to do this. I do hope the actor who obtains the role of Elric is up to the task, for it is no small job but one that even Johnny Depp may not be up to. Elric is whimsical, extremely subtle, quiet, and generally refuses to explain himself. Characters like that are hard to carry, and Elric is one with so much depth that may be lost on an un-read audience, whereas those who've read the books will be expecting their Eternal Champion. The actor himself would need to be a god among men just to pull off the role.

Being as Harlock is all CGI, however inspiring, the only acting required is good voice work. Harlock too is a shy anti-hero, difficult to understand, and unwilling to placate. Both are Kings in their own worlds, and not through a lack of violence by any means. I find that as many very educated, intellectual persons seem to also find, the anti-hero is appealing beyond mere fantasy - it is a form of freedom we all wish to obtain in one way or another. They are the success stories in their own times.

In both cases, these men are self-made, but quite a bit more than just a man by his own means which honestly appeals to a great many other men - they are men who should have failed. Elric is a crippled albino who relies on magic to stay alive, Harlock a mere boy who shocked grown men with his ferocity and drive. Both could only succeed with a great deal of skill, intelligence, and by simply getting up every time they get knocked down until they are the last one standing.

Americans, many modern feminists, and nearly all women could benefit by trying to understand these characters - particularly where they find themselves attracted to such traits - because there is good reason for it. Girls are coddled, hugged, and fussed over when they are hurt. Boys are told to stop crying, even slapped at if they don't. The severe disparities in gender roles that people take for granted have never gone away or even abated in this "modern" society, and as such, men take themselves to be not just different than women categorically but actually removed from the sphere of femininity. We are not, or should not be. To be feminine is the hallmark of homosexuality, and continues to be stereotyped as such even in the predominantly homosexually populated movie industry of Hollywood. Men are not soft, easy, supported, or celebrated. Not in Western cultures.

The desire, therefore, of most intellectual males is to not only supersede the stereotype by stepping beyond it, but to attain such rank that even the most gender-breaking act is seen as manly when they do it. I won't ruin either movie by giving away scenes, but this happens in both character cases. A character attains a nearly godlike status of 'anti-hero' when the male lead can kiss another male with sincerity and as a gesture of affection, and nobody thinks "gay." This is the simple kiss one brother will give to another in almost any culture, and it's familial, without any real sexuality attached, however in Western cultures such things as hand-holding and kissing among men is absolutely taboo.

It's a small thing, and a powerful thing at the same time. As I said, very subtle characters require exquisite acting, and few are up to such a task. These are male characters that women die for, literally. This itself is a direct send-up of how men are treated in our societies where the reverse is most often true. Their sexuality isn't the point, or the question, but an illustration of how "male" they are. It's a question of self. The anti-hero gained rapidly in popularity throughout multiple cultures and in many forms of fiction as women's rights gained ground and men began to be castigated, stereotyped, and blamed.

I predict that either movie, made today, would net profits in the Billions.