Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A New Bubble and RIP Reaganomics.


RIP Reaganomics. FINALLY. At long tired last.

We can finally wave goodbye to the Voodoo Economics zombies. So long, sorry it took the destruction of our nation for people to see you go.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Ubuntu Trials and Tribulations. BTW - Better than windows.

It's amusing and annoying at the same time, how something can be terrible in some ways, and yet still be a thousand times better than windows ever was. I've seen "seven" and I remain underwhelmed. I'd almost be disgusted, but I'm far too jaded by Microsoft.

I've noticed many quirks with Ubuntu that make it very annoying, especially the samba implementation. The "Network" window often displays nothing, not even the computer I'm using. "Can't load smb://location/" happens all the time. Thankfully, I've learned how to encourage Ubuntu to work properly.

By going to a Chrome window and typing in "192.168.1.x" with x being the location of my NAS device, the login window appears. Immediately, I return to the Network tab on Konqueror or 'File Browser' and lo! The SMB devices are all listed now.

Strange, but it's been working like this for weeks. It may have been like this for the last two years, but I've only recently discovered the trick to "waking" samba.

It's not just the NAS, either. ALL network locations are invisible until I do this. I know the NAS is cheap and "sleeps" too rapidly, and doesn't wake readily, but that shouldn't have much to do with other SMB broadcasts.

So, Ubuntu continues to underperform, and yet it's a blessing too. Just don't try to use the "ubuntu forums" for support or you'll get flamed. I've seen posts on that forum go unanswered for more than 4 years!

In most cases, silence is the best you can hope for from that crowd. I find most ubuntu answers on blogger, private blogs, and wordpress. I don't think that I've found a SINGLE useful response from anyone on an Ubuntu Forum in more than FIVE YEARS now.

Even so, Ubuntu itself remains the best free Operating System for casual PC enthusiasts. Be it laptop, workstation, or desktop, Ubuntu has consistent versioning and appropriate technologies to utilize most hardware.

Of course, when you install a new version, you'll need to re-install the MP3, DVD, Wifi, and other components that are not wholly "open source" from the 'multiverse' and whatever 'proprietary hardware drivers' that Ubuntu says you need. Mine has the "Symantec Touchpad", "NVidia Gforce" and "Broadcom Wifi" devices.

A few clicks, a quick download, and I was online. Few problems, and none that couldn't be resolved. I know that there are better versions of Linux, and Debian, out there such as "Arch Linux" or "Slackware" but these require much more user experience to install and are not for the faint-hearted.

To date I've used SuSE, Red Hat, Fedora, CentOS, Slackware, Ubuntu, Mandrake, FreeBSD, and many many others I can't recall now. Some are pretty obscure.

#1 best LINUX = Slackware. Hands-down the best linux version you'll ever use.
Pros: Horsepower to make your PC do burnouts on your desk. Ultimate control of your hardware.
Cons: BS degree required or equal experience in PC hardware and software. Can be rough on even experienced users.

#2 great LINUX = Arch Linux. Awesomely powerful, sleek, top-end linux distro that focuses on NEW technology.
Pros: Built for the fastest machines and newest hardware. Can run your newest video cards.
Cons: Will NOT run on older machines. REQUIRES building kernels and other high-end knowledge to fully configure.

#3 good LINUX = Ubuntu. Most common linux distro in circulation.
Pros: WAY way easy to use.
Cons: lacks a LOT of power, utility, and control of your hardware. Barely able to handle 3D desktops. Community support is tenuous at best.

These are my preferences from DECADES of using Linux, since 1991. My ideas of great, good, and best may not be the same as yours. My reviews center on USABLE, working, fully developed code.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Thinktanks Gone Wild" - Best Headline of 2011.

This is why I love Math, even though I'm not the best mathematician, and this is also why I love reading 538.

"I want to point out that just because a study uses objective criteria, that doesn’t make it sensible. In fact, studies that try to rank or rate things seem especially susceptible to slapdash, unthoughtful methodology (here is another example: a study which concludes that Gainesville, Fla., is a more gay-friendly city than San Francisco). If you come up with a result that defies common sense — like Modesto’s having better public transit than New York — then once in a blue moon, you may be on to something: conventional wisdom is fallible. But much, much more often, it’s a sign that you’ve done something wrong, and it’s time to reconsider your assumptions before publishing."


Monday, May 23, 2011

little known tricks... and how forums don't cut it as a form of help.

ubuntuforums were filled with not only wrong information, but repeated the same wrong information over a period of two years.

The problem was a simple hole in VNC for Ubuntu that, if you have Compiz installed on an Nvidia card system - you'd have no mouse or keyboard. Three years went by, but ubuntu's crack forum teams couldn't figure it out.

The solution they said, after more than a year of winging it... was to turn off Compiz.

This guy had the right answer, and I'm posting this blog through exactly this same compiz/nvidia setup right now. It now works, thanks to TRS-80 guy/girl.

nswered Oct 2 '09 at 9:45

The answer? An obscure setting I hadn't viewed anywhere else using command line for gconftool-2, disable "xdamage."

Command Line:
[gconftool-2 -s -t bool /desktop/gnome/remote_access/disable_xdamage true]

The above command I was able to execute using only SSH to the desktop, since my monitor has died some months ago. I'm only able to use that particular box with a projection screen I have had rigged for some time now, and it's nice to be able to save bulb life by using my laptop to access the server!

Ubuntu support? BUllshit! Ten Points from Griffendor.
http://superuser.com/ FIFTY POINTS.

Thank you, TRS-80 person. I used to own one too.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A soon to be purged comment on Persephone Magazine...

I can understand the sentiment, but this is flawed logic. The entire article is more of a rant than a point in logic. Sure, you don’t to like it, and I think it’s rather a childish or pointless thing to “like” on any website, but harmful? That’s like saying anyone who sees a horror movie advocates murder.

There’s no connection. There’s never been any connection. Self Esteem is -by definition- internal to YOU. It’s what YOU think of yourself, and as such, it’s your problem not mine. I’m not being heartless, I’m being supportive. [Yes seriously.] You need to be treated as an adult, and asked to act like one, or you’ll never believe that you are equal.

So, woman-up.

Stop whining every time you see something that’s the least bit funny. Seriously. I’m not trying to be a “jerk” -such a crime! I’m completely calm, logical, and mean you no ill-will.

Women are still in second place because so few of them have decided to be self-sufficient. There are fantastic, super intelligent, wonderful women in the world doing great things! Just not as many as are male. Why? No one is really stopping women from doing things, in fact women do more harm to women than any single demographic!

There may well be a few rapists and murderers left out there in the wild woolly world, but even us men have to worry about that. If I went to Somalia I would not be anymore safe than you are, possibly even less. Despite such facts of life, there is no reason to not strive for self-achievement in a free country. Sure, rapes happen all over the world, murder too, and it isn’t limited to women. By trying to “claim” rape and violence as a 100% female victim issue, you’ve done yourselves a massive disservice.

Yes, it’s horrible. And? Do you expect a man who has been victimized to spend the rest of his life in therapy or to get on with life? When you swap “male” and “female” in your arguments, you’ll begin to see the flaws in those arguments.

I HAVE been victimized, more than once, and I chose to move on. It’s my past, and it does not define me. When one chooses to accept a role as eternal victim, even where you have never BEEN a victim, how can you expect anyone ELSE to take you seriously?

As a real-world victim, I see most feminists as laughably inelegant, illogical privilege-meters. So you aren’t a princess, boo hoo. Get a job. Again, not to be mean, but to be supportive of your SELF IMAGE.

When you have a “self” that you are not ashamed of, then your “self image” will improve.

So, why go on being hard on yourself? Just get up, and move on, and become a rocket scientist, or Senator, or whatever else you want to do! Stop worrying about what some comedian on Facebook “liked.”


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Programming is not Gardening.

It's nice to see that Microsoft managers have determined that software engineers are actually gardeners. At least in MSFT, this might be true, given how code is seen as an organic thing that you can wish into fruition. At MSFT, I'm sure there are a LOT of managers who'd think this is accurate, insightful, spiritual, and holds any meaning whatsoever.

A rose, however you code it, still smells as sweet. And bullshit, no matter how you name it, still smells like bullshit. Name it manure, fertilizer, soil additives, or whatever you like. That doesn't change what it IS.

Code is code. It is the building of code that creates software, and the bridge analogy is severely flawed, and by that I mean it's flawed from the roots up, or utterly incorrect. Only a Microsoft executive or arts major could screw up science so badly.

Software Engineering *IS* engineering, and nothing less. Many types of software must be vigorously scrutinized, tested, retested, proven to work under stress, and then certified by official agencies. There are DoD, IEEE, Union, Legal, International, and other laws that software must adhere to. There are thousands of standards. There are software testers and entire facilities dedicated to attempting to 'crack' software. All this to prove it is worthy.

Software is generally tested, and universally scrutinized, to a much greater degree than any bridge. A bridge needs to pass only a handful of tests, and sometimes no more than one. If the bridge is on private property and does not conduct interstate transit, it need only be signed off by an architect. That's it. A public bridge is signed off in a few more steps, from design, to a model, and then in iterations through the construction phase. Once completed, a bridge is not ever scrutinized again in quite the same way, unless it is being considered for demolition following aging or earthquake events.

Software is actually tested thousands of times during the creation phase, and then after it is released into an "alpha" status is then peer reviewed and demonstrated. If it passes the alpha stage it is then beta, or issued for limited release and further testing. After tens of thousands of examinations, once all critical bugs and functional bugs are corrected, it is finally 1.0. But, that isn't the end for software.

There's 2.0, 3.0, all the way up to 10.0, a state that few software rarely achieve, as by this time they are generally quite ancient and prone to be replaced with faster and newer code. Software is also much more rapidly surpassed and redesigned than a bridge, but does not lack in quality, mathematics, nor in certifications.

To compare software engineering to mechanical engineering is an insult to software engineers who work much harder, over longer hours, with far more stress than bridge builders. Structures are never started until all the plans are ready, the money is all paid down, and then they usually take longer than planned and go over budget. Software is almost never allowed to do any of this. Software starts AS a plan, constantly gets redesigned, and has to change to accommodate new desires along development. A bridge can't be altered halfway through!

Software generally is paid along as development continues, each step requiring performance to continue, and constant communication with all vested parties is the norm. As a software engineer I have to be an author, janitor, researcher, developer, mechanical engineer, physicist, designer, project manager, AND programmer.

So, you go plant your code seed and water it. That might be how some companies write code, but no quality software will come of it. Office is on version ten now and still has problems that existed back in the first release. That's what happens when you treat your employees like cheap labor.

ANY business that attempts to label Software Engineers as gardeners will not see my resume, and I will not work for them. I would expect that any SE would balk at taking a job where they will be treated as though they are cheap replaceable labor. I have a Masters degree. Your gardener might have finished high school.

Programming is about as comparable to gardening as rocks are to water. Only an MBA could fail to understand that.