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User Journal

Journal: Winduhs

I think the whole mobile operating system thing has screwed up GUI design to a certain degree. Microsoft, Ubuntu, and GNOME have both been brave and tried something new, but what they ended up with ended up being highly unpopular on the desktop. And to be honest, I think only Microsoft ended up with something truly good on a touch interface, though I admit to not using Ubuntu or GNOME in those contexts, just being aware that they've not really encouraged an ecosystem for applications to work well in a tablet environment, leaving users with only the main shell being friendly. So the loss of optimization for the desktop lead to no significant gains elsewhere.

The way I'm seeing it, Windows 10 seems to be genuinely exciting, and a decent modern desktop, that also encourages cross interface design. Microsoft has learned from the mistakes it made with Windows 8, kept the good parts, and put together something truly great and modern.

I don't really want to be stuck with Windows though as my primary OS. I'm hoping Ubuntu et al actually learn from it.

This is something you'll never normally hear from me, but perhaps they need a Miguel type figure to take a lead in either GNOME or Ubuntu. At this point, at least to me, it looks like Microsoft is the one with the good ideas about how a UI should work and the relationship of an application to the UI frameworks of the underlying OS. I don't want anyone to clone Windows, but it would be nice to learn from it, at least.

Back in the 1990s, nerds like me put together our own "desktops", running random window managers, app launchers, and file managers (if that) that seemed to go together. I'm feeling like the FOSS "desktop" is heading back to that era, of stuff that doesn't really go together, being shoehorned to fit, with no real philosophy binding the system together.

User Journal

Journal: When did Net Neutrality change? 26 26

As late as last year, I remember Net Neutrality being a libertarian free market concept- preventing a crony corporate takeover of the Internet. Now that it is being implemented by the FCC, it has suddenly become a crony corporate (Democrat Brand) takeover of the Internet, that all good libertarians should oppose.

I haven't had political whiplash like this since the Catholic Church went from those nice monks doing AIDS research and running hospice care centers to those bigots who want to keep THOSE people from marrying.

Slashback

Journal: I READ THE NEWS TODAY OH BOY 6 6

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User Journal

Journal: Found at a Catholic site 39 39

The legal impossibility of a Christian polity in America is formally declared in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The so-called 'free speech' and 'free exercise' clauses of the First Amendment are purely secular mandates. They are a rejection of the Catholic notion of the common good, mandating that there be no restraint whatsoever on things that damage souls and ultimately destroy the State itself. They grant as lawful precisely what many popes have called unlawful: unconditional freedom of thought, of speech, of writing, and of worship -- as if these were so many rights given by nature to man. The language of the First Amendment reflects the Protestant-borne, Enlightenment-bred faith of the deistic Framers in the ability of unaided human reason to define and sustain liberty apart from Trinitarian Truth; that is, without a cooperative effort by the Church and the State. Thus, all manner of violations of natural and divine law, including the "right" to murder children in the womb, and the coming "right" to "marry" someone of the same sex, are found lurking in the secular mandates of the First Amendment. The true Church foresees these errors. Oddly enough, the Secular State itself will not be able to endure its own mandates.

User Journal

Journal: Final Thoughts at End of Contract

Things that were not explained adequately upon conversion from CW to ICE.

  1. Bonuses- it was thought by my management that QPB applied to all blue badge employees including ICE. If I had known I wasn't going to get bonuses, I would have asked for higher base pay.
  2. Vacation Time- MUST be taken while still an employee, and unlike what the recruiter who wrote my job offer told me, cannot be used to extend your final week. Any unused vacation time will be lost at end of contract, by policy. In addition, apparently you lose it at the end of the year, I really should have taken WW52 off, then the sting would not be so bad now.
  3. ICE as a stepping stone to full employment at Intel is a lie. I couldn't get anybody, despite spending many hours on networking, to give my resume a second look. I even learned a new tool in this contract that is internal and can only be used at Intel and is completely worthless outside of Intel. No matter, I've had many interviews outside of Intel, and will land well, but I'll keep this in mind the next time I am tempted to take a short term contract at Intel.
  4. Being a blue badge, if you are ICE, still means you're treated more like a resource than like a human by human resources. Many policies are used to reverse decisions that your manager, who is working more closely with you, has made.
     

Software Project Management At Intel in non-software divisions

  1. Brooks Law is almost unheard of at Intel. Hardware Managers think that all software projects can be completed in less than six months, and therefore throw contingent workers at the project. Since software estimates, in general, are 75% engineering and 25% new science, they are wildly inaccurate. When the project inevitably fails to be complete in the first six months, the temptation is to break Brook's Law by adding more contingent workers. The time to ramp up CWs on the project of course exceeds the time to complete the project if you kept software engineers working for more than 18 months at a time.
  2. Agile or Waterfall- Pick one and stick to it. This crazy combination used on software projects in hardware divisions is ridiculous, as is the general lack of written requirements.
  3. It's hard to hit a moving target- input data integrity must be respected. If you don't have input data integrity, then there will be bugs. Bugs add complexity. Bugs make software estimates inaccurate. Lather, rinse, repeat.

On the new diversity initiative

  1. There is no link between surface appearance and how a person thinks, or how capable they are. None at all. While this makes the apparent racism of the past a mistake, this also makes modern affirmative action programs equally racist and invalid.
  2. There is no link between religion, sexual orientation, or disability and how a person thinks, or how capable they are. Such factors should not enter into hiring or promotion decisions at all, and when they do, that is what Intel needs to eliminate from the system.
  3. There IS a link between certain forms of mental illness and the ability to innovate. Since mental illness affects the brain directly, having somebody with a well controlled mental illness on your team increases diversity of thought, which leads to innovation.
  4. I believe that the uncertainty surrounding the diversity initiative was a part of my failure to convert to FTE. Not necessarily outright discrimination against a white male, and due to my autism I fall into one of the protected groups anyway and HR is well aware of that. But I believe the way the diversity initiative was announced, and the weeks of confusion surrounding it before BK finally clarified his position, coming at the same time I was trying to convert to FTE, meant that I had a harder time of trying to get my resume noticed and find open, externally advertised jobs for my skillset.

Final Thought and contact info

While my search to convert to FTE at Intel has failed, my external search has succeeded. I have at least one, maybe two job offers in hand; I will likely be back to work sometime between March 25 to March 30. This posting will be crossposted to Inside Blue before I leave Intel. Comments section below is open.

 

User Journal

Journal: I owe Bill Dog continuation, Prius Hack ideas 10 10

Bill's last set of answers, and my answers to his answers
 
>>1. The only reason to run the gas engine under 25 miles an hour [â Typical residential speed limit] should be for recharging and generating, period. EV mode only at low speed.

>And Toyota may have started out planning on along those lines, but may have gotten focus group research that indicated people preferred a little more acceleration.

Which is weird, because when you put the two electric motors working together, you have MORE acceleration than the gas engine alone. 104 HP vs 70 HP.

>>2. An expert mode should be available wherein "creep ahead at stop" is disabled

>Having switched to owning only manual transmission cars, I only miss that on a metered freeway onramp, that's uphill. I imagine it's added behavior when in electric-only mode, to simulate a slush box, so not sure how it could be universally defeatable. There's no "neutral" on those smug little cars?

There is, it just doesn't auto-engage. The default is creep ahead (and yes, it's electric- it is quite obvious that your gas engine has stopped and it's in stealth mode- which makes it even more dangerous for say, a pedestrian in the cross walk in front of you, no warning roar of the engine as the car speeds up to 8mph slowly).

>>3. Cruise control should also be able to be set by a numeric keypad, and should be able to handle values lower than 23.

>That's an awesome idea, rather than having to bring the car up to the desired speed manually. But I wouldn't be surprised if it's the government disallowing the latter.

It certainly gets them more speeding ticket revenue in 20mph and 15 mph zones. That, and thanks to the "delayed reaction" in the CAN of the prius, I can never seem to hit the correct speed. Always 1mph off, either above or below. And why does slowing down below 23 erase the register, forcing a manual reset, instead of disengaging alone?

>>4. Sport mode should be available that disengages the traction control and enables all three motors for acceleration (you can get the second half of this in a gen2 by angrily stomping on the accelerator, it takes a second to engage, but you suddenly go from 34 HP to 174 HP as the second electric and the gas motor kick in).

>Why would a Prius owner want this?

Ice, sand, and mud. Thanks to the traction control the way it is, and the standard modes, it is impossible to get more than 34hp to the wheels in the first second of travel; and in addition to that, if there is any wheelspin at all, that 34 goes to 0 hp real quick and a little light blinks on to tell you that your transmission is disengaged. A sport mode would enable both drag racing and off road abilities that the prius currently lacks.

>>5. Finer resolution than 5 minutes on the average MPG consumption graph.

>>6. Ability to download trip data onto an SD card.

>Likely never, directly. Companies want your personal info to go to "the cloud" first, so that they can mine it and monetize you further.

I'd even accept an upload to the cloud if I could get fine resolution consumption and the ability to diagnose my driving habits after the fact. The big change in driving a prius isn't so much the technology, it's the feedback given about your fuel consumption, and it occurs to me more feedback is better.

>>7. If gas tank 20% full and battery 20% full, hibernate mode on computer if accidentally left on and wheels are not moving. Right now if you tried to use a Gen2 prius as a backup house generator, you run the risk of bricking the system, unable to boot computer, unable to add more gas, must drag onto a flatbed and tow to Toyota to use their fancy charging system to bring the car back to life.

>I guess you're saying these cars have no under-hood starter battery like ICE vehicles, that's user-swappable with a replacement from any auto parts shop. And I guess neither can these cars be jump-started, simply by using another vehicle (with a battery of equal or greater cold cranking amps). Wow.

More of an in-the-trunk starter battery that is only good for booting the computer system. If you run out of gas *and* the high voltage battery goes totally flat the most you will be able to do is boot the computer, the high voltage battery is needed to spin M1 to be the starter motor (M1 does triple duty- it's a 34 HP electric motor that does the initial acceleration, serves as a generator, and also serves as the starter motor for the gas engine- and it runs off the high voltage battery; M2 is a 70 HP electric engine that can also double as a generator, and then E1 is the gas engine that can send power to the wheels, to M1, to M2, or to all three- quite a complex computerized transmission runs it all). So there would be good reason to provide a hibernate mode that would allow a Prius to be parked for more than three weeks.
I suspect that a plug-in conversion and/or a Gen4 plug in prius is the answer to that last problem- if you're feeding off the grid regularly, there's no need for the gas engine to generate power to begin with.

User Journal

Journal: Parents aren't perfect 7 7

Seen rather a lot of the "Parents are evil because they did something wrong because they believed that something was right" meme that's going around at the moment.

Worst case: massive harassment and threats against the parents of a trans teenager who killed herself blaming their insistence on "Christian" therapy. Horrible case, entirely the wrong approach by the parents, but at the same time if the parents hadn't cared, there wouldn't have been any therapy to begin with, bogus or not. The parents were convinced by people they trusted that the wrong thing was the right thing. Screaming at them, particularly at a time when they are mourning, that they are evil and heartless is evil and heartless.

Now seeing it in the vaccine "debate". Not the only problem I'm having with the pro-vax side (Reminder: yes, I'm pro-vax, and yes, I'm in favor of it being mandatory for the obvious deadly common diseases), but there's a world of difference between a lazy parent not having their kid vaccinated because they can't be bothered, and a parent being too scared to vaccinate their child because they've heard from convincing sources that vaccinations can cause terrible things.

User Journal

Journal: Is the Touch UI irredeemable? 4 4

Thoughts related to the Windows 10 "Desktop is a desktop, no "Start" screen" thing:

From 1984 to 1990, there was a serious debate as to which was better, the command line or the WIMP (Window/Icon/Mouse/Pointer) UI. Why? Well, because Mac OS's Systems 1-4 were user friendly in the sense people knew how to use them, but user unfriendly in the sense that they got in the way, were kludgy, awkward to use, and offered zero advantages - beyond a lack of training for users - over the command line. At best you could say some applications needed a mouse, but some, such as word processors, were actually harder to use in the prehistoric era of WIMP user interfaces than the keyboard based versions.

What changed? Microsoft Windows. From Windows 1.0 onwards, Microsoft offered a vision, initially a very, very, ugly vision, as to how a computer could be more, not less useful with a WIMP UI. The critical feature was multitasking. Windows offered a better way to multitask than command line based systems, because each Window, representing an application or document, could co-exist in the same "world", the desktop.

Windows wasn't anything like the best implementation, but it was the only implementation of the concept available on standard PCs.

When Microsoft pretty much forced manufacturers to provide Windows and a mouse with all MS DOS based computers, users had a straight choice of using one UI or the other, and they overwhelmingly chose Windows. By comparison, when GEM was bundled with many PCs in the late nineties, GEM was a nice to have that was ignored by most users (anecdotally, outside of stores, I never saw an Amstrad PC1512 running GEM in the wild, despite it becoming with it and being a major advertised feature.) GEM, a Mac OS UI clone, did not offer multitasking.

So: timeline:

1. Mac OS released around 1984. Causes schism between WIMP and command line users
2. Windows 1.0 released 1985ish. Most users recognize it's a very powerful system, but are put off by user interface and memory requirements.
3. DOS vs WIMP rages for next five years largely because Windows is crippled by other factors.
4. Finally PCs are forced to be powerful enough to run Windows in 1990, and Windows UI improved enough to be "good enough" compared to Mac OS. Everyone jumps to Windows. End of DOS vs WIMP debate.

Touch UIs? Where is the touch UI that is more powerful, as opposed to being easier to use, than the WIMP UI? It took Microsoft (and Commodore too) less than a year to come up with something that was actually an improvement on the command line having seen WIMP. It's been nearly a decade now, who has come up with a touch UI that is more versatile than a WIMP desktop?

User Journal

Journal: Classifications 1 1

Apropos of nothing, just some thoughts in the shower this morning: I see people getting very upset when they hear Doom being described as "3D". "It's 2.5D!" they scream, pointing out that the maps are two dimensional albeit augmented with a height map.

The thing is while I kinda see their point, it essentially puts Doom in the same category as, say, Isometric games, while Quake is in the same category as numerous 1980s Flight Simulators. And then there's "First Person" vs "Third Person" where, again, the latter is so overly broad that it puts, uhm, a lot of isometric games in the same category as modern 3D games that are clearly "nearly" FPS but with a view of the protagonist.

Me, I'm kind of wondering if any of it is ever going to be anything but misleading anyway. 3D Monster Maze (for the ZX81), Hired Guns, the various flight simulators, Quake, Doom, Wolfenstein... all with slightly different takes on technologies that were ultimately trying to converge on the idea that you could see something broadly real, rather than an abstraction. The classifying makes it harder, not easier, to see the leaps forward each type of game engine made.

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM

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