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Journal: April 2015 has been a busy month

Journal by msobkow

April 2015 has been a busier month than I'm used to.

I got MSS Code Factory 2.1 Service Pack 1 out the door after over two months of work.

I packed up and moved to a new apartment.

Last but not least, I installed Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS on my failing Debian box. I still haven't done any more work on the Windows 7 laptop to get it into a development-usable state, but since I did all that performance tuning on MSS Code Factory 2.1, I really don't need to use the Windows laptop. In fact, the poor beast is so I/O bound when running 2.1 that it sounds like the hard drive is about to rupture and spew it's guts out the keyboard when MSS Code Factory is running.

The shift to Ubuntu 14.04.2 from Debian 7 was a last-ditch attempt to resolve an X-Server crash issue (white-out screen in NVidia 8600-series hardware with NVidia drivers.) Although I did see one such crash on Ubuntu 14.04.2 since installing it in the first week of April, I have not seen it in the ten days since Ubuntu released some X-Server input patches.

So it wasn't entirely the NVidia driver's fault that my X-Server was crashing; there seems to have been some bugs in the input stream processing.

I'm still not 100% confident that the X-Server bug has been resolved, but it's looking like it has. Which is a good thing -- I can't afford to buy a new computer at this time (nor in any reasonably near future, as I'm on disability and get less than $17,000/year to live on here in Saskatchewan, Canada.)

User Journal

Journal: Windows 7 laptop is toast -- hello, Debian 1

Journal by msobkow

My Windows 7 laptop was finally nuked. It was only a matter of time before something got to it -- Windows is a virus vector hell.

I'm downloading Debian for my Lenovo IdeaPad Z580 -- I hope it works. I've never tested the system for Debian compatability, though Lenovo has a good reputation for it.

Sadly, I'm pretty sure it's going to mean losing my glorious 192/24 audio playback, as I can only get 44.1/16 working on the desktop despite it having a HD soundchip. I'm going to miss that...

More to the point, I won't be able to do any further work with Oracle, Sybase ASE, or SQL Server for my pet project. Such is life. What's there at this point works; someone else will just have to pick up the ball for those databases.

User Journal

Journal: Parents aren't perfect 7

Journal by squiggleslash

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

Journal by squiggleslash

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

Journal by squiggleslash

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.

User Journal

Journal: Wikipedia is fucked 1

Journal by squiggleslash

GamerGate targeted the most active editors on the Gamergate Controversy article for abuse for several months. They also abused the article itself, inserting blatant violations of WP:BLP (the policy that stops the Wikimedia Foundation from being sued for libel every five minutes) During this time the trolls, in parallel, continually leveled complaints at the relevant Wikipedia admin authorities.

Finally, the combination of forum shopping and driving well meaning editors into the ground has paid off: the vast majority of editors in question are to be banned not just from editing the GamerGate Controversy article but from even discussing gender related issues on Wikipedia. Some token throwaway accounts on the GG side are being banned too.

What good faith editor in their right mind will want to touch any article covering an issue affected by well organized trolls after this?

Oh, and don't expect Jimbo to step in. He's actually been telling editors being harassed to step away from the article for several months now.

The backdoor password to the constitution is "terrorism". The backdoor password to Wikipedia is "Civility".

User Journal

Journal: Nuts vs Nuttiers 1

Journal by squiggleslash

It's kind of annoying that when there's an active hate campaign against a group of people you're largely sympathetic to, it becomes harder to call out abuse and extremism by individuals within that group lest you play into the agenda of the hate campaign.

Another way of saying the same thing: GamerGate and similar mobs make it hard to have rational discussions about anything.

(If you're after specifics, no, I won't give any directly, the nearest I'd mention is that I thought Pax Dickinson was treated abysmally back when he was essentially fired for alleged over-enthusiastic dudebroism.)

User Journal

Journal: Supporting extremism 6

Journal by squiggleslash

The legal right to be offensive aside (and likewise the right to be offensive without suffering death or severe violence), which is an entirely different issue and one I wholeheartedly support, I'm not going to promote punching down and re-enforcing hatred simply because terrorists brutally attack and murder some people who are doing that.

And the fact such an act has been perpetrated may mean condemnation from me, but it doesn't mean I'm going to lionize the victims or even worse promote their rotten cartoons.

You cannot attack extremism with extremism. It doesn't work that way.

Also as a former resident of Britain, which had plenty of Christian terrorism while I was living there, and which was subject to, albeit overseas, Jewish terrorism a mere 35ish years before I was born (interestingly by groups so nutty that they even, on occasion, sided with Nazi Germany seeing it as "less terrible" than the colonial British Empire), can we cut out the "Islam has a special problem" crap?

(Not that I'm saying religion can't be peaceful, Buddhist terrorists are fairly rare for example, though not non-existent, but Islam doesn't seem to be worse historically than any other Judao-Christian movement. It's just large right now, and over-represented in areas currently ruled by corrupt dictatorships propped up by the West and countries that are former examples thereof.)

User Journal

Journal: Windows 8.1 is a great tablet operating system and is better than Android 22

Journal by squiggleslash

Unfortunately third party support for it sucks. It's the AmigaOS of tablet operating systems, kinda sorta. Hey, Microsoft, have you heard of this new, 30 year old, technology called MVC? Developers love it, and it makes it relatively easy to produce frameworks that allow completely different user interfaces that use entirely different paradigms to be targeted by the same application. There's another company that makes both desktop and tablet operating systems (ironically, currently not merged though apparently from the same code base) that supports MVC quite heavily. Can't remember their name though...

It'd be nice for a FOSS equivalent of the "Tablet + Desktop" system Microsoft is doing, vs "Let's try to create a merged interface that sucks" approach of Ubuntu and GNOME. I would have been very happy with a Ubuntu for Android system, but Ubuntu and Google never seemed to go anywhere with that one.

User Journal

Journal: Controversy 8

Journal by squiggleslash


systemd - think it's a good idea. init sucks. init scripts suck. I mean, have you ever written one? Something that uses cgroups to track and manage daemons seems an unbelievably great idea.

Slashdot Beta - For as long as I can remember, Slashdot's commenting system has been broken. Now they're trying to fix it. Not perfect, but seems in line with what others are doing successfully. If they can get it feature complete, it'll definitely be an improvement.

xfinitywifi - What a great idea! Comcast, you guys need to provide those of us who don't rent your routers with a free box that, without interrupting our networks, provides an xfinitywifi connection. Costs nothing, provides a huge amount of roaming Wifi coverage, it's a great idea.

Eich? He was a dick. People had concerns about his ability to work with a diverse group, his response was to insult everyone with concerns rather than address them. He was not CEO material.

Pax Dickinson? Honestly, I think he was stitched up and shouldn't have been fired/pushed/whatever. Buuuttt.... he's now associating himself with GG, so screw him.

Not trolling (mostly) but I do seem to be at odds with most of Slashdot these days.

User Journal

Journal: Saints Row 4

Journal by squiggleslash

Really enjoying it. I got it for $15 on Steam a few days ago, a day or two before they dropped the price to $5. Yeah. $5. *sigh* Well $15 was a good price.

Anyway, if you liked 3 (loved it myself), you'll almost certainly like 4. However there's some controversy over SR1/2 and SR3, as the game changed significantly between 2 and 3. My friend who doesn't care for 3 for that reason still loves 4, so read into that whatever you want.

What is it? Well, it's a big open-world thing. SR3 was a "take over the city from hostile gangs" thing that was incredibly over the top and funny. SR4... many of the same concepts, but you're now in a simulation of a city, and you're also the President, but still a gang leader, but you have superpowers, and it's still over the top and hilarious. There's a lot of references to other games/media and there's some meta stuff in there too. I thought on reading the synopsis that it wouldn't work, but it really does. Said friend who doesn't like SR3 described it as the best superhero game out there.

Probably worth playing SR3 before SR4, but otherwise a big thumbs up.

User Journal

Journal: MSS Code Factory 1.11.12558 Service Pack 6: It is done!

Journal by msobkow

Service Pack 6 provides move up/down functionality for the Chains for all of the supported databases. Note that the RAM storage does not support Chains or complex object deletes at all -- it's intended for high volume read/update/delete data, such as the call record information for an Asterisk or FreeSwitch PBX system, or the internals of MSS Code Factory itself.

There are some critical bugs fixed with Service Pack 6, including cache integrity bugs that were discovered during testing of the move up/down functionality.

With this release, I think I'm pretty much done with MSS Code Factory 1.11. I can't think of any more functions I'd want to add that I have experience with. Sure I could implement proper login security with hashing algorithms, a JEE server to receive and respond to X(ml)Msg requests, and polish the prototype GUI some more, but that's really not my forte. I spent 30 years as a back end database programmer, tuning servers and wringing every last bit of performance out of database engines that I could.

MSS Code Factory 1.11 now incorporates everything I ever learned about making an RDBMS sing and dance. It provides all the functionality points that I was ever asked to deliver to a front end application programming team, and does it all automagically from a Business Application Model.

It's been 18 years of long hours working on this project to get to this point. The idea was around even longer (I came up with the concept way back in 1987, before I'd even had any experience with data modelling tools.)

Service Pack 6 is, in essence, my life's work. My magnum opus. I have climbed my mountain, and the view is great.

User Journal

Journal: 140903 (check)

Journal by HomelessInLaJolla

Today is Monday the third day of November in 2014 A.D.

The weekend celebration of All Saints' Day brought along a tune, Ye Holy Angels Bright. In this tune there is spoken of "those who toil below". In prayers from past weeks, there was spoken of "tongues... under the earth". In the scripture there are not found references to eyes of animals, or eyes of beasts. The holy scripture is a compendium, a large tapestry, of real concepts. If an item or concept is real then it will have a reference in scripture, albeit the entirety of scripture necessary to provide this reference compendium is an enormous tapestry. The tapestry has stories and modes but, as all tapestries do, has particularities and important nuances which are often in no way related to the surrounding imagery in the tapestry. What is this "under the earth" and "those who toil below"? Why would such vocabulary be used in the scripture? Saturday, Week III, Office of the Readings, includes references to those who sailed the seas, and then those individuals reeling like drunken men, the Lord placating their cries. What are these concepts in the tapestry?

Is necessary to understand the progression of history to properly align sailors on the sea with row-bots, and the biomedical anatomy of the row-bot as a model line much older than the Model-T, and therefore much more advanced. These concepts and more explained in the Reader's Guide to the Sphinx and the predecessor work Template Timeline. My personal favorite writing achievement was the production of Fifo2ed. I had planned to rewrite TT as another F2 achievement but produced the Reader's Guide instead.

In case of injury notify your superior immediately. He'll kiss it and make it better.