Category Archives: Technology

Curse you TomBeingTom

I despise these vapid Webby type contrivances designed to stroke the poles of bloggers and web developers since the late ’90s. My walls are lined with ribbons and placards of all the awards I’ve won. To add another is more nuisance than accolade.

(Mole dear, your wall is covered with posters of the Partridge Family, not web awards.)

Oh, right. Damn, that was the life I was GOING to have having dedicated my thirty’s to learning web languages and becoming a published web author. Alas, none of that panned out. I ended up working for failed startup after failed startup. (Geeze, maybe I’m the accursed one…)

OK, OK, here we go: Thanks TomBeingTom for, you know, calling me a female fox and obligating me to reply else I feel the heel and potentially miss the opportunity to flash my programming prowess, albeit, 20 years too late.

BlogEntry

That, my friends, is some of the first C# I wrote back in late 2002 when .NET first came out. And what did I apply myself to building with that great new language? A blog of course, or rather: Web Log, as no one called it a blog back then.

I managed to post more than 500 entries into my custom made blog over the next 10 years until my server’s harddrive failed and I quit trying to fool myself that I would ever win any praise as a developer. A living career, yes. Awards, never. (I did make copies of everything, I’m not entirely daft.)

My first ever “blog” post in January 2003: (I used XML as a storage format — pretty prophetic, no?)

BlogEntryXml

Blogging became more of a personal diary. But after things fell apart, I pishposhed about until I thought I’d better get back in and WordPress was a platform that seemed easy (free) and open (and free) and so I joined up (because it was free) in 2009; or so it says on my account page, I can’t believe it’s been that long.

Anonymole came a few years later in 2012.

The rest is all documented here in the pages of a subterranean gadriosopher (gatherer of knowledge). When it comes to life histories, brief is best. So, in short, I learned to code, made a blog, wrote some shit, the end.

But, hey, thanks AGAIN TomBeingTom for being the first to shine a bright light onto my failure as a web developer. (Kidding) [No, not kidding.] (No, seriously, I’m kidding.) [No, I’m not kidding at all, this is heavy shit. I think I may have to write another letter to Mudge begging to be consoled, placated at least, uncomfortably petted? Ya see, it’s all about bloggers getting stroked!]


Dystektopia

Momma Path straightened up from her work in her garden and tapped the screen attached to her wrist. Down the road, she’d heard the driverless shuttle squeak to a stop and expected young Nicholas to come running up and around the house to find her minding her rows. When he didn’t show, the GPS pinpointing his Patch-Trak flashed his location—cousin Ben’s house across the small Appalachian valley.

Oh, that’s right, Friday night at Ben’s.

Despite the shift to being a Ward-State, the country’s school calendar remained stuck in the 1800’s. Summer became a free-for-all and Momma Path’s large farmhouse and barn transformed into school-age-mayhem central. One more week and Nick and the others will finally help me sow our greens and victuals.

At eighty, Polenna Path had, as most folks who shared her geriatric tendencies, benefited from guv’ment’s research and subsequent distributions of “health-gevity” programs. “Healthy to the end,” had been their chorus. Little had they realized, that for most, the end now came much later in life. Her morning ritual included twenty minutes of exercise and scrounging through her weekly Ward package looking for the bright-yellow blister packs and gulping her dose along with a peanut-butter protein bar that came as standard fare.

She set fists to hips and regarded her plot. A quarter acre cordoned off from the deer and rabbits, tilled to uniform rows, with the heads of corn and squash seedlings leaning toward the early June sun. When her wrist chimed, instead of glancing at the screen she spoke openly.

“Who is it?”

A guv-droid voice, sounding like the historical filmstar Julie Andrews, spoke, “The caller is Regina Walker, Ben’s mother enroute from her residence.”

“Accept. Reggie, how are you dear? I hope Nicholas is behaving himself. I’m sure those two are bracing themselves for next week. I only…”

“Momma Path, what do you mean? I thought Ben and Nick were going to spend the night at your place. I see Ben’s tracker, he’s right there on your front porch.”

~~~

100 years into the future, technology’s promise has been fulfilled. A form of UBI, Universal Basic Income, has been implemented, funded by the incredible advancements of work automation. The United States has become the fifth nation to implement the Ward-State. Those who wish it can work as they like, educate themselves as they see fit, pursue pastimes and the arts to their heart’s desire, in a word, retire. Ward benefits include medication, food and a stipend for housing, clothing and sundry needs.

Capitalism’s strangle hold on the working-poor has given way to government managed communalism. The financial cast system continues to influence the lofty regions of political office where only the richest of the rich believe they still hold sway. In general, however, corporate entities innovated themselves out of their own profits — they automated themselves out of existence.

Momma Path has witnessed the change. She welcomed the release of worry yet still distrusts the surveillance state she knows watches her every move. Today, that distrust proved critical.

 

 


Moby Dick Keyboard

May I present your new keyboard layout. It is based on the character counts from Moby Dick.

MobyDickKeyboard

It’s based on the letter frequencies derived from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.

What we did was to take the letters, and balance them left to right around frequency and distance to move one’s fingers. This is how the keyboard should have been designed from the beginning. This would have been the most efficient pattern to build a keyboard. (No, Dvorak’s is better than the QWERTY but not as well designed as this specification).

By placing letters clustered by frequency, but on opposite sides of the board, we balance the work done by both hands.

Notice we separate the comma and period, no shift necessary. The slash and backslash are combined, as well as the 1 and pipe. The brackets are placed opposite as well as the question mark and exclamation. All the other keys are essentially left alone. The colon and semi-colon have been moved as those two have no place resting beneath the right hand pinky finger.

No doubt some further optimizations could be applied, two letter combinations that appear more frequently than others, but for the most part, this layout is a far superior model for human hand configuration.

Here are the frequencies as extracted from that historic text:

Left Right
114980 E T 86548
83823 A O 68131
64556 N I 64385
63106 S H 61777
51157 R L 42045
37662 D U 26251
22900 M C 22142
21774 W G 20491
20476 F P 16960
16602 Y B 16601
8418 V K 7937
1544 Q J 1061
1006 X Z 624
18948 , . 7385
1000 ? ! 1740
4139 ; : 196

[Continuing on this whale of a theory, more than just the frequency of key strokes should be considered. By doing a simple random key press test of about 500 keys, reached by their ease of access, I was able to produce a actual touch count which should be used as an overlay to place the letter counts from above.

For instance, the “F” key is indeed the most readily pressed key. The “J” key, the next down. But oddly the “I” key and the “W” keys (on the QWERTY board) come with high counts too. So, more accurately, a random finger press test should be used as the basis to determine finger extent and counts and then the letter counts from Moby Dick applied over top.

If this sounds like rambling, you’re right. Vicodin is a great drug.]

 

 

 

 


Who am I-I am who

I used to bound joyously over the pages of the ancient 1990’s internet, discovering this and that, delighting in what I found, where I meandered.

That ability, that nostalgic stumbling is long gone—swallowed by the ugly corporate-ness that the internet has become. But there are times when serendipity prevails and the blog-o-sphere renders a hitherto unknown flashback to a better, more innocent time.

This is one of those times.

http://www.aiportraits.com is a clever, engaging trip into self-indulgent evocative portraiture. Below you’ll find me, portrayed as only a computer can see me. Can you dwell into my soul? Can you sense my stoic crawling along philosophy’s garden walk?

Give it a try. It’s a fascinating way to re-imagine oneself in another age, another life, pursued by unknown lovers or enemies.


Science writing: To the point

If you’re going to write about science — get to the damn point. All I need is the highlights, the topics, the bullet points. And if there are pertinent details, make them brief and absent of flourish.

So many of the literary news outlets publish narrative science articles that I’m afraid it’s become an art. A pointless and irritating art.

Take this one for instance (don’t go here, don’t give them the courtesy):

7,800 words in that frickin’ thing. I don’t have the time or patience to burn thirty minutes slogging through some “writer’s” portrayal of science dudes’ childhoods: “When he was 11, his mother bought him a subscription to a medical encyclopedia series.” Fuck-me-Alex.

Get to the point and get out. It’s science — just the pertinent facts, ma’am. All the actual data required to deliver the concepts of brain tissue reanimation could have been provided in a tenth the words. But no, the writer had to turn it into a biography.

And this happens time and time again. 10,000 word diatribes about artificial intelligence and machine learning, or meandering missives on Neanderthal DNA in modern Homo Sapiens. It seems that every sexy scientific topic begs a “story.” Sorry, I don’t want window dressing on my low earth orbit launch technologies, or thermal depolymerization of ocean plastic…

I just want the concise, to-the-point facts about the advances or failures of the science and technology. Spare me backstories, please. If you have to, write a sweeping expose’ on some social or historical topic or event — leave the science for the fact writers.

 


It’s – in the Cloud

I’ve had to deal with Microsoft since the early 90’s. Most likely, unless you’re an Apple bigot, you have too. And I hate Microsoft. They’ve done like, three things right in their entire history: Windows NT, Visual Studio and Excel.

When they decided to compete with Amazon in the “Cloud” they tried to be clever and name their Platform as a Service (PaaS) – Azure. Blue. Really? Go look up the word in a dictionary and you’ll get “bright blue in color — like a CLOUDLESS sky.”

Geezus criminy, they can’t even get clouds right.

What they *should* have called this offering is: Olympus.

“Olympus! The fortress in the clouds populated by powerful god-like services.”

And then they’d have had a bevy of gods and their abilities to pick from to name their various offerings up there. Things like virtual machines, data storage, messaging, security, web-app hosting, web services, etc.

Mnemosyne : The goddess of memory

Ceres : The goddess of storage

Soteria : The goddess of security

Hermes : The god of messaging

(Oddly, they’d already adopted the Greek monster of guardians: Kerberos)

I can see a whole slew of great names for the cornucopia of stuff you can find in, ahem, Olympus Cloud Services.

Microsoft, pull your head OUT! Oops, too late. It’s too far crammed up there.

For reference, you can click this link to see a list of services that can be found on OCS (heh,heh): https://www.azure-overview.com/

~~~
Look at this list of Gods they could have leveraged. Opportunity lost.
  • Zeus
  • Hera
  • Poseidon
  • Demeter
  • Ares
  • Athena
  • Apollo
  • Artemis
  • Hephaestus
  • Aphrodite
  • Hermes
  • Dionysus
  • Hades
  • Hypnos
  • Nike
  • Janus
  • Nemesis
  • Iris
  • Hecate
  • Tyche


BodyScale: 0 to 100

Celsius is great for science. 0 freezing, 100 boiling – perfectly logical.

Fahrenheit is just bonkers. Totally screwball with no logic behind it whatsoever.

But the problem with Celsius (we’ll disregard Fahrenheit due to irrelevance) is that Celsius has only one immediately human identifiable anchoring: 0 degrees freezing. At 100°, the boiling point of pure water at sea level—yeah, great. Not exactly relatable (not really). How warm is the human body? 37 degrees. Hmm, 37, not a number that sits well in our minds. Instead…

How about a human relatable scale:

  • 0 = freezing point of water.
  • 100 = human body temperature.

Here’s how such a scale would compare to Celsius…

CelsiusvsBodyScale

0 is 0. That’s easy. We are frozen solid at 0 Centigrade as well as 0 BodyScale.

But at 100° BodyScale, we’re exactly where we need to be (37°C).

Now, based on 0-100° degrees BS we have a natural range we can understand.

At 50° BS, we’re pretty comfortable — half way from body temp to freezing.

At -50° BS, that’s damn cold (-19°C), and that’s about our limit.

At 150° BS, that’s about our top limit, frickin’ hot. Hot to the touch; sauna hot. But still, if you were outside, walkin’ around, drinking lots of fluids, 150° BS is tolerable. See how this is working?

Zero BS to 100° BS is our natural range. It makes sense to us in our ten-fingered numerical system within our human condition. Additionally, -50° BS to 150° BS would be our natural  range extent. Again, logical extensions of our 0-100 range.

Celsius has two numbers which make human sense, 0 & 100. One is relatable, the other is “touch and suffer.”

We humans like relatable numbers. That’s why the metric system is so hard to take. (See: https://anonymole.com/2015/08/18/the-problem-with-the-metric-system/ )

A weatherman, lying about tomorrow’s sunny day, who used BodyScale as their temperature gauge would make perfect sense.

“Tonight’s overnight temperature will be 60° BS and 85° BS by tomorrow afternoon—a nice day, so go have fun!”

And medically, using such a scale would also make sense.

  • 104° BodyScale, a bit of a fever.
  • At 95° BS, you’re suffering from hypothermia!
  • 100° – spot on, mate.

Even that 100° C seems misleading, “100°C? Yeah, OK”.
But at 270° BS. 270°! Shit, that sounds hot! And it is. Hot enough to boil water…

(Oh, and the “BS” initialism is an ironic coincidence…)

Celsius BodyScale
-40 -108
-30 -81
-19 -50
-10 -27
0 0
10 27
20 54
30 81
37 100
40 108
50 135
55 150
70 189
80 216
90 243
100 270
110 297
120 324
130 351
140 378
150 405
160 432
170 459
180 486
190 514
200 541