Some time back I wrote a quote of the day: There is no greater joy than soaring high on the wings of your dreams, except maybe the joy of watching a dreamer who has nowhere to land but in the ocean of reality. For a moment I though the quote was apropos for Alec Clew’s announcement of his apostasy, but after a moment’s reflection I realize that it’s not.
Alec wrote the other day that, due to driver problems, he was thinking that he may have to depart the sunlit pastures of Gnu/Linux to return to the dreary halls of Windows XP. If you’ve noticed any of the censure I’ve directed towards Alec’s perverse habits (disgusting admissions of Ubuntism and flagrantly exhibitionist open-sourcism) over the last year, then you might think that there would be a spiteful little gleam in my eye. But I have admit I’m saddened. We are nearly at a point where we can perform painless .NET development entirely within a Gnu/Linux environment. It would be a sad thing if that were not possible because of hardware support shortcomings, rather than the quality of the toolset (which should be the only deciding factor).
To quote Niklaus Wirth:
Software gets slower faster than hardware gets faster.
Sometimes I wonder at the simplicity of us humans. Its often hard to see the simplicity though, when we act in such complex ways, but I think the following describes our ‘behaviour‘ quite succinctly.
Pretty simple huh? Well it looks a bit like this when you draw a graph:
See what I mean? You sate a need, and over time its intensity increases till it starts to get unbearable. Obviously this graph represents my dependency on caffeine, and is based on entirely randomly chosen numbers, scales & so on. But you get the picture? It’s fairly indicative of how we react if we don’t attend to our needs over time.
You may be wondering why (in addition to taking a rather dismal tone in this post) on earth I felt the urge to create such a model. Well the answer is (in addition to giving me a chance to play with gnuplot, mathomatic and all in the one post) that I’m producing the rules to go with the little Freudian drive ontology I showed you in my previous post. There, in the 20-odd lines of N3 notation, I was able to produce a nice little model of our baser urges – what you might call our reptilian heritage :-)
What amuses me is that we can describe such deeply felt aspects of our personalities in such simple terms. I mean, that equation earlier wasn’t that complex was it? It’s not like it needed quaternions or new fields of analysis! It reminds me of a blog post I read a few months back by some guy who’d discovered how to initiate a transition in the state model of his grizzly daughter. Whenever she started to cry, and he or his wife couldn’t console her, they put her into her cot. After a while she forgot why she was crying (remember FSAs are stateless:) and so when they lifted her out of her cot, she immediately thought she’d gotten what she wanted and stopped crying. She’d transitioned from in_cot/[Cry] to the out_of_cot/[Smile] state. It also made me remember that the common house-fly’s visual navigation algorithm is about as complex as the equation I just gave. It’s not that the algorithm is complex, but that the environment it reacts to is.
So, are you a meaty algorithm, or the pinnacle of god’s creation? Me? I’m just off for a coffee and a fag, before going to sleep. :-)
Click this link to see the single largest threat to democracy the world is currently facing. This bunch of evil techno-terrorists is ravening at the gates of western civilization. You have every right to fear these people. Their military might fought America to a standstill. How can we withstand such an enemy? These crack commandos are hiding in plain sight disguised as CAMELS!
Or, to put it another way :-
Images this precise must have been taken just prior to a bomb landing on this terrorist training ground.
A little known linguistic mangling:
‘Aluminium‘ was not how Humphrey Davy initially named the element. First he called it Alumium, then he called it ‘Aluminum‘. So, is Aluminium a case of reverse defrancophonificationism?
Defrancophonificationism is of course a francophonificated coinage itself. Rather like the Euro… ;^}
Memetically, I’m lying in my bed sweating till the sheets are drenched.
Memetically, the family is stood around the foot of my bed and the priest has been called up from the village.
Memetically, I am raving while the hospital staff tie straps to my arms and legs to prevent me from hurting myself.
Memetically, I am on the back of a wagon being taken to the unmarked grave called “yuletide casualties“.
Yes, Christmas is here to provide the memetic straw that breaks this camel’s back. I was already infected by the recent wave of Wiggles that was going around (the Di Dickey Doo Dum even shows on my face, and if the office is too quiet people can hear my subvocalised Big Red Cars). Add to that the background malaise from all that twinkle twinkling and the blind mice that race up and down my spine (presumably competing for mind-space with the little piggies) at night.
But now I am mordant with memes that are thick as fleas on a dogs back – it is Christmas and the new rash of novelty singing toys are out. Kerry and her mother thought it was in the yuletide spirit to have about a dozen of these monstrosities wandering the house singing songs that are so virulent they should be ranked alongside military grade bioweapons.
I know the ill-disciplined mind of a child needs something seriously catchy to get an idea through the background noise of the forming mind. The effect on us adults, though, is little short of being mustard gassed in the trenches for a solid month.
That sacred space that is the core of a centred mind is, in my case, so infected with viral memes it bears more than a passing resemblance to an ambulatory slime mould.
And don’t get me started on those ruddy 50′s and 60′s Xmas tunes from the likes of Bing Crosby.
No meme would be worth its salt if it didn’t compel me to sing you a song, so here goes:
I’m the happiest Christmas tree – Ho Ho Ho. He He He.
Came one day, and they found me, and took me home with them.
I’ve got tiny bells that tinkle,
And tiny little lights that twinkle
And if anybody passes by
I wink my lights, and blink my eyes!
Oooh, I’m the happiest Christmas tree,
Christmas day – wait and see
I’ll be laughing happily
With a Ho Ho Ho He Heeeee.
Naturally, it doesn’t sound right unless it’s accompanied by a banjo and a red flashing nose.
Oh, and a merry Christmas to you!
Alec has provided a few of the reasons he hates Microsoft. They all seem like sentimental attachment to other peoples litigation defeats… In honour of that, I have changed the colour of my blog for a day or two…
I too went through an undergraduate phase of anti-MS zealotry, and adopted obscure platforms as a kind of protest (i.e. Linux, Java, etc) then I went out to work, and realized that as far as the relevance of my skills is concerned, it didn’t matter whether the standards I knew were de jure or de facto, just so long as they were standard. Microsoft made it easier for me to pay the rent, so I am grateful that they were there doing what they do best.
Besides, I would have behaved in exactly the same way if I were in his position, so I can’t pretend to sit on the moral high-ground casting judgments at successful strategies designed to increase shareholder value. That was his job – he did it well.
Apart from that, it was just a little image that popped into my head during a discussion here at Readify – I did qualify my analysis as being a little bit dodgy so – caveat emptor!
Funny. There really is a large Oedipal component to anti-MS zealotry. The non-alpha nerds (especially very young under graduate level or recently post graduate level nerds) presumably see Bill Gates (and Microsoft in general) in the same way as they saw their fathers when they were very young children… Bill is the ultimate competitor for all that they desire in the world of their technical explorations (mother). If they cannot displace him and his organization from the affections of mother (the PC buying, technology using public) then they learn to sublimate their hatred of him into 500 word anti-MS blog posts on sites like slashdot.
So when you next read one of these /.esque diatribes, you can imagine a little boy throwing a tantrum because Mummy is talking to Daddy rather than playing with him instead.
I have to admit that my impression of what life must be like inside of Microsoft stems mostly from reading Microserfs by Douglas Coupland. As a result, I was disappointed to discover that when stuff gets shipped these days, they give each other cakes instead of indestructible Lucite plaques.
Here’s the proof:
My guess is they probably didn’t tie it to the back of a car and drive around the block either.