Posts tagged technology
Posts tagged technology
Yanno, I was having a perfectly good day until I logged into LinkedIn to respond to a message and LinkedIn decided I needed to endorse people for various skills they listed. And picked my brother for all three slots that it recommended. And when I see this, I think, “Well, fuck. He did, when he was alive. Thanks, LinkedIn, you pushy fucker.”
… is that there’s too much accurate information about the female reproductive system easily available in popular discourse.
One way to remedy this is for the video game designers designing the sequel to one of the best-selling video games of all time to make sure that children playing the game understand that, if you eat a monkey, an egg the size of your head will pop out of your hoo-hah. Clearly.
Also, while we’re at it, let’s be sure to use euphemisms like “hoo-hah” to let children know that we should never use medical terminology about this part of the body is obscene.
Some facts about internet trolling.
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, 6 April 2013.
98% of people on Tumblr are part of the pie wedge.
Isn’t it douchey & invasive to make visitors enable scripts & register to read “About Us”?
Another interchange with the brilliant minds at UCSB’s Instructional Computing department. Without soliciting any input from the campus community, they announced not long ago that they’ve decided not to provide web space for students, faculty, or TAs.
Here is their original message:
Subject: U-Web Service End-of-Life - February 2013
From: U-Web Service Management <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 11/26/2012 04:26 PM
To: “Patrick B. Mooney” <ADDRESS REMOVED>
We’re sending you this note because we see that you’ve uploaded files to your U-Web account.
At the end of the February 2013 we will be retiring the U-Web service. Since the release of U-Web many years ago, a number of providers have begun to offer similar services for personal web hosting. These competing services provide full-featured service suites with better customer support than we’re able to offer. As such, we believe U-Web customers are better served by switching to one of these other services.
We’ve heard good things about NearlyFreeSpeech (www.nearlyfreespeech.net), Weebly (www.weebly.com), and Google Sites (sites.google.com) as possible replacements. For course-related web publishing, we understand the Collaborate project (www.collaborate.ucsb.edu) is developing a new service to meet this need. Until that is rolled out, instructors can request interim accommodations via email to email@example.com.
Unfortunately we’re unable to automatically migrate your existing U-Web content to any new service provider. Any files left in your U-Web account by March 1st 2013 will be deleted.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
U-Mail Service Management
Here is my response:
Subject: Re: U-Web Service End-of-Life - February 2013
From: Patrick Mooney <ADDRESS REMOVED>
Date: 01/12/2013 10:43 PM
To: U-Mail Help Desk <firstname.lastname@example.org>
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686; rv:17.0) Gecko/20130106 Thunderbird/17.0.2
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary=”——————000701050108050005080201”
Just before I went to the other night (Sunday, 4 November 2012, to be specific), my operating system, Ubuntu Linux, popped up a notification that the version I was using (that’s “Natty Narwhal,” version 11.04) was no longer supported and would no longer receive security fixes. It encouraged me to upgrade to the next available version, which is “Oneiric Ocelot,” version 11.10.
I fucking hate this, primarily because although I don’t want to have a whole new set of amazing!cool!Microsoft-inspired!features!, it is of course important to keep receiving security fixes for my operating system. Being forced to upgrade the operating system when the Ubuntu release cycle dictates that support for my current version has ended — which is generally every six months, since avoiding feature creep involves staying about eighteen months behind the bleeding-edge release — generally means I’m strong-armed back into “default settings” for the OS, regardless of how much time I’ve spent changing them, and means that I have to figure out a new way to alter those settings, because Canonical seems to believe that every release requires a new way of altering basic settings and that the OS should make zero effort to detect if a user has already altered settings, and should change the basic ways that users indicate what their preferences are as often as possible. So, for instance, having disabled the spiffy new scrollbars that got used by default when I was forced to upgrade to version 11.04, I can look forward to a totally different way to do it when I’m forced into 12.04 in another six months (I’ll need to install and remove packages instead of editing config files).
At the same time, being strong-armed into upgrading means that my computer slows down just that little bit more as feature creep loads new capabilities I don’t want onto my computer, because Canonical apparently wants to compete with Microsoft for the most complete set of eye candy. (One of the things I used to love about Linux: it was fast on old hardware. But recent Canonical releases not only remove useful features by default, but also enable the most processor-intensive features by default and make it difficult to figure out how to turn them off. I’ve done a dozen Google “how to X ubuntu 11.10” searches in the first six hours after upgrading, and I’m not done yet.)
A short list of things that have pissed me off so far:
/etc/sysctl.conffile is 60, even for desktop versions of Ubuntu. The “swappiness” attribute indicates how eager the system is to swap chunks (well, technically, “pages”) of memory out to the virtual memory swap file on the hard disk. Of course, it’s in the best interest of most users to always keep some physical memory free, but a swappiness value of 60 is much too high for desktop users (the Ask Ubuntu community says that an ideal value for swappiness on desktop systems is 10; other people in general agree, i.e. here and here. Nowhere have I been able to find anyone who says that there is any benefit to desktop users in keeping the default value). A swappiness value of 60 means that the system always tries to keep 60% of physical memory free by swapping pages of (currently) unused (but occupied) physical memory free. Why on earth would an average desktop user want to avoid using 60% of their physical memory out to disk? Storing memory pages in physical memory allows them to be accessed literally hundreds of times faster than storing them on disk. This is not only a really stupid idea, but it would be easy to fix: All that would have to happen would be for one character in
/etc/sysctl.confto be changed. And yet, in the five years I’ve been using Ubuntu, this has not happened, despite more than one suggestion made to Canonical that it should be. Not only that, but upgrading from Natty to Oneiric overrode my customization (I’d already set swappiness to 10) and restored it to the default value of 60. Again, this happened silently.
I’m grateful to Canonical for distributing a free OS, and for driving development in the Linux community. But I’m starting to have the sneaking suspicion that getting most of their revenue from selling technical support incentivizes making confusing changes between versions in the hope that some people will pony up money rather than doing several dozen Google searches or endlessly moving through menu items, trying to figure out where the program that they used to be able to find has moved.
It’s disappointing that, after being a Linux user for under five years, I can already pine for the old days — the days when Linux was about choice and configurability, and not about some corporate jerks making top-down decisions about “good design ideas” and “usability” and “user friendliness” that assume that everyone’s usage patterns is the same, that people don’t want options, and that it’s a good idea to change basic aspects of functionality and user interface design with every single release. Canonical’s claim that “each new edition of Ubuntu is better than the last, harnessing new technologies to make it quicker, easier and more intuitive than ever” seems to be designed to appeal to new users — trendy eye-candy as part of the user interface, constant changes to the exposure of underlying functionality — rather than to keep existing users happy. Sure, many the Linux world’s equivalents of rabid Apple cultists will always sing the praises of the company that’s doing the most to bring Linux to the “masses.” But those of us who don’t use computers like the “masses” do might legitimately wonder about why Ubuntu is eliminating easy access to options in favor of nudging people toward all behaving in the same way. (Might I suggest that the name for the Unity desktop and the way that Canonical is drumming for it seems, in this context, a bit sinister?)
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, 1 November 2012.
San Gorgonio Pass, California
Final Fantasy IX: A fable of the 2012 presidential election.