Friday, April 27, 2007

Play your gitar on your MTV...

You mean they actually give me money to do this? Cool!!!

The biggest cyber-drug pusher on the block

I read Bruce Schneier for two reasons. His sense of humor tickles me just the right way. His sense of cyber-reality offers a clear technology compass for the terminally confused such as myself. So I was piqued by his Commentary on Vista Security and the Microsoft Monopoly.

While Bruce was talking, referentially, about the possible death of Microsoft...
Monopolies eventually overreach themselves and die. Maybe it's finally Microsoft's time to die. That would decrease the risk to the rest of us.

I was struck by a low-level, gut feeling response to some of the phrases offered in the cited articles and analysis.

Demerjian's interpretation of these two developments?

These two actions by Microsoft are proof of

what I suggested three years ago
Microsoft has lost its ability to twist arms, and now it is going to die. It can't compete on level ground, so is left with backpedalling and discounts of almost 100 times.
The emphasis is mine. Losing the ability to twist arms then reducing the price of the 'product' to ~$3.00 USD is tantamount to the neighborhood pusher giving away the first 'hits' of crack cocaine - to get the users hooked (into buying the expensive drug over and over again.)

(From John Quarterman's article...)
As Dan Geer has been saying for years, Microsoft has a bit of a problem.

If you fit Microsoft's somewhat convoluted definition of poor, it still wants to lock you in, you might get rich enough to afford the full-priced stuff someday.

Microsoft wants the poor guy-on-the-street-user to try the "free" ($3.00 USD) sample in the long range hope of addicting him. Then when the addict returns Microsoft will wring out the 'full-price' for the next fix.

Sadly the real poverty in this case is not strictly economic. Microsoft has built a culture of ignorance in the users of its products. Microsoft turns right around and plays off of this ignorance poverty to continue to enslave innocent every day folks.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

$0 is less than $3.

Sin-Yaw Wang of Sun Microsystems reminds us that $3 US is too much for good software.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Note to self: Don't do that again...

I had a craving, a need, for three of the four main food groups; salt, fat, sugar and chocolate. So I bought one of those "King Size SNICKERS" from the vending machine in the breakroom. (There are no real healthy snacks anywhere on site so us hunter-gatherers must resort to extreme measures.)

I knew when the BAR slipped from the spiral delivery system and BANGED in the bottom of the 'customer retrieval chute' that perhaps I was getting more than I bargained for. Lugging the thing back to my office I set it on the table behind me and I tried to ignore it. Alas, the allure was too great.

Peeling back the wrapper I took the first glorious bite. Chocolate, caramel, peanuts and nougat...ahhhhh. And then the torrid addiction kicked in... I just couldn't stop myself. Bite after BIG BITE until in a frenzy I had consumed the entire candy bar.

Hi, my name is Papa and I am a chocoholic...

And this bar would have fed a nomadic tribe of south american cocao growers for a week! It was HUGE! And is gone. The sugar buzz remains but the chocolate elation is just flowing away. I feel so dirty, so ... jones'd. So I just sit here and stare at the wrapper, wondering if perhaps there is just one more little chocolate crumble stuck in the folds.

Change. Spare change...can you spare a fellow the price of 'KingSizeSnickers'?

I must be ... BRILLIANT!

I stumbled across these words of wisdom from Doc Searls ...

Searls First LawThe more you know, the worse you look

... according to the law I must be well on my way to... looking really good?

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

A reverse survey meme sorta thing...

I asked Platicus over at Sandwich Flats to interview me with this 'reverse survey meme sorta thing...' So here are my answers to his 5 questions...

1. What is your favorite movie ?

The Samurai Trilogy is a film trilogy directed by Hiroshi Inagaki and starring Toshiro Mifune as Miyamoto Musashi and Koji Tsuruta as Sasaki Kojirō. The films are based on the novel by Eiji Yoshikawa, about the famous duellist and author of The Book of Five Rings.

2. What fictional character would you most like to
meet, and why ?

Lord Toranaga: Blackthorne is taken to Lord Toranaga, the daimyo in control of the territory in which Blackthorne and the Erasmus first landed. Toranaga quickly realizes that Blackthorne and his ship present a great opportunity; not only in his dealings with the Portuguese, but also in his struggle with his main rival, Lord Ishido, over future control of all of Japan.

Lord Toranaga is the ultimate Bad/Good guy. While maintaining absolute command he relinquishes control. He is self-effacing, offering to dance the 'barbarian' dance. He is as well versed in the arts of humanity as he is in the art of war. He is both sentimental and callused. He knows how to move the human pieces around the cosmic chess board without letting his opponent know his true intent.

3. Who is the funniest person you know ?

Robin Williams - Not for Mork or for most of his film work but rather for those few spontaneous sessions where he is able to draw upon his wealth of historical and literary knowledge. His ability to combine Shakespear-esque verbiage with gang-banging street yo's leaves me laughing to the edge of tears. (Special Note: Robin Williams must be acknowledged for his fearless comedic film work in The Birdcage.)

4. Do you believe in extra-terrestrial life ?

Yes, we puny humans cannot be the only sentient beings in the universe.

5. What is your ultimate meal ?

My wife's fresh-from-the-oven hand-made bread with a little butter, cool pure water and a sun warmed apricot picked fresh from my grandmother's orchard.

In considering this question I might have reflected on the many great meals that I have enjoyed at my grandmother's table, at my father's table and the many excellent restaurants that I have had the privilege of attending. While all were great meals in the context of this question they spoke to my appetite and not to my hunger. Were I truly hungry I would eat almost anything. Were I truly hungry and had a choice then I would want bread, water and fruit.

Here are the rules if you want to keep it going:

Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to
pick the questions.

You will update your weblog with the answers to the
questions.(And let me know that you answered) If you
don't have a blog, but would still like to play, I can
send you the questions, and you can answer 'em in the

You will include this explanation and an offer to
interview someone else in the same post.
When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will
ask them five questions.

WordFlashReader - NFTFOH*

Now that I am getting this laptop settled I am interested in re-acquiring some of my favorite applications. WordFlashReader (WFR) is high on my list.

WFR uses Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP <-- Classic geek joke, that.)

WFR represents, in my view, the perfect marriage of computer technology and human capabilities. Beginning in 1986 I complained that PCs were slow and incapable of meeting the demands placed upon them by their human owner/operators. Silly me, I expected multi-tasking from my 8088 based computer. (Anyone remember GeoWorks?)

WFR is actually a very simple program. It takes text files as input and presents them to the user one. word. at. a. time. at a variable speed which can be very FAST! One description of WFR suggests that it 'infuses' the words of the text directly into your brain.

It turns out that when I read using conventional methods I tend to do a lot of extraneous thinking at the same time. I am trying to cognitively 'understand' what the author is saying at the same time I am trying to input their written words. Often I am trying to relate what is happening in the story I am reading to what is or has happened in my life. Or I am projecting or 'second guessing' the story on a sentence by sentence basis. I end up trying to tell the story my way while I am reading the author's words.

As a point of reference I can still do a great deal of what I just said when WFR is presenting at 270 WPM (a little over 4 words per second.) This is a good speed to start with. It allows me to become focused. Once I begin to feel 'in the groove' I will begin to increase the speed to 329 or higher. It is at this speed that I become aware that I cannot 'afford' to divert my attention with extraneous cognitive thought processes. I am sure that this is roughly the same as other 'speedreading' techniques. Remove the noise from the information input process and let the brain run at its speed when acquiring data.

As a personal test I have set about 'reading' Emanual Kant's The Critique of Pure Reason. For the purposes of this test I am allowing WFR to present at 967 WPM. My intent is to simply have the entire work impressed or infused in my psyche. I do not actually expect to quote or even reflect on any given passage. Once this first 'read' is complete then I will run WFR at a slower speed. My hypothesis is that once I have it as a foundation at high speed I will be able to cognitively process it at a lower speed.

Side note: Ulysses by James Joyce is well suited to this 'streaming' in part I believe because of Joyce's stream-of-consciousness style.


Not For The Faint Of Heart

Don't get me wrong, I love PERL but... you have to really love PERL in order to get WFR running (under Linux).

. . .