Site Search


Thursday, 19 March 2009

Women bishops.

This is the final and last work-in-progress note and in fact signals literally my last ever post.

I fear to tread in an area that bares no relation on my life nor any member of my immediate family. Though in a way I suppose it does have as we have two children in a Catholic school. I am talking about religion.

Religion is one of those areas where, I believe, one either 'believes' or one does not. While I myself am a staunch atheist the older of our three boys is, at age 11, agnostic. Our middle boy has so far professed nothing on this matter and the youngest is too young to have any thoughts on the matter. My wife is of the same view as I whereas my first wife was a practicing catholic. My two boys from that first marriage have no strong views on the matter.

I have never forced my own views on my children believing they will come to a conclusion one way or the other via their own findings and whatever side they lean towards it will be with my complete and unfettered blessing. I have found during my almost 50 years of life that is it exactly that which those who steep themselves in religious theory  do not allow. That being those with opposing views. This is particularly true  within the catholic faith as I found out  when first meeting my now ex-wifes parents and again later when meeting her much more staunch beliving  grandparents. (No, that in and of itself had no bearing on the eventual outcome of that marriage).

But, I digress.

Once again in the news is the act of making women  bishops. With both sides of the debate giving up their reasons  as to why such a radical thing should or should not be allowed. Forget for now we are living through the 21st century and let us instead focus on some writings  written many centuries ago during a time when the female form was not in any way shape or form comparable to that of the male counterparts. Forget that thought as to my mind religion itself of any flavour has no part at all to play in the modern world but let us play along for the sake of debate.

It appears to me to be one sentence within their popular reading material known as the Bible that seems to have both sides at loggerheads. This being from I Timothy 2, 12: which says "I do not allow a woman to have authority over a man." Which some are saying trumps whatever good the ordinated  women  could possibly do. To my, admittedly closed, mind  that is as closed a mind as a  closed mind can be.

Why I don't play games.

This is another  work-in-progress note.

Especially, online games. Less especially all and any type of game. I  have never owned a console, unless one can include under that banner the Amiga CD32 in which case that is the only one I have ever owned and that was so long ago too. Never since that time, during the 1980's, have I bothered with any of the consoles since. Why? Simply put. I don't play games and haven't since I sold my last Amiga in 2001.

Some of my friends say that the reason I don't play games is because of my choice of OS but that is easily  disregarded as my chosen platform has enough games for anyone. Others  say it is because I am getting on in years but if that was the case how come some of them who are the same, or similar, age as I am still play games? A few say my arthritic hands are not condusive to playing games but my arthritis crept up on me so why did I abandon games in the intervening years?

The real reason I don't play games is that as far as I can see they are all very similar with very very few new ideas. Almost all games nowadays have very little by way of game play instead they have lots of pretty pictures and rolling landscapes and involve lots of shooting of in-game robots or other players. I used to play lots of games back when I had my Amiga's (1986 - 2001) and since that time while games have got bigger and bigger requiring evermore hard drive space they have not got any better, in fact in my opinion they have got worse, with the game play aspect.

New to games these days is the advertising within games. Online games especially  are inundated with advertising. This to me detracts from the over all gaming experience and does absolutely nothing for the game itself and even less for the player of.


This is another work-in-progress note.

The various governments of the so called Western world waffle on about  openness.

Some more than others but the general diatribe goes something like "One of the government's objectives is openness so that the people know what is going on and how we arrive at any given subject.". This means that what a given country's government do that directly or indirectly impact on the people they are supposedly representing will be done is a way that the people can see and what is happening regarding whatever it is that the governemt is concerned with or about. Now, I am very big on openness and open standards so I tend to try and keep up with such matters within my own  government and I urge you to do the same within your own as the definition of the word 'openness' is not what you think is it. This is especially true when defined by our governments.

A perfect example of this is with Internet blocklists. Blocklists are URL's that the are blocked by ISP's. In England this list is edited and held by a none government organisation called the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). Anyone can send these none official people a URL that they find objectionable. This  request is then scrutinised and if found to hit some hidden definition it is then added to the blocklist which is then picked up by the various ISP's operating within the U.K. Not such a bad thing you may think and it would not be except for two things.

One) The IWF is not a government department. It consists of ordinary people who supposedly make decisions on what is and what is not a naughty URL based on both  what they have on their web site and also the personal tastes of the individual which cannot be avoided.

Two)  The blocklist created, edited and  held by the IWF cannot be seen by anyone outside of the ISP's administrators and those within the IWF itself. It is a hidden list of URL's that holds who knows what.

The first thing mentioned is not so bad until one thinks about it.

Program comparisons.

This is another of my work-in-progress notes.

Being an old Amiga head who now uses a Linux based operating system I can directly compare programs that where available for that most excellent operating system Amiga OS/Workbench and what comparatively is available for a Linux based operating system.

Sure, the Amiga OS programs would in most cases lack the sophistication of there Linux based alternatives but there are some  significant comparisons to be made and in some cases the AmigaOS programs come out on top as being the better program.

One area the Amiga OS programs come out on top is to do with sound. The Amiga had its own internal DSP, primitive as it was, it was, and still is, a powerful chip. This is one area that lets a Linux based OS down even though such powerful add-in cards as a Creative XFI can be added to the mix it is software, both drivers and audio programs where it is let down. On a Linux based OS there is a plethora of sound daemons. ALSA, OSS, Pulse Audio are the main ones then there is KDE's own ArtS and GNOME's own ESD. For my XFI sound card, at this time, OSS (via 4Front) is the only one that works with it. There  were no such issues on the Amiga as the OS itself took care of the details while programs such as the excellent OctoMED  took care of production.

Back when the Amiga was top dog of the computing world, certainly true for those of us who where more technology minded than the rest, we had powerful programs such as OctoMED to drive our audio bent. A comparison can be made between it and  such as Audacity and Ardour for a Linux based OS but they pale into insignificance to the power and ease of use OctoMED gave the user. Of course there where many other audio programs available for Amiga OS but OctoMED was the defacto standard on Amiga and rightly so.

The Amiga OS's Workbench, its GUI (Graphical User Interface), was another area where the Amiga shone. No other GUI for any platform has come close to the blazing speed it had nor its intuitive ease of use. Well, perhaps the ease of use cannot be used as something the Amiga excelled at as most GUI's created since those days follow on, or are catching up to, the Workbench in the ease of use area. But, the one thing that really made the Amiga shine was its pull down screens. One has to see it in operation to fully appreciate what pull down screens means as no GUI since the Amiga has done it as far as I am aware. We Linux based OS users have a desktop shell called by many names, KDE, GNOME, XFCE4,LXDE are just a few. We also have Desktop Managers that aid in the look and feel of the desktop. These types do not have the plethora of programs the full DTE's (DeskTop Environment) have.

At the end of the day I was and still am an Amiga Head so my view of that operating system may be slightly slewed but if it is then so be it. I will say it again. No operating system from the Microsoft world, the Linux based world or the Unix based world or even lesser know ones like the QNX desktop or BeOS. Of all those QNX comes the closest but even that one fails in some areas when ut up against the AmigaOS.

Windows V Linux

As I am stopping doing this I have decided to publish some work-in-progress notes. This being one of them.

I have seen Microsoft Windows 7, as it is currently dubbed, the other day as I installed in in a VM. What I saw did nothing for me that my operating system choice already does in a better way with less resources and has done for at least 2 years or more.

The Linux based platform has come a long long way since it first appeared. The kernel is now more robust than it ever was and the desktop much more user-freindly. The whole experience is quite simply much better than it was only a year or two ago.

I install many operating systems for people I know and for people of people I know who I don't know but now do and many friends and friends of friends etc. Then there are the installs for family added to the mix. Some have a preference for Microsoft  while some prefer a Linux distribution, others ask for a dual boot setup so they "can test the waters". What they mostly all want is something  "that just works for what I need to do" on the system they have and a Linux distribution fits that bill perfectly in 99% of cases.

In years gone by getting a Linux based operating system to play nice with some of the more estoic hardware available could be a challenge but as more and more hardware companies move away from proprietory software standards to a more open standards world this challenge has been almost eradicated. There still remains a stubborn pocket of hardware makers that are going against the flow but as more and more machines are installed with a Linux based operating system they will eventually wither and die away or join the growing band of hardware makers previous mentioned. Installing a Linux based operating system now is as easy, if not easier, than installing a Microsoft created operating system.

Microsoft still hold the top spot in users of their creations but not because of any other reason than they buy their way onto machines sold, thereby creating a false sense of people bying their flagship software operating system. Some call this the "Microsoft Tax". Myself just finds in an annoyance that is swiftly eradicated and replaced by something I call much better but that fact, of course, does not suit everybody and I now appreciate that fact. Another fact I now appreciate is that not everyone wants to rely on someone else to keep their machines running. Microsoft Windows, of any flavour, and a Linux distribution both need someone that knows what they are doing to help them get to grips with the operating system installed be it a Linux based one or a Microsoft based one. What I find now is more people want to become more self reliant in this area. Of course, there are, and probably always will be, some who cannot survive their operating system usage without someone  else who knows what is what and why something happens when it should not.

A Linux based operating system now can be set up in such a way as to keep both sides happy and in some cases can be setup so that it can automatically do everything itself, save for those who are most likely and determined to kill whatever is in front of them on their monitors

If you run a Microsoft based operating system or a Linux based operating system both have the option of running another operting system within their chosen one. These are called Virtual Managers. So. There is a way to run the opposite without the need of a dual boot setup or removing the installed operating system.

So, go on. If you run a Microsoft operating system or a Linux based operating system give the opposite one a go. There is now nothing stopping you installing one of the mainstream Linux based distributions, but remember it is not anything like MS Windows so all the brain washing that that has given you is useless. It is a new and slightly different way to get the same things done. As long as you remember that basic thing then you will enjoy the freedom it offers you.

The major difference between the two option is that of cost. Most Linux based distributions are free while all of Microsoft flavours cost anywhere between 80UKP and 400UKP. If cost bothers you then there can only be one choice. Go for it.

This happens in life.

Bye bye.

I have enjoyed the experience but I can no longer be bothered. Replies are all but none existent and the emails that where coming thick and fast have all but died off.

This says to me that people are not interested in my ranting or observations so it seems the best thing to do is to go away and do something else which I surely will and am doing. I fully understand and have no animosity towards anyone for failing to amuse and/or entertain.

Actually, I feel like Microsoft may be feeling. That is it has been good but losing traction is not an option. Unlike Microsoft however, I an quiting while there is still a little interest. Microsoft on the other hand will flounder and splutter and eventually die away, a sad lonely business that once ruled the world.

Whatever, thanks for all the fish and goodbye.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

It is getting worse.

It is getting worse and with more and more MS Windows users taking up some flavour of a Linux distribution, usually one of the Ubuntu flavour, we are seeing more and more top posting in the Linux Usenet groups. If you are nterested in checking my statement then just take a look at the last few days in alt.os.linux.ubuntu (Google groups didn't used to take this particular group but I think recently they started taking it).

Things are made worse by google groups as those using it see that the text they are replying to is below where the cursor starts. They  see this and immediately start writing which is exactly how MS Outlook (and MS derivative of) does it without the quotefix patch that forces MS Outlook to do things properly by putting the cursor after the replied to text.

For us old time stalwarts of Usenet there is nothing worse than top posting. Nowadays, those using google groups to post to Usenet suffer the same fate as those top posters.

Google does not care one bit about such things. Many, including myself, have complained time and time again about how they are doing it but thus far we have all been ignored and it is not google themselves who suffer is it those using their services. Many thousands of long time Usenet users, like myself, simply block (commonly known as plonking) ALL google groups using post irregardless of what that post is about and irregarless of who posted it. Of course, there are some using google groups who post properly but because of the blanket googlegroups plonk many are doing those who try to do things correctly are caught in the dragnet.

Those using MS Outlook, and derivatives of it, and not using the quotefix patch mentioned above are also automatically put in the SHUT YA FACE bin.

Myself and many other long time Usenet using people use proper news readers that do things correctly and have thousands of options to cover every possible need when using Usenet so setting up blanket plonk rules is simple. Remember this, in abstract terms if you top post you score 9999 on the scale (0 - 10000). If you are using google groups you score 9999. If you use google groups and top post you score the full 10000. Both those scores of 9999 and 10000 mean PLONK. I and many others will never see what you post to Usenet.

Now you are aware consider what you are doing and correct your actions. Who knows, if you do that you may just find your way out of many peoples bozo bins. Maybe. Then again, maybe it is too late and no matter whether you correct your actions or not you will forever remain in that bozo bin.

For many of us Usenet died a long time ago when MS operating systems (OS) became the dominant desktop OS and those using it started their top posting habits. We still use it but the shine has rubbed of it. Now google with their google groups have infiltrated Usenet and brought along with it more top posing fools this made Usenet a dull place to visit. The blame lays firmly with possibly the two biggest companies on this earth.