Tom Pittman's WebLog

Earlier this year

2017 September 8 -- Summer Videos

Y'all know I spent four weeks in Portland this summer mentoring some high school kids in a summer day-camp, the NWAPW Year 2 (see comments here and earlier). The director had a couple videos made of the process. The first one is a short promo, with work scenes taken from the two groups, both the Design group I led, and also the Neural Nets (NN) group who met next door and didn't finish. The voice-over is narrated by one of the NN participants, and I think he makes that group sound better than real life. Whatever. Anyway, that's this flick:

The second video is some 40 minutes, pretty much the entire presentation the kids gave on the last day. It gives you a feel for the quality of work the respective groups did. My group presented first, then the NN group, followed by the director giving acknowledgements and urging donations, starting about 30 minutes in. I thought the actual meeting went a whole hour, so maybe they edited out parts:

I'm somewhat iconophobic, so I tried to stay away from the front of his camera, but that was not always possible. It looks like he edited out all those pieces, because I didn't see myself in here at all. Except for the director's wrap-up at the end, and a brief shot of some of the teaching assistants sitting against the back wall before the presentation started, the staff are not shown at all: this is about the kids, not us.

2017 September 4 -- Entropy, aka The Fall

It's Labor Day, and I'm not feeling very laborious today -- OSX is sooo broken. Maybe tomorrow...

In the early 1980s Steve Jobs was a visionary. He saw the future of desktop computers in a think tank run by Xerox, and he went back to Apple and made it happen. In the words of the famous 1984 SuperBowl commercial, "1984 won't be like 1984."

Like all visionaries, his ideas didn't sit well with the board of directors responsible for the company he founded, so he got pushed out. Like all visionaries, his ideas were better than anything they could replace him with, so they brought him back. Unfortunately, he had moved on from the brilliant OS he had created for the Mac: it was Apple proprietary, so he couldn't take it with him when he left, and the people he recruited to rebuild his vision were "unixies" (college fresh-outs, where they are drilled with unix, the only OS available in source code for university students to study and therefor become attached to), so his replacement was unix. By the time Steve Jobs came back to Apple, prior Apple management had brought in people who did not understand the MacOS and made a mess of it. Rather than fix it, Jobs sold the Apple management on discarding their "aging" 17-year-old 3rd-generation OS (see the introduction to my "Blueprint for a 21st Century Operating System") and replacing it with a "modern" 34-year-old 2nd-generation dinosaur with a thick layer of whitewash, which they now call "OSX" (as in Old, Stupid, former = "eX"). With Jobs no longer at the helm, Apple's OSX is now going backward even faster than when he brought in his team of eunuchs.

A recent item in the dead-tree magazine I read for news (no link: they need to monetize their on-line content, which means I cannot give you a working link to it; maybe that makes sense to their bean counters, but not to me) pointed out the recent discrepancies between the left-wing-bigot (my term, not theirs) management policies of high-tech companies like Apple for USA government, compared to the same policies applied to oppressive regimes like China. Apple refused to comply with American government requests to access the data in a dead criminal's iPhone citing "privacy" but (after Jobs is gone) they had no hesitation complying with China's requests to stop distributing privacy-enabling apps in the China market.

In the same article, Google's erstwhile famous motto "Don't be evil" was dropped from the new parent corporation. Although it is claimed elsewhere that subsidiaries like the namesake search engine business are free to (and in Google's case, did) retain the motto, the corporate policy obviously has a negative effect on compliance (see "Google Knows Nothing" last month).

I shouldn't be surprised, a wise guru long ago said "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked." We in the USA enjoyed a couple hundred years of respite from the cognitive effects of that evil, but as the religious source of our prosperity is pushed out of the public life, its benefits also will disappear. A couple weeks ago I was reading a novel set in, and exposing the utter corruption of, India (see "It's a Mystery to Me") and I noted that our own future is every bit as dismal: I called it "entropy." Everything goes downhill, only God can push things up away from doom. I read the last chapter of the Book, and He does and will do that -- but the USA is not part of the solution. Repent!

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