2015 — 9 April: Thursday

The dawn chorus is chirping away out there while I sit, sup, and chip away (at Linux) in here. A nice symmetry, somehow. Not that I can hear too well over the Brahms banging slightly tediously away from a 2003 Prom. I'm still glowing with last night's successful partition resizing and the establishment of a /swap space1 on a separate physical device from the rest of the OS. Just setting it up and watching it become active while still running the system is quite enough. Can't imagine doing that under Windows, somehow.

All the time...

... I was reading this piece I kept thinking about the ghastly behaviour on display throughout the film "Swimming with sharks". Your inner mileage may vary. It occurs to me — but only in my seventh decade! — that only the children of the already-privileged can actually 'afford' to work as interns as they help perpetuate the cycle of class privilege. And network away among the so-called elite.

My assumption that I didn't need conventional career guidance betrayed a privilege I was as yet unaware of. Though I wasn't able to articulate it as such at the time, I believed that the creative class was immune to professional plotting and monetary concerns — that if I just worked hard enough on my essays and articles, I'd make enough money later in life, doing interesting work. I was the first in my family to attend a four-year college, and needless to say, I was very naïve.

Francesca Mari in Dissent

The job ad from the secretive billionaire amused me, too. I realise Michael Young's 1958 "Rise of the meritocracy" was originally intended as a satire (not unlike the Stephen Potter Lifemanship books), but just look at UK and US society now, heh? For example: I was blissfully unaware of "Know your meme" and feel little the wiser (or even better-informed) for my brief visit. But the clever illustration by Tomasz Walenta...


... at the top of the article that led me there struck me as much smarter than anything I actually found there. [10-minute Pause] It's been a while, but the "gearhead" chap2 (Matthew Crawford) is back with a new book, it seems. That's going on my mental "look out for" list. (Link.)

Oh, good grief!

Quis custodes custodiet?

In what must surely rank as the most predictable complication in history — though it still apparently took the agency by surprise — it turned out a substantial quantity (up to 11%) of what it was intercepting were pornographic pictures. GCHQ did attempt to add some automated filters to protect its staff from seeing too much adult content, but noted there was "no perfect ability" to do this.

James Ball in Grauniad

How true

I had many a discussion with Christa over 33 years on various aspects of translation:

If the person translating the manual to your new computer has never brought a computer online, you're likely to know. Ikea, the Swedish housewares firm that has elevated production efficiency to a core part of its corporate ethos, has almost entirely eliminated the need to retranslate its manuals by rendering most assembly instructions as illustrations. But as anyone who has assembled Ikea furniture is aware, even this form of translation is not without ambiguity, confusion and smashed particleboard.

Benjamin Paloff in The Nation

I can comfortably recycle my observation from five years ago:

I note the political bickering is already at high volume. Aah, the unedifying spectacle of the momentarily powerless clawing over one another to persuade us to plug them back into their dealer for their next five-year "fix". Madness.


I had to switch off the kitchen windowsill radio (tuned permanently to BBC Radio 4) while dicing a spot of fruit. The knife is too sharp.

I keep hoping...

... Mr Postie will deliver my summons to the Probate Court but all he seems able to manage are bills and bumph.

This doesn't...

... surprise me, but nor does it make me feel proud of our financial community. Non-doms do exactly what good for the UK? (Link.)

Two afternoon...

... cups of tea across the village bring me to a little after 18:35 and knowledge of two new magic spells. The first is the one I need (when invoked in a terminal) to reveal the UUID 'code' that identifies my new /swap partition and specify precisely which SSD it's mounted on:

cd /dev/disk/by-uuid
/dev/disk/by-uuid $ ls -l

The "answer" is now plumbed safely into /etc/fstab

Spell #2 is exactly how to block the damnably frequent junk calls coming in on my smartphone. Not that I ever answer them. If my network supplier knew how ticked off these make me, they would probably be stopped in any case. I do not live my Life on my smartphone.



1  Not that I'm aware that any swapping has actually ever occurred during any of the varied — often brutally truncated — incarnations of Linux on BlackBeast Mk III in the past several weeks. But then that's not the point, really, is it? :-)
2  It actually took less than ten minutes to find my first mention of him... and about nine of them were spent first re-installing the frighteningly-useful "Recoll" application (approx 30 seconds) and then simply letting it loose to index everything it could find in my /home folder. It found four ¬blog mentions of Crawford, and today's web piece from the Chronicle tucked away in a Firefox browser session-restore space somewhere.