2016 — 2 September: Friday

Today's planned (so far) adventure comes in two parts.1 I need to see if I can persuade the All-in-one PC that Iris uses to accept its Win 10 "Anniversary update" without turning into a brick. And my Plan B consists of a USB stick with Linux Mint 18 MATE on it ("just in case"). We live in Interesting Times. Or do I mean "End Days"?

This morning's cuppa was actually last night's, as discovered in the microwave and promptly re-zapped. Not as nice as fresh, but why waste it? It accompanied the NYT obit of Antony Jay that Carol sent me in only slightly-mangled PDF form. Oh, the perils of using Windows... Why do people do it?

There's an...

... interestingly-close reading of "Hamlet" (and the question of "young Hamlet's" precise age) that confirms I am nowhere near as obsessive as some misguided folk appear to believe. (Link.)

And an equally thoughtful piece on "Instagram", whose stats are more than slightly mad. Much like Hamlet, in fact. (Link.)

Meanwhile, the Washington Post has caught up with Tom Wolfe's 'attack' on Chomsky. Sigh. Actually, a close reading of their URL is probably enough! (Link.)

Did you know...

... the price of shipping a (presumably 40-foot) container from China to the East Coast of the US jumped from $1,700 to $2,400 in one day yesterday? I didn't. Does this mean Xmas is cancelled, I wonder? One can live in hope. (Link.)

A successful...

... early-morning assault on the uncrowded aisles and packed shelves of Waitrose, and I have an elegant sufficiency of tasty, fresh comestibles to see me through the weekend. Roll on, pension!

[Long pause]

I like to think...

... I'm reasonably agnostic in many2 ways. But there are limits, as I discovered earlier today. Consider one's home computing arrangements.

Now, I have used — and made a perfectly adequate 'living' from — computers, one way or another, continuously since the early 1970s. I have tried, at various times, mainframes, minis, PCs, laptops, tablets. I have used, abused, and been abused by, quite a variety of operating systems. I've programmed in half a dozen different languages, two not that far above "the metal". I've also written all sorts of training and reference material. And, in retirement, I am now perfectly content to trade gentle blows with Linux.

I am mighty glad not ever to have had to use Windows 10. In fact, I wouldn't now use it if you gave it away. Or even if you paid me.

Quite why so much of its function is dispersed in quite so many locations, with so many different interfaces, and described (if at all) ambiguously, and quite why it is so well-obfuscated rather blows my mind. The forgive-the-noun "system" that Iris uses is not yet forgive-the-verb "upgraded" to this Anniversary edition. It does appear to be working. It had managed not to write any of its File History3 to the locally-attached external backup drive since February last year. It claimed to be unable to recognise the drive, while simultaneously being perfectly happy to have it named as the target drive for File History, to show its contents in the File Explorer, and to be able to read files from, and write files to, it.

Her PC is (or claims to be) fully updated. It does not appear to have any current gripes. (I was half-hoping it might spectacularly crash and burn to give me a reasonable excuse for installing Linux.) But all it did was take absolutely ages to do whatever the heck it was doing while spinning its little 'hourglass' icon, all the while signally failing to bother to tell me what was going on. The productivity penalty is frightful. And, with some 85% or 90% of the global desktop market, too horrid to contemplate.

It reminded me of Tom Keefer's description, to Willie Keith, in "The 'Caine' Mutiny", of the U.S. Navy as being "a system designed by geniuses, for execution by idiots". Or, perhaps more kindly, of Antony Jay's description of a BBC problem that had what the Caliph in Hassan called "the monstrous beauty of the hindquarters of an Elephant".

Oh my!

Such a lot to learn. So little time. (Link.)

Making its...

... (display) screen début is my first Kodi SQLite-generated consolidated list of both Films and TV Shows, sorted simply by "title". Film titles all link to the corresponding IMDB entries. Still pondering what to do about linking TV Show titles...

A deep Tip of the Hat to Brian's Python-charming skills. Not all the prices shown are currently accurate. That, and indeed all other little data errors, are entirely down to me at the moment.

In other news, I've just learned that Junior and his g/f are off to Italy tomorrow. I wonder if they're coming back at all?


1  And may even include a walk and/or a Free Lunch!
2  I don't mind what other people believe in, vote for, pray to, have sex with, think about, eat, drink, watch, listen to, or read... providing only that I am free to believe in, etc etc the things I choose without interference from other people. It's not that I don't care. I do. And I certainly have my own opinions, make my own judgements about, and at times derive much "innocent merriment" from, others' choices. Basically, I think adults should (as it were) be free to make their own way though Life.
3  Having successfully scared Iris into exercising a much more effective backup regimen than I use myself, I was able to confirm that she's at no current risk of losing any of her user data. And is, indeed, as fully prepared for data catastrophe as one generally can be.