Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Deep ponder

It says a lot about modern computer hardware that despite my being loggedin and doing work, the time-to-complete a long-running computational taskis not significantly affected. I guess Unix makes this kind of calculationmore visible -- it's possible to tell, with any long-running process, howmany dedicated units of time, added up into one number, the process has used.In times past, merely being logged in and doing things in X would usesignificant CPU time (perhaps 40% or more). Now, unless I start up Openofficeor am doing something really complex with Mozilla, I don't often see theinteractive part of my dealings with the CPU go above 2%, despite almostalways playing music and flipping between a number of virtual workspacesevery so often. So much power... and only the smallest sliver of it isneeded to send tchaikovsky to my ears.

For some odd reason, I'm reminded of my first job, where they used some of themost irritatingly bad software possible to manage email and contact information.When I left MacLeod and Associates, it was a major pain to arrange to bring myemail with me I suspect that, unless they're reading this (Hi Mitch MacLeod!),they still don't know I brought it with me, and, like the information packratI am, I have every mail that involved me from those times, indeed every emailthat I've ever wanted to keep since the early 90s (and a few from the 80s, butthings were kind of spotty there). We do seem, over the span of the day of acomputer, to have incredible amounts of power at our hands.. and use but thesmallest fraction of it.. computers sit unused for the majority of their lives..Programmers almost never do productive things with that time.. always focusingon the immediate demands, and demanding more from the hardware to fund theirwaste. In life, while we may occasionally need to use direct, focused action todo what we want, we can often do other kinds of things better by tacking onsmall things that add up, to existing tasks, or to adjust natural processesto slowly meet our needs, and saving acive effort for other things. Considerdesigning explosives to create the Grand Canyon versus redirecting a river todo it. The power is adequate, we just think of the problem in a limited way..We insist on things NOW, EXACTLY how we want them, and thus find misery.Hmm.. I seem to have some topic drift.


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