Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

k3b has too much spunk

I just ripped parts from another DVD for work for academic purposes (interesting eye candy so subjects don't fall asleep while the initial MRI scans get their brain structure before we get to the fMRI part). k3b is a reasonably cool DVD burner, but I forgot to plug my earphones in, and was surprised, when I initially attempted to burn and things didn't go quite correctly, to hear it make a "wa-wa-wah-waaaah" sound. Later, with earphones in, when it finished burning (my having corrected the settings this time), it played one of those happy trombone tunes when it finished burning. It was cute, but way over the top.

Something appears to be odd with the RPM of Windowmaker on FC4/amd64 -- I've noticed very odd, antisocial behaviour of some software under it. First, Firefox only starts up correctly about half the time (the rest of the time, I don't get a window but it keeps running, and according to my logs, it fetches all the RSS feeds I'm subscribed to, and according to xlsclients, it does have an open channel to the X server). This is frustrating -- I can start the profile manager 100% reliably, but have the joy of repetatively doing "killall firefox firefox-bin" and then double clicking on the firefox icon until it manages to reliably start up. It does NOT show up in the window list. Secondly, KDE applications have almost all their new windows show up off the screen, and I need to use keyboard tricks to retrieve each and every one of them. I suspect these are symtoms of WindowMaker being b0rked. I will probably recompile Windowmaker sometime in the next few days.

I believe that, despite the (somewhat) broader nature of people involved in administration of Wikipedia, there are only about 20 people that are considered big personalities who make things happen and take initiative. In the rare circumstance that those 20ish people are unable to do something because of conflict of interest or those that remain are otherwise busy, it is very hard for things to get done. If we add in other major, known personalities, we find that Wikipedia has about 50 big names.

The weather has achieved enough coldness that I now sometimes take the bus to work rather than walk.

I think about the pace of technology and how it affects social change, and think we're piling massive change on top of massive changes to our very being as social animals. Important technology changes how people communicate (and in earlier times, moved around to communicate) -- the flow of information is closely related. We see at least the following as massive restructuring:

  • Establishment of roads and advanced horse buggies, because they shrink the distance involved in visiting people and migration of peoples
  • Telegraph, because it gave us our first near-instantaneous communications media, inconvenient as it was by modern standards
  • Telephone, offering the telegraph with a media type that hooks into our instinct to communication in a fashion
  • Large bulletin boards (think prodigy or AOL, both pre-internet)/Commodity internet, for providing the first channels that were also suddenly environments, with data of their own. These data objects let people communicate in new ways, drawing on metaphors of real-world objects that people use to store information and use it as props to communicate
  • Instant messaging and phone TXTing, for bringing low-bandwidth, better-managed communication between people
A lot of these things are only separate because of trivialities of how the technology works -- IMs and TXTs are conceptually almost identical, they just use a different media (and they are coming together as cellphones become computers). There are only a few natural types of different communication, distinguished by urgency of reply, realtime versus delayed, and a few other factors. I find myself stretching my creativity trying to imagine what might be next on this front. I imagine people may eventually have devices with very thin interfaces that allow people to communicate without the need for bulky equipment. I recall, for example, that Hellen Keller, being both blind and deaf, communicated with people by tactile exchange on the hand. It may not be too difficult to devise a glove that could deliver similar stimuli to people, and have them use a twiddler type interface (which the glove would read) to send data the other way. One of the things the cyber movement has shown us is that the majority of people don't like devices that look excessively geeky on their person. To move around people are willing to use cars, but people are more willing to admit and make concessions to bare survival (moving about) than to social urges (considerably less concrete).
Tags: wikipedia

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