Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn
dachte

Practical Immortality

This has been a difficult week for me. I'm kind of weirded out that my body can take so much abuse (of this and other kinds) and it springs right back up - if it wern't for my frequent migraines and heart condition, I'd practically be a model of that part of being healthy that isn't tied to being particularly athletic - I never get sick, injuries don't seem to last, etc. Hmm. I don't know if the coming weeks will be any easier though. As Arthur Dent says to Slartibartfast, I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle.

Joe Born (of Neuros Technology) does a bit of self-reporting on Slashdot (currently a non-frontpaged story), which seems a bit prima facae questionable to me, but he does ask an interesting question - could the industry develop Linux distros for appliances? You can see my initial chewing on the idea there (my Slashdot ID is Improv). On some level, it's very surprising that the PC ended up as an open platform - if it had not grown out of hobbyist routes, I imagine it probably would not have been open and may not have developed as quickly - if we imagine the old IBM running it as they big iron, thinking strategically to protect their profits, it would not have made sense to let other people write software freely on it (just as Nintendo sued the hell out of anyone who wrote unlicensed software for the NES8 and that kind of behaviour carries on today). Neuros is an outgrowth of the Linux community - if it and other potential applicants are to have a chance against Apple (and other companies, like Amazon and Google that may enter relevant markets through some angle), there's a lot of work to do.

I read the current copy of Akhbar (if I remember my Arabic correctly, "Greatness"), CMU's newsletter/promotional on their campus in Qatar (not to be confused with "Al Akhbar", a reasonably good Lebanese/Syrian newspaper, or any of the other newspapers with similar name). I've generally reacted with a mix of interest, pleasure, and mild horror to new issues of this - apart from questions as to whether CMU's presence there is a positive thing or not (given widespread racism in gulf societies, effective slavery of Indians and fervor against Jews, and laws that are very illiberal.. trading that for the chance to have a voice on these issues), I dislike that the Tepper school of Business is present and pushing the importance of making profit in their society. Aiming for reasonable efficiency and improvement in infrastructure is itself important and we can see some similarity of practice/goals between that and encouraging greed, but the slant of the newsletter suggests, at least to me, that CMU is also directly encouraging mostly negative trends like entepreneurism (I realise though that CMU is kind of openly a partly corporate University with its academic focus and greatness on the wane though, so this is just unfortunate, not really a betrayal - in a more ideal world though, Universities wouldn't have the kinds of enganglement with business and pushing for profit that we're seeing increasingly today). Oh well, at least CMU doesn't yet have a school of Marketing (one of the very worst of fields of study, imo, being directly and irredeemably unethical). It's neat learning about the cultural exchanges through the magazine though, and I'm still amused (although no longer surprised) on some level how most of the Arabs there look solidly ethnically Jewish.

Unlike most wikipedia articles, the article on Newspapers is quite decent. Particularly interesting is coverage of Yellow Journalism/Infotainment and questions on the future of newspapers - reminds me of talks with librarians in the past on whether libraries have a future given rapid changes in technology relating to information. At the time, I wondered if the role of "predigester of knowledge" would continue on after the need to caretake the physical medium is handed off to the geeks. Librarians only had that as a side-task though, I think. The borders and definitions of jobs are often surprisingly arbitrary though - sometimes this is for the better though - if we had to justify every hour from a strictly business perspective, I suspect that a lot of good practice in many industries would not continue.

P.S. Dear Linux distro people, I find it incredibly creepy when things that have not worked for a very long time to the extent that I forget they're even there suddenly start to work due to a routine weekly system update. My laptop has recently learned both how to sleep and use 32-bit firefox plugins from 64-bit firefox this way. Cool, but creepy.

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  • Typing in Colours

    (Cross-posted to G+, but it's more of a definitive statement of views so it goes here too) A recent instance of 「Wasted Talent」: here I'm not…

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    This is meant to address three ideas: Don't blame the victim If you care for me, you'd support me unconditionally Safe zonesAnd to be a topic in…

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