Category Archives: Technology

I’m forsaking technology

This morning I woke up, and I decided to play minecraft on my laptop.

And in doing so I realized that really, truly, I hate the shit out of technology. Not because it glitches and fucks up, but because it does so in ways that should be reserved for the ironic punishments of hell.

I’m pretty good with technology. It hates me with a passion though, meaning that I have a hilariously horrible streak of always buying defective technology. My computer now came with a video card that melted the instant I used it, which was replaced with another, higher end fucked up video card that gave me a nigh unfixable error message that didn’t even give you clues to what was wrong and was only fixed after years and months of hell, and even now, it still just doesn’t work the way that a high end desktop that’s been majorly fixed twice (okay, a lot more than twice) should work.

As in, I have an annoying laptop that just… it was an impulse buy, a rebound after my one and only love in all of technology, an eee pc, died because even though it was the greatest little computer I’d ever known, I bought the one out of fuck who knows how many that had a defective, computer-melting battery. Anyways, this laptop, with a video card I’d never even heard of and 4gb of ram that I think I bought from walmart still for more money than it was ever worth, runs minecraft better than my desktop.

 

Or so I thought. Because after fixing a  few easy problems- which I’m good at doing- and almost getting minecraft to work perfectly… “Display driver stopped responding and has recovered”

That error message being the same one that plagued my desktop for years, refusing to yield to any fix thrown at it until some obscure fix was found somewhere that I don’t remember.

 

And I looked at my now frozen minecraft, and my perfectly normal looking task manager that indicated no errors, and with complete serenity thought “Fuck this.”

 

And yes, I mostly meant “fuck trying to run minecraft on this rebound computer, I hate you laptop.” But, deep inside, I also meant “really, fuck technology.”

 

Because, really, fuck  technology. I’ve wanted to pursue it as a career for so long and it baffles me now to think why. Except, I know why. Because I’m good at it. Not with it, no, because I have a horrible reverse midas touch. But I can pick up programming languages really quickly, and I know quite well how to troubleshoot problems and work out solutions to things. I make ridiculous stuff out of redstone on minecraft, using logic gates and memory cells and all kind of ridiculous nonsense. Math and science have always been my strong points. I’ve got all the requirements to be an engineer or a programmer.

Except any joy or passion towards the field.  Yes, I do like robotics, and I do like it when programs work out and when I can create interesting things. But I also have this fear that some day I would perfect a robot with completely human intelligence, and mid-sentence it would stop and stare and I would look into its eyes and there would be a message saying “display driver has stopped and has recovered.” And then I would just stop right there too and curl up and cry. Forever.

 

And then there’s something else that I’m good at, that doesn’t hate me with a passion or make me loathe it, and that’s art. I actually enjoy making art, and it never gives me display driver errors. In fact, art almost never gives you random errors with no clear cause. I even have an actual passion for it- I’ve spent a full day, from 9am to 6:30pm in a metal workshop, just working endlessly on a project and only going home because the open lab was closed. I can actually have a desire to pick up crocheting or spinning, and I’ll actually start up new drawings for no reason other than being bored. If I start working on electronics or programming, I’m either bored or manic at 3 in the morning, or guilty about not working on it more. Mostly the latter.

And here’s another thing with art that technology utterly fails at; There’s actually smooth progression with art, where you can look at the drawings someone, [i]anyone[/i] made when they were two and when they’re 20 and there will be improvement, even if it’s slight. Things start shitty and progressively get better, with actually improvement always being made. Yes, shit can hit the fan art-wise, but that usually happens in the beginning and as time passing the fan has less and less shit and some day you might check out the fan and there isn’t any shit to be seen, just beautiful glistening fan. With technology, you start off with that beautiful fan and it slowly transmutes into shit. It doesn’t even bother to be hit with it. Sometimes it isn’t even slow, sometimes you go straight from beautiful and new to utter shit overnight and nothing can tell you why. I can’t say I’ve ever suddenly start trying to draw or crochet and I forgot how to move my hands overnight.

 

Of course, actual careers in art aren’t anywhere near as well paying or readily available as those in engineering or technology. Those fields have plenty of open positions that are high paying… but the same can be said of, say, prostitution or organ selling. And I’m relatively sure there’s less sexism in both of those combined than there is in engineering. Not that I’ve got anything against people who want to do any three of those things, I just feel like reserving my right to not be in a career that makes me want to cry all the time, or that is prostitution or black market organ trades.

And yes, it’s possible to keep art as a hobby and have a sad, life-hatey job like everyone else besides artists do apparently. But I can also have a career that makes me happy and a hobby that’s annoying that I can do when it isn’t annoying. Because if I actually got the one technology career I want, dealing in robotics, I would actually be more of a danger for suddenly turning on everyone and going berserk and killing everything than anything I make.

Oh, Jon.

So I’m trying to fall asleep listening to Jon Stewart again, and what does he do?

He invites someone who wrote a book on ‘Anonymous’  to talk about… Anonymous.

Oh, Jon. Fool.

It still boggles my mind to think that people actually believe that the phenomenon of high school/college age kids fucking around on the internet warrants… much of anything, really. Not books, not fear, not attention. Please, stop giving them attention.

Oh, and taking them seriously.

Here’s the clip that I’m talking about:

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-june-18-2012/parmy-olson

It starts out with Jon mentioning Anonymous bored teenagers on 4chan wanting to ruin the author’s life. Now, I’ll concede that it’s very likely that someone heard about the book and started a thread about it, and then a couple dozen self-righteous manchildren attempted to absolutely destroy her with their usual methods of ordering pizzas to her address while wearing Guy Fawkes masks before  getting scared and hiding under their beds from the federal raid that was surely incoming to quell their terrorist activities.

But, y’know, that’s the extent. This woman isn’t in danger of anything that can’t be accomplished through ordering things to people’s addresses. Unless she’s deathly allergic to free mormon bibles, she can sleep easy.

The author then goes on to discuss her research- namely, how she contacted a “representitive” of the “network” to speak to a “UK representative” who was a “senior member” of anonymous.

For the uninitiated, that last sentence is actually just utter bullshit. ‘Anonymous’ does not have representatives, nor is it a network, and a person who is from the UK and considers themselves a member of anonymous  is not a “UK representative” any more than me getting a house in Britain would make it a US Embassy.

Now to give the author some credit, she does point out that the entire idea of Anonymous bored teenagers on 4chan having power is a mirage. Sadly, she honestly should have just stopped there.

The whole hype over ‘Anonymous’, ‘hackers on steroids’, ‘internet terrorists’… it is an illusion, created because people aren’t adapting to the internet as well as the people who do not know a world without it. To invoke Clark’s third law, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Technology is incredibly advanced, and as a result, people are becoming convinced that 14 year olds who got bored and stumbled onto 4chan are magicians.

And, y’know, as someone who wants to consider herself a skeptic I have to address this. 14 year olds who stumble upon 4chan and become illusioned with the idea of being an elite hacker terrorist in a secret club are not magicians.

But for those who really fail to grasp this entire concept, I’ll explain.

First off, no, anonymous is not a group. It’s an adjective. That’s all. If you’ve ever been too lazy to fill out your contact information when commenting on an article, congratulations, you are now a member of an elite hacker organization. Anonymous is not a group that has any special power. All it is- in it’s entirety- is the result of what happens when you mix normal human tendencies with the illusion that you will not face repercussions because you cannot be identified. People are assholes, and people like to feel like they’re elite and important. Mix those two together on a popular website that expects you to post anonymously (contrary to what the author of the book claims, you are not entirely forced to be on 4chan) where the illusion that you cannot be found is present and you get anonymous.

That’s all. There is literally nothing else to it, besides the details of the smoke and mirrors that allow them to look fancy.

Those smoke and mirrors, again, are just  the result of people not understanding technology. When anonymous takes down websites, all they’re doing is essentially zerging them. Nobody is hacking into anything and for the most part, 90% of those involved don’t even know what they’re doing. They downloaded a program that some guy made and followed the instructions in an image someone else posted and then they started reciting the cover up they’re going to make when the FBI busts them. Because they’re dangerous terrorists, you know.

I really wish there was more to explain, seeing as how poorly understood the whole topic is, but there really isn’t. That’s what makes it sad.

All the people who write about ‘Anonymous’ need to do, should they be able to stand the rampant misogyny and casual racism, is spend a while on 4chan (long enough to watch an entire ‘Operation’ be born and die unnoticed, at least), and they’ll be experts.

And then they can just sit there and think, “wow, I was actually about to take that group of fuck ups seriously” before going off and writing something useful, instead of something that would serve no purpose other than to stroke the egos of those who like to fancy themselves as internet terrorists in a secret club.

Anyways it’s 4am, and I don’t know why I stayed up writing about this for so long, but at least I’m tired now.

 

I hope.

Thoughts on Random Subjects

I’ve been busy lately!

So I don’t really have the time motivation to write up a full post. But in the time since I last made a post I’ve had various thoughts going around my head, so I’ll just list those here, because I like them.

  • The idea that women make poor drivers is baseless. The true award for shitty drivers goes to another demographic- People in cars and trucks larger than any person needs. Today I witnessed two trucks and an SUV doing what I believe was some kind of ugly-car courtship ritual, weaving in and out of the lanes freely together without a turn signal in sight. Beautiful.
  • There’s a racist in my Archery class! If you bring up any black person and mention government in the same context, she’ll call them a ‘Marxist’ and tell them to go back to Africa. I have yet to ask her whether or not she intends to go back to Europe.
  • You can rather accurately judge how uninformed and obtuse someone is on a subject by taking note of how many pseudo-intellectual rhetorical questions they preface their bullshit arguments with. The correlation is positive. And exponential.
  • It turns out I’m a man! Or something like that. I finally got to shooting a bow in Archery. I was instructed to grab a 25 pound bow unless I “felt like being a man today”. I ended up with a 30 pound, pulled that fine, and was met with “I’ll see if you can get a 25 pound bow”.  I wasn’t having any sort of difficulty with 30 pounds, but apparently the idea that I might not be a frail wimminfolk was mind boggling. I never ended up switching to a 25 pound, for the record.
  • I’m taking a programming course. My professor also teaches a computer literacy course. My professor does not know that “Windows Explorer” is the name of the file manager, and that “My Documents” is not a piece of software. I despair.

 

And that’s about all I can remember at the moment! I might do another one of these the next time I want to get a post up for the sake of my blog not becoming a ghost town, and I might make some posts expanding on these topics. Who knows!

 

Holy Shit, Science

That’s basically the most descriptive title I can come up with right now.

Researchers have discovered a way to store 1 bit of data using 12 atoms.

one byte requires 96 atoms.

Going by that, one terabyte would require 105,553,116,266,496 atoms.

For comparison,  one gram of iron is 10,750,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms.

If my math is correct, this means that we could store a terabyte of data on roughly 10 nano-grams of iron.

That is an amount so small that I can’t even wrap my head around it.

 

Of course, there are still problems to be worked out. So far, these atoms can only be controlled at temperatures incredibly close to absolute zero, and on top of that, it requires special machinery to manipulate the atoms in such ways.

There’s a part of me that knows that I shouldn’t be too excited, because even if all of the problems are worked out of this and it is proven to be worth it (I would have to imagine that creating entire hard disks with this method would be extremely expensive), it’ll probably still be quite a long time before this technology becomes mainstream.

That said,

Holy shit.

Why Apple Sucks, Reductio ad Communum

For Christmas, everyone in my family got a new phone. I got an android phone, fulfilling  my fetishes for both Google and open source software. My first reaction was to download an app development kit. This is probably not the normal response to being given new technology, but I do not care. I just want to inject my own programming into its sexy, sexy operating system.

But that’s not the point of this post!

The point is  that my mother got the newest iPhone, to replace her old one. As such, she got to deal with the fun that is iTunes and Apple and scooting over apps and music from her old phone to her new phone.

By “fun”, I mean she got to fuck around with how Apple likes to have a deathgrip on all that it can get its hands on. I decided to top this fun off by letting her know that she better be incredibly careful about what she clicks on as she syncs her phones together, because she might end up wiping her entire phone’s contents. Fun! But also a warning I felt was very much needed, as I dealt with it a year or two ago when toiling under Apple’s tyranny myself.

You see, I have a computer that hates to cooperate. So much so, that at one point it seemed like the best solution to its plethora of problems was to blast the whole goddamned thing to hell, a la factory reset. It seemed like a fine and dandy solution, really, because I had all of my files backed up anyways. So I reset my computer, setting it back to how it was before I’d ever  touched it.

This includes not having iTunes anymore.

All of my music/apps/etc were backed up on my iPhone of course, so it seemed to me that all I would have to do was sync my iPhone back to iTunes. However, when I attempted this, iTunes informed me that it wanted to wipe my iPhone clean of everything I had on it. Which in effect would synchronize my phone to my computer, but in the wrong direction. I understand why Apple does this- they don’t want to possibly let you put their music on more than one computer. Of course, when I say that I understand why, I mean in the same way that I understand why some people worship a Jewish zombie; Because they’re fucknuts insane, which is also an acceptable answer for why Apple wanted to delete all of the music that I paid for.

I eventually got my files backed up onto my computer, after much Googling and annoyance. And luckily, by the time my mother was trying to back up her iPhone, Apple seemed to have fixed that little problem (or atleast my mother didn’t run into it).

But I think the whole things highlights how awful Apple is. To highlight it more, I’m going to compare it to communism! Whee!

See, Communism isn’t an inherently bad thing. Karl Marx didn’t write his Manifesto while twiddling an evil goatee or anything. It’s a system that sounds very nice in theory- people giving based on ability, receiving based on need- that’s an admirable goal for a civilization. And yet, we don’t all live in Communist utopias, because it has a fatal flaw. It relies on the good of the people to turn it into an actually good government system. Unfortunately, this means that as long as we have shitty people, Communism doesn’t work (as it is meant to). Shitty people can take advantage of Communism easily, and then it becomes, well, shitty. And as long as we can’t get rid of shitty people, Communism will forever be a bad thing.

Apple is the same way. It’s meant to be user friendly, good, etc., and yet it’s not. Ideally, I would be hooking up an apple iPhone to a Macintosh computer with Apple iTunes already on it, and all of my music backed up there forever. I wouldn’t have to deal with putting music back onto my computer, because it would never crash and die. I would never fight with getting non-itunes music onto my iPhone, because all music ever would be on iTunes. Similarly, I’d never deal with hearing that the music that I bought couldn’t be played on another device because it’s a special format, because all of my technology would be Apple.

If that sounds like bullshit, then your bullshit detectors are functioning well. Because anyone familiar with computers knows that sometimes the fuckers break down and die. Anyone can logically realize that all music can’t be on iTunes, or that you can’t expect all devices to be Apple devices. The fact that none of this is accounted for is similar to how Karl Marx didn’t account for shitty people. Apple designs its products, or at least seem to design their products, with only themselves in mind, and very little accounted for in the “what about when shit hits the fan” sector. And so, we’re not living in an Apple-y utopia.

We choose to use phones that allow us to drag and drop music on to them, that allow us to connect to a computer without special software. We use computers that are self serviceable, that don’t have a special store dedicated to fixing them. And we look at people who get caught up in a monopoly-o-apples and think they’re silly.

Or at least I do.

And sometimes I go on a rant and call them all Communists.

Filthy Commies.

Note- Reductio ad Communum is basically Reductio ad Hitlerum (Godwin’s Law), except Communism flavored.

And no, I don’t really think Apple users are like Communists. Except a little.