The devolution of computing


I have been reflecting a lot lately about the state of computing today.  The state of both the development and the users, along with what drives the majority of people from both groups.  For myself, and anyone who prefers to compute from the drivers seat, the state of things is bad on almost all fronts; at least in terms of mainstream computing.

Computing at a high level in the 70's, 80's, and even the early 90's was much better, because any other users around you were at a high level also.  Almost everyone had real capability to compute far beyond pointing and clicking.  Before the GUI existed you literally had to know command lines, and have a catalog of them in your head at your disposal whenever needed.  There were no guides on websites to copy/paste commands from, which is the peak of text computing skills these days for the pointy clicky imprisoned types.  Even with how far the GUI has come, there are still many capabilities that even the most robust OS's UI would lack.  I have mentioned before that only about 60-70% of the full OS X capability is found in its GUI.  Everything else is accessed from the command line.  It is based on BSD after all.  Text/terminal use is the actual human language of computing, not pointy clicky.  A GUI can only do what it gives you options to click on.  A GUI is essentially just an OS hand holder.  All you need is basic hand-eye coordination, and all it's doing is typing the commands for you while you click away.

The user friendly obsession of MS and Apple software over the last couple decades has truly dumbed down the average user a great deal.  The sad truth is that most people only have the capability to point a mouse, and type in whatever language(s) they're literate in.  The even sadder truth is that some actually mistake this for having computer skills.  Some even go as far as to think such skills qualify them to "help" someone else by sharing their "experience".  Experience based on nothing.  When you can only compute at the level of a person that many would consider computer illiterate, then you have no experience to give. 

I'm sorry, but moving a pointing device around, and being literate in your language, is no type of computer "skill".  People who compute at that level need to keep their devolved computing culture to themselves, and focus on learning new ability, rather than trying to spread devolution.

The devolved ones are on some insane mission to spread their 'newer/faster hardware is always better' illogic, and follow Apple or MS blindly.  No one needs help to do such things, because all it requires is no thought.  Anyone can do that.  Give people true technical insight, not what they can get from a wikipedia or google visit.  If that is where you're getting your "experience" from, then you've turned yourself into a fake, and a redundant fake at that.  Pretty shameful.  I assume the goal was never to be a double negative, but that is the end result for some of you.

The people who spread such things know who they are and they need to stop.  Your blind follower no skill thinking is a cancer to anything that resembles good information.  Stop it please.


Lastly

I am sorry if some of this sounds mean, but every word I have written here is nothing but true.  The truth shall set you free, as the saying goes, is as apt with computing as it is with anything else.

Anyone who feels the desire to help others, needs to first do it with something they can help with.  Something you have legitimate experience, knowledge and insight with.  Not something you wish to, but don't yet have, those qualities with.

Don't pretend or devolve.  Learn.

Stop letting billionaires control how you compute, and keeping most of you in a limited and fearful of evolving type of state.  The very reason most of you don't want to evolve your computing skills is that you've been conditioned to think that computing and real brain work don't go together.  Essentially a mainstream/self-induced computer user lobotomy.  That is the true end result of decades of user friendly obsession by the mainstream.

Slowend Mac


I don't visit lowendmac.com much these days, but I did the other day and was mildly amused to read Simon Royal's Tenfourfox post of the 17th of May. I've always enjoyed Mr. Royal's many fine contributions to the PowerPC mac community, though of late he seems to have gone Intel mac only, and was apparently shocked to learn that plugins had been disabled on Tenfourfox 17. Huh? That was like months and months ago, I thought. I then checked the date of the post to see if I was reading something really old, but no....it was a new post. This, the author seriously intoned, was a sad day for PowerPC mac users. A sad day that happened a long, long time ago.

Cameron Kaiser has been clear since day one of Tenfourfox that his primary and maybe even only concern is security. Security first, security last, security always. To that end Flash was disabled by default in Tenfourfox 6, though of course you enable it easily in the about:config, which many did. Plugins became totally disabled after 17 when Quickdraw support was removed by Mozilla. There are many well documented workarounds for Flash on PowerPC macs, some easier than others, and I will not bother to repeat them here. I suggest if you are new to the concept and want a full reading on the topic check out the ppcluddite's blog here.

What is of much greater concern to me are the many cannonballs Mozilla keeps firing at all the tier 3 Gecko browsers. In the end this may affect not only Tenfourfox, but the PowerPC Linux OS's as well. There are, however, some pretty big companies in the Power Linux sphere, most notably IBM, and I am hoping Big Blue will knock some sense into the Mozilla crowd. Kaiser and co continue to do heroic work giving us a source parity Gecko browser in 2013, but for the future things are looking more....grim. Methodjit is now sadly going bye-bye (which means also for Seamonkey PPC and Aurorafox), and on the development blog Kaiser says he expects near future builds of Tenfourfox to take a big performance hit when compared to 17. He also states that he hopes to have a build of IonMonkey, a new Javascript engine ready for Tenfourfox 24. For now I'll be sticking with Tenfourfox 17 as it is still perfectly usable on my ibook G4 1.07ghz. This will also give me a working quicktime plugin for use with the greasemonkey script viewtube for youtube. Not that there aren't lots of other methods I could use.

All of this brings up zen's excellent post on using the right OS for the right job in 2013. If you haven't already read it, read it now. I personally still use and feel relatively secure with Leopardwebkit and Tenfourfox in OS X, but if I'm gonna do some Internet banking, I'll boot on into Linux, where I know I have the latest and greatest Gecko and Webkit. Maybe I'm being overly paranoid. Sadly I have stopped using Camino and Omniweb, as more and more sites are not displaying correctly in both browsers. This leads me to suspect security is also slipping far behind now, and anyway its very unlikely that either will ever be updated, at least for PowerPC. There was talk of Camino being ported to webkit, but there doesn't seem to be any progress on that front, and I'd say its curtains for the Chimera.

Are these really dark days for PowerPC? I think not......yet. But stay tuned to this channel.

We're still alive!


It has been over two weeks since our last post, and I wanted to mention what has been going on.

Dr. Dave hurt his back a couple weeks ago, so that has put him out of commission for the time being.  Please join me in wishing him well and hopes for a quick recovery.  I am sure he will be feeling better soon enough.

I myself have been more busy than normal with the OpenBSD project in it's last phase of development.  The last phase (for me at least) is dealing with every bug so this has left my life with zero free time.  In the next week to 10 days I will be 100% done the project and I already have a couple things in mind to write about.