Maxims, rules of thumb and other observations on human cognition and sociocultural affectations

This will be added to on an irregular basis...
  • What is said to humans directly is received with skepticism and considered with dubiousness while that which is heard in passing, especially that which most conforms to their mentality or prejudices, is readily believed.
  • Humans have a certain cognitive latency between exposure to new information or experiences and the ability to think dispassionately and intellectually about it.
  • Humans have a certain cognitive spectrum starting with the moment of exposure to new information or experiences and ending with some point at which the thing is effectively "in the past" for them.
  • This cognitive spectrum is linked to the emotional process often referred to as shock, anger, denial and acceptance.
  • The more and faster information or experiences are presented to people and the closer the quarters and the lesser the distance between people, the more their early reactions in the passionate emotional stage are reflected back to them in the manner of responses to those reactions from others in light of those responses.
  • The more outrages which are suffered without sufficient time to allow emotional bleed-off, the farther the bar for subsequent reaction and outrage are pushed, and the more further events must progress before reaction and outrage.
  • It is possible for serious detriments to eventually sit below this threshold for long enough for their damaging effects to build and multiply until their entire society undergoes some reactive convulsion.
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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Java on Fedora made quicker than figuring it out yourself...

Beginner Linux user? Problems getting Java to work with Firefox on Fedora? Of course. I feel your pain. My drive is littered with RPMs and tarballs in testament to the frustration. Fear not, for there is a solution.

Pay no attention to the results of Google and your own intuition about changing about:config and so forth. No need to curse Fedora when Sun's idiotically packaged *.rpm.bin download causes it to refuse to work because it wants a file name change. Sure, you could open a terminal and just sh *.rpm.bin but why tear your nails out trying to make Firefox look at the Java that was just installed?

Dag Wieers, the one and only stop you need to make Java work right.

Choose the big j2re package you need and install as root. Then install the matching "mozilla" package right after. Suddenly, I can get VNC to work inside Firefox again.

Brings back the old manual plugin configuration days when Netscape 3 wasn't even a gleam in anyone's eye. Of course back then, the raw visceral promise of the web made it worth your while to struggle with it until the coders were finally leashed in by the more reasonable people of the world and made to write proper intelligent installer applications. Not so now when Windows XP apps install with a couple clicks and they either do what Microsoft says should be done or they don't work at all. One standard to rule them all and in the darkness of closed source bind them.

Okay, so maybe you don't need open source because you really don't want to know all about the gory details of C and don't plan on trying to con some hapless coder friend into doing something with the source to make you happy. It's just nice for those of us who do. However, I suspect we probably wouldn't care a whole lot, at least not as much as we do, if the installers in Linux land worked as well as a modern Installshield installer does.

Scratch that. I know we wouldn't. We will just have to wait until the sensible and reasonable people whip and leash the technologists into making sense with Linux that way they did with Windows. After all, we only waited almost ten years out from Windows 3.11 to reach Windows XP. We can wait as long, right?

Do I hear crickets?

I therefore once again suggest we call the next great Linux installer initiative the WTF? installer in honor of the reaction of all the poor befuddled beginners convinced by geek friends to use it by conning them into looking at Windows XP as if it was DOS. Nothing could be further from the truth, but as long as FUD rules the day and the Linux camp does nothing to make it easy to use at all times from installation to de-installation and everything in between, they will be shooting themselves in the crotch and doing the platform and their credulous friends a grave disservice.

Sort of like massively hyping a band that could have been good but sucked and once you blow first impressions, you're fighting an uphill battle in a hurricane to get back the momentum you idiotically squandered.

Linux is doing that right now.

Editor's Note: The following recommendations were made by the spellchecker. I leave the detection of irony to you.

Actual Suggested
RPMs --> raping
tarballs --> travails
Google --> googol
hyping --> hoping

Personally, in my mind, make install ---> make yourself insane...