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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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Unix-Hater's Handbook

It occurred to me that I might mention this, however irrelevant the mention.

By checking out Daniel Weise's old site of which only pieces remain since he left Microsoft, you can still download a copy of his work with Simson Garfinkel and Steve Strassmann which pretty clearly lays out a buttload of reasons to not just hate or loathe Unix, but the people who continue to purvey it as well.

More to the point, it is an excellent bit of bait to the blind zealots of Unix who in almost every review of this book, come back with rejoinders and dismissals so clearly illustrative of everything the book lays out. A book which takes Unix to task for its tool-set (bag of hammers) mentality (among other things) cannot be countered obviously with the glib jibe that such has been fixed with some other tool. The biggest tools in Unix seem to be many of its own users.

Myself, not being a Unix zealot but rather a realist, I most certainly do hate Unix and the people who continue standing in the way of the two inevitable choices of outcome: death or resurrection anew. No, Linux is not resurrection anew for all the fluff and eye candy of the latest Mepis disc. BSD even less so. In fact, the entirety of Unix might as well be referred to as OS/BDSM. If your critical systems run Unix you are in Bondage. You're forced to a Discipline of whimsical masters and mistresses not much more sane than those who sired Freddy Krueger. Sadism and Masochism are self explanatory for the love-hate relationship you share with a viral organic morass born of thousands of arrogant nobodies and a few supremely arrogant somebodies who all pretend to follow some standard while at the same time rewriting it as they think it really should be.

Death is the easy to understand first alternative and the easiest to give when emotions run high. Of course, when you realize the alternative is Microsoft Windows with its myriad bugs and total lack of interest in not shipping them in the first place or nothing, you have to consider something else.

Resurrection is the other solution and I mean the classical reforging into a new body, pure and unbroken; the current course in Linux of combining vampiric resurrection with your mother-in-law's sister's application of make-up by spackling trowel is obviously a faux solution.

A simple to understand picture would be to compare Windows for Workgroups 3.11 and Windows XP Professional. The former is what Unix still is under the fluff and eye candy of your favorite Linux distro and The latter is what Unix should be and we all very well know it.

Knowing it and actually achieving it through conscious effort are two different things as we can see from the path of progression from WfW3.11 to WinXPPro. However, Microsoft was obviously more about making that effort than simply wandering there haphazardly as the Unix crowd is presently doing.

If I had to offer an analogy, I'd say the state of Unix is presently right about the level of DOS and Windows for Workgroups 3.11 prior to Windows 95 being more than a brain fart: underlying OS and GUI are still totally separate and kludged, neither one is being improved upon by the exact same people and those who are working don't seem to talk to each other, and they don't work right out of the box the way you want except in a very small number of cases and require far more effort to make them work than you want to expend.

"Why can't it just work?"

What work means is of course variable in meaning but when it comes to end-users of software, it means the way they expect. If you can't produce something that even makes a farcical attempt at it, you shouldn't be even in software programming. If you do make a farcical attempt and stop there thinking it is "good enough" then you aren't any better than the majority of abandonware writers and pop musicians. A vast undertaking with half-vast ideas is fine at the start when you can be forgiven for not knowing in advance for certain what a folly you were pursuing (Edsel), fanaticism to refuse to acknowledge it and buy your own horseshit (Linux), minor idiocy to avoid acknowledging it openly but only in private (Microsoft, Bill Clinton), and maturity for working seriously to make good with a real and true rationale even if you are ultimately wrong (no one in IT that I am aware of which tells you something about maturity in IT). Silent slinking away from the disaster doesn't count.

As I said, the post is probably apocryphal in the minds of anyone firmly embedded in the anti-Microsoft world of Unix. This all just came to mind reading up on some ideas of the book in the Linux camp and reinforces my belief that they just don't get it in the way that comedian Jeff Dunham's Peanut would show with his trademark hand over the head swipe with the sound of a passing race car. Mmrrrrrrrroooooowwwww...