Older blog entries for mirwin (starting at number 95)

6 Feb 2002 (updated 14 Feb 2002 at 08:15 UTC) »

Joined wikipedia and wrote a couple of articles and tweaked a couple mirwin user page.

It has a prioritized "most wanted" page autogenerated from the wiki database which is a pretty cool collaboration technique. I noticed thrust was the current most wanted and wrote a fairly concise precise article for it. Then it suckered me into looking over force, which led to statics, dynamics, engineering mechanics, newton's law's etc. So ..... now I know that a good wiki with interesting material is much like peanuts, potato chips, and popcorn ...... singularity is difficult.

The site also provides diff support which provides easy review of modified articles.

Query regarding misgivings inserted here to avoid recentlog .... time travel ! 8) see wiki FAQ/talk page. see also entries 96, 97 13 Feb 02

A related question, is a business plan or organizational charter for wikipedia intended to be published at some point such that its contributors can be confident it will always be available free to the public at large?

Is the wikipedia code going to be released under a free or open license? The reason I ask is that it seems to me that the information in the wiki entries is greatly diminished if one cannot access the related wiki links and track to more detailed or general information on the subject of interest.

What is to prevent the wikipedia from vanishing or becoming unfree in the future once the critical mass has been achieved to attract aspiring academics and professionals and multitudes of prosperous users demand fast reliable access that only large server farms with plenty of expensive bandwidth can provide? [[user:mirwin]]

6 Feb 2002 (updated 6 Feb 2002 at 03:02 UTC) »

placeholder Rambling regarding wikipedia

It is unfortunate (If one wishes to have a free online collaboration encompassing a large subset of human knowledge online and freely available.) but I think it has already hit some self limitations.

Some discussions on the site make it obvious that there is some conflict pending regarding the use of the material and the organization of the community. While it advertised as open or free content there is some stratification developing between owners of the site, sysops, contributors, and users. The site owners wish anyone using the material to link back to the original site ..... natural enough and it has obvious commercial potential to eventually fund the site's requirements such as bandwidth, processing, disk space, sysop salary, shareholder dividends, etc.

The question that has to be answered (IMHO) for the site's long term stability and prosperity is why contributors will continue to contribute if sufficient commercial success occurs to fund sufficient bandwidth and access to a majority of the globe's internet users. Otherwise someone else who successfully answers this question will eventually displace this site.

I think contributor governed foundations similar to the gnome foundation will eventually come to dominate large successful collaborative efforts on the web. Anything else will eventually lose the majority of contributors to some effort where they have some input equivalent or weighted somehow to their contribution. Most people get plenty of hiearchy in existing societies and organizations to meet their daily quota, why seek some more out? Casual contributions will surely continue at some pace, but some of the site's discussions seek to interest highly qualified specialists and experts in contributing at little or no cost to the site. Alternatively, if paid specialists are introduced then will the more numerous casual contributers continue to participate?

Anyway, I am looking it over for application to online technical journals or free engineering projects. Adding an advogato style trust metric generalized to a peer to peer model to a wiki and formulating an appropriate self governing charter for a focused activity seems to have a lot of potential as a general starting point or method of expanding successful clubs, projects, or societies.

lol Diabolical wwwwolf tutors lazy students in two languages simultaneously. What a mentor!!! A technique worth emulating should opportunity arise in the future.

mpr provides missile command for linux. I will undoubtedly need this link in the near future as there was one of these in my college dormitory basement. It might be fun to organize a tournament next time some of us get together for old time's sake. Perhaps I should run a google for a linux based free asteroids ..... surely this must have happened already. Yep.

google {GPL asteroids source code} provides over ten pages of links to peruse, this one looked interesting initially: http://www.math.grin.edu/~rebelsky/Courses/CS397/2000S/maelstrom.txt

tnt provides some links potentially of future interest regarding potential linux multimedia tools.

logic provides a list of business tool links and also a project planner. Be interesting to see what he thinks of it after a few projects or months.

tk, old times I remember old times .....

Budgeting for (seriously!) and programming calculators, budgeting (team time and money) for buggy z100s (8086 "clone or compatible") and buggy software. Petitioning for mainframe and mini cpu time measured in milliseconds or MIPs (million not billion) or seconds/semester both in college and later at work. I much prefer now and free software running on highly capable inexpensive desktop hardware and distributed processing and communications nets. Teams and sharing brought us here today, not heroic solitary efforts. No doubt a lot of the valuable skills, components, and expertise were acquired or created in heroic solitary efforts. However, it takes a mighty big hero to outperform even a small effective team. Hence sharing and community and development of ways to enjoy the same.

For a historical view of the synergistic potential inherent in effective sharing and/or team activities see the Tower of Babel incident in the Bible.

tk If you prefer isolation and solitude, by all means sinfully enjoy yourself. To each rat his own cat.

I fail to understand how all the talk about sharing and contributing back to the community prevents you from hacking all by yourself just for the sheer joy of it, anytime you choose.

My perception of "hackerdom" is that it has always been about the freedom to use telecommunications and computer technology as one pleases as long as it caused no harm to others. Is freedom a sin?

It pleases some of us to share some efforts and form some communities around common goals and interests. Some of which are far too large for an individual to undertake with any expectation of completion in a single human lifetime.

Does it reduce your joy of personal programming somehow if others are cooperating and sharing to build bigger, better, useful, profitable, amazing, colossal, stupendous, marvelous, wondrous, software tools or monuments to human ingenuity and sentience? Or doing something useful or desired with these tools, toys, techniques, etc.?

Fear not! If we once again become successful enough to sinfully challenge the universe or verge on the potential to safely ignore the almighty .... no doubt he has a trick or two remaining up his sleeve for our eddification. Would you turn your back on or ignore indefinately a species that learned how to create debabelizers out of sand after they once proved dangerous with straw and clay bricks?

When messengers arrive it will be good to have some home coding alone types righteously working on one person projects requiring no dangerously effective communications or task sharing to point at while evacuating the cities.

placeholder good old days

Regarding Compliler's thoughts on philanthropic engineering

I think your concept of philanthropy needs refining. There are several assumptions implicit involving angst ridden lazy pricks which I believe are flawed for your stated objective: Making and leaving the world a better place. Close scrutiny of the fs/os way, making the code available to all and allowing the individual to sort out the details seems to be, an excellent long term strategy.

Further thoughts embedded in this lengthy dreck. Perhaps a good first step would be establishing a FreeEngineering list/suite of free software/open source tools rated for maturity and usefulness and/or a foundation (tailored from the apparently successful meritocracy of the gnome foundation) or a web site to further develop the principles of effective philanthropic engineering.

29 Jan 2002 (updated 29 Jan 2002 at 02:36 UTC) »

Future Lengthy Dreck Entry

Regarding Compliler's thoughts on philanthropic engineering

I think your concept of philanthropy needs refining. There are several assumptions implicit involving angst ridden lazy pricks which I believe are flawed for your stated objective: Making and leaving the world a better place.

Free software/open source as currently practiced attempts to exercise little or no control over the recipients or make value judgements regarding their merit or the merit of their value systems prior to giving access to the code. The code is given away for the purposes of the giver but attempts to mandate little or no control over the recipient. (Perhaps the GPL viral properties break this a bit but they only come into play with fellow "philanthropists" or developers not the recipients or users.)

Let us consider for a moment the concept of free engineering. Let's say we engineer a solar powered desalination still that can be manufactured with tools manufactured by hand tools, hand tools, fire, and common refuse ...... say glass bottles and aluminum cans.

Is it really worth the overhead of patenting or copyrighting our design on specific tools, jigs, techniques, processes, etc. and setting up tracking and monitoring so that it can be used on demand in a 3rd world beach front country (say reclaiming the sahara?) but not by lazy pricks in Southern California or Mexico (now that they are getting rich off of NAFTA labor opportunities stolen from honest hard working North{er} Americans) who could afford to pay for the engineering if they chose too?

A system such as the above sounds suspiciously like the U.S. welfare state we were drifting into over the last century whereby government goodies are available to the needy (as defined by U.S. Congress) and corrupt well connected (takes a lot of expensive overhead to administer a few billion dollars and efficiently pay out a few tens of millions in subsidized mortgages/stamps/ school lunches to certified needy people; abuse is rampant, undeserving kids fed all over the place) but paid for the middle class taxpayer. Some without even any kids!

If you (or we, or they) or random engineering philanthropists have gone to the trouble to develop a solar powered water still and manufacturing processes as described above for charitable reasons ...... Does it really matter if someone else sets up a manufacturing line and freely exchanges units for cash, possibly at a tidy profit? After they (the lazy scumbags) have developed the markets, the original engineers are certainly "free" to set up and compete with them ...... This seems unpalatable to me ..... could it be that business critters and marketers bring something to the table that is valuable (and hard to compete with) despite their engineering ignorance?

Is it merely the thought of competing with well financed competitors who can now afford to reinvest in better methods? Then the answer is obviously to set up our business infrastructure immediately and develop the market ourselves ... then we are ahead on the capitalization curves. Of course we are now helping ourselves instead of the deserving needy (not the lazy pricks) we set out to assist somehow.

The freely available plans (assuming local internet access) online seem to imply that any or all can setup manufacturing lines for themselves, their neighborhood and friends, for wholesale or even retail purposes. The ease of entry into the marketplace would seem to assure "free" markets come into existence better than the current first world system of patent protection and legal harrassment so loved by corporate behomeths seeking to control large enough markets to remain profitable or to profiteer off of captive markets. What better way to influence "lazy pricks" than to allow them to build their own desalinization still? If they build a couple for friends as well, then they are well on the way to becoming addicted to productive effort, even though it has not yet been harnessed on Wall Street balance sheets.

Is your implicit objective of being able to tell someone you disapprove of their lifestyle choices (and resulting inability to pay cash up front) more important to the objective of leaving the world a better place than helping assure (by lowering barriers to entry and freeing manufacturing markets) fair trade between diverse cultures and people is feasible via voluntary exchange of goods and services?

If all effective manufacturing processes and data are owned by multigenerational multinational oligopolists and monopolists what are the lower classes resulting from generations of lazy pricks and erroneous cultural practices (e.g. farming cotton instead of manufacturing textiles and cannons) to do when they see the light and embrace capitalism as defined by those who descended from Northern warmongers and the party of Lincoln?

How would you determine where the fault lies in complex cases where artificial barriers are put into place restricting access to medical care, education, nutritious food, etc.?

Historical trends seem to imply that conflict or trade are inevitable. What if the Greeks had allowed Pythagoras (or his employer) to patent his trig theorems and maintained a large enough standing Navy and Army to assure that patent infringement was not undertaken lightly? How many U.S. citizens would pay royalties to pursue engineering and attempt to compete with Athen's Triangle Machines and Software company today? Keep in mind that England probably did not attack us (the U.S.) when we stole steam engines from them (a technology guarded in the national interest) only because we had already proven expensive and difficult to chastise.

Anyway, being a lazy prick myself, by local standards (professionally I have tended to get promoted into project management, department management and later owner/proprietor) I can attest that much coding skill and even computer science can seep into lazy engineers attempting to install and setup complex aggregates of charitable donations freely downloaded. As a result, I may even contribute something back someday, if I ever figure out how.

This raises another issue: Requiring lazy pricks to pay steep prices or do their own engineering leads inevitably to an incremental increase in the supply of engineers. While this is regulated in the U.S. in some disciplines via the P.E. requirement, it seems to be less so elsewhere. Perhaps we should be giving the engineering data away to help keep the supplies of foreigners practiced in the engineering arts (green card professionals, foreign design shops, etc.) low and thus the salary potential of engineers in the U.S. high?

Alas, I seem to have raised more questions than I answered ..... perhaps some clarification will result somehow somewhere if appropriate incentives develop. Microsoft and the recording industry certainly seem interested in legislation of some clarification due to the incentives provided by free software, even though it is available to lazy pricks as well as politically correct corporate citizens everywhere. The resulting bruhaha even seems to have given some recording artists some uppity ideas about getting a fairer piece of the revenue pie! Some are even thinking publicly about working with small businesses or going direct retail themselves! Talk about free market efficiencies!

If U.S. farmers emulate this rebellion, ADM may be in trouble ..... what if geneticist/farmer teams start bioengineering high yield strains of seeds that reproduce themselves rather than hybrids ..... big step! Somebody will probably try selling high yield hybrids direct first just to verify they can not beat Dow or ADM at their own game before giving the rights to future yields away, by selling viable seeds.

So how many Willie Nelson farm aid concerts are necessary to fund the rebellion? Say ...... wasn't Willie Nelson being kinda lazy scum-like a few years ago? The IRS found him guilty of tax evasion on the farm aid revenue raised and he apparently did not have the money to pay the taxes and penalties! Lazy angst ridden prick! No free software or engineering for him! No sir! OTOH He has alleviated some of my angst occassionally ... I kind of like his stuff most of the time. O.K. He can use it, but no other pricky angsters ... no sir! This moral slide has stop somewhere and this is the line I draw in the sand.

What! Sir, if you insist on your incorrect line of reasoning, instead of mine; I see a fork impending in our project's future. Let us hope the duplication of effort leads to more rapid innovation and success rather than both projects failure through a lack of interest or talent. Perhaps you should work on the windmill pump station while I hand the really most important part of Free Irrigation ..... the desalination still. We can possibly still cooperate on the forge and casting furnace designs for the glass and aluminum but only if you eloquently admire my past work and we find somebody with some industrial zoned land where we can discreetly hide from those blasted green/kyoto fanatics. What net CO2? We are merely recycling on a longer term basis than most energy consumers, they should be providing us with grant assistance.

The way I see it, freedom is only really perceived as dangerous when the other guy has it, I certainly do not misuse mine!

Except for occasional rambling in my diary of course. I better leave the editing for another day, last two attempts just made it worse.

I propose that a premise of "free engineering" be that we make the engineering data freely available online and let the random user/developer who chooses to sort out how they wish to use it for themselves. That way we get to do the detailed real engineering and somebody else does all the blasted paperwork involved in whining and arguing about the ramifications of actually producing some useful physical results with it.

Besides, embracing an fs/os approach accelerates our efforts by decades. If we stick with AutoCad and ProEngineer how are we to deliver our data to the needy around the world? Stacks of A, B, C, D and E get expensive and As are useless even though cheaper if they are unreadable.

By making common cause with the militant code commanders we have a larger group of interested parties pushing to get the internet available worldwide so it can be used for delivery on demand. We also have the potential of excellent free engineering software tools becoming available as free tools. This not only lowers the cost of doing free engineering (assisting in growing our movement to change the world) on the home desktop (away from pesky corporate intentions to patent/copyright the fruit of our labor) it allows the deserving needy (yes and the lazy angst ridden pricks among us) to begin participating as soon as they gain access to a cheap computer and internet access. We do not need to be concerned with access expensive workstations and engineering software suites such as 100K combinations of ProEngineer Suites/hardware platforms.

We merely need an adequate website to start our FreeEngineer suite and perhaps an organizing foundation to facilitate articulating and growing our community values and membership. An advogato style site with some wikis for brainstorming, savanah for data and project organization and archival, perhaps later some slash/dot or other style filtering methods to sort the noise into some signal bands and we would be well on our way. Meanwhile we can participate in fs/os projects which look like promising components of our future "FreeEngineer" desktop.

Future Lengthy Dreck

Build the business case around Love's proposition (link from hacker couple of weeks ago). Analyze the benefit/cost of free distribution of ogg's via gnutella style distribution. Alleged loss in sells compensated by reduced cost of promotion.

Cashflow via online retail. If service built around free software what extra value is delivered to band, recording studio, and/or end customer that makes the business a stable ongoing profitable entity?

Test Wiki

<wiki> This is a test of the wiki tag. Monkey see, monkey do. </wiki>

22 Jan 2002 (updated 22 Jan 2002 at 23:08 UTC) »
Cert Trivia, To trust initially or not to trust?

Perhaps these advogato masters were correct: kelly, 61 ; kelly, 63; and mobius, 117; prior to and in response to my initial certification of <person>pkiforum</forum>. Some rationalization is available but it is buried in this lengthy dreck and elsewhere.

Fortunately, other advogato journeyers and even apprentices have displayed better judgement. Both wmf and Phoon documented in writing their declination to certify an anonymous collective.

The anonymous collective in question, pkiforum, has now started certifying! When it starts certifying other collectives our trust web may really be broken. The borg might be next or pkiforum may already be an agent of the borg.

What to do?

Perhaps a special or new account type would be useful for organizations to be able to receive trust and thus certain priveleges such as posting into a news bulletin or announcement area accessible via a front page button but which are not allowed to extend trust or certify.

Perhaps these community members have some useful input regarding how to appropriately interact with allegedly anonymous collective entities while advocating os/fs or benefits for the developers of the same: ottawaDave zoke larsu

All I can say is I am glad that the wisdom of the above masters was bestowed upon me and percolated sufficiently that I had decerted pkiforum before it or its authorized (or unauthorized) agents began running amok with certifications of other anonymous collectives.

This could have been a pivotal event in the kelly crusade ( to decertify me! '8/ ) had I not narrowly dodged the bullet by heeding her advice, albeit somewhat belatedly; but at least prior this recent heinous development of the alleged anonymous collective pkiforum exercising advogato community account priveleges to certify other people and/or personas and allegedly potentially even other anonymous collectives inappropriately.

22 Jan 2002 (updated 27 Jan 2002 at 02:00 UTC) »

Future Lengthy Dreck Entry

Old (1999) FUD Attack - Software Engineering is too important to be left to free unregulated (perhaps less regulated is better portrayal of actual situation) associations of software engineers, programmers, users, developers, etc.

A published view of fs/os from an ideologically correct capitalistic style firmly grounded in U.S. public works.

The author provides a fairly rosy idealized view of professional engineering societies .... failing to mention that a primary function of the professional engineering designation (P.E.) is to restrict the supply of certified engineering labor, talent, expertise, etc. and thus keep "engineering" salaries associated with signature authority high without regard for who, if anyone, does some actual engineering. A large side effect of this is a severely reduced innovation rate once a known solution is available and has been used historically. Engineering becomes irrevelant, there is always reduced liability from sticking with the same old tired solutions previously used in the field and then photocopied into the next set of plans. Another side effect quickly becomes fabricators building the "right way" instead of how it is drawn or specified. Details start to be left off of the specifications, changes do not get coordinated back and forth etc. etc. Soon nobody is responsible for anything, construction has drifted far enough from specifications and/or "best practices" that nobody knows who might prevail in court or public debate. A new deal is struck and progress towards the next fiasco is reinitiated.

Perhaps the ad hominen attack (RMS is portrayed as a successful hacker socialist juxtaposed against all other "hackers" who have joined mainstream capitalism via computer related jobs as they mature) leads me to interpret the whole article somewhat more cynically than perhaps I should. Perhaps not: Sure looks like a FUD from established economic interests. What is more socialistic than governments backed by a large professional military (a socialist institution if there ever was one) levying taxes and paying self regulating social cliques or guilds excessive fees for often shoddy work? Anyone that has worked in public works projects in the U.S. has encountered specification details and contract clauses being used not as construction plans but as bargaining chips regarding the quality of work to be performed and the charges associated with it ..... in other words it is tacitly acknowledged by both sides that the specifications and contract are worthless and non binding without resorting to expensive litigation costly to all parties. If the specifications were not needed as a bargaining chip they could have been omitted entirely and the contractors allowed to proceed with "best practices" in the field and monthly invoices or "progress payments" billing time, materials, & profit margins; which is fairly typical anyway.

It might be fun to organize a counterattack demanding that all public works specifications and as builts be posted online under a GPL so that members of the public can easily and without large expense inspect bridges, dams, hospitals, water treatment plants, chemical plants, nuclear plants, etc. for themselves for compliance with best known safety practices and society's regulations. Excellent opportunity at the moment to make the case that adequate civil defense and public safety in the U.S. requires many eyeballs to detect the myriads of bugs/defects/vulnerabilities in our public infrastructures. Students entering the field could learn from actual design plans and implementation. More rapid dissemination of best practices might occur. Design fees for recurring patterns might be reduced. More accurate as-builts will become available for future engineering, quick disaster response, maintenance, regulatory auditing, etc.

The possible side benefit of requiring the rapid modernization of entire engineering fields to electronic models, databases, version control systems, internet publishing, peer certification forums, automated web crawlers, public best practices mailing lists, detailed materials tracking, etc. etc. to meet this publishing requirement and defense against public scrutiny and allegations of error cost effectively is (of course) of limited interest to socialist leaning developers who could not possibly make money while giving software away. Therefore I think the fs/os movement factions and individual developers should not recuse itself from this public debate but rather weigh in as a non interested neutral parties interested only in the greater public good.

I wonder how long after we discover and publish that most civil engineers in the U.S. are actually parasitical socialists (overpaid by government taxes for the allleged common good, i.e. safe public infrastructure) it would take these newly labeled socialists to discover that many of our fs/os developers are actually greedy capitialists using effort (capital) invested in software as a loss leader to capture lucrative deals in the rough and tumble of somewhat free competitive information technology markets?

Is it premature to start preparing our RICO defense theories and exhibits for the inevitable congressional hearings into how IT positions, contracts, and purchases are awarded in this country? This could be viewed as a form of programming by contract: First we prepare the defense then we irritate the economic powers that be (by engaging in free speech and using our right to publish and associate freely) such that the defense is presented effectively.

In the interest of full disclosure I must point out that I am curious regarding how the "viral" nature of GPL might be applied to complex set of plans involving manufacturing and process plants, facilities, and associated technologies. It will do the proud owner of a blue screen free spacecraft little good if he has no plans for his rocket or rover engine's ignition system in his free computer when they refuse to spark. There are a huge number of engineering handbooks available on all kinds of applicable subjects which are all copyrighted. It is often not clear whether the technologies and techniques described are patented or not. This drives a tendency towards buying from large manufacturing interests rather than inhouse fabrication or use of smaller local fabricators. Nobody ever got fired buying from GE, yada yada. Ironically the deep pockets often finance legal dream teams which leave the customer holding the bag, fake security and FUD are polished techniques in other economic sectors besides IT.

Meanwhile: Personal Notes

mbrubeck</b> on Audicity Need to check this out when get back to boxen. Might as well start porting multimedia experience to free environment.

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