Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Shiny Day

A shiny day of amber damp.
A slow day not windish.
A changing, shifting, faint,
ever so faint suspense
of forthcoming damp.
But bright sun dapples
the tall grass. The plants stand
still breathe lightly.
The goats peaceful in their languor;
chewing frankly, lolling;
unembarrassed maternal
bellies thick with juice.
Magistrates of the barn.
By dark, rain.
Come dawn, the tree tops blaze
in a towering sun.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Blog Entries

I have found an interesting app on the net to write blogs on, for whomever doesn't like the Blogger interface. It is called OmPad. It is more a background than an app but it seems serviceable. You can't make another page, which in my case is probably good because I tend to get out of focus with numerous ideas blossoming every which way and most things never getting finished. The interface takes about five minutes to figure out. I have Blogger in another tab. All you need to do is copy and paste. Though not elegant, you'd like to push it off with a couple of keystrokes, I have never been able to find that capability anywhere. The claim of such an end is always more arduous and complicated than copy and paste.

The dream for the web writer is to get on the Internet not next to it or near it but right on top of it, which isn't as easy, in my opinion, as it should be. I don't think anybody, especially programmers, think that this service should be available to everybody whether educated or uneducated, whether steeped in the art of programming or not. Geeks tend to admire each other and they band together to exclude and obfuscate. They also like the idea that their program may be "controlling" fifty other input screens, which in fact is hardly ever the case. Most people who use their computers to write on are simply lonely voices using the internet to get heard. What they put out there is what they want everybody to know about. They know all about emails and privacy. Private files are kept in a local directory, and backups are done one way or another locally too. Why would a famous person or just any person want to put a private file on the web? You want to get on top of the internet. You don't want to get embarrassed by it.

On the other hand there are OS dreamers who don't want the Internet at all. They also don't want Apple secrecy. The backslapping clubbiness of Internet insiders is almost as obnoxious as Apple secrecy. On the other hand, the combination of Apple hardware and software is hard to say no to. Every OS has something wrong with it. Flash is a big hassle for everybody, a creepy, greedy nonsense. For an interesting take on one OS dreamer see here.

In this article the author, Richard Mitton, looks at the work of Terry A. Davis, the author of TempleOS. Incidentally, Mr Davis's You Tube videos are riveting. TempleOS is an expression of its author. As I have said repeatedly in my blogs, wouldn't anyone prefer to avoid waiting forever, sometimes it seems, for an app to launch or for an OS to boot up? I can't work that way. I need the snatch of info now, I need my Emacs to open up now not ten seconds from now. You might think that is a little crazy but when you get to a place where a command happens instantly, it becomes a habit you never want to leave. It is like an addiction. My personal OS is an admixture of Debian and Fluxbox and Emacs. I use ROX sometimes because it gives me what I want fast, and Elinks because it also is instantaneous. My Mac, with the addition of a super fast OWC SSD, is almost as fast as Debian which I built around whatever hardware I happened to run across at the dump, very ordinary hardware. My fondness for my Apple Macbook pro is not reasonable. But TempleOS is in another league altogether in this respect. It works at the rate of brainwaves. I don't care about the inventor's personal life or his personal beliefs: I see it as an extension of a mind and a personality. Anybody who can get into TempleOS and dig it will think: why didn't the big money come up with that? And that, and this other thing? My feeling is that if Terry Davis is crazy, what are we?

But it does not add up to the Internet.

If you love to write on your computer and you run maybe two at a time—I have run three at a time, a server and a work computer and a web machine—and what you want for a career is to write for the web without having to pay x dollars a month to a server farm—good old Blogger is still free, and there are others—, say you want to build your own server, then, if you weren't a computer science major in college, without help or instruction, it is hard. There is plenty of information out there; books on Amazon and You Tube instructional videos to get by eventually. Apache isn't that hard once you get into it; nor is mySQL. But I do remember the first time I got into mySQL. What is this, I thought? I gave up and tried to find an easier way. I couldn't make any sense of it. I tried Hugo for awhile, which worked okay, but still wasn't what I wanted. I wanted a Wordpress blog on my personal server. That took awhile. I got help on the Internet to a point, but You Tube nor the available books cannot stay up to date and much of the stuff taught a few years ago doesn't work any more. They tell you, well, study and you'll figure it out eventually. Thanks.

Some net related subjects are very well documented. Emacs documentation is voluminous, BSD UNIX, HTML and LaTex can be figured out and understood and employed without too much struggle because the documentation is thorough and always kept by little munchkin scriveners up to date. But when it comes to putting that info on the Web in serious blogger fashion, not so easy. I don't know why it is easy to a point and then mystifying. Want to throw together hardware and build a machine; want to install an OS on a spare hard drive; set up a serious, well thought out and smooth desk top? That's all easy and instructions are everywhere. A couple of trips to the dump, you can put it all together for $25. But put your server on line? No! It's almost like the insiders don't want you to do it. They remind me of mob gangs; there is too much big money; they want you to go through the money. When Aaron Schwartz died the first thing I thought was he touched the net too close and he got hot. I still don't think it was suicide. Now there are others who are touching it and getting hot and I wait with baited breath.

I am off OmPad, as anyone might expect, and back on Emacs. They want to cut off your fingers, make it hard to do anything. You can't write a blog because there isn't a form for a blog. Well here I go again. I don't care if CBS news has been in Paris for almost two weeks now. It is impossible to separate what happened in Paris from the Internet. The Paris massacre is a fog to be breathed in whole. Now, all news comes from the Internet. It is the moral duty of everyone who has trained himself to write code or who has learned to understand computers to put a server in everyman's house. That's where the future will come from, an army of millions of small computer boxes running ARM CPU's connected directly to the Internet, not through Facebook or Twitter or any of the others. Then see how far the Barbarians will get. Secrecy slows down both the insider and the outsider. It is hard to be secret when everybody has the same tools available to them.

Last modified: Thu Nov 19 20:41:02 EST 2015