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Author Topic: Ruminations and postulations
iCoach
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Icon 5 posted November 04, 2003 11:13      Profile for iCoach     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well this is similar to the "Trivia Game" thread, but I wanted to post some "useful" unanswered questions. More philosophic than scientific, but intresting to think about.

The questions:
1) Time:
Given that we have explored the entire surface of the globe, or at least know the time it takes for the sun to hit point A compard to point B, why is there no easier way to calculate time differences? Why are there time difference? Currently I am GMT -6 (CST in the US), which means it is ~7:11 in the UK right now. With the globalization of, well everything, why go through calculations?
2) Open Source vs. Closed Source:
Over the last two decades Mircosoft has turned out the premier operating system in terms of acceptance. Why does the Open Source community mimic Microsoft's interface (KDE/GNOME)? Second, why hasn't the combined Open Source community been able to trump Microsoft's advances?
3) PC interfaces:
The world has been typing since the typewriter came out. And the keyboard hasn't changed since then either (with a few exceptions). What is preventing the use of a new interface? When a new interface is implemented what will it be - gloves ala "Minority Report", voice ala "Star Trek", Virtual Keyboards, something else?

You'll notice that all the questions have a simple answer, people won't do this, people won't do that. But the question is why? And what has to be done to overcome it?

-Coach

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Never upset a goalie - getting punched with a blocker is not a pleasant experience - facemask or not.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted November 04, 2003 11:47      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I guess things just become standard. THe whole time zone thing was set up to synchronize train schedules - it used to be people really did set their clocks off the sun, so someone in NYC was ten or fifteen minutes ahead of someone in Buffalo. But that made scheduling a real PITA, so they went arbitrary on our asses.

As for keyboards and such, it comes down to what people are used to. The GUI on the SGIs down the hall from me looks a lot like Windows which looks a lot like a Mac. This is the interface people have gotten comfy with. Changing it might end the world for some folks. Ask dman about my dad sometime. Now there's a textbook case.

Changing standards is hard. Especially in a society as litigious as this one. For all I know, we're not on the metirc system because some politician somewhere decided that it was either a commie plot or against the will of God or some other tripe and started a fear campaign.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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WinterSolstice

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Icon 7 posted November 04, 2003 11:52      Profile for WinterSolstice     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ok, I'll take a crack at a couple of those:

2) Open Source vs. Closed Source:
a) This one is because there is a very simple solution. People know how to use windows, people don't know how to use Linux.
b) Linux does have some advances, but none that matter to non-linux people.

3) PC interfaces:
Nothing will replace it. Why? Because it is a tool at once easy to learn, and fast. Voice recognition will never equal it ( just imagine call-center people entering data by voice! ) and the only thing that could possibly come close would be a universal stylus. Just look at how inefficient the whole "Minority Report" thing was. Huge motions to do simple things. I work with NLE (non-linear-editing) all the time, and could have done the same thing in just a couple minutes. It took them ages.

-WS

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An operating system should be like a light switch... simple, effective, easy to use, and designed for everyone.

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Cap'n Vic

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Icon 1 posted November 04, 2003 14:19      Profile for Cap'n Vic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
#2 The Business world is afraid of open source to put it simply.

Imagine; in a budget meeting:

Me: "We can save $500 in licensing fees of WinXP and Office 2K3 per work station if we go open source. Multiply that by the 6000 machines in our current organization and it is like having a money tree."

VP of Finance and Systems: "Too good to be true, I don't trust anything that is free"

Me: "It would also eliminate costly and constant patching and security issues."

VP of Finance and Systems: "If it is so good why isn't everyone doing it?

Me: Arrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggh!


#3 I agree iCoach, I don't give a rats ass how fast you type, your keyboard is the slowest part of any work station, unfortunatly, it is the primay (exluding mouse and monitor) human-machine interface.

WS is correct, also, voice recognition software while it has its applications is pretty lame at best. Is it too big of a leap to imagine an OS/computer, smart enough to read your thoughts. That would be the largest leap in the information age.....but that does sound a little scary.

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted November 04, 2003 15:08      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have other things to do right now, so I'm only going to tackle question #1 now, and hope to state my views on 2&3 at a later date & time.

I believe the time thing is really a matter of personal comfort. If you want the same time all around the world, use UTC. Otherwise, you might just like to have a day where you go to work at 9 AM, [maybe] eat lunch around noon, and go home at 5 PM. If I followed UTC, I'd be going to work at 1400 hrs, having lunch at 1700, and leaving at 2200. For your average person, this is not an appealing idea, and therefore, breaking things down into time zones that allow for the hours to reflect things like sunlight is a probably a good idea. And while it's true that we'd all be following the same UTC time, as shown above, we'd still need to do things at our own respective time, with a time zone, because if I got up at 0800 for work, I'd be pretty annoyed, as it would be 0300 for me, and really quite dark. Given this, it does make sense to have the generally accepted time vary. Even if we both followed UTC, and I called my gf at 0400 UTC, the fact remains that while it would also be 0400 UTC for her, I will still be talking later, and more tired. Maybe my stupid cell phone plan would be clearer if they used UTC, though ^_~.

Anyway, I've probably just restated the obvious, and should just go home, eat dinner, and rest.

I will just add a point about keyboards or keypads vs. voice recognition - the time lag between saying something, and the time it takes to say the words is much slower than hitting keys, particularly if you have formed a mental map of the menu system, and know what screens will appear, and what commands to use. Therefore, if a Bird of Prey were to decloak, and you wanted to raise shields, and fire on their coordinates, you might be vaporized by the time you said "Computer: raise shields; lock photon torpedoes on Romulan ship, and fire." With your keypad, you could probably tap "Shields -> Enable; Weapons -> Select target -> [tap on pic of ship in map] -> Photon torpedoes -> Spread pattern (perhaps default) -> Fire!!!" (and there could even be macros) After you've used this system even once, you will probably have a pretty good feel for it, and tap those commands out in (hopefully) less than a few seconds. This is why a crew is actually needed on the Bridge - otherwise the Captain could do the whole thing himself. It would also make for a more boring TV show :-D.

n.b. This post was also composed by me, using a QWERTY keyboard, which I can use to just instictively translate letters into keystrokes into words on the screen (at a pretty decent clip, no less). I just make this an extension of my thought process, and it is probably less work than saying the words aloud. Not to mention the fact that my coworker would hear me composing this message (it is 1817, so it's after hours, but I'd just assume not verbalize it anyway).

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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Desolation
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Icon 1 posted November 04, 2003 19:29      Profile for Desolation     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
you forgot the metric system,

and the answer is because people in general are stupid and myopic

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Hello World

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supergoo

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Icon 1 posted November 04, 2003 20:46      Profile for supergoo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, maybe people are stupid for clinging onto a system that makes a lot less sense than the metric system (there's a reason the British abandoned their own system). However, the reason Americans haven't switched over to the metric system fully is because of comfort: however illogical it may be, Americans are used to the English system and don't feel like changing anytime soon. Remember, although the arabic system of numbers is much better than the Roman system, Europeans clung to the Roman system for centuries before they realized the value of a base-10 system.

Hopefully you're using "myopic" in a figurative sense...

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Y los sueños, sueños son.

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Cap'n Vic

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Icon 1 posted November 04, 2003 20:51      Profile for Cap'n Vic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Desolation:
you forgot the metric system,

and the answer is because people in general are stupid and myopic

You are aware that the US is the only major player(in the free world) has not widely adopted the metric system including these rocket scientists

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(!) (T) = 8-D

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Orpheus
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Icon 1 posted November 05, 2003 00:55      Profile for Orpheus     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think there's one other tiny third world country and us still using the stupid english system. Every once in a while the issue is brought up but there's always something more important like bombing some third world country no one has ever heard of or worrying that some important person is having more sexual adventures than we are. With my background in science I'm so used to SI units that it's sometimes weird thinking in backward retardo units.

As for the time thing (and the english/metric thing) I think mostly its just that everyone is used to it. I have the second time zone setting in my watch set to UTC just for the geek factor, but it would really take a big effort to change everyone. And there's no really good reason to do it that I can think of...

2) The open source community is more often mimicked by M$ than vice versa. If you're referring only to a GUI then everyone's copying Xerox. As to the second part I'm assuming you're asking why hasn't linux popped up on more home systems? Well probably a few reasons I can think of, one I've not really seen any commercial exposure, the average user isn't gonna know to go looking for a new operating system, they'll be challenged enough learning the one that came with their computer. Truly though there's a graphics program rivaling Photoshop, a few office suites comparable to Office XP, much more functionality, stability, and security, (even has more real games than a mac). And linux has had a large market share of servers and some of the more powerful graphics render farms.

3) I'm waiting expectantly to see someone adapt the sort of electrode interfaces that allows amputees to control their new mechanical limbs to a new UI device ;] that would be sweet. "Twitch Gaming" would take on a whole new meaning.

-O

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my cats make me crazy

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d3m057h3n35
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Icon 1 posted November 07, 2003 14:57      Profile for d3m057h3n35     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
one thing i wonder about:

when humanity goes to the stars and spreads throughout the solar system, etc., how will we go about establishing civilization in the places we visit? will we rethink standards of civilization in order to adapt to the environment? or will we do our best to make the environment adapt to us? this situation, i think, is the only hope of culture evolving further... as long as we are earthbound, we will remain stagnant.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted November 07, 2003 15:27      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
But do we have the right to fsck up other planets as much as we've fscked up this one?

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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d3m057h3n35
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Icon 1 posted November 08, 2003 07:06      Profile for d3m057h3n35     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
i only hope that we will realize that we have no right to destroy other planets. this realization is what i think would lead to a major change in the human culkture.
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Mercury_Blue
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Icon 1 posted November 09, 2003 07:57      Profile for Mercury_Blue     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The whole reason we are destroying earth is because of the overpopulation. If we spread across the solar system, places won't be as crowded, and we won't need as much energy, so the ozone layer would be able to rebuild, as well as some of the other resources we've been tapping. Also, there's no intelligent life on the other planets in our solar system, so if we do fsck up the planets like we have earth, it's only harming the ones who fscked it up in the first place. Just my $.02

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~~~The Geek Will Inherit the Earth~~~

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WinterSolstice

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Icon 10 posted November 09, 2003 09:26      Profile for WinterSolstice     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hehehe. Reminds me of Elbow Room ... Same kind of thinking [Smile]

I tend to disagree. I hope that our incompetence will prevent us from leaving Earth. In other words, that we will be unable to effectively travel space until we are able to cure the greatest ills of humanity:
Ignorance
Violence
Selfishness
Greed

-WS

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An operating system should be like a light switch... simple, effective, easy to use, and designed for everyone.

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d3m057h3n35
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Icon 1 posted November 09, 2003 14:30      Profile for d3m057h3n35     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ignorance
Violence
Selfishness
Greed


Without those, I doubt we would be human anymore. And although they are bad things on the surface, they do have their uses. Eliminating them is not the answer. The best we can hope to achieve is control on a consistent base.

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GMx

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Icon 1 posted November 09, 2003 14:57      Profile for GMx     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Rules of Acquisition:
  • 15. Acting stupid is often smart
  • No. 27 The most beautiful thing about a tree is what you do with it after you cut it down
  • No. 35 War is good for business


[Wink] The Ferengi have inherited the Earth...

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted November 09, 2003 22:44      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Mercury_Blue:
The whole reason we are destroying earth is because of the overpopulation. If we spread across the solar system, places won't be as crowded,

Current population of Earth ~ 6 billion.
Current growth rate ~ 200 million per year.

So, if we started colonising the solar system today, we'd have to ship about 600,000 per day, every day, just to break even.

If we built space-liners that take 1000 colonists, that's 600 launches per day, or roughly one every 2 and a bit minutes. This probably wouldn't do the ozone layer much good.

If the space-liners could get to Mars in 30 days, we'd need to have, at any given moment, about 36,000 of them in transit.

Personally, I think mobile-phones are more likely to solve the population problem. All those people holding microwave transmitters a couple of cm from their brains.......

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted November 10, 2003 10:44      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Or, let me put it like this: one of the fundamental triats of our species is that we change our environment to suit our needs. We aren't the only critters that do this: beavers area textbook case. However, we do it the most effectively and perniciously. We have altered and wiped out ecosystems. New forms of life have evolved in our pesticide-laced ponds. Do we have the right to invade another world and repeat this process? Especially when we don't really know what we're doing on/to this world, the one we frickin' evolved on?

As far as selfishness, greed, and violence, and ignorance go, these are traits that are fundamental to life. That's how evolution happens.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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quantumfluff
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Icon 1 posted November 10, 2003 11:19      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Xanthine:
Do we have the right to invade another world and repeat this process? Especially when we don't really know what we're doing on/to this world, the one we frickin' evolved on?

As far as selfishness, greed, and violence, and ignorance go, these are traits that are fundamental to life. That's how evolution happens.

I think your statement about fundementals to life answers your first question. Those traits that make us want to survive entitle us to keep trying to survive, even if it means using up another planet's resources. IMO, to say "We don't like how we turned out, let's let this line languish and see what happens next go around" is a slap in the face to your gene pool.
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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted November 10, 2003 12:03      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by quantumfluff:
IMO, to say "We don't like how we turned out, let's let this line languish and see what happens next go around" is a slap in the face to your gene pool.

Can't speak for yours, but my gene pool could use some smacking around. [Big Grin]

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted November 10, 2003 12:21      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Xanthine:
Can't speak for yours, but my gene pool could use some smacking around. [Big Grin]

I'm sure you're speaking from a more scientific point of view, particularly since you really deal with some of this stuff, but you have to admit that just about begs for some snickering... [Razz]

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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Cap'n Vic

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Icon 1 posted November 10, 2003 13:39      Profile for Cap'n Vic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Am I the only one trying to erase the mental image of d-man spanking Xanthie while he is saying:

"Who's your Daddy, who's your Daddy?"


[Wink] [Razz]

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(!) (T) = 8-D

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted November 10, 2003 13:44      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
/me drops a safe on Cap'n Vic's head - that wasn't nice...

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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Cap'n Vic

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Icon 1 posted November 10, 2003 13:53      Profile for Cap'n Vic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You know I was just kidding right? You did see the smilies??

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(!) (T) = 8-D

Posts: 5471 | From: One of the drones from sector 7G | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted November 10, 2003 14:00      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Cap'n Vic:
You know I was just kidding right? You did see the smilies??

Well, you do know that I use a text browser of sorts most of the time, and only see "[Wink] [Razz]," right? :-P. Of course, I can read text, believe it or not, and get the idea behind it...

OTOH, you know that it was obligatory for me to say that, right? [Wink]

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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