The idiot

Who is the idiot with a clipboard? I don’t know. The real problem is that he’s almost certainly not an idiot, but a really smart guy.

There is a particular kind of irrational behavior that seems to be part of human or organizational nature. That the people involved are serious, capable professionals in positions of significant responsibility does not make a difference. Here are some fictionalized but truthy dialogues:

Serious Responsible Man who should know what he’s doing: “Hey Mister Wizard, thanks for coming over.”

Young Wizard: “No problem; what’s up?”

SRM: “This package might contain an infernal engine of enormous destructive power.”

YW: “Okay, I’ll take a look. You’ll need to evacuate this floor, and the floors above and below.”

SRM: “Oh, we don’t want to do that.”

YW: “?”

SRM: “It’s probably just the new filing cabinet.”

YW: “Okay, well, call if you need…”

SRM: “Wait, where are you going? Aren’t you going to open it?”

YW: “What for?”

SRM: “It might be an infernal engine of enormous destructive power!”

YW: “Then evacuate the floors like I said.”

SRM: “We don’t want to do that.”

YW: “Then open it yourself.”

SRM: “But you’re the wizard!”

YW: “Then take my advice; evacuate the floors!”

SRM: “But…”

You get the point. Examples abound. Here’s another:

Not a rocket scientist: “Why are you wearing Full Impermeable double-layer Armor, plus 2 Against Lethal Miasma?”

A real rocket scientist: “The area may be contaminated with a class IV lethal miasma!”

NARS: “Then why are you not wearing the Helm of Respiratory Protection?”

ARRS: “It makes me feel like I’m suffocating, and there’s probably not any contamination.”

NARS: “Then take off the armor.”

ARRS: “There might be contamination!”

NARS: “Then put on your Helm of Respiratory Protection!”

et cetera

But of course the military is not subject to this kind of irrationality, right? So one would ever see, for instance, an experienced senior NCO walking around in, for example, poison ivy, buck naked except for a gas mask, carrying a scrub brush and a bucket of, say, calamine lotion. But if you ever do see such a thing, the line to take is not that it’s pointless to wear a gas mask while walking around naked in poison ivy, but that it’s inappropriate for a senior NCO to do cleanup. That’s a more effective argument.

My kind of church lady

“Tamara laments the rise of a utilitarian mentality in the church – in which business models are imposed and buildings are regarded merely as assets. One could add that this same mentality has led to the mediocrity and at times downright brutality of modern church architecture. The church is seen as no more than an auditorium and not only the clergy, but the people too have lost any sense of the need to construct a temple and are intent on building a preaching hall.” — Closing Churches Closes Faith, by Fr. Dwight Longenecker

I’m not sure a church should be exclusively a temple, or exclusively a preaching hall. If it must be one or the other, I’d rather go worship God in a temple. I can watch a sermon on tv, or read a book. I can sit and talk with friends at a restaurant. I can watch goofy Youtube videos, or listen to someone sing along to recorded music about anywhere; certainly in more places than I want to.

Windows 8.1

Initial impressions

For a while Alt-F4 was getting a real workout; I couldn’t find any other way to quit some programs. One of the updates seems to have fixed this, and most everything again has an X at the top right. There’s no Start menu, but I never used it much. The menu that comes up from WindowsKey-X is good enough. Most of the keyboard shortcuts still work. WindowsKey toggles back and forth between the desktop and that useless Start screen. Speaking of useless, Bing weather is that.

Powershell is good.

The computer is a generic Dell, bought off the shelf. So far I haven’t been able to get it to boot from anything but the hard drive, even though other options are there. They really don’t want you booting anything but Windows. It looks like it can be done if I turn off SecureBoot, but there are dire warnings. I want to read a bit more. Windows 8 Hacks by Preston Gralla has been helpful, though nothing there about SecureBoot; not that there needs to be, since that isn’t unique to Windows 8.

The whole environment does feel very intrusive and pushy. Give us your phone number; buy this; link that with your email account; is that your cellphone I’m detecting? You’ll want to link that to your email, right?

They’ve managed to screw up solitaire, which is now an over-animated mess that wants me to buy an X-box and subscribe to something.

But overall, it’s mostly harmless. Read a less favorable impression here. I understand if you pay more you can have Windows 7.

UPDATE: An update added window controls to “apps” like solitaire, mail, and the Kindle reader so they can be closed with the mouse by clicking on the X in the upper right corner of the window. But it turns out that clicking the X makes it disappear, but it’s still running according to the task manager. Alt-f4 does kill it. I don’t care for this. The computer belongs to me, not to Microsoft, or some consortium of corporate partners. If close a program, I want it to stop running, not to go hide behind a curtain. So, back to Alt-f4.