Archive for the ‘ Software ’ Category

Driver Updates

Your laptop computer has a lot of software in it. It’s basically a small number of chips (that don’t cost much) – tied together with some software that makes it all work together.

My computer, for example, uses the Intel CORE 13 microprocessor chip – a huge thing containing a number of processors that have to work together – using parallel processing. Intel provides drivers to do this (small blocks of software, designed to make their chips do their thing).

Intel also works with Microsoft to make its Windows operating system work with Intel’s hardware and software. Handholding is going on all over the place. With everything talking to everything else. This is how it all works – very clever!

Except for one thing – these drivers are updated, but no one checks to see if these updated drivers are installed on your computer! The software company Cleverbridge took note of this, and came up with a solution. Its software would do this for you – scan your computer to detect the drivers that are installed (mine has nearly a hundred) to see if they are up to date, and if they aren’t – bring them up to date!

I bought their software – but it didn’t work! Since I bought it using PayPal, I used PayPal to complain to Cleverbridge.

What happened next amazed me. They came out with an update to their software, that worked – and they refunded my $30!

I hardly know what to say.

Stupidity can be Overcome by Power

This is a common belief, when any organization (an empire, for example) has passed its peak, and is in decline. The decline is always caused by a collection of stupidities – but the organization thinks it can overcome these by brute force – often military force.

Or it can use political force – forming coalitions that unite against a common threat. Or it can use both together – a very effective strategy – but one that always fails, eventually. The classic case was the rise and fall of the Roman Empire – that tried everything, but eventually failed completely.

Or let us take as an example, the late British Empire that made the British the most powerful, and the richest people in the world – for about one hundred years. I traveled in England in the Seventies, and noted how the Brits had not gotten over their fall to the poorest country in Europe – in less than twenty years.

The same could be said of the American Empire – that controlled much of the world in the Fifties and Sixties. Through a series of stupidities, it has gone into a steep decline. It still exists, but has to share power with other empires in decline – such as Russia.

I saw this in California, in the Eighties and Nineties – when I worked for a series of computer companies – all of whom failed. I began to wonder if a black cloud was following me around.

Computer companies (and software companies) are now beginning to see their stupidity – to see what they had been doing wrong – and figure out how to do it better. This progress is spotty – some parts of some companies have got the message – and other parts have not.

Whether this trend will continue in other industries remains to be seen.

How I Helped Amazon Improve Their Product

The product was Amazon Web Services (AWS) the fastest growing, and most profitable part of Amazon.

I signed up for a free trial, and everything seemed to be working fine – until everything stopped working! I tried to explain my problem to their technical support – and I kept trying to explain my problem (I am stubborn person) . Finally they send me an email, suggesting a solution – and it worked! And not only that, they followed my suggestion to fix this problem with their other customers – the very next day!

My father used to say “The wheel that squeaks gets the grease!” But that only works if someone is around to apply the grease.

I had an unpleasant experience with another software company today – and I used PayPal to complain to them. At least PayPal is on my side – and I am waiting to see if the company is.

Software and the Rest of the World

I sometimes wonder why I am interested in Software. Is it just an idle pastime, or is it more than that?

It is a well-paying profession, much in demand – and getting more so all the time. But here again I must ask – is that all?

Philosophers of Science – and there are a few of those around – have been asking themselves – is Science (that has given us so much) all we have? The answer, obviously is “no” – for many reasons. We are emotional beings. And the Computer can never be emotional. But it can be creative, and add to our store of knowledge.

All the Computer’s creations – and there are more of them all the time – are part of the World. What else could they be? They effect the World – and the World affects them.

Note the two words effect (a noun) and affect (a transitive verb). When we see someone talking on their phone (or to their phone) we see both of these happening.

The Computer, and its Software. have added to our World.

What is It that Breathes Fire into the Equations?

This is a quote taken from Information and the Nature of Reality page 68.

Scientists have always believed that the world operated by laws – laws that could be expressed by mathematical equations.

How and why this belief came about is left to the historians of Science. A long, complicated history – that produced some very complicated mathematical equations.

Until recently, with the advent of the Computer – that does not operate with equations, but with algorithms – a series of instructions to the computer. This resulted in two modes of inquiry – mathematical and algorithmic. As different as night and day!

Computer Scientists follow certain procedures on data – their input. And derive useful outputs – more magic, but a different magic! That has no mathematics in it.

The amount of data is huge – enough to stretch to the moon and back. The computer is looking for hidden patterns in the data – and it won’t give up until it has found them – which may take days of processing. But that is not a problem – computer time is cheap!

Computer Software now produces Artificial Intelligence – using methods such as regression – that no one can understand – but gets useful results – like pulling a rabbit out of a hat!

Software Projects

Wikipedia has an excellent definition of Project Management. And anyone interested in the subject should start there.

In my experience, however, the individuals interested in this, only want to become powerful – at the expense of everyone else. They may have some managerial skills – or they may not. They are basically politicians – and of no interest to me.

I will start with software projects – that have their own software to manage them. Usually, this is done with a IDE, an Integrated Development Environment. That helps Software Developers manage their projects.

The help they can provide is amazing. You can chose which Framework to use, which people to put on your team, and you can do frequent testing of the project, as it is being built.

One of the first of these IDEs was Microsoft’s Visual Studio – that has been constantly improved on. And which it is eager to help new programmers understand.  You can’t go far wrong by getting in bed with Microsoft – even if it has some unethical business practices.

If you want to affiliate yourself with other software providers, later on (Google, perhaps) – this will not be too hard to do. Software basics are the same everywhere.

Software Runs the World

It has taken me quite awhile to realize this – and I can still hardly believe it. If most people are asked what runs the world, they will say “We do!” When they have no idea what they are saying. Who are the referring to?

They are referring to the people formed by mass communications, predominantly Television. Everyone is watching them. And their TVs have taken control of their minds.

Except Television has been updated by the Computer, and its networks – the Internet and the Phone. The Computer did not replace the TV. In people’s minds it is the same thing – but somehow better. And they identify with it – not having the slightest idea of how it works.

They think they are in control (because they can choose which channel (or screen) to watch) – when they are only passive watchers. Or Consumers – they can choose what they buy. And this makes them feel all-powerful.

So much for the introduction that sets the scene for what I am going to say. But I started to talk about Software – what about that?

Software is that invisible stuff that runs computers. It’s simple – do this, and then this, and so on. Plus some control statements, such as run this, this many times. Plus many, many libraries of functions that the software can call. This is where the power of software resides – in all the clever tricks that have been invented – that make the computer look human. When it is nothing but a robot.

Most people know nothing of this – but businesses have been fast to catch on. The Computer has made them more powerful – much more powerful. And indeed, has created a global economy – run by Software!

Everyone is being told “Look at this, or look at that!” But not to look at what is running everything – Software. The invisible controller, that is running everything.

This is even true of the many businesses I worked for in my twenty years (1980-2000), in California, in what thought of itself as the Computer Industry. They did not understand Software either! And did not want to understand it – because it was putting them out of business!

Consider the difference between the computer of the Nineties – a huge box where you had to buy additional hardware to plug into it – to make it do anything useful. To today’s laptop computer – where everything is built in.

The users of these computers are not smarter – but stupider. Because the Computer is doing so much for them. Its brain (its software) is taking the place of the user’s brains.

I am not saying anything new here – only repeating what many other people have said – the Computer is replacing people in many jobs. And the jobs that are left, require Software skills.

These skills are not hard to acquire – there is a whole industry devoted to teaching these skills, to almost anyone who can use a keyboard and a mouse. But how few are taking advantage of this learning opportunity! They do not want to learn – they only want to grab whatever is out there.

The difference in attitude here is profound! And nearly impossible to explain. Either you have the ability to see what is – or you don’t.

And most do not.