Some things are Much Harder in Windows 10

Install WordPress for Windows

In my Windows 7 laptop, WordPress runs easily inside a Chrome tab. But with Windows 10, it has to be installed as a separate program – able to run on its own. The download for this is the longest I have ever experienced – and I have experienced a few.

It has to have its own database, so the download includes one by Microsoft – and this has to be installed also.

Altogether, a big deal.

How Microsoft Lost its Dominance

Back in the Nineties, Microsoft was a badass company – determined to eliminate all its rivals. Its business practices were so ruthless, practically every state was taking it to court – except the Feds, who talked the states into letting it take on Microsoft. It went through the motions of doing this, but eventually did little.

Other companies, Netscape and Sun Microsystems (both fine companies) tried to take it on – but failed.

But a new batch of companies – Google, Amazon, and Apple – succeeded.

Google led the way, by inventing a new service – Search. That quickly became indispensable, and generated huge revenues for Google when it added Advertising. It was in business to stay – and there was nothing Microsoft could do about that.

It invented its own search, Bing, but Google countered with a browser – Chrome, that soon took over. Google also took advantage of a new movement – Open Source, and provided much of the software (for free) that made AI such a force in the world. In a word, Google was Open, and forward-looking, and Microsoft was Closed. The world took no notice of this – it understands nothing about Software – but it should have.

Microsoft did respond – by becoming more Open with new versions of .NET, and new a new language, C# (using ideas taken from Java) that were cross-platform (that could run anywhere). It was forced to become better – and it did so – claiming it was its own idea all along.

I am now learning a new language, F#, that Microsoft supports – that it invented, in fact. Its documentation for this is excellent – it is now the Good Guy, helping everyone else. Using new versions of Visual Studio, its excellent IDE. It now wants you to get in bed with it.

People often ask me for my opinion about Windows 10, so here it is – Microsoft started by offering free upgrades to Windows 7 and 8 users. This exposed how buggy it was – Microsoft was using them to test its software. Not very ethical.

As Windows 10 improved, Microsoft dropped the free upgrade, and started charging for it. Windows 10 was actually a whole series of products, that kept getting better. But the best way to get it, was to buy a new computer with Windows 10 on it, There are some good laptops for about $200 that have this – but Microsoft wants you to spend $2000 for one. This is the bad old Microsoft again, intent on screwing everyone!

Thinking in Latin America

I live in Latin America now (in Costa Rica) and I am happy to be living here. But I keep noticing the many areas where they cannot think.

Yesterday, for example, I was watching a soccer game – Ticos are passionate them. One of the players was injured – but no one took care of him properly – they just pushed him off the field, and went on playing. His injuries were probably not serious, but this decision should have been made by a medically competent person – a medic.

They should have had a stretcher on the sidelines – ran onto the field with the stretcher, and carried him off to where he could get adequate medical attention. Injuries are bound to happen – and they should be planned for.

But, strange as this seems – Latinos cannot plan. This is something the North learned as a result of Industrialization – and this did not happen much in the South. That is why it is so poor.

They cannot do a cost-benefits analysis. Calculate the costs and the benefits, of different alternatives – and pick the best one for the job. This seems too logical to them – and Latinos pride themselves on being an emotional people.

They should prize their emotions – but some decisions should be made without them.

Machine Power and Social Power

What is Power? How are these two kinds of Power related? Words let me down here.

But, as I study history, I can see how we changed in the middle of the 19th Century, when an explosion of new capabilities made us much more powerful. We became new beings – or perhaps two beings. One was superhuman and one was human.

And the superhuman exploited the human mercilessly.

This was seen most easily in the world of Business – where the Strong exploited the Weak. And everyone looked the other way – it was best, they thought – to not notice certain things. If you could make money this way, perhaps ethics could be temporarily overlooked.

But these temporary expedients became permanent. And Superhuman society became anti-human. Without noticing this in the least.

Make Your Own World, in Your Own Cloud

People have always wanted to be demigods, ruling over their very own worlds – where other people could not intrude.

This is now being done routinely – in the Computer Cloud. I even have one myself in the Amazon Cloud – where I can do anything I want, to my own world – that can be a big as I want (because space there is so cheap).

Except I have little idea what is going on there – and even less of an idea how to make this private world work part of the larger world.

This is not true, however, of the powerful new companies who reside there – who understand that world, because they helped create it. They know how to coordinate this new world with the old world – and take over large parts of it.

Much of its money, for example.

Making the Unconscious Conscious

The Enlightenment was about making the world better – by eliminating class differences. If everyone was given equal opportunities – everything would get better. But instead, things got more complicated – and new problems arose that had not existed before.

American history was an example of this. America got off to a great start with its Constitution – a new invention that many other countries copied, confident that this would make them rich and powerful also. This happened recently, in Afghanistan. It was given a constitution, written by American experts – and told to have an election. These American experts expected great things to happen – Afghanistan would automatically become a modern country! It never happened.

This did not work in America either – it had a long, bloody Civil War, that solved none of its problems – but it did become an Industrial country, with transcontinental railroads – and a huge inequality between the rich Industrialists and the Workers.

And with the rest the world, it participated in WWI, the Depression, and WWII. with its Holocaust. Something had gone terribly wrong – but no one knew what it was.

What happened was simple – unconscious problems wrecked everything – much to the amazement of everyone – who had no idea these existed. Or that the unconscious itself existed.

The discovery of the unconscious was one of the great achievements of the early 20th Century. But it was soon forgotten – because it was too inconvenient. It revealed too much about who we were.

As I write this, most people will agree – without thinking about it. But I know, from personal experience – how shocking and painful the discovery of unknown problems can be. Their discovery can nearly kill you.  No one actually dies – but it is an experience, that most people avoid, with all their strength.

Kid Stuff

IP Addressing in Your VPC

IP addresses enable resources in your VPC to communicate with each other, and with resources over the Internet. Amazon EC2 and Amazon VPC support the IPv4 and IPv6 addressing protocols.

By default, Amazon EC2 and Amazon VPC use the IPv4 addressing protocol. When you create a VPC, you must assign it an IPv4 CIDR block (a range of private IPv4 addresses). Private IPv4 addresses are not reachable over the Internet. To connect to your instance over the Internet, or to enable communication between your instances and other AWS services that have public endpoints, you can assign a globally-unique public IPv4 address to your instance.

You can optionally associate an IPv6 CIDR block with your VPC and subnets, and assign IPv6 addresses from that block to the resources in your VPC. IPv6 addresses are public and reachable over the Internet.

I am trying to use AWS (Amazon Web Services) to build a computer in the sky (in the cloud, that is). Amazon has facilities that make this easy, for most computer languages. But I am using F#, an important, but uncommon language. Which means I have to learn the nuts and bolts of how AWS works – some very complicated machinery, believe me.

In my opinion, AWS needs to add another service – that would help their users to coordinate the work they do inside AWS, with the work they do outside it. They could organize their work inside, any complicated way they wanted – and make this fit into the world outside it, that is organized differently. This is no small matter – messages and information, have to go both ways easily – between two different worlds.

The Cloud is the ultimate software technology – and making a good one is more than most companies can handle. Software has advanced so rapidly in the last 15 years (1990 – 2015) that whole industries (the Financial industry, for example) cannot keep up.

They need specialists who can understand software at a low level – and executives that can understand software at a high level. Both are in extremely short supply – and this is not likely to change anytime soon.

One project I would like try, if I were much younger – would be using software to analyze, and assist in the legislative process – in the writing of laws.

Every country in the world, is now a Democracy – with a Legislature that passes laws, very complicated ones – hundreds of pages long. No one can understand them – but the Computer is an expert at this – understanding Big Data.

It could even make models of these laws that ordinary people (politicians, even) could understand – and tweak, here and there, to see how things could change.

It could not predict how these laws would affect the people they were designed for. But they could be put into effect, and monitored closely to see the changes they caused. Make a few changes, and if they work – make a few more.

Societies would have to be built, however, with self-awareness built into them.

This is not a new idea, and not a particularly difficult idea – but is strongly resisted by some important people – who would prefer to remain unknown. An increased awareness on the part of the general public would smoke them out.