Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Subjectivism then…


So I’ve had a go at saying why I don’t like objectivism, now to try and say why I think subjectivism is a better way of looking at things. Well I thinks it’s best to say what I think subjectivism is. It’s the view that as our thoughts are separated from the the world by a layer of perception and due to this we can never have a perfect grasp of reality. This leads to a bit of a problem, if we can never know what is really true then what do we work towards? How can we really justify what we do?

And the answer to those questions is we can’t, at least not without making some unjustifiable decisions at a basic level. If you think this is somehow wrong and that people can’t function without well justified beliefs, you clearly haven't met people. In fact I find this desire or need for an underlying truth to be a little odd, I liken it to the question “Why is there something instead of nothing?” it assumes for some reason that nothing is the norm despite living in a world of something and observing things we still seem to think that we must be special and nothing must be how it should be. We live in a world with little justification for what we do and yet assume that justification is required.

I’ve come to the opinion that no one that reads this will understand it unless they already understand… but I can only get better at explaining right? Another Philosophy post when I can work out what to say next. probably a tech post before then.


Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The post-PC world! or the everyone still uses a PC but also has a convergence device world.


So It's official, the PC is dead. Everyone that matters thinks so, or at least many Apple fanboys tech bloggers seem to think so. In 5 years time most people will have a smartphone and a tablet and therefore not need a desktop PC and by extension Windows.

I have to say that I think this is a very narrow minded view, possibly brought about because tech bloggers tend to only need a web browser and a lightweight blogging tool. I'm going to look at it like this, are we going to need a stationary device that has high performance and a full keyboard and mouse in the next five years. I have to say that we are, I see no reason to suggest the contrary. The main reason against losing the PC is that tablets and smartphones are awful at content creation. Touch is really cool and intuitive but it is also inefficient, error prone and inaccurate. Tablets and smartphones can only really use touch, in order to maintain the form factor. Their are a couple of Asus tablets that have keyboards but the another medium term reason against this change is software legacy, they run android which is a great OS but at the moment doesn't have any productivity suites, nor I think will it( at least for a few years). I envision that soon if you need to edit office files on the go you will use a cloud based solution and hope your tablet has a keyboard.

In fact if I ever meet someone that makes the argument that we will no longer need a PC I will say what your really saying is that you no longer need a keyboard and mouse and that is clearly foolish. The keyboard/mouse combo is and shall be for the foreseeable future the cheapest, simplest, most tactile, most customisable, most efficient and most supported input device. Nothing comes close. Not even an Apple track pad( a wonder of advertising, buy something for more money that was originally designed to be a worse version of a mouse because it has shortcuts!!!)

Man I rant a lot.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

My problems with objectivism.

I have tried several times to write something about my philosophical views, I think the main problem I had was that of scope. I found it hard to cover everything I felt needed to be said, and my writing tended to spiral out of control. I hope that by writing shorter blog posts on some subjects I will be able to get my point across more concisely.

So objectivism, the idea that there is an ultimate truth or ideal that should be the basis for our decisions. To argue against this is often mocked, and portrayed as absurd. Somethings are obviously true they say, if you drop a stone will it not fall? To not believe in objectivism is to not believe in science, apparently. However I believe that this kind of argument displays a fundamental flaw in their understanding of how we perceive the world, or to put it simply how science works. Science does not work by inclusion. That is to say that experiments cannot prove anything, they can only disprove things. Disprove enough of the likely possibilities and an explanation becomes the most likely by a considerable amount.

So I cannot accept objectivism because the layer of perception that separates our consciousness from the universe does not allow certainty of anything, only a degree of probability. So if there was any universal truth we would never be able to test whether it was true to a 0% probability of error. And if we could never find truth what use is an objective belief system?

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Why I don't like Apple's current media direction.

I do not like Apple, I respect the company's ability to use marketing to it's advantage and acknowledge that it has written some great software. The problem I have always had with Apple(well since I have had an opinion on the matter so since maybe '06) is in its control of media. Actually to be honest I think I just dislike Steve Jobs and his influence on the company which can be summed up in a story about the NEXT and the choice of case material but that is best described in another post.

I think it started with iTunes and iPods. I mean on the face of it iTunes is a perfectly usable piece of software but it demonstrates the starting of the current Apple media philosophy. To start with there is the way that it is written in OS X native libraries, but there exists no windows version. This is a bit odd as when it was released windows had a majority market share and today windows has a majority market share. iTunes has a huge userbase on windows yet they don't deserve a less bloated (80MB for a media player?? True it has a web store built-in but you could download firefox, VLC and media monkey to give a random selection of programs that encompass all that functionality separately for under half of that.) , smoother performing, less buggy bit of software? Second it is the only option for managing iPods, iPhones and iPads. This gives iTunes an effective monopoly over the iDevice userbase and funnels the users into its music, film and app stores. Then inside the app store it's contents are scrutinised so that no functionality is duplicated on an iDevice i.e. you cannot download a phone app on iOS as it would replace the original functionality.

To be honest my first two points can be put down to Apple just doing good business, it makes sense to make a rival platform look bad and funnel people into a store. The controlling of app sales I think just stifles creativity, just look at the jailbroken iPhone store. I don't think any of these things improves the end user experience.

Up till now I have been talking about the software side of Apple (there is more to talk about such as the consumerising of its professional media editing software, screwing over people that have invested money and time into the ecosystem) there have also been changes to hardware that I disagree with. The removal of internal disc drives, the addition of a proprietary chip to its hard drives to stop user replacement and the support of thunderbolt over usb 3.0.

The removal of disc drives was justified by saving that the disc format is dead. Apparently nobody uses cd/dvd/bluerays anymore and if they do its because they are to stupid to work out that they don't need to. This is just wrong, even if it was possible to get the same information stored on disc's from Apple sanctioned outlets this would still mean if people wanted to access their collection of music/films on their new mac they would have to fork out for a less than elegant external drive. I can imagine the less computer literate finding this a confusing task. Maybe if Apple hadn't ignored the rise of blueray as a format it could except that there is still some life in the technology, can they really argue that downloading a 30GB high-def movie is going to be a nice experience. I have a fast Internet connection roughly 3MB/s(or as ISP's would say 30Mb/s) and it would take about 2:50 at that speed, sure after a while you could maybe stream it but to be fair according to the last Ofcom report the average UK Internet speed is 5.2Mb/s so planning would be needed. Also there is the space requirement of moving to cloud(?) distribution for instance you can only download your film once from iTunes you would have to store everything locally on your hard disc. I doubt even a few terabytes would be enough for a film lover who enjoys a high-def experience. Also ever had a hard drive break? discs allow us to spread the risk of data loss and corruption. From this I can only be lead to believe that this is a move designed to funnel mac users into the iTunes ecosystem.

The change in hard drive replacement is odd, the average user will never replace a hard drive. The only people that are likely to replace a hard drive are the kind of people that will be more than a little annoyed that they now have to buy their drive through Apple rather than from their manufacturer, at extra expense and less variety.

And there support of thunderbolt over usb3.0? Sure thunderbolt blows usb3.0 out of the water from a shear speed perspective, dual 10Gb/s channels compared to usb's 5Gb/s single channel. But really that is just too fast for almost everyone, unless you have some really excessive SSD raid hard drive setup you computer can't even read the hard drive that fast. But you cry you can daisy-chain monitors, to which I reply who in the entire world has gone you know what I really need is to be able to connect one monitor to another with a £60 cable instead of connecting both to the computer with at most a £10 cable. That's right thunderbolt cables cost £60 or at least £59, for a CABLE! And mac user's don't have a choice it's thunderbolt or usb2.0.

So in conclusion I don't buy Apple because they don't even pretend to care and that makes their products worse.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Rage against the politicians.

I am not by nature a person quick to anger. I am for the most part I believe reasonably, well... reasonable. Recently however I have witnessed some of the most blatantly irresponsible and self-centred actions of my entire life. I am not against personal irresponsibility - it is our right to be able to screw up our own life however we want - what I take exception to however is irresponsibility with power. We are not entitled to screw up other peoples lives.

Recently politicians have had a great deal more power over international affairs than they are used to. There have been several problems relating to the global financial crisis that have require governments to step in to protect people outside of their electoral. This is not easy, there is rarely an easy solution to these kinds of global problems. However this is the time for politicians to do the right thing, they have scope to act out of the bounds to which they are accountable, they should take the rights of the rest of the world seriously and act with respect applicable to this level of power. What they should not do is squabble about petty short term and nationalistic goals and the furthering of their career.
There is a counter argument that I'm sure supporters of this kind of politics would attempt to use. It follows: Politicians are elected to serve the people that voted for them and uphold their beliefs and act their combined will. If the population is very nationalistic and believes their country is an island unto itself then it is right for it's politicians to behave this way. This is a very naive argument. It makes many assumptions, such as it assumes that politicians have the ability to extract some form of perfect consensus from the population. my view of politicians is more pragmatic, I would say that it is incredibly difficult and impractical to ascertain a good approximation of the population's opinion and in several cases a bad idea to use that opinion to govern. Modern government is incredibly complicated and it would be impossible for an average person to solve any of the big issues with a high degree of success armed with only some shallow knowledge and an opinion. The politicians job is to provide options, they in theory should state the general direction they wish to take a country and get elected based on whether people agree with that direction. It is not their job to be liked by the nation it is their job to make the nation better.

To take the recent American debt ceiling debates as an example of the how politics should not be done. There were three groups to this argument: the democrats, republicans and members of the tea party movement. To start with the most extreme of these groups the tea party. These people are delusional extremists no better than terrorists(admittedly they wielded economic weapons instead of physical ones, but think about the suicide rate if they had managed to let America default.) I will perhaps defend this position at a later date. The remaining two parties each have differing views on how to solve the problem which I will not try and explain or choose a favourite, however they have both failed in one key aspect. They are playing the game to be liked and refusing to make tough necessary decisions. They played a game of refusing to compromise(some more than others) and then as a deal NEEDED to be made the best they could do was postpone until another politically divisive date. This may have harmed more than careers, and all it would of taken is for a key figure to say this is bigger than me, this is bigger than America, we cannot survive without the rest of the world maybe we shouldn't say we would be happy to toss them of a cliff in order to look strong.

This is the first of hopefully many posts. It is not well written but has let me vent.

Thanks for reading!