trallala … buvons donc !

Things happen fast & brutal in the adventurous world that is a bus driver’s life. I had to give my car to a new colleague, the snake I nurtured on my bosom over the last days. My (rather hyper) dispatcher told me that he’d need me as stand-by now. Things were hectic at this morning, and when I walked away from my now ex-vehicle I asked him whether he’d call me – “Of course I’ll call you back” may be the most common lie nowadays. In earlier days it was “The check is in the post”. After busily waiting until the early afternoon for the non-call, I realised that I would not drive (yesterday’s) afternoon, and surely not today’s morning.
So I am busily doing nothing, waiting for a call.
Actually I wanted to write about Artificial Intelligence, these algorhythms that wrote BEETHOVENs tenth symphony, calculate insurance premia, run computer trading at the exchange, and GOd alone may know what these machines already “do for us”. Now the image creating program DALL-E is hyped, but it is not the only one of its kind. More users will be allowed, so the thing gets better training.
I am not sure where all this is headed. Yesterday I saw in the news an autonomous roboter dog with a submachine gun mounted, one can buy it for some thousand dollars. I think the “dog” is still “un-intelligent”, and will shoot at anything in range, when programmed / ordered to do so. Do I want “intelligence added to such a perversion ? So little Blammo can act even more independently, and “decide” when to shoot whom ?
Anyway, it is much too hot to think seriously, especially about morals & ethics. Subjects by the way, that are absolutely unimportant in this modern world’s politics, it is simply again all about who has the bigger club. The stupidity of this testosterone-driven boneheadedness is simply stunning ; the responsiveness of the masses for the most simple and obvious lies is mind-crashing. Where’s my high horse, damn it ?! To end on a light note – War to the bottles !

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Look, Wonder, Press Delete

When you have to tinker with your computer on the operating system level, it is recommended to make a “backup” before all gets lost. A “backup” is generally a good idea, and yes we all dutifully do create the regular safety copies, of course … Of course not, whom am I kidding ?
I copied a lot of stuff that had amassed since I bought “Hulk”, then I worked through it and decided what to keep on the newly set up machine. For example, tons of youtube links had to go : The stuff is on youtube, I never have looked at these links again. What I kept are some channels by people who share a similar taste of music, or who specialised in certain fields, like e.g. baroque music, or 20th century composers. These channels are good starting points for searching a Sunday Music.
Then there were texts in various stages of development that never will be finished, not needed photographs / images, obscure downloads ; I found two mp3–files (in one a young man explains some equipment to me, in the other a foreigner with an accent speaks nonsense), but wordpress in its wisdom does not allow its non profit generating users to upload audio formats, tah !
An of course tons of links for unrealised posts. For example I once wanted to visit car museums, like those of Mercedes or Toyota (German examples here ; worth a look, the Schlumpf collection). Because of the pandemic many museums went online, the Smithsonian provided a nice starting point, for the Louvre someone already put a tour together. And on & on. At least I brought it down to two lists of unsorted bookmarks, or one very long one. With the right thinning-the-herd-attitude I should be able to reduce this significantly. Solve et coagula applies in any circumstance …

Some Computer Blah

If you do not have problems – go, create ! I am sure that someone used or uses this “go, create” slogan, but I have no idea who, and am not in the mood to look for it.
Some years ago our friend gave me a marvellous little portable computer that helped me with an assignment ; it worked well, but sadly died one day. I helped myself with some museum-worthy machines until I bought the one I have now – not exactly small, not portable, let’s call it Hulk.
The merchant I bought it from, was glad to see Hulk go, and gave me for free a second hard drive, and a disk writer, one of the I-write-on-everything-sort, very useful.
Sadly Hulk came without operating system. I had already a longer flirt with linux, and decided to give it a chance. I opted for a lightweight system, kde based, called “chakra”. It all went well, until after some years of carefree computing I started to run into trouble. I wanted to change something regarding software, and it did not work, public keys for pgp were not intact, or missing. Then I started to get messages from websites telling me that my browser is too old to be useful, a lot of sites asked me to please update whatever I was using. I dutifully looked at the forum etc. and found that I am not the only one with these problems. For whatever reason(s), the solutions I found did not work. Someone even said that “chakra” now is “abandoned”.
I think it is a normal story : Some people voluntarily – and I can not emphasise this enough : voluntarily – created a working system, kept it going, and as life goes on, finally found not the time for the effort any more, or maybe, became frustrated (I read some demanding messages in various fora over the years, some users forget that they did not buy a product). To make a long story short, it became a bit too much with the problems.
I again looked around for an operating system that would run on Hulk, who did not get younger either. This time I wanted to be sure that there is support available that is not some guy’s rambling comment with some command lines interspersed. I am not afraid of command lines, but we moved on, today I prefer one-click-solutions. Also installing should not lead to another night wasted on brain-knotting logic exercises (if I click this box here, and opt for “no” there, then …).
The solution is “Ubuntu Mate“. The company behind “ubuntu” is around for some years, has no plans to go away, long term support is secured at least until 2023. I burnt a cd, tried it out, and was happy with what I saw. Then I bulldozed over the assigned hard drive recklessly : It felt strangely satisfying. Wann’s mehr ‘ned braucht’ …

What The Hack ?

As some of You, venerated readers, may know I use a free webmail account to be approachable. It is the simplest, free variant. The job is easy, send and receive emails. I do not mind the advertisements, it is all acceptable. I do not use an email program (outlook, Pegasus, Thunderbird, Sylpheed) anymore, it is all done via the webmailer, via the website of the company, in my browser. This, fortunately, works in any browser I may choose.
Yesterday or so I received an email from the security departement of the company whose service I use, autogenerated. It informed me that someone, or somewhat, had tried to connect to my email account via a third party email program or the application the company provides for use on an iphone / smart phone. It did not work, says the email, because the option to use an imap or pop server is deactivated standardly. I used the provided phone number to the help desk and talked to a young man who confirmed that, simply put, someone (or somewhat) had tried to get access to my email account. It would be a good idea to change my password now.
What I dutyfully did.
I do not know exactly where or when in setting up an email connection via an email program the password is asked / used or set – but chances are very good that my – now former – password is “known”, since it was unchanged since 2001. Well, never change a running system.
Now I feel the urge to change all passwords – yes, I want strong, new passwords, glitzy, shiny and surrounded by the air of invincibility, Arnold in his prime !