… piep …


Mid-February my computer (the former Mighty Monster Masher) died and I re-activated Methusalem. But after a week or so Methusalem finally gave in and went to computer heaven. I helplessly tried to use Methusalem‘s grandfather (yes, I know, I know …), fruitlessly, and after some strong thinking (and a blank stare at my bank account) I finally called a man in the Rhineland who offered the machine I have right now.
It arrived some days ago, and I use it. I never used, or possessed, a computer of this kind. This thing is heavy, strong, and quiet. In fact it is a roughly seven year old workstation with a strong Xeon processor, a lot of RAM, and gives me the feeling of driving a Mercedes. I looked inside (because I had to switch something) – no dangling bids & bobs, no cables hanging around, a solid construction, and if need be (and one finds the software that works it) there is the possibility to build in another processing unit. It uses (of course) a 64-bit-version of Windows 7 – and everything is so damn fast, and seemingly easy, it makes me nervous : Is that it ? Is it real ? All my experiences do point into another direction, but I am ready to accept that sometimes things can go smooth.
Even Windows.
I am not yet familiar with the in-built browser, I think it is Internet Explorer 11, and of course I still have to fetch all my bookmarks from another hard drive, so I am not able to go around and look at all & everything that happened in Blogsville since I had to take a break. Also my email accounts must flow over, I still did not look at them.
I find it interesting what the no-computer time did with me. At first I came home and looked stupidly at my desk : All the routines did not work anymore. I only then realised how much time I usually spend/t online, looking at “news”, reading blogs, now & then searching for information, trallalah … I looked around and realised that there are other chairs in this room, some I had not used for more than eight months.
I did not miss the “news”. I missed blogs – and what they stand for, persons that is – and I missed the ability to search for information, for literature, images. So I am slowly climbing “back into the saddle”, finding my way through the new operating system and its vast possibilities, making the browser comfortable, hacking my way through tons of emails. This machine / system is terribly underwhelmed with just surfing the web, because I looked for a machine that would allow me to do “something with photographs” : This old battle axe should just do it. But right now I am happy that it just works.
I hope this finds you, my venerated and remaining reader, well, alive and kicking – I’ll drop by as soon as possible.

Sunday Music

Sunday Music, Monday Edition

I spent the weekend mostly sleeping, coughing, or in hot water in my bathtub. Yesterday I went out and visited the university’s library, for the first time in ages. I need to refresh my knowledge on some specific subjects, preferably fast & over the next few days. I hope the cerebellum will jump-start without spluttering.
Work was work, mostly uneventful.
Some interesting things happened in the world, for example the German Bundestag, our parliament, came together for its first & constituent meeting after the election (Ger., Eng.). With more than seven hundred members it is a pretty large convent nowadays, and fascists are there too, 94 to be precise. One should not forget that the fascists are the strongest party in Saxony. Experience from the state parliaments shows that they fail in these institutions, usually. One may wonder what will happen here in the future.
While fascists came into the Bundestag our Eastern neighbour, the Czech Republic, elected a new “leader”, who fits perfectly into the pattern of Eastern European “leaders” we have to deal with now. Austria included. In fact it all looks a bit like “K.u.k”-revisited. On the same day the Hungarian “leader” gave a speech. He declared East-Central Europe for “migranten-frei” / “migrant free”, not a mean feat against the combined efforts of “Europe” and the “Jewish capital” – heck yeah, this is what he said : It’s the good old “Welt-Finanzjudentum”. Don’t get fooled : This guy knows exactly what he says, knows exactly what words he uses, this is no mistake.
It is all pretty sickening, I really thought we would have left this shit behind us. But obviously there are societies that prefer old “explanations”, and prefer to repeat all the inhumane nonsense previous generations already have lived through : There is no progress in human development, there is no automatic enlightenment, there is no “learning from history”.
But there is automatic learning – and I find this very very interesting : I talk about the new “go” playing computer / software / intelligence.
You may remember that roughly 18 months ago a machine won (Ger., Eng.) over the then reigning world champion, Lee SEDOL (Ger., Eng.). This computer was called “AlphaGo”, consisted of pretty powerful hardware, and used at least two nets of “neuronal software”, among other sophisticated stuff. This “neuronal” software is good at learning, and “AlphaGo” learned, it was fed thousands of human go-games, and played against itself.
Soon a better version came, “AlphaGo Master” – it still learned by the input of human games, and swept away the best sixty go-players of the world in early 2017.
Now we have “AlphaGo Zero”. With only one neuronal net, with remarkably less sophisticated hardware, “Zero” was given the rules of the game only – nothing else, and played against itself. After three days “Zero” played against his “grandfather”, the machine that had triumphed over SEDOL – and beat the older machine 100:0.
After additional training – that is, playing with itself – “Zero” stood against “Master”, and beat it 89:11.
The remarkable thing about all this is that the new machine was not given any examples of how humans play the game : The machine did learn it all out of itself.
Read it here.
I have no clue what this will mean for us humans in the future, but I know that it is important. Many things in our daily lives are already run by algorithms, by machines, by software. Now it learns – without our example : The thing emancipates itself.

But enough, the future is in a murk – what a nice word, MsScarlet gave it to me when she described her outlook towards Dartmoor (here she shows her garden).
But this Sunday Music not only needs, but lives from “murk” – Truls MØRK (Ger., Eng.) and the Artemis Quartet give us their version of movement 3 Scherzo of SCHUBERTs String Quintet D956 (Ger., Eng.). I hope you enjoy the music, may we all have a peaceful week without crashing computers, and nasty “algo”-rythms.



Sunday Music

Sunday Music, Notausgabe

Achachach … When I pressed the button of the Blaue Engel on Saturday morning nothing happened. What means exactly – the button worked and its blue led came up ; the screen became white ; the familiar sounds of the hard drive’s rödeling did not come to my ears, there was only the death rattle of the cooler left. Followed the usual, like switching things on and off, controlling cable connections. Than I had to go to work and driving through dense fog really made me forget this calamity. There are a few Saturdays over the year when we have to bring the kids in the “Zentrum”, usually when they have some kind of event there, parents are involved, and normally they take their kids home in the afternoon. Thankfully all of “my” parents decided to go this traditional route.
Nevertheless the Blaue Engel stayed silent on my return, not one single peep. The hard drive does nothing at all, the operating system is not near being loaded into the memory … I shook the disk a bit, but it stayed unimpressed.
Is this bad ? The most important things, stuff I did for clients, is copied onto another physical storage medium ; the emails … well, some were nice and I would have liked to keep these – would I ever have them read again ? What is more important is that I have no more addresses at all.
Pictures –  ah yes, something I wanted to do for some time and looked for in winter vacancy – weeding out, getting rid of the nonsense … some few were good, some were la-la, most were not good ; anyway, I have not to go through the collection, the collection left. So I have to take new pictures. Texts & letters – don’t care.
In the end it is no real damage, unpleasant, yes, but no catastrophe.
A young friend advised me to put into the Blaue Engel a new hard drive, a ssd which promises rapidity. Perhaps I will switch to windoof 10, we’ll see.

Enough of this technical babble, let’s do what the hard drive did – Let’s Misbehave !
Enjoy the 1927 version performed by Irving AARONSON & His Commanders – here’s to a hopefully un-hectic and perhaps even peaceful week !




Gargle’s .45

Me and “google” are not friends, as some of you, venerated readers, who follow this scribble for a bit longer, surely know. Our ways had not yet fully parted, inasmuch as I still used a chrome-based browser called “iron”. The (German) developers of this program say that they carry over the benefits of gargle’s “chrome”, like velocity and all-round-usefulness, but get rid of the not so nice things, notably gargle’s hunger for data.
I used it until I found that it hat bloated a lot. Months ago I had looked at the windows’ list of programs and was told that “iron” would use around 70 MB of disk space ; some weeks ago it was over 140 MB. The whole folder had over 220 MB. And it became slow – no more hop-through-the-web, but a tired drag-through-the mud. Additionally it always showed a message telling me that some plug-in was not supported anymore, but there is a way to dig around. So I dug around – and, hallelujah, with the new version (45) all would be better.
I looked for something else and found a small basic browser that simply does what it says on the tin, it shows websites. It has some weaknesses, but I learned to live with it – and now I have to. Because when I learned that a new version of gargle’s browser is out, what means that the corresponding “iron”-version is available, I wanted to have a look at it. I downloaded it, had it installed, all without hassle and as usual. It worked fine. Then I realised that they had this personalising-thingy carried over. This and some other things I did not like (notably that from the start it comes with all gargle-cookies, be it “blogger” or “youtube” or anything else from the gargle-universe – even when I had cookies deleted manually or automatically at the end of a session) and hence decided to uninstall this program.
But I was not allowed to do this.
When I used the windows-de-installing routine I was told that “This program can only be uninstalled on a 64-bit-windows.” (I cite it from memory, the exact wording may have been a bit different, but the statement is clear I hope.) This windows I use on this machine is by no means a 64-bit-windows. And I did not download the “wrong” version of the program – simply because there is nothing to choose from. (Well, there is a “portable version” available. But that’s it. It is one button to click for the rest.)
First I went to the program’s in-built uninstallation, and got the same message. So I tried CCleaner, no way. I tried it “by foot” : Go to the folder, erase it, then clean the registry from dead entries. No way : I was not even allowed to rename the folder ! Forget to open or delete it ! And yes, I am my own administrator.
Then I tried to re-install it, there could be perhaps a possibility to “change / repair” – no way.
I became a bit angry. And out of a whim I grabbed a de-installing program from the web, “Iobit” or something, forgot the name : Forget it too, dear readers ! It is blank nonsense and comes with a ton of additional unwanted code you never wanted to have – and did not accept to have delivered ! It even had the nerve to litter my desktop with silly “gauges” ! I kicked this out as fast as possible.
In the end I restored windows – it is the second or third time I did this ever, since I use this operating system. Windows had created a restoring-point only some days before I started this unlucky adventure, and it worked like a charm. The list of installed programs showed me the older version of this “chrome”-derivat. The in-built de-installation still did not work (same message as before), but at least I was allowed to erase the folder via the windows explorer !
After having got rid of the unwanted code I realised that the machine was unusually slow. The “defraggler” showed me that 12 % of the files on C: were fragmented. I use this tool only twice a year or so, the fragmentation-rate is normally down to one or two percent. So before I went for my afternoon drive I put it to work, and it sorted the mess out.
Was ist das End’ vom Lied ?
Maybe I behaved stupidly, maybe this is all irrelevant, it surely is less than a storm in a tea-cup. But I know for sure that I will not again use a program that comes from gargle. My last connection to this data-gargling behemoth is Sunday’s link to “youtube” (or preferably something else hereafter), simply because this is the largest repository of music on the web I have access to. Anything else are poisoned gifts I do not want to touch.