September 12, 2005

I'm back from Oslo, and, of course, all my organs are intact. Oslo is cool; it has an extensive metro system, two Outland stores that both are much larger than the one in Stavanger (and thus sporting more shelf space), and one Outlandish store called Avalon (which, as far as understand, is Outland's main and only competitor).

While walking in the city, a lunatic with flyers approached me and wanted me to oppose abortion. I told him he was crazy and continued on my merry way, of course.

I got to mess around with Mr Schrøder's Linux installation. It definitely seems to run faster than Windows. I promise to mess around with my own installation, eventually.

I've read two books since last time: Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks and Robot Visions by Isaac Asimov, and all the summaries of anthologies now has a listing of contents. I have now read 36 books in total, and 17 of those are Asimov's. If you do the arithmetic you'll find that 47% of the books I've read are by him. Perhaps I should, uh, read more by others.

Excerpt from Our Intelligent Tools:

"Eventually, if we learn how to make a computer sufficiently complex and sufficiently large, why should it not achieve a human intelligence?

Some people are sure to be disbelieving and say, "But how can a computer possibly produce a great symphony, a great work of art, a new scientific theory?"

The retort I am usually tempted to make to this question is, "Can you?""

This, of course, was incorporated into the motion picture I, Robot. Hee!

Let me take a moment to tell you how utterly stupid our workstation setups are at my work. First, the computers we use are slow. Second, we do all of our work through the Remote Desktop Protocol (or something very similar) on servers in Oslo. I believe these are very slow, or the connection is slow, or a combination thereof. In any case, it's a serious bottleneck. Third (and this is not really a technical flaw), the people who use this system (Lotus Notes) suck at it. Not only do people not use the database when making lists of people in, say, a certain group, they also embed images in PDF and DOC files, which in turn are embedded in so-called notes, stashed away in illogical places so that you are sure not to find what you want, when you want it. It is stupidity wrapped in evil inside incompetence.

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