Posted in Linux, Software, Windows

New Linux Mint convert

Last Christmas I bought a new ASUS TP200SA netbook(?) for my wife. It was familiar as I have the ASUS C100PA Chromebook, and I love it. This ASUS however came with Windows 10. She wanted it as a windows box as she was sure she needed windows to do some of the work she wanted to do. A false premise, I know, but one that a lot of people have.

And it worked Ok, at first, however Microsoft should never get into specing hardware, in this case, in an effort to produce a Chromebook ‘killer’ that used a similar specification. duo-core, 2GB ram and 32GB of storage. And while this works for a lightweight OS like ChromeOS, this is nowhere near adequate for windows 10. And the issue raised it’s ugly head with the first ‘Update’ that Microsoft forced down on the users who own these.

It doesn’t work, would never have worked, so MS has produced another dud of a product. Don’t buy one of these for Windows 10, you will hate it.

The good news is that I did my research beforehand on this laptop, and there were several people managing to get Linux to boot on them. Mosly having to delete the entire windows 10 partition. So knowing I had a solution I bought this. And when the wife finally got too frustrated with making Windows work, she ask me to convert it.

The previous Linux geeks were using things like Fedora but I wasn’t enamored of that distribution. So I tried out my favorite Linux Mint 18.2 and performed the steps I found here: TP200SA Linux Success! except where they used Fedora I used a live USB stick for Linux Mint 18.2. This work great, and I showed my wife how to use the install after she tried out the live USB.

Everything when great, and the install worked even the touch screen, a good surprise. However on the first reboot to the internal ‘ssd’ in the TP200 the track pad did not work, the touch interface work and I assumed that there was a setting that needed to be changed. Not! But after googling the Elan touchpad, I found this: Elantech Touchpad not working

had the same problem. After googling a lot I found a workaround: in /etc/defaut/grub

sudo nano /etc/default/grub
I added i8042.reset to the line GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”i8042.reset quiet splash”
and then

sudo update-grub
Finally after a restart the touchpad works fine (multitouch included).

And then after I rebooted, it all worked. It does not auto switch to ‘Pad’ mode, but the wife never used that feature anyway, she is delighted to have dumped Windows, and with the addition of the Chromium Browser it synced up with her other Sony Laptop, and she’s using the touch screen all the time. Win!

Posted in AI, Artificial Intelligence

The color red, for the Blind AI

The diversity of humans and other creatures is often a cause of wonder, and this diversity is often reflected in our understanding of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Huge strides have been made in this field, but somehow the fundamental differences in Humans obscures the commonality of the ‘Human’ experience.

One of these factors is Sight, the act of seeing. While we often overlook this day to day, for an AI, or any robotic devices, intelligent or not, is the vision. This vision, our ability to see what other humans see is a basic element of language and communications. Try describing  the Color Red to a blind person, and you will quickly see the issue. No artificial ‘Eye’, sensor or camera in the AI/Robotic world ‘sees’ like we do, nor do any AI or robotic devices share the same ‘vision’ devices.

Explaining ‘Red’ to the blind is the same as two AI’s trying to explain ‘Red’ to another AI. Complex is not a big enough word to explain this.

The solution is problematic, the Technology of Seeing, needs to become a common denominator within the AI community. Current vision systems are at best a mixed bag, and require an upgrade, and a standardization that is currently lacking. And while the vision information obtained from the Human Eye and a Robotic replacement might attain equality, they may never contain the same data due to the differences in the technology. What must happen is that common robotic vision devices (eyes) need to be good enough and be interchangeable so that different AI’s can resolve the color ‘Red’ the same way. Paving the way for a common communication interchange regarding the external world.

Posted in history, IT Issues, Personal, Software

I.T. as street vendors

Yesterday while talking with a colleague, I was trying to get a cross the idea the most ‘programmers’ don’t understand what goes on inside a computer. And his response was, “Does it matter any more?” and while it took me back, I had to respond, “No!”  After sleeping on it, I came to a revelation of sorts.

Current IT is equivalent to being a Hot-dog vendor on the street.

And while we IT/CS folk might try and elevate our profession to that status of demigod status we are merely vendors of what the computer can DO!‘  We don’t create the computer, we splash condiments on the hot-dog, and sell it as computing.  We don’t even make the condiments anymore, call them libraries, functions written by gnomes in dark caves.  And don’t even mention the buns, the dressing ,the cover, beyond us.

In the early days of computing, the common question was, what do I use my computer for. And the first answer often was, you could put your cooking recipes in it.  Creating the first cookbook you needed to plugin. The computer is still the same, just that the cookbook has gotten more sophisticated.

I have harped for years that the ‘hardware’ of computing has crippled real advances in computing, more and more systems are opting for generic in their selection of Hot-dog instead, choosing to dress it up with more and intriguing spices and toppings, things like AI and Neural Networks.  While these latter are more sophisticated and sexy, they are more or less toppings on the same Hot-dog.

Posted in Cloud, history, Internet, Networks

The Expenditure of TCPv4

While working on an TCP/IP problem today, I was finally struck by the fact that we have for all intents and purposes expended the entire TCPv4 addressing space. I knew it was coming, years ago, but now while testing IP addresses, it dawned on me.

You can now pick any arbitrary set of numbers nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn and expect a response. Ping them, probe them, something will be there, or it’s being held. All gone, this is the equivalent of spitting in the middle of an ocean while swimming,  you are going to hit ocean.

4,294,967,296 (232) addresses gone, 4 Billion addresses in use…..

Posted in Economy & Business, Forecasting, IT Issues

Future Computing

Note to self, the computer is not built to do anything other than execute instructions, hardware advances over the years have only advanced the ability of the CPU to gather instructions, it does not make decisions about what to execute, or in what order to execute them in. That is the organization of the basic boot loader, in combination with the operating system loaded.

There are no elements of artificial intelligence built into the hardware, it has no ability to reprogram itself or to change it’s wiring. External forces must be applied to force change either by altering microcode-code in the core of the CPU (should that be possible) or by execution of programs within the confines of the operating system, instructions provided by the boot loader or via operating systems loaded and executing programs. It is through those processes that constitute what a computer does, with what it ‘sees’ .

Any hope of producing the next generation of computing must therefore be a revolution in how the CPU is instructed to perform it’s instructions, what is done with the output, and any associated hardware connected to the system to perform ‘tasks’ assigned by that process. The argument that Windows, or Linux/Unix or any other operating system is better than another DOES create opportunities and restrictions uniquely to any new programming, computing Paradigm.

Anything like artificial intelligence will have to preceded by a new suite of hardware, with a new way of ‘booting’ the system and or an entirely new operating system tailored to artificial intelligence operations. Current hardware/software standardization is at once the primary blockage to any future advances to computing.

UPDATE #1: IBM Creates Custom-Made Brain-Like Chip