Things i Hate (Or: Rants by an Old Man)

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The Lounge What is on Your Mind? Things i Hate (Or: Rants by an Old Man)
# 1  
Old 02-07-2019
Things i Hate (Or: Rants by an Old Man)

I am an old man and i find modern times not so much confusing but outright - to use the correct word - "smart". Frankly, many things looked better back then - but especially the future. So today, instead of taking my medication, i will take a more "wholesome" approach and vent off some steam by sharing with you the things that i hate:

Intelligent Search Engines
Back in the good old days we had the mother of all search engines - Altavista. Altavista had a simple interface:

- you typed "foo" and searched for web sites containing "foo";
- you typed "foo AND bar" and searched for websites containing both "foo" and "bar"
- you typed "foo AND NOT bar" and searched for websites containing "foo" but not "bar"

and so on. Very complicated, no? Today, everything is much better: today i use the successor of IXQUICK, Startpage. When i enter "foo bar" there i used to get websites that contained "foo" as well as "bar" but some time ago they made the "experience" (as using something is called nowadays) even better. Now i get all websites containing either "foo" OR "bar" PLUS all websites containing neither but something startpage thinks is related to either "foo" or "bar".

Chances are that if i enter "bugs fooware" i am not interested in the bugs of fooware but rather in advice whom to call for fighting bugs (i.e. the website "") and places where to buy fooware at the lowest possible price. Many thanks for doing that, only now my life is complete. I might have gotten zero hits if i used unwisely selected keywords in the past, now i get some millions of hits i can't use at all. Isn't that phantastic?

It gets even more phantastic because the search itself is now "smart": i search for "A" and, by the seat of its pants, the search engine concludes that in fact i might be interested in "B". So i get listed all the results for "B", because "B" is somehow related (in the opinion of the search engine) to "A". And not only that, i get these mixed with the results that indeed contain "A" so i may myself enjoy sifting through all those "hits" only to find out that the first 20 hits do not contain my search string at all.

You might think that Startpage is just a bad search engine and i should use Google, yes? Well, the difference to Google is - apart from the fact that they claim they do not log my searches - that with Startpage i can at least go to "advanced" settings and with a finite effort make my search as dumb ("unsmart"?) as it previously was. Google works the same as Startpage but without me being able to configure it unless i create an account there and "log in". Huh?? Why should i "log in" to a web indexer??

Smart Phones
Nowadays "smart" is creeping up everywhere: yesterday i had a phone. I could use it to make or receive phone calls (for the younger: that is like Twitter, but without needing to type and not limited to 140 characters). Now i am told i need a "smart phone" which can do everything my laptop can do, but on a screen as small as a stamp (for the younger: ah, why bother....) and a locked root account which i am forbidden to unlock by law. What?? It even gets smarter because i cannot install the OS i want on this micro-laptop. On the other hand the "smart" phone can buy things without my consent, send my data to who knows, tell the NSA what the KGB wants to know about me and since it is built by Huawei i am being spied upon by the Chinese - says the US.

Smart Homes
Back in the days, i lived in something i called "home". But that was pretty dumb. Nowadays i am told to live in a "smart home", but alas, my "smart phone" got infected with something (i have no idea what, because i'd need root access to find out) and now the door won't open for me. I asked the person i see enter and leave my smart home on a daily basis but he claims he has no idea what i am talking about.

Smart Assists
Speaking about home: all this housing and searching and using phones is so awfully complicated for old people like me because we have no idea about technics.

But then "smart" hit pretty close to home where i thought i had some knowledge - systems administration - when IBM launched the new version of their high-availability software (i still call it HACMP, but its name has changed from that to SystemMirror to Spectre Something to PowerHA to ... well, whatever). The versions before a system administrator designed a HA-cluster for SAP that way: a ressource group for the DB, a ressource group for the application, one service IP for each of these ressource groups - done. You need to write a start script and a stop script for each of these ressource groups and that was that. But of course, system administrators being the persons they are they cannot be trusted with writing a simple shell script, let alone four!

IBM told us it is now considered "bad practice" to write start-/stop-scripts or design a cluster. Instead we have to use "smart assists": programs that figure out themselves what is best for your cluster. OK, so somebody from IBM came and told us lowlifes how to set up a cluster the modern way. At first it didn't work but he got a few not-yet-released patched from some lab and then it did work but not reliably but after some weeks of waiting and patching and "ohh"-ing and "ahh, damn"-ing he was finally able to automatically configure the test cluster: 47 resource groups, 20 configured IP addresses, close to 100 dependencies between the different configuration items and start-/stop-scripts that were close to 60k in size each. A switchover of the application took 25 minutes instead of 1-2. I think about the smart assists that their last syllable were an overstatement.

Can somebody tell me how i make all these smart things get dumb again?

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# 2  
Old 02-07-2019
Hi bakunin...

Oh boy, I reckon I am gonna love this thread. ;oD
And I thought I was alone. Now you have set me off. I agree with everything you have written.
(Apologies for any typos.)

I have been into electronics all my life until retirement, getting my degree as a student apprentice from Marconi Radar Systems from 1968 - 76.
Went through life changes to eventually become a major shareholder in a company that designed, installed, repaired and maintained medium to high power RF equipment, transmitters, receivers and associated gear from around 1 Watt to several KiloWatts, 1980 - 2015, when I retired.

Oh those days of valve/tubes when you could see the components, and fondle them with such affection. Repairs and maintenance were difficult but very easy.
Then came the transistorised stuff and the units sizes collapsed considerably. You could still feel those components but their sizes had also collapsed. Repairs and maintenance were also difficult and easy.

Now we hit the DIP 7400 and 4000 series ICs and still that air of component size but the units are an order of magnitude more complex and require a database as to what these DIPs do, so I was forced to understand pure logic and be able to design stuff around them. Repairs and maintenance were much the same as the transistorised stuff.

Oh boy, we now hit surface mount microprocessors and peripheral ICs but still with standard type passive components. These things are an order of magnitude more complex too. Oh dear, we can't reliably replace faulty chips manually the old way, we need a proper workstation. So several grand UK pounds later we are now able to do repairs and maintenance.

Surface mount. UGH! This has evolved into anything but repairable, at first you could at least see the passives but these reduced in size by orders of 2 magnitude without degrading reliability until they just looked like tiny pieces for grit, forget about repairs and maintenance, just pull the board and chuck.

And finally everything in the super-surface mount IC itself. Scrap if it has failed and get a new unit complete, the IC[s] can't be removed by our now ancient workstation and there is no means of tracing a fault inside a black slab containing near unlimited components.

And everything is for the better.

There is much more but I want to read others rants too... ;oD

Last edited by wisecracker; 02-07-2019 at 07:12 PM.. Reason: Curing numerous typos.
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# 3  
Old 02-07-2019
"Smart search" is nothing more or less than google's means for unobtrusively jamming unwanted, paid results into searches.

Google doesn't get paid for correct results, after all. So they're under continuous pressure to degrade accuracy in favor of advertisers.

Remember when google was popular because it was honest and lacked ads? I'm no longer sure that was ever true. It took me this long to notice, but they're playing the same game as the bad old ones. Just way better at hiding it.
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# 4  
Old 02-08-2019
The worst for me is Google's (and other tech giants) targeting and recommendation engine algorithms; and the very worst for me is YouTube's targeting and recommendations.

For example, if you have a YouTube account you are constantly targeted. Look at one cat video and you will see cat videos in your recommendations forever. The only way to stop the constant barrage of 'cat videos' is to then go into each video and click "Not Interested", then click on "Tell Us Why" and you must click on a reason. Watch one video on "boxing" and you will be bombarded with boxing videos constantly and the ONLY WAY to stop this is to constantly do the terrible time-wasting YouTube three click dance:

It's totally disgusting. Google's YouTube engineers should be fired and they should hire people who actual care about others and care about the world we live in.

Also, just as bad or even worse is when you look at some political video on CNN or your favorite legitimate news channel. YouTube will then constantly bombard you with copyright violations who screen capture CNN's (all legitimate news channels) programming and write fake headlines over the videos. It's horrible. YouTube and Google actively push copyright violations and fake news headlines / bylines out to me every day. This, I really HATE. Google (YouTube) forces us to do this horrible three click dance constantly because of the illegal and offensive content they push out to us:

This is never ending! Really, Google's engineers should be fired and replaced with people who understand how to insure that fake news, copyright violations and the constant stream of offensive, fake, stolen video content is not forced upon us. Google's is supposed to have all this great "AI" technology and they cannot even stop basic copyright theft and fake news on YouTube. In fact, Google / YouTube promotes this criminal activity and forces this offensive material into my YouTube "recommedations" channel.

How in the hell does Google and YouTube get away with permitting people to steal other's content, write fake / offensive headlines and bylines over the videos, and push this garbage out to us constantly!!!

This should be illegal and probably is, but Google / YouTube does is a matter of standard business practice.

This is my rant!

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# 5  
Old 02-08-2019
In the news this morning:
"Popular iPhone apps are recording their users' every tap and swipe, according to a TechCrunch report."
Certain iPhone apps are reportedly tracking their users' every swipe and tap - Business Insider
# 6  
Old 02-08-2019
Google used to be quite vigilant in updating their algorithms to foil whatever latest method anyone discovered to use their own mechanisms to push false results. They clearly no longer care, or perhaps have found their true employers at last. Spam can be lucrative, if you're not the one silly enough to send it, the same way junk mail is lucrative, to the post office.
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# 7  
Old 02-08-2019
I think it was just golden time for the development of computers. and it passed. A kind of "Cambrian explosion" of systems development. When one independent developer decided everything and was a god. It is clear that people who've caught this time will miss him. Life unfortunately is constantly becoming more complicated, but it is not inevitable
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