Computer
Computer Diary
RepRap


"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference."

Reinhold Niebuhr
1892-1971

Computer

Updates

Sun, July 29, 2012: Extended the otherwise boring page with some "extensive" consideration on reality.

Introduction

I was fascinated by the universality of programming - the moment you discover the variable, and the conditional looping, a huge realm of computing is possible:


Computer Setup 2012/04: Netbook and Laptop with 2nd LCDs, one mouse & keyboard attached patched together with Synergy

Setup 2004/01: One PC with 4x 18" LCD

i = 0;

while ( i < 100 ) {
   if( i == 13 ) {
      i = i * 2;
   }
   if( i == 47 ) {
      i = i + 13;
   }
   i = i + 1;
}

I have grown up with computers, since apprx. 1980 - starting with Sinclair ZX81, then Commodore C-64, then Apple-II and some clones, then Suns in an academic environment, and finally the IBM PC and its variants, when I started to use Linux and various other Open-Source software.


Wood Rack with Barebones (2004/09/30)
And then put together small racks with barebones and at some time gave away all computers and worked on provided machines as freelancer.

Later got used machines, tower or small desktops, or laptops - either for free at at very low cost, as I didn't want to follow up to buy overpriced machines and add to the faster/bigger hype wanted to re-use older machines still sufficient to work with.

For several years I didn't even own a computer as I had access to academic computer infrastructure or was provided machines while on a project.

Out of my passion it became also my profession, and much of my income came from programming.

Programming


Programming Perl Book
My programming knowledge started with BASIC on the ZX81, and later Assembler 6502, 68000 and some other CPUs, and then at some time began to code in C as well, which I used to program a lot (tens of thousands of lines of code). Working in academics I was introduced to Perl and since then almost abandoned all other programming languages and do most of my work, whatever it is, with Perl. Why? The amount of code to implement a functional is usually so low, that you are quick to implement it and it's fairly easy to find bugs.

#!/usr/bin/perl

print "Hello World!\n";

Later coded also in JavaScript to make web-pages more sophisticated and balance functionality between server (backend) and browser (frontend). Some of it you see at my site SimplyDifferently.org , and in 1995-2003 about I ran SpiritWeb.org, a spiritual community web-site, with just Perl and implemented mailing-lists, web-chat, bulletin-board etc from scratch, with Apache and mod_perl together, even implemented a NoSQL database, which back then didn't have this notion, with it.

I have to admit I have been reluctant to code with verbose language, such as Objective C and Java and a few others, as the amount of declaration needed before any functionality can be implemented is immense.

The-Labs.com

I started my programming and consulting site in July 1998.

Open Source

I like the idea of Open Source, available software code in order to know what's running on my machine (even I have switched from Firefox to Opera once and now run Chrome I do not follow 100% this ideology anymore - granted).

I think it's important to have the software available in source, in order to be reviewed, debugged and refined. Unfortunately, some software does not good being in Open Source, whereas other software has and is a great success:

Status 2012/07:

Partial Failures

  • Desktop: no coherent desktop software available yet, driver support not good enough yet (webcams, printers, etc), bad backward binary compatibility (that's what Microsoft does right)
  • X11 : was once a success, now only hinders new innovations: slow even on fast video cards, antialiasing fonts or rendering still done with quirks, slowly catching up to be "ready" again

Still Not Yet Ready

  • KDE : immitating Microsoft "Windows" and MacOS-X Quartz, partially bloatware, compared to MacOS-X still 2-4 years behind
  • Gnome : eye-candyness without options

Successes

  • GNU.org : GNU C & C++ compiler - the base of all successful Open Source projects
  • Majority of script languages which made the WWW truly succeed and make it the way it is today, like perl .
  • Gimp.org , reliable working horse to edit pixel-based images
  • Inkscape.org , vector-based draw program, bogs down when doing serious artistic work (with 10,000's of objects)
  • LibreOffice.org (formerly OpenOffice.org ) are still terrible ways to write documents (GUI is slow, image handling counter intuitive, customizing of layout colors complicate)
  • Firefox : partially bloatware, trying to be slim
  • FreeBSD.org : great server OS, truely reliable
  • Linux.com : making UNIX available to the masses, layed ground for Android smartphone OS, aside of desktop becoming most used and successful operating system
  • Kubuntu.org /Ubuntu.org : easy install almost all working Linux distribution (except KDE 4.0 and 4.1)
  • Debian.org : great Linux distribution, just outdated packages


Reality & Virtual Reality (VR)


The Matrix
The movies Tron and The Matrix were addressing the issue with Reality vs Virtual Reality for a wide audience prominantly, yet it has been actually an very old theme of Spirituality: layered realities perceived by spiritual/biological/technological interfaces:

  • Physical reality (outside of body): computer peripherials (present technology)
  • Physical body (inside of body): prosthetics / cyborg components (future?)
  • Psychological realities (belief systems, behavioural patterns): social/psychological mesh of living together (since the beginning of time)
  • Spiritual realities: reality of the spirit/soul (never born, therefore never dies)

There is a huge misunderstanding of "Psychology", in the true meaning of the word is the science of the spirit/soul: psyche; but society has adapted the term psychology for mental (mind related) processes, which are the physical imprints or leftover from the spirit/soul. Anyway, in the list above is used the social established meaning, but wanted to point out the deep misunderstanding.

Where is the Exit, Where is the Entry?

The question all ask: where is the exit, where is the entry to a reality?

The Entry

You attach your existing senses to devices which make a world available to you - this isn't just an answer applicable for high-tech devices, but is true for the spiritual consideration as well:


Screen, keyboard, mouse

Computer Level: the devices to experience the virtual reality are screen (sight), keyboard (touch), mouse (touch) or some more modern approaches - with them you interact with a world which otherwise would not exist (for you).


Fetus

Human Level: the device to experience the physical reality is the human body (sight, taste, hearing, touch) - a quasi cell-technology based self-replicating device, which hosts the being, the soul/spirit, which allows the being to experience this physical reality (see more in Spirituality-section).


The Exit


"Truman Show": reaching the fake horizon

Computer Level: disconnect the interface, walk away (very simple), one isn't too closely tied to the interface not knowing how to disconnect, it's still obvious where one reality starts and where the next one ends.


Augmented Reality

Meditation

Human Level: disconnect the interface by:

  • meditation: focusing your attention away from the physical but within
  • near-death experience: "accidental" experience being thrown out of the body and coming back (hence 'near-death')
  • using altered state inducing substances: pulling or throwing you away from the physical reality and place to you somewhere else - not recommended without a guide (like a shaman or alike), you just end up "somewhere" and alike remain disoriented regardless how many times you go there
  • sleep: mostly detaching from the human body - dreams: either self-indulging realities with sole observer being you, or shared realities like astral projection or general multi-dimensional experiences perceive or recalled when woken up as "dreams"
  • death: complete detachment from the body, no return into the same body - possibility to re-attach to a new body (reincarnation), time consuming process

etc. read more in my Spirituality section if you are interested


The soft step in between what is thriving currently (status 2012) is augmented reality - you follow reality with some features of the virtual reality.

Biological / Technological Bridge


Human machine interface has been an increasing concern since computer were built, for obvious reasons:
  • how can we enter information, questions, demands?
  • how can we retrieve the information, answers, givings?

As of 2012, most devices are used outside of the human body, but it's clear with Google Project Glass for example, the screen comes very close to the human eye, question is if it voluntarly crosses the skin boundary into the body?


Google Glass Project (2012)

Star Trek: The Borgs (assimilated Captain Picard)

An artistic vision of a possible future:

and the real creepy start of a sub-culture: Cyborg America: Biohackers (13min video)


Kevin Warwick had cybernetic sensors implanted into the nerves of his arm (2002)


.:.




Copyright 2007-2014 © by René K. Müller <spiritdude@gmail.com> / Google+
Illustrations and graphics made with Inkscape, GIMP and Tgif