Tuesday, February 10, 2009


You probably aren't surprised to learn that geeks tend to associate "government" with "operating system", in the sense that an OS has the job of resource allocation in obedience to "we the people" (various programs).

The kernel is architected by we the people in a somewhat Rawls-like way, John Rawls being the guy who said you need to design a system without knowing in advance what will be your position within it.

Will this computer belong to a gamer or be on a rack in some data center, we don't know in advance, but lets have an OS that's versatile enough to handle either contingency. Running programs need to share resources, not step on each others' toes.

Anyway, I don't need to go into the details too much. The fact is, we're big believers in democracy, sharing, not hogging. Programs don't get to do that in a well designed OS.

Another useful feature of this analogy, between government and operating system, is the concept of upgrading. Upgrades may be tiny little patches taking care of minuscule security holes, or they may be severe, such as when maybe thousands of programs get upgraded at once. That's more like going from Feisty Fawn to Gutsy Gibbon to Hardy Heron (successive versions of Ubuntu).

Speaking of upgrading: I just downgraded my DirectTV service, although I've so far avoided killing it all together. The so-called Family Package doesn't include either Discovery or History channels, no Animal Planet.

Fortunately, I live in a great little city that's bursting with culture, don't need all those channels when it comes to exploring my heritage. Plus I still have the Internet.

Tara is disappointed though, is already missing some favorites. She'll need to explore the Internet more, and teach me about what she discovers.

Choice Plus didn't have the channels I write most about in my blogs: Geek Channel, Reality TV... Pentagon Channel.

My so-called Reality TV is World Game rebranded, not just millionaire wannabe shows. Our celebrities actually tackle tough situations in the real world, with product placement a part of the action e.g. Boeing gets to show off those new shelter solutions.

We all suffer from low living standards with the world this FUBAR. Upgrades needed.