It’s an Old Prejudice

tapesWhen my wife was alive and commuting daily at least 45 minutes to work, she loved recorded books, mostly mysteries and usually abridged. For a few years I joined her in the commute and it was obvious how the recorded books relieved the tedium of the drive and I had to agree with her, the abridged versions left out a lot of boring description and made the trip more pleasant. Due to the number and size of the abridged tapes, she was enjoying a typical novel in just two days. Recorded books were, as they say, better than mayonnaise.

I knew a few readers that used recorded books to cover the hours washing dishes, weeding the garden, or ironing the sheets (they still do that?). Being an avid reader myself, I tried recorded books, thinking it was another avenue to expand my reading. What a disaster!

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Paradox of Automation

Interesting.

Crash: how computers are setting us up for disaster

by Tim Harford at theguardian.com

The paradox of automation, then, has three strands to it. First, automatic systems accommodate incompetence by being easy to operate and by automatically correcting mistakes. Because of this, an inexpert operator can function for a long time before his lack of skill becomes apparent his incompetence is a hidden weakness that can persist almost indefinitely. Second, even if operators are expert, automatic systems erode their skills by removing the need for practice. Third, automatic systems tend to fail either in unusual situations or in ways that produce unusual situations, requiring a particularly skilful response. A more capable and reliable automatic system makes the situation worse.

ibm-704-1954_thumb1Back in the late 1970s I was responsible for supporting an then state-of-the-art communications system (think airline reservation system) with the latest hardware and the most elegant coding. However, at that time the console for the system was a Model 33 Teletypewriter (unless, as we occasionally were forced to do, you input instructions through the front-panel toggle switches).

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Dark Net

imgres.jpgI was watching the series Dark Net on Showtime Anytime and began to wonder if it was a recent program or possibly something from a few years ago that I had been unaware of. So I went to the venerable Google and was presented with many sites and pages dealing with Dark Net. Unfortunately, most of the hits were to the Showtime website itself and were mostly advertising hype. Then I went to a few sites outside of Showtime and found reviews, discussions, summaries, etc. but I couldn’t find any dates posted for the site pages or for the show itself. Oh, I knew it started in January and was on Thursday night but what year?

The difficulty was exacerbated by the persistence of current, personalized advertisements clustered all over the web page: even old out-of-date web pages looked new and up-to-date with all the commercialism.

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