Friday, October 28, 2011

Signal boosting for our future- STEM and our children.

I have Grandchildren. Their education is of major importance to me, so everything educational is looked at carefully whenever possible. This morning I found a Blogpost that is spot on target for what America and our children- YOUR children- Desperately need to be involved in. There were links in the post that need some more exposure to raise awareness.

STEM is the term for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. I can safely state that my personal observation of what most schools offer today in STEM is criminally deficient. So deficient that I feel it properly should invoke Glenn Seaborg's comment about it being Cause for War had our educational system beeninflicted upon us by a foreign power. And perhaps it has been so inflicted if you study the economy?

Snipping political discourse for the sake of our children's future, Are we doing everything possible to have our children's education in STEM be the best we can offer? The post below and links in it may be real eye openers if we spread their messages and programs.

Thanks in advance for reading them. And for forwarding the link to everyone who cares about children.

The post speaks for itself on anything farther involved.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Open or Closed Source in my life- and yours. What percentages?

What percentages of our lives are we using Open or Closed Source code?

I began thinking about the concept. Are there any ethical/legal methods to have a tool which would feed a counter of Open or Closed Source. Both the machines in front of us, and the Web Servers? I just think it would be so ubergeek to have a proud badge /counter showing "which side we're on" so to speak. It may become a project to get myself back up to speed on coding things myself. Or at least with minimal mentoring. Seeing a counter of one world or another appear in daily visibility may be a literal worldview changer. As in seeing with even semi-confidence the percentages.

Even 60-40? 50-50? Or? Sadly, there's not yet that "counter" to score our usage of the Closed or Open worlds. But? This began more about a shout-out for F/OSS itself.. I've made Puppy Linux my primary "main use" OS.

Which accounts for my offline use as edging on 100% F/OSS as there's very little in Puppy as I use it that's NOT F/OSS that I know of- excepting some drivers etc. Online use gets covered next.
I do also use Android. And am facing the learning curve of that environment as a willing challenge. One of my winter projects. Learning the code my- and our- world runs on is part of technical literacy to me.

And it's possibly the part that separates appliance operators from ubergeek techies or just folks with an interest. I'm married to an appliance operator and am trying to migrate her to "our world" of code we can have full awareness of. Or at least that which is allowable for us to. Permission is mandatory folks! I have to be 100% White Hat as it's an employment requirement for what I do- Ok?

Back to the Iceberg in our lives. The parts of our lives we've little to no visibility into for many reasons- some good- some not, others just from social inertia. We're taught that we have no "need to know" or even care. We're supposed to press the button and become Zombies or Eloi. Some of us are Morlocks that keep the world turning in our own small efforts. Others are the appliance operators like my wife that have zero interest in what's under the hood.

We usually know what's under the hood of our personal machines or at least could find out if we want to. It is all about the being able to know. Closed Source essentially is saying for whatever "reasons" that the userbase has no right to see the code. Going further on exploring that would be out of scope- so back to my thesis/project thoughts. About how much of our daily lives run on Open or Closed code.

It's a simple concept at core. With that deceptive Iceberg of sorts. Server Side. I'd think that some of us might know what the servers we interact with are running -if that's not carefully firewalled from us. And to make this a prime directive level rule- anything even the slightest whiff gray hat is forbidden for my uses.

Everything has to be no risk of ToS violates etc. And if knowing such things IS a ToS violate? That says a lot about the ToS involved.

Saddest still is being unable to do all our business with folks that have a clue about rational ToS. That's a separate "whatever" still being polished.

Back to my reason for this today. Why I care how much of my life is using F/OSS or not. And why you should too.

The "reasons" to even care are often part of why we're Hackerspace members or list participants. And yes, there's a segment of our lists and similar memberships that are appliance operators where computers are concerned, using them as a painter does brushes or a dressmaker a sewing machine.

I've been trying to keep track of my personal use home and work- Best guessing- about 70-30 in favor of Non Closed averaged over the week in "my side" and a "don't know" on the servers. Well, that's nearing today's end point. Setting a sort of challenge to mysef and anyone else caring to participate. Creating tools to track the usage of Open or Closed code in our daily lives. But- wait- there's more.

If we look at the number of ASIC, FPGA, other Microcode dependent devices we interact with that are inherently Closed Code absent lab level probing? RFID?

The percentages get whack-a mole tilted in favor of Closed..For now.

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