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Turing In-Complete (part 1)

Before man-built machines that could be used to manually calculate all the same mathematical problems we now regard as computation, we – humans were regarded as the “computers”, not the artificial machines. This explains the label “manually” calculated. Man built the machines. This has only been true for a relatively short period of time when compared to the timeline man has existed in the current evolutionary state.

This technology goes back much farther than the existence of our most popular desktop pc, laptops, tablets, or smartphones. Major developments in the twentieth century progressed at a very rapid pace, not with the help of Extraterrestrial beings, but by some very brilliant humans. Maybe you could make a case for “math” from outer space in ancient history, and you’d be technically close when you factor in the influence of the orbit of planets and positions of stars that inspired the desire to figure out what was seen in the skies.

The abacus was the first device currently known for crunching numbers. The Sumerian abacus is thousands of years old and noted throughout ancient history. This isn’t what I would regard as an early computer, but it was and still is an impressive design.

The Analytical Engine an improvement over the Difference Engine – both designed by Charles Babbage in the early 1800s could be considered the foundation of modern computing. Ada King, countess of Lovelace created the first computer program for the Analytical Engine – if it had been completed. The design was, but not the fully functional machine. So the idea or design for the device came before the actual machine – as did a program that could have run on the machine.

I always felt that this part of history was a bit murky, but within the fog, there was a spark. The point is that this was a starting point that others could build upon.

Could the Analytical Engine be categorized as the first Turing Complete machine?

If we consider all modern programming languages Turing-compatible, then could it have run a program that would solve any calculation initially performed manually? In theory – possibly, in practical application, I am skeptical.

To consider the current concern about Artificial Intelligence taking over every aspect of man’s future in both positive and negative light, you should look back through its short history of advancements. Computers have come a long way not fully envisioned by the early creators, but it is still a very short time compared to man’s intellectual development.

Turing Completeness requires a system to make a decision based on data manipulated by rule sets. Remember those “If”, “and”, “goto” statements from BASIC (Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code). Maybe you remember (90s version) QBasic. If you don’t, no problem. Just know that there was some amazing progress in computer development from the 1950s and 1960s that used instructions which could be considered Turing-Complete -theoretically – not always in practice. This may not be the best way to explain this, but I think I’m in the ballpark.

I’m not disregarding Turing’s calculating machine design of from the ’30s, but things started to ramp up in the ’50s.

Consider the fact that we still use Fortran and LISP programming, both from the 1950s. Yes, I should mention assembly language which dates back to the late ’40s.

You can look back at the Rand Corporation’s Math-Matic AT-3 from 1957 used as a compiler and programming language for the Univac 1. Charles Katz led a team tasked with developing “Math-Matic” programming language under the direction of Grace Hopper who was notable in the movement towards “machine-independent” programming languages which helped lead to the development of high-level programming languages.

This was all done in the 1950-1960s. This is the era of Big computers like the DATATRON 200 series weighing in at over 3000 lbs. Big computers working with word size 10 decimal digits. All this incredibly amazing computer development which would later lead to the machines we now fear. It’s amazing to think we would later spin up the development of AI – which initially required the development of sophisticated computer code which came from these early systems. The history of computers and programming languages is very interesting and usually not referenced enough when we look at our current state of affairs with how much we depend on them. Man built these with the intent to improve his condition, and in most cases they have. What may be getting lost through time is the appreciation of all those who contributed over the last two centuries to the existence and development of all this amazing technology. It continues today, and it still requires some very brilliant minds to continue the advancement for the good of man. This is just the beginning. We are still in the early stages of computing, and we are still the computers.

Lemon-Lime on Ice

Lemon-Lime Gatorade and crushed ice is (almost, coffee still #1) my new favorite beverage. I know it seems wrong, but it’s pretty nice on hot humid days – especially when I’m waiting for Windows 10 Update Assistant to finish upgrading Windows 10 on my Lenovo ThinkPad. So slow, I know I should be patient, so I finish some other work I’m chipping away at on another Linux laptop. I downloaded the latest Win 10 64 bit iso also just in case I have to build from scratch, but I wanted to have my current configuration updated by the Update Assistant so I could experience the method many users would choose.
Thus, the cold beverage on such a hot day. (Which I just spilled)
This entire exercise started this morning as a plan to play around with the new Windows Command line. The iso I had on hand was version 1809. That’s how I installed Windows 10 back on my Linux test laptop.
Once I had Windows up and running I tried to download the new Command Line “Test preview” from the Windows Store I discovered I needed the latest Windows May 2019 build. That seemed appropriate – thus my long drawn out process trying to build a bootable usb.
This does take a relatively long time for each step.
I wanted to use the Windows media creation tool to make a bootable usb like my previous 1809 build.
Unfortunately I was greeted with error code 0x80042405-0xA001B.
I reformatted and partitioned a blank usb but then I gave up after a few unsuccessful attempted and used Rufus to build a bootable usb with the iso image I downloaded from the Microsoft Download Windows 10 page.
That was fairly easy and worked very well. I built the usb, but I ended up using the Update Assistant – saving the usb for future testing.

Now when I hit the Windows key & R to bring up the “Run” text field, enter “winver”  I see that I am running version 1903. This version was made widely available earlier this summer, but I didn’t feel the need to upgrade from 1809 at that time. Now it’s probably a good time to get familiar with all the changes. I’m seeing an uptick in users upgrade from Windows 7 ( a little late for some, but right on time for others). There will always be those who wait to the 11th hour, so I expect the end of the year will be exciting. I’m sure retail sales will attempt to capitalize on the last minute stragglers.

I’m going to focus on using the new Windows build as my daily driver for a while. So far, I like the new updated look.

The “updated” command line terminal has decent color support, but it still looks like the old command line terminal.

It was not as impressive as I had hoped, but for the most part everything seems to be working fine. I’m not having any issue doing basic tasks, and Ill be using Windows Subsystem for Linux and Powershell.

 

Consolidated command line did allow me to upgrade my Linux Distro fairly easy. Managing the Distro from the command line is a nice option and I’m sure Ill use it more in the future.

 

Everything feels very “new” and smooth. I don’t see a huge learning curve that would intimidate users moving up from Windows 7, so I would expect more positive than negative experiences from users just being introduced to a “necessary update” This is of course if 1903 is the version most users upgrade to.

I can also see how duel booting Linux or using a Virtual machine would no longer be necessary for me. The Linux support appears to do everything I would want from a linux terminal, and a GUI isn’t a deal breaker. I would like to see where Microsoft takes the Linux support in the future. I can work with this version of Windows 10. My laptop actually feels faster and more responsive with just the update.

Even the Windows Security looks like it got a tuneup. Maybe I don’t need a supplemental Antivirus. Before I get too carried away remember this is all just a test. In the end I’m sure I’ll revert back to MX Linux or just my Chromebook as my long term daily driver – but you never know. This is a very impressive first take.

I always seem to get dragged back into the Windows world for one reason or another. This version is not bad, I can see how a lot of users will fall in love with it.

On a side note, I knocked over my glass of ice cold Gatorade and almost ruined my laptop. I’m not even sure how I did it. I would have stopped writing right about now. Luckily all is well and my laptop is still operating nicely with Windows 10. 

The next issue to deal with will be application compatibility. If your a Windows user who relied on Virtual XP for some older software, than maybe it’s time to upgrade your software.  If you need to backup all your files before you do an upgrade from Windows 7, than a external drive or Microsoft’s “OneDrive” would be a possible solution. Upgrading from Windows 10 1809 to 1903 was not an issue for what few files I had on this laptop. If you have something critical, than backing up is usually worth the effort.

I think Ill enjoy using this laptop as my daily driver running Windows 10 1903. Ill have to do an update in a few weeks to let you all know how things go. This is only a test.

 

 

 

Too Much Heat!

A lot of weather alerts and advisories today. Global warming slowly cooks the North Eastern states. Really?.

CPU temperatures push past recommended operating limits. Now that seems plausible, or does it?

Regardless of what you believe to be the cause of our current weather, we all agree……It’s hot!

The power grid continues to provide air conditioners precious energy to cool all those lucky enough to avoid the heat and humidity. If you work outside in the heat, you know bitter cold is just a few months away and you’re probably thinking about it. Keep hydrated, and remember that the ice age we were all warned about doesn’t sound so bad now.

This weather brews thunderstorms, and thunderstorms have a tendency to knock out power. When the lights go out on hot summer nights, the heat can really make things uncomfortable.
If the power is out, then maybe your computer is off, or maybe it isn’t.
So you run on emergency back up power sources, but do they provide enough juice to cool components that don’t like to run hot? Maybe they do, maybe they don’t.
Whatever your backup solution is, hopefully it can maintain the correct temperature regardless of the season. You definitely want to prevent heat overload, and limit humidity in the air around your computer hardware.
Fans are better than nothing, but sometimes they are not practical.
Mobile air chillers can put heat back into the same area if their ventilation medium isn’t insulated properly. (that hose that looks like it hooks up to a dryer vent)
Sometimes it makes more sense to shut all non critical equipment down on hot days.
Nobody likes to do that. Shut stuff down? That means, at some time everything you shut down needs to power back up, and that’s where you can run into all kinds of problems.
I’m pretty sure there are some devices you really don’t want to shutdown without a backup option handy, and yet there are devices that tend to run much better after a reboot. Can you say memory leak? That’s an old problem that shouldn’t be a factor with today’s “improved” application architecture. (yeah sure)
Even today’s smartphones don’t like too much heat. Try to avoid leaving your phone in the sun or in a hot car too long.
If ever I start thinking about moving too far south, it’s days like this that remind me that I can handle the cold a lot better than the heat. My laptop works just fine on cold days. The Arctic circle is a bit too far north, but the north east part of North America is not too bad.
I’m surprised by how many people I meet that are fascinated with snow.
Snow does make commuting somewhat of a challenge, but that’s what snow tires and four wheel drives are for.
You learn that pretty quick up here.
Telecommuting is even better if you can do that. That’s why you need a reliable computer and Internet connection.
If you love the heat and humidity, great.
I like the sun too, but not the humidity.
Keep an eye on your support system’s temperatures on hot days, and compare the performance to a much cooler operating time. Remember to clean any parts that can get loaded with dust including any fans or ventilation ports.
Heat’s great for cooking, you just don’t want to cook your computer equipment.
This includes any switches, routers, or firewall hardware. Keep it cool if you can. That goes for humans too. Don’t get overheated.
I like visiting warmer climates sometimes. The people are great, the southern hospitality is amazing, it’s beautiful, and I love the food. It’s just too hot for me. I can visit, but I don’t know if I could handle the summers if I were to relocate.
I think I’d miss the snow too. (I’ll have to remember this in January when I’m shoveling it.)
Oh yeah, listen to that thunder!
The storms are rolling through now, they won’t cool it down much, but we could use the rain. Hard to believe after all the rain we’ve had earlier this summer.
It’s been weird weather for the past couple of years. Weird weather can cause weird problems, but there are many you can avoid if you know how to keep your computer and yourself cool and dry. Know you’re equipment’s environmental limits for operating under normal conditions. Avoid overheating and ensure proper ventilation if it’s required. Don’t let anything run to fault.
It’s usually not a good idea.

Area 51 Goofy Goofy Goofy!

Earthquake at China Lake, Power outage in NYC, tropical storm, flooding, strong thunderstorms and more strange weather – all random events with very little in common other than a cautious reminder that things happen. Sometimes you can avoid trouble, sometimes you can’t.
Now there are those who can’t get into enough trouble, so they look for it.
The idea that there are people toying with the idea of walking into Area 51 (Groom Lake)to see what’s there.
This seems like a bad idea. You’re either going to get in trouble and have a big let down, or you might actually find an alien who is famished. That would probably be much worse.
If there are actual space aliens at Area 51, leave them alone. They’re probably doing important work redesigning the next iPhone, or working on Hot Fixes for Windows 10.
You most likely wouldn’t notice a space alien if you walked right past one.
Look for the antenna. They usually disguise the antenna on top of their head as a “man bun”, but it’s really just to hide their Omni directional antenna.
A tall hat will also work in some situations. I know there are non-aliens who wear tall hats and have a man bun,
So it’s not an exact science. You need another test to determine if the being you are conferring with is a space alien from another world. This is where you swap out the Jiff peanut butter with Skippy. Extraterrestrials can’t tell the difference – some even think there eating Peter Pan.
Now if you can’t do the peanut butter test because there might be a slight allergy to Peanut issue you’d rather avoid, the next best test to determine if you’re dealing with another human being is the “Wish I had a MAC” Test.
If the subject you’re dealing with already uses a Mac, but wishes they could trade it in for any other Operating System Laptop – run away!
If they use Windows 10, and are perfectly happy with it – you’ll never know. If they use Linux or a Chromebook – they’ll just ignore you anyways as they finish off the Jiff and Skippy.
This is of course just plain goofy, but so is some of the silly stuff you find on the trending Internet.
There are a lot of strange events and interesting news you can find, not all of it is true – or meant to be anything more than entertainment. Unfortunately most news is basically someone’s idea of entertainment. Some news is “enhanced” to make it seem more important. Weather event coverage can often seem over the top. All this noise is setup to attract more viewers, not just for them, but their advertisers too. The same is true for some stories you find on the Internet.
If you want to find out what’s really going on, don’t expect to always find it on the mainstream news. Sometimes you’re going to have to look for it.
I’m not planning on going to Area 51. They’ve probably already relocated all the cool alien stuff somewhere less conspicuous. Ill be happy when we use the alien technology to make a bug free Operating system.
So far it looks like we have yet to decode their alien computer systems. Maybe extraterrestrials still use UNIX.

Temperature Rising

It’s days like these that make me appreciate the cold winds of November. July is hot and muggy, and if it’s not humid, it’s raining but not cooling down. Air conditioning is nice if you have it, but not so great if your power is out. Everybody running their AC puts a strain on the power grid, and sometimes the grid struggles to keep up with the demand. Brown outs and black outs aren’t uncommon in some places. Your power goes out and eventually you begin to feel the heat. Computer equipment, servers, and network devices don’t like heat. They also don’t like power interruptions. UPS doesn’t last very long, and some generator backups don’t always work as hoped. The old joke that air conditioning only fails when it’s needed is based in reality. It’s a good idea to be proactive for power outages and heat related problems. Generators, fans, and backup equipment – referring to replacement parts and devices – make good sense. You don’t need a storm to start seeing failures. Things break on blue sky days. Things happen, and it’s a good idea to be prepared. If Internet connectivity is important to you, than maybe you need an alternative network path out of your location. Fiber and copper can break, maybe a cell modem (hot spot) can carry you through a land line outage, but maybe the same outage that affects your land line is impacting your local cell tower. Satellite may be a logical primary or logical backup route to look into.
I’ve had to rely on my phone’s “Hot Spot”, but that’s not something I’d want to do for very long. It could get expensive and you might find out it’s not that great.
Have a plan, and think it through on days that you don’t need it, because someday you may. Don’t just wait for bad things to happen, because when the storm clouds gather you might not have time to react fast enough. Some problems are unavoidable, but doing nothing to prevent or at least mitigate problems is usually not good.

 

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