Review The Second Machine Age

Recently I completed reading The Second Machine Age - Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew Mcafee.

I found it to be a worthwhile read that both explores the potential of the near and distant future while acknowledging that much is uncertain still. The early chapters exploring the charcuteries of the second machine age where will considered and create a compelling argument that something fundamentally different has perhaps changed in the relation of capital and labour once again.

A weakness of the book was in the final chapters and particularly chapter 14 ‘Long Term Recommendations’. The chapter makes use of a Voltaire quote from Candide,

Work keeps at bay three great evils: boredom, vice, and need.

In discussing the possibility of a universal income they argue that while it would meet the requirement of need it does not handle the other evils of boredom and vice. I felt this was a week part of their conclusion. Perhaps some other activity, other than work, exists that would handle the evils of boredom and vice? This could become the focus of humanities time if working to meet needs was no longer required.

Threads by Ruth Notman a great folk album

In a continuation of my unsolicited music recommendations series, todays recommendation is a folk album, Threads by Ruth Notman.

Threads released in 2007 is a particular interesting considering it sits just before the more commercially successful new British folk music that followed. Albums such as Here’s the Tender Coming (by The Unthanks 2009) and Sigh No More (by Mumford and Sons 2009).

The album opens with Billy Don’t You Weep For Me a well performed and mixed opening with grate guitar parts.

The album then immediately moves to the bench mark by which all modern folk albums can be the judged. A cover of Dougie MacLean’s Caledonia (perhaps not as old as you think 1978?). Personally I consider this to be one of the best versions of this song.

Threads continues on to deliver song after song of well considered and crafted performances with the mood shifting effectively from tracks such as Dark Eyed Sailor to Heather Down the Moor. Over the Hill and the Lonely Day Dies as particular highlights with heartfelt performances and detailed arrangements.

Still I Love Him, my favorite track, is a great track that provides an appropriate transition from the somber Farewell Farewell into the more bright final set of tracks at the conclusion of the album.

The final tracks of Threads are perhaps the reason that the album stands out to me with a surprising expansion of material typically within genre. Roaming features a hauntingly large arrangement with strings and multiple voices based around a piano lead. The final track What’s Going On? would be a great track for Little Mix to cover.

If you are use Apple Music you can listen to Threads.

MuSA 2017 Karlsruhe

This past week I have been at the MuSA 2017 Conference at Karlsruhe Germany presenting a paper as a result of a collaboration with a third year student. The conference was hosted by by the Karlsruhe Institut für Musikwissenschaft und Musikinformatik (IMWI).

My daily highlights from the conference can be found on my research blog AbleLemon.

As for Karlsruhe I found it to be a delightful city to visit. The tram network is stunning, cheap for groups and has a plentiful service in the middle of the town even on a Sunday.

The circumstances of my visit prevented me from enjoying the local beer but I did enjoy a wide variety of different types of Ice Tea. Of particular interest was a cherry variety which I had never seen or tried before, alas it came served in a glass and consequently I have no idea if it was home made or not!

Also from a drinks perspective I had the opportunity to try Mezzo Mix, its no cherry coke but still pretty good. There is also a medium level of fizz available in sparkling water,

I also took the opportunity to visit ZKM and enjoyed playing some vintage computer games at the ZKM_Gameplay exhibition.

Memes Aren't Facts

Just a reminder today that memes aren’t facts.

Facts are facts.

Some facts become memes, but memes aren’t facts.

However words are very powerful.

So after much though I eventually choose a new laptop. This means it is time to move between computers you might find my procedure and check list useful.

While moving between computers its a good idea to consider this as a test of your disaster recover method. Can you do this quickly with no data loss

Step One on old computer

Backup Data

Backup all data and ensure no critical data will be lost. A key part of the strategy is to choose the right time of the year. For me end of the academic year is the best as marking is finished and weekly todos are greatly reduced.

It should be observed that this backup will not be used as part of the setup of the new computer its just a good idea to have it.

Step Two on new computer

Install software and transfer data

Many years ago prior to cloud services this would have been a two part process but now an all in one go approach works best. Firstly install and log into your web browser of choice, in my case Chrome, as this will bring all you usernames and passwords on to your new computer.

Next install and setup file storage in my case Dropbox. (TopTip leave your old computer logged in and turned on so Dropbox can LAN sync.)

While file storage is syncing install any drivers for required external hardware.

Next install specialist must have software.

If all this has gone ok then I am keeping the new computer so it’s time to move ssh keys across and also install and setup Git to bring in important data from version control external repos. Externally hosted git repos contain all my text file data with the exception of my ssh keys so install ssh keys and git allows me to pull my emacs config file. That makes it time to install emacs as well.

Im an Evernote users so I would install Evernote at this point and then allow it to do its first sync.

While Evernote does it first sync I would continue to pull down git repos of current projects.

Once required repos are pulled I then continue to setup my development environments that are based on Docker containers. This is an ongoing process as all containers are documented within git repos so configuration of a container is initially just a matter of pulling the right repo.

Finally OS based tinkering, manual screen saver triggering for security and passwords immediately required after screen saver activation are the two I always do first.

Half Time Observation

If you have got to this point and have not need to reach for your old computer and/or need to make use of the data backup made at the start of this process than your disaster recover would probably work if you ever actually need it. Well done.

Step 3 on old computer

Now that transition is complete the old hardware needs to retired appropriately. Either remove and secure or wipe the old hard drive. If the hardware is being recycled by a third party I would remove the hard drive. If I am giving the computer to someone I know then I would wipe the hard drive and reinstall OS.

The Check list

[ ] Data backup [ ] Internet Setup [ ] Google Chrome [ ] Dropbox [ ] Sound Card Drivers [ ] Ableton Suite [ ] Max [ ] SSH Keys [ ] Git [ ] EMacs [ ] Evernote [ ] MiniAudicle [ ] Docker [ ] Jekyll [ ] OS Config [ ] Data Wipe [ ] Dispose