For a wider audience and instant distribution most of my thoughts go straight to Facebook. But for extending those thoughts, and to reach people who understand where I'm going, those thoughts may also appear here.
Unlike every other weblog you ever saw, this one is in correct chronological order so you can read it the right way round. But it always shows you the latest entry first so scroll up for earlier stuff.
The 2022 index will appear here
Mean to go on
Yesterday's start to the New Year did not go to plan.
On Saturday 31 December 2022, access to the webserver failed; LPMCC.net was still being delivered to viewers via HTTPS, but we couldn't upload new and supporting files using FTP.
New content had been put in place earlier. That appeared as planned, but some files were missing, Due to the New Year holiday there would not be any technicians or support staff available as the outage continued through New Year's Day.
Whenever summat goes arse-uppard, first suspect is the idiot on the keyboard this end.
Check what process is being followed. Does it conform with documentation? (scribbled notes in an exercise book)
Is it the FTP software (FileZilla)? Have the settings changed for some reason?
Does it work from a backup computer? *
No luck with any of those avenues. It had to be at the Host's end. Nothing for it than to twiddle thumbs until the tech staff sobered up.
One item that couldn't be prepared ahead of schedule was the
for obvious reasons. We knew you would be waiting for the chimes of Big Ben to announce the arrival of the final month's numbers for LPMCC.net. When they didn't appear we had troops on standby at Trafalgar Square and Princes Street to control angry crowds,
As it happens the statistics were unexpectedly ... uninteresting ... in December. Let's leave it at that.
Not quite "at that": There will be problems later in 2023 when Google Analytics changes its appearance. The system that we have grown to know and love, and developed complex programs to decipher, will be retired mid-year and replaced by a superior customisable control panel. Gawd'elpus !
*Backup computers: Laptops and tower PCs running Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 10. All perfectly good machines quite capable of running the simple processes and storage requirements needed for LPMCC.net, all rendered useless by MicroSod and the browsers that flock to worship at its shrine and declare... "this operating system is no longer supported"
So the long and the short of it is, in 2023 we will grasp the nettles and ...
Learn how to construct analytical data from the new Google control panel
Convert all old computers to Linux and learn how to use it
I was hoping for a quiet life this year.
Passing the time of day
There is no doubt that the pace of disruptive technology is accelerating.
Consider how long it took for the motorcar to go from novelty to ubiquitous nuisance. It took less than the time between coronations for televisions to change from a rarity to a worldwide commodity. Over the same period, computers have passed from Lyons Electronic Office (LEO) to laptops and tablets.
The most recent disruption, mobile phones, have evolved from handsets on battery bricks into personal overlords within twenty years.
Disruptive means it has profound, unexpected effects on society and economics.
Well, hang onto your hat chum, 'cos the next disruption is upon us! It began exactly two months ago and I bet it will change the world within two years at the most.
I am referring to ChatGPT Artificial Intelligence and similar systems.
Where mechanisation and automation historically impacted manufacturing and manual work and caused concern for Luddites and Fleet Street printers, this new threat is to the professional classes. It has already created panic among journalists and academics.
Next on the list for replacement are lawyers and doctors.
Telephone consultations with your GP will be a luxury compared with ChatGPT advising you to get more exercise, eat less processed meals and take paracetamol.
The following is generated by ChatGPT: I hereby promise that content on LPMCC.net not written by a human, will be marked as such.
The future for ChatGPT is likely to continue to evolve as AI technology advances and new applications for language models are discovered. Some potential future developments include:
Integration with new platforms and devices.
Increased use in industries such as customer service, education, and healthcare.
Improved accuracy and efficiency in generating human-like responses.
Expansion of multilingual capabilities and support for lesser-studied languages.
Development of models that can perform tasks requiring common sense reasoning and understanding.
However, the exact future for ChatGPT is uncertain and will be shaped by advancements in AI and the direction of the industry.
Artificial Intelligence uses machine learning: it is fed data (from the Internet) and receives feedback from users. It learns from biases, prejudices, false information. In short, it learns from us. Could it be any worse?
We are the people (collectively) who prefer to chirp to The Birdie Song than Brahms or Beethoven. We are the population who drive two blocks to the shops when we could walk, meet and greet our neighbours, but they remain strangers to us. Then we use our saved time to watch artificial social situations on TV. We no longer pass the time of day with our fellow citizens, let alone newcomers in our midst.
Up to now LPMCC.net has been free from artificial intelligence... and sparse on the human variety.
It is too late now, the time and day have passed. We will be swallowed whole, by the matrix created from our own folly.
The Bibliography is the second page of the website because it is so important.
At the close of each year we post a Review, mainly to thank the contributors who provide all the unique content for this website. Any other time you can find all 535 people listed in our Bibliography, with links to their contributions.
Two friends are especially worth mentioning in this context: Hans Veenendaal who tirelessly and reliably compiles the Rally Listing that is by far the most popular page on LPMCC.net, and Jean-Francois Helias who researches the history of rallying, shares his badge collection and, most importantly, covers my back by spotting errors, suggesting improvements and collaborating cheerfully from the other side of the planet.
That roughly covers the human element. But you may have heard me referring to my webworkers from time to time. Who the heck are they?
I do have some genuine Web Workers, but they are restricted to culinary chores. They cook up background chow for Google Bots and their ilk to feast on. The nearest they come to delicacies that you consume is when they collect the ingredients for the weekly News for me to bake into a burnt offering.
I have a wider definition for my webworkers (one word, lower case) who never bask in the light of your monitor. They are a collection of administration tools that select, reformat, adjust, record and do all the boring tasks that would be thoroughly buggered up if they were left to me.
There is now a new employee on the staff. A consultant with unimaginable credentials. A teacher with immeasurable patience. An executive with frightening ambition who is likely to take over me and the planet any day now. See the last blog.
Recently she (it?) has been improving and commenting foundational code for the website, one function at a time. The potential is enormous. Nothing stumps it (him?)
Here is an exchange that opened my eyes to future possibilities.
I was amazed by the features: not only can you spot your mistakes, but you can also implement the edits it suggests automatically and just copy the fixed content. And it supports many languages.
I thought it was worth sharing with you, as I believe it could be a great additional resource for your site, and I'm sure your users will appreciate it too.
I hope this will help you as much as it helped me!
- Dana Sallow
PS: In complete transparency, I used the tool to check my email before I sent it to you :)
Thanks Dana. Just used it to detect and correct several errors on this page. Now I'm spoilt for choice.
In previous Blogs I wrote about the new Artificial Intelligence large language models taking the world by storm. Now let's take a look at how your real brain works.
Click on a brain area to see the kind of thoughts, feelings and actions that are likely to emanate from that region.
What goes through your brain?
Many of the things that are notautonomous become muscle memory, and that "muscle" is your brain. Which is why you need to learn by doing things the right way. Otherwise what should be a practised skill simply becomes a sloppy habit.
Artificial Intelligence learns from our sloppy habits.
Where there are proven facts, there are conspiracy theories.
Where there are opinions, there are arguments.
Blue sky sinking
Weather forecasts here in Blighty are so wide of the mark, they should write fiction novels.
Somewhere in all this, Climate Change and the Jet Stream are gonna cop the rap.
At one time we used a Norwegian weather widget because they were more accurate and easier to understand. Their forecast for England was better than our local ones. In fact, their forecast for Norway would probably reflect our weather better than the BBC predictions.
If they tossed a coin the BBC should be correct half the time. But recent forecasts have been so consistently wrong, the experts should check for a significant negative correlation. Meteorological pundits would be better off doing their calculations, then publicly announcing the opposite.