Posted in Computers & Tech / How-To's and Tutorials / Programming
Author: mastercomputers Total-Replies: 7
The concepts of OOP may seem daunting to many programmers and trying to make use of objects maybe trivial. This guide is to help you unravel your own potential so that you can start Thinking in Terms of Objects and to help those who are just starting out or are switching to an OO language.
[note=mastercomputers]I had to change my description of an object after being hit over the head by my missus. Women are not Objects, though it did make it more interesting to read and hopefully by what I say you can make your own judgement. Sorry if I offended anyone but I was sure this would make people Think in Terms of Objects better.[/note]
In everyday life we are exposed to Objects yet we may not think of them as such
Take the aerial for instance, this object is connected to an antennae which receives broadcasting signals and directs it back to your TV, how it is doing this is the implementation that this object was developed to do and in most circumstances does not need a thorough understanding by the end user of how it does it as long as you get your reception on the TV. This object can also accept a connection from your VCR which shows how the aerial can be a reusable object and suitable for other object.
The electrical power outlet is what you would want your own objects to be like, it is such a large ordeal that many objects of all shapes and sizes interface with this yet how many people really appreciate it.
We currently had another large scale black out that wiped the entire power of our major city losing millions in revenue, this is when people started to appreciate it and now many questions are asked as to why this happened, who is to blame but more importantly, how can they resolve it so it will never happen again, since this is the second time it happened and we did not learn from our first mistake.
This shows how great your own objects can become and there are many developers who have created such objects that have benefitted the programming community, just remember you could develop that next big thing. Again however, it is not vitally important to the end user as to what drives the power to this electrical outlet, it could be a nuclear power plant, hydroelectric resservior, wind powered or even solar powered. This is just the implementation that is behind the scenes and this is how you can make your objects act like, where end users should not need to worry about what goes on in the background as long as in the foreground it does what they want.
So What Makes an Object?
This is quite a tough question and to be honest, I would answer with something obscure and riddling that would sound good yet cause more confusion. It is best if we dissect it and take out what is common amongst objects in a programming language and although I don't claim to properly answer this question, I do claim to shed some light on what an object could be and hopefully that light clears up some of the things that helps you make your own conclusion as to what a programming object could be.
If we look at real world objects which I believe a lot of programming objects are based on, we can see some concepts that are similar for programming. In another thread which related similarly to objects and classes I talked about a dog as an object. For this I'm going to use the dog, but I'm going to introduce two new objects to clarify it even more, the owner and the trainer.
Objects usually share two characteristics that should be for any object. This is properties and methods, terms that are related to programming so don't confuse our numerous definitions used in the English language. The property is basically instances that gives meaning and description a place. A dog, owner and trainer can each have a name property which is how we can refer to these objects individually, indirectly or even in a group. Sometimes you will call the dog by it's official name, other times you may decide to change it's name depending on the dogs behavior (which is another term for method). If DOG is BAD call it MUTT. The object is the dog that we are doing a comparison on, we are evaluating it's behavior or state that it is in or performing at that time (instance) and then using a method to change it's name property and then triggering an action or event that then makes us use our own behavior or method as a result of it. Now how was that for psuedo-code or shedding light on the subject?
As you can see these things usually come naturally to us, which is how we would want to model our objects. The more natural you can make your object operate, the more likely you will be successful.
So our dog consists of many properties, which can have many methods for how we can manipulate it. Some properties can not be altered which in our case are constants like the breed of the dog, other properties can vary like the name, color, state the dog is in, it's hunger, etc. Giving our dog a name and then providing it with natural methods that dogs may possess like barking, wagging tail, etc. Is just part of describing that particular dog, in a larger scale we can have an object that describes all dogs and what they are capable of doing, like for instance I'm referring to DOG which is a larger object that encapsulates those animals into that one group. This object is what makes it a good idea for interfacing all your dogs into, because they gain all the same functionality and it should be common, of course there are some things you must change in the object but you provide these methods so that those changes can be made without much hassle. There's some things in this object that classifies that the particular animal I am actually talking about is actually a dog and can fit perfectly in this class. I may have gone too far and out of basic scoping so I'm going to bring it back now.
So we have a dog, an owner and a trainer. I was never good at telling jokes, so I'll leave that for someone else.
So we have a dog, an owner and a trainer, the dog can interface with the trainer to learn new tricks. The trainer has methods to teach the dog new trick. Basically the trainer is extending the dogs capabilities and providing it with new methods or functionality that allows the dog to perform new tricks. This is showing objects interacting with each other, which is what objects should be capable of doing if the interface is correct. It's not meant to be possible to plug the aerial into the electrical power outlet, but it is possible none the less, though the electrical power outlet may not provide this object with what it provides the TV with it still has a method to handle it and that is what you must think about too, what other methods must your object provide to make sure that it's intended use is not abused, thi s should help you think about error handling and not missing the aerial, it too must have it's own way of handling errors too. The electrical power outlet decides it'll send a current down the aerial, the error supplies the current with a means to travel its wire and when it hits the atennae the atennae uses it's method to explode or catch on fire, or something drastic that it never knew it could do before.
The owner as an object, sets some of the varying properties of this dog, by giving it a name, the owner has methods of handling this dog, though the owner may not know what the dog actually wants, the owner still has a means to work with the dog.
So we have 3 separate objects, each having similar properties but different methods, when thinking about objects, it's a good idea to think about building blocks and separating your code so it does not become hard to maintain. Also helps that you do not need to have the trainer around all the time, because once the dog learns the new trick, the object of that dog should now reflect that it has learnt that method and can now perform it successfully without a trainer and the owner should now understand that the dog has learnt this new trick and has learnt a method of calling the dog and making it perform that trick. These are all happening at different times, but are happening, and the objects are updating themselves to reflect these changes.
So back to the question, What is an Object?
Well you can see that objects can be anything and everything, that is why explaining it in programming terms is quite hard, because literally everything in your program is an object, each character, each defined type, everything. Even properties are objects, even methods are objects, they each share characteristics of objects that suggest it's an object, so no matter what your missus says or methods she takes towards your actions, it's true. However chosing the right class to define the object is where all this error handling and assault usually arises from.
Properties are more commonly the constants or variables within the container or other containers, Methods are more commonly the functions and actions that are triggered or called upon to manipulate our properties or properties of other objects.
You Talked Too Much and I Still Can Not Think In Terms of Objects
Look around you everything is an object, the toughest part is the implementation, what actually drives the object to perform its operation.
I just pressed the switch on the TV to turn it on. I changed it's state property to being powered-off to being powered-on, the implementation that works with the action of me pressing that button is the coding you must think of performing for it, so I changed it's state, I must now call on another object to supply me power, another object to supply my reception, while inside my own contained object, I need to direct the electrical current to the correct components which means I have objects inside of my own object. If I were to explain every little detail about objects then I would be here forever, e.g. Now that the electrical power outlet is supplying the power, I must direct it to a fuse, the fuse being it's own object determines what to do with it and possibly passes it off to a capactitor (another object), which then performs it's methods and then sends it off maybe to a resistor, diode and so on.
I know if I did explain every little detail, I would have written the ultimate guide, but time is a factor that controls my methods.
That is why I'm leaving the coding aspects up to you, thinking about every object you require in your program is the daunting part about programming but must take place, but one thing I do think everyone needs when programming is to have fun with it. Try things out, make it perform badly, correct it, do everything you can possibly think of for your program, especially trying to get it to interact with incompatible objects and you're on your way to wasting time I know, but there's too many serious programmers out there who want to get the job done, and want it done quickly while the efficiency of their program and programming style reveals their true nature. I do not want to be known as a serious hardcore programmer with years of experience behind me and the ability to help many succeed in life, I just want to share knowledge and help others improve where I left off and in the same respect they can help me continue my quest for more knowledge.
I could have based this purely on code but I find reflecting it against real and known objects easier to think of than saying I'm going to write a file handling class, the properties I want to have is the name of the file, the extension the file uses, the attributes I can set on this file, the owner and location, etc and for the methods I would like to have the ability to rename the property, change the attributes so that it makes the file read only, etc. These are the things you have to sit down, jot on a pad and really dig deep into what you really want to get out of the object you are going to develop.
This message was proudly brought to you by MC with additional input from my missus.
Posted in Computers & Tech / Programming / Programming General / C, C++ & Visual C++
Author: Entheone Total-Replies: 13
Well, there are really no global standards when it comes to first-year programming languages, but here in Egypt C and PASCAL are the two programming language course that first-year engineering students take. I'm not sure why they teach PASCAL here, but from what I gather it's because of its less wordy syntax and of its popularity in the past.
C, on the other hand, is very effective for two main reasons. Firstly, if taught right, it can give a student a rather comprehensive understanding of the programming methodology in general (except for Object-Oriented Programming, of course). The second reason is that it's as close to a low-level language as you can get without actually being low-level. It has enough options for you to fine-tune your control over every aspect of your software, with the added option of directly embedding Assembly Code right into it for even finer tuning.
But its power and versatility is actually the very thing that makes C a rather hard language to begin with. I never really fully appreciated how powerful this language was until I read Bruce Eckel's Thinking in C, which I believe is an amazing book that virtually restructures your mind to be, if you will, One with the C! ;-)
If there's any tip I could give you in your first weeks, it's this: don't give up too quickly. Introduction to new concepts in C can get pretty intense at times. If there's something you don't fully understand, don't shrug it off. Stay with it till you feel comfortable enough with it. After you learn the language itself, and if you're still interested in developing your skills in it, then I think you should definitely give Bruce Eckel's book a shot. It'll transform you from a Master to an all-out Wizard.
Posted in General Discussion / The Einstein Factor
Author: R160K Total-Replies: 12
NOTE: While we are on the subject of Fibonacci, I thought I might just make this post. I realise that Fibonacci is slightly off topic (as this thread is for puzzles), so I have included a puzzle at the end of this post in order to bring it back on topic. The reason I have posted this as a separate message from my previous one rather than adding it on to the end of it is that I feel what is discussed in this post is slightly different from what was discussed in my last post, and if I simply appended the information contained within this post onto my previous post then it could become quite confusing. I am thinking of this post as an article, one which I may even reproduce on a hosted webpage. Now, if you are wondering why I am posting an article about Fibonacci in a thread about algebraic and mathematical puzzles, there are two reasons; the first is that I did not know where else to post this article, and the second is that this thread was already on the subject of Fibonacci. I will now proceed with the article.
After reading Dan Brown's 'The Da Vinci Code', I was shocked to find him claiming that the Fibonacci sequence, and the divine proportion (Phi) were evidence of God's creation. I am an atheist, and would like to disprove those claims and argue that "Phi's ubiguity in nature" does not proof that God exists. I will look at some of the examples of Phi appearing in nature given in 'The Da Vinci Code' and try to find rational explanations for them. I will point out where Brown got it wrong (as well as where he got it right) and will hopefully increase your understanding of Fibonacci.
First of all, let's look at one of the first statements Brown makes about the Fibonacci sequence:
"Mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci created this succession of numbers in the thirteenth century."
This one sentence is full of incorrect information:
For more information about Fibonacci, check out these links:
Ron Knott's Fibonacci biography
St. Andrew's University Fibonacci biography
The number Φ (Phi) also features in 'The Da Vinci Code'. Brown says that Φ = 1.618, but this is not exactly true. Φ ≈ 1.618 (≈ means almost equal to). The mathematical definition of Phi is a number equal to 1 plus the square root of five, divided by two. If you take any two consecutive numbers in the Fibonacci sequence or the Lucas series (a series of numbers closely related to the Fibonacci sequence) and divide the greater value by the lesser value then you get a number approaching Φ (if you divide the lesser value by the greater value you get the number φ, which is equal to Φ-1). In the book, Brown states that:
"Phi's ubiguity in nature clearly exceeds coincidence, and so the ancients assumed the number Phi must have been preordained by the Creator of the universe."
He also states that:
"Plants, animals and even human beings all possess dimensional properties that adhere with eerie exactitude to the ratio of Phi to 1."
before going on to give a list of examples. I will now try to give reasons for some of these.
For more information on Phi in nature, check out these links:
Golden Ratio site
An article on mathforum.org
An article pointing out some of the mathematical errors Dan Brown made in 'The Da Vinci Code'
I hope I have managed to enlighten you a little, and convince you that Phi is not a sign from God. 'The Da Vinci Code' is a really great read, despite the factual inaccuracies, and my intention in writing this article is not to discourage you from reading the book; my intention is to encourage you to question everything. There have been many times throughout history when the very foundations of science have been shaken by controversial new theories which have been proven to be true. We are living in an age where it is becoming increasingly easier to access information, so there is no excuse for subscribing to ideas for which there is evidence to suggest are flawed.
Depending on the popularity of this post, I might do some more "disproving 'The Da Vinci Code'" articles or some Fibonacci articles. Also, I plan on writing an article later in which I will go a long way towards disproving God, and will probably reference this article to show that there is no evidence of God in Nature.
And now for a puzzle, to bring this thread back on-topic:
This is a puzzle by Henry E. Dudeney; it first appeared in his book '536 Puzzles & Curious Problems' in 1967. This puzzle was adapted from Fibonacci's 'rabbit problem'. Click the link below the puzzle to reveal the answer:
If a cow produces its first she-calf at age two years and after that produces another single she-calf every year, how many she-calves are there after 12 years, assuming none die?
NOTE: A "she-calf" is only considered a "calf" while they are younger than 1 year old.
We start off with one she-calf at age 0.
After one year, we have 1 cow who is one year old and 0 births.
After two years, we have 1 cow who is at least two years old and 1 birth.
After three years, we have 1 cow who is at least two years old, 1 cow who is one year old and 1 birth.
After four years, we have 2 cows who are at least two years old, 1 cow who is one year old and 2 births.
After five years, we have 3 cows who are at least two years old, 2 cows who are one year old and 3 births.
After six years, we have 5 cows who are at least two years old, 3 cows who are one year old and 5 births.
After seven years, we have 8 cows who are at least two years old, 5 cows who are one year old and 8 births.
After eight years, we have 13 cows who are at least two years old, 8 cows who are one year old and 13 births.
After nine years, we have 21 cows who are at least two years old, 13 cows who are one year old and 21 births.
After ten years, we have 34 cows who are at least two years old, 21 cows who are one year old and 34 births.
After eleven years, we have 55 cows who are at least two years old, 34 cows who are one year old and 55 births.
After twelve years, we have 89 cows who are at least two years old, 55 cows who are one year old and 89 births.
You should notice that the number of births in each year are part of the Fibonacci sequence:
0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89
Please post any other puzzles you have below.
Posted in Computers & Tech / Programming / Scripting / PHP
Author: Chesso Total-Replies: 19
While I'm not so sure about programming in general, the chances of me finding help on a very specific problem in Delphi, are pretty moot .
But having a small community built entirely of just programmers, designers w/e I think is sort of the objective, or atleast part of it.
Posted in General Discussion / Science & Technology
Author: Skepticus Total-Replies: 43
[Note: This was supposed to be the first of a two part series responding to the same post]
QUOTE (The Simpleton)By "beginning" I mean the beginning of life, in whatever way it was created.
Link: view Post: 146655
Well I will have to object, that it very much matters in which way life came about and er... IF it was ¨created¨ is another example of baseless conjecture. What mountains of evidence establishes beyond reasonable doubt, is that primordial life had no capacity whatsoever to contemplate anything at all, let alone the mysteries of it´s own existence. Like I said, you might just as well be contemplating the aerodynamics of Tinkerbell´s wings. Better off to start with the beginnings of human society, an advancement clearly made possible by the development of language and advanced tool making. Although I don´t think we could have been asking any interesting questions until many thousands of years latter.
QUOTEAnd by "ended up" I just meant we got so used to asking questions that it became like a habit, i.e., it ended up becoming a habit to us. I never said it was a bad thing.
QUOTERight from the beginning, we ended up asking too many questions..
Sounds a bit like a lament to me.
QUOTEIn the very next sentence I say its a good thing that we asked all those questions or else we would still be livng in caves (you commented that this was a good point - so why did you think I was referring to it as a bad thing?!)
Why do you think? Why did you claim that we asked TOO MANY questions? Too many for what or who?
QUOTEWhat you said is right - we can never ask enough questions
Now you appear to be contradicting yourself. You wonder why I am confused?
QUOTEand asking new questions isn't wrong. It's just that we've already got many questions to answer already that it the new questions seem to pile up on top of the old, or else the old questions are put aside to find answers for the new ones.
The way I see it, the new questions follow from the answers to the old. I don´t count meaningless questions and loaded questions that make presumption about baseless or meaningless concepts.
QUOTELol ok I'll get to the point. Some of the questions I had in mind were something like:
--> Proof of origins of the universe
--> Death of dinosaurs
-->Existence of God
-->Where is mankind headed to
QUOTE--> Proof of origins of the universe
That isn´t a question my friend. That isn´t even a statement. That is a meaningless sentence fragment. Sorry if English is not your first language but in any language, questions need to make sense. You want to prove the Universe had an origin perhaps. Or perhaps you wish to prove that the Universe originated in some particular way. Perhaps you wish for others to do the work of ´proving´ their particular claims. You can look to my previous post for my take on the idea of PROOF.
Relative probability of cosmological origin theories, is available NOW and has been for a very long time. Fifteen years ago you could have been forgiven for holding out on such ideas as whether the universe is open or closed. Ten years hence, whether the universe was once compressed into a unimaginably dense singularity might still have been an open question. The evidence found by way of such research as the COBE (COsmic Background Explorer) ruled out numerous competing cosmologies, but as usual opened up even more questions. If you wish to ask a more specific question about the origin of the universe, it helps to understand something about what has been discovered first, then construct a meaningful, direct, grammatically correct question, that knowledges what can reasonably be considered questionable, on the basis of cogent reasoning and valid evidence.
QUOTE--> Death of dinosaurs
Again, that isn´t a question is it? Again, that is a meaningless sentence fragment. OK. I can presume, to read between the lines and speculate that what you wish to know, is something like ´How did the dinosaurs become extinct?´, but it is highly suggestive of lazy, sloppy thinking, that you fail to articulate meaningful questions, based on any well informed understandings of current knowledge within the area of knowledge, in which you are suggesting we are lacking answers. Perhaps you might consider going back and rephrasing the question in light of existing research about the subject. Suggest the reasons why you feel existing understandings about this subject, leave important questions open and how we might better consider the current conclusions.
QUOTE-->Existence of God
Yet again, do I need to reiterate the abomination of English this (and I mean it literally) ´non-sense´ represents? In this case, I can´t even begin to fathom what question you have in mind, nor who you portend as the rightful owner of accountability to whatever the question is that you seem to be avoiding. I can smell the god of the gaps around here. He has a distinct odor and when his followers arrive, there is a distinct non-committal way they assert questions, that rhetorically imply unanswered questions in science, without explaining what those questions are and how they know this; nor indeed what the better answer is and how they know that. Rather, the implication is that if there is anything left unexplained goddidit.
I won´t point fingers TS, but you should be getting the idea by now, that if you want to make a bold claim and defend it with valid reasoning and evidence which appeals to parsimony, then I am all ears. The reality of something such as a god is not something anybody needs to take on board, unless and until it is explained what precisely is meant by such an expression and how exactly we should consider it as having any relevance to any discussion contemplating MEANINGFUL answers to MEANINGFUL questions. The onus is on the claimant (as always) to establish a case for the existence of anything and meanwhile, we might just as well ask questions about the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or The Invisible Pink Unicorn or Russell´s Teapot for that matter.
QUOTE-->Where is mankind headed to
At last, bar for the lack of the appropriate punctuation you have succeed in asking a grammatically correct question. Well done. If it weren't for the gross ambiguity of it, this question might have even been meaningful. Before we even begin to sort out what you mean by this question, we should first ask if what you had in mind is even relevant to science as an objective enterprise inquiring into natural cause and effect relationships, and how the answers proffered can be expected to establish any objective understanding.
QUOTEI could go on if you like but I think you get the point.
What point? I can smell a fish, if that was the point.
QUOTEThere have been endless debates on questions like these but there hasn't been a satisfactory conclusion in any of them. This is why I said there are questions piling up. There have been efforts to answer these questions although the results haven't been satisfactory.
Who´s fault do you consider this to be?
QUOTEIn the meantime other issues have taken up the time of our researchers and thus it's become like a long waiting list.
Wait! Do you actually consider it to be the job of the scientific establishment to contemplate and answer questions regarding the existence of a god? How about the FSM then? Is sentient celestial pasta, also the providence scientific research?
As for where mankind is headed, have you considered consulting sociological texts. Considering the masses of scientifically illiterate people in the developed world, who haven´t yet woken up to where mankind has come from, the time to press for speculations of this kind seems rather remote. How do you propose to make an objective study of this kind? When you get past the ambiguity of your question, you might then consider the subjectivity and again contemplate the objectivity of science and then formulate a cogent line of inquiry. Nobody is prevented from doing such research, but it is generally covered in sociology, which sometimes also masquerades as a kind of science.
As for the extinction of the dinosaurs. Well Rumpelstiltskin, you might have some catching up to do. And for the origin of the universe, well to answer REAL questions about REALITY (outside of bronze-age fairytales that is), we are going to need that Large Hadron Collider after all. What do you think the LHC is for?
QUOTEAnd in case you didn't notice, the OP of this thread didn't mention specifically what the "questions" are about. Almost all the replies follow suit.
That only serves demonstrate the need to ask meaningful and relevant questions. It should be considered fairly reasonable to assume that ¨all of our questions¨ doesn´t include meaningless or irrelevant questions. I haven´t gone out of my way to point out the futility of asking a question like ´Who will win the next world cup?´ It isn´t a question relevant to science. If the OP were intended to include the set of all possible questions, then the question ¨Does science Answer All Our Questions?¨ itself would be a silly question. Of course it doesn´t. I maybe bending over backwards to turn a blind eye to ambiguity and subjectivity as it is., but I assume that the range of questions posited must be relevant to science to begin with, or the strait answer is don´t be ridiculous. Sheeesh!
QUOTEYes it's the answers that saved us, but we should remain equally thankful for the questions as well. Without them life would have continued as always without any significant change and everyone of us might have dying early as you pointed out. So it's good that we got the answers, and at the same time, we should be glad that the questions were there.
Yes! and the more questions we find the more interesting the universe becomes and the more doors are open to solving real problems and answering real questions. So stay tuned.
Posted in General Discussion / Science & Technology
Author: Quatrux Total-Replies: 19
But most of science, if you think of it or not, is moved/sponsored by military and most of the best scientists and a lot of inventions were made because of military projects and military sponsoring different things.
Internet was for military and when you think about it, a lot of things were accomplished because of military.
For military in one or another way is worth sponsoring 80% science projects just to get 20% of their needs.
For example, CERN is as I know worth 10 billion, if not more, my news could be old, but the thing is that most of us think that the main objective of it is to find higgs boson, but there are a lot of scientist were who don't even care about higgs boson, they for example work on such huge input data storage, it's controlling and it's analysis, they don't care about higgs boson. This project also did a lot on data accuracy and precision, so for example, it's worth investing so much money to find this thing what all are talking about, but just for to get something out of it, it's all science, but what I want to say, is that a lot of science in all the times were due to military activities.
I wonder, if science could move forward so spontaneously if were weren't military and war for example? The greet to use something and get power and etc. In my opinion, things would be moving not so fast, but it's just a guess.
To conclude, what yordan said, that the guy who abuses his power is a bad guy, military is using their power and want to use science to get power over others and etc.
Posted in General Discussion / Life Talk (No post counts!.. / Religion and Philosophy
Author: Entheone Total-Replies: 9
"Stand up for what you believe in."
"Your life is yours to create."
"Write your own destiny."
These are but a few of the cultural cliches that are passed around by everyone on a fairly regular basis. Everybody is regurgitating them, be they a presidential candidate, a modernist religious figure, an anarchist revolutionary, a New-Age hippie, an ambitious psychotherapist, an entrepreneurial capitalist, or a socialist left-winger.
But take a close look at those people, especially the ones who promote a particular ideology or belief system. How many of them are practicing what they preach? And more importantly, how many are providing you with reasonable means to accomplish these lofty-sounding ambitions? And then, the most important question of all: How is all this affecting your life?
It never ceases to amaze me how unsatisfied people are with their lives, and yet how they never seem to be willing to do something about it. So you might socialize with a different group of people, take up new hobbies and activities, or if you're really intrepid and audacious, change your career path. But does this really accomplish anything, other than a temporary, short-lived suppression of your dissatisfaction? Does it have any real impact on yourself, the people around you, or anything else for that matter?
If so, congratulations! Either you're a member of a very rarefied group of individuals who truly and openly enjoy being alive, or you're very delusional. Either way, good for you. But if not, then I urge you to read on... perhaps something will strike a chord.
What I'm going to share with you are my personal, politically-incorrect views. You are free to agree with them, criticize them, or completely ignore them. It's my hope, however, that you give them some consideration before you throw them into your psychic dustbin.
Have you ever played Sim City, or Second Life, or any similar computer game that is basically a simulation of real life? Better yet, are you familiar with Virtual Reality, where you wear a pair of 3D goggles and, if you're wealthy enough to afford it, a body suit that detects your movement and transmits sensory feedback to your body, so that you get to experience a perfectly artificial world in a very similar way to the way you experience your everyday real world?
Here's how I see the current situation of the human organization. Culture is a virtual reality.
No, I'm not talking about The Matrix or the Thirteenth Floor, although these movies do propose a decent metaphor and a possible future. What I'm discussing here is a very real analogy. Think about it this way...
A culture is a localized spatio-temporal continuum, meaning that it exists only in a particular place and over a definite period of time. Otherwise, you'd have one culture that spans the entire planet throughout all of history. This is a preliminary resemblance between culture and VR. But this is trivial, really, so let's move on...
A VR world is based on a number of rules, which define its boundaries and restrict the interactions of its virtual characters. These rules are arbitrarily chosen by the programmer who designs the VR world. The programmer chooses these rules to suit the purposes for which he created the program in the first place, and he can change these rules at whim should his purposes change.
Contrast that with any culture you want. Arab cultures are primarily governed by tribal values. The Nazi culture was based on the notion of racial superiority. The Muslim cultures put a premium on teleological, after-life eternity, diminishing the integrity of worldly joys and ambitions. Western and Westernized cultures magnify industrial and post-industrial value systems that equate success and fulfillment with material possession. And so forth and so on...
Notice what all those cultures have in common? Their rules, laws, values, and belief systems are all arbitrarily chosen, based on no objective set of criteria. The fact that there are so many cultures is enough proof of this statement. If they were adhering to any real, objective principles or even to some eternal, metaphysical archetype, they wouldn't vary to this astronomical extent.
But my feud with culture is not because of its arbitrary, artificial rules. If these rules served the people they claim to serve, or even a statistically significant percentage of the population, perhaps I wouldn't be so harsh on them. But the undeniable, self-evident fact is that only a very select class of people reap the benefits of any cultural construct. Incidentally, this is the very same class that is responsible for defining culture in the first place, in much the same way a VR is nothing but a designer-reality.
But here's the crux of this analogy. VR environments are made of computer code, be it binary, C, Java, or some other programming language. I'm suggesting that culture is encoded in human language, that it's a virtual reality made of language. You might want to take a look at the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis or read some of Naom Chomsky's numerous papers to get some grounding in this idea.
But a computer language is usually very precise, its logic leaving no room for misinterpretation or confusion. Human languages, on the other hand, are inherently ambiguous. A word can have 2 or more meanings, depending on the context in which it occurs. And it's my contention that "Culture-Makers" manipulate us into carrying out their self-serving agendas through the skillful obfuscation of context, leaving us with a hazy, deceptive understanding of the underlying meaning.
Take democracy, for example. The spirit of democracy is rather intuitively-grasped by everyone, and it's a notion that I suppose most of us find decent and constructive. But how does it lend itself to actual application? It gives rise to what political philosophers call Tyranny of the Majority. If the majority chooses to persecute a particular minor ethnicity, for better or ill, that's how it shall be.
But let's take a less brutal example. If 51% of a population chooses a particular presidential candidate over another, the other half of the population is left with no better option than to bite the dust. That doesn't seem like very smart application to me, and it's made possible only by creating a confusion barrier between people's intuitive understanding of democracy and the way it is linguistically presented to them.
And the plot thickens even more when you think about how those 51% made their so-called "decision" in the first place. It's usually the propaganda and the hyperbole they were relentlessly exposed to during months of campaign advertising. How else would loving parents choose a president who would send their children to kill and die in another country? The toxic power of images, now perfected through the superb machinery of mass media, leaves no room for educated decision. The brainwashing is so complete and omnipresent that we can't distinguish between choice and psychological coercion. It's no coincidence that all major news broadcasting channels have professional psychologists on staff.
But you already know all this, don't you? You may even agree with my notion of culture being a virtual reality made of language. The real question here is: So what?
I was talking with a dear friend of mine recently, who is an intelligent, accomplished person with a professional CV so impressive that it still amazes me every time I read it. She was trying to convince me of the importance of acquiring a prestigious university degree, and that it didn't matter whether you enjoyed what you were studying or whether you didn't find yourself in it. She insisted that abandoning a highly-respected, well-paying profession for the sake of pursuing a self-fulfilling, self-realizing activity or discipline of study is a sign of irresponsibility and immaturity.
Now here's the paradox. This woman is a very spiritual person, who can easily spend so much money trying to make other people happy that she wouldn't notice she'd spent all the money she had. This is not an exaggeration -- she mentioned this to me on at least two different occasions, and I'm very inclined to believe her. Even more paradoxical is that this person was arguing with me that enjoyment and fulfillment were not the most important things to pursue in a university program, at the same time she was searching for another job because she didn't feel appreciated or satisfied with the one she then had.
This reminded me of the brilliant concept of "Doublethink" that George Orwell articulated in his masterpiece, 1984. It's when you believe that X is, and that X isn't, and you hold both beliefs equally and at the same time. You think that's madness? It's the name of the game in the 20th and the 21st centuries, baby!
Which brings me back to how culture is a virtual reality made of language, and how the beneficiaries of culture capitalize on the ambiguity of language to keep us confused, infantilized, unable to reach self-satisfying conclusions, and always (whether consciously or unconsciously) looking for someone else to define for us who and what we are. This someone can be a religious leader, a charismatic politician, or even our close circle of social influences. We lost all touch with what I like to call the felt presence of immediate experience. We don't trust our own experience anymore; we absolutely need to have consensus before we can acknowledge our own selves.
I don't assume any moral inferiority in those who need to follow someone else's rules or live within the secure confines of social acceptability. But I don't understand why they're so willing to sacrifice their happiness and abandon the possibility of joy and fulfillment, simply to "go with the flow."
People usually criticize me for doing things unorthodoxically and treading culturally frowned-upon paths. They think I do it to fit the image of the heretic or to enjoy a childish heroic thrill. The truth is, I merely follow my heart and do what "feels" right to me. I do believe that someone needs to set an example, with the obvious risk of going down as a martyr, but it's only by coincidence that not many others seem to be up to the task.
But, to my mind, exemplars and ideals are meaningless if you can't find yourself in them. If a cultural value doesn't make you happy, then why the hell adhere to it? What's so wrong with being an outcast, if the "cast" isn't doing you any good?
Have you ever noticed how similar the word "culture" is to the word "cult." Could this be more than a mere coincidence? Perhaps some subconscious part of our language-making faculties was trying to tell us something, but we weren't paying enough attention.
Culture is the ultimate cult. When they tell you to get in touch with your roots and embrace your Egyptian-ness, or your Irish-ness, or your whatever-ish-ness, take a moment to think about what that means. You may find that it's your humanness that has eluded you in all this frenzied ethno-centricity.
Think of how many times cultural boundaries ruthlessly crushed your personal aspirations, sexual preferences, artistic expressions, and aesthetic inclinations, then ask yourself whether "fitting in" was really worth it.
And don't worry about being an outcast. There are many others like you who got fed up with these artificial systems of control which are manipulated by greed and selfishness and propagated through subservience and indifference. If you make the conscious decision to be a human being, you'll find that you're not alone.
Why do I believe this to be true? Well, consider the staggeringly high suicide rates in Western cultures. International media had a field-day when statistics exposed the incredibly growing suicide rate among teenagers in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries, which are the epitomes of materialistic achievement. In 2005, official surveys showed that at least one person committed suicide every 40 seconds in the United States.
My theory is that these people, forcibly awakened from the proverbial American Dream, suddenly found themselves vis-a-vis a waking reality that they had nothing but a very brief introduction to, and over which they had no control whatsoever. Escaping life altogether was the only solution their fragile, dependent psyches found for an otherwise seemingly insoluble dilemma.
But I also would like to suggest that intelligent, more hopeful people faced the same dilemma, but came up with less fatalistic, more creative solutions. And it's one of those solutions that I'm submitting to you here.
If you find this all too dreamy, too far-fetched, and too unrealistic, no problem. I'd love for you to challenge it. Criticize it as much as you'd like, then pass it on to other people who would also want to argue with me over it. If I'm wrong, I'd love nothing more than to be corrected.
But until then, I'll keep doing what I'm doing because it makes me happy, fulfilled, and alive. I hope you can say the same about what you're doing. But if not, perhaps it's time for you to try something different. I have a few suggestions that I'm going to talk about later on. But whatever that "something" may be, this is ultimately for you to decide.
Posted in Computers & Tech / Operating Systems / War Of the OS World
Author: xboxrulz Total-Replies: 69
lol, what do you mean by very weird system for UI applications? All MacOS X applications draw their windows on top of Quartz Extreme, which is part of the CoreImage API. You can write 3 types of programs on MacOS X: Java, Carbon and Cocoa (the latter is the most recommended one). Cocoa is powered by using the Objective-C language and you can access every part of the WindowServer with ease and make even better effects and integration to the MacOS X operating system.
As for Linux, yup, still #1 for me, even though I moved on to MacOS X (due to lack of time to tinker with the system and I just love the eye-candy on MacOS X).