Thursday, April 12, 2018

Transcript Issues


As of this writing, the following lessons for the Google IT Support Professional Certificate course at Coursera may be missing transcripts:

Course 02 Networking
    Exterior Gateway Protocols
Course 03 Operating Systems
    Course Introduction
    Linux: Signals
Course 06 Security
    Network Hardware Hardening

There may be others that I've missed. In addition, there may be some misplaced transcripts for other lessons.


In my opinion, one should be able to read the corrected script for the course. For some reason that escapes me, the creators of this course have elected to provide transcripts of what the presenters said. They definitely need to re-think this approach and engage the services of a qualified proofreader.


Course 01 Technical Support Fundamentals
But we're taking it one step further, when you complete this program you'll have your opportunity to share your information with Google, Bing of America and other top employers looking to hire entry level IT support professionals.

Course 03 Operating Systems
We can do something like this.

We're using the pipe redirector to take the output of ls-la/etc and pipe, or send it to the grep command.

Course 05 IT Automation
For example, the apple class can inherit from both the tree and the fruit classes at once.
This means that it can be hard to share functionality across dispread or unrelated classes.

Suggestions for Future Iterations.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a first draft, and I have kept my dog waiting for her walk, so I expect to make revisions as time allows. Thank you.

I completed the Google IT Support Professional Certificate (GITPro) in about 2 weeks. I was able to complete 5 of the 6 courses in about a day each. Course 5, IT Automation, took 5 days to complete. (IT stands for "Information Technology" -- unless you're a fan of The IT Crowd, in which case it means, "Internet Things.)

Each module tests for information locally. I'm in the process of reviewing the material to ensure that my understanding of the concepts is global and long lasting.

Around the year 2000, I spent about $1000 on books and exam fees for the following IT Certifications:
2) COMPTIA Network+
3) COMPTIA i-Net+
4) Cisco CCNA

None of these certifications opened any doors for me in IT. At the time, I attributed that to 3 stumbling blocks:
1) At age 34, I was too old to ENTER the field of IT.
2) As a BA: English degree holder, I did not have a computer science degree.
3) These certifications did not hold much weight with hiring managers, being considered "paper certs," and not indicative of real world capability.

The research I read in preparing to take the Google course indicates to me that the current shortage of qualified candidates in the IT field negates items 1 and 2 above (though I concede I may be insane for attempting to enter the field at age 52).

As far as item 3, I recently earned a platinum National Career Readiness Certificate, which indicates that I am in the 99th percentile as far as my ability to learn new material, so I am confident that any reasonable hiring manager would concur with my assertion that my performance in earning the GITPro does not constitute a "paper cert".

I've realized in taking this course that when I earned those certifications in 2000, that should have been enough for any hiring manager to be satisfied that I was a well-qualified candidate. If I had been able to enter the field then, my gross income in the intervening years probably would have been at least a million dollars greater than it has been, given the jobs I've held for which I was vastly overqualified and grossly underpaid.

Therefore, it is important to me that the GITPro be considered in general by IT hiring managers as a useful tool for determining the fitness of candidates entering the field of IT.

According to Strengths Finder 2.0, my top five strengths include:
1) Intellection
2) Input
3) Deliberative
4) Adaptability
5) Maximizer: I like to take things that are good or great, and make them even better.  So, let me play my drum for you here...

Suggestions for future iterations:

1) Please review The 4-Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss and The First 20 Hours by Josh Kaufman, and re-iterate the courses with their ideas in mind. For example, you could create 1 wall poster for each course with the key information summarized (Automation might need 2). I'd suggest a 1920 x 1080p aspect ratio, so each poster could also serve as desktop wallpaper (though unless the user has a very large monitor, the text might be too small to read).

2) Google should also create an ebook for the whole course that people can download. (Of course, they could even sell hard copies and ebooks online). Also: flash cards, whether physical and / or electronic.

3) The "interactive transcripts" aren't very useful in my opinion. Ask yourself: is the goal to create a historical document of everything the presenter said, or to present the material that is accurate, concise, and relevant to people taking the course AFTER they've watched all the videos? [If they produce an ebook that has all the necessary information, that might not be necessary, but the current iteration of transcripts and subtitles is full of errors, and the signal-to-noise ratio has room for improvement.]

4) Atul Gawande. The Checklist Manifesto. Each of the in-depth course instructors should create checklists to help new IT folks with their day-to-day tasks. For example, a checklist of an ideal problem-solving interaction, a checklist of Windows GUI and terminal commands, a checklist of Linux GUI and terminal commands, a Defense in Depth checklist, and so on.

5) I was very disappointed not to see an example of data recovery, or even supplemental reading about the best open-source software. In general, it would be cool for each presenter to showcase things in their respective domains that people taking the course could implement while taking the course, for the "Wow Factor" and to help increase the self-confidence of the people taking the course. Similarly, a link to a video showing a virus taking over a computer would be fascinating to people who've never had an opportunity to see that.

6) Team Google comes across as the crew of the Starship Enterprise, where everything is awesome and new. I think it would help if they put themselves in the mindset of the crew of Serenity, where maybe things aren't so shiny. In other words, more real-world scenarios would be helpful, like what if the manager of the company just doesn't get the importance of strong passwords, equipment from the 21st century, why WPA2 is better than WEP, and other computer facts?

7) Make it easier to download the videos. As of this writing, I don't see a "download all videos" button. Each video file is labeled "index.mp4".

8) Introduce a global component (a final exam on all 6 courses).

9) Re-direct URLs. Many of the links in the Supplemental Readings (especially those pointing to Microsoft) are dead. In addition to being shorter and easier to type, re-direct URLs could theoretically be updated with a layer of abstraction behind the scenes, so when someone reports a dead link, the problem is solved for everyone.

10 Impose restrictions on file types and sizes students may submit for Peer Graded Assessments. I had the misfortune of downloading an rtf larger than 600 MB. If the assignment specifies only pdf, then reviewers should not be subjected to docx files. I appreciate that this is more a Coursera issue than Google specifically, but Google should have the know-how to resolve this issue.

Thank you.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Valentine's Week 2018

2018 02 12

2018 02 13
2018 02 14
2018 02 15

2018 02 25

Friday, February 02, 2018

The 7 Post-Singularity Plots

Throughout all of human history, fiction has had a pre-Singularity mindset, driven by Scarcity and the finality of Death. Once the Singularity comes, Death will be avoidable and we will enjoy Radical Abundance, so the "7 Basic Plots" in Fiction will need to be re-tooled to appeal to our human-machine hybrid descendants:

The Seven Basic Plots in Post-Singularity Fiction:

1 Overcoming the Monster by injecting him with Nanites or putting Nanites in his food.
2 Radical Abundance to Even More Abundance.
3 The Quest to Find Something Your Nanites Can't Digest.
4 Voyage and don't bother to Return because you can just send messages to your Prime Body via the UNet.*
5 Comedy. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy clones partner from girl's hairbrush.
6 Tragedy thwarted by Nanite Upgrade. The protagonist is a hero with one major character flaw that he corrects by upgrading his nanites.
7 Rebirth. During the course of the story, an important event destroys the main character's prime body. Atomically precise manufacturing creates a new and improved body and downloads the most recent backup of their memories from the cloud.

*Short for Universe Network.

The Atomically Precise Manufacturing Mycelial Network

This is a thought experiment in which I try to synthesize ideas from Paul Stamets (whom I learned about via Star Trek Discovery), Ray Kurzweil (The Singularity Is Near), and K. Eric Drexler (Radical Abundance).

In Superman (1978), there is a point in the film in which young Clark Kent travels to the Arctic Circle, pulls out a Kryptonian crystal, throws it a great distance, and as if by magic, the crystal grows the "Fortress of Solitude" and even more crystals, containing the sum of all Kryptonian knowledge.

This type of technology may actually become available on Earth, within 10 or more years:

10,000 years ago, the Agricultural Revolution increased humanity's capacity 100-fold and allowed for the development of cities and civilization. In 1800, the Industrial Revolution increased that another 1000-fold and allowed us to explore the Earth, the Sea, the Moon, and so on. In the @80 years thus far of the Information Revolution, our capacity has increased a billion-fold. The Atomically Precise Manufacturing Revolution is just kicking off. While the first two Revolutions have reached the tops of their respective S-curves, the latter two still haven't reached the rising portions of their curves. In other words, things are about to get wild...

Imagine a fine Spring morning in which you visit your newly purchased 40-acre plot of land. It doesn't matter where it is -- it could be near the ocean, in a nice wooded area, even in the desert. The purchase has been recorded and all the information you need to know (surveys, plot boundaries, whatever) are online. For this exercise, assume you own mineral rights extending all the way to the center of the Earth.

You walk to the center of your property, and pull out two identical capsules, about the size of any currently available oral medication. One you swallow with an appropriate amount of water. The other you toss on the ground.

Now, either these capsules have been connected to the Internet from the time you acquired them, or they connect as soon as you remove them from their carrying case or shortly thereafter.

Let's dispense with the worst-case scenarios right away. Either through a programming flaw or the actions of a black hat hacker, the capsule you toss on the ground immediately salts the Earth for the entirety of your property. Now nothing good can ever grow. The capsule you swallow immediately sets about converting your entire body into grey goo, and you collapse into a puddle on the ground where you stand. The End. Boo hoo.

Now, a slightly more optimistic scenario:

The ground capsule immediately senses that it's been tossed on the ground, and breaks into its component atomically precise manufacturing machines.

The body capsule dissolves in your stomach. By this point, both are on the Internet and have determined their global position via their built-in GPS. They form a local area network and can communicate with each other.

The ground nanites immediately begin establishing a synthetic "mycelial network" (SyMyN). Tree roots can grow and geothermal home heating systems can go as deep as 6 meters. Mycelial networks can extend for many miles just below the surface. Your SyMyN can grow to the edges of your property (assuming for the purposes of this thought exercise that you're not trying to drink your neighbor's milkshake) and as far deep as you need it to: 6 meters, a kilometer, even below the mantle of the Earth. At some point, SyMyN will grow deep enough that you may use geothermal heating to boil as much water as you need to generate however much power you want. From this point, even if your home is struck by a hurricane, you will have an uninterrupted power supply. Above ground, SyMyN can build efficient solar collectors all over your property.

As SyMyN grows, he scans your property, conducting a census of all living things, with the goal of developing your property while minimally disrupting the web of life. While each strand of the network may be too small to see or as large as the largest tree trunk, the web grows to avoid killing trees, mice, or even disturbing the underground flow of water.

SyMyN can soon tell you the elemental composition of your plot of land, and what additional resources he needs (if any) to build whatever it is you want for your preferred quality of life.

Meanwhile, in your body, the second capsule begins its work building a human-machine hybrid (HuMaH). Assuming your genome is not already on file online, HuMaH scans your genome as it moves throughout your body.

Digression: I've often wondered if I'm a human who happens to have a colony of bacteria living inside me that has more individual cells than the number of cells that make up my actual human parts, or whether I'm a colony of bacteria that happens to use a human for resources and transportation. I've imagined a first-contact scenario in which war breaks out between humans and interstellar visitors because their respective gut bacteria are natural enemies and hate each other's... guts.

My understanding is that your belly contains many benign bacteria that help with various biological processes, but that as you age, the good bacteria population decreases, while the malignant bacteria become more numerous, weakening your immune system. In this scenario, HuMaH makes hummus out of these bacteria and takes up primary residence in your gut. HuMaH may keep some token bacteria around, but for the most part, any cell in your body that is not acting in your best interests can be broken apart and re-purposed as new HuMaH cells, and any waste products passed out of your body through the regular digestive process. Some HuMaH cells are larger, others are small enough to pass through the brain-blood barrier.

(If you develop appendicitis, HuMaH can operate inside your body to repair or remove the appendix. No appendectomy scar. Please note: to my knowledge, doctors don't currently give any thought whatsoever to repairing your appendix when it goes wrong. In this scenario, you cannot not only repair your appendix, you can replace it with a new and improved appendix. If you want.)

Within short order, the nanite colony bio-computer is able to communicate with you directly. No cumbersome Virtual Goggles are necessary if all you have to do is close your eyes to access the most immersive virtual reality (VR) you desire. HuMaH scans your brain and backs up your memories to the cloud. You and HuMaH are now one, and you can increase your IQ to whatever and download whatever skills you need to do whatever interests you. While you're inventing a new and improved spoon, various cells in your body can be using their processing power to play video games, chat online, and come up with ways to tell new stories to entertain an audience who will never die or know scarcity.

From this point on, you are virtually immortal. Cut off your arm at the elbow? No problem! Slap on an APM cuff that contains synthetic capillaries to capture the blood that gushes out of your arteries and safely return it to your vessels with no net blood loss. This cuff might even filter your blood and add additional resources as it rebuilds your arm better than it was before, leaving no scars, even at the point of amputation. HuMaH can rebuild or replace any part of your body, just as you can currently rebuild or restore a classic Model-T and keep it showroom-floor new for as long as you want.

Your body is completely destroyed? With your genome and memories backed up on the cloud, any APM machine can rebuild a new and improved body from scratch and download your memories from the last backup. You're non-cisgender? Your nanites can perform whatever gender re-assignments you want to try on.

In medieval times, the peasants were tied to the land. In this scenario, you can talk to the land and the land can tell you things that most people up until the 21st century had no idea of. If your land is short of nitrogen, no problem! Just order barrels of nitrogen online.

As SyMyN and HuMaH talk to each other and talk to you, you can work out the ideal site plan. Within a month, SyMyn builds you a 3-story geodesic dome (or whatever) with raw materials extracted from the ground or ordered online, and a driveway attached to the nearest road. SyMyN can build your clothes or furniture, home electronics, any vehicles you need, an indoor vertical agriculture supply chain that can grow anything that can be grown in environments replicated to mimic anywhere on Earth that good things grow, even vat-grown meat or fish or fowl (or even farm the 40 acres the old-fashioned way). Any thing that breaks down can be repaired or replaced. As things wear down, they are recycled and returned to the good earth.

Just as crops like legumes can enrich the soil, SyMyN can replenish the soil of your property, making it richer and more productive, year by year, just as HuMaH does the same for your body.

At some point, in addition to the skateboards, bicycles, flying cars, hang gliders, and so on, SyMyN produces a rocket ship with an up-to-date backup of your mind on board, and several dozen capsules similar to the ones mentioned at the beginning of this piece.

This rocket ship breaks free of Earth's gravity well, finds a nearby asteroid and gifts it with a capsule, a Mining Agriculture Manufacturing Kit (MAMKit), which develops a new Space SyMyN which adds a propulsion system to the asteroid, which builds itself into a new, much larger spaceship as it travels to Earth or wherever. Rinse and repeat.

Via the SolNet (or MilkyWayNet, or UNet), you can visit your space selves, which are re-engineered to thrive in the gravity-free confines of the space ship, or on the moon, or on Mars, or wherever your new selves travel throughout the galaxy. Each year, your computing power and atomically precise manufacturing capacities double, and via the SolNet, you can access any great new ideas that anyone anywhere chooses to share online. And you have all the time in the Universe.

For the sake of simplicity, I didn't include other people in this scenario, but all this will be that much more special if you are able to share it with the people you love. I won't even get into what happens if your dog scarfs down one of these capsules when you aren't looking...

This has some profound implications that people have not really begun to think about. From then until now, mankind has been confronted by death and scarcity.

We're now on the verge of immortality and abundance. True abundance. The Hero of A Thousand Faces paradigm for storytelling will not appeal to our immortal selves. When humanity has true abundance, there will be no reason to fight wars for limited resources. New wars will be down to ego and people who hold onto the old Zero-Sum Game mentality..

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Quick and Dirty MBL ver 1.6.1 Finalize Tutorial

I hope the steps are clear from the highlighted portions of the images.

The Manuel Bastioni Lab is still a work in progress, so future iterations will address the issues with hair placement, etc., as well as making more hairstyles conveniently available.

Please click on the images to enlarge them.Thank you.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Wild Cats

Wild Cats

You wonder what I smiled at
Baby, I'm a wild cat
Lost count of the girls I've haunted
But you got the goods and girl you flaunt it
You turn me on -- you know I want it
Girl, I give as good as I get
And I'll be your best one yet!

If you'd met your soul mate
Or I'd found mine
We wouldn't be talking
It'd be a crime...

She was the wrong girl
He was the wrong guy
Maybe it was a fun whirl
But we said goodbye

Thought she was Bacall
Or he was Humphrey
Until that last call
You dumped him, she dumped me

Some girls make you try too hard
Make it wronger as you go
Wrong place, wrong time, evil-starred
But with you I wanna take it slow...

I can tell you how it's gonna be
Me with you and you with me
Ripping clothes off, wild screams
Don't care who knows or who sees!

Day or night, night or day
Say my name, beg and plead
You know you're gonna do what I say
Cuz I'm the wild cat that you need
(Satisfaction guaranteed!)
Little of this, a lot of that
Scratch your back like a wild cat!

You're not a thief, a thief of love...
You're my angel, from above
Love means, don't apologize
Mountains, deserts or sandy beach
I'm your wild cat, in your reach
Underground or in the skies...

I'm gonna free you from your cage
Rock your world, rock the stage
Fantasia, purple haze
Remake the world into a fiery blaze
I'm gonna free you
So you can be you
Like no one else
Take you off the shelf
Show the world your epic self
We'll be wild
And we'll be free
Cuz you're a wild cat like me!

You seem afraid -- you hide away
But let me love you in the light of day!
Crank it up! To eleven!
Show the world -- we're gonna live in heaven
I'm gonna show you off -- cuz you make me proud!
You bring out the beast in me and it's gonna get loud!

Hear me roar
Hear me growl!
Won't need a full moon
To make you howl!
You've got power, you are a beast!
Life's a banquet, so, girl, let's feast!
It ain't no game
No need to play
Cuz we're not tame
No, not today!
Claim your power -- girl, you're all that
We run free, cuz we're wild cats!

Sunday, September 03, 2017

A Quick Guide to the Manuel Bastioni LAB Add-On for Blender

A Quick Guide to the Manuel Bastioni LAB Add-On for Blender

by Writer99025 

Manuel Bastioni LAB is an open source character generator or an add-on for Blender which is 100% free to use for personal and commercial work. It creates ready-to-use 3D animation characters, with poses, morphs and more.
This software is one of the best add-ons for Blender and compares very well with similar products from Daz 3D and MakeHuman. It has excellent options for base meshes and morphing.
The add-on works very well with .blend files and is capable of rendering complex scenes. It is certainly worth a look if you want to create 3D humanoid characters. The meshes are very realistic and include cartoon and anime styles.
The add-on is a perfect human generator with the right polycount for animation and features fluid movement deformations. The humanoid animations are more realistic than what you can generate with MakeHuman or Daz 3D.
What is a Blender?
Blender is an open source 3D creation suite. It is available for free, like all open source software. It supports everything related to 3D animation, such as modeling, simulation, compositing, rendering, game creation, video editing, and motion tracking. Blender is generally used by small studios and individuals working on 3D animations. It runs on Windows, Linux and Macintosh computers.
Who is Manual Bastioni?
Manuel Bastioni is the creator of the Manuel Bastioni LAB. This software is based on a number of complex algorithms, prototypes and Python scripts developed by him over a period 15 years.
Bastioni was involved with MakeHuman in the past and has wide ranging experience in 3D graphics projects and development of CG humans. Today, he competes directly with MakeHuman, Daz 3D, Genesis 3, and other 3D human generators.
Here’s What This Add-On for Blender Does for You…

Manuel Bastioni LAB comes with a number of sophisticated tools that help you get the most out of Blender and create highly realistic humanoid characters. The software is 100% open source and can be downloaded for free under the AGPL license. It allows you to do the following with just a few clicks in Blender 3D…
  • Create human characters
  • Select the pose
  • Change physical parameters
  • Set the expressions
  • Assign phenotypes
Manuel Bastioni LAB Add-on for Blender Features
#1: The software comes with an advanced skin editor that creates displacement maps with respect to the character meta parameters such as tone, muscle and age.
#2: It features a fuzzy logic algorithm that mixes up the parameters in real-time.
#3: It can help generate a number of special characters such as elves, anime and more in addition to the photorealistic characters.
#4: The software allows you access to a library with a number of anime "shojo" characters of the classic and modern style.
#5: The models include skeletons that are auto-fitted to the morphings, a comprehensive library of poses that allow for a one-click pose.
#6: You will have access to an anthropological phenotypes library that features Caucasian, Asian and Afro face types.
#7: The algorithm modifies and finishes the morphing so as to match the expressions to the face-type.
You may download the software for free here.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

U Cant Have Me

U Can't Have Me!

Your tilted stage
Is just a gilded cage
for your jilted rage
Cuz U Can't Have Me!

Is your girl so phat?
Or just a bad porn actress Hollywood Hills chicken head hood rat?
She ain't all that
And U Can't Have Me!

My ass my ass my ass is in the back
But you'll never get none cuz of what you lack
(You'd give yourself a heart attack!)
So just stutter and sputter like you're high on crack!
Cuz. U. Can't. Have. MeEEEeee!

Boy, don't forget your pills
Cus, if you do you'll get the chills
(Delirium tremens and other ills)
Cuz U Can't Have Me!

Scuze me, I'ma let you finish
But I just gotta say
that you're tired!
And you're played
Cuz we just had a rap battle
And you just got slayed
And. U. Still. Can't. Have. Me!

I'm a little bit country
And a little bit pop
But when it comes to spittin' rhymes
I can't be stopped
You say you're bad
Think you're the shit
Rap about that
Rap about my tits
You'll only ever take me to bed in your head
Cuz U Can't Touch This!

So don't come at me
You only embarrass yourself
Cuz U Can't Have Me
(How you like these trophies on my shelf?)

Even if I liked 'em dumb
Or if I liked them crazy
U couldn't have me
Cuz your beats are too lazy!