Update

Made the test and benchmark library compile.

Both liblfds and libtest_and_benchmark (libtab for short) have subsets of libstds (library single threaded data structures) in.

Originally and wrongly I was expanding the subset in liblfds, where those data structures were being used by libtab. Now I have only the data structures needed by liblfds in liblfds, and only those needed by libtab in libtab.

I now need to move libtab fully away from using liblfds to using libstds.

It was a blunder to have used liblfds, because liblfds provides data structures to the extent you have atomic support, which means you might not have a list, for example – but libtab uses the list everywhere.

Actually maintaining this portability behaviour in the code is a lot of work. If I just assumed x64-level atomics, the portability code would go away. In a sense it matters, because the portability code right now is untested. I do not – and I will need to – build variants which pretend to have less support. With software if it’s not tested, it doesn’t work.

Calibre is brain damaged

I added a few PDFs to Calibre and put them in my e-reader to see if they rendered okay.

They did not.

I put the e-reader back in and in Calibre selected the PDFs and selected “Remove matching books from Device”.

This command permanently and without warning deletes the PDFs from your hard disk.

But it’s worse than that.

What I have now also found is that it does NOT remove them from your e-reader, and you now *cannot* remove them from your e-reader because Calibre will not show the ebooks because they are not in the Calibre library.

I mean, on one hand, I’ve known and always known Calibre was insane, because of it’s UI. This behavious is *not* out of keeping with how the program presents itself.

Light’s Hope suck too

I’ve played for a long time on private vanilla WoW servers.

I was playing on Lightshope, but the server as I think happens with vanilla as it becomes older has more and more of a problem with griefing, and it became impractical to do anything except instances and walk around in non-PvP zones, and then a forum mod was an idiot (they all are in the end – they’re just normal people, and normal people have no clue how to manage responsibility) and that put me off more, so I ended up finding I just wasn’t playing.

But now I’ve finished my contract work and I felt like ambling around a bit on the new server, since griefing won’t be such a problem there.

I go to log in, but my account has been suspended.

That’s happened before – LH do it now and then for mysterious internal reasons.

Ltas time I posted on the forum, but the forum is down, because it was hacked some weeks ago.

I go the web-site, and look for what to do.

Page says : read this page (helpfully links to itself) and check your ban status page on your account (provided a link).

That link 404s.

Okay, so I try to log into my account and then look for a status page.

Username, fine. Password, hmm. Not sure if it’s the same as my WoW login password, or a longer version of it… but the problem is there’s a Google captcha.

They’re fairly broken. If you really need to complete it, you can, but not for something like multiple password attempts.

Okay, so I need to contact LH.

What’s possible?

Github, Reddit, Discord.

Github requires an account, and they silently don’t email you the confirmation email if you use mailinator.

Reddit registration doesn’t work in Pale Moon browser. This will be because the site doens’t target HTML, but instead targets browsers, which means Chrome.

Discord is the worst of them all. Part of what it is is IRC. You can log in with just a username, you’re presented with the most complex graphical UI I’ve ever seen. It’s like 1980 has returned. Now that’s one problem but here’s the real problem – without an account, you can’t write anything BUT IT DOESN’T TELL YOU THIS. You just sit there, looking at this bizzarely complex UI, trying to figure out which part of it is for typing, until eventually you realise *IT’S NOT THERE*.

I then tried to direct message a mod, to be told the message was blocked because of one of a list of possible reasons.

So…

No go.

LH, you’re idiots.

Try using your own systems.

Amazon suck too

Amazon normally are okay, but occasionally they fuck it up.

I added a new address.

I entered the name, and phone number – they come first – then changed the country to Spain.

This wipes and reloads the form.

Fucking BRAIN SURGEONS.

So I do it again, I hit submit, was asked to enter my password.

I did, which took me back to a now empty new address form.

Checked, and indeed, the address has not been added.

Then spent 10 minutes trying to find a way – ANY FUCKING WAY – to let Amazon know.

Eventually gave up and used the “suspicious email” option to email them.

Srsly, Amazon.

Web-site bugs fine, they happen.

Making it fucking impossible for people to contact you?

All large corporations do whatever they can to keep end-users as far away as possible.

Finally sorted out all this shit – why does every fucking order online take at least 30 minutes of frustration – and lo and behold, half the order can’t be sent to Spain.

AirBnB fuck it up even more

AirBnB have added a new impairment to their site.

When you log in, you enter your username and password.

Okay so now – knowing both your username AND the CORRECT PASSWORD – you now have to fill in a fucking Google captcha. And they SUCK. They really *don’t* work. Whatever AI Google have deciding something is a bus or sign or whatever is *no good*. Google captchas take *multiple* attempts to solve – five plus minutes spent endlessly clicking on a broken captcha for a *trivial* act. I’m not buying, I’m not paying, AND I know my username and password.

AirBnB is a large coporation, which is to say, it is corporately stupid.

There is a vast, unbridgeable gulf between whatever management imagines the world to be and so what they *think* they’re doing, and what *actually happens to end users*. So you get pure shit like this, and there’s absolutely no way for the insulated, encephalic trolls running AirBnB to *ever know*.

Work getting done

Tzo!

Coded all day.

Have the new test and benchmark app to the point it compiles.

Still need to do some key work, but it’s an important step.

Importantly, I realised I’d made a huge blunder all along in test and benchmark – I use in test and in benchmark liblfds data structures, the list in particular.

I can’t do that, because liblfds is designed to offer data structures to the extent your system offers atomics; so you might not *have* the list.

In fact, the test and benchmark code needs to use single threaded data structures throughout.

This means I need to put some of the single-threaded data structure (stds) library data structures in the test and benchmark library.

I also need to introduce versioning on the stds code in liblfds, so multiple released can be compiled in the same project.

I finish my current contract work on Tuesday, and I’ll be taking a few years off, so the next release will come reasonable soon – few months tops.

Booking flights, again and again and again and…

I’m trying to book a flight.

For as far back now as I can remember I have never, *never* been able to book on the first attempt – i.e. filling in all the forms *just once*.

I tried just now to book with BA.

Economy, but there’s real economy and “slightly more” economy, where you pay an extra 10 UKP and get one luggage and pick a seat.

I never want to pick a seat and I’ve always found the price of all the extra when I only want some to be less than buying them directly.

BA do *not* provide any information on how much the extras cost by themselves

I booked.

It rejected my card – told me it was not a personal card.

I changed it to business.

It then added a 62 pence surcharge for it being a credit card, which it is not.

I booked. I was rather unsure because it *looked* like you could not add bags *at all*, but I Googled and it is apparently something you do after.

So I booked, and went to add luggage.

30 GBP to have one more.

Okay.

*90* GBP for two more.

Not okay and extremely surprising.

It’s only 11 GBP to have to “slightly more” ticket, which comes with a luggage.

I want to change my ticket.

You can’t.

I now need to cancel my ticket, which I do.

Fortunately I can do it on-line myself – I say fortunately because there’s no on-line chat, only a phone number which costs more than 1 euro a minute to call if you’re using VOIP (which I am, since I make almost no calls and don’t want a 12 month phone line contract).

The surcharge for using a credit card is not refunded.

I’m now going to book for the third time.

Fuck me.

I mean there’s enough fucking forms anyway and they’re awful to fill out but the place I’m at I’d be dying just to fill them all out ONCE.

Airlines -> you stink. All of you. Completely fucking incompetent at web-sites.

It’s not even the question of whether you’ve managed to make a nice site so booking is easy : it’s a question of HOW MANY TIMES I NEED TO REPEAT BOOKING BEFORE I CAN MAKE IT WORK.

I can’t find out from Googling what the price of extra luggage is if you have the “slightly more” ticket, so I’m going to book for the third time *just to find out*.

Fuck me.

Airlines. Desperately in need of competition.

===

Booked, third time.

Now I’m on the “manage booking” page AND THERE IS NOTHING HERE ABOUT ADDING ADDITIONAL BAGGAGE.

NOTHING.

Fucking Christ.

I’m practically crying.

If you can think of a totally obvious way in which it can be utterlly bollocksed up – THAT’S WHAT WILL HAPPEN.

“Hmm. I need to add more luggage to my ticket. What possible problem could be the worst thing that could happen? I know – there’s no way to add luggage!”

“What happened?”

“I bought the ticket and there was no way to add luggage.”

I’m writing it like it’s a joke BUT IT’S WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS.

Who the *fuck* makes these web-sites?

Who hires these people?

Who are their MANAGERS?

Who hire these fucking retard managers??!

Brexit

The UK has issued a white paper.

It doesn’t work; it cherry picks and requires the EU to accept a customs arrangement which is harmful to them, and, profoundly, it does not solve the NI problem.

The PM has given up trying to solve the NI problem, as she should, because it cannot be solved within the constraints in operation : she has now asked the EU to change their requirements for NI, which is properly tantamount to asking Southern Ireland and EU to accept an open border with a third country.

This will never happen.

The Conservatives have already crossed the line such that their vote has split; they’ve lost 5% overnight, the UKIP have gained 5%.

Now, what it comes down to is this : the UK Government cannot present any plan which will command a majority. A hard Brexit will be blocked, a soft Brexit will be blocked. Neither approach solves the NI problem.

So now what?

Now the UK either crashes out with no deal, or, second referendum. I’d like to see a third option – rescind exiting until the Government has an accepted plan for leaving.

I read what I think was an perceptive comment about the whole matter : article 50 was triggered immediately after the referendum, when it should have been triggered only after a plan for leaving had been agreed.

It’s like selling your house before you’ve bought the next one.

My personal view is that with bureaucracy, the worst possible choice is *always* taken, and so it will be no deal.

If you hold Sterling, I advise you to change to a safe-haven currency, because a no deal exit will lop off probably 10% to 20% of the value of your currency holdings.

Disclosure : I now hold no Sterling. Most of my wealth is in Swiss Francs.

Brexit / Second Referendum

The Conservative Party has failed to produce a viable hard Brexit plan, because it is impossible.

A softer plan has emerged and the key hard exit politicians have resigned.

The consequence of this is that the Conservative vote has split. They were equal with Labour, now they’re five points behind, because the UKIP vote has increased overnight by five points.

The Conservatives only hope now is that come an election, UKIP voters will actually vote Conservative, because if they do not, Labour will get in.

So the question now is simply what can the Conservatives do to try to UKIP voters on-side come an election?

I think on the whole this means no second referendum.

The people who want this are people who wanted to remain. The exiters are very happy with it because it gave them what they want. They will not be happy with a second referendum.

A second referendum now would vote to stay in the EU, mainly because the old and rich voted to leave and after two years of them dying and two years of younger voters getting older and so obtaining the vote, the balance has shifted.

The basis to argue for a second referendum is that people were misinformed in the first; it’s only now they can make a genuinely informed choice.

In fact, I don’t think people’s views have changed at all; actual information is not part of the debate. It’s an emotional matter. The vote outcome will change because of the change in the voting population by the passage of two years.

NATO #2

I think Trump will take the USA out of NATO; if not today, if not at this summit, as soon as he can. He is preparing the ground.

This has begun with his current claims, that Germany is completely controlled by Russia.

The purpose of this is to devalue the alliance with Germany (through NATO). If Germany is already subverted, what point is there being in alliance with them?

So, when Europe is composed of individual States with their own armies you sooner or later get war. Maybe not in our lifetime, but certainly for our children, and war now means war in a world with widespread nuclear weapons.

When there is a pan-European war, the USA gets involved. It happened in WW2 and it happened in WW1. This leads to many hundreds of thousands or millions of American deaths. US Presidents until now have been wise enough to know that it is infinitely better and cheaper to station troops in Europe and so prevent war, than to remove them and then have war; Europe and the far east centered upon Japan constitute along with the USA the First World, and the USA ultimately benefits so profoundly from the First World that it acts, our of self-interest, to preserve the First World. This has post-war been achieved by the US alliance with Germany through NATO) and with Japan.

(US troops prevent war in Europe by being part of NATO, and if you attack anyone in NATO, you attack all of NATO, and the USA has massive military power. So it hasn’t happened, and Europe has had a very long period of peace. So much so in fact I think people have forgotten that war is the normal, default state of affairs and peace is something which only happens when efforts are taken to stabilize matters.)

Trump is going to lead the USA out of NATO.

This is happening because Trump is above his ceiling. When a man is above his ceiling, he continues to operate in his new role as he did in his old role. Trump is running the USA as if it were a hotel chain; he is also I judge from what I read of his conduct to his staff authoritarian. Authoritarian leaders are so because of insecurity, and this leads them to hire weak and submissive staff, always, as such people form no threat or competition and can be dominated. This we have seen the departure of all those around Trump who are capable and strong, being replaced with the weak and submissive. This is also why Trump is so single-minded about loyalty; if you are insecure, you need blind loyalty to reassure you, as you’re sure you’re no good but can’t stand to think other people will know it or think it.

I may be wrong, but I think Trump sees NATO only as a cost, and the whole situation as unjust (as the insecure tend to), as the USA spends and NATO does not. Beyond this, he sees not. I doubt he knows much history, or reads much. (I must say that I do not expect the USA to reduce its spending when it leaves NATO.) I also have some vague wonderment about the relationship between Trump and Russia. What *is* going on there? Trump doing a great deal which supports and encourages Putin’s goals. It is purely co-incidence? I think so, but I am maybe oh 5% not sure, and I tend to see Russian influence in a lot that happens – Russia historically has always been expansionist, and I think it the same now. You have to think that the mass of Russian people are conditioned into a world view which condones that which Putin does; the Russian people *believe and support*. I expect to find Russian money making its way into the hands of those who are acting to destabilize the EU and the West; it happened for the last hundred years. Why would it stop now?

The NATO States, knowing it is in the best interest of the USA to keep troops in the EU, have not spent enough on defence. The UK and France have spent barely enough, they have a long military history and so culturally are inclined to at least spend something, the Germans have spent very little because they are inculcated with war guilt and do not like military spending. The Italians have not spent enough because their economy is regulated to death so they cannot afford it, the Spanish have not spent enough, but here I cannot say why. Turkey spends a lot, but has never moved on from more direct forms of dictatorship, overt or covert, and currently has departed from the Western sphere. The other States are small players.

This provides a possibility of failure where a populist comes to power in the USA and removes the USA from NATO. Populism has arisen in the USA because the body politic is understood by the mass of people to be corrupt and foul, but they do not understand why, nor what ought to be done, for the mass of people in all countries have for centuries been brought up and conditioned from birth not to think but to simply accept the State as right, and so people are utterly open to manipulative populism; they have no framework of concepts of their own of what is right or wrong, or the mental defences or capability to detect something which is bogus. In short, people have been raised to be gullable and naive, to be obedident to the State, and so they are vulnerable to deception.

(The basic ethical rule is that everything two entities – individial, business, State, anything – do together, must be voluntary and well-informed, except in self-defence. You cannot force others to do things, nor trick them into it, unless you act in self-defence. Almost everything State does violates this principle, taxation for example.)

But NATO still exists, and if defence spending rises and it becomes a credible force, that will keep Europe from being a collection of individual States with their own armies, which will lead sooner or later to a pan-European war, in a world with widespread nuclear weapons.

The EU also helps in this matter, as it has acted to pull the individual States together into something more like a single entity.

The problem here though is that the EU is going to fail. You cannot have economic union without political union, and there is not enough political union. When the economy part falls over, the political part will be profoundly weakened. (There have been sixteeen currency unions in history. Eight ended when the States involved merged, the other eight failed.)

So all we have between us and individual States with their own armies is NATO, and Trump is weakening it by taking the USA out.

The EU I think will end up weakening NATO as well, as it is now that the Brits are out calling for an EU military. The Brits always flatly blocked this, citing NATO as the combined military force. The problem with the EU assumining a military role is that when it collapses, the military as with the econonmy will re-nationalize. So it doesn’t work – attaching the military the EU will lead to its fragmention when the EU fails, and then we’re back to individual States. NATO is the right solution in that sense.

Looking over the US web-sites, I see for example Fox news (which seems to be a Trump mouthpiece) asserting NATO is obsolete.

My experience of people is that if you imagine the most destructive, self-destructive, staggeringly horrific and utterly incomprehensible act – something really beyond imagination – like moving the world toward a war where millions in appalling agony, along with the chance of nuclear exchanges, where the ecological damage will devastate the planet globally even if the nuclear explosions do not do so directly – you will find tons of people calling for it and huge numbers of people thinking its a good idea and wanting it to happen.

Plenty of people are evil, and plenty of people are gullable and naive. The former is human nature, the latter is that the mass of people have been raised to be gullable and naive, to be obedient to the State, and so they are vulnerable to deception.

So all in all, NATO is our hope.