News and the Psychology of Computing: Profitable Disruption


Simon Sheppard

Water cress growing in a computer keyboard




Sex and Power

My second full-length book, Sex & Power: A Manual on Male-Female Relations, is shortly to be published by the Heretical Press. It is to be a 200-page paperback and getting it printed and bound has kept me busy over the last few weeks.

The job has involved me becoming neurotic about bleed margins, registration and so on (the conflict being between wanting the job signed off and underway, and the knowledge that a few millimetres of error can render the entire lot into nothing but waste paper). Its novel design doesn’t help, but hopefully it will come right in the end, and if it does it will be a very good-looking book. It will be the first perfect-bound publication to be published by the Heretical Press.

I started this book in jail, overseen by prison staff, so it deals with sexual politics exclusively. If any book of mine is capable of being published by a mainstream publisher, this is it. Nevertheless, over a year and dozens of approaches to publishers later, I’m left with no alternative but to publish it myself, which is neither the best nor the easiest thing to do.

So here we have a book called Sex and Power, by a former Guardian writer (long ago), whose first edition of The Tyranny of Ambiguity sold out. A title like this shouldn’t even have to make much sense to get published. And Lord knows plenty making much less sense do.



Screen view of the front cover layout of Sex and Power



Exulanten site

The ‘NEW LINK’ didn’t last long, illustrating how much attention is required to keep links pages up-to-date. I had some correspondence with Linda Schaitberger in 2012, when I discovered the Exulanten site, and it provided some of the inspiration for the Spree Killers article. I sent her a copy, and she liked it. Regrettably she died on 21 April 2013, and with the intervention of the family the site has become password protected. During our correspondence Linda, who lived in Maine, gave me permission to copy and adapt the site. However it badly needs re-working, and a tentative start has been made on this.


Talk in London

On 22 June 2013 I gave a talk for the London Forum on the ambitious theme of ‘Cyclic Games.’ This was a commentary on the talk –

‘Review by a young student Nationalist. The first speaker was Simon Sheppard, a published author and doctorate in Mathematics, who was discussing cyclical games and how understanding cyclical patterns in nature can be applied to human interactions and then onto our contemporary political situation. Unfortunately, I found the pace of Sheppard’s talk a little too quick and the concepts he was trying to explain a little too complicated – this coming from someone with no background in either psychology or mathematics. However, from my minute understanding of the field, I can say that most of what he was talking about came under the field of Game Theory or the study of long-term strategic decision-making. A weakness of Sheppard is that his conclusion was fairly light, in essence, we will win because it is determined in our nature that we shall – as activists this offers us nothing constructive.’

I thank the writer for making the effort to provide a written account. There are a couple of points to be made though. Firstly, I said my degree is in mathematics, I don’t have a doctorate, formally anyway. Under the old system each of my two published medical-scientific papers would have qualified me for a doctorate, but I was not affiliated with any academic institution at the time (as now). These remain my highest formal qualifications however.

Secondly, I don’t think there was any suggestion that nationalists need do nothing. My conclusion, at the end of the talk, was that in my view the tide has turned, and this will become increasingly apparent in the future. The government is well behind the curve (termed in some fields a ‘phase angle’) and the media at every opportunity present the world as they want it to be, rather than how it is. But in my opinion the pendulum has changed direction. And I wouldn’t describe myself as an activist, of which more shortly.

I have been asked back, and will give another talk sometime next year. I will keep it simpler next time.



Fascism 101 pictorial by Ironmarch.org, illustrating the cyclic nature of things. Image added 2016

Wikilabels

Is there anything more tiresome than having your Wikipedia page quoted back at you? As if it proved anything. I’m listed there as an “activist” but I know for fact (because I came to know the person who made the initial entry) that I was originally added to Wikipedia as a psychologist.

I mentioned above my credentials as a scientist, my qualifications as a “mad scientist” is a longer story, to be saved for another day. Along those lines though, I am shortly to be engaged in a research project with potential commercial application, so it must necessarily be kept secret. Hence after the publication of Sex & Power news from Heresy Manor may be sparse for a while (the website will still be updated from time to time of course).

What else could I be categorised as?

Writer
Publisher
Independent Researcher
Psychologist (Maverick or otherwise)


It seems that the most powerful weapons the media can employ are 1. Promoting a false consensus, a false normality to which people naturally tend to conform; and 2. Assigning labels to people and groups according to their agenda. This is the same trick that is used when describing Gaza policemen as “militants.” Altering perception and distorting reality is a major theme of the new article I’ve just sent to Heritage and Destiny.

For comparison, Wikipedia lists Irving as “an English writer and Holocaust denier” with no small amount of mock-objective bluster (quoting the usual suspects) justifying their conclusion. David Irving, not a historian! He has turned up, dug out, and extracted more original material than half of Britain’s mainstream historians put together.

If an “activist” is someone who discovers that many of the fundamental tenets of our society are based on deceit, and tries to tell people, then, guilty as charged!




Simon Sheppard in November 2013
(Picture updated November 2013.) The ‘mad scientist’ is nearly ready for his next series of experiments. Time will tell whether they will come to anything, but this is one idea which doesn’t require considerable investment, so it’s worth a try.



Historical Review Press

A major development is that the Heretical Press has taken over the Historical Review Press list. This follows the death last year of Tony Hancock, who ran the Print Factory and HRP from Uckfield, Sussex. HRP is now formally an imprint of the Heretical Press, and being run by an associate. Unfortunately at the moment much of the HRP print stock is in a state of limbo. Nevertheless some titles can be supplied, and there has even been two new publications, regarded as important economics texts, by Gottfried Feder. For details of the books currently available from HRP see hrp.co.uk.


The Windows Bane

Software problems arose when taking files for the new book out to an external agency. These brought to the fore once again the strategy of creating problems for advantage. This is a policy I have been aware of for a while, and these experiences have at last prompted me to tackle it. The analysis starts with an exploration of the policies currently being employed by some software companies.

Microsoft leads the field of course, with the transformation of the PC operating system from its proper, but mundane, role as ‘a stable platform for software’ to a consumer product. Like any consumer product, so long as the customer perceives an updated version to be superior he can be sold a new. Now after installing a new version of Windows suddenly he needs a new widget and a gizmo, and more memory, and his printer (which has served him well for years) inexplicably won’t print. Look it up on the internet. A million idiots say “Change the motherboard”! Money flows. Everybody “on the inside” has tills ringing, it’s great! Microsoft and its acolytes thrive, and so successful is it that before too long, the process is repeated.

So now a whole industry hangs on Microsoft’s coat-tails, kept in work by incessant changes and all that inevitably goes wrong with it. Men in computer shops up and down the land make their living repairing broken Windows installations, plus there is a hierarchy of other layers (certification programmes etc.).

Following Microsoft’s lead – and in their struggle to gain a slice of the pie – various firms compete to lock their customers in, one way or another. The original computer lock-in was probably IBM’s monopoly on punched cards. IBM held the copyright on the cards, so users had to buy them from IBM, who could charge what they liked. The famous book detailing Thomas Watson’s early shenanigans is Big Blue: IBM’s Use and Abuse of Power by Richard Delamarter.


Bloatware

Here I must use some computer jargon but I shall define the terms. “Bloatware” is software which has become, as the name suggests, bloated. Filled with gas, perhaps? Windows is the quintessential example but Adobe’s Acrobat PDF reader is another:

1993 (Version 1) = 2.5MB
1999 (Version 4) = 5MB
2003 (Version 6) = 16MB
2008 (Version 9) = 25MB
2013 (Version 11) = 65MB

Is the latest release (11.0.01) twenty times better than Version 1? Does it do twenty times more? No, it doesn’t. In computing’s earlier days programmers used to obsess about a few redundant bytes in their assembly language programs (such code tends to be efficient and easily fits into ROM). Enormous program sizes and greedy memory usage bring problems of their own.

Then there is “portability” i.e. the ability to transfer code, and most importantly data, between systems. Some months ago when I had no or limited internet access I went to a university library to get copies of some references for a paper of my own (it has yet to be published). One was from the British Medical Journal dated 1942, and was in electronic format. I copied it onto a memory stick but when I got home I couldn’t view it. Despite being from 1942, and being just three page images, it had been converted to PDF using the latest Adobe software. This required a journey back to the university, who when told of the problem printed out the paper for me.

PDF stands for “portable document format” but here is an example, in my experience not an isolated one, when it was decidedly non-portable.


Naffware

In my renewed exposure to the world of commercial printing I also encountered a new phenomenon: programs which refuse to read files saved in their earlier versions. Thus Naffwriter 12 will read files saved with Naffwriter 11 or 10, but not earlier versions. What nuisance, and what utter disregard for the user this displays! What problems it creates! I shall call software which does this “naffware.” I’m told that both Quark and InDesign engage in this naked ploy to force users to climb aboard the upgrade roller-coaster.

Removing the ability to read old data files has involved a deliberate decision. The code to do this already exists, fully integrated into the program. It would actually have been less work to leave it in. In the traditional model, the format of data files is supposed to be held constant, another computing tenet which Microsoft abandoned.


Computing just a microcosm

Up till now I have been talking about computer software but there are plenty of analogies here with life in general. The lock-in is a female strategy, the original one (i.e. the archetype) possibly being a female getting pregnant to oblige a male to stay with her. This is the tradition in some Scandinavian countries. Because it is a female strategy, it follows that a lock-in, once it is available, will always ultimately be exploited.

Look at the bloat associated with mass immigration: a whole industry of translators, immigration courts, human rights lawyers, advice centres, legislation to inhibit the native population’s natural antipathy, state snooping, ID cards (actual or de facto), lots of new laws needing lots of new lawyers and prosecutors, and I’m sure a few other things I’ve omitted. All the social bloatware and naffware arising from mass immigration, which the people of the affected countries in no case ever voted for. But isn’t it great! Lots of benefits (for some).

The analogy with what I call naffware is true, because just like a program which refuses to read earlier versions of its own data files, the people responsible for the bloat refuse to acknowledge the validity of the way things were before. It’s called “progress” and people who look back fondly to the time when our country was white are “Neanderthal racists” et cetera, ad nauseam and ad infinitum. Incidentally, back in those dismal, unenlightened days when we were all provincial bumpkins, people could leave their bikes and houses unlocked and every town didn’t have a recalcitrant population of heroin addicts.


Creative Transduction, Profitable Disruption

This policy of creating problems for advantage is so prevalent, and so potent, that Creative Transduction doesn’t to do it justice. Provisionally I term the procedure Profitable Disruption. (I am capitalising these terms, chiefly because of their novelty.)

To recap some existing definitions: Transduction is inducing a false feeling, and Creative Transduction is generating or inventing a problem for the purpose of blaming someone else. The clearest examples of Creative Transduction are fake hate crimes, the best examination I’ve seen being Crying Wolf: Hate Crime Hoaxes in America by Laird Wilcox.

Profitable Disruption is creating a problem for advantage.

Now if we are to put Profitable Disruption into its context in Procedural Analysis we need a prehistorical, evolutionary archetype. I haven’t arrived at one yet, and suggestions are welcome. Here is a contemporary scenario:

Suppose a wife is discontent, as wives are wont to be. Bored and unhappy, she goads and provokes her husband into saying or doing something which leads her to phone the police (indirect invocation). They arrive and take him off, and a predictable sequence of events follows, as described on the Gynaeceum page. A “family court” bans him from visiting the family home. Eventually the couple divorce, and the wife ends up with the house and practically all the benefits of marriage, but without the husband. She has created the problem and materially benefited from it.


New is not always better

I actually prefer old software, and this is a perfectly realistic perception in light of my own programming experience. I can imagine a scene back in the day when Word, say, was being developed. The programming team had a conflab one day about how best to lay it out, how to structure the menus etc. The best arrangement was settled upon.

Then some time later the marketing men decided there must be change. There’s to be a new release, and they can’t sell it if it’s just the same as the old. Since the best arrangement has already been established, the changes must perforce be for the worse. Incidentally the version of Word I use is so old it thinks internet is a typo! But it does everything I want it to (and doesn’t keep popping up with inane suggestions either).

A promising site on this theme is oldversion.com. (Please take care, as always, for dummy download buttons which are really ads.)

The solution to some technical problems is to go backwards instead of forwards. Okay, occasionally it’s not possible for a Luddite like me to do something, but it’s very rare and that’s a small price to pay for reliability, familiarity and ease of use. In future I intend to use Postscript (which preceded PDF) as the format of choice for printing externally. Looking it up, I’m consulting documentation from as early as 1994! In the past people (including myself) wrote software for the joy of the technology, rather than at the behest of marketeers with sales as the sole objective. The software solved problems, not created them to bolster the firm’s balance sheet.

Postscript was settled in 1997 and I doubt I shall be using anything older than that. To be fair, people in the software business would say that they have to keep producing new versions or we’d all be happily passing copies of version 1.0 to each other, and they wouldn’t receive any revenue. This is no excuse for engaging in Profitable Disruption however.

I read somewhere that there is now enough fiat money in notional existence to buy everything in the world a hundred times over. Whether this is true or not I really cannot say, but I do know that some people will never, ever have enough of it.


Last thoughts

There must be many places across Britain – community centres, sedentary workplaces (public libraries!) and the like – with women in them who have little else to do except get your measure and work out how they can create the maximum personal havoc for you and get away with it. Fortunately I haven’t had any encounters of this kind recently, but someone or something reminded me of it. A correspondent made the point that men have been too successful, inventing all manner of labour-saving devices like washing machines, vacuum cleaners and so forth. In former times women were too busy to indulge in such mischief, because maintaining a home, and keeping it and the people in it clean and fed, was a full-time job. Earning a living demanded physical strength and practical ability, so there was no question that women go out to work.

Simon Sheppard
August 2013

Postscript. For an insight into the beginnings of Microsoft, see here.

Post postscript. An excellent overview, Why I Hate Microsoft by Frank W. van Wensveen.



A spoof Windows message: The paperclip helps you write your suicide note


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