Saturday, 27 August 2011

Robobasket – why you need it

Robobasket is a neat Windows 7 64bit application that will sort your files – any files – whatever way you want.

This one is even better than running Amok. This will do all that Amok does and more – and better. The 64bit version is lightning fast. The Cap has been hunting for this thing for ages – and now has found it. Amma jumpin for joy!!!


10 reasons to use RoboBasket (according to their website)

  • Set-it-and-Forget-it solution for sorting files.
  • Create rules easily by drag and drop.
  • Filter files based on name, extension, date created, date last modified, size, kind and more other file attributes.
  • Filter mp3s or images using mp3 tags and EXIF information.
  • Perform actions like move, copy, rename, recycle, open, notify and more other actions.
  • Create individual rules set for different folders.
  • Quickly access RoboBasket from system tray menu.
  • Find files quickly by searching detailed actions log.
  • Save a lot of time and effort keeping files organized. RoboBasket can totally Pay for itself
  • Free support by email.

I’ve not seen another tool as good as this for sorting files. If you find better do shout about it.

This could change your life

In just a few minutes these videos from a great man could change the way you live your life. Yes – there is a dog to feed somewhere, a bill to pay, a leaking tap to fix, or that link on Amazon to click. It’s up to you of course, whether you look and listen now – or you say you’ll see it ‘later’ – and we all know that’s most unlikely. So – if you’re 100% satisfied with your life look away now!

“It’s not about how to achieve your dreams; it’s about how to lead your life!”
What wisdom would we impart to the world if it was our last chance?

Friday, 22 July 2011

You’re a stubborn man

Yes – these are the words or similar I’ve had hurled at me at various points in my life. I’ve had words such as ‘rigid’, ‘insensitive’, ‘obnoxious’ and far worse abusive language thrown at me.

When I look back upon myself, searching for how I became ‘this’ way – as perceived by others, I’ve come up with a few things that are meaningful to me. I’m not saying they are pure or justified explanations of my modus operandi, but they explain a few things.

From an early age probably around the age of 10 I took a very keen interest in Star Trek (just hold off, I’m not a Trekkie). I became fascinated with Mr Spock and how he reasoned on difficult or simple things and came to decisions. The battle between logic and emotions (or the passions if you like), is one that interested me and would repeatedly be played out in my life - to this day. Of course it has been explored by numerous a philosopher – and I don’t really want to go into academia here.

The stubborn man! :)
I too found a home for myself.. in a new world.

At one stage my siblings used to mock me, as did some of my classmates – that I behaved like Mr Spock. Well yes, I often referred to the lack of logic in their arguments. You could tell that when they were losing an argument, the last ‘best’ strategy to ‘win’ as they saw it, was to disparage me or the way I was arguing a point. Yeah – many a debate did I have during lunch times up to the time I left high school (aka College back on a godforsaken Rock). I learned early on that when people want to win a point they would discredit the person presenting their point – not the logic behind it. Or they would stop listening entirely, and walk off ‘waving hands’ in disgust. I coped but not well or to this day. The stupidity of emotional expression in ‘humans’ confounds logical debate. And yes – you will see me fighting fire with fire out here at times.

It’s easy to see how cut and dried Mr Spock is on certain issues – at times lacking empathy, sympathy or feeling for the views of others. What can raw logic have to do with that? 1 + 1 is not a thing to get emotional about – and yes – raw logic is very mathematical at it’s core; it doesn’t care what you think or feel. That kind of response is bound to get up most people’s noses – people want to feel respected etc.. not have their thoughts and opinions demolished or diced up.

However my analysis of this tension between what is logical and what is broadly of ‘emotion’ has deepened in recent years. There is something of an enhanced realisation – though not a new one. I’ll share:

  1. Accepting evolution as an explanation of the present existence of humanity, I have come to understand that evolution had very limited time for selecting species for survival on the basis of their ability to think logically. Cognitive processes are a very new phenomenon – I mean like only about 100,000 years and being sharpened only in the last 200 years or so. It is only ‘now’ that survival advantage is being decided by the integrity of cognitive processes. In other words evolution is now taking a different course based on a dramatically new survival factor.
  2. But what does that mean? It means that the hardware of our minds (the brain), is all hardwired to function on instinct, emotion, gut feeling etc etc. Those were the things that came with our evolutionary baggage. I don’t know to what extent they had survival value – that’s another debate.
  3. However, I’m thinking that when we were animals – I mean real animals – the business of mating and reproducing couldn’t be held up logical weighing up of which mate had carried the best survival features. Nature found other ways to deal with that. Strength, persistence, aggression, might, beauty, resilience were far more important and immediate means of deciding the business.
  4. Now – us ‘animals’ have been ‘given’ cognitive processes – the greater ability to be self-aware, to plan and to think. We can weigh up – and think – about who’s a good mate etc. But hold on – there is still the problem that the ‘animal’ in us takes over, when it comes to the business of procreation. And keep in mind that ‘nature’ – that mechanical thing – that orchestrates this world, doesn’t know the word ‘procreation’.
  5. And the animal – now trapped in a 21st century world has to cope with very serious demands. There are important decisions to make, I mean really important – not things that determine ‘survival of the species’ as such – but a whole new set of values and considerations that never could be dreamed of 100 centuries ago. Like? What career to seek, what  phone or computer to buy, what perfume is good, what car is best value for money, when and how to get pregnant, how not to get pregnant, when and who to marry, how many children is best, what university to study at, which country to live in, what to drink, what to eat…. Blimey - Caveman never had to cope with that kind of complexity!! He basically had to work out how to find food, shelter and stay safe – and he would have been supplied with strategies handed to him by his tribe, which he might modify to suit – but it wasn’t as complicated or demanding on cognitive processes. Children would happen by a combination of a lack of planning, accident and instinct. Caveman’s existence couldn’t possibly have involved the complex analysis of a range of factors that could be involved in accepting a job offer i.e. moving house, pleasing wife and kids, earnings, pensions, contractual matters etc. Caveman had largely a day to day existence or one determined by the seasons. Our present-day existence is determined by global influences, our age, our sex, our race, culture, which country we live in or choose to go to live etc etc. I hope you get my drift i.e. a range of factors we can control or cannot control, but for which we may try to find strategies to adapt. All this demands much ‘processing power’ to bring a favourable outcome.
  6. But in practice, what happens? The majority of people do not really weigh up pros and cons squarely, do not weigh opportunities and losses, do not calculate well into the future. For the minority that do, when the crunch comes, what do they do? They go with the ‘feeling’. So ultimately – what tends to rule is something that may be informed by logical analysis but which can easily overrule that kind of analysis.
  7. A potentially dangerous hand-me-down from our evolution is the ability to suppress logical analysis. So we can ignore that which taxes the brain or which is likely to add to our discomfort. If thinking and analysis causes us stress we can easily do away with it. We can opt to pick the path of least discomfort, even if ultimately doing so will bring the least good/advantage to the greatest number or to ourselves.
  8. And yet another serious danger lurks. This is one where we take what’s in our heads as fact, because we believe a thing to be real. That computer in front of you is a real object, but always remember that the perception of it is a constructive representation of the world in your head. The latter is not bound to match that which is outside, or to match closely. So belief about what’s in the head ought to be very carefully approached – always. Why? Because reasoning on beliefs that may have been improperly constructed by psychological or biological forces can lead to serious errors of judgement. The irreversible mistake is the worst kind to make.

This last point – is – I think the most dangerous part of our current existence. Look, I’m not suggesting that I’m better than thou. I too make silly mistakes. However, I think that being aware of the danger above is better than not being aware of it. At least I can try or struggle to do what is right by applying processes that are more adapted to my current world than one of 100 centuries ago.

If you got this far, thanks for taking the time. Even if you disagree with the above the value is in thinking about it. I’m delighted to think about it because it helps me to build on my thoughts of today.

I am a stubborn man relative to the expectations of others. I’ll more quickly and flexibly change my opinions and modus operandi where I see a sound logical basis to do so. However, I’m as cold and hard as granite in response to emotional attempts to sway my mind. Notice the words ‘more quickly and flexibly’ – I cannot root out the ‘evolutionary animal’ embedded in me by nature.

Best wishes to all.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

What do they know

The Cap enjoys the seaside very much, as you can imagine. This pic immediately below was taken at the Aberdeen shoreline, where I visited on 13-14th June 2011. It held a certain strange fascination for me. Barnacles_2011_06_14I looked down on these barnacles, waiting for the water to wash up on them.

They would live, reproduce and die, oblivious to the world around them, or the complexity of the heavens above, or that someone was looking down on them.

Their lives are so simple compared to mine. “Would I trade places with them if given the chance?” I wondered.

My thoughts were interrupted by a splash of water against my feet.

I retreated. I walked and looked around. What a view.


And I thought of my life in the same way I looked upon the lowly barnacle. And then I thought, “There is so much up there that I don’t know about, so much I will never know about.”

I was motivated to publish this by Leonard Susskind, a renowned physicist who probes the deeper nature of reality.  He’s been called the bad boy of physics. In essence he was recently said that reality may forever be beyond the reach of our understanding. See Scientific American 2011-06-22. In a sense there’s nothing new in that. But somehow that sobering thought resonated with my experience of the barnacles. They too were limited in  ‘understanding’ the reality around them.

What do they know – is also to ask ‘what do we know’.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

A few more

…to the one I love.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Suicide sticks

The following has been deep in my ‘substrata’ for months. It went deep because a colleague with an IQ of 147, opts to smoke cigarettes. Besides the IQ the person is exceptional in other ways. Quite unexpectedly this morning as I got the computer I launched spontaneously on this that I write now. I know that is the best way to let my thoughts connect with my finger tips.  You know this is coming from the heart. President Obama is given my attention later. And there’s a surprise.

If you’re a smoker and you’re sure that it is your choice to smoke cigarettes or use tobacco products, and you know all the ‘yarn’ about the dangers of smoking, kindly move on – you’re just one of the millions of the most ignorant, stupid and delusional people on this earth. If you got this far, you’re expecting this to be another lecture on the hazards of smoking. Move on now – the quicker the ignorant, stupid and delusional kill themselves the better for the human race! I think we all can agree on that one – even if you know you don’t fit my categorisation of you.

Someone reading this just thought “But lots of very intelligent people – doctors, judges, world leaders – who smoke tobacco products, surely they’re not stupid”. To which I would reply, “Stupidity and intelligence are quite often good bed fellows”. In fact my definition of stupidity includes being intelligent enough to know and assess risks (in general or specific) and in the face of high risk either rationalise persistent actions, ignore or ‘cover’ the risky behaviour. Well – yes, that covers ‘ignorance’ as an ‘attitude’ as well. Yes – President Obama falls into my definition. Doctors don’t really need to tell President Obama to stop smoking – get real – he knows the risks!

Here’s the surprise!! No lecture on the risk of tobacco products! That’s it! It would be a waste of my time and yours. It’ll become more obvious as to why soon.

I now simply give you my conclusions that there are two main kinds of stupid people on this earth

  1. The first type is the one who doesn’t know of the risks, doesn’t have the wherewithal to assess the risk and merely follows the ‘herd’ blindly – over the proverbial cliff. But mind you this group is often exposed to some information on the risks, so they rather present as not knowing. In other words they lie to themselves.
  2. The second type as I’ve mentioned above is the seemingly intelligent who knows of, or has the mental wherewithal to assess the risk but opts not to assess the risk, or having identified the thing precipitating the risk, does nothing to reduce of avoid it and is simply not bothered.

One way or the other I think anyone in the above groups eventually comes to a knowledge that they are killing themselves slowly.

But what if you’re a smoker and you genuinely do not fall into the above two groups of stupid people. Then there is some small hope for you. You’re not stupid – but you indulge in an act of stupidity. Yes – you know your actions (or inactions) do not fit. You worry – even silently to yourself – that you need to stop. That’s good but there is a risk that you move into and out of group 2 above.

I have no friends or close acquaintances who are smokers. Those smokers who would be inclined to closely associate with me would have a very hard time. Why? Because nearly every time I meet them I’d nag them to stop smoking. And the other thing of course is that the Cap has a slow tolerance of stupid people. Eventually those who smoke and attempt to seek my companionship will find that they avoid me. You see I’m easier to avoid than a cigarette!! In the toss up between me and a cigarette – I lose. I don’t believe that one of a pair of true friends would sit silently and allow the other to kill themselves, in such a stupid way.

So it’s a funny old world – innit? A fag is a smoker’s best friend. Fags provide comfort and death – I don’t.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Skype hotline

Q: What exactly is Skype?

A: It’s a piece of software that functions as a telephone, on a computer.

Q: What is software?

A: Software is a computer programme or more commonly known these days as an ‘application’.

Q: What’s a computer?

A: It’s usually an electronic device that processes information and carries out instructions determined by the software and the way you use the software.

Q: So – why would  I want Skype?

A: I don’t know. It depends on your needs. Why do some people prefer automobiles to horse-drawn carriages?

Q: So what does skype do that my phone can’t do?

A: It’s not that skype is so fundamentally different from a phone. It does the phone thing in a more flexible way with a few important differences.

  1. You don’t need to remember a number to call a friend, if your friend has a skype ID. You click on your friends name (no numbers involved) and skype connects you to your friend. Or if you like the numbers thing, Skype will easily let you phone by pressing on a dial-pad (on your computer screen, using a mouse).
  2. If you want three or more people to discuss a matter – you select three names and click to pull them all into the same ‘room’ i.e. conference. It’s literally that easy. No operators involved.
  3. You want to see your friends when you’re talking to them. No problem - ‘right-click’ on a friends ID and then select video call.

Q: Suppose I want to send a text message?

A: Easy – skype can do that. Right-click your friend and select ‘send SMS’.

Q: Will skype do the washing and ironing?

A: I think you’re trying to be daft. Surely you don’t expect your telephone to do those things, so it’s ridiculous to expect Skype to do them.

Q: How much does it cost again?

A: Skype is free. Calls between skype devices using Skype ID’s are free.

Q: But some people say they charge to call phones.

A: Yes. Calls from a Skype device to most phone numbers attract various charges. However, calls to UK and USA toll-free numbers are free of charge.

Q: So what if I call from my computer to someone with a mobile phone running Skype?

A: You’d connect to them on their mobile, free of cost to you, so long as you have called them on their Skype ID.

Q: So you mean I can speak to someone on their mobile using Skype free of charge?!

A: Yes. It is true of Skype calls in the UK. However, this may not apply to all countries.

Q: So what if I don’t have a computer, can I still use skype?

A: Yes. As mentioned above many mobile phones can run skype.

Q: But is there are charge for calls using skype form mobiles?

A: It depends on whether your mobile phone service allows you to use skype free of charge. Most do.

Q: Can I be hacked by using Skype?

A: Not for using Skype. But if your computer does not have a good firewall anyone can hack your computer. The risk of you being hacked has little or nothing to do with skype.

Q: But can anyone peep at me through my camera using skype to see what I’m up to – I like to walk around naked in my house.

A: They can peep at you naked in your house only if you switch on skype and invite the world to look in on you. I’ve not even found that function on Skype as yet. You may wish to consider seeking psychiatric attention.

Q: Are you trying to be rude?

A: No – are you trying to be paranoid or are you truly paranoid? What have you got to hide?

Q: What if I don’t have a microphone?

A: It’s the same as if your mouthpiece for your telephone isn’t working – the other person won’t hear you.

Q: Do I need a camera?

A: Only if you plan to do some video conferencing.

Q: Is that pretty technical?

A: No. It’s as easy as right-clicking on a contact and then mouse-clicking ‘video-call’.

Q: I’m shy of cameras, can I leave it out?

A: Sure.

Q: Is ‘big brother’ in on all that I do on Skype.

A: Sure thing. Unknown to most people, ‘big brother’ monitors or has the capacity to monitor every word you utter down your telephone line. You can’t escape.

Q: Am I gonna get strange folk calling me up at all hours of the day and night?

A: It’s very much like a telephone. If you leave your computer on day and night, connected to the internet day and night, and leave your skype on day and night.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Jackie Evancho!!

The Cap is totally blowed down!! Like totally! Amma speechless.. just listen and watch.

This one was last night – on Britain’s Got Talent.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Of Justice and hunger

Research evidence has revealed that how lenient a judge might be is related to how close s/he is to a meal break! A hungry judge is an angry judge – you might think, and you’d be on the right track.

Recidivism amongst offenders also predicted outcomes. However, even after controlling for that factor, the effect of meal times remained strong.

As I’ve said before – and some have been blind to or missed entirely – it is what is below our level of conscious awareness that we need pay most attention to. I don’t think that any of the judges who were subject in the study would admit that because they were hungry and tired, they were more likely to rule in a certain direction.

The reason I can think that, is that they would be admitting to a bias of some kind, due to a very human reason. However, I think there is something else. I don’t think they were aware of how their cognitive skills were being eroded by imperceptible effects of tiredness and hunger. Read all about it (or not): The Economist: 2011-08-14 

All - ok 'most' or 'some' (for pedants) - of us like to think quite proudly that we are immune to matters that spring from the demands of flesh and blood. I call that an arrogant position. 

I occasionally work amongst some who take control and occasionally push us through the lunch time ‘barrier’. I’ve always compensated in my decision-making, in those times, by slowing everything down, and taking time to refresh myself.  I’d nip to the toilet, to kitchen to munch on something, for a drink of water, or skip off for even 30 seconds of fresh air (well a bit more). I nearly always carry snacks of some kind.