Is Tomorrow Already Here? Humans need not apply; Ferguson subsides a bit. And daybook notes on Micro SD cards

View 840 Monday, August 25, 2014

“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009


I got the controller for my Costco hearing aids today – the old one is somewhere within fifty feet of me, but it is fifty feet of Chaos Manor and will only be found by accident – and while I was at it I asked Kerry, the crackerjack audio technician at the Burbank Costco, to tune my hearing aid a bit, reducing very sharp upper register loud noises while boosting intermediate frequencies. That seems to have worked. In the past weeks without a controller I noticed an increasing tendency for people to shout at me. Not just people around me, but salesmen on television and radio. There is a kind of ‘frantic announcer’ voice that apparently modern radio and TV stations hire preferentially, and they have the theory that if you scream in an irritating voice at people that will make them buy the product. It works just the opposite with me, but I admit that my unturned hearing aids tended to exaggerate the screaming effect; now it’s not as bad, although it’s still irritating.

Like everything I do now, it took a lot longer than I expected it to, using up a good part of my day. I got some work done on the revised column, and in fact it’s starting to flow: there’s a lot to catch up with, and I doubt I’ll get it all in one column. I’ve given myself an early September deadline on having a complete draft done and back from my advisor friends. I’ll then send a copy of that to anyone whose products are mentioned in it with my usual advisory: I will correct errors of fact immediately, and I will consider opinions on errors of judgment; and I reserve the right to determine which is which. That has been my policy for thirty years and it has always worked out well. My opinions remain my own, but if someone presents a strong case for a different view I may or may not incorporate that into the column. Do understand that Chaos Manor Reviews tries to stay out of politics unless it directly affects technology, and is mostly my day book about computing at Chaos Manor where we do a lot of silly things so you don’t have to.

On that score, my pursuit of memory for my Panasonic DMC-FZ30 camera continues. The Kingston 2 GB micro SD card with Kingston Adapter that’s in it now works just fine, but nothing else in the house will read it. At least, nothing would read it with the tools I have for years used for the purpose.

I have had over the years a dozen Multipurpose Memory Card Read/Write devises, and some are stored somewhere in the back room, because for the last couple of years I have used a Belkin Hi-speed USB 2.0 15-in-1 Media Reader and Writer. Recently I took the Kingston SD Adapter with the Kingston Micro SD 2 GB card in it and put it into the Belkin reader, and connected to a Windows 7 computer with an SD 2,0 cable. The computer beeped, and attempted to read the card, and said the card needed formatting. I hastily got the card out of there and back in the camera, where it remained perfectly readable and writable.

I wondered if it could be the Belkin Reader, but I was also a bit concerned about the SD Adapter card that allows me to insert the micro SD card into it so that the camera – and the Belkin Reader – think they’re looking at a regular SD card. After all that reader was designed well before micro SD cards existed, and for that matter, at about the time it came out 2GB was a pretty big card.

Anyway, I tried this rig on two more Windows 7 machines, and one Windows 8 system, and the results were similar; there was no way I was going to read that card. This got me frantically ordering stuff: a USB cable for my camera (it uses something smaller than a micro USB connection), a new memory card reader, and while I was at it, some new and larger memory cards. I also discovered I had a SanDisk 64 GB micro SD card; I inserted it into the Kingston SD card adapter and that into the Belkin reader, and tried connecting that to the three different computers. None of them could read it either. Curiouser and curiouser.

Today’s mail contained a new Kingston 4 GB Micro SD card, and two other objects: another SD Card adapter into which I could insert a micro SD, and another gizmo, a tiny little thing with a small lanyard to help keep from losing it which would also allow the insertion of a micro SD card – and which directly converted that into a USB thumb drive. No adapter, no Belkin Reader, nothing: just the Micro SD card and the micro-to-USB adapter. I put the 2 GB card from the camera into the newer SD Card adapter, and that into the Belkin: no joy. But then I put the Micro into the direst USB adapter, and Lo! the Windows 7 system recognized it instantly, informed me that it was about 4 GB, and had no files. I quickly put the 2 GB Micro into the USB adapter, and there was joy and the singing of angels. It opened immediately, and I was able to transfer all my pictures into my computer. I quickly went over and tested this on Swan, a Windows 8 machine with lots of empty disk space, and once again, no problem. And to be thorough I also went to Alien Artifact, a 64-bit Windows 7 system, and did the same thing. All successful.

So then I took the 64 GB SanDisk Micro and put it into the Kingston Micro to USB adapter, and once again, instantly, all the machines saw a 64 GB empty disk, and when I used one of the machines to create an empty Foo Folder on it, all the other machines saw the disk and that folder as well.

Last experiment: put the 4 GB Kingston Micro into the newest Kingston SD Adapter, and put that into the camera. Nope: some problems. That wasn’t unexpected; I’ve read that the FX-30 had problems with 4 GB cards. There is supposed to be a remedy, but as far as I am concerned I’ll just stick to 2 GB cards for that camera – the one that’s been in there all the time is fine – and worry about the rest of it another time.

Well, that’s the day book account of the story. The column will make the story somewhat better organized and have room for other experiments. But it feels good to be back bashing the balrog again.


It’s late and I am running out of time, but this is important:

Humans Need Not Apply

Hi Jerry.

C.G.P. Grey has produced a video about the next automation revolution (smart robots and such) and that we’re completely unprepared as a society to deal with the consequences of so many people becoming unemployed.

His hypothesis: we’re going the way of the horse!

His other videos are also fun to watch….


Mike Casey

The video says at length much of what I have been saying in short screeds for a couple of years now. When 25% of the population (of the male only population, actually) could not find jobs we called it The Great Depression.

What happens when half the jobs done by men and women can be done by a robot costing about the same amount as a human is paid in a year (and running on far less in power and maintenance once the first year wage capital is paid)… When most of the citizens can’t find anything that anyone would pay them to do, what does this mean for a Republic? I have asked this before. And I wonder just who is thinking about this now?

We worried about this sort of thing back in the 1950’s. I recall Robert Jungk Tomorrow Is Already Here and thinking him an alarmist; but as I watched the inexorable march of Moore’s law I found myself thinking about it more and more. And of course our school system is totally unable to cope with this, since its purpose to make sure that everyone gets the same opportunities and outcomes and education – which means that no child will be left behind because none will get ahead. It is illegal to teach the bright kids more than the normal, or the normal more than the moron. Well, perhaps not yet; but that day will come.

Which is all pretty scary. I’ll let you think about it.  Well discuss all this again.


And finally, the Ferguson drama may be coming to an end. This particular site is more partisan than places I usually visit, but I was directed here by a friend, and I think this time they have much of the right of it.

They are also rightly concerned about the militarization of the police. All those military weapons which convert the police from police to occupying legions ought to be with the National Guard, or perhaps with special units of the County Sheriff Department, but not distributed for routine use by small town or even Big City cops. The police should not make war on the citizens, or even appear to do so. When that kind of weaponry is needed, bring out the National Guard. But that’s for another discussion.

The Ferguson mess will damp out although there are many whose reputations and income depend on keeping it heated up, and they will be desperate.


And it’s very late and past my bed time.



Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.