An Embarrassment of Nerds, or when did whinging become a pastime?

It seems that I can’t get through a day without someone whinging on about how they failed an upgrade or something they tried to do failed in technology. I don’t mean to say that there aren’t bad experiences with technology – anyone who bought into Bob could likely tell you about that experience. I remember because we received tons of Bob at a local VAR only to ship it all back three days later.

I’ve recently run into issues myself such as all virtualization now failing due to the lack of proper drivers working in the kernel when virtualization products are in use. Yes, I was frustrated by this fact as it does not allow me to explore my curiosity in virtual environments or reproduce issues seamlessly in my workstation. However, I am not going to write that my frustration is anyone else’s issue. That is not the mature way to handle issues a’tall.

No, the better thing to do was to simply work with my supplier or my distribution (and hardware for that matter) System76, and begin a conversation. After all, there must be an answer to the issue, if only there is patience to find it. There is no need to demand gasoline with my hair on fire, but rather the proper course is to work with the professionals to resolve the issue calmly, cooly and with courtesy.

Having been in Support for many years, I know that you will get better service when you follow the simple rules of providing factual evidence without berating others or placing false blame over what are essentially functional gaps in technology. What benefit do you think will come from acting like a spoiled child?

Maybe it is just me, but when someone acts immature in the business world, it earns a reputation of being a bully, a whiner, or malcontent. Why some folk like to trumpet that is beyond me. There is not reason to do so if someone the other end is willing to listen and work with you as a human being. So, give the person a chance to address their mistake. If they ignore that, allows them the chance to rectify that issue. Some things may be beyond their control (oh, if only we all had a magic wand to fix everything), but as long as they are trying, I don’t see the need to berate the helpers.

What I do find telling is when there are those that will simply abuse their audience by attempting to do something with a beta or a pre-production article that isn’t ready for release and then grab a headline (clickbait) by slamming said developer for their work. That is neither fair, nor very much in the spirit of being anything more than a con. It’s a ‘hit piece’ designed in bad faith, meant to slander or sully someone for whatever emotional immaturity exists in the author. Well, we all have bad days, but we should remember that other people are doing their jobs as well.

My ask today: remember that technology is created by humans. Human beings work on same and are fallible. All technology (even AI or ML) will have mistakes because humans design it, build it and build in their perspectives. The real questions here should be, can I speak to a human, and will they listen to my inputs? If they refuse to listen, that is one thing. However, when you find a human responds, be kind. It shouldn’t be a second thought, it should be a first thought. Kindness if the source of all human progress. Aggression is the enemy of all humanity.

Thanks to the staff at System76 for all of their human kindness. They showed a perfect example of how to work cooperatively, and more companies can learn from that behavior. Maybe if the nerd journalists who prefer to whinge versus solve issues would reach out to the parties involved, we’d have more stories of success.

Now back to another day of play, where no doubt, more issues will arise. We are human and not machines.

Citizens United is a complete lie

I’ve often wondered how we came to the point of corporate ownership of what is supposed to be a citizen-led government “of the people, for the people, and by the people.” The answer is somewhat murky and a lot of people would prefer to obfuscate or deny the truth completely. This is not one of those statements. This is my opinion of how we are a disenfranchised voting public wherein dirty tricks are overtaking the needs of the governed in favor of the radical opinions of the few.

My thought was to expose the litany of the past mistakes, but I think that misses the point in the modern world of ‘just give me the needed information – I have not time to truly go through the past’ age of today. Therefore, let’s just get to the common sense of what needs to be said.

First, the idea that a corporation, a body of shareholders, employees, and investors, can be a person is on its face a complete fiction. It is so easy to prove that it boggles the mind that anyone could state otherwise, and the fact that the laws were amended to make it so is very clearly a mistake.

Argument number one is that a person can be placed in jail when they commit wrongdoing such as breaking laws meant for the governance of all. However, when a corporation commits a crime, they do not get thrown into jail. Arguably, if they could, who exactly should be the person going to jail? Is it the officers of the company? Is it the shareholders of the company? Is it the person or persons (note that take) who actually committed the crime, or the person or persons who either approved of or did nothing about said crime? How do you hold an organization of potentially hundreds of thousand of individuals responsible for a crime committed by a few?

If that isn’t an obvious argument for non-personhood, I am not sure you can truly understand what being a person actually entails.

Argument number two is that a corporation is comprised of a number of people and as such, any corporation providing funding to a political party, candidate or PAC to curry favor, set policy or initiate legislation on its behalf, is essentially bribery. It should not be so easily dismissed as ‘legitimate activity’ as the truth of the matter is that it creates an inequality wherein the governed are being exploited in the interest of the few. People (actual persons) cannot afford on their own to send millions of dollars to candidates to buy their votes and favor. Corporations making such donations are essentially doing just that. They are buying access to the legislators who are greedily taking their money in what is essentially a self-serving system of enrichment.

If you think bribery is just fine, then I suppose you either support wholesale graft or do not have a clear understanding of the great American social contract of Justice. No man or woman should be ‘above the law’. The greatest problem with the idea that anyone or anything is ‘above the law’ is that it immediately creates the problem: if anyone or anything is beyond the reach of Justice, then the laws are all invalidated and chaos and anarchy will follow. Such cannot be allowed to stand within an American representative democractic republic.

Argument number three is one that I am surprised no one had thought to argue before. That is that no donation by any corporation should be allowed as there is no representation of the actual values of aid corporations shareholders. The board members alone should not be allowed to decide what the values of the shareholders should be without a vote. The idea that a small, select group can act without the vote of the entire corporate body makes a mockery of the idea that the decisions of the few reflect a single person entity of the corporate organization. A few people at the top do not hold the thinking of the body as a whole. Such contributions are therefore ‘unaccountable influence’ that do not reflect the values of the whole.

If corporations were forced to make political contributions based on the values of shareholders in their entirety, then there might be a way to state that such were actually reflective of the persons in the corporate ownership chain. However, I know of no such restrictions that place corporate donations as anything more than a wink and a nod exercise wherein people on boards are allowed to make donations to candidates they like versus the corporate members have chosen as a whole. If they had to put it to a vote, the structure of the flow of money would fundamentally change and those making such decisions know that to be true.

I cannot see any reason to allow a corporation to act as a person when it sends money to any political candidate, committee or cause. The only result will always be inequity, inequality and injustice. This country was founded on the idea of ‘one person, one vote’, but the reality of corporate money in the political discourse is a never ending cycle of a ‘grab the money’ for campaigning versus actual representation for all of the actual people of the nation. It must end, in order to ensure that the needs of the governed are met for the governed citizens of the country.

Have a nice day. Don’t worry, be happy!

Solving the VMWare workstation modules won’t compile issue

Having recently run into the issue wherein the VMware vmmon and vmnet modules “cannot be installed” in my linux workstation post-kernel update, I’ve come to find that there is a workable solution. Knowing in advance that I am going to have to re-do this every time a kernel update occurs, I finally decided to document the process for myself, lest I lose the links and tracking the whole procedure becomes frustrating once more.

First things first: The solution’s credit is owed to Michal Kubecek for his outstanding work on the code to correct what VMware cannot (or will not) in their install procedures. His VMWare-Host-Modules GitHub Repository is the source of much joy for this user. In fact, that code is how I can actually solve the problems I have experienced.

So now, for the solution or as those who can remember (and will likely enjoy):

Step One: The Larch

Yes, it does recall a time when men were men and sailed the seven seas in search of … err, sorry, that’s next week’s sketch.

The first thing to do is to go ahead and clone the repository for the vmware-host-modules to your local machine:

git clone

NOTE: This is the main branch of the repository, and as such, we don’t want to use this for compiling the actual modules themselves as our intrepid developer and author himself has advised us not to do so:

Branch “master” cannot be used to build modules, it contains only common

files so that changes in them can be merged into all other branches easily.

To get actual sources, checkout a “real” branch, e.g.
git checkout workstation-$yourWorkstationVersion

This correlates to VMware worstation 16.2.1 at present for me, so

git checkout workstation-16.2.1

After doing this, I need to ensure that I have the latest code so:

git pull

That does the trick, then it is a matter of ensuring that bison and flex are installed for building the modules on the system:

sudo apt install bison flex

Then all I need to do is the standard build procedure for the mdules: make, then sudo make install.

Once all that is done, my VMware Workstation should work again. If I could walk that way… that will have to wait for the next segment. Thus, we’ve come to the end of this week’s episode. You can expect more about the seafaring men of lore that sailed in longships to shores afar when we meet again.