DDoS analyses are denialist nonsense

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The root cause of the magnitude of the DDoS attacks targeting DNS servers isn’t about the internet of things, botnets, or ever more clever hackers.

It’s about America’s political economy: the destruction of the internet’s nuclear strike-resistant architecture by its increasing commercialisation, with ownership concentration mirroring a concentration of choke points that should never have been created.

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Teamwork CPR

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There’s a lot of nonsense talked about teamwork and building effective teams, as if you can do this in the same way as colouring in by the numbers. If you watch artists at work, there’s no magic formula. They have to look and judge constantly to get the colours and shades just the way they want them, and they have to constantly learn from what doesn’t work to create new skills and techniques.

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Dehumanising BPM: a strategic mistake

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Business process management (BPM) is looked on by many organisations as the most effective way to gain control of bloated legacy processes, to realise dollar efficiencies, and as a way to innovate and even disrupt.

This can all be true. But like most other efficiency efforts it can and does frequently fail before it begins, through bad planning. Planning should be recognised as a creative, intellectual exercise. If it is only technique and method, even stellar performance in business analysis, project management, and execution can be an uphill battle.

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Ontological closure

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Online discussion is today what the original neckbeards made it centuries ago. If neckbeard can be accepted as a derisory term for a youngish man who is socially awkward, physically unappealing-to-repulsive (because of hygiene habits more than physique), and personally obsessed with nerdery emanating from computing and escapist cultural fads, then the progenitor of that species must surely be a monk of the Dark Ages. Obsessed with scholastic but pointless logical debates about smartarse new ways to win the argument that god exists, must exist, and is better than your own shitty conception of a deity. A scholasticism that encapsulates almost all online arguments, because these are overwhelmingly not about discovering something new, rather than establishing the ‘correctness’ of each neckbeard participant.

That thought, coming at the end of a train of thought described below, offers me a deliciously funny imagined visualisation of half-pissed, fat, unwashed, and unruly monks burbling bullshit over rough wooden refectory tables laden with more wine than food. Something from a Monty Python sketch.

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Epistemic Vigilance

Critical thinking and analysis

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Looking for evidence of metathinking about critical thinking and analysis (CTA) is heartbreaking. Once you move out of a stream of bureaucratic fetish literature obsessed with definitions and re-definitions that have failed to advance the cause of CTA in schools and universities, there’s a real dearth of serious consideration of how it works, whether it works at all, and whether it can be taught or assessed.

That search is integral to a longer narrative essay I’m working on to look at the failure of CTA in the academy and in the public sphere. So coming across material that seemed to be a sidetrack, but turned out to be the mainline, was a real eye-opener.

There’s a paper on ‘Epistemic Vigilance’ by an improbably diverse range of scholars affiliated with the Central European University, examining the ‘suite of cognitive mechanisms’ involved in exercising vigilance about the veracity of information we receive. This begins with an evaluation of whether the effort of seeking validation of some piece of information is worth the expected value to the subject.

Of particular significance to the topics of teaching and assessing CTA, and its social practice more widely, is a small departure in the paper into the purely philosophical consideration of epistemology, and specifically the consideration whether ‘testimony’ can be accepted as ‘knowledge’ in itself, or whether it requires independent validation by other sources. In this regard we can probably get away with thinking of testimony to include a range of verbal and non-verbal communication, like news reports, articles, and, especially, online discourses.

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When intelligent people turn out to be really stupid: Chapter 65,535 – Six Sigma and critical thinking

Knowing better, but actually being struck across the forehead with evidence of astonishing stupidity in academic and business practices is probably more painful than that initial moment of clarity when the futility of determinist reductionism first comes into sharp focus.

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The latter occurred for me decades ago, and echoes the late Christopher Hitchens’ ruminations on people who have power:

… I began to discern one of the elements of an education: get as near to the supposed masters and commanders as you can and see what stuff they are really made of. As I watched famous scholars and professors flounder here and there, I also, in my career as a speaker at the Oxford Union, had a chance to meet senior ministers and parliamentarians “up close” and dine with them before as well as drink with them afterward, and be amazed once again at how ignorant and sometimes plain stupid were the people who claimed to run the country.

— Christopher Hitchens (2010). Hitch 22: A Memoir. New York: Twelve/Hachette Book Group, p 98.

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Installing a XAMPP developmentenvironment for WordPress

This article examines why a local development and testing environment is a good idea for a remotely hosted WordPress site, and how to go about installing such an environment with the open source XAMPP web server stack on a Windows PC.

Why?

It’s good practice, based on professional development methods.

In well-funded private sector environments staffed by skillful specialists, every live system has at least one development environment, but maybe several sandboxes independent of each other.

Each of these sandboxes connects to an n-Tier development environment of servers and software. The concept of ‘n-Tier’ architectures refers to the number (hence the n) or levels of components in a complete system. The reason I specified well-funded above is that the expense of a system increases with every layer of hardware and software required.

For that reason, the development environment might not resemble the production environment very closely at all, as suggested in the hypothetical model illustrated in Figure 1 below. In that hypothetical, a bunch of developer PCs or laptops connect to just two development servers simulating a production environment that involves five servers (and maybe even more if one or another function is clustered for failover or scalability).

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Installing a XAMPP development
environment for WordPress

This article examines why a local development and testing environment is a good idea for a remotely hosted WordPress site, and how to go about installing such an environment with the open source XAMPP web server stack on a Windows PC.

Why?

It’s good practice, based on professional development methods.

In well-funded private sector environments staffed by skillful specialists, every live system has at least one development environment, but maybe several sandboxes independent of each other.

Each of these sandboxes connects to an n-Tier development environment of servers and software. The concept of ‘n-Tier’ architectures refers to the number (hence the n) or levels of components in a complete system. The reason I specified well-funded above is that the expense of a system increases with every layer of hardware and software required.

For that reason, the development environment might not resemble the production environment very closely at all, as suggested in the hypothetical model illustrated in Figure 1 below. In that hypothetical, a bunch of developer PCs or laptops connect to just two development servers simulating a production environment that involves five servers (and maybe even more if one or another function is clustered for failover or scalability).

Continue reading “Installing a XAMPP development
environment for WordPress”

Deleting spam comments fromWordPress MySQL database

Even if server space is not expensive, it pays to massage the MySQL database back-end of WordPress from time to time.
One example of this is deleting entries for spam comments.

The WordPress blogging system relies on the free MySQL database, which stores the information needed to link all posts to images and themes. Images are stored separately in a folder called ‘uploads’: < root >/wp-content/uploads, where < root > is the directory path on the server to the WordPress installation.

The database stores all words typed or copy-pasted into WordPress, including all comments.

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