7 July 2008

Cause and Distance

"Send this habitat module to Sirius Prime, now!"

' OK ...'

Right-click habitat module, Properties, Location tab, highlight "Earth", enter new text "Sirius Prime", press Enter.  Drone work, really, but Fred just counts himself lucky at being able to find a summer job.

Sharp distance runaround

I find it interesting that despite the strange and counter-intuitive models we've developed for sub-atomic matter, we still cling to the Newtonian idea that cause is carried by force, and force involves objects banging into each other.

So we've had "The Aether" before we could get our heads around empty space, the idea that waves must travel in a medium (neatly solved by counter-generating electro and magnetic fields), and the "problem" of action at a distance that is modelled on throwing particles around.

We understand space and time as interrelated through the speed of light, so that "distance" can be envisaged in either terms. 

Trapped in the mesh

Trying to resist the idea of desire-guided evolution, consider the need for senses (or sensors, if you like).  We sense what we need to attain, avoid or overcome, not what we can happily ignore as irrelevant.  Does hard drive S.M.A.R.T. monitor the tides of the ocean?  Nope.  Does the body monitor radiation levels?  Nope, as this had not been relevant during the timescale when shaped by selection pressure.

We are of the universe and are unable to transcend "distance" (be it conceptualised as time or space) at will, though we have a limited ability to physically move towards or away from things.  So we perceive distance as a dominant property of our environment, shaping concepts such as "cause and effect" and "the arrow of time". 

But this perspective may be a platform-specific perception issue, rather than a universal truth.  Perhaps if we visualize things differently - e.g. consider the distribution of mass as a constant, and "distance" as a particular parameter, then some things may snap in to focus, such as gravity as a "curvature of space". 

Often a graph that has a shape that is hard to grapple with, becomes a tame line drawing when the scaling of an axis is changed; certain problems, such as shapes that tend towards but never reach zero, may resolve themselves.  So it may be with "distance".

After writing this, I found the articles I've linked to, along with this one.  It would probably be more enlightening to fan out from here than to read the post you have just finished reading  :-)


edgecrusher said...

Hi Chris, an interesting post there...

I realise this is postjacking, but since I couldn't see an "email the author" link anywhere, I figured I'd ask you in the comments: -

I was reading your post here and wanted your opinion as to whether the same reinstallation process could be achieved/should be attempted in the event of a (complete - in my case at least) hardware change?

The reason I ask is that I've not reinstalled Windows XP for about a year, and, having gotten all the apps/games I want to use installed onto my 500Gb C drive, I am loath to format it and start again from scratch as I am about to overhaul my current system and make it a CoreTwoDuo powered 4Gb Memory gaming rig.

Your thoughts/advice would be most appreciated.


Chris Quirke said...

Hi edgecrusher!

It wouldn't really work to email me anymore because I've had to whitelist "real" email rather than blacklist spam, and I'd have missed you. So this is fine...

If you change the deepest underlying hardware assumptions under XP, it will typically BSoD on any type of boot. The cause is probably due to a HAL mismatch, and the only way to create a new and appropriate HAL (that I know of) is an over-old "repair" install.

If that sounds a lot like renewing the Vmm32.vxd in a Win9x installation under similar circumstances, it is :-)

I'm going to carry over the rest of my advice as a new blog post, partly to get the comments on topic, and partly because there are too many twists and turns to type in a "comment" keyhole!

4ntimatter said...

Hey chris, great blog.

I can see you dedicate alot of your time and knoledge to helping people with your blog.

I tried seeking advice from your blog before doing a repair install. My problem is I don't understand alot of the info as I've only basic knoledge of the tech stuff. If your too busy to reply I understand.

I got blue screen 0x24 error. Pc won't start Windows In safe mode or anything. I have a cd dell sent me a long time ago when I got some window saying enter S P 3 disc but they didn't have sp3 so they sent me (already installed on your computer) reinstallation DVD, M Win xp media center edition 2005 with update rollup 2. I also have dell resource cd, device drivers.
I attempted to do the repair install but cancelled to seek advice first. Cause want to make sure I don't lose all my photos and stuff.
Any advice would be awesome as dell want to charge me €40 just to diagnose and then extra cost for assist. But lost my job recently and can't afford it.

Chris Quirke said...

Hi, 4ntimatter!

Let's see...

"I got blue screen 0x24 error."

When you get one of those, the first thing to do (from a working system of course) is search the Internet for an accurate text biopsy from the error message. In your case, that may be...

Google( XP STOP 0x24 )

When you do this, two caveats apply.

Firstly, you are likely to get several malware-pushing sites in the hit list, as well as unknowledgeable replies that advocate drastic "solutions" such as "just" re-installing Windows.

Secondly, often you will see specifics about error messages that don't always apply - e.g. a desc of "IRQ_LESS_THAN" will chatter on about specific device driver coding errors, whereas it's usually seen on PCs with generally wobbly hardware (bad RAM, bad caps, overclocking, flaky chipsets)

"PC won't start Windows In safe"

Start by verifying hardware, then exclude malware (tricky), then work up from there. I'll do a link-list later (or via email)

"I attempted to do the repair install but cancelled to seek advice first. Cause want to make sure I don't lose all my photos and stuff."

Well, that's a higher priority than "getting the PC to work" (which is Dell's only responsibility, if that).

1) Unplug, remove hard drive
2) Eyeball bad caps, dust etc.
3) Test rest of PC in MemTest86
4) Pull data off HD in other PC
5) Test HD e.g. in HD Tune
6) Check and fix file system
7) Ensure free space C:
8) Formal malware management
9) Recombine, retest, think




HTH :-)