1764: "XKCDE"

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1764: "XKCDE"

Postby sfmans » Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:33 am UTC

Image

Alt-text: "4. They unplug the root machine but the thousands of leaf VMs scatter in the wind and start spinning up new instances wherever they land"

Recursive VMs will presumably obey the same constraints as the dreams-within-dreams of Inception, where every internal VM runs processes in less real time than the VM one level above it. The XKCDE model therefore allows us to complete complex queries in seconds that used to take hours!

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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby rhomboidal » Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:05 am UTC

XKCDE could make an even more mesmerizing screensaver than Mandelbrot.

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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby markfiend » Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:09 am UTC

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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby orthogon » Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:39 am UTC

I had a similar thought, but I don't think this is quite right. What you have to do in step 3 is to migrate the first VM so that it's running on the second VM, at which point there's nothing running on the metal; only then can you unplug the physical machine.

The other way of doing it is to have VMs all the way down, so you never need a physical machine.
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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby jeanrenaud » Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:24 am UTC

Reminds me of a real situation...

At my job, we are developping an application which needs a SQL Server database. To edit some parameter in this database, we need to start a terminal server session to access the server's database management software, but we have to be inside the company's network. So i was unable to work on this at home.

But, there is another terminal server access to which we can connect remotely for completing our timesheet (with some specific software). This remote access gives an access to the network. So i started a terminal server session inside this terminal server session to access the SQL server :)

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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby casanunda » Fri Nov 25, 2016 12:56 pm UTC

Such a nice thing to automate -
create a startup script to run disk2vm,create vm, attach new vhd to vm and start vm...

how far would it get before the box caught fire?

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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby cellocgw » Fri Nov 25, 2016 1:27 pm UTC

Reminds me of a rather dumb experiment I ran back in the early 80s. My company had recently installed a majorly honking badass VAX 780 system, and I was learning the various things you could do in the shell environment (tho' of course DEC didn't call it a 'shell,' just DCL or whatever it turned into). I wrote a script which spawned itself twice.
Let that sucker loose and damn near crashed the entire machine before I had the insight :shock: to delete the source script so the running children couldn't find anything to launch.

While I'm here... consider: the negative of a negative is a positive. If you go into quaternions, you have to multiply thingies 4 times to get back to a real number. So how come a VM running a VM running... N times doesn't turn into a RealMachine? :P
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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby ucim » Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:10 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:While I'm here... consider: the negative of a negative is a positive. If you go into quaternions, you have to multiply thingies 4 times to get back to a real number. So how come a VM running a VM running... N times doesn't turn into a RealMachine? :P
It's not rational to do that.

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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby Flumble » Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:36 pm UTC

jeanrenaud wrote:Reminds me of a real situation...

At my job, we are developping an application which needs a SQL Server database. To edit some parameter in this database, we need to start a terminal server session to access the server's database management software, but we have to be inside the company's network. So i was unable to work on this at home.

But, there is another terminal server access to which we can connect remotely for completing our timesheet (with some specific software). This remote access gives an access to the network. So i started a terminal server session inside this terminal server session to access the SQL server :)

I, too, do that all the time, even especially when there's actually no need for tunneling connections. It's a way to organize sessions and easily migrate them or have persistence.
Like, why would I open up an SSH session on my tablet if I can open a teamviewer session to my laptop that has an RDP session to my desktop that has an SSH session to my server that has some SSH sessions in tmux? (which probably also have tmux/screen on the other end, so using the SSH session(s) directly would be exactly the same —until I need some information on my desktop! Haha! I don't need to switch to another window on the tablet this way!)

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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby TrueNarnian » Fri Nov 25, 2016 4:47 pm UTC

Shouldn't it be XKC Development Environment?

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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby Heimhenge » Fri Nov 25, 2016 5:16 pm UTC

TrueNarnian wrote:Shouldn't it be XKC Development Environment?


No, it should be "XKCD velopment environment".

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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby fibonacci » Fri Nov 25, 2016 5:18 pm UTC

To save time, create a VM, let's call it "Turtles" for now. The VM automates the process of installing itself in each instance, so that it really is "Turtles All The Way Down™".

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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Nov 25, 2016 6:37 pm UTC

Given a VM capable of running another VM inside of it, there are likely a nearly-infinite stack of nested VMs, and thus the odds that our supposed "real" hardware is actually just another VM approach unity.
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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby ucim » Fri Nov 25, 2016 6:58 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Given a VM capable of running another VM inside of it, there are likely a nearly-infinite stack of nested VMs, and thus the odds that our supposed "real" hardware is actually just another VM approach unity.
Yeah, I once thought that. It's only true of a perfect bug-free system. The slightest imperfection (or even quantum difference) in the model vs the source pretty much guarantees that you can't go on forever.

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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby cellocgw » Fri Nov 25, 2016 7:27 pm UTC

Heimhenge wrote:
TrueNarnian wrote:Shouldn't it be XKC Development Environment?


No, it should be "XKCD velopment environment".


You misspelled "velociraptor"
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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby somitomi » Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:13 pm UTC

Heimhenge wrote:
TrueNarnian wrote:Shouldn't it be XKC Development Environment?


No, it should be "XKCD velopment environment".

Or XKcdefghijBlmnopqrstuvwAyz. I propose this as the official alphabet for any XKCD related alphabetical sorting.
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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby abridgerToNi » Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:15 pm UTC

sfmans wrote:Recursive VMs will presumably obey the same constraints as the dreams-within-dreams of Inception, where every internal VM runs processes in less real time than the VM one level above it. The XKCDE model therefore allows us to complete complex queries in seconds that used to take hours!


In actuality, we are on the deepest layer, and using VMs are our only way of escape. As such, each layer of VM, as expected in this form of reality, process slower and slower.

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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby Copper Bezel » Fri Nov 25, 2016 10:05 pm UTC

Explains the ambiguous meaning of "down". In VMs and dreams, "down" is the next layer of construct, depending on a substrate (etymology intended) "above". In "turtles all the way down", the "lower" layer is the substrate for the one above it.
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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby cellocgw » Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:07 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:Explains the ambiguous meaning of "down". In VMs and dreams, "down" is the next layer of construct, depending on a substrate (etymology intended) "above". In "turtles all the way down", the "lower" layer is the substrate for the one above it.



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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby Rombobjörn » Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:36 pm UTC

the thousands of leaf VMs scatter in the wind and start spinning up new instances wherever they land

Apparently "tu" fell out at some point, and the virtual machines became viral machines.

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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby da Doctah » Sat Nov 26, 2016 3:07 am UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:Explains the ambiguous meaning of "down". In VMs and dreams, "down" is the next layer of construct, depending on a substrate (etymology intended) "above". In "turtles all the way down", the "lower" layer is the substrate for the one above it.

Used to have to work with an editor called Edgar. There are two possible paradigms when it comes to scrolling in a text file that's too big to fit on the screen all at once: you can imagine the file remaining stationary behind a viewing window that moves up and down, or you can imagine a stationary viewing window behind which the file moves up and down.

Whoever wrote the "up" and "down" commands for Edgar used one of those choices.

Whoever wrote the "top" and "bottom" commands used the other.

With the result that repeated movements "down" would eventually take you to the "top" of the file, but you had to scroll "up" to reach the "bottom".

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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby Copper Bezel » Sat Nov 26, 2016 3:38 am UTC

I'm not sure if I'm following. It sounds similar to the two possible ways to interpret scrolling input in any modern GUI (pushing down pushes the document down and navigates up, like a touchscreen, or pushing down makes the view go down, like most mouse scroll wheels.) but I feel like you might be talking about something more interesting.
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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby Flumble » Sat Nov 26, 2016 5:24 am UTC

I'm guessing the former, too.

The touchpad on this laptop is configured to move the scrollbar in the same direction as your fingers: downwards means you go further into the document. Or the gesture I'm always using: rotating clockwise means you go further, counter-clockwise means you go back —it's not mathematically just, but a lot of practical things rotate clockwise to progress, like screws ...and clocks.
Tangentially, I've never thought of the "Page down" key to mean "move the page downwards, thereby scrolling previous text into view". Might lead to some fun.

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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby Mikeski » Sat Nov 26, 2016 5:38 am UTC

cellocgw wrote:Reminds me of a rather dumb experiment I ran back in the early 80s. My company had recently installed a majorly honking badass VAX 780 system, and I was learning the various things you could do in the shell environment (tho' of course DEC didn't call it a 'shell,' just DCL or whatever it turned into). I wrote a script which spawned itself twice.
Let that sucker loose and damn near crashed the entire machine before I had the insight :shock: to delete the source script so the running children couldn't find anything to launch.

A common enough occurrence that it has its own name; that's a "fork bomb".

(Though that means it's named after a UNIX shell command, so maybe a VAX version was somewhat unique at the time, and people have become less "insightful" since then?)

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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby Copper Bezel » Sat Nov 26, 2016 5:53 am UTC

Flumble wrote:The touchpad on this laptop is configured to move the scrollbar in the same direction as your fingers: downwards means you go further into the document. Or the gesture I'm always using: rotating clockwise means you go further, counter-clockwise means you go back —it's not mathematically just, but a lot of practical things rotate clockwise to progress, like screws ...and clocks.

My last laptop (I'm presently getting by with a desktop and a tablet, for reasons), I had the trackpad's two-finger scrolling "natural" or touchscreen style, but if I was using the circle gesture on anything, I'd certainly want to use clockwise to advance. Hell, I would on a tablet - it's just a different abstraction. (I tend to have a grab and drag extension for whatever web browser I'm using, so I tend to do small scrolling motions a click and drag on the page. I've never got that mixed up with my scroll wheel or touchpad scrolling, with either orientation, because it's again a different gesture with a different semantics or whatnot.)
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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby fibonacci » Sat Nov 26, 2016 1:37 pm UTC

Mikeski wrote:
cellocgw wrote:Reminds me of a rather dumb experiment I ran back in the early 80s. My company had recently installed a majorly honking badass VAX 780 system, and I was learning the various things you could do in the shell environment (tho' of course DEC didn't call it a 'shell,' just DCL or whatever it turned into). I wrote a script which spawned itself twice.
Let that sucker loose and damn near crashed the entire machine before I had the insight :shock: to delete the source script so the running children couldn't find anything to launch.

A common enough occurrence that it has its own name; that's a "fork bomb".

(Though that means it's named after a UNIX shell command, so maybe a VAX version was somewhat unique at the time, and people have become less "insightful" since then?)


I can vouch for insight being alive and well into the 90s. I introduced my teacher to the html equivalent using a webpage containing two <frame>s each containing the initial page.

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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Sat Nov 26, 2016 2:01 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:
Flumble wrote:The touchpad on this laptop is configured to move the scrollbar in the same direction as your fingers: downwards means you go further into the document. Or the gesture I'm always using: rotating clockwise means you go further, counter-clockwise means you go back —it's not mathematically just, but a lot of practical things rotate clockwise to progress, like screws ...and clocks.

My last laptop (I'm presently getting by with a desktop and a tablet, for reasons), I had the trackpad's two-finger scrolling "natural" or touchscreen style, but if I was using the circle gesture on anything, I'd certainly want to use clockwise to advance. Hell, I would on a tablet - it's just a different abstraction. (I tend to have a grab and drag extension for whatever web browser I'm using, so I tend to do small scrolling motions a click and drag on the page. I've never got that mixed up with my scroll wheel or touchpad scrolling, with either orientation, because it's again a different gesture with a different semantics or whatnot.)

For some reason my new ASUS laptop had it's touchpad drivers default setting as touchscreen style, while the scrolling style was set by activating the reverse scrolling setting... I can imagine one standard being easier to remember for those less technologically inclined, especially if they're older. But the best one to correct here would be the odd ones out, being the phones and tablets.

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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby Copper Bezel » Sat Nov 26, 2016 4:13 pm UTC

God, no. Touchpads make more sense with touch-style scrolling, but inherited scroll-wheel scrolling because that's what was around. That's why Apple uses it by default now. It's only confusing that some Windows laptops don't.
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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby Steve the Pocket » Sun Nov 27, 2016 12:33 am UTC

To be fair, Apple computers literally don't have scroll wheels or any equivalent thereof anymore. Which is kind of a shame because the "scroll ball" (actually just a touch surface with haptic feedback imitating the feel of a wheel clicking into place as it spins — it sure fooled me!) was a pretty cool bit of tech.

Some laptop drivers let you scroll by sliding along the right edge of the pad (like a scroll bar) and then transition into circular movements to keep going so you can keep going indefinitely without letting go. I thought that was really cool and I wish it could be standardized. Hell, Windows 10 still doesn't have any built in touchpad support beyond the bare minimum, probably because Microsoft went straight from pretending laptops don't exist to assuming everyone just uses tablets.
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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby Copper Bezel » Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:59 pm UTC

I never could understand the lack of built-in gesture support on Windows touchpads. Nor why the same touchpad would often be fussier and less predictable on Windows with the appropriate Synaptics driver software installed than it was on Linux. (Still with, of course, much less useful gesture actions available.)

I've used edge scrolling, and yeah, you could make an argument for that making sense in either direction, matching scrollbars or matching touch surfaces generally. Combining it with the circular scrolling, which I've never used, sounds really handy, and I like the implied metaphor of the scrollbar veering off into an infinite spiral.
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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby TrueNarnian » Mon Nov 28, 2016 1:57 pm UTC

somitomi wrote:
Heimhenge wrote:
TrueNarnian wrote:Shouldn't it be XKC Development Environment?


No, it should be "XKCD velopment environment".

Or XKcdefghijBlmnopqrstuvwAyz. I propose this as the official alphabet for any XKCD related alphabetical sorting.


See Comic #1069

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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby vectorjohn » Mon Nov 28, 2016 6:34 pm UTC

This comic sounds like a reference to "Permutation City" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permutation_City), by Greg Egan. Which I highly recommend.

In that book, there was a hypothesis where any type of simulation, since computation is substrate independent, when the simulation stops on its original medium it will continue in a self sustaining way as patterns in the universe. This part was a bit hand wavy, but Egan does a good job of explaining it in a way that sounds convincing enough.

And it included other really interesting (more grounded) concepts about simulated intelligence, and what that might be like.

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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby Eternal Density » Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:00 am UTC

cellocgw wrote:While I'm here... consider: the negative of a negative is a positive. If you go into quaternions, you have to multiply thingies 4 times to get back to a real number. So how come a VM running a VM running... N times doesn't turn into a RealMachine? :P

I once wrote a story in which the characters managed to build a device which killed the author and then created a tunnel from an inner-fictional world into the outer real world. Similar principle.
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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby Flumble » Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:53 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:While I'm here... consider: the negative of a negative is a positive. If you go into quaternions, you have to multiply thingies 4 times to get back to a real number.

That's a rather interesting thing about quaternions: all the basis elements (except for 1) are real when multiplied by themselves, i.e. i^2=j^2=k^2=-1, because they're all orthogonal(?) to the real axis. And the product of all the bases is also i*j*k*1=-1. (which comes as no surprise considering i*j=k, but it's weird considering the product of two imaginary bases results in a value on the third imaginary axis, whereas the product of an imaginary base and the real base stays on the same imaginary axis —or actually, thinking aloud, it's not that weird since the third imaginary element is 'special' in a way, as it spawns from the product of the other two elements, so really any product of two of {i, j, k=ij} leads to an even number of is, js or the product ij.)

Can someone explain the difference (or lack thereof) between the new 'real' dimension and all the 'special' dimensions when adding a new layer to the reals/complex/quaterions/octonions (i.e. one iteration of Cayley–Dickson construction)?

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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:38 pm UTC

Flumble wrote:Can someone explain the difference (or lack thereof) between the new 'real' dimension and all the 'special' dimensions when adding a new layer to the reals/complex/quaterions/octonions (i.e. one iteration of Cayley–Dickson construction)?
Yes. I'm fairly sure someone can.

8-)

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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby bruhinb » Tue Nov 29, 2016 6:29 pm UTC

vectorjohn wrote:This comic sounds like a reference to "Permutation City" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permutation_City), by Greg Egan. Which I highly recommend.
...


That was my first thought reading this strip, too. My second thought was, "Greg Egan would be rolling over in his grave, if he were dead."

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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby Steve the Pocket » Wed Dec 07, 2016 3:31 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:I never could understand the lack of built-in gesture support on Windows touchpads. Nor why the same touchpad would often be fussier and less predictable on Windows with the appropriate Synaptics driver software installed than it was on Linux. (Still with, of course, much less useful gesture actions available.)

I've used edge scrolling, and yeah, you could make an argument for that making sense in either direction, matching scrollbars or matching touch surfaces generally. Combining it with the circular scrolling, which I've never used, sounds really handy, and I like the implied metaphor of the scrollbar veering off into an infinite spiral.

Update: I have now installed Kubuntu on the aforementioned lappy out of frustration with Windows constantly blue-screening (most recently in the middle of acquiring the very update I was hoping would fix it), and it offers both edge and circular scrolling out of the box... but in a much worse way, where the right, left, and bottom edges all trigger it and there's no customization. And the "circular" scrolling practically requires me to go around the very edges of the pad. Oh, and horizontal scrolling via pad still isn't supported by Firefox, even though I'm pretty sure it supported the tiltable scroll wheel when I still had one.
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Re: 1764: "XKCDE"

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Dec 08, 2016 1:56 am UTC

Ouch. I haven't used Kubuntu much, although for touchpad gestures I've generally used Touchégg. (What other touchpad tweaks have to be handled through synclient in a script notwithstanding.)

And again, the forever question of why this shit isn't baked in and GUI controlled.
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