Tue Jun 4 12:17:20 MDT 2013
to be with this response; I suppose that it depends on what is meant
by "garbage in, garbage out". Maybe we do not agree about that.
It seems to me that there are two kinds of garbage input: meaningful
(to the software); and not meaningful, perhaps I could call the latter
The first case is exemplified by providing 1.0 as a flow rate in
lb/sec to software that is expecting data in units of kg/sec. As you
point out, software cannot read people's minds. Garbage in, garbage
out, garbage on Mars. The humans were confused, the software was not,
the maxim was complied with. This is what "garbage in, garbage out"
means to me.
The jibberish case is the one that the maxim addresses. A good
operating system is a good case study: an operating system that gets
confused just because it gets jibberish input violates the maxim and
is Not Tenable (NT). Just the other day I was using an NT operating
system, running an application of some kind, and I had finger trouble
(I was confused), I double selected from a menu or something (can you
do that?). Bingo! I got one of those cute little boxes giving me an
address and telling me that I had de-referenced a null pointer, or
something equally exciting. To give NT its due credit, it did know
that it was confused: also I was advised to re-boot, which I did.
There are other operating systems that get confused and do not know
it; so NT is an improvement.
My point about the BLUG software was that I was permitted to
subscribe, but not change things after that, under identical
conditions. That is confusing, and confused.
Having written all of that, I must write more about the BLUG software.
I have given this issue more thought, and it is possible that I have
come up with another explanation for the problems that I had, many
times. I need to check better to know, but if the new explanation is
correct I shall have pointed in the wrong direction for the fault.
In the last two weeks I have discoverd that I have had a faulty hard
disc on my machine. I think it has been going bad for months, but all
I have seen is occasional slow response. It is the disc on which I
have Linux installed, i.e., one that I use all the time, and on which
data is cached by Netscape, etc. Finally I worked out that there was
something wrong and now I have a new disc and a newly-installed
operating system. My machine is faster too. Possibly the old disc
was corrupt in just the wrong place which was giving me bad, albeit
consistent, results wrt the BLUG software. I shall check it.
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