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RMS <em>Titanic</em> Sails
What’s to worry? RMS Titanic departs Southampton.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster in 1912. What better time to think about lifeboats?

One way to start a discussion is with some vintage entertainment. On the centenary weekend of the wreck of the mega-liner, our local movie palace near the Hudson River waterfront ran a triple bill of classic films about maritime disasters: A Night to Remember, Lifeboat, and The Poseidon Adventure. Each one highlights an aspect of the lifeboat problem. They’re useful analogies for thinking about the existential risks of booking a passage on spaceship Earth.

Can’t happen…

A Night to Remember frames the basic social priorities: Should we have lifeboats and who are they for? Just anybody?? When William McQuitty produced his famous 1958 docudrama of the Titanic’s last hours, the answers were blindingly obvious – of course we need lifeboats! They’re for everyone and there should be enough! Where is that moral certainty these days? And whatever happened to the universal technological optimism of 1912? For example, certain Seasteaders guarantee your rights – and presumably a lifeboat seat – only as long as your dues are paid. Libertarians privatize public goods, run them into the ground, squeeze out every dime, move the money offshore, and then dictate budget priorities in their own interest. Malthusians handle the menu planning. And the ship’s captain just might be the neo-feudal Prince Philip, plotting our course back to his Deep Green Eleventh Century.

Tallulah Bankhead in <em>Lifeboat</em>
Think Mink and Don’t Sink: Talulah Bankhead in Hitchcock’s Lifeboat.

Alfred Hitchcock’s Lifeboat deals with the problems of being in one. For a very long time – unlike the lucky stiffs on the Titanic, who were picked up in 2 hours. Specifically, it’s about a motley group of passengers thrown together in an open boat with short provisions, no compass, and no certain course. And, oh yes, the skipper is their mortal enemy: The lifeboat is helmed by the U-boat commander who torpedoed their ship. He overawes them with seafaring expertise and boundless energy (thanks to the speed pills in his secret stash) and then lulls them by singing sentimental German lieder. At night, the captain solves his problems of supply and authority by culling the injured passengers while everyone’s asleep. He tells the survivors they’re going to Bermuda. They’re actually headed for a rendezvous with his supply ship – and from there the slow boat to Buchenwald. The point of Lifeboat is simple: What can you do in your life and environment so you never, ever end up in one?

What’s wrong with this picture?

Risk avoidance is the moral of The Poseidon Adventure. A glorious old ocean liner, the Poseidon, is acquired by new owners who plan to scrap it. But these clever operators maximize shareholder value by billing the ship’s final voyage as a New Year’s cruise to Greece. They take on every paying passenger they can find, barter with a band to get free entertainment, and drive the underloaded ship hard and fast into the stormy winter Mediterranean over the protests of the captain and seasick travelers. At this point an undersea earthquake triggers a 90-foot tsunami, and despite ample warnings this monster wave broadsides the top-heavy liner at midnight, during the New Year’s party. First the ball drops. Then the other shoe drops. The result is the ultimate “Bottoms Up!”

And the takeaway of The Poseidon Adventure applies to all of the films and to life in general, not to mention the next few generations on the planet. As David McCollough’s famously concluded in The Johnstown Flood, it can be a fatal assumption ‘that the people who were responsible for your safety will act responsibly.’

You can have a ripping good time watching these old movies. And as futurists, sociologists, planners, catastrophists, humanists or transhumanists, you can conjure with them, too. Icebergs and U-boats have ceased to menace – of cruise ships, I say nothing.

But the same principles of egalitarianism, legitimacy, non-beligerence and prudential planning apply to Earth-crossing asteroids, CERN’s operations and program, Nano-Bio-Info-Cogno manipulations, monetary policy and international finance, and NATO deployments present and future.

Or do they? And if they do, who says so?

Ship beautiful — the Aquitania on her way.

CC BY-NC-ND Clark Matthews and The Lifeboat Foundation

Creative Commons License
Earth’s Titanic Challenges by Clark Matthews is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

Twenty years ago, way back in the primordial soup of the early Network in an out of the way electromagnetic watering hole called USENET, this correspondent entered the previous millennium’s virtual nexus of survival-of-the-weirdest via an accelerated learning process calculated to evolve a cybernetic avatar from the Corpus Digitalis. Now, as columnist, sci-fi writer and independent filmmaker, [Cognition Factor — 2009], with Terence Mckenna, I have filmed rocket launches and solar eclipses for South African Astronomical Observatories, and produced educational programs for South African Large Telescope (SALT). Latest efforts include videography for the International Astronautical Congress in Cape Town October 2011, and a completed, soon-to-be-released, autobiography draft-titled “Journey to Everywhere”.

Cognition Factor attempts to be the world’s first ‘smart movie’, digitally orchestrated for the fusion of Left and Right Cerebral Hemispheres in order to decode civilization into an articulate verbal and visual language structured from sequential logical hypothesis based upon the following ‘Big Five’ questions,

1.) Evolution Or Extinction?
2.) What Is Consciousness?
3.) Is God A Myth?
4.) Fusion Of Science & Spirit?
5.) What Happens When You Die?

Even if you believe that imagination is more important than knowledge, you’ll need a full deck to solve the ‘Arab Spring’ epidemic, which may be a logical step in the ‘Global Equalisation Process as more and more of our Planet’s Alumni fling their hats in the air and emit primal screams approximating;
“we don’t need to accumulate (so much) wealth anymore”, in a language comprising of ‘post Einsteinian’ mathematics…

Good luck to you if you do…

Schwann Cybershaman

Wednesday on the Opinion Pages of the NY Times the renowned Vinton Cerf “father of the internet” published an article titles Internet Access Is Not A Human Right. It could be argued that the key word here is “access”, but before I address access again, I should start with the definition of the internet. I had this debate while at Michigan State in October of 2010 with the philosopher Andrew Feenberg. I’ll do my best not to be redundant while everything is still live via the links in this article.

Perhaps the internet requires much more definition, as the roots of the word can be confusing. Inter: situated within – Net: any network or reticulated system of filaments or the like. Its terminology is synonymous with the “web” or a web, which requires multiple linkages to points of initiation in order to exist well. If this is the internet that Feenberg is referring to then I’d think it accurate. However, the internet is not actually a web of ever connected points. Information destinations are not required.

The internet is analogous to space. Regardless of whether or not we access space, its potential exists – we can access or insert entities of sorts into the space regardless of, if another user were present to receive information of sorts from the distributed. Space is a dynamic system of expanding material potential as is the internet’s material potential. The potential of the internet expands as users (or rather, potential users) access to the internet expands – access could come in many forms including, user population(s) growth or by computing speed or by computing power… The internet, regardless of the constraints of the word, it cannot be identified as a specific technology.

While visiting MSU, Feenberg uses a “ramp” as analogous with the internet, which was at the center of his mistake. I don’t mean to read gerontophobic, but based on the pervasive analysis that I’ve witnessed from Feenberg and Cerf’s generation; I’d have to accredit their perspective to the relatively similar changes in technology that they’ve seen during the 20th century. The difference in composition and utility of a technology (hardware, software, methodology) and that of the internet are synonymous with that of an air-craft and the expanding celestial matter beyond earth’s ionosphere (that’s a sufficient analogy).

Cerf wrote “technology is an enabler of rights, not a right itself. There is a high bar for something to be considered a human right.

He is correct! The problem exists when he identifies the internet as a technology, which it cannot be (to be redundant). This is in fact a human rights issue. It is perhaps the most significant human rights issue of our time, because of the internet role in providing the potential for transparencies in the public and private sectors. The deterministic nature of our technologies is bridging the cultural, political, legal, and economic GAPS of all our societies today, and if we as individuals allow a few mistaken “leaders” or the interests of institutions to control our ability to access a space, because of their resume, then we are all doomed. The implications of the masses adopting Cerf and Feenberg’s view on space are tremendous in building an ethically sound environment for human development.

Regarding Cerf’s word “access”, it may provide him an out from his varied rhetoric in the article. Near the end he transitions to civil rights where he writes “the responsibility of technology creators themselves to support human and civil rights” suggesting the internet hold egalitarian virtues. I’m no egalitarian, as it just doesn’t prove feasible in a world of, even, hyper-connected individuals.

While the ability to access an open space should not be prohibited, the technologies of certain kinds could be. Reference weapons of sorts. I’m no advocate for government supplying all of their citizens with camera phone (although it would be great idea for the individual and institution), but I am against governmental and other agents making efforts to restrict the individual’s ability to populate space with their entities aside from the technologies that one would hold on his/her person.

When the United Nations declared the Internet as a Human Right (PDF), they weren’t necessarily evaluating its full potential, but they were stressing that individuals should have the ability to be transparent and review information of all kinds as they so pleased, catering to the collective knowledge of the species and everything it supports. The problem with this article are the future implications of its rhetoric, even as he means well.

Tangent: Cerf having studied math, computer science, and IS for decades; knows as well as anyone that it is virtually (pun intended) impossible to prohibit internet expansion as small pockets of those educated in the knowledge community of development can find a way. Any computer (which would the blockage point) can be hacked its just a matter of time and will. I spent the last year consulting with Hewlett-Packard Global Info Security on multiple acquisitions of competitive companies and security tool providers, and as anyone in the IS/IT security industry can tell you, there are no solutions, only active management of incidents and problems. This is why methodologies are as (if not more) value than hard/software in modern business transactions. So then why wouldn’t Cerf think more thoroughly about this before publishing in the NY Times? Could it be because he has an equity stake (as an employee of multiple firms) in a less open space (internet). Speculation aside, I’m in the business services industry, I studied “control” specifically. Business is about control, which is the value proposition in establishing institutions virtues as separate from those of the individual. We can only forecast and manage risks well in areas that we can define and control. Business itself doesn’t require an suppressive type of control to make good calls on risks. A more transparent world could tell us all (individuals and institutions alike) more about the types of decisions that benefit the most in a society.

In the future let’s all make a conscious effort to keep spaces open and hope that the benefits incentivize philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and governments to provide technology to the masses at a rate that enhances the human condition.

–Originally at Integrationalism

After posting a few weeks back on a Richard Dawkins article specific to Jesus and Atheism, I was responded by Lincoln Cannon a post called the New God Argument. I first heard this argument at the University of Utah from Lincoln while visiting the area for a conference.

Its logically sound, when the faith position is adopted. The argument is a derivative or rather an advancement on Nick Bostrom’s Simulation Argument and and Robin Hanson’s Great Filter argument, as the links above will tell anyone is much more detail. I’ve even sited Bostom’s 2003 paper in my own defense after being wrongfully labeled as an atheist. Its one thing to state that there is no God (atheism) or that we cant know if there is a God (agnosticism), and quite another to state that we could create or evolve into one or a vast many.

I think that Lincoln’s argument progressive and may provide the next wave of theology arguments in their defense this century. It’s fascinating to see how far the modern human mind can go in its extrapolation of our exiting technological potential. As Lincoln puts it, the logical truth that post-humans have a probability of.….……

[from Lincoln’s — angel argument, benevolence argument, and creation argument]
posthumans probably already exist
AND posthumans probably are more benevolent than us
AND posthumans probably created our world

After reading the argument I’m compelled to revisit my previous writings on spirituality. When I wrote that I was NOT and atheist I was leaving open the possibility (because of the probability) that we, as the new God argument reads, wont become extinct before becoming post-human. I was also relying on the probability that we could potentially create civilizations, worlds, galaxies, universes, multiverses, with humanoid or homo sapien like individuals. Having stated that I think that Lincoln and my definition of the God figure are much different.

When I reference the term God I’m only meaning to represent a creator figure; I am however, excluding the potential for this figure to intervene in those created lives/world/simulation. I cant find rationale that suggests the creator figure would have any incentive to intervene to interact as benevolent or otherwise.

Physics dis-Incentives: I think that there would first exist some very rigid code (computer language) that manifests in what we understand as our physical laws. Plenty of traditional atheists have identified the inconsistencies in physics as a cornerstone in their rebuttal to the spiritual realm. Their point being, physics is the great divide between what we are/can-be and what we cannot.

Management dis-Incentives: I don’t think that the creator figure would have the incentive to modify imperfections that it sees in its creation, because of the potential to recreate duplicates to modify with a searchable history for analysis are so attractive. We see these types of practices happening currently in the Information Technology (IT) industry becoming more common as computing power/speed/space become greater/faster/more abundant respectively. While There is the potential for the multiple creators in different places and times during a continuous evolution of (what some would call) our current transhuman being, to create existences like our own, they would all be quite different depending on the technology available, and unlikely curated to take advantage of the latest technologies available because of the obsolescence that exponential technological growth provides.

Economics dis-Incentives: Similar to the argument that I made in 2010 at Transhumanism & Spirituality the context in which individuals identify with “their own” spirits and a “supreme” spirit are inconsistent with the spirit having any potential actually interact on the individual’s behalf, in where, it connects the individual with physical being. The arbitrage or competition phenomenon in a competitive situation would create definite dis-incentives for benevolence.

To go a bit further, I would like to take a tangent from Lincoln’s progressive Mormon Transhumanist philosophy and bring into consideration the ideal that some Christian’s subscribe to regarding the tangible or physical creations by spiritual beings or God (see page 3); and further, spirituality being a tangible phenomenon.

Simply, there would be physical traces of spiritual activity if at any point there were any other-than-physical interactions in our physical realm. Prayers and miracles for instance would have physical manifestations. One of my favorites is walking on water or even flying. I’m reminded of the elementary science projects where student turn solids into liquids and finally into gasses. In order for either of the aforementioned miracles to happen the physical properties of air or water would have to change from less dense to more dense, in an almost instantaneous fashion.…but there are simply no traces of that type of activity. The ideal that non-physical beings are more relevant to our physical realm is (in my opinion) invalid, and in fact provides a brand of ego-centric hope that ails human kind’s potential for real harmonious interaction.

The faith assumption is the cornerstone of The New God Argument, not the probability logic behind the benevolence argument. This should be conversely true considering the “value proposition” of spirituality: connectivity (or human connections).

It could be argued that I am faithful in human-kind’s ability to generate a desirable future and create linkages between persons without any need for a creator figure to intervene, generating an organic omnipresent benevolence. And even as I have coined myself as someone with no beliefs at all, I would keep that all we have is our opportunity to live and create connections…and dream of benevolence by using our technologies to create situations where resources of sorts are NOT scarce, and creating environments where we have incentives to connect. Faith is no substitute for rationale and action.

- from the Integrationalism blog

Greetings fellow travelers, please allow me to introduce myself; I’m Mike ‘Cyber Shaman’ Kawitzky, independent film maker and writer from Cape Town, South Africa, one of your media/art contributors/co-conspirators.

It’s a bit daunting posting to such an illustrious board, so let me try to imagine, with you; how to regard the present with nostalgia while looking look forward to the past, knowing that a millisecond away in the future exists thoughts to think; it’s the mode of neural text, reverse causality, non-locality and quantum entanglement, where the traveller is the journey into a world in transition; after 9/11, after the economic meltdown, after the oil spill, after the tsunami, after Fukushima, after 21st Century melancholia upholstered by anti-psychotic drugs help us forget ‘the good old days’; because it’s business as usual for the 1%; the rest continue downhill with no brakes. Can’t wait to see how it all works out.

Please excuse me, my time machine is waiting…
Post cyberpunk and into Transhumanism

Nobody Can Predict the Moment of Revolution

While watching the occupy wall street movement gain momentum and challenge the status quo, we in the transhumanist and technoprogressive community should be taking notes at the differences between this movement and those of the 20th century in direct opposition to some set of conservative policies.

This movement is not in direct opposition to anything. It is however, in opposition to any kind of conservative solutions being recommended to the systemic economic ailments of today. This movement attacks fascism while often improperly referencing the term, it attacks crony capitalism which is culturally vague, and corporatism which is a new word. While an academic or linguist might find them difficult to understand, it is quite simple to judge them as defending themselves as a part of society that is being depleted, as a direct result of our inability to allocate tangible value to them. They are angry. This growing mass of people across the United States is not looking to return to a socio-economic model that influences similar politics of the last century.

Watch the reference video. This is the same group of people (young and old) that are technologically transparent as Peter Singer identifies. They would likely take, but are not looking for traditional jobs, as I and so many others have talked/written about frequently. This vast majority of human potential, while looking at the numbers, can’t be satisfied their odds to compete successfully. Of course, democratic culture has a venue to argue the abstraction of political and even economic rifts in society, but there are none that allow the relatively untrained to argue root causes of the problems preventing their previously comfortable existence.

Movements that aren’t rigidly against some establishment, have a difficult time forming a set of solutions to seek. While the core argument may be “revolting against capitalism”, there is no replacement in site. Having stated that, the Smithian theories aren’t ill prepared; they do however, fail to address the very primitive ability of humans to gauge competition and allocate assets (tangible value); even in a vast market of millions of participants with relatively modest self-interest.

Those opposed, find five congruent contradictions (Ecology, Inequality, Poverty, Property, Systemic Risk) when considering the modern manifestation of what Aristotle, Adam, and Ayn elaborated on in the modern era. These contradictions are not in fact intrinsic to capitalism. They are intrinsic to the animal. In the human pursuit for ecological prudence, egalitarianism, distribution of wealth, shared property, and managed risks; we regularly reject the idea that it is impossible to achieve our goals without our technological extensions…without transparency of information, without distribution of education, without allocation of technologies based on need, as a result of our understandings through transparency. Courting technoprogressivism onto the American political stage may have been a viewed as radical in the last decade, even as its consistent economic recession ensued. But it may not be today, amongst the somewhat informed activists of virtual social networkers and physical street walkers.

In order to be rendered valuable, entities (people in this case) have to be represented well under some agreed upon or legal model. In the case of liberal desperation I think people are willing to consider the potential of living-out the interconnected scenario painted in my voting public or more vividly by Hank Pellissier‘s “representative democracy” in Invent Utopia Now. The transhuman rhetoric based around fundamentally transforming the human condition is not farfetched for the leftist movements of today. One would be naïve to think that tax reform or austerity or redistribution of wealth alone, could cure my aforementioned contradictions. There are no conservative means to remedy the problems of today, only to return to those of the past. Movements like occupy wall street are unlikely to reject transhumanist conversation because of their spiritual or educational or morally conservative roots. Further, we are witnessing an opportunity to empower activist’s discomfort with H+ solutions, to occupy all streets.

I wrote an essay on the theme of the possibility of artificial initiation and fusion explosion of giants planets and other objects of Solar system. It is not a scientific article, but an atempt to collect all nesessary information about this existential risk. I conclude that it could not be ruled out as technical possibility, and could be made later as act of space war, which could clean entire Solar system.

Where are some events which are very improbable, but which consequence could be infinitely large (e.g. black holes on LHC.) Possibility of nuclear ignition of self-containing fusion reaction in giant planets like Jupiter and Saturn which could lead to the explosion of the planet, is one of them.

Inside the giant planets is thermonuclear fuel under high pressure and at high density. This density for certain substances is above (except water, perhaps) than the density of these substances on Earth. Large quantities of the substance would not have fly away from reaction zone long enough for large energy relize. This fuel has never been involved in fusion reactions, and it remained easy combustible components, namely, deuterium, helium-3 and lithium, which have burned at all in the stars. In addition, the subsoil giant planets contain fuel for reactions, which may prompt an explosive fire — namely, the tri-helium reaction (3 He 4 = C12) and for reactions to the accession of hydrogen to oxygen, which, however, required to start them much higher temperature. Substance in the bowels of the giant planets is a degenerate form of a metal sea, just as the substance of white dwarfs, which regularly takes place explosive thermonuclear burning in the form of helium flashes and the flashes of the first type of supernova.
The more opaque is environment, the greater are the chances for the reaction to it, as well as less scattering, but in the bowels of the giant planets there are many impurities and can be expected to lower transparency. Gravitational differentiation and chemical reactions can lead to the allocation of areas within the planet that is more suitable to run the reaction in its initial stages.

The stronger will be an explosion of fuse, the greater will be amount of the initial field of burning, and the more likely that the response would be self-sustaining, as the energy loss will be smaller and the number of reaction substances and reaction times greater. It can be assumed that if at sufficiently powerful fuse the reaction will became self-sustaining.

Recently Galileo spacecraft was drawn in the Jupiter. Galileo has nuclear pellets with plutonium-238 which under some assumption could undergo chain reaction and lead to nuclear explosion. It is interesting to understand if it could lead to the explosion of giant planet. Spacecraft Cassini may soon enter Saturn with unknown consequences. In the future deliberate ignition of giant planet may become a mean of space war. Such event could sterilize entire Solar system.

Scientific basis for our study could be found in the article “Necessary conditions for the initiation and propagation of nuclear detonation waves in plane atmospheras”.
Tomas Weaver and A. Wood, Physical review 20 – 1 Jule 1979,

It rejected the possibility of extending the thermonuclear detonation in the Earth’s atmosphere in Earth’s oceans to balance the loss of radiation (one that does not exclude the possibility of reactions, which take little space comparing the amount of earthly matter — but it’s enough to disastrous consequences and human extinction.)

There it is said: “We, therefore, conclude that thermonuclear-detonation waves cannot propagate in the terrestrial ocean by any mechanism by an astronomically large margin.

It is worth noting, in conclusion, that the susceptability to thermonuclear detonation of a large body of hydrogenous material is an ex¬ceedingly sensitive function of its isotopic com¬position, and, specifically, to the deuterium atom fraction, as is implicit in the discussion just preceding. If, for instance, the terrestrial oceans contained deuterium at any atom fraction greater than 1:300 (instead of the actual value of 1: 6000), the ocean could propagate an equilibrium thermonuclear-detonation wave at a temperature £2 keV (although a fantastic 10**30 ergs—2 x 10**7 MT, or the total amount of solar energy incident on the Earth for a two-week period—would be required to initiate such a detonation at a deuter¬*ium concentration of 1: 300). Now a non-neg-ligible fraction of the matter in our own galaxy exists at temperatures much less than 300 °K, i.e., the gas-giant planets of our stellar system, nebulas, etc. Furthermore, it is well known that thermodynamically-governed isotopic fractionation ever more strongly favors higher relative concentration of deuterium as the temperature decreases, e.g., the D:H concentration ratio in the ~10**2 К Great Nebula in Orion is about 1:200.45 Finally, orbital velocities of matter about the galactic center of mass are of the order of 3 x 10**7 cm /sec at our distance from the galactic core.

It is thus quite conceivable that hydrogenous matter (e.go, CH4, NH3, H2O, or just H2) relatively rich in deuterium (1 at. %) could accumulate at its normal, zero-pressure density in substantial thicknesses or planetary surfaces, and such layering might even be a fairly common feature of the colder, gas-giant planets. If thereby highly enriched in deuterium (£10 at. %), thermonuclear detonation of such layers could be initiated artificially with attainable nuclear explosives. Even with deuterium atom fractions approaching 0.3 at. % (less than that observed over multiparsec scales in Orion), however, such layers might be initiated into propagating thermonuclear detonation by the impact of large (diam 10**2 m), ultra-high velocity (^Зх 10**7 cm/sec) meteors or comets originating from nearer the galactic center. Such events, though exceedingly rare, would be spectacularly visible on distance scales of many parsecs.”

Full text of my essay is here:

Bill Gates: Existential Threat?

Wow! I installed the XP Service Pack 3 yesterday after it was provided by the Windows Update feature and my computer crashed. I tried a few variations and did some investigations and couldn’t make it work. At least I was able to use a system restore point to keep the system alive. I should point out that I wasted hours on this as I had a variety of problems including the installation process just freezing up. (My computer is 100% solid, it passes a multi-hour memory test, etc.)

My investigations showed *many* people having serious problems with this service pack which is ridiculous since it shouldn’t be a big upgrade for people with fully updated XP Service Pack 2 setups as I had.

This plus the Vista disaster makes it rather likely that I will switch to a Macintosh for my next system. I have been using Microsoft operating systems on my PC since 1986 so this is a major thing to say. (Hey, my first computer was an Apple II+, so perhaps I am coming full circle…)

Now that the Macintosh uses Intel/AMD chips instead of slow proprietary crap, and is now based on Unix which is extremely useful for me since I have been using Unix systems since 1995 (for all webserver activities), and now that my main browser works on the Macintosh (Firefox), a switch seems like a reasonable thing to do. It also helps that you can now boot Windows on a Macintosh now that Macs use the same chips.

Even though I’ve upgraded my Windows system so it can run some Unix commands and Perl, I don’t have nearly the Unix functionality that I would get from the current Macintosh operating system. And finally I should mention that the reason I’ve been using Unix systems for webserver activities since 1995 was due to past disgust for Windows capabilities… (Was running 500 Linux servers at one point.)

Microsoft has admitted that their latest service pack is incompatible with both Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 8! Users of XP SP3 can not downgrade from IE 7 to IE 6 and can’t even install XP SP3 if they are running IE 8. There have also been reports of XP SP3 users being unable to install IE 7.

Microsoft has admitted that their latest service pack will cause data loss and corruption with Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS).

My specific problem was identified by Computerworld. It turns out that XP SP3 doesn’t work on AMD based machines sold by the little company Hewlett Packard which oh, by the way, happens to be #1 in the PC market!

This article also mentions that “This isn’t the first endless reboot problem Microsoft’s faced in relation to a service pack recently. In February, the company pulled a Windows Vista SP1 prerequisite update from automatic delivery because it was crippling some machines.“

Below are some quotes that I dug up during my research.

Quote 1.

After several more months of investigating and interviewing friends, I took the plunge. I was comforted by the fact that underneath the slick Mac OS exterior was real Unix… including Perl, Vim, bash, X11, etc. I spent many years of my career neck deep in Unix so it did help to see some old familiar things. Oh, and by the way, don’t tell me about the various Windows Unix-like shells — it is not the same! I can’t do “real” unix stuff like named pipes and I can’t do things like, “runapp | grep –i error | tee error.log” or run programs in the background (&), etc.

Quote 2.

“However, if you already have IE7 on your system when you install Service Pack 3, you will not be able to migrate back to IE6.” Just in case I decided to remove IE7 (no problem); install SP3 (no problem); install IE7 (PROBLEM). IE7 just would not install!

I had to remove SP3 (no problem); install IE7 (no problem); install SP3 (no problem).

I wonder if this is the “best possible experience” Microsoft were aiming for. I am not aware of Microsoft advising of a limitation.”

Quote 3.

Windows update offered it to me today and I accepted… BIG mistake. PC won’t boot, won’t restore to last good config. Safe mode appears to be starting up and I’m crossing my fingers. I’m a techie PC for a living — this is NOT ready for the general user.

Quote 4.

Windows XP service pack 3, SUCKS! Our computers were running perfectly on XPSP2, my husband I and I downloaded and installed SP3 and BOTH of our systems CRASHED, DUMPED to where they were not even bootable. We BOTH had to reformat and reinstall Windows XP. What a WASTE of time and the DAMAGE??? OUCH

No we have no idea what in SP3 did this, but we have 6 computers in the house, and THANK GOODNESS we only tried it on these 2 computers. Too bad we did not try it on a backup computer instead of our main systems. How dumb were we? All I had read were GOOD results. Not for us! We both have huge hard drives, Pentium 4, 3.75 GHZ and 2 gigs of ram, the best of everything, and up to date.


Quote 5.

I installed SP3 on my up-to-the-minute XP sp2 and discovered a number of previously done updates were rolled back. For example, IE7 was rolled back to IE6 and Mediaplayer 11 was also rolled back. Nice going Microsoft. What the hell is going on in Redmond these days?

Quote 6.

Microsoft hasn’t so much as fixed the incompatibility problem that prompted it to delay pushing out Service Pack 3 last week. Instead it put filters in place so that customers running the incompatible software installed won’t be offered the update.