About how Windows 10 (and Ubuntu) send all your search queries to be examined by Microsoft and the NSA, I’m surprised by how few people have a problem with this.ridic

In a thread on Ars Technica about Windows 10 a comment criticizing this repugnant privacy  violation was heavily downvoted. That’ s not unusual, and I don’t think there are enough MS and other shills out there to explain the downvoting.

It appears people actually want their privacy invaded and for large corporations to know more about them than their family probably does.

I can’t understand this. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t make sense of it.

My guess is that this permissive approach to privacy is more true of the Millennials and younger as they have been helicopter-private_catparented and allowed little privacy their entire lives. Having a Big Brother (aka Big Father/Big Mother) looking over their shoulder every instant is just natural to them.

Of course there are generational differences, despite scientists trying to “prove” there are not. I bet that approach to and concern with privacy is one of them.

Agreed that some younger folks are better at protecting and encoding (in the linguistic sense, not the cryptographic sense) what they don’t want seen.

I bet the majority just don’t care, however.

That’s a real difference between people of roughly my generation and older, and one that is unexamined mostly.


I’ve been using Windows 10’s technical preview a bit today in a virtual machine.

It’s far, far better than Windows 8. Still too garish, and too flat though.

But an absolutely terrible feature in the OS is that like Unity and other crappy OSes and interfaces before it,  it sends all searches inside the OS to Microsoft with no way in the UI to turn it off.

So for instance if you search for “rectal thermometer,” Microsoft knows about it.

This is what happens when you click on the built-in Search feature:


First of all, why would I want to see come crap about Alyssa Milano when I click on “Search?”

Second, why would I want to send any search to Microsoft, ever, if done inside the OS itself?

Yeah, yeah, cloud everything. But I’m not interested in the cloud. I’m interested in having a computer that does only what I want it to do, not a machine that spews my data all over the internet for the NSA and everyone to see.

There is no obvious way to turn this “feature” off in the UI, though I am sure with a GPO or similar it’s achievable.

But there should be a way to kill it that doesn’t require someone with a career in IT to find.

Still evaluating the OS – probably something more comprehensive about it all later.


As I’ve said numerous times, I don’t understand people who get stuck on music they listened Charlie-XCX.-Photograph-b-017to when they were 12-20 – which seems to be the most common age range at which to become musically incapacitated.

Seems like 95%+ of people this happens to.

If you liked Madonna in 1988 and still like music from that time now, you by all rights should like Charli XCX now.

Fuck, “Boom Clap” sounds just like Madonna if her music had been slightly inflected by hip hop.

I liked Madonna in 1988, and I like Charli XCX now.

Not liking Lorde I can understand a little better. Her music is more sui generis and blends usually-disparate sounds and is much stranger (and better, IMO).

That said, I just don’t operate in the mode of many people where everything that happened before they turned 25 was great, and everything after that is irredeemably terrible.

“Boom Clap” is a damn fun fine song, if you like pop. And I do like pop and many other genres too.

Do you also believe in unicorns?

As I said and as history shows, Supreme Court decisions that are presumed at the time to have “limited impact” do not.

A sampling of court actions since Hobby Lobby suggests that Ginsburg has the better of the argument. She was right: the decision is opening the door for the religiously observant to claim privileges that are not available to anyone else.

What was odd was seeing so many people who should’ve known better – people on the liberal side of the debate – breathe a sigh of relief and claim the decision would only apply to the limited case of Hobby Lobby.

Ah, the whimsical joy that must be present in being so vapidly ignorant of history.


becauseSomeone at Microsoft got a clue.

Windows 10 actually looks pretty good.

Metro banished, mostly. Configurable. Proper window drop shadows and other signs of actual design so everything on the desktop doesn’t doesn’t look like a Fisher Price toy box combined with a paint factory explosion. Windowed Metro apps. Better command line. And other needed features.

I believe I read somewhere there will be full binary compatibility from Windows Phone up to the desktop OS, which developers will love.

Since that idiot Steven Sinofsky left Microsoft (he was responsible for the Metro disaster and I believe the terrible Office bar) I figured things would get getter in the Windows world.

Now if we can just get the Metro crap out of the server interface, which is one of the most ridiculous design decisions I have ever seen.

It’s good to see. Google needs the competition. Amazing to think that Microsoft is benign now and Google is full-on fucking evil.

Strange how things work out.


I can’t agree with this.135a

Sparring and fighting are fun. As long as both parties are involved in it consensually and it’s regulated, I don’t see the problem.

The difference of course is that animals can’t consent; humans can.

But this is just stupid.

The only way to get good at self defense is to spar – which is a form of fighting. Not no-holds-barred, knock out type of fighting, but fighting nonetheless. The closer to real fighting without injuring one another the better, too.

Therefore her position is self-contradictory.

I’m no fan of violence for its own sake. But I believe that humans contain a core of violence in their very genes. I don’t believe in the liberal conception that everything is due to social conditioning only.

Fighting and watching people fight most likely has the effect of reducing violence and propensity to violence in non-ritual scenarios.

It’s also the most grueling form of exercise I’ve ever participated in. Never have I been so bone tired as when sparring and fighting.

It’s great to believe in a world where violence – especially for women – isn’t a real possibility.

However, we do not live in that world.


The conventional wisdom promulgated successfully now by Windows 8 defenders is that Windows XP was a terrible OS for the first two years after its release and was widely hated.

Nice bit of historical revisionism, but I was there. Windows XP was very much appreciated and many people looked forward to it and were not disappointed. After the vast failure of Windows ME, the stability and ease of use of XP was a major relief.

Being the first consumer release of the NT kernel to the masses, XP brought a lot of changes, nearly all of them good.

People didn’t care much for the Fisher Price interface, but unlike Windows 8’s Metro interface, it was easy to change.

Interesting how things become common knowledge that are utterly, utterly false. It happens in politics, too, but rarely do I get to see it so close up.

True Identity

Though I think identity politics has achieved many good and even some great things, samnewcompared to the alternative of making structural systemic changes I think it is a failure. And this I don’t believe is a false dichotomy, either.

Of course the Right does not support identity politics, not per se, but far prefers it to the alternative, which in a short time would eliminate them nearly completely as a social movement and diminish them greatly as a political one.

Which is to say that in the cabals and cliques of the Right Wing, identity politics and the adherents thereof are seen as a benign and tractable opponent, whereas mass movements like union organization and a more-effective Occupy are viewed as extremely dangerous and to be avoided at all costs.

So by “allowing” and lightly parrying and sometimes even encouraging identity politics, the Right avoids what it sees as a greater evil – that of mass revolts, true labor organization and their (in that scenario) unavoidable political defeat.

APObeautifulchaos1TequillaSunriseIdentity politics serves – not by design, but inherent in the nature of its discourse – to divide what should be naturally-aligned groups, just as slave-owners and aristocratic whites during the Jim Crow era managed to align socially and economically poor whites with rich whites rather than poor whites with poor blacks, who by rights and lack thereof should have been natural allies.

I don’t begrudge the actual achievements of identity politics. But I do think it’s time to build on those and then to integrate coalitions. This creation of a true mass movement is more likely by far to change the world as compared to the current practice of estranging and alienating all but a tiny coterie with call-out culture and the busy and overbearing policing of other’s identities which serve only to prove your own credibility and authenticity.

On a phone

The problem with this is what can you actually DO on a phone?169918-grg-broken-iPhone-sadface

I’ll tell you what’s going on here. I’ve been in the business and the IT world (and have worked on both sides of the fence) for a while, so it’s pretty obvious.

This guy owns a company that attempts to create and market native phone/mobile apps to businesses. But by “businesses” of course this means executives because they are the ones who make the decisions.

Most regular workers have absolutely no use for the the types of mobile apps that would interest executives and never will – can’t get any real work done on a phone.

But executives though they look busy don’t actually do work as most people think of it. Trust me, I have been one so I know very well that this is true.

Executives care about looking (mostly glancing) at other people’s work, keeping track of schedules and appointments, reviewing Powerpoints and other presentations, and perhaps glancing at a PDF. And oh yeah, being on endless conference calls. All of these things can be done on a phone. Some poorly, but they can be done.

If I’d just had an executive title only I could’ve done my entire job on a phone. So could most other execs.

2514090-3x2-940x627But regular workers just can’t.  That doesn’t matter, though, because in a company it’s the execs who make the decisions. The writer of this article – and who knows why the hell it got published in Wired – only has to convince executives that there is a new paradigm, that everyone can use phones to get all their work done, that PCs and the evil IT* department can be banished forevermore!

Of course it’s not true but the writer of the article doesn’t have to care about true. He just has to care about making the sale for his company.

So that is what’s really going on there. Why some self-interested marketing tripe like that got published in Wired, I’ll never know.

*Though IT departments can be restrictive and small-minded, most people have just no idea how much most IT departments prevent absolutely fucking harebrained schemes cooked up (in a meth lab, apparently) by MBA executives from being inflicted on the company. Just no idea.

Fundamentally stupid

I’ve seen several people in the past arguing that the media company’s responses to online piracy – suing their best customers and making content harder to access –is rational.Freemedia160

Another of those strange definitions of rationality.

This article isn’t one of those types luckily, but it does go too much for the typical journalism “fair and balanced” sophistry.

“It is difficult to compete with free,” he added.

No, it’s actually really really easy to compete with free.

Offer a service with no DRM, no monitoring, and not tied to a single device with – most importantly – all the content there is and people will sign up for it in droves. In absolute fucking droves.

And pay for it. Hell, I’d pay quite a lot for that. Probably $100 a month if it included music, movies and TV shows. I’d rather pay less, but there you go.

Someone in the article to which I linked though really gets at what drives piracy.

There is another obstacle to stopping illegal downloads, said Andre Swanston, the chief executive of Tru Optik, the media analytics firm. People want access to everything, anytime, and there is little to stop them from having it. “Even if you added Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, Sony Crackle and everything else combined, that is still less content available legally than illegally,” he said. “The popularity of piracy has nothing to do with cost — it is all about access.”

censurachina-e1320181202666Hard to buy something if ain’t nobody selling it! If you pirate something, you can almost always find it. And it’s more convenient and just works. Quite the opposite when you look for something “legal.” Then it’s a nightmare of DRM, streaming woes and unavailability.

It’s as I said actually really easy to compete with free. Just these companies don’t want to do it.

What’s puzzling is that they could make money hand over fist, far more than they make now, just by making a few rational decisions (not the “rational” ones where they sue their own customers). But they choose not to. Why? I understand the profit motive. But I don’t understand this.