Jul 24

Metro gnome

The only way to remove most Metro/Modern crapps in Windows 10 is with Powershell.

Microsoft, fuck you.

Just had to get that out of my system.

So I wrote some PowerShell to automate the uninstall of the ones that cannot be uninstalled in the GUI.

First, download this csv file which contains all the Metro crapplications.

packages

Then save it somewhere and take a look on the next page for my sweet-ass PowerShell codes. Paste this into a .ps1 file, make sure your execution policy is set to something that allows it to run, and then run that puppy.

Jul 24

Another stupid

This article about air conditioning is itself deeply stupid.

Much of the US population lives in areas that are far, far hotter for far longer than any part of Europe. The US South would be nearly uninhabitable 6 months out of the year — especially for doing any sort of modern cognitive work — without AC.

Anyway, air conditioning composes only 5% of entire US energy expenditures — a bargain given its benefits in productivity (measurable) and comfort (not measurable, but more important) that it provides.

I would not be able to live in 70% of the US without AC, at least not still doing anything useful with my life.

It’s easy to dismiss people using AC when you live in a region that has mean temperatures 10 degrees lower than your current vicinage.

Shit, in Seattle I was fine without AC. But I’ve lived in North Florida without AC and it is absolutely miserable. Nightmarish. Especially in a trailer. 100 degrees+ inside the house? Yup. Doesn’t cool down at night like it does in most of Europe? That too.

You can have my indoor cooling when you take it from my cold, AC-frosty hands.

Jul 23

Papered over

Does anyone remember those paperback books from the 1970s with ads in the middle?

I had one with a Marlboro ad, and some others with soda ads and such like that.

Strange.

Jul 22

How to remove bullshit OneDrive

Here’s how to remove the supposedly un-uninstallable OneDrive NSA data collection mechanism in Windows 10.

Use the code on page 2. Paste it in a file named nukeonedrive.cmd or something similar. Run as administrator. Not my code, but it is hard to find unless you’re me. I’ve checked it in a VM and it does nothing bad and does exactly what it claims.

Jul 22

New Shine

This from Daniel Lemire is a good response to the Ceglowski essay that I also wrote about recently. It takes a different tack as compared to my response but also makes some points related to mine.

Cegłowski would keep the technology as it is… “Why do we need to obsess on artificial intelligence, when we’re wasting so much natural intelligence?”

Technology is fine today. Let us work hard to keep it as it is.

I could not disagree more. We urgently need to improve our technology. The web as it stands today won’t be good enough in 30 years

Robotics and the speed with which this and AI as well as AI-approximate technologies will come to dominate society are going to utterly surprise people like Ceglowski.

Things that are inevitable within ~100 years if tech society continues:

Extensive DNA modification/improvement.
Ubiquitous robotics and AI.
No more livestock– all meat lab-created.
Artificial life.
Artificial wombs.
Children with 3+ parents (already happening!) or no parents.
Neural implants.

I’d bet every cent I have on at least those seven things happening. They are baked in. What else, though? There will be more. People like Ceglowski can’t even imagine those things, just like people in 1920 couldn’t imagine the internet or ICBMs.

Jul 22

Appropriations Committee

Reflections on Amandla Stenberg “Calling Out” Kylie Jenner for Cultural Appropriation.

My reaction to calling out other folks for cultural appropriation is mainly to laugh, and then to sigh.

Do they not understand, I wonder, how contingent and how young so very many “ancient” cultural traditions are? How quickly they spread? How human cultures always have and always will borrow, pilfer and adopt bits of other cultures?

Always have, and always, always will.

This whole cultural “appropriation” obsession and calling out people for it is at best a distraction to anything useful and at worst actively harmful — especially when you use it to bully and shame young people.

Jul 21

Historical blindness

This is a good piece for the most part, but I don’t agree that things like an AI are not a threat. I think this view is pretty daft and ahistorical, actually. And I disagree with the idea that technological progress has halted. Plateaued for a bit, yes, but not halted.

About the AI question, the reason it is worth pondering is that even threats with a very small chance of coming true if they have a very large — potentially life-ending — impact still deserve thought and mitigation even if the odds of any particular danger materializing are quite small. A lesson we are about to learn the extremely hard way due to climate change, by the way.

But think of it this way. From the time humans started making war until 1945, we had at most a bomb that could destroy a city block.

By late 1945, we had a bomb that could singly destroy an entire city. One plane. One bomb. An entire metropolis, wiped out. Not science fiction. Hard reality.

By 1952, we had a bomb that could destroy an entire region. One bomb. Urban New England, just gone.

Not all progressions are linear. Some of the most destructive ones are in fact extremely non-linear, and since an AI is not likely something we’d create but rather something that would start to evolve on its own, it’s fundamentally unpredictable and worth mitigating against a hostile AI or even worse an AI so powerful it didn’t care about us at all. The idea that we’d “create” an AI is pretty stupid, actually. It’d most likely create itself without our noticing. And even if we did kick it off, it’d most likely be a much-accelerated process of evolution so that just like our own brains we did not understand the result. And perhaps could not control even a little bit.

I’m not a Singulatarian or a technological utopian but I do believe — and history demonstrates this — that humans can create very destructive very powerful things without really understanding what they are doing. Evidence shows this. Thinking about it and working to prevent it is worth something. Worth quite a lot, actually.

Given that there is at least a small bit of risk for instance that in the future some rogue AI will decide to disassemble the sun to travel to another galaxy, spending a few million now to understand the possibilities seems worth it, yes?

About technological progress, like a lot of folks this person is fairly lacking in historical knowledge. Though I agree that we’ve picked most low-hanging fruit, there are possibility spaces we’ve hardly even begun to explore. And some we still probably have not even discovered.

Another thing. I saw a chart a few months ago that I can’t find right now, but when I do find it I will post it because it was great (and I will find it). If I remember right, for the first 190,000 of the 200,000 years of anatomically modern human history, economic growth per capita/yr was something like 0.00000167%. Or, basically, nothing.

Then this happened:

worlduntil2001-thumb-615x638-90890

Like with regular bombs vs. hydrogen bombs, some progressions are hugely, staggeringly non-linear.

Technological history moves in spikes and plateaus. Anatomically modern humans used stone tools for 150,000+ years. Then they didn’t. They used bronze for maybe 8,000 years. Etc. Right now I’m perfectly content to admit we are at a plateau. But as history demonstrates time and time again just when everyone is convinced that nothing else can possibility be invented, a wave of invention comes along.

There is a limit to this, of course. But have we hit it? Really doubtful. Really, really doubtful. We are young and the universe is vast. We are clumsy puppies stumbling over the living room entryway, not even having made it to the front door and thinking we’ve seen it all, the entire house, not even realizing that there is an outside.

Jul 21

Confirmed

Running Windows 10 in a VM at 4K.

I’ve confirmed that it does not in fact properly support 4K.

What in the hell. This is a brand new OS. 4K has been out for three years now.

Microsoft is smoking all the crack.

Jul 21

Keep your puny 4K

Ok, 4K is pretty cool. Both my partner and I have 4K monitors now. Mine is my secondary monitor, hers is her primary.

But my main monitor and machine is a 5K iMac. Here’s what 4K looks like inside the 5K iMac (both scaled correctly).

screengrap

Oh, little 4K, don’t cry in the face of the awesome power of my fully-operational 5K battle station.

By the way, a 27″ 5K monitor has nearly twice the pixels of a 4K monitor — 14.7 million vs. 8.3 million.

Jul 21

Stay delusional

The world is going to change over the next 100 years more than any time in the last couple of thousand.

It might not be an apocalypse by some definitions but to the people living through it, it certainly will feel like one.

Even people on the left have no idea. They really just do not, probably because it is too painful to think about, to realize that their children are quite likely to have far worse (and shorter) lives than they themselves enjoyed.

So check this out. Say Hansen is only a quarter right (which is by the way below the consensus estimates of sea level rise).

That still means tens to hundreds of millions of people displaced, huge amounts of climate change. Drought. Famine. War.

Sad that nukes haven’t been used since WWII? Well, you won’t have to be sad for much longer! I can nearly guarantee that they’ll be used in the next ~50 years in nearly-inevitable resource wars as a result of GCC.

People just have no idea. They really don’t. Even the ones who believe don’t really understand.