Windows 10…What’s Up With That?


, ,

A couple of days ago I formatted Windows 10 and installed Kubuntu on my desktop. More on that in just a moment.

Anandtech has it’s comprehensive Windows 10 review up. If you are considering Win10, you should check out the review.

I took part in the Win10 Consumer Preview program from the day it was announced. I was more than happy to dump Windows 8.1…even for beta software. While some of the preview builds were a bit on the buggy side, my general impressions of Win10 were favorable. I knew the consumer preview was hovering up a fair amount of data by and about me, but I figured it was a beta and MS deserved all the telemetry they could get to make Win10 a solid release. My computer originally came with Win7, I upgraded it to Win8 and then to 8.1 and then installed the Win10 previews and the final release. I never once had a catastrophic failure. After Win10 final was released I did a clean install…hey I liked the OS and wanted the optimum experience. Shortly after that my problems started. First Windows Update installed a bad graphics driver and borked my system. I had to go back to a restore point to make my computer usable. Then MS pushed the faulty driver again, forcing me  to roll back the driver and disconnect from the internet while I figured out how to stop the automatic update. I finally found a setting to stop driver updates, it was in the old “System Settings” a leftover from Win95…you know the one that was re-labeled “Advanced System Settings” in XP or Vista. Talk about having to drill down. A pain in the behind to be sure and defensive computing should not be a requirement against your OS vendor.

And then the privacy hullabaloo broke. If you are unaware of the privacy controversy, let me Bing that for you.

Then the clincher happened. I use a tv as a second monitor and speakers, it is connected through hdmi. Every time the computer slept I would lose audio which required a reboot to fix. Once again, none of the preview releases had this problem…but there it was in the final.

So just as I was getting excited about the imminent release of Cortana for Android and the improved integration that would bring, I decided to bail on Windows once again. I still don’t know what made me go back to Windows last time…I am like the battered spouse returning to the abuser time and time again. I’d like to say that I learned my lesson for good this time…but…time will tell.

Computing’s Big Birthday


, ,

Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of Windows 95. An operating system that changed the very fabric of society. Hyperbole? No. Pre-Win95, computers were for business, the elite, and a handful of geeks. Win95 along with (comparatively) cheap Intel processors introduced the era of the $1000 PC and began bringing to fruition Gates’ vision of a PC on every desktop.

A monumental release it was. However, today marks an even bigger anniversary in computing history. Today is the 24th anniversary of Linus Torvalds’ unveiling of his eponymous OS, Linux.

While Linux never gained traction on the desktop, it has taken the rest of the computing environment by storm. Powering most of the internet infrastructure, the vast majority of smart phones, it is running in everything from satellites to automobiles to air traffic control to nuclear submarines.

While most of us toil away on Windows PCs or iOS tablets, it is Linux which has become the foundation upon which our entire computing experience relies. Today each of us should raise a toast to the little OS that can did.

Windows 10 Release Imminent


, , , ,

Tomorrow is the big day! The roll out of Microsoft’s newest flagship OS begins. Free for users of Windows 7, 8, and 8.1; it really is a no-brainer update. If you hated Windows 8 and stayed on Windows 7, it is time that you got the benefits of that OS as well as the new one…it is faster, boots quicker, the transparency has been removed, and it has a cleaner UI. If you are currently on 8 or 8.1, you get your start menu back!

For everyone, there is the personal assistant Cortana, a new web browser, improved multi-tasking, and updated Windows Snap and multi-monitor support. Windows 10 may be the achievement of Microsoft’s decade plus plan to have one Windows run everywhere.

There are plenty of good reviews out there (hint: use google), so I won’t do one here. The OS is solid with great backward support and is a must upgrade for anyone….and the price is right.

Reddit is Still Supporting the Rape of Dogs (and other animals)

Two years ago, I wrote an open letter to users of Reddit. I recommend reading that post to gain the context for this follow-up post.

Reddit has many subreddits on varying subjects, they range from the humorous to the informative to the gross and beyond. A couple of these subreddits glorify and promote the rape of animals.

A few days ago the new CEO of Reddit outlined new content guidelines for Reddit, those guidelines do not address, and do not ban, the subreddits glorifying and promoting animal abuse. These will continue to be allowed and to generate income for Conde Nast and its owner Advance Publications, Inc.

I would think that rational folks can agree that animal rape is not an innocent pastime? The ASPCA has taken a strong stance against this aberrant behavior:

The ASPCA is opposed to bestiality, defined as any sexual contact with an animal by a human. The ASPCA believes that any sexual practice or contact between humans and animals for the sexual gratification of any person is animal exploitation, regardless of the human perpetrators’ beliefs or intentions. (taken from ASPCA position statement.)

When I wrote the original blog post, I also sent 8 letters to advertisers advising them that their ads were appearing on a site that also hosted dog rape propaganda. Two bothered to respond and one of these agreed to re-evaluate their relationship with Reddit.

Today, with the publication of this post, I am also opening a new WordPress blog called Stop Dog Rape. The intent of this blog will be to publish the contact information of Reddit, Conde Nast, Advance Publications, and their advertisers  to promote people to contact them and put pressure on Reddit to reform its practices.

I request that you read the new blog, follow it, and occasionally write a Reddit advertiser to request that they end their relationship until such time as Reddit has taken steps to Stop Dog Rape.

How old is too old to be president?


, ,

Earlier today, I posted on my micro blog about the Democratic party becoming the party of stodgy old people; here I want to expound on that idea.

Let’s start with a list of presidential candidates and their ages:

Democratic: Chafee 62, Clinton 67, O’Malley 52, and Sanders 73.

Republican: Bush 62, Carson 63, Christie 52, Cruz 44, Fiorina 60, Graham 59, Huckabee 59, Jindal 44, Pataki 70, Paul 52, Perry 65, Rubio 44, Santorum 57, and Trump 69.

As an aside, the FAA forces commercial airline pilots into retirement at the age of 60. Actually they can transfer to be a flight engineer or something similar, but they can not pilot a commercial airline. No Exceptions! No physical or mental check up to get a waiver, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Is not the most powerful position on the planed at least as important as a commercial pilot?

Of the 19 people currently running for president, 11 of them would be unfit to fly come inauguration day, January 2017. That is nearly 60% for those too lazy to pull up WolframAlpha. They are not qualified to fly a plane and they certainly have no business having the keys to the nuclear arsenal.

The democratic candidates have an average age of 63.5 and that will increase by a year and a half before they take office.  The republican candidate average age is 53.3. On average the republican candidates are a whopping 10+ years younger than their democratic counterparts. So, once again I inquire, when did the democratic party become the party of stodgy old people?

It took 3 generations to initiate global climate change, move the US from the largest creditor nation to the largest debtor the world has ever known, remove the nutrition from our food, begin the 6th great extinction, turn our planet into a giant waste dump,  virtually pave the entire planet and pollute our land, seas, and air. In the US we call those 3 generations the greatest generation, the silent generation, and the baby boomers. These people have had their chance to wield power and have proven themselves inadequate to the task, it is well past time to send them off to retirement. If we survive, it will take 100 generations to undo the damage they have done. None of them deserve to be president, the planet and her inhabitants can not bear it.

Edit: Jim Web just announced he is throwing his hat into the ring, at 69 he further raises the average democratic age.

30 Years Ago Today


, ,

New Coke was introduced. There was an uproar, careers were ruined, the product was rolled back, and balance was restored to the universe. But that isn’t what I want to write about.
30 years ago today the Philadelphia PD with help from the FBI bombed the home of radical group MOVE. 60 houses were burned down, children were shot as they tried to escape the flames, Mayor Goode took full responsibility. There was no uproar, no careers were ruined, nobody was charged (let alone convicted), Goode was re-elected and balance has yet to be restored.
This same mentality latter led to the siege at Ruby Ridge and the massacre at Waco, among others. Murder under the color of authority leaves less of an impression than changing the formula of a soft drink. WTF? And I am supposed to be proud of my country? Yeah, I’ll get right on that.

–Posted from my mobile device

The Vaccination Hysteria


, ,

After watching from the sidelines as the recent measles outbreak brought about the gnashing of teeth and the pulling of hair from what are otherwise mostly sane folks, I thought I might take a stab at adding another line of argument to the debate.

Before I get too far into the subject, let me state that I believe that the autism connection with vaccines has been pretty well discredited. Were I to have children I would probably get them vaccinated, and were I to choose not to, I would not move to Marin county.

Vaccines are a medical procedure, as such, folks have a right to know the dangers and a right to refuse the procedure. These are basic rights and are a standard part of medical ethics. Each vaccine comes with a Vaccine Information Statement. This statement lists what disease is being vaccinated against, the dangers of the disease, and the risks of the vaccination. No vaccine is without some risk, as a parent it is your right and responsibility to weigh the risks and benefits to determine the proper course for your child.

Since measles are in the news, lets take a moment to look at the risks associated with the MMR vaccine. Some are quite mild but pervasive; fever (1 in 6), rash (1 in 20), swelling of glands (1 in 75). Other reactions are quite serious, if less common; seizures (1 in 3000), low platelet count leading to bleeding disorder (1 in 30000). Severe problems are rare (1 in 1000000), but include deafness, long term seizures, coma, lowered consciousness, and permanent brain damage. Now multiply this danger, from one common vaccination, by the 20+ vaccines and boosters that are recommended in the first 2 years and add the vaccines that pregnant women are recommended and it becomes understandable why some might choose not to vaccinate.

While mercury has been removed from childhood vaccines (it is still in flu shots and other adult vaccines), they still contain aluminum and formaldehyde. Can anyone actually state that it is a good idea to inject babies with formaldehyde?

Want to make me change my views on this? Simply repeal the congress granted immunity that the vaccine manufacturers have. If the manufacturers themselves lobbied congress for immunity from liability, then even they question the safety of their own product. And the fact that congress acted on it, shows that they too question the safety. If the vaccines are so safe, why did congress step in to “immunize” these corporations from liability?

My final argument supporting vaccination choice, is just that…choice. Were we to force vaccinations as some societal good, then why not force abortions on women who might not have the resources to properly raise a child? Certainly, society has an interest? (For the record, I would oppose that also.) While some may argue that this is a slippery slope argument, it can certainly also be argued that this is simply carrying the idea to its logical conclusion. If a woman’s right to her own body is so sacrosanct that she can choose to kill her unborn child, than certainly one’s right to their own body and its functions must include the right to reject a medical procedure that you find unsavory, FOR WHATEVER REASON.

For these reasons, I unequivocally support a parent’s inherent right to reject vaccinations for their children.

Related links:
Vaccine Information Statements at CDC
Recommended vaccination chart (pdf file)

Edit: Interesting fact; since 2005 there have been zero deaths from measles and 86 deaths from the MMR vaccine.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 198 other followers