If you haven’t already, turn off Windows update now. Microsoft has recently started installing Windows 10 spyware without consent. A good friend of mine had a bunch of systems at the company where he runs IT hacked by Microsoft over the weekend, which broke the certificate store for WPA-2 and thus their wifi connections.
To be clear, Windows 10 is spyware. Microsoft has changed their business model from selling a product to selling data – your data – to whoever they want. Windows 10 comes with a EULA that gives them the right to steal everything on your computer – your email, your private pictures, your home movies, your love letters, your medical records, your financial records – anything they want without telling you. “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.“
If this happens to you, I suggest contacting your state attorney general and filing a complaint against Microsoft. Hopefully a crushing class action suit or perhaps jail time for the executives that dreamed up this massive heist will help deter future corporate data thieves, though that’s certainly irrational optimism.
I wish I could recommend switching to Linux for everyone, but there’s a lot of software that still depends on Windows and a lot of users that will have a hard time migrating (developers: please stop developing for Microsoft). Apple seems unequivocally better in refusing to act as key player in bringing about Total Information Awareness. I’m not a huge fan of their walled garden and computers as overpriced fashion accessories approach, but it is far better than outright theft. For those that are slightly computer savvy, there’s Linux Mint, which is quite usable and genuinely free.
These instructions might help prevent that disaster of an update being visited upon you (and possibly law enforcement visits to come after Microsoft starts sifting through all your datas and forwarding on whatever they find). The latest reports suggest they aren’t enough, but it is the best I have found other than isolating your windows box from the internet completely.
What happened to 1920×1200 laptop displays? Why are all new laptops regressing to 1920×1080? That’s the most asinine, disappointing regression since the end of commercial supersonic transport. It is so sad to be living in a world that is moving backwards at an ever accelerating pace.
My first transportable computer was a Mac Portable with a 640×480 screen and I lived with that through a couple of generations. Eventually I got a Dell with 1440×900 pixels and could actually do some real work on it. About 10 years ago I got a Dell M70 with 1900×1200 pixels on a 15.4″ screen and found an acceptable resolution for portable work. Little did I know that the era from about 2000-2010 would be the apex of laptop technology. It is all downhill from here.
Once I looked forward to a bright future with 17″ displays sporting about the same generally usable pixel pitch (about 147 pixels per inch). If the world had continued to advance technically, if the now retired SR71 wasn’t still the fastest, highest flying plane ever built, if the now retired Concorde wasn’t the only commercial supersonic aircraft, if the retirement of the space shuttle didn’t herald the end of US’s manned space flight capability, if we weren’t living on the burnt out ruins of our former capabilities watching our technical competency spiral down the toilet, we’d have WQXGA (2560×1600) 17.4″ laptops right now. Maybe even QXGA 15.4″ options for those of us with good eyes.
But we don’t. We have bizarre stupid Vaio VGN-AW11M/H with kid friendly 104 PPI displays sporting useless 1680×945 pixels on an 18.4″ screen. That’s a pixel pitch straight out of 1990. Thanks for nothing.
Nobody even makes a reasonably sized laptop with a 15.4″ screen with more than 1920×1080 pixels any more (the only WUXGA laptop I can find at any size is the oversized kidz pitch 17″ macbook pro). I’m going to have to stick with my W500, or buy used ones for the rest of my life. Laptop makers – there’s no way I’m going to regress to a less productive smaller pixel count. That’s just stupid. Pull your heads out and give us pixels. The only thing that really matters for productivity is pixels. More pixels=better. Less pixels=worse. Don’t bother releasing a new laptop if it is worse. If you’ve lost the competency, just pack it up.
Apple: the 264 PPI pitch of the 3rd gen ipad is pretty good. If you build a 15.4″ macbook pro with that pitch in QFHD (3840×2160) pixels instead of the bizarrely large type kid’s book useless 1440×900 pixel resolution the current 15″ macbook pro is crippled by, I would actually buy one to run Ubuntu on. And maybe even have a bit of hope for the future.
(I’d suggest refraining from buying a laptop until 2013: ivy bridge will make 1920×1080 laptops as quaint as those 640×480 displays from 1990: the era from 2010-2013 may be known as the dark ages of laptops.)
Megaupload, the company that enables easy file transfer used by 50,000,000 people every day, was sized by the DOJ. Check www.megaupload.com
This is an illegal, unconstitutional seizure. It is an example of the scum who run entertainment companies like Universal (who illegally got MegaUpload’s video yanked from youtube by filing a false DMCA takedown) turning US law enforcement and the US judicial system into criminal enforcers to create a business model around theft and intimidation to replace their obsolete and irrelevant role as gate keepers and toll collectors between artists and their audiences.
If SOPA/PIPA pass, links to the sized domain would have to be expunged from any site even talking about them. This is intolerable. It is a subversion of democracy and outright theft of the public domain by those who would retard or even reverse progress to protect their profits and wealth.
The constitution grants the privilege of a temporary copyright to artists and inventors as a mechanism to promote the progress of science and the useful arts. Laws that extend this privilege in a manner that fails to promote the progress of science and the useful arts are plainly unconstitutional. Record companies have no natural right to stop you from using your hardware, your devices, to rearrange the bits on your systems in any way you like. They have turned the discussion to claim they have a property right to your data through manipulation and outright lies. The only fair response to their illegal and heinous acts is to revoke their privilege and drive them swiftly into bankruptcy so they no longer have the resources to bribe our representatives into ignoring the constitution.
The DOJ should be using RICO to shut down entertainment companies that use intimidation to protect profits, not innovative companies acting to expand the public domain in a manner clearly consistent with the goals of the framers of the constitution.
As you may have heard, California Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation repealing the law that had forced us to terminate our California Associates. We are pleased to invite all California Associates whose accounts were closed due to the prior legislation to re-enroll in the Associates Program.
The Amazon Associates Team
I first read this as Amazon giving up and quietly reinstating their associates program and thus paying the sales tax they owe. Alas, not the case. I guess California vs. Amazon, Amazon wins.
The Department of State is proposing a new questionnaire as a precondition of getting a US passport. If the applicant is a newborn it might not be too much of a burden, but for an adult it reads like it was written by George Orwell.
If you’re a grown up and considering getting a passport, you should check in at the comment site or just email GarciaAA@state.gov and let DoS know that their estimate of 45 minutes to gather the required information is probably off by a couple of years.
A few of the questions, which I swear I am not making up:
5. List your mother's residence one year before your birth:
6. List your mother's residence at the time of your birth:
7. List your mother's residence one year after your birth:
8. Mother's place of employment at the time of your birth:
- Dates of employment:
- Name of employer:
- Address of employer:
9. Did your mother receive pre-natal or post-natal medical care?
- Name of Doctor:
- Dates of appointments:
10. What type of document, if any, did your mother use to enter into the United States before your birth?
11. Please describe the circumstances of your birth including the names (as well as address and phone number, if available) of persons present or in attendance at your birth:
Please list all of your residences inside and outside of the United States starting with your birth until the present.
Please list all of your current and former places of employment in the United States and abroad.
I declare under penalty of perjury that all responses contained in this document are true and correct, to the best of my knowledge.
False statements made knowingly and willfully in passport applications or in affidavits or other supporting documents submitted therewith are
punishable by fine and/or imprisonment under the provisions of 18 U.S.C. 1001 and/or 18 U.S.C. 1542.
This is so far beyond idiotic, so completely utterly absurd, that I’m tempted to believe that someone is pulling a hoax in releasing the document to get people riled up, like claiming there will be death panels or some stupid fabricated outrage like that. I suppose filling in “I’m sorry, but my memory of the circumstances three months before I was a zygote is a little hazy these days” would at least be true and correct, but might not lead to quick issuance of a passport. It is not just the flabbergasting stupidity of asking questions that no adult could possibly answer, but questions that utterly irrelevant to providing a passport that is galling. Dear DoS: derp?
Gross standing water filled with soap scum, bacteria, and stink is hardly a hygienic improvement.
I get the Julia Roberts is a hot chick, even at her current age, but why… why are they showing Eat Pray Love on the airplane? She’s pretty enough, but the “eat” part is disgusting. Close ups of people eating is a standard trope for illustrating how revolting the super villain is, not a mechanism to make the pretty people seem sensual.
OK, maybe an ice cube is sensual, but stuffing pizza in a huge mouth on screen is just gross. No wonder the movie failed; without sound, this whole movie is Julia Roberts stuffing her gigantic mouth.