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Comment Advertising itself is Malicious.. (Score 1) 259

.. and has been for a long time now.

I was fairly early to the whole "World Wide Web" thing. I remember when AOL opened for business and the collective IQ of the web dropped by 80 points overnight. You know, back in the days when you could have an actual intelligent conversation with a total stranger in an unmoderated public chat room.

I remember when most websites were run by just ordinary people who had interests in things and wanted to share information about those interests. The computer hobbyists still wrote their reviews of whatever new widget they had gotten their hands on, people still swapped recipes and stupid cat pictures.. there were blogs (even though they weren't called that yet..)

Companies had their websites too. Granted, they didn't have much functionality.. but if a company had a website, you could often times look up information about their products, or find contact information to get ahold of someone.

And maybe, just maybe.. there would be a text link, or a banner at the top of the page as advertising. Usually just to another website, but occasionally an image promoting some sale at a brick and mortar place somewhere.. Then came the "banner exchange" programs.. rotating sets of banners that'd swap out..

And then the professional marketing companies jumped aboard, smelling profits.. and there was an explosion of commercial filth that no amount of eye-bleach could get rid of. First it was more and more ads being packed into pages... then it was pages that were almost content-free, but crammed with horrible ads.. blinking, flashing, retina-searing color contrasts..

Then the ad-men hired some unscrupulous nerds to code up ads that launched new windows full of ads.. sometimes so many that it would crash your system... and it became a game of how fast you could click the mouse to close windows before the script driven popups killed your box and forced a reboot..

All because one parasitic industry decided it had a right to make vast sums of money hawking products and services nobody actually wanted, and damn you for denying them that opportunity.

Ad-blockers came into existence not because people inherently object to respectful, reasonable, non-intrustive advertising. They were invented precisely because the advertising industry itself is predatory and abusive and knows no bounds when it comes to forcing shit you don't want onto you.

You pay $2.50 for a bottle of asprin. $0.25 of that $2.50 is the cost of the actual asprin. Perhaps a penny is the cost of the bottle and label. Another penny for the box. Another $0.25 to deliver it and stock it. And then $1.98 for all the advertising to convince you that you want to buy it.. When all that really motivated you to buy that asprin was the hangover you had this morning from too many beers last night.

The vast majority of advertising is simply a giant scam in the first place. False claims repeated ad-nauseum till people don't bother to challenge them anymore. Coke spends over half a billion dollars each year on advertising in the US alone. Does anyone honestly believe that there's a single human being in the US that doesn't know Coke and thus needs informed? Are people really so stupid as to think that a commercial is why someone buys Coke over Pepsi? If I want a Coke, I buy a Coke. If I feel like a Pepsi, I buy a Pepsi. And it doesn't have a bloody blessed thing to do with the millions spent at the Super Bowl or the logo feces that is smeared over the entire environment. And yet that bottle of Coke probably costs twice as much for me to buy because an industry has been pushing that lie.

I eat at McDonalds because they're cheap, quick and everywhere, not because of some irritating bullsh*t commerical that tries to be "hip" or "trendy".

If you offer a good product or service, one that really fills a need, you don't particularly *need* much advertising. Some, sure, to get the word out. But 99% of what is advertised is either redundant or duplicitous BS that's just trying to sell some substandard crap that should have never existed in the first place because of how lousy it is.

Starve advertisers to death. Block everything. They're just a giant mass of tapeworms infesting the body of human society and leading to weakness and disease.

Comment A related question.. (Score 1) 492

for you technologically superior folk..

"Can I completely gut Windows 10 so that it basically just functions like Windows 7 with DX12?"

I own one Windows box. with Windows 7 Professional 64 bit running on it. It is used for exactly 3 things.. Playing Minecraft, and playing various Steam games. Also occasionally downloading mods for those various games from one or two very specific trusted websites.

I have an older box running Arch for everything *else* I want to do, because I'm not stupid enough to trust Microsoft with anything that might potentially have importance.

In the past, before I took the leap into Linux, Whenever I would set up a Windows box, I'd always pop into services.msc and disable a crapload of services.. usually using Blackviper's service guides.. And IE would only get used once to download a real browser, which I would then kit out with adblock and noscript plugins before doing anything else.

And this generally seemed to work pretty well. Even with no always-on antivirus, no security updates (I'd disable Windows Update completely), shut down windows managed firewalls and not replace them... all the things you're generally "not supposed to do".. I'd very rarely run into any kind of problem. (The exceptions being when I'd do something deliberately stupid and risky, fully knowing I shouldn't.. just because my brain went dead for a brief time.)

I found once you gut most of Windows, the security risks drop dramatically. More than enough for me to find tolerable for a dedicated game machine, anyway..

With Windows 10 being the obvious transition to "Software as a Service so we can just keep billing you for renting our product".. (which is where I forsee this going, ultimately..) is it still "old Windows" enough that it can be properly gutted?

I have no use for a sexualized version of Clippy... I have no use for "Edge". I have no use for really any "feature" of Windows 10 besides DX12. And I have a lot of reluctance about some of the features, even when it's only on a machine I use to play some games. So, to free up system resources.. I'd like to rip all that stuff out.. or at least permanently disable it.

Anybody tried playing around with that sort of approach to see if it is still doable? Like disabling Windows Update entirely?

Comment Re:How much is an AG these days? (Score 1) 256

No, Lobbying *is* evil, and it has nothing to do with "domain experts explaining an issue" to someone who isn't an expert.

It has everything to do with purchasing influence.

An industry or special interest group has far more resources at its disposal than the average citizen, and thus can hire people to do nothing more than promote their interests. So much so, that they routinely employ people to do nothing *but* promote their interests 24/7/365 to anyone in a position of power that might make decisions affecting those interests.

There is no responsibility for being truthful, or accurate, or recommending a "best policy" in this lobbying.. The responsibility is solely to "convince the lawmaker to do their employer's bidding."

A lawmaker relying on such a "domain expert" is not remotely going to have "good data" from which to make decisions. Garbage in, Garbage out.

Further, an "Elected Representative" has a limited amount of "influence time". They can either spend that paying attention to their constituants, or they can spend it paying attention to the lobbyists who are paid to suck up to them, and who often are bearing gifts and other, more subtle, enticements.

This undermines the basic premise of democratic representation. The voices of the individual citizens are drowned out amongst the clamor of a sea of yes-men and suckups bearing bribes and false "experts" pushing agendas. And with a nod and a wink and a round of golf, the "interests of the public" disappear never to be seen again.

No. It should be made a felony to pay someone to speak to an elected official on your behalf, or to receive money for such "service" on behalf of someone else. If a representative needs an "expert" on a subject, there are *plenty* of sources that can be tapped without the contamination of lobbyists.

Comment I can't rexactly say what parts from other OS's.. (Score 1) 484

... since I don't really know all that much about them. (Yes, my nerd-fu is weak.) I can, however, give some features and behavioral descriptions of what I'd like to see in a "FrankenOS".

"Userspace Stuff:"

1.,"It just works". Really good hardware detection and a set of generic drivers that will at least grant basic functionality for all essential hardware.

2. Robust documentation and error messages. When something breaks, I want to know what happened in real language, even if it's just an approximation, not some string of gobbledygook that I need a degree in CS to begin to parse. I also want clear documentation on what every part of the OS *is*, and does. Configuration options, running processes, services, threads.. the whole bit.

3. Windows level gaming capacity. Dx-whatever-the-latest-and-greatest-is.

4. A "no-bullsh*t" UI. I don't want any fancy-schmancy crap like transparent windows and animations, or retarded nonsense that tries to make my desktop look and act like a phone. No stupid behaviors like if I drag a window up to the top of the screen, it changes the size/orientation of the window.. none of that. Just let me set a picture as a background, and give me good configuration options so that other things could be added in as "plugins" if I should ever, for some godforsaken reason, decide I want them. Just make them easily unpluggable for when I come to my senses. Multiple desktops are reasonable.

"Under the Hood:"

1. Native multi-level sandboxing with encryption. "The issue isn't whether you're paranoid, but whether you're paranoid enough." Nothing that accesses the internet should get within 2 layers of the core OS. Options should exist to lie to the "internet layer" about every aspect of what the system is, does, is running, etc. from window size to OS version. Nothing accessible by a browser should remotely be able to see anything outside the box the browser is contianed in, inclduing memory spaces and the like. Ability to handle encrypting everything from file systems to memory to the bootloader. I don't care if it slows things down a bit. I want "paranoid about privacy" function.

2. Modularity by design. Components should be compartmentalized, and as independent as possible. I should be able to strip out, or not include, any element of an install that isn't explicitly necessary for the funtionality I require. Do one thing, and do it well, but that's it.

3. The ability to set hard memory limits on a per-application basis, and a really nice memory management system that polices those looking for crud and cleaning.

4. Comprehensive versioning management relative to the OS itself, and the ability to "roll back" updates that make a mess due to being broken. Similarly, an in-built VM that lets you test out any prospective updates in its own sandbox prior to them being allowed to go live.

5. The ability to "hard kill and purge" any app that is found to be misbehaving. As in "immediately brute force stop it from doing what it's trying to do, and completely flush the memory space." Preferably by some keystroke combination that doesn't involve needing to have some kind of task manager always running to execute.

6. A good, intuitive, logical/physical drive management system for all OS functionality and components. Specify what drives/segments are used for OS files, swaps, temporary files, sandboxes, etc.. each with versioning control, journalling, etc.

7. Specific update management sorting. Deliberate blocking of "schedulers" and "auto-update tools" and the like.. permissable only maybe in certain areas of sandbox nests. It's manual and requries explict user enaction, or it doesn't happen, period. Same with "helpers" or any other of these bullsh*t "always on in the background" programs that companies love to infest systems with these days.

"Ideological Stuff:"

1. "Free as in Freedom, not necessarily as in Beer. But beer is good too if it can be swung."

2. "F*ck DRM"

3. "F*ck advertising and tracking anything, and f*ck companies that support such evil."

4. "The system belongs to me, and it does what *I* tell it to, not what some asshat from some big company thinks i ought to want to do with it."

Yes, I realize that this will probably wind up being bloated, slow, and crufty... but I'd gladly pay for more powerful hardware to handle functionality like this.

Comment The Answer is "No". (Score 1) 135

No, US cannot.

Not because there are no ways to do it.. there are plenty. It's a pure corruption issue. There is no political will to do *anything* to reign in the abuses of the corporate oligarchy. None. Because 99% of people in politics are completely bought and paid for by the giant corporations that make up that oligarchy. It's pointless and stupid to even ask the question.

Our "political leadership" does as it is bidden by their corporate masters, and pay no attention to what is best for the population. For the simple reason that it is impossible to build a functional democratic political system on top of an authoritarian economic system. Economic power beats political power in any endgame.

When "regulators" and "Industry insiders" play the "revolving door jobs game", no, there's no legitimate oversight ever.. and we do ourselves a disservice by pretending that the system "works" in any way. It doesn't.

What we need to do is figure out how to fix *that*, not blather about nonsense that ignores the functional realities.

Comment Re:"It took significant resources" (Score 1) 265

There's also a *slight* slice of demographic that doesn't fit so neatly. For about 7 years, I was "that guy in the corner".. I was *waiting* for a serious Linux Gaming happening. I finally broke down and installed Win7 on a box just to be able to play a couple games I'd been waiting for *years* to see if they got a proper Linux port. I'm still waiting, really.. despite having a Windows gaming pc..

But besides being "That One Guy".. I know probably close to 100 people who have a console, but really don't want to *play* on consoles... ("PC Master Race" sort of thing).. but who also really really *hate* having to run MS products to get any kind of decent PC gaming experience.. They're like me, except I don't have a console, and don't want one either.

Their gaming is kind of.. grudgingly done. Now, I can't actually *prove* this.. but with the amount of b*tching I hear about both Microsoft and Consoles from them.. I'm fairly convinced that were they to find a honest to god "Linux Gaming Solution" that had the support of the AAA's..They'd not only switch to it, but *ALSO* increase their general expediture on games as a side effect.

So there may be at least some people who would increase their consumption simply due to being happier with the environment they consume in.. like someone ordering more at a restaurant because the decor or service is especially pleasant to them. I am one of those. Nothing would make me happier than to be able to say goodbye completely to MS again, and still be able to play awesome games. I can't do that on Linux yet. At least not the awesome games I want to play.

Now, if I could do that on Linux.. my last reservation about "going heavy gamer" goes away, and significantly more of my income would get routed that way because I'm not hesitant about getting f*cked by MS down the line.

Just a thought though.

Comment Re:Right to Privacy? huh? (Score 1) 79

Not explicitly dead.. just seriously endangered.

However.. I have a room with no windows in my basement.. and a lock upon the door. In that room, there is a comfy chair, and I can sit in that room, in perfect privacy, and read a book. It's quite nice.

Not exactly modern, perhaps.. but it is just as good a privacy as was available a century ago.

Privacy is perfectly findable "in this modern age" if one is willing to give up the trappings and BS of participating in our societal systems.

Comment Just be honest. (Score 1) 200

.. this whole issue isn't about "Net Neutrality" or any such abstract concept.

It's 100% about "Preventing Telecommunications Corporate F*ckery".

The average person has no idea what "Net Neutrality" really means, nor do they care. But untill you start calling it what it is.. "Keeping these abusive dickbags from wholesale raping the consumer, whoever that consumer happens to be", you will have hundreds of millions of people who will stand up behind that idea..

Because it's a very rare soul who *hasn't* been f*cked over by his telco, cable company, etc.. We *all* share that common, visceral experience or know someone personally who has.

Comment Re: So long as it is consential (Score 1) 363

No, we don't.

That's just what conservatives like to paint us as saying as a way to "demonize the enemy".

What some of us argue, at the very least, is that a largely autocratic economic system and a purportedly democratic political system are incompatible. If you have the former, and are attempting the latter, you will get the inevitable "government of oligarch ass-kissers" like we currently see in Washington DC. "For the people" becomes "Fuck the people".

The Progressives I know are not particular fans of "Big Government".. especailly governments as corrupt and incompentent and prone to abuses as ours.. They lobby for social justice, economic justice, educational opportunites, employment, political reform, environmental protections... You know.. the idea of the common people actually getting some kind of *value* for the taxes they pay government, and not just seeing it all get pissed into some billionaire's bank account.

Some of us view "Big Corporations" as "the enemy" because we see the massive abuses they facilitate, from poisoning the drinking water to empoverishment to political corruption. We see billions wasted giving tax breaks to insanely profitable mega-corporations because they have effectively *bought* Congress. We see massive and flagrant violations of law that destroy lives, cause economic hardship for millions, and essentially "skim off the top" of most transactions made anywhere in the world, and nothing get done to stop it.

A few, vocal, weak willed "progressive" puppets of the Corporate Oligarchs that run the Media Machine perhaps think "Big Government" is the answer... but no.. Most of us know we have to dig deeper to address our problems. Just like most Conservatives know there really *is* more to life than "Guns, Jesus, and Fuck those Immigrants!"

Comment How about.. (Score 1) 643

We just give up on this blatantly stupid notion of taking a small minority segment of the populace, setting them apart from that populace, arming them to the teeth, giving them vast discretionary powers and a state-sanctioned monopoly on violence, and brainwashing them to believe that they are the only force that prevents civilization from decaying into absolute anarchy and that those that aren't one of them are all potential threats and miscreants?

Because, you know.. look how well that's worked out so far....

When police are *members* of a community, engaged with the community, approachable by the community, and not *preying* on the community.. this sort of thing doesn't happen *nearly* as much. And that only happens when the police aren't militarized and conditioned to believe in the sanctity of that "thin blue line" above everything else..

Comment Never forget, never forgive. (Score 1) 203

Yeah, I'm sorry, but as a longtime D&D/AD&D player.. no. Just no.

Nothing WotC, ever. Hell, I'm still pissed about what Lorraine Williams did to Gary Gygax.. but the legendary TSR being sold to WotC.. the same asshats who almost completely *destroyed* the roleplaying community with that abomination Magic: The Gathering.. No, no, a thousand times no.

I still remember those dark days.. when my local gaming store went from having 2 *dozen* roleplaying games a week being played by joyous nerds with dice and miniatures in their back room... to having *2*.. which struggled for players and only the hardest of the die hards kept them alive..

I remember more and more shelf space being consumed by those damn cards, with less dice, less miniatures, less goodies, less rulebooks, and less actual *games*.. because they needed the space for *crates* of starter decks and booster packs...

I remember people losing their cars and apartments because they were spending all their money on those wretched cards... Because the payouts were so insane and they were addicted... I remember meeting a guy at GenCon in '94... who hitchiked there, with no money, no ticket.. but 6 Black Lotus cards.... and I remember him trading one for a ticket and a swank suite at a nice hotel right near the con.. while we sweated 6 to a room in some non-air-conditoned dorm that we'd scrimped and saved for.. I remember him leaving with nearly $1,500 in gaming stuff, $600 in his pocket, a first class plane ticket home, and he still had *3* of those blasted cards...

And then I remember seeing what WotC had done to my beloved D&D... the Legacy of TSR... and my heart was filled with black hate. I will never forget.. I will never forgive... and I sure as *hell* will never buy the "5th Edition".

Yes, I may have issues. No, I don't particularly care.

"Trust me. I know what I'm doing." -- Sledge Hammer