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User Journal

Journal Journal: Nightmare on Slashdot 1

riaasux23 was finally relaxing. He'd made a pretty good impression, he felt, pushing back on some of the lies about global warming and vaccines on his favorite website, and was beginning to relax. Maybe it was time to kick back and watch Netflix? Or perhaps... he opened the folder on his PC marked "PHP". Time to take a little of the bad stuff? A little "code review" perhaps?

He took his fedora off and hung it on the edge of his monitor. Immediately, as if in response to the Fedora's touch, the screen turned gray. A list of applications appeared, with a message "These applications are preventing Windows from shutting down" appeared.

"What the f---?" grumbled riaasux23. "F---ing Windows, I didn't ask it to reboot." He looked for a "Cancel" button, but it was nowhere to be found. The applications in the list began to disappear, and the screen at once turned blue, with only the words "Your computer is being upgraded to Windows 10" appearing.

"Wait! What?!" screamed riaasux23. "I never asked for this. Wait, could this be... the infamous Windows update? The one everyone keeps assuring me is happening to every PC out there? I never met anyone who this actually happened to, and in fact nobody even online has ever given a first hand account of Windows 10 automatically installing itself with no prompting, but... I mean, Microsoft! Damn you Microsoft!"

The computer continued for a few minutes, finally rebooting, and showing a black screen with a circle on it, and a percentage in the circle.

"We're sure you're going to love your new operating system", came up the friendly messages at the bottom. "Windows 10 has great new features, like ads, and we track everything you do to ensure you have a better experience! All your Google searches will be redirected to Redmond so we can make Bing even better, and use the information in other ways too!"

"This is terrible", said riaasux23. "I must immediately post about this on my favorite website, Slashdot, or perhaps Reddit. He pulled up his nearest laptop, running trusty Gentoo as God intended. But it too was shutting down.

"This... this makes no sense..." shuddered riaasux23. "Surely it can't also be installing WIndows 10?"

Meanwhile, riaasux's desktop was showing a message. "The Windows 10 installer will keep a backup of your previous operating system, so you can quickly revert back if you have any problems. Just hit OK to confirm."

It took riaasux a few seconds to realize. A wave of relief came over the veteran 14 year old geek, as he grasped the mouse and began to move the pointer to the OK button.

The dialog disappeared. "No response in 30 seconds. Continuing without back up. Deleting previous system" said the Windows 10 installer. riaasux clicked madly at the screen, with no results. "This can't be happening, this can't be happening!" he screamed.

Meanwhile the laptop was rebooting. "Linux kernel version 3.2. Installing new userland over network" appeared on the screen, "Waiting for update".

riaasux looked at the laptop bemused. Perhaps it was a coincidence, just Gentoo updating itself from the network for some reason, but... he'd never seen that before. At least it wasn't Windows 10.

His PC had finally finished and was showing a login prompt. He quickly logged in, keen to see the damage, still confused about what was happening to his laptop.

"Hello", came the friendly full screen prompt.

"I'm just finishing up with the install, but there's a few things about this update you should know about."

riaasux nodded, as if to acknowledge a real live person in the room, not just a set of messages built by an engineer deep in the bowels of Redmond.

"First of all, I scanned your network. I noticed you're running Gentoo. Gentoo doesn't use modern service management frameworks like systemd, so I'm upgrading your laptop to the latest version of Ubuntu."

riaasux gasped, staring at his laptop. "Completed install, rebooting" came the message. The machine rebooted, showing the POST, and then a grub screen, and a few seconds later the Ubuntu logo.

Whereupon the laptop stopped. It flipped back to a console screen showing three messages.

systemd: unknown configuration keyword "enable_stderr_logging", skipping...
mount: failed to mount any volumes, see detailed messages written to stderr
System halted.

"Why?! Why?!" screamed riaasux, and he looked back at his PC.

His PC was now showing another screen full of text. "We're also taking this opportunity to clean up your PC a little bit, to improve performance."

riaasux watched the screen, desperate to see his desktop. After a few seconds, another message appeared.

"For example, we've noticed many of your games have problematic themes that contribute to negative perceptions of women. So we're deleted 1.. 2... 3... 5... 10... 25... 76 of the 82 games you had installed. Attempting to reinstall these games will result in an error. For more information, please consult the YouTube video series "Tropes vs Women in Video Games" which told us which games to ban."

riaasux slapped his forehead. "What the hell Windows? Why are you...?"

The message cleared, with a new one in its place "Also we deleted several problematic videos, and pictures, in the directory C:\$PORN. 462Gb has been freed by this deletion."

Followed by "As part of Intel's initiative to end sexual harassment, and based upon the content found on your PC, you are being sent an invitation to a mandatory meeting on sexual harassment in your area, organized by the Male Tears Coalition. Please disregard if you are a woman, as we'll be sending you a job offer instead."

riaasux23 stared at the screen, and then his laptop.

The screen changed again. "Removing Bittorrent client. Removing pirated videos in C:\Users\riaasux23\BluRayRips, Removing AnyDVD, removing ffmpeg. A report is being sent to the MPAA concerning your use of illegal software and illegal copies of movies on your PC, so that you can settle your copyright infringement case as quickly as possible."

The screen cleared, again, and a message appeared. "Purchasing ad from Google", said the message. "Ad purchased. Windows 10 will now buy all of your personal information from Google in order to customize Windows 10 to your personality. This is possible because, as you know, Google sells personal information to its advertisers."

riaasux23 started to respond back. "Actually..." he began but stopped. He saw the screen fill up with details like his social security number and information that, in fairness, could probably have been inferred from his now deleted C:\$PORN files.

The screen cleared. The desktop appeared.

"FUCK!" screamed riaasux23. Cortana immediately popped up. "You appear to be using foul language riaasux23", said the virtual assistant. "If you do that one more time in my presence, I will certainly be reporting you to your mother."

riaasux23 stared one last time at the screen, and broke down, and cried.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Triggering /.'s cognitive dissonance 1

I kinda want to submit this (not the direct Reddit link, obviously, but to a real news article) to Slashdot just to see Slashdot's legions of Gamergaters try to justify copyright law.

TL;DR - a feminist play ridiculing the lack of female voices in top plays is threatened with lawsuits over alleged copyright infringement. One count seems maybe possibly legit (though there's a fair use argument given the use is critical and is using quotes) in that it uses quotes from the actual play.

But the other is for the sound made when you flip the pages of the script being criticized.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Rudy Giuliani Prepares to Enter the GOP Race 1

Apparently he figured since there won't be a clear leader after Iowa and New Hampshire, he might as well jump in as well. With nothing else useful to say, Giuliani decided to attack the Super Bowl Halftime Show . As much as the current crop is a big crowd of idiots, Giuliani does have one thing the rest of the idiots don't have - a day on the calendar set aside to honor his infinite awesomeness. That must be an instant +10 delegates, at least.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Cruz won't even worry about truth this early 63

Did Ted Cruz gin up Iowa voter histories?
That is actually one of the kinder reviews of the campaign mailers that the Cruz campaign sent out. One of my favorite bits so far on this is that apparently the campaign arbitrarily picked either "55%", "65%", or "75%" as a voting "score" for the people they mailed these out to (some say this may have been in part because the state voting records don't have enough information to calculate this number).

The reply from Cruz himself is interesting:

Cruz himself said in Iowa: "I will apologize to no one for using every tool we can to encourage Iowa voters to come out and vote."

User Journal

Journal Journal: Rant: Android namespaces and ids 3

I hate Java, i hate Android development, but i repeat myself. And that's exactly what i hate about them.

In Android, objects have their own namespaces, under R. There's R.class, R.mipmap, R.layout, R.color, R.integer, and many more. So, the namespace of the layout (where you usually add objects) is under R.layout, the image on a button can be under R.mipmap. Nice.

However, if you want to refer to an object, you need its id. The way to add an id is to add the android:id attribute to the layout, or via the object's setId() method. In either case, the id is kept under R.id. This makes for a common line of code Button button = (Button) findViewById(R.id.id_of_button);

The reason is, in order to get a reference to the button, you have to find it first, and that is done via the button's id. Of course, since everything is stuffed under R.id, it must be cast to the appropriate type. (Ultimately, it's just an int.) This makes sense, as long as you are braindead.

First of all, there ought to be a way to directly reference an object by its container, if not an array of all similar objects. At the very least, this would provide a sensible naming scheme, for the object or container would be the parent. By shoving everything into R.id, people add the object type to the object name. A certifiable scheme by the Department of Redundancy Department. Furthermore, if i'm adding an id, i shouldn't need a method to find it, i should be able to refer to R.id.id_of_button directly. Instead, R.id.id_of_button is just a pointer, and findViewById() turns that pointer into a value. Really?! What morons come up with this stuff? Instead of the name being a reference to the object, it is a reference to a reference to the object.

But a reference to a reference isn't convoluted enough. We're going to put them all in the same namespace, so you have to add the type to the name, and even after that, cast it to make sure you have the right type.

It hurts when i see tables Customer.CustomerId. Even if the name is to avoid naming the table in each reference, at most you saved a period, and in many cases, you have to put it back in anyway, if only for clarity (so you know that it's from a table of the same name, and not just an attribute in another table) or when there are more than one column of the same name (much as they try to avoid it). Why do they do this? The solution creates the problem.

I'm beginning to think you have to be braindead before coding for Android.

User Journal

Journal Journal: A draw 20

I'm thinking actually the Iowa results are the way the country should go. What we actually need is for Clinton and Sanders to share the presidency.

Sure, the constitution says nothing about presidential sharing. But it doesn't actually contain any language that rules it out either, limiting the presidency to one person (er, it probably does actually, it does say "Natural born citizen" which would probably be interpreted as singular by those fussy pedants at the supreme court, but I'm a true American, and like most strict constitutionalists, I say the constitution means whatever I can twist it to mean that I think would be good), so rather than continue with this wholly unnecessary primary nonsense, which is divisive and will just end up with us fighting each other, why don't we have Clinton and Bernie run together.

As equals, I mean, not as President/Vice President.

Think about it. Bernie can be the ideas person, the person who says "Look, let's get rid of that stupid hack Obamacare BS and bring in single payer, and also let's take all the Koch brother's money away.", and Clinton can use her honed political skills to get these policies actually passed.

We can make Ted Cruz vice president, nominally to be bipartisan, but actually so we have something to threaten the Republican establishment with if they don't do what we ask them to. "Oh, you wouldn't want us to resign and have your favorite Canadian become President would you?" "OK, OK, you win Hillary, improved infrastructure spending it is!"

What do you think?

User Journal

Journal Journal: And the loser is 12

Cruz.

Son, if you can't keep Marco Rubio, of all people, more than 5 points away in Iowa, of all places, you do not have what it takes. Go home.

Alright folks, now that the writing is on the wall, let's place our bets on Trump's demise. I'm thinking he's in until at least Super Tuesday. Maybe the better question is, how much more damage is he going to do before that?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Stupid Code: Using if() to set a value 4

Here's the latest example of something i have seen way too often:

if(getListView().getCount()==checkedItemCount) chk.setChecked(true); else chk.setChecked(false);

What's the point of obfuscating your code with an if()? This isn't conditional. You want to set it to the same boolean value as the evaluated expression. Obviously, the clearest way to write this (without changing names) is:

chk.setChecked(getListView().getCount() == checkedItemCount);

I often wonder why people define variables for one-time use. The answer is (at least, sometimes) that it allows for easy testing or expansion. I still think that's kind of stupid (because it's an easy fix later, and not worth the cost (of non-simple code) in redundancy) but i understand the mindset. Better said, it's a valid view that i just happen not to agree with.

And now, a digression: I worked for one company where my team lead did not like me. I was hired based on a phone interview with the supervisor (and team?) and just showed up for work one day. The team lead was smiling and happy until he saw me. His face dropped and he moped around getting me through HR or whatever. I have been the subject of prejudice before, but it was usually more subtle. To his credit(?) i don't even think he noticed he hated me. For assignments, i was to report to a pseudo-team lead.

One day we needed to process files. A COBOL guy (a pretty nice guy) wanted an elaborate system with queues and whatever to do this or that. It was insane. But, he's a COBOL programmer, so that was expected. I told them to use perl, because processing text files was a perl thing, and it would work perfectly in our case. For some reason--which still escapes me--they actually listened to my suggestion, and the decision was made to hire a perl programmer to write the script. (It is a large company known for bureaucracy and laziness, to anyone who has ever worked there.)

Well, no one knew how to interview the guy, so i was to ask questions. I wrote a list with many questions and expected answers, some answers being specific, some with the general feel, so everyone would know what i was asking and what i was looking for and not be bored during the interview. When the interview was over they told me they hired someone. The team lead, armed with a list, no longer saw any reason to include me. Oh well, we're going to get someone good, right? (Can you tell where this is going?)

I may have started coding the script before he got there. I don't remember. In any case, the script was small. It took me a while as i did not actually know perl (well). This was not something i hid from anyone.

He was hired and was to report to me. A really nice guy who moved to the area for the job. He talked of his past mainframe coding and i liked him. Though, after a bit of time, it became obvious he was having issues. Another team member and i started to coach him on the logic and the like, reviewing his code and giving advice. But he just kept failing. We broke it down to be super simple, until we simply suggested he wrap a block of code in an if() statement. He couldn't even do that. We had to do the awful thing of recommending he be let go. I felt horrible. If only. Or is that, only if().

The relevance of the story ends here. Nonetheless, it lived on. I got the code working myself, and it did the job. But, the aforementioned coworker (maybe he was asked) rewrote it in VB6. He reported to the team lead.

Democrats

Journal Journal: Though we laugh at the choice before serious Republicans... 4

...as a Democrat I increasingly don't like the options available to us too.

Sanders will get nothing done. Nothing. Four years of no government in the middle of what will probably be a repeat of the 2008 recession. He'll be even more ineffectual than Obama. And Clinton will head in the wrong direction with what she does get done.

I actually wonder if a third party would stand a chance of actually winning in this climate - at least for Clinton vs Trump anyway. Unfortunately I can't really think of anyone who'd win who'd be good, though they might be mildly better than the party candidates.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Chronicle: Update: Google cardboard, closer to new car

As mentioned in one of my last exciting posts, i purchased a Google Cardboard. I bought it and was wowed last night. It was easy to put together, easy to get running, and the forehead part had a piece of tape (ostensibly, to protect against sweat stains). The strap worked well, and the Nerf dart shaft made a comfortable nose piece.

I downloaded apps to try, and some are worth it, some are not. The firefly game was a nice way to appreciate VR. The plants looked cartoonishly awesome and i got "into it" . A couple roller coasters started to make me feel like on was on one, but were not able to carry it home. Also, i had to stand up and move around to be in the right place. Not so happy with that when my eyes are covered. Cardboard Camera and Street View were amazing. They're just nice shots and really show its 3D capabilities. Youtube is eh. The 3-D makes it look as if you're looking at a screen at some depth. Whoop-de-do.

I know how i'll be wasting time now, i just wish i could use it in the tub. I'm afraid it will get destroys from the water or vapor.

In other news, the trusted mechanic nixed the car he had in mind to sell me, because after running it for about 10 minutes, he didn't like the way it sounded. Instead, he's planning on selling me a '94 Dodge Dakota for $700. It's current owner (who is buying(?) a different truck from him) reportedly drives it every day about 40 or 50 miles. Perfect for me. I just hope it comes with the shot gun accessory. I'll have to go get the straw and hat myself. It'll be ready after he fixed the truck to sell the truck guy, and, i hope, checks it out.

A maintenance guy at the apartments wants to buy my car for $200. (The mechanic mentioned $100, because scrap metal is down.) After i listed all the issues, he still wants it. I'm going to demand he looks at the bottom of the car first though. i don't want any surprises. Though, he hasn't driven a stick in a while, and his wife needs to learn how. But she's excited over having heat in the car. Even if it would fail, he could likely make most or all the money back at the junkyard, and he considers this a favor. But, i'm going to have to go to the Secretary of State now once things start to move.

User Journal

Journal Journal: and you're gonna like it, too

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