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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: 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?

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: and you're gonna like it, too

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User Journal

Journal Journal: de-militarize the police 8

One good idea from the Dem debate tonight, from Bernie, was to de-militarize the police. I don't recall there being much in the way of specifics, beyond something about them not looking like an occupying force. But it got me thinking, thusly:

1) Make it illegal for the federal government to sell military gear to non-military entities, and make it illegal for civilian police forces purchase surplus military gear. (Whatever private individuals are allowed to buy would be unaltered.)

2) Remove SWAT teams from police forces and transfer them to each state's National Guard. Police would request SWAT assistance from them, with the idea that deployments would require more justification.

3) Remove military gear from non-military federal government agencies such as the DEA, ATF, and whichever others have them. I would include in this the overstocking of bullets; massive stockpiling of ammunition is quasi-military to me.

In short, no military-style operations on US soil. I don't care if it's under the guise of the WOT or the War on Drugs or any other war. All law enforcement business should be conducted as civilians dealing with (fellow) civilians.

An explicit, strict "Separation of Military and Police" doctrine. A separation between the two needs to become one of our national values. Maybe such a consciousness would change mindsets in police forces and cut down on brutality and lethality.

p.s. I think it was in a George Will column around Christmas where it was said that more monetary value was stolen by law enforcement in the country in 2015 than by criminals. So asset forfeiture laws are also obviously corrupting influences on police/policing forces and deserve to be looked at.

p.p.s. From the I-Told-You-So Dept.: "The Democratic [sic] Party in the United States worked since Harry Truman to get the Affordable Care Act passed. We finally have a path to universal healthcare." -- Hillary Clinton tonight

p.p.p.s. Currently playing in my head these days: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOrXKiSy8ZY

User Journal

Journal Journal: Liberal Media update 16

Sadly, still not all that liberal:

Donald Trump is by far the most newsworthy storyline of Campaign 2016, alone accounting for almost a third of all coverage (327 mins or 32%), more than the entire Democratic contest combined.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Let the whinging commence 54

"13 Hours"--the movie and the politics

It is also an attempt to tell a true story--that of the Benghazi attacks and the valiant and successful efforts by the contractors to save the lives of Americans under attack. [Director] Bay relied on the accounts of several of the contractors as presented in their book. These contractors also worked as consultants and the film. As such, from what I understand, they insisted on a faithful recreation of the core events, as they saw them.

I've got a feeling that, while the movie focuses on the narrow, local "what" and omits all the pesky "why" questions, it's going to pull enough other voices back into the public discussion to make things highly uncomfortable for Her Majesty.
Will Her Majesty's health suddenly get fragile? Will she decide to spend more quality time with the grandkid? Real hard tellin'.

Ubuntu

Journal Journal: My hard drive crashed and I'm kinda happy about it 9

I'm not happy about the data I lost, though it could have been a lot worse. The file system is mostly accessible and more files than I first thought are recoverable. I'm also fairly sure the really important stuff is in multiple places.

But... I ordered a replacement, which was an SSD. I had the choice between a HD of approximately the same size as the one I was replacing, or an SSD of 2/3 of the size for the same price. Given the likely cause of the crash was that my laptop had been pulled onto the floor a few times by my toddler, and probably not helped by it bouncing on my lap over the last four years, SSD seemed like a good idea.

And it was. My machine is completely silent, and feels a lot faster. Which makes me happy.

So then, because Ubuntu hasn't been entirely going in the right direction lately, I did some experimenting with alternatives. Fedora was... unstable enough during installation and set up for me to feel it probably wasn't the way to go. So then I tried Mint. Have you tried Mint? Mint is Ubuntu. No, really, it is, the repositories are the same with one addition. But that one addition? That's a bunch of packages designed to fix Ubuntu.

With Fedora I tried GNOME Shell (not really my thing), GNOME Classic (God awful, what the hell is wrong with these people?), and Cinnamon (what GNOME Classic should have been - wonderful.)

And so I installed Mint with Cinnamon. And it installed without any problems, and made it easy to set up the proprietary drivers for my laptop, and "just works" because it's really Ubuntu in disguise, and it all works. Which makes me happy.

But I missed having Mac style menus at the top. And found there was a plug-in/applet/whatever for Cinnamon that does just that. And it turned out all you had to do to install it was download a zip'd snapshot from Github, and unzip it to a directory inside .config, and install some Ubuntu packages, and then enable it and reboot.

And it worked. Which makes me happy.

And finally I reinstalled Steam. And checked which games I had were capable of being installed under GNU/Linux without Wine. And Saints Row IV was one of them. Which makes me happy.

So, I could get upset about the missing data. But I'm hopeful I haven't lost anything important that isn't backed up somewhere else. And obviously I'd have rather not paid money for a new drive and a USB SATA adapter.

But somehow I seem to have ended up with a much nicer computer at the end of it. Sometimes the Universe balances itself out.

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