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Comment Only MS (Score 5, Insightful) 249

"What we heard back most explicitly was that you want more control over when Windows 10 installs updates," admits John Cable, Microsoft's Windows director of program management. "We also heard that unexpected reboots are disruptive if they happen at the wrong time."

Only Microsoft would think that people don't want control of updates, or that unexpected reboots aren't disruptive.

I've been in IT 39 years. Only an idiot doesn't know those two things.

Comment Re:Hello from the NSA (Score 1) 251

I'm fascinated by the concept of a "morale slump" after someone revealed to the world how evil the NSA is.

I've seen the cages in Facebook and Microsoft's Des Moines data centers with my own eyes. They capture any and all data -- inbound and outbound -- and (I assume) sends it to Utah for permanent storage.

Tell me this isn't utterly evil.

The NSA is evil. Its employees are not doing important work: they are evil.

The NSA should be immediately disbanded. The Oak Ridge facility apparently working on cracking PGP should be destroyed with bunker-busters and reduced to sand and ash.

The Utah data center is an entirely different matter. When you have enough estimated storage for all the pertinent information on every human being on the planet, you've descended into near-dictatorial waters.

The Utah facility needs an end that sends a message to all of humanity for all time:

Nuke it.

Then pass a Constitutional Amendment to re-nuke it every July 4 of the nation's Centennial. There needs to be a permanent, radioactive hell as a warning to all future generations everywhere that a free society never, ever builds anything that horrifically evil,

Then start rounding up any and all NSA employees who can be proved to have spied on Americans and try them for treason.

The NSA is pure, unadulterated evil. Those who work there may have convinced themselves they're patriots, but they're not. The patriotic thing would be to quit in disgust.

The NSA is evil. And you'll not that despite the fact that I know this thread is being captured; and that it can be tied to my real name if you try hard; and that I'm replying to someone who has deluded themselves about the NSA; that there is every possibility this post will be reported to or flagged by the NSA.

I don't care. The NSA is evil and the people who work there are the worst sort of scum. The sooner the NSA and its various appariti are forever destroyed, the better.

Comment Good (Score 1) 251

Those of us in IT know firsthand just precisely how evil the NSA has become.

All the NSA cages in various data centers, anyone? Enough estimated storage in Utah to store all the information of note on every single human being on the planet , anyone?

The NSA, CIA, FBI, and anything else filled with those who spy on Americans should be immediately and permanently disbanded; and any employees barred from any form of Government work, nor working for any company with Government contracts. Also, round up anyone you can prove spied on Americans and try them for treason.

Finally, the NSA Utah data center should be evacuated and then nuked. A Constitutional Amendment should then be ratified that specifies the site should be nuked every 100 years at the nation's Centennials -- as a radioactive warning to all future generations of what a free society never builds.

Comment Re:What's the difference? (Score 3, Insightful) 259

I can explain why it puts them at risk.

Over the last half-century of my life, the United States has become a police state. Our local police officers routinely over-step their authority (to put it mildly). This should hardly be news to anyone with a pair of eyes. If you know how to find the thousands of police abuse videos on YouTube, three can be no denying it.

We live in a police state. Consequently, there has been a very rational backlash against police in the last few years. You can see this in particular with the "Black Lives Matter" movement (though their choice of poster children leaves something to be desired, most of the time).

In any case, you can think of it this way:

When I was a young man, if you were getting hassled by the cops, there was some good chance you'd been involved in at least a misdemeanor if not a felony. Today, if you're getting hassled by the cops, it's probably over the city's taxation program.

What cities, counties, and States have done is to turn the cops into tax collectors.

This was not always the case.

When I was a young man, a cop was unlikely to cite you for a traffic violation unless they observed you driving recklessly. The fines for minor speeding, failure to signal, etc, were all very small. I was involved in a three-car accident that was my fault. I was cited for failure to yield right-of-way and had to pay some small amount (the real punishment came in the form of increased insurance premiums).

Today's fines for minor traffic violations now run into the hundreds of dollars, even for the least offense. This is simply taxation by another name.

And the police -- with their citation quotas -- are the tax collectors.

Tell me, do you not cringe if you see a flashing light in the rear-view? Do you not immediately look around, hoping you didn't do anything minor -- because the fine would be exorbitant beyond any reason?

It wasn't always like this. I know it's hard to believe, but before cops became tax collectors, people actually trusted them.

As tax collectors, they are a bane on our existence. This coupled with abuses that are now being captured by anyone with an HD video recorder in their pocket has revealed a truly disgusting side of the police. They're not just a bane on our existence, in some cases, they are actively our enemy,

So bringing all this back:

People hate cops, at least as much as they would hate any tax-collector. Sometimes more.

Disguising your cop car as a private business' car risks detection -- as in this case.

When detected, the natural assumption is that this is neither the first nor last time such deception has been undertaken.

From this point forward, it is perfectly rational to suspect a Google Street View car is, in fact, a police car.

The occupants of that then receive the same hatred as police officers.

This puts the Google Street View car occupants in danger.

If they don't stop tax-collecting, one of these days there will be a significant backlash against police. As tax-collectors, they deserve it,

There's no reason to get some poor Google Street View driver tarred, feathered, and run out of town (the traditional method of dealing with tax-collectors).

Comment Re:A Black Hole (Score 1) 246

I've never worked for a company in which either Marketing or Sales (or an unholy alliance of both) didn't run everything.

I've worked for a large insurance company, for a company that makes over half the Girl Scout cookies in the world, and a host of others that ultimately went under -- usually while I was there. My resume reads as a list of failed or bought-out companies.

In every case, the blame for going under can be laid directly at the feet of those who run the business: Marketing and/or Sales.

None of them understand what we do. We're simply numbers in a ledger.

Somebody needs to generally wrest control from Marketing and Sales in every company now extent. To do otherwise is to court disaster. It won't help those of us that management cannot understand, but it will at least keep the business open.

Comment A Black Hole (Score 2) 246

Here's the basic problem:

For most corporate management, IT -- particularly infrastructure -- is simply a black hole of cash. They don't understand what we do, they don't understand the value we bring to the company, and they don't know why they're paying us. It's just money going somewhere, and they don't understand where.

There's no way to make them understand. They lack even the basic computer skills necessary to do anything beyond everyday work on a PC. They have not spent years or decades in the field, and you can't expect them to understand anything without that experience.

We're a black hole. We can be jettisoned any time a corporate bean-counter wants to save some money. I've been in the industry for over 30 years, man and boy, and it's always the same story: we're a black hole.

So we're expendable when crunch time comes. After all, what the hell are we being paid for, anyway?

I haven't worked for a company -- ever -- that displayed the same loyalty to me as I did to them. I no longer have the energy to be loyal when I know for a certain fact that I'll be canned the moment someone wants to cut expenses.

Want me to learn new skills? Fine, I'm happy to. Been doing it for over 30 years.

No company I've worked for paid for learning new skills. It was just do the work -- and then shoved out the door when crunch time came.

I don't know where this article originates, but it's nonsense. Employers don't train IT people. They don't even know why it's necessary.

We're an expendable black hole. Period.

Comment Re:In A World ... (Score 1) 503

Oddly enough, that reminds me of my college days ...

Ripple flashback.

Subtitle: Lincoln, Nebraska: 1984

My best friend was an EE major. Every Sunday, he, two other buddies, and I would get together to play cards and smoke really cheap cigars.

Both of the other two friends were nuts. They lived across the alley from the local Salvation Army, where they'd go dumpster-diving.

That's right: they would go looking for crap that not even the Salvation Army could re-sell.

Well, one day they found a pair of huge concert speakers that were inoperable save for the very large magnets in them. The one crazy guy placed one magnet at the head of his bed and the other at the foot. He believed this would "align the minerals in his body."

He also found an old ruined lamp. He cut the electrical cord from it, stripped the ends of the wires, and would occasionally plug it into the wall outlet and grab the exposed ends. He'd hang on as long as he could because he thought he could "align the vitamins in his body" via 120V alternating current.

We called it "home electroshock therapy."

Then there was the other guy, the first one's roommate. He thought he controlled the weather and streetlights with his mind.

Well, one night there was a tornado. The first friend, the EE major, happened to be on his bike when it hit and had to dive for the nearest ditch. He emerged unscathed, but he was really rattled for a week after. I think it was one of those moments we all have when we realize we're not immortal after all.

So the crazy dude who thought he controlled the weather was going on about how he'd created the storm and its accompanying tornado. He was all excited about it, going on about how he was standing in his front yard making all this stuff happen.

The EE major finally said:

"Tim, you've got to stop playing God like that! I was almost killed!"

The crazy friend was taken aback, then apologized profusely. We never attempted to correct him because we were too busy laughing our asses off behind his back.

I hear that he found religion later in life, and considers his previous use of his "gifts" as Satanic. He consequently does not attempt to control streetlights not the weather any more.

I guess if you're crazy ... hey, whatever works. :)

Comment Re:In A World ... (Score 1) 503

As the OP mentions, there is absolutely no medical evidence that electronic devices are in any way harmful.

Anyone "suffering" from this "syndrome" is nothing but a hypochondriac with no scientific knowledge whatsoever.

If they had any scientific knowledge, they'd know that just radiation from natural sources (such as the Sun or the Earth's magnetic field) floods them with more EM in an hour than humans could generate in a lifetime.

Well, unless you had access to, say, an unshielded particle accelerator ...

Comment In A World ... (Score 1) 503

... where people think common, everyday contrails are the government spraying all of North America with chemicals, why should anyone be surprised when someone believes more BS?

The truly tragic part is that whatever this girl had, it wouldn't have been treated had you put her inside a Faraday Cage.

You know, maybe I should develop a portable Faraday Cage. It would need to be collapsible and a little larger than a person sitting when deployed. Then, when deployed, it would cover a person sitting in their seat, with special arm holes.

I could make a mint off the tinfoil hat types.

Comment Re:In My Case ... (Score 1) 400

Y'all don't understand how anxiety disorders work:

When we go off our meds, it doesn't turn us into murderous psychopaths. It makes us curl up into a ball and try not to scream for days at a time.

When I said, "go to pieces so fast people would be killed by the shrapnel," I was quoting Ford Prefect. He was talking about Zaphod Beeblebrox in The Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy

Jeez, you people need some geek cred.

Comment In My Case ... (Score 5, Interesting) 400

In my particular case, I first learned I was on a terrorist watch list in 2004, when I renewed my drivers' license.

The lady at DMV informed me of it, and said there would be an additional three-week wait for my license while they did a background check on me.

Ever since, every time I've flown, I've been pulled aside for additional searches and questioning,

The fun part is that there's no way to get off the list. I've now have three Congressman and a Senator from two different States tell me this.

The really infuriating part is that I suffer from an anxiety disorder. The only danger to those around me is if I go off my meds and then fly to pieces so fast people get hit by the shrapnel.

Comment Why Would Advanced Civilizations Emit Anything? (Score 1) 365

I consider any of these types of studies to have faulty logic.

Humans have only been creating electromagnetic signals for about a century. None of them make it to Alpha Centauri, four light-years away. There isn't a radio transmitter with the power.

Furthermore, as we enter an age in which we live largely in virtual worlds of our own design, strong radio emissions (radio, TV) are decreasing. Sure, there's plenty of wifi, but we all know that signal won't make it more than a couple of blocks, let alone four light-years.

Perhaps it's that I'm in the field, but it seems to me that we're ultimately headed for a world in which human consciousnesses are housed in something we would not today recognize as a machine.

If other civilizations followed our same path (i.e. trapped by the speed of light within our own solar system), then their radio emissions would never be detected. They'd also be fairly short-lived -- a couple of centuries at best.

Once you're a "download" (for lack of a better word) and living your life entirely in virtual worlds that only interface with the real world for power and maintenance, why would you broadcast anything?

In short: these types of approaches assume that civilizations emit greater energy and detectable emissions the older the civilization is. I suspect the reverse is true: the older the civilization, the less it emits.

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