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United States

Journal Journal: Clinton vs Trump 2

I really, really, really, can't decide who will win and whether it'll be a massive victory or a marginal one. I hear my lefty friends absolutely convinced Clinton will get it in a landslide, but, eh...

- Clinton's not popular, even with Democrats
- Republicans virtually always rally around their leader. So the "Even Republicans hate Trump" thing is pretty overblown.
- Everyone knows Clinton and has already made up their minds on her. Trump? Still opportunities, especially now he's not being primaried any more, to shape his public perception.
- They're close, even now.

Me? If Trump stands a chance of winning AND he stands a chance of winning Florida AND Republicans rally around him and indicate they'll work with him, I'll vote for Clinton, otherwise Jill Stein probably.

Republicans

Journal Journal: Republicans plan to run against Trump if nominated 4

Read:

While still hopeful that Mr. Rubio might prevail, Mr. McConnell has begun preparing senators for the prospect of a Trump nomination, assuring them that, if it threatened to harm them in the general election, they could run negative ads about Mr. Trump to create space between him and Republican senators seeking re-election. Mr. McConnell has raised the possibility of treating Mr. Trumpâ(TM)s loss as a given and describing a Republican Senate to voters as a necessary check on a President Hillary Clinton, according to senators at the lunches.

He has reminded colleagues of his own 1996 re-election campaign, when he won comfortably amid President Bill Clintonâ(TM)s easy re-election. Of Mr. Trump, Mr. McConnell has said, âoeWeâ(TM)ll drop him like a hot rock,â according to his colleagues.

That's... pretty interesting. Of course, what they're saying now, and what they'd say if Trump actually prevails, are two different things.

Democrats

Journal Journal: Third parties 15

Curious to know if there'll be any serious third party candidates in this (2016 US Presidential) election. I know Bloomberg is talking about it, but I'm not seeing him as a likely improvement over, say, Hillary. He's certainly not protest-vote worthy.

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?

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.

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.

User Journal

Journal Journal: RIP Ian Murdock

And what the hell has happened to Slashdot? It seems the jerk quotient at Slashdot hit near infinity when Gamergate happened.

User Journal

Journal Journal: PMs go here 1

/. has no PM system, so post public messages to me here

First Person Shooters (Games)

Journal Journal: Changing the culture 3

Partially a response to Captain Splendid's comment in my last journal entry, but it raised wider issues so posted and expanded upon here instead:

Gun culture is a cultural thing, not a legal thing. I don't think modifying the 2nd Amendment would do much other than piss a large section of society off (and as I've said elsewhere, there are moral issues with criminalizing people obeying a basic human instinct.) It might impact the culture, but, as with the War on Drugs, the impact may well be a net negative.

It's also far from clear that gun culture per-se is responsible for mass shootings. But assuming it is, it seems to me that changing the culture wouldn't involve reducing access, so much as changing the way people access guns. The Swiss don't seem to have a problem with gun culture, yet weapons characterized by American politicians as "assault weapons" are not merely commonly privately owned, but the government actively encourages ownership of a specific semi-automatic rifle. The difference is the circumstances in which you get them (which unfortunately includes mandatory military service for all adult males - which won't fly here) and careful control over access to ammunition.

Does the Swiss attitude change the culture though? Probably not. It might make it harder to use the supplied rifle for mass shootings, but as I've explained before, long heavy bulky difficult-to-conceal rifles aren't optimal for that anyway and aren't usually the primary weapon in mass shootings. I would suggest that the Swiss framework for gun ownership is actually a reflection of its culture, not vice versa.

So what is the solution? I'm buggered if I know. One idiot thinks that view combined with opposing the return of AWB is the same as being opposed to fixing the problem, which is kinda like a non-doctor being told they're against someone being treated for cancer because they oppose trepanning being the treatment, but I'd hope my audience in general is smarter than that.

A repeal of the 2nd Amendment, and a blanket ban on all guns with magazines carrying more than, say, three bullets, is a potential solution to mass shootings, as it would make them close to impossible (though let's be clear, they'd still happen very occasionally), but the chances of that happening are zero, and there would be other negative effects caused by an attempt to implement such a law in the US. I'd not be in favor of this. And again, there's the whole culture thing.

At best I can say things like "If we did this practical and reasonable thing, it might not reduce the number of mass shootings, but it might reduce the numbers of deaths in them": for example, discouraging handgun ownership (and encouraging rifles being used in their stead) would probably reduce the overall death count, but it wouldn't reduce the number of mass shootings, it wouldn't attack their causes or prevent them from happening.

Not ideal is it? That's why we need to focus on culture - not gun culture as such, but on the general culture - in particular the attitude that says you can resolve problems with the deaths of others. Want to stop mass shootings? You know I suspect abolishing the death penalty, and having our community, cultural, and political leaders actually start treating war as an abomination rather than a thing we should do to show those pesky Hitlers-of-the-day how "strong" we are, would probably achieve much more.

GNU is Not Unix

Journal Journal: California and gun restrictions 22

Trying to think of a fairer, more accurate, description than "gun control" and I think "gun restrictions" is probably a better term, but... whatever...

I've harangued certain right wing politicians for crapping their pants in the face of terrorism. Now it's time to do the same to my fellow leftish liberal commie pinkos (or whatever it is we are these days.)

California already has an AWB. The gun attack yesterday very obviously wasn't thwarted by it in any way. The AWB is pretty stupid anyway, it aims for a class of guns that - yesterday excepted - is not generally the primary weapon used in mass shootings (or murders in general.) All AWB laws achieve is to make gun enthusiasts upset. You may consider that a bonus, in much the same way that much of the right seems to adopt policies half the time purely to piss off liberals, but it's not mature, adult, or solving a problem.

In any case, the point I want to make is this: I'm not scared of guns, I don't consider every gun attack a reason to support laws restricting the liberties of peaceful law abiding citizens even if most of the people affected are people whose politics I can't stand. The AWB is stupid, poorly aimed, has no logic whatsoever behind it, and needs to be removed from the vocabulary of those advocating gun restrictions - and definitely removed from polite left wing society.

Me? I'm not even in favor of more gun restrictions right now. If that were ever a good idea, the barn door was opened far too long ago anyway. But telling someone they can't defend themselves because a murderer did something terrible with the same weapon is not OK.

But that's because I don't crap my pants every time something bad happens. Want to draw a line between Trump and Obama or Trump and Clinton? Whether it's sending a terrorist state their victims, or undermining the fundamental right of self defense and criminalizing otherwise law abiding citizens, the common elements are fear over reason, and fear over a respect for basic human rights.

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