Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Windows 10 and Other Stuff

We are now officially a Windows 10 household. My PC was force-upgraded several weeks ago after I told Microsoft emphatically that my system was NOT to be upgraded. But Microsoft upgraded it anyway. I could have rolled back, but as I had planned on upgrading while it was still free to do so, I let this violation of my personal property stand. I mean, life in these united States is nothing but an endless grab-your-ankles-and-stick-your-ass-in-the-air operation anyway, so what's one more insult?

The change was mostly painless. Windows 10 is ugly as sin as everything was made big and square to accommodate the twelve remaining Windows Phone users. The start menu now has some insipid Life at a Glance thing that currently tells me that it's Tuesday the 19th, and that some Twitter twit going by the handle "Lesdoggg" feels like he is in a personal hell. There are several blank blue squares implying that I'm missing out on Something Very Important.  Oh, and SHOPPING!!! I'm sure there is some way to make all that go away, but frankly I don't often use the start menu much now that I can pin important programs to the task bar. (And if they are not important, then why are they on my system in the first place?) So over all, no worse than some Microsoft "upgrades" and much less painful than many in the past.

That left us with one Win10 PC (mine) and one Win7 PC (Debbie's work PC). We had already told her work they needed to get their crap together and upgrade the office prior to July 29 unless they planned on paying the $100 to upgrade after that. Debbie has been periodically bugging them for months while the owners of the company have been pointedly ignoring her. Then a couple weeks ago, one of them finally admitted that a PC in the office had been force upgraded around the same time my PC was, and the world didn't end. Last weekend, we made the plunge and finally gave Microsoft permission to do its worst. At first, I thought that there was a roll-back in our future. Debbie has two screens on her PC, with the second one running off an external display adapter that plugs into a USB port. Windows 10 didn't know what to do with it. It was in the Device Manager. The driver was installed, up-to-date and running properly, but Windows insisted there was only one monitor on the system. Disabled and enabled the driver. No joy. Uninstalled and reinstalled the driver. Nada. Started poking around in Google and came across a discussion board thread that mentioned a cleaner tool from the display adapter manufacturer. Downloaded and ran that, then rebooted. Windows found and installed the driver automatically during boot-up and all was well. The driver was identical, across all four dots of the version number, to the one that Windows was running after the upgrade, which was identical, across all four dots of the version number, to the one that I had downloaded and installed.

Three decades later, the first rule of Windows still applies: When in doubt, reboot. Sheesh.

Everything seemed to work other than the VPN connection to the company office, but we already knew that would need to be tweaked to get it working 100%. It's now near the end of Day 2 and all seems well other than a few UI issues like audible notifications for Office 365. We'll get those ironed out over the next couple days while I'm off work.

Next up is upgrading the PC's in the lodge office. I'll probably tackle those over the weekend while I'm the only one in the office. My PC is non-critical, so that one will go first. The two PC's are identical hardware (or as identical as any purchased PC is these days), so if all goes well with the one on my desk, I'll take a crack at the Administrator PC. That one has several mission-critical apps running on it, so it'll be squeaky-tight-sphincter time while I'm running the upgrade. But I've been assured by the best tech minds in Moose International that there won't be a problem. Heh.

Speaking of sticking your ass in the air, I wonder if the blacks currently agitating for (or actively participating in) a race war understand just how out-numbered and out-gunned blacks are in the US? I see a couple possible outcomes if this continues. One, black urban areas are simply abandoned leaving the black populous to fend for themselves without cops, firefighters, utilities, etc. This has largely happened already in Detroit. If cops and whites shooting blacks is a problem, not having cops or whites in majority black areas will solve that problem quite nicely. Sure, there may be other problems as a result, but if there ain't no cops or whites, then blacks will no longer be shot by cops or whites, assuming blacks stay where they belong. This is the optimistic outcome.

The second, more pessimistic, outcome is some line is crossed and whites begin the systematic extermination of young, urban black males. Anyone who thinks I'm nuts for considering such a thing as a possibility really needs to read some history. No need to go digging too far in the past. In just the last 150 years, we have Armenia, the Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur... well, you get the idea. Those responsible for killing people in any of those places, and the dozens I didn't list, are just like you and me. They are not some sub-human species. They are not necessarily brain damaged or mentally ill. They are just like the hundreds of people you walk by every day and don't give a second thought about. John Shanahan was right: civilization is a thin veneer over barbarianism. And the veneer is looking a bit worn lately.

I'm sure this will come as a shock to those who make a habit of reading this site, but I generally assume the worst. I'm told that makes me "sick" and I really need to think differently, but the rare occasions when I have gone into a situation assuming the best of all possible worlds have, without exception, ended in bitter disappointment. I'd much rather go through life being pleasantly surprised that everything doesn't suck as hard as I assumed it would. The only downside to my worldview is when the universe manages to suck even harder than my most pessimistic expectations:

So oil prices have surged from their low earlier this year, though they bounced off the apparent ceiling of just over $50 a barrel. Natural gas prices too have surged. Yet, four more E&P companies with $1.5 billion in combined debt filed for bankruptcy in June, according to Haynes and Boone’s Oil Patch Bankruptcy Monitor:


  • Warren Resources ($486 million in total debt, including $180 million unsecured)
  • Tauren Exploration ($23 million in debt)
  • Maxus Energy ($295 million in debt, all unsecured)
  • Triangle USA Petroleum ($692 million in total debt, including $382 million unsecured)


This brought E&P bankruptcies tracked by Haynes and Boone in the US and Canada to 43 filings in the first half of 2016, involving $40 billion in debt – of which $30 billion is unsecured.

I expected the fracking bubble to keep leaking air in 2016. I didn't expect this. In one month, $30 billion just poofed out of existence. I wonder how much of that was in retirees pension funds and 401K's? On a personal level, we received yet-another letter from some energy company we've never heard of who now owns the gas wells we get a small chunk of income from. This makes the fourth company since we left Michigan. And if there has been a "surge" in natural gas prices, we certainly haven't seen any of it. Our payments have gotten so small, we don't even bother entering them into the checkbook until it's time to do a bank reconciliation.

Almost time for us to head up to the lodge for some Special Doin's, so I'll stop.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Just Us Strikes Again

The top story today is that Hillary is not guilty of anything. Never mind that FBI director James Comey detailed how the Lizard Queen violated at least six different laws. Comey simply invented a rule that says if you don't intend to do injury, you are not guilty of anything. Then our illustrious Department of Just Us stroked its collective chin, thought for moment, then vigorously nodded its head in agreement. "Yeah! OK. That's it! What he said!"

So if I decide that I will no longer stop for red lights and cause all sorts of mayhem and death while doing so, it's OK as long as the government cannot prove that I intended to kill and injure people. Oh. Wait. I'm being silly. Of course some unimportant peon like myself couldn't get away with that. Only The Anointed Ones like Hill and Bill can get away with using an unsecured computer system to store and communicate classified information, as long as no one can prove that there was the intention of harm.

In any case, it is now official government policy that Important People need not be bothered with obeying the law, while the rest of us can be prosecuted at any time for simply getting on with our lives. I'm not sure these shit-dicks understand the consequences of their actions:

The idea of the rule of law today is a lie. There is no law. There is no justice. There are only lies.

Hillary Clinton is manifestly guilty of multiple felonies. Her fans deny it half-heartedly, but mostly out of habit – in the end, it’s fine with them if she’s a felon. They don’t care. It’s just some law. What’s the big deal? It doesn’t matter that anyone else would be in jail right now for doing a fraction of what she did. But the law is not important. Justice is not important.

...

They don’t realize that by rejecting the rule of law, they have set us free. We are independent. We owe them nothing - not respect, not loyalty, not obedience.

And it isn't just crazed tin-foil-hat right-wing gun nuts who are drawing the obvious conclusion. Those just about as far out as you can get on the left agree:

All of these decisions point to a flawed and corrupt system that permits transgressions at the highest level of government, while the government pursues those at a lower level.  President Barack Obama’s legacy will include the fact that he irresponsibly used the Espionage Act of 1917 more often than all previous presidents over the past 100 years, and contributed to the demise of the Office of the Inspector General throughout the government, particularly at the CIA.  One of the key causes of the current hostility and cynicism toward politicians and the process of politics is the double standard at the highest levels of government.

This is serious. Ordinary people are getting pissed. Right now, the results have been mostly peaceful; harsh words, street protests, the Leave vote, Donald Trump. But how much longer will that last? It's not like crowd violence is unknown in the US.

Or maybe the answer is to encourage politicians to take dangerous selfies:

This is a list of serious injuries and deaths in which the victim or a member of their group (for group selfies) took a selfie or prepared for doing so, and their death or major injury was at least in part attributed to this activity.[1] The Telegraph wrote that, in 2015, more people were killed taking selfies than by shark attacks.[2] Other publications have debated that analysis.[3][4][5]

Thanks to technology, narcissism is now a fatal mental illness rather than simply an annoying one. Maybe someone should start a gofundme page for Bill and Hill to take a trip to someplace with tall cliffs. Or trains.

I bumped into the this little gem over at Dmitry Orlov's blog:


The artist is Gregori Maiofis. There are several images he has created I wouldn't mind having on my wall. Definitely Russian.

I should be outside taking advantage of the burning hot sun and 90 degree temps to get some work done in the yard. Or I can just stay in the air conditioning and take a nap. Probably that second thing....

[Update: About two seconds after I hit publish, it started pouring down rain. Aw shucks; I really wanted to work outside.]

Monday, June 27, 2016

Hot and Dry...ish

Although I would never classify anything Florida dishes up weather-wise as "dry" after spending several years in Arizona, it has been drier than normal for the last week or so. We had a bunch of rain a while back, everything sprouted, blossomed, etc.; now it's all dying off. The temps have been consistently in the 90's and lots of bright sun to really bake everything nicely. I'm managing to keep most of our plants alive, but that's about it. The 10-day forecast shows all sorts of rain coming our way, but it always seems to... er... evaporate before it actually gets here. It looks like I'll be getting another unexpected day off tomorrow, so giving everything a good soak is high on the list of things to get done.

OK, so much for the central Florida weather report. There have been a few things that have happened lately that I should probably comment on.

Orlando Shooting

One of the things that you learn very quickly if you spend any time studying human "intelligence" is that we suck at rational thinking, but we are top-notch rationalizers. Omar Mateen wanted to off some queers (probably due to self-loathing), and found an excuse to do so. The excuse was Mohammedanism, naturally enough given the legalized murder of gays practiced in many Muslim nations, including those considered allies of the United States. This is exactly what he himself stated when he called 9-11 to claim credit for the murders he committed inside a gay nightclub. So naturally, everyone from our president on down is busy turning themselves inside out to deny that Mateen's Mohammedanism had anything to do with his decision to murder 49 people.

Brexit

No surprise here unless you are one of the elites who have benefited from selling out the bottom 80% of your own nation to the international bankers for the last several decades. Average people are fed up with being told that high unemployment, low wages and crushing debt are good for them by the very people who are making more money than God by increasing unemployment, lowering wages and piling on the debt. Now these same elites are saying that the Leave vote doesn't matter because they ain't gonna do it and never intended to. These people are why God created lampposts; a convenient place for them to be hanged from.

The Donald

I'm not sure what can be said about this fraternity-prank-gone-too-far. Obviously, the bottom 80% in these united States are as pissed off as those in the UK, Poland, Greece, Italy, France, Spain, etc. The problem with Trump is that he is probably too compromised to do much, assuming he ends up being the Republican nomination (and I'm sticking with my previous statements on that being a big assumption) and manages to win the election. My concern is who will finally tap into all that anger in 2020. Read history; those most capable of harnessing mass hate are not the kind of people anyone in their right mind would want running the country.

Muslim Rape

The latest outrage involves three pre-adolescent boys dragging a mentally handicapped 5-year-old girl into a corner, stripping her naked, raping her, then pissing in her mouth. All on video, of course. (No one born since around 1990 or so is capable of experiencing anything first-hand. For an event to be real, even something as visceral as raping someone, it must be recorded and viewed later on a screen to have any meaning.) The news media completely ignored the crime. That of course didn't stop the locals from talking about it. Unfortunately, stories passed verbally tend to collect incorrect "facts", such as the exact ages of the boys involved, which Middle East shithole they originated from, whether or not one of the boys had a knife, etc. None of which really changes what was done, but it did give the news media the opportunity to claim that because a few minor details were wrong, then the whole thing must be made up. Because we all know that Muslims never rape. What is amusing to me is that in certain cases, the very people who jump all over obviously made-up rape stories that involve white males, like the UofV case a few years back, are the exact same ones screaming the loudest that this is all made up.

We indeed live in interesting times.

And speaking of time, it's time to go make dinner.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

And the Beat Goes On

First we had the (successful) voter turnout suppression in the Arizona primary. Then we had officials from the Clinton campaign placing the Hillary-Already-Won article with the Associated Press prior to the last of the state primaries; another (successful) attempt at voter suppression. Now this:

...the Democratic Party cut the number of polling places by two-thirds, from more than 1500 to less than 500. In addition, because there were two simultaneous elections — one for local officials and one for the presidential race — voters had to go to two separate locations if they wanted to cast both ballots. Then the Party cut the voting hours, the window of time during which any voting could be done.

And the result was another wildly successful attempt at voter suppression:

The number of votes actually cast in the Democratic presidential primary totaled just over 60,000. If my math is correct, that about 8% of the expected total, or a voter suppression rate of 92%. Again, the Puerto Rico Democratic Party, all good loyal Democrats I’m sure, suppressed 92% of their own vote, by reducing voting locations and hours.

Why? You decide. My answer? Too much democracy for the “Democratic” Party.

Please tell me there isn't anyone left who still believes voting matters.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Summer Chorus

And thanks to all that rain we got, the frogs are back (turn down the volume before you hit play):


video