marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

I feel sorry for Windows 10. While you can't trust half the blather on Business Insider to be sane or accurate ever since Henry Blodget turned it from a personal blog into a content aggregator/news service of some sort, Steve Kovach, whomever he is, is right about Windows 10: it is Microsoft's greatest operating system, ever. While I formerly reserved that opinion for Windows 8.1 (the upgrade where they sort of restored the Start menu and otherwise made the OS not so ridiculously tablet-focused and unusable), Windows 10 for the desktop makes strides and improvements even upon 8.1 that finally make using a computer sort of fun and carefree - something we've all wanted since XP came out and gave us the wild hope hope that using a computer could finally bring us into an age of intelligent, hassle-free and enriching communication along with nearly effortless productivity.

Windows 10 is that almost flawless computing experience we've all dreamed of - if you're someone like me. The problem is, chances are you're not.

Microsoft is betting - quite publicly - that Windows 10 will see widespread adaption merely because it's their best operating system ever. They're placing that bet on the backs of people like me - Windows Insiders - by claiming that because over 5 million of us have given it a more or less unabashed thumbs-up, that adaption by the general public will be seamless, a guaranteed success. Bugger. I'll tell you the reasons why that's untrue. And if Microsoft is smart, they'll take notes on what I'm about to say.

People who use Windows 7 will not use Windows 10

Windows 7 users are mostly comprised of embittered Windows Vista users who finally got the chance to upgrade to a decent operating system that still offers more than XP does by installing Windows 7, on the one hand, and embittered Windows 8 users who didn't bother sticking around for Windows 8.1 before downgrading to a decent operating system that still offers more than XP does by installing Windows 7, on the other. The happiness of these people - to have dodged not one but two bullets simply by upgrading or downgrading to Windows 7 - cannot be overstated, nor can their near-certain stubborn refusal to try Windows 10 after what they've been through with Windows Vista and/or Windows 8. You will snatch Windows 7 from their cold, dead hands before they allow any upgrade to Windows 10 to happen.

Microsoft will have to do something to change the hearts and minds of Windows 7 users to make them not so afraid to try the latest and greatest operating system, and frankly, I have no idea what that is.

People who like - or who feel like they need to - use XP will not stop using XP

Try 250 million users, and I consider that an extremely conservative estimate considering China uses almost nothing except XP. In my own admittedly informal, just-knocking-around-the-house tests, Windows 8 and Windows 10 won't run as well on older hardware that's designed to work better with Windows XP. You'd think that with Microsoft's famed desire for interoperability and backward-compatibility that Windows 10 would run fast and flawlessly on almost any hardware, but that isn't the case. Users who upgrade only to realize they cannot install essential legacy drivers and that the systems they're running Windows 10 on will take noticeable performance hits will warn others in every way possible - face-to-face, in online forums, on social media, in tech shops - not to bother upgrading, which will be considered the final word on the matter, soon enough.

People who know their hardware runs fast and flawlessly on XP won't throw away their hardware simply to run Windows 10 when there are not enough compelling differences between the operating systems to make such a hardware upgrade worthwhile.

You can't compel people to buy new hardware for a voice-recognition system like Cortana that most everyday folks have no real use for. You can't sell them on backward-compatibility when even legacy video drivers won't work. People might not understand the benefits of upgrading to Windows 10, but they will quickly grasp the drawbacks: operating system slowdowns, bottlenecks and bugs, driver installs that bluescreen the computer (even I have this problem on a laptop that's designed to run Windows 7 - while running Build 10240, at least; the video driver I need bluescreens the laptop causing an eternal restart loop, so I'm using a fallback Microsoft video driver that delivers such shitty video that my screen turns white in places, especially text boxes I'm typing in, as to be unusable - ETA, 8-2-15: AMD has since come out with a new driver specific to Windows 10 which has resolved this issue for me).

People don't want forced updates, thank you.

This is the worst thing Microsoft did to people who don't happen to be Windows 10 Pro users: everyone else cannot turn updates off, which means that that video driver you've heard will completely bork your computer when it comes through on Windows Update? Will, merely because you cannot stop it from downloading and installing (as of this writing, there are ways to block or rollback select updates, but despite riotous blowback, there's been no lifting of the forced-updates requirement). I've heard forcing updates down every Windows 10 user's throat is to make our ecosystem more like Apple's, where something like 70-80% of Apple users run exactly the same OS in exactly the same update status. Well, *twirls finger* good for Apple users. Windows users are not on a closed, completely proprietary hardware/software system, and we're certainly not all running the same hardware, so forcing us to download and install the same software - driver updates, especially - will be the kiss of Windows Vista/Windows 8 Death, forcing many users back to the last version of Windows they had installed (chances are, Windows 7) sooner than Microsoft thinks. This might be the worst mistake Microsoft has made yet.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

Disclaimer: author is generally considered "white".


There is something about the Sandra Bland case that my mind won't let go. I've gone so far as to serialize the traffic stop that somehow led to her untimely demise as I imagine it really occurred in the minds of the officer and his victim that day.


*white officer sees black motorist and makes mental notes that he should stop her because she's black*

*black motorist makes lane change - to get out of white officer's way*

*white officer has ah-ha! moment and decides to pull her over; fake conversation ensues over his reasoning*

White Officer: *blah blah blah blah no signal on lane change* (Real meaning: "I pulled you over cuz you're black; me and my buddies make no-signal lane changes all the time, and so does every other person who we don't stop for really stupid shit like this.")
Black Motorist: *acts pissed*
White Officer: *getting aggrieved, because he feels his whiteness is now being put upon* Hey, you're acting pissed!
Black Motorist: I changed lanes to get out of your way (Probable real meaning: "You prejudiced asshole, can't win for losing.")
White Officer: Put your cigarette out (Real meaning: "I am the white lord of the manor, and I can make you do things. Time for a simple show of my ancient, unstoppable White Power.")
Black Motorist: Why do I have to put my cigarette out? I'm smoking in my own car! (which btw, is not illegal; also, it's not a known requirement of any traffic stop that a mere cigarette that is legal to smoke must be extinguished merely because an officer is talking to you through your window)
White Officer: That's it, get out of your car (Real meaning: *outrage* "Out of your car! You can't argue with me - I'm white and you're not!")
Black Motorist: argues about why she should have to get out of her car (again, all she's done is fail to signal a lane change she made only to get out of White Officer's way and to ask why she should have to extinguish a cigarette that is legal and not against any known protocols to smoke in his presence, especially considering the entirely petty, non-emergency nature of the stop!)
White Officer: *blah blah blah get out of the car or else* (Real meaning: "Because I'm white, and because I fucking said so, and because that's how it fucking works in this country!") followed by an offer to "light her up" if she continues to refuse (which was probably the most fun thing he got say all day. It changes the entire incident into a video game sequence in which the object is for the white player to bag as many black opponents as possible before game-over, with getting to "light one up" an obvious grand prize of sorts).
White Officer: *issues enough threats to make her get out of car* (Unspoken: because he's white, and because he fucking said so, and because that's how it fucking works in this country). It is horribly demoralizing to see the bad guy win as the victim suffers their usual fate.


You have to understand that on a basic level, the traffic stop was no different than a spur-of-the-moment lynching - except for the part where he didn't actually happen to hang her from a tree before it was over (of course, most white racists would argue he did her an enormous kindness merely by not "lighting her up" like he threatened to, and Alan Dershowitz will always be on hand to argue that if she had just been "nicer" and said "Yes, sir" and "No, sir" than My God, none of this could've happened! because the problem is black people lack good manners and therefore can't function properly in oh-so-"polite" white society).

Either way we got our lynching in the end. We just don't know if it was by Sandra's own hand or by the whites charged with imprisoning her for the high crime of Existing While Black who not only Existed - treason in itself - but who also dared argue she shouldn't be punished for it, which, if any of the conversations she had with that officer or any other officer had been real and stripped of all their white politesse, aka bullshit, would be how every exchange would've actually went.

You can take the Alan Dershowitz argument and all other arguments, which are all ever-more elaborate code (aka: bullshit) for: "Because we're white and we said so" and shove them up someone's ass. The overarching problem is whites think targeting blacks keeps them in line. If it keeps them in line then someone explain riots (which are actually caused by the white insistence that blacks be kept in line)?

Targeting skin color does not keep any collective sporting that skin color "in line". If anything, it will cause more bad behavior - borne of resentment and justifiable anger. It marginalizes an entire population who might otherwise be productive, happy, well-adjusted members of society who instead are forced to its monetary and social edges and left there to die because whites think that's the only way to maintain law and order (again: bullshit. It's more about power and maintaining a pecking order, and the white need to even have a pecking order, than it has ever been about "maintaining law and order" - code, it's code: white people speak in code. This is one of the great yet obvious secrets of being white: we're the most passive-aggressive pussies when it comes to language use, ever).

That's what the Sandra Bland case is really about. Whites need to take a good, long, hard look at themselves, whether they be cops or judges or those of us who contribute to the problem merely by sitting back and contributing nothing to its solution, and ask ourselves, what are we so afraid of? What is going to go so wrong if we give up the pecking order that invariably keeps Whites On Top and finally stop singling blacks out for punishment merely for being black?

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

Also see Windows 10 maladies...(ongoing lament by Yours Truly)... and Windows 10 maladies, Part II...(ongoing lament by Yours Truly)...

Microsoft has broken my heart by allowing me to become a Windows Insider. If I could, I'd send a crimson rose to Satya Nadella to express how coldly he's ripped out my heart, first by making me do about 10 re-installs of 10131 in one week just to get it working on my laptop, then by boring me to death with lack of bugs to get angry about in the latest version (10166 - *zzzzzzzz*...seriously, just release the damn thing already) and finally for continuing to brick my phone with any version of Windows Mobile that I try. While the latest version (again, that's 10166 - only for Mobile) hasn't made my phone stop working or done any of the truly horrific things described in this post, it is the only version of Windows 10 that makes me want Windows 8.1 back so badly.

Deficits of features/bugs inherit within Windows 10 for phones

  • The layout is ugly, boring and hard to use. Everything except the tiles - which have grown too big - got smaller. Was this OS made for use by elves? The numbers on the dialpad have shrunk to about 2/3 their original size and have no background to show they belong to a dialpad. I feel like I'm looking at a Bingo card my five year old made me (except I don't have a five year old). Not to mention I have tiny, tiny hands and tiny, tiny fingers, yet the dialpad is so small I'm mashing the wrong numbers no matter how carefully I use the damn thing. At least this OS doesn't bore me - nuh-uh, not yet. Au contraire, it's really pissing me off.
  • Outlook.com doesn't scrape their own or any other mail server so I haven't been able to get my Live or Google mail since I installed the OS three days ago. The "refresh" button, it does nothing! OK, I'm cracking jokes, but I could almost punch someone over this. I have one email account with Live.com that is my life and I check that account all day long. To be even more clear, I bought the damn phone to use it with Outlook. Of all the features to take away that's the worst one to pick, ever. I mean, if Nadella was actually sitting around thinking of ways to piss me off he could not have done a better job. Bricking the entire phone is the only thing that could actually make this phone more useless. ETA, while still writing this, and after endless refreshes, Outlook has finally downloaded my live.com email. Google mail still has not arrived (and fails with a "Something went wrong" message in white text against a black screen every time I try to manually refresh). The post office is actually faster.
  • The phone sometimes won't ring. Sort of a problem, you know, when people are trying to call me. Seems to be totally random when the ringer stops working. Similarly, a notification sound often won't play when I'm getting text messages, which screwed up an important text thread for me yesterday.
  • The call volume keeps turning itself down to "5" so I keep turning it back up to "10" but it keeps turning itself down to "5" again. To be really, massively, ridiculously clear, I don't give a flying crap what volume the phone wants to stay at. I want it at "10". I don't understand why this is too much to ask?
  • The textbox for text messages is unusable. Again, the OS was apparently designed for use by elves - elves who can only type two lines at a time. Anything over two lines and not only can't you scroll through your message to check for errors and clarity because the textbox has shrunken so much you can't see past two lines, but in order to see past two lines you have to hit the back button and start scrolling. That's right, two lines at a time. *aaaarrgghhhh*
  • The tiles on the Start screen - even the tiniest ones you can make without invoking the extra-columns feature - are still way too big. No matter what I do, I cannot adjust to it. In this respect Windows 8.1 Mobile eats Win 10 mobile for lunch. There was nothing broken so MS decides to "fix" it... *curses*
  • Like every version of Windows Mobile going back to 8.0, Win 10 has a bug wherein you're asked to "enter your password" to play back voicemail. This is a bug - not to mention an unholy inconvenience - for people like me who don't use passwords to get their voicemail.
  • The battery drains many times faster on Win 10. On 8.1, my battery didn't get low until late at night and didn't need recharging until the next day - and that's pretty much regardless of how many tons of video I downloaded while texting with multiple people and placing 25 phone calls while running seven apps at once. On Win 10 - after charging my phone all night long - my battery is down to 57% as I write this, after sleeping in and barely using the phone except to refresh Outlook a bajillion times, make one phone call, play back two voicemails, and engage in one instance of text messaging. I've uninstalled every app I don't want and have barely anything running and nothing different than I had on Win 8.1, so I can safely guess I'm not at fault for the battery getting eaten alive.
  • I'm afraid to rollback to 8.1 because a friend of mine can't. For the first time in a longish history of him rolling back to Win 8.1 whenever Windows 10 Mobile didn't work out for him, with this version of Windows 10, the Windows Phone Recovery Tool is failing with an operation ended in failure message, completely stopping him from rolling back. I'm not sure, but I do believe he's using Windows 10 on a Lumia 520. While I might have better luck on my Lumia 635, I'm almost afraid to find out. ETA, 7-15-15: finally rolled the phone back to Windows 8.1 (Cyan, not even playing with Denim anymore) via the Lumia Phone Recovery Tool. Worked like a charm for both me and my friend on the Lumia 520.
marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

ETA: Corrections made thanks to [personal profile] darkoshi for being awake when I wasn't

(for [personal profile] darkoshi and everyone else who'd rather not log in to view profiles or search results - myself included)

Instagram: Pinsta.me and Looktagram

Limitations

Pinsta.me doesn't have all profiles cached. Searching is more likely to return an overview of all pages containing your search query than to point you to an official profile (if an official profile is what you're after).

Looktagram, despite advertising itself as "@user and #tag search", has no search functionality. You'll have to use it the old-fashioned way by appending your search terms to the URL. Example: http://looktagram.com/mariah

Using Google with either site might be a still better way to get what you're after. Examples: [site:looktagram.com "mariah carey"], [site:pinsta.me "mariah carey"]

To view individual pages linked to from other websites (especially on Pinterest, which is not covered here) you'll still probably need to disable JavaScript or install a script to avoid logging in. [personal profile] darkoshi explains.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

Following leads from an affiliate marketer's blog (directly connected with Wealthy Affiliates, another site I strongly encourage you not to check out!) today I came across two freelance writer's websites: Writer's Access and Scripted. I checked out Scripted by reading online reviews and what strikes me is that Scripted is just another Odesk-type/low-paying/everyone with better exchange rates than the US gets the majority of the work type of content mill. Here's a particularly telling and absolutely hilarious comment on what Scripted is all about.

The cruel irony of Scripted is that - ridiculously low pay rates and constant rejection aside - accepted writers all seem to suffer from the same afflictions: terrible spelling, poor punctuation and flat, unimaginative copy, while rejected authors seem by and large to have their shit much more together. So - on top of everything else going against the site - I gather that the better of a writer you are, the faster you will and more likely you are to be rejected. Just hilarious. In which the state of finding work in the US, online or off, is so bad and is getting so much worse that on a dark day, like the one I'm having right now, it's almost funny.

Examples of the kinds of writers Scripted will accept* (see note below):
--this one
--this one
--this one (why is there not a way to blow up all those question marks by simply tapping on my space bar or something?)
--this one
--this one
--this one

Since someone will surely ask: "What's so wrong with what I presume are the writing styles you're pointing out by linking to these comments?" the answer is they have trifling but still very real errors, like writing numbers out as numbers when there are rules about writing numbers out as words unless the number is over 10, spelling errors, punctuation errors, punctuation that was forgotten, overuse of punctuation, awkward and stilted writing styles...I mean, seriously, for every accepted writer I see, there are at least three to five (!not "3-5"!) rejected Scripted writers who can obviously write better.

I'm not applying to write at Scripted so I don't care if I'm a better writer than the accepted writers are or not. I do care that better writers than those who are being accepted get flat-out rejected, and I blame Scripted for wanting to pay writers as little as possible. My hunch is they're rejecting writers whom they feel will grow restless with the pay and/or the lack of any guaranteed pay advancement.

* I don't need anyone to take the comments above that I've held out as examples of poor writing skills to skewer them any further in the comment section. I know they suck, I know why, and I'll roll my eyes and point and laugh for all of you, thanks.
marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

ETA, 7-2-2015: And so they did, the day after I wrote this. Unfortunately I'm Internet-less until further notice - possibly until the beginning of next week - so I can't download the new .ISO just yet.

If I see one more article about another Windows 10 leaked build I'm going to stop going online until RTM ships. I've played with 10130, examined its guts, researched Cortana so extensively I know it right down to its files (the registry's another matter; much harder because more new entries/more new names because Windows 10 is built on 8/7/Vista/XP/2000/ME /'98/'95/3.1 which is built on freaking DOS which, by the way, with correct application support still runs on your Windows 10 rig/blah blah blah), written all the how-tos that solidify her key shortcuts, hacked the registry to 1) make the entire OS black (don't try this if you don't want Spartan to only partially take on black background and white menu option and address bar effects; it renders Spartan visually unusable on 10130 - it otherwise works without a hitch, though, to turn the entire OS black), 2) make the taskbar show only tiny icons, 3) make the taskbar display tabs instead of icons on open applications, 4) disable transparency, 5) enable taskbar thumbnails, and so many other hacks that I already forget most of them. How I love the registry. That comes with any version of Windows. I could just hack away within it forever.

But anyway, done that, got the t-shirt, and now I'm bored, just as Onuora [disclosure: I'm on his mailing list] is waxing poetic about how great the latest leaked build is - he's even showing screencaps featuring English-encoded apps, but the leaked build is supposedly only available in Chinese so this leads me to ask: a) how did he do that and b) where is the English version and c) more importantly, you folks at Microsoft know Insiders are downloading leaked builds (who else would be crazy and determined enough to except for maybe tech bloggers like Onuora?) and d) most importantly, why would you want us to when "we" are your own Beta testers? At least give us a legitimate release build to work with instead of some Bittorrented crap. I don't download leaked builds because I just don't, but too many avid Insiders posting constant feedback and voting on other's feedback just as constantly deserve better than the Chinese version of something you obviously don't want us to have even if tech bloggers who install it think it's so great. We've worked hard and diligently as Beta testers and deserve better. Release the hounds another build, already.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

I had to google it, and just my luck, the results confirm it's not possible for squirrels to burp. Unfortunately, this little guy - or gal - or heck, can squirrels have multiple gender identities? If so, what do I call it without asking what it prefers? Is it alright to call it "it", or does this offend someone, or is it imagined that if the squirrel could understand it would offend the squirrel? I mean, do we have to do this again, only for squirrels this time? Anyway, it burped, and unfortunately (as I was going to say before I went off on a tangent about squirrel gender identity) I didn't have time to catch it on camera. But I swear, it burped.

But only after the squirrel drove my cat nearly insane by hanging upside down under the dining room roof eave for many minutes in between bursts of running at top speeds, then freezing before hanging upside down again did it finally - and quite unexpectedly, as it hadn't been eating anything I could see - let out this burp. Are squirrels related to bats, by any chance? I thought my cat would hyperventilate or have an actual heart attack. He was standing under the squirrel, up high on a built-in shelf, with his eyes ready to pop out of his head while he literally beat the shelf with his left paw, he was so frustrated by it. All he wanted was to get that squirrel.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

To refresh everyone's memory, Firefox has five possible history-clearing settings:

Clear recent History/Time range to clear:

  • Last hour
  • Last two hours
  • Last four hours
  • Today
  • Everything

To illustrate the problem, let's envision this scenario: You're using your friend's computer to browse some websites within Firefox. Your friend said it's OK to do this any time you want, so the fact that you're using their browser to uh, browse, is not in itself the problem. While you're grateful that they let you, and don't necessarily suspect them or anyone else of wanting to snoop, you clean forgot to open a New Private Window before web-surfing, and now you would simply like to clear your browsing history without them knowing you did. Because reasons, folks.

This is where the problem lies. Look at the list of all possible history-settings again, with the one your friend last used now in bold.

  • Last hour
  • Last two hours
  • Last four hours
  • Today
  • Everything

OK, but you, unlike your friend, have either one hour, four hours, today, or else everything history-wise to clear out. The problem? Well, let's say you went a little hog wild and have at least four hours of a rather lengthy, multi-website, multi-page browsing session to clear (thereby making the option to "Forget this Site" too unwieldy and time-consuming to be of much use):

  • Last hour
  • Last two hours
  • Last four hours
  • Today
  • Everything

Your friend recalls that the last time they browsed, they cleared out only two hours of history, but you jumped on after them and cleared four hours of browsing history when you were finished, so the next time they end a browsing session and get ready to clear their own history, they'll see this:

  • Last hour
  • Last two hours
  • Last four hours
  • Today
  • Everything

Instead of this:

  • Last hour
  • Last two hours
  • Last four hours
  • Today
  • Everything

Whoops-a-daisy! You just got caught hiding your history, in their browser, on their computer.

Ideally, you want a history-clearing tool that also clear any tracks which prove you cleared your history! Otherwise, it's obvious you cleared something - just not what.

Since this post wouldn't be complete without a thought on how to fix this issue, an obvious (to me) suggestion would be "just default to 'last hour' no matter which history clearing setting was last used".

Does anyone have objections to, more suggestions concerning, or any further thoughts upon this?

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

Also see my lists of Cortana Shortcuts, Part I and Part II.

Cortana can also work as a Run dialog box. Try typing in msconfig, iexplore, cleanmgr, services.msc and hitting Enter after each command. You can - as with running the Run dialog box from within Cortana - right-click to run all commands as Administrator.

Cortana also has potential to work as a calculator without you having to explicitly open calc to do some math. I say "she has potential" because she's still a little buggy in this area (type in 2-2 to see what I mean...she just wants to open a Run dialog box).

Cortana can also find selected files by typing in their extension. Try .txt and .html for a sample. I say "for a sample" because the capability does not seem too well-developed yet and is totally feature-incomplete. (Also, will not find .js, .dll, .ini or .exe files, just for example, and while I could be wrong, seems to concentrate on searching only through your Downloads folder.)

Customizations I'd like to see in Cortana

  • The ability to choose your own keywords/letters/numbers/characters to open custom searches/perform certain actions/run certain utilities
  • The ability to pin your choice of programs/commands to Cortana's window so that upon placing a cursor in her search box a dropdown list of what you've chosen instantly presents itself to you
  • The ability to perform Everything-like searches of all files on your computer, with the same administrator rights as Everything (Everything creates its own admin rights)
  • The ability to change Cortana's default search engine to say, Google or DuckDuckGo
  • The ability to customize the search box, and the window's shape, size, background, height and width
marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

Yet my 1-3% claims to have gotten nearly $3,000 back from AOL over the years just by looking at (and following) the advice on my blog. Imagine how many more dollars have been gotten back by people who will never have the decency to tell me so?

Maybe I'll start charging a commission.

At *hmmmm* 10% or so, I could finally start cleaning up on the lost labor of love that is my I-hate-this-company masterpiece. After 10 years it's probably about damn time I did.

Not like I ever made a dime on it - but God knows I should.