Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A Headline That Has Worked For Over a Century

Saturday, March 17th, 2018

Too Late, Germany Realizes Its Mistake

I didn’t read the linked article because the headline struck me as something that would apply just about any time since the beginning of the last Century.

1915-17? Yep.

1943-44? Yep.

Nowadays, with the “refugee” situation? Truly evergreen.

Hey Dieter, here’s a protip for you: whenever you end up with a Chancellor for more than a decade, you should worry.

Making It Easier

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

My desktop is a decade old. The only original part at this point is the case. The original motherboard and CPU got fried by a near lightning strike about six months after I built it, so I got another MBB and a faster CPU.

But as with all things, time marches on, and it sometimes has problems. Back in the 90’s, I decided on AMD processors and I still prefer them, even though the initial reason I chose them has long since been fixed by Intel.

So I’m looking around and I note that Microsoft, in their zeal to get everyone to use Windows 10, has disabled the Windows Update feature if you use a Zen CPU with Windows 7. I’ve been using M$ (Microsoft) operating systems for thirty years now, with the exceptions being Win95, Vista, and now Windows 10. W95 and Vista were both unmitigated balls of suck, and having done some of the alpha and beta testing of 10 (I even have a copy of W10Pro as a result), I was alienated with all the data-mining that was built into the OS. Yes, I know how to turn all that nonsense off, but I also know that M$ has a nasty habit of reactivating “features” that they think you should have (In the year-long run up to the W10 release, I had to delete the “update” that pre-installed 10 onto my system, and then do it again some four months later). No thank you.

I’ve decided that, at the latest, I will switch to Linux when M$ stops supporting 7. I already have Ubuntu running on an old netbook.

And then today, I see this:

Secure enclaves like the one found in iPhones are intended to be impenetrable fortresses that handle tasks too sensitive for the main CPUs they work with. AMD’s version of that co-processor contains a raft of critical flaws that attackers could exploit to run malware that’s nearly impossible to detect and has direct access to a vulnerable computer’s most sensitive secrets, a report published Tuesday warned. The chips also contain what the report called “backdoors” that hackers can exploit to gain administrative access.

The flaws—in AMD’s EPYC, Ryzen, Ryzen Pro, and Ryzen Mobile lines of processors—require attackers to first gain administrative rights on a targeted network or computer, which is a hurdle that’s difficult but by no means impossible to clear. From there, attackers can exploit the vulnerabilities to achieve a variety of extraordinary feats that would be catastrophic for the owners’ long-term security.

Well, that certainly makes things easier. Not only can I avoid M$ shenanigans by using a slightly older CPU, I won’t need to sweat the above listed vulnerabilities and I’ll still get to run Windows 7. Nice. Not only that, I can have an updated box while AMD is getting their house in order.

Or I can switch to Linux now, and finally tell those control freaks in Redmond to go to hell.

Going Home At The End Of His Career

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

The armed officer stationed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., resigned Thursday after an internal review found he did not enter the school during last week’s deadly shooting.

Ah, our Heroes In Blue.

But it gets worse:

“Scot Peterson was absolutely on campus through this entire event. He was armed. He was in uniform,” Israel said at a press conference.

“After seeing video, witness statements and Scot Peterson’s very own statement, I decided this morning to suspend [him] without pay pending an internal investigation,” he continued.

Israel said Peterson chose to resign as he had met the necessary requirements for retirement. The sheriff noted that the investigation would continue.

See? Not only did he go home at the end of his shift, he’s going to enjoy a taxpayer-funded retirement. Too bad about all those dead kids, right?

I’m willing to bet money that I don’t have that if Mister Loser had only shot two or three people, or whatever amount of death that would’ve been below the threshold for national attention, that smug bastard would still be working and getting paid.

I’ll Just Leave This Here

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

Today’s Hilarity

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018


Police Commissioner James O’Neill said it would be “insanity” for the feds to force one state to recognize another’s lax gun laws.

A bill making its way through Congress would make gun possession akin to a driver’s license — so one state’s looser regulations against concealed weapons would be protected in tougher anti-gun states, like New York.

Now for the funny stuff:

“Right now, we have a good idea of who’s carrying guns. If this law passes, all bets are off,” he said. “Anybody can come into New York City from any state and carry a weapon.”

Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. agreed.

The “right now we have a good idea of who’s carrying guns” part? In English, that’s called a lie. Not only does the NYPD have no earthly idea just how many guns are in the City, they don’t want to know. More importantly, they don’t want the City gummint to know.

I lived there for years, and let me tell you a little something: everybody in NYC who wants a gun has one, and that’s been true for decades. In my own family, my relatives had all sorts of unregistered goodies when they were growing up, and that was back in the 40’s and 50’s. Me? I moved into New York in 1979, and I had a pistol (to go along with the longarms I already had) within a few weeks.

One Moment Of Perfect Beauty

Monday, February 5th, 2018

Amazing. Go and read the whole thing.

Our Heroes

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

An former Baltimore Police detective testified Tuesday that several corrupt Baltimore cops kept fake guns in their cars to plant on suspects in case they were ever accused of a “dirty shooting.”

Maurice Ward, who is a former member of Baltimore’s Gun Trace Task Force — the group now involved in an ongoing corruption trial in Maryland — told the jury that while on duty with the Task Force, he noticed that several of his colleagues kept BB guns and other fake weapons in their glove compartments. Ward claimed they kept the toys “in case we accidentally hit somebody or got into a shootout, so we could plant them,” according to the Baltimore Sun.

What do you want me to say? Are you going to try and tell me that you’re any less surprised than I am?

At least they got to go home at the end of their shifts.


Thursday, February 1st, 2018

Why would this matter? Because one can make a compelling argument that World Wars 1 & 2 were a modern Thirty Years War, and as such has shaped the world in which we live. Even if you reject that theory, you cannot ignore that the aftermath of WW1 (the Versailles Treaty foremost) directly led to the Second.

From the Conclusion:

In sum, a web of interdependent variables led Germany to war. Hyper-nationalism; a lack of civilian management of the military; the cult of the offensive; preventive war thinking and a misperception of inter and intra-alliance politics were among the contributing factors. The psychology of German War planners, incoherence of strategic planning, and military organizational politics and domestic politics also played important roles.

More simply put, the German General Staff, as with generals throughout time, were gaming out how to win the last war, without admitting the changed reality. In the Franco-Prussian War, Germany had a slight edge in small arms and a huge advantage in artillery. In 1914, it’s pretty clear that Germany still had better rifles than did the French, but the French 75mm gun was the finest artillery piece of the time.

A Day Ending in “y”, Part Bazillion

Monday, January 29th, 2018

As the head of the recently established National Space Council, Vice President Mike Pence is the most important person in the United States when it comes to determining space policy. In this role, Pence oversees the development of US military, civil, and commercial space efforts.

That’s only because President Trump hasn’t met me yet. Then again, given what we pay the veep, he really should be doing something useful.

The Trump administration has come into office at a time when new space companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin are challenging dominant aerospace industry companies, such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin. A key difference between the new competitors is that they’re willing to invest more of their own funds into developing launch vehicles—both SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy and Blue Origin’s New Glenn rockets have been substantially funded by private money. Successful flights by these vehicles may raise questions about why the federal government should spend billions of taxpayer dollars on traditional contractors for other heavy lift vehicles.

OK, two things: 1) The federal government isn’t spending anything. It is dispersing *our* tax money. 2) It’s bad enough that a given rocket costs a zillion dollars, what makes it worse is that it ends up on the bottom of the ocean after having been used exactly one time.

(…) Earlier this year, Ars sought an interview with NASA’s acting administrator, Robert Lightfoot. He declined, citing a busy schedule, but his office agreed to answer questions in writing. We asked whether Lightfoot would be watching and what success would mean to the aerospace industry.

Lightfoot’s office responded, via email, as follows:

“NASA celebrates the success of its industry partners as a testament to the hard work the agency puts into sharing technology and innovation with American companies. To achieve the goal to extend humanity’s presence in the Solar System will require the best research, technologies, capabilities, and contributions from the US private sector and international partners.”

If all our tax dollars buys is a mealy-mouthed goodspeak response like that, is it any wonder I want to burn the place to the ground and start over?

Bear in mind also that both NA$A and the Interstate Highway System* are Cold War artifacts, and in both cases the reason our parents were told that they were a desirable expenditure of their tax dollars wasn’t close to the real reason the Gummint wanted them.

*properly known as the “Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways”. A more accurate title would be the American Autobahn, as that was the inspiration.

Please Ignore This

Monday, January 29th, 2018

A greasy, dusty laptop or phone isn’t just annoying. Greasy gadgets are easier to drop. Blocked air vents can cause tech to overheat, or can wear down the insides. And anything stuck underneath your keys could mean a trip to the Genius Bar, or some risky at-home surgery. But it’s all preventable. For your phone, laptop, whatever you use, here’s how to clean it up quickly, and without voiding your warranty.

Left unsaid is the most important part: poorly maintained tech has been a source of income for me for at least fifteen years. My cats eat every day, you know.

So please don’t read this. And if you do, make sure not to follow any of the suggestions.