Looking Better All The Time

April 22nd, 2017

How many ways do you suck Microsoft? I’ve lost track. And yet you keep adding examples:


When Microsoft launched Office 365 in 2010, Microsoft officials said then that customers were asking to move to the cloud. Beginning in 2020, some Office customers will need to buy Office 365 to do so.

In an update to Microsoft’s Office 365 system requirements released on Thursday, Microsoft said that consumers who have already purchased “perpetual”—i.e., standalone—versions of Office, such as Office 2010, Office 2013, and Office 2016, would be cut off from accessing the business versions of OneDrive and Skype after mainstream support expires. Those who have purchases those Office suites will be allowed to connect until Oct. 13, 2020—the day mainstream support ends for Office 2016, and the day the new support policy kicks in.

This is M$ redefining their offerings as “services”. Why do you think they were giving Windows 10 away for free? They will eventually demand a monthly/yearly fee for it, just as they’re doing now with the business (Enterprise) edition of W10Pro right now.

The funny part, at least for me? The cutoff date for Office 2016 (which I don’t use) is about six months after I wipe my machinery and install Linux, if I haven’t done so earlier.

Linux is looking better all the time ™.

(This post, along with all the rest of today’s posts, was done via Linuxblogging ™)

Get Out of Our Way

April 22nd, 2017


BERLIN (AP) — Decades’ worth of man-made junk is cluttering up Earth’s orbit, posing a threat to spaceflight and the satellites we rely on for weather reports, air travel and global communications.

More than 750,000 fragments larger than a centimeter are already thought to orbit Earth, and each one could badly damage or even destroy a satellite.

Last year, a tiny piece of debris punched a gaping hole in the solar panel of Copernicus Sentinel-1A, an observation satellite operated by the European Space Agency, or ESA. A solar array brought back from the Hubble Telescope in 1993 showed hundreds of tiny holes caused by dust-sized debris.

Let’s take a closer look at that last paragraph. “A tiny piece of debris punched a gaping hole…” Well, which is it? A “tiny” projectile makes a tiny hole, right? Unless the genius who wrote this is announcing the discovery of hollow point debris. “A solar array…showed hundreds of tiny holes…” Yeah, about that: there’s all sorts of stuff flying around that existed long before us hairless monkeys even thought about space travel. And the writer makes no attempt to prove that these holes were caused by man-made objects. Sigh, you gotta love J-school graduates: always ready to share their ignorance with others.

There’s a fix for this. Establish a settlement on Luna, preferably last week. Those folks are gonna need refined metals and hardened circuitry. Overcoming the Moon’s gravity and traveling the nearly 240,000 to Earth orbit is still going to be a lot cheaper than having to lift stuff of Earth’s surface, even with the economies afforded by SpaceX’s reusable rockets.

Focus on Mars, Please

April 22nd, 2017


Tesla (tsla, +1.02%) founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk said his latest company Neuralink Corp is working to link the human brain with a machine interface by creating micron-sized devices.

Neuralink is aiming to bring to the market a product that helps with certain severe brain injuries due to stroke, cancer lesion, etc, in about four years, Musk said in an interview with website Wait But Why.

“If I were to communicate a concept to you, you would essentially engage in consensual telepathy,” Musk said in the interview published on Thursday.

Very nice, but how does that further the goal of bacon-wrapped tater tots on Mars?

Plus there’s that “consensual” thing. Given what we recently found out about the ability of CIA/NSA to hack into just about every electronic device one might have, just how many nanoseconds would it take them to compromise this?

Then there’s the social aspect. At a certain point (X% market penetration) there would be great social pressure to have the thing turned on all the time. Look, I admire Japanese culture, but I don’t want to actually be Japanese. And make no mistake here, boys and girls, having anyone able to know what you’re thinking at any given time would force people to conform to a given standard.

Remember, 1984 is a novel, not an instruction manual.

Hardly Anyone Likes Them

April 18th, 2017


A mountain lion snatched a small dog from a Pescadero bedroom in the early morning hours Monday, after the residents reportedly left their French doors partially open for the dog to go outside, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s office.

The dog, a 15-pound Portuguese Podengo, was at the foot of a bed near the dog’s owner and a child when it woke them up around 3 a.m. by “barking aggressively.”

The adult witness told authorities she saw the shadow of an animal come into the room through the French doors, grab the dog from the bed, and walk out. When she grabbed a flashlight, she saw “large wet paw prints” near the bedroom’s entrance, and called 911.

Fifteen pounds, eh? That’s Deathwalker at about 9 or 10 months old. He’s bigger now.

And as for the mountain lion? He got rid of an annoying yappy little rat, and had a snack in the bargain. Nice.

Berkeley Update

April 18th, 2017

Here’s an interesting little snippet from the Berkeley PD’s “Event Planning Checklist”:


The highlighted sections read:

• Would you like symbolic arrests?

• If so, where and when?

I guess that’s an example of the “serve” part of “Protect and Serve”. Of course, if you were to try to stage a pro-2A rally there, you’d be out of luck on that one. Then again, it’d never get that far, as the organizers would be arrested for inciting terrorism or some such.

I’m so glad that 1984 is just a novel and not a training manual.

Getting Closer

April 15th, 2017

There was a pro-Trump rally (billed as a free speech/tax day thing) today in Berkeley. Yeah, I know, IRL trolling, and it worked. Sure as the sunrise, the Antifa thugs showed up and employed pepper spray and fireworks against a Constitutionally protected activity.

So far, I haven’t seen any news articles on this, but this guy has an aggregation of videos:


Unlike previous incidents, people are fighting back against these thugs.

The coppers? Sure, right there to arrest at least one person defending himself (according to the link).

This is going to continue until it’s too painful for these thugs to do their shtick. By painful I mean gunshots, complete with bodies needing to be taken to the morgue. This, unfortunately, is a short-term solution. Yes, it’ll make Antifa scarce, but at the same time, it’ll bring the cold civil war we have now hot. And I’m pretty sure that would be a bad thing.

– Linuxblogging ™

Aside: embedded videos from Twitter play just fine in Ubuntu, instead of the normal “the media could not be played” message I generally get using IE. Looking better all the time, I’m tellin’ ya.

UPDATE 1930hrs, 16 April: There’s a lot more coverage out there now. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding out about this.


April 14th, 2017

So today we have this:


The global investment bank Goldman Sachs has claimed mining asteroids for precious metals is a “realistic” goal.

It has released a report exploring the possibility of using an “asteroid-grabbing spacecraft” to extract platinum from space rocks.

“While the psychological barrier to mining asteroids is high, the actual financial and technological barriers are far lower,” the report said, according to Business Insider.

My first impression is that removing a bloated Federal agency (NA$A) and replacing it with a gigantic bank is hardly the way our venture into space should go. On the other hand, given the start-up costs, there might not be any realistic way for private prospecting to get going other than to buy and use old and surplused equipment as it becomes available.

Possible lolcat reference, talking about the metal asteroid Psyche 16:

It is valued at $10,000 quadrillion, according to Lindy Elkins-Tanton, the lead scientist on the NASA mission.

$10,000 quadrillion? That sounds a lot like “$elebenty” doesn’t it?


It is believed an asteroid the size of a football field could be worth up to $50 billion.

However, bringing that much platinum back to Earth is likely to crash the precious metal market – and probably the rest of the economy with it.

That’s another reason to be deeply suspicious of this Giant Bank In Space thing. Not the “crashing the economy” part, but the focus on bringing back to Earth resources that will be needed to colonize the Solar System. The writer is undoubtedly a J-school graduate with as much knowledge of economics as you or I do, which is to say almost nothing, so I’d take this assertion with a grain of salt. But still, this is not the direction we need to be going in. It might be that Earthside economic exploitation is the only way to do this, but none of us has to like it. Then again, a revolt against a commercial entity won’t be as dangerous as trying to throw off the yoke of a nation-state.

Linux Blogging

April 13th, 2017

Some years back I got my sweaty mitts on an ASUS EeePC, a 1005HAB to be exact. It had XP Home on it, and for awhile it was a nice little machine. Nowadays, though, XP is old, slow, and creaky, and IE8 doesn’t play well with the current Internets, so it’s been just sitting there for the last couple of years.

I’ve been toying/thinking about some flavor of Linux for more than a decade, but hadn’t actually done anything about it. Well, kinda: I have the installation disks for Linux Mandrake around here someplace, but I have never used them.

So now we come to that giant ball of suck and fail known as Windows 10, plus that Windows 7 will stop being supported in 2020, and procrastinating is off the table.

Re-enter the Eee. There’s a flavor of Ubuntu known as Eeebuntu, which has all the proprietary drivers needed to make the Eee run properly. Now that was based on Ubuntu 8, and it had some problems. Then came the fix, which was based on U9, and that was much better, but still not perfect, so I sequentially updated Ubuntu (which is the proper way to do it) to 12, then 14, and now 16. These are all LTS, Long Term Support, and all the Eee thingies work just fine.

So all of today’s blogging is being done on the Eee, using Ubuntu.

What’s it like? Well, M$ has a small army of lawyers without enough to do, so the GUI is enough different to hold them at bay. What that means is that everything is the same, yet different. It took a lot of time at first to find things, but with some trigger time, that objection is rapidly fading away.

Actually, the “worst” part is the tiny keyboard on the Eee; the OS is just fine. A major plus is that unlike Windows, Ubuntu doesn’t fling things all over the HDD, so you don’t need to constantly defrag the disk. In fact, there’s no such thing as a defragging program available.

As the end-of-support for Win7 looms, I will be installing Linux, likely Mint as of this writing, and walking away from Microsoft and its datamining and big brotherism for good.

Linux is looking better all the time ™.

New Cat Videos

April 13th, 2017

Since we all know that it’s impossible to have too many cat videos on the internet, I’ve uploaded two new ones:


Well, Lookit That

April 13th, 2017

It’s a day ending in “y”, boys and girls, and you all know what that means!

Time to bash NA$A!


Over the past 50 years, NASA’s Mission Control in Houston has undergone a number of upgrades, improving the technologies that support humans in space. The facility’s next renovation though, is notably focused on achieving the opposite — rolling back decades of changes to return its most famous room to how it looked when the first astronauts landed on the moon.

The Mission Operations Control Room, located on the third floor of the Christopher C. Kraft, Jr. Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Texas, is about to get a $5 million restoration to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and serve as an inspiration for the generations of visitors who come to see it on public tours.

$5,000,000.00? I wonder where that money is coming from? Trick question! Of course that money is tax dollars, what did you expect?

I understand the desire and even the need to preserve an important historical artifact such as Mission Control. But I look at the various ship museums around the country and note that the overwhelming majority were done with private donations and not funds that were stolen from us at (implied) gunpoint.

And again, this is for a museum. Just think what SpaceX could do with five million dollars.

It’s going to be a great day when NA$A is torched. I’m gonna bring hotdogs and s’mores.