How do you deal with Microsoft’s crap on a daily basis?
I don’t use Windows 11. On Windows 10, I modify the installation image with DISM, removing as much of the unnecessary and user-hostile stuff as possible…
I make extensive changes to the registry that disable all the unwanted stuff. Some of these settings are not documented, and even the documented ones are likely to change without notice or become re-enabled by default in subsequent builds. For this reason, to avoid such unpleasant surprises, I prevent any automatic updates.
There was a time when I was reinstalling Windows XP so often that I made a “slipstreamed” install disc with Service Pack 3 pre-integrated, but this is on a whole other level. If I’m being honest?… I kinda want to try it. If I’m reading the blurb on Microsoft’s docs correctly, DISM is not, in fact, some tens-of-thousands-of-dollars corporate thing, but something that ships with every copy of Windows? That can’t be right, can it? In any case, I never want to hear about how much “work” it is to run Linux any more, when this is what it takes to run a copy of Windows that Microsoft doesn’t actively sabotage on a routine basis.
I’ve watched The Big Short many times now. In fact, I just rewatched it again a couple weeks ago. This video makes some really good points about the 2008 mortgage meltdown in its 7-minute introduction, and draws lines between some dots which I didn’t even realize were left unconnected by the movie.
The big question that this all raises is, “Who?” Someone, somewhere, selling mortgage bonds, had to have realized, “Hey, I’m literally running out of mortgages to bundle into new bonds. I need the banks to start selling more mortgages, but the only way they can do that is to offer mortgages which make no traditional, financial sense.”
As I’ve noted many times on this blog, I’ve watched the housing situation in the Valley for decades, because of the IT/programming angle. Sure, a programmer can make twice the money on the coast, but housing is five to ten times more expensive. I don’t know how it is sustainable, or why it hasn’t collapsed, in the 20 years I’ve been paying attention.
This is where I entered this particular picture. When I started hearing about teaser-rate mortgages that allowed people to get into housing in California that they normally wouldn’t be able to afford, I did the thinking, and came away perplexed. Who would buy a house, predicated on barely being able to afford the teaser rate, knowing that they were either going to have to sell or find a way better job in 2-3 years? It just didn’t make sense to me.
The idea of these ridiculous teaser-rate mortgages had to start with someone. They didn’t make sense from the perspective of the buyer, or the bank, in any traditional sense. But, as this video points out, they made perfect sense if the bank was only interested in writing the mortgage with the intent to sell it into the bond market, where they would no longer care if it went into default.
I bought my first house around 1998. I was already hearing about how banks were selling their mortgages, and I didn’t want that. I wanted to be able to drive across town and talk with the people who held “my paper.” So I bought a mortgage with the old, established, local bank here in town. Imagine my surprise when I got a letter just a week after closing that my mortgage had been sold to a big bank. At least mine was a “real” mortgage, based on sustainable numbers, but it’s easy to see that the craze of bundling mortgages was already well underway, 20 years before the crash.
And then my local bank was gobbled up by some other chain, and has been bought and sold multiple times since. But that’s a rant for another day.
So, now, 14 years after the crash, and watching movies and videos about it all, I finally realize: there was a guy. There had to have been a guy; a guy who had an “aha!” moment. He went to a bank, and talked them into this scheme of selling unsustainable mortgages, purely as cord wood for the inferno raging in the mortgage backed security market. As soon as he did, the bank became complicit. As soon as bond agency started buying these mortgages to bundle into bonds, they became complicit. As soon as they asked the bond rating firms to falsify their ratings, they became complicit. And when the FTC and the SEC didn’t do their jobs to oversee the ratings agencies, they, too, became complicit.
But there was a guy. Who was that guy? I’m just curious. I want to know who he was. How he spread the idea like a virus. How he made out when it all came crashing down. Maybe that’s a known known, but I haven’t heard his name. And it wouldn’t be surprising. I mean, one guy lighting the touch paper to the entire world’s economy? If I were complicit, I wouldn’t want to go around pointing fingers. And if I were the guy, I would surely keep my head down too.
Aha! Excellent! This is a perfect display of the theory of evolution at work in the modern era! With crappy cell phone video and all!
Clearly, this mutant, super-seeing, super-smelling cow will be favored for mating over all others in its herd. (And that’s true whether it’s allowed to breed naturally, or forced by its owners.) So this cow will start a new species, which will eventually come to supplant all other cows in the world.
I just wish I could be here in a couple hundred thousand years, and see them roaming the hills, here in the Americas.
On this news, one highly-upvoted person at 9gag had this to say:
“The only person screwed was insurance companies.”
Where does this person think that insurance companies get their money? How do they not understand that people pay what-are-called premiums for that coverage? How do they not understand that the insurance companies will pass increased prices on to their customers in the form of increased premiums? Even if they are employed with insurance, and never look at their pay stub, how do they not understand that employers covering only some of the costs of these premiums eventually pass increases on to employees, both in terms of raising their contribution, and by paying people less?
And lest you think this was brutally-ignorant take was isolated, there’s another, even more highly-upvoted post further down the comment section, with lots of replies, none of which correct this fundamental disconnect with the basic, underlying mechanism of good, old fashioned capitalism. Apparently everyone on 9gag is content with the explanation that the insurance companies were the only ones getting screwed by Shkreli, and they view his move as some sort of inverse, anarcho-capitalist Robin Hood maneuver. It’s almost insane.
I guess the question is: What did I expect from a post titled “Justice Served?” as if there were a popular misunderstanding of what was actually happening here. One comment gets at the truth: Shkreli is being made an example of, in order to send a signal to other people who make waves for Big Pharma. Yes, of course, every other pharma CEO wants to do what he did, but you have to do it quietly. Slowly. Like a frog being boiled alive. You can’t make moves so big or fast that they cannot be ignored.
It’s little wonder how we can’t find common ground in our politics today. People can post a critical misunderstanding of how something works to a top-10 web site, find validation from scores of like-minded people, and come away thinking that they’ve really got a handle on how the world works.
These are the people that political operatives are targeting with disinformation campaigns. The rubes that got snookered by the Cambridge Analytica election campaign for Trump? This is them. And they vote, thinking that they have “done their research,” and have insight into how the world really works.
“I spend a lot of time squeezing my eyes shut and trying to remember what I believe; counting my breaths in the grief cloud; burying my face into God’s T-shirt. I remind Him sometimes, (and not kindly) that I believed Him when He told me the story He wrote for me is good, and that He never stops thinking of me,” she continued. “I must be a fool in love, because even from under all this debris, I still believe Him. And when I’m too angry to ask Him to sit on my bed until I fall asleep, He still stays.”
So I recently refreshed my RetroPi “gaming rig.” I wanted to mark the occasion by listing some of my favorite games from each of the generations. I’m not saying that I’m a connoisseur, and have played thousands of games, and can speak definitively about which games from each platform are the best. These are just the ones I’ve come across which I thought were good.
The Legend of Zelda
The Legend of Zelda 2, The Adventure of Link
U.S. Championship V’Ball (trust me)
Legend of Zelda, A Link to the Past
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Turtles in Time
Street Fighter 2
Donkey Kong Country
It is important to note that A Link to the Past may be one of the greatest video games ever made. And I mean right up there with The Witcher 3.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Captain America and The Avengers
The Bard’s Tale I, II, & III
Duke Nukem 3D
Command & Conquer 2, Red Alert
You may notice that there is no Mario-related content on these lists. That’s intentional.
The only downside to working for him was his disdain toward open source solutions. Anita couldn’t use any NuGet packages whatsoever; everything had to be built from scratch. She learned a ton while making her own JSON parsing library and working out OAuth 2.0 authentication.
At the bottom of the article, there’s an in-line advertisement for a product which wraps NuGet with permissions. What a perfect way to deliver an ad. Is the whole story fake, in order to deliver it? And what a perfectly “corporate” product, to further exacerbate developer frustrations in large company environments.
Please don’t tell my company (Initech) about the existence of this product. I think there are several mid-level managers who would experience actual arousal at the thought of implementing it.
Crypto, like meme stocks, is a poor replacement for the American dream. A functional nation would end gerrymandering, pass campaign finance reform, end the filibuster, abolish the undemocratic U.S. Senate, tax great wealth, institute public healthcare and build a social safety net to ensure that no one in our very wealthy country slipped all the way through the financial cracks of life and was ruined. But that’s not the American way. The American way is to cheer on the few lucky ultra-rich people, and fete them as heroes, and look for a way to emulate them, although such a thing is mathematically impossible.
The bitterest irony, perhaps, is that while the regular folks flock to crypto because they think it’s a utopian land of opportunity for the little guy to make a buck, it is, in fact, largely controlled by a small cartel of rich investors. Just like everything else.
I saw a post on Imgur that said that Little Cesar’s was going to raise the price of its “Hot and Ready” pizzas, so I wanted to go to Twitter, find an original reference, so that I could make a snarky comment about how my local shop never has any anyway.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DO NOT SEARCH FOR “HOT AND READY” ON TWITTER.
Spoiler alert: It’s all gay porn.
Or do, I’m not the boss of you. Maybe that’s your thing.
Given the extremely predictable turmoil that emerged from Gettr’s content policies, though, I wonder if there isn’t something to this: a false-flag social network, set up only to watch it burn to the ground.
In this… post-modern era of the Information Age, how are we ever supposed to actually conclude anything about anything? I’m still scratching my head over the twin scandals of Trump’s supposed “pee tape” — which was a false flag, but reported as true — and Hunter Biden’s “laptop” — which was a real story, but reported as a false flag. By the time the dust finally settled, and the actual facts of these stories have been sorted out, and the clown show of perpetrators and accomplices revealed, we find that the political sides don’t care about the truth anyway. The impressions of those stories are what they took away, and that’s all that mattered to the people who perpetrated them on the American public. Where does that leave us?
At this point, I think it’s becoming clear that one of the most important tools of a false flag operation is, in fact, to weaponize social media and news organizations to fight with each other, to occlude the facts until your disinformation campaign has entrenched enough people in the opinions you want them to have that it doesn’t matter when the truth comes out. By the time it does, they don’t care to learn any more about the stories, you will have had the effect on people you wanted, and while the talking heads are sifting through the rubble, your next operation is already underway. Again, as a society, where does that leave us?