Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

The Slippery Slope

Sunday, January 17th, 2016

And, so, Roku it is. Fifty bucks for the Roku 1 (I needed analog sound out as I am using a retired PC monitor and not a TV), a few trips up and down the stairs to input things on my PC, and I’m watching much better-than-expected video (with the puzzling exception of HBO Now, which has an alarming lack of black level and, surprisingly, the worst interface of them all considering it is also the most expensive of the streaming channels) and hearing terrific audio in my family room, making me wonder what on earth I’d been thinking all these years. I’m now binge-watching Larry David’s hysterical Curb Your Enthusiasm while sipping True Detective Season One like fine tea.

The New Republic’s David Thomson wrote, “True Detective has the aggressive casualness and dense texture of a novel by a writer who doesn’t care if he’s only ever going to be mid-list,” which also aptly sums up my own prose writing. The difference between commercial writing and writing for yourself is exactly that. I suspect the key to becoming a good novelist is to differentiate between being good and being successful; stop worrying so much about whether or not you are or will become successful, and concentrate on being good (or, failing that, at least enjoying yourself). (more…)

Windows 10: Bigger Brother

Sunday, January 17th, 2016

Okay, Windows 10 is in. I now realize, I really didn’t want Windows 10. I wanted the Windows 10 UI, which you can get from Stardock’s WindowBlinds and spoof Windows 10 or Mac GUIs. Windows 10 itself likely has lots of positive and good things about it, but, had I realize the major downside of W10, I’d have stuck with W7.

The major problem is that Windows 10 virtually destroys any shred of privacy the end user had left. We didn’t have much, but we had at least a little control at the end-user side of things. W10 does away with all of that. For instance, I no longer have a local login but must use my Microsoft Store login on my machine. I’m not at all sure why MS thinks this makes my PC more secure: it does not. In fact, it severely weakens my security because now all anyone needs is to hack one login instead of four. Every machine I link to my MS acct will now use the same login and have access to all of my info. I understand why they’re doing this, chasing after the Google Chrome –ne-Apple models, but I find it really annoying that I can’t use “Pookey” or some other silly vanity name for each of my PCs; they now are named whatever my MS acct is named.

Beyond that, the W10 EULA tells us MS will now be reading our email. I’m not making this up. MS will now scan all of your email the way Google and Yahoo do, but are now doing it at the local level which means, even if you’re not using a MS (or Outlook) account, your PC will now read your email and report back to Microsoft. This is done presumably for advertising purposes, to create an advertising “key” to provide to advertisers so they know which ads to show you. But I also assume if you keep typing things like “jihad” or “Allah Akbar,” they’re report that to somebody, too. Got pics of your kids in the bathtub on your PC? Expect a possible visit from the cops. MS’s cloud drive wants to, essentially, clone your file structure on “The Cloud” for easier access. But, note, they scan every byte of data sent there. (more…)