Another Bone to Pick with Microsoft

Back in August Microsoft deployed their Anniversary Update for Windows 10.  I learned my lesson on early adopting anything coming out of Redmund, so I have my Professional copies set to defer feature updates.  I do not intend to take on those updates unless I absolutely have to.  Well, yesterday Microsoft forced my hand and jammed the Anniversary Update down my throat, like it or not.  I did everything I could to stop it, even editing the registry to make my ethernet connection register as a metered service.  It still downloaded it.  I unplugged the cable from the back of the machine which stopped the download midstream and frantically Googled for a way to stop it.  Not finding one, I phoned Microsoft for a solution.  The tech I finally spoke to told me there were two solutions they could offer.  1) Let the update finish and then use the recovery option to go back to an earlier build.  2) Stop all updates completely.  So, I had to choose between a bad option and a bad option.

I understand that security updates are important, so I went with bad option number one.  Now I get to the bone I am picking.  I have my computer encrypted with Bitlocker, and other stuff.  In process of installing this rather large update, Windows required a few reboots.  During the first reboot, I unlocked my encrypted thumb drive that contains the key file required for my computer to boot, and I prepared to enter the password also required to boot, and watched in amazement as it simply continued on with the install without any input from me.

Let’s put this into perspective.  I have configured Bitlocker to require a key stored on a TPM chip installed on the motherboard, a key file stored on the above-mentioned hardware encrypted thumb drive, and a twenty character alpha-numeric pin (the maximum length Bitlocker supports).  My computer, while installing the update, rebooted.  The screen showed the video card post screen, the raid post screen, and the motherboard post screen that handed the process over to the Windows boot loader.  At that point, with only the TPM portion of the process fulfilled, the Windows Update process continued to write to an encrypted file system.  How?

I presume that the RAM was cleared, so the encryption key shouldn’t have been stored there.  The file system is encrypted, so it could not have been stored there as the update process would not have the key to read the key.  So the only place left is the unencrypted boot sectors of the system drive.  That is a massive security hole that completely destroys the point of encryption.  If the key was written to an unencrypted portion of the system drive, that key is now recoverable by a hacker or other threat to my digital security.

The other possible explanation, Windows temporarily disabled Bitlocker for the duration of the update process.  This is an equally bad situation.  It took hours to fully encrypt the 930GB of usable space on my system drive, despite that fact that it’s four striped SSD’s.  How then, can the update process, in a matter of minutes, circumvent that encryption?

This whole post boils down to one thing.  What little faith I had in Bitlocker is gone.  At great expense and with much effort, I have switched to other solutions.  Thank you, Microsoft for costing my hundreds of dollars and many hours to fix your gaping security holes.

Basket of Deplorables Rejoice

Even now, months after Hillary Clinton called half of Donald Trump’s supporters a “Basket of Deplorables,” (read the story) I am amazed that she actually said the words out loud.  But she did, and I doubt that it had the intended effect.  I know that what I am about to write might not strengthen my case, but here goes anyway.

After the election, I went to the liquor store to purchase a bottle of Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum.  I’m earning my Deplorable Badge, I know.  I informed the lady at checkout that I was buying my celebratory bottle of rum.  She inquired to what I was celebrating.  When I told her I was one of the Irredeemable Deplorables that is happy that Donald Trump won the presidency, she grinned, shook my hand and proudly proclaimed to be a Deplorable herself.  It would appear, according to my very small sample of two, a very scientific survey if there has ever been one, being a member of Donald Trump’s Basket of Deplorables has become a badge of honor.  Take that Crooked Hillary.

If you would like to proudly proclaim being a Deplorable, please feel free to do so in the comments below.  I would love to hear from you.

40000 Mile Marker

Some time ago, July 8th 2015 to be exact, I wrote a little piece about my motorcycle hitting 30,000 miles.  You can read about that here.  Well, to continue in that tradition, it just hit 40,000 miles today.  So I captured a short video of the odometer rolling over.


As with the 30,000 mile marker video, most people will not care that I put another 10,000 miles on my motorcycle.  Even still, you can view the video on YouTube here.

Last time I used a very dangerous method of recording the video.  I rode slowly up a narrow side street in the middle of Murfreesboro, Tennessee one handed while holding the phone to record the video with the other, all while trying not to run over pedestrians, pets, small children or squirrels.  It was precarious and a miracle that I did not harm myself or anyone else.  This time, I employed a much safer method to capture the video.  With much attention paid to safety, I slowly rode the bike up the carefully controlled environment of a four-lane highway’a shoulder, one handed, while cars passed at interstate speeds all while carefully holding the phone with the other hand to record this video.  Kids, do not attempt this at home.  I am a trained professional, I think.



If you think about it, T.G.I.F., or Thank God it’s Friday, is a depressing phrase.  It means that you dislike your occupation enough to cause celebration that the work week has finally come to an end.  Personally, I do not want to be in a position where I dread the start of a work week and celebrate the short respite the weekend offers.  That is a dreary existence and one that I want to avoid if at all possible.

Imagine this.  You have a job that is so enjoyable, so fulfilling, that you look forward to going to work on Monday morning.  You are excited by the prospects of being able to accomplish something.  Then Monday takes on a whole new meaning.  It is just the beginning of something you are looking forward to.  That sounds like a much more pleasant mindset.

How do you achieve such a thing?  That’s where it gets difficult, and in a way easy.  Every person must search out something that excites them, something that they so eagerly want to do they can’t imagine doing anything else.  Then, you have to figure out how to make money doing it.  What is that old saying?  If you do something you love, you’ll never work another day in your life.  So, go do something you love, and start proclaiming Thank God it’s Monday.

Police Lives Matter

If the title of this post got you excited, hold that thought.  This post is about to take a left turn.

One of the news articles that popped up on my phone today was an article on written by Todd Starnes.  The article is about some Walmart employees refusing to make a Police Lives Matter cake for a police officer’s retirement party.  If you would like, you can read the story here.  I gathered from the article that the employees refused on the grounds that they found the concept to be racist.  From that, I will operate under the assumption that the employees are likely black.  I could be wrong, but that seems a safe bet.  If I am wrong, I apologize for being a racist and insensitive white guy from middle America.  Sue me.

Mr. Starnes wrote of being surprised that the employees were not fired for refusing to make the cake.  So he is obviously taking the side of the daughter trying to get a cake for her retiring father.  That seems to be a sensible position, because how could someone be against an assertion that Police Lives Matter.  I mean, police lives really do matter.  But here’s the thing.  The phrase Police Lives Matter is a direct challenge to the Black Lives Matter organization.  It trivializes a movement that aims to protect the lives of a minority group.  While I understand the sentiment behind the phrase Police Lives Matter, I cannot help but to say those Walmart employees are absolutely correct.  They had every right to refuse to make that cake.  I applaud them for standing up for their convictions.  It takes courage to stand up to your boss and say no when there is a real possibility of being fired for it.  Kudos to the Walmart employees.

That being said, Walmart should have fired them on the spot.  Walmart is a huge corporation, and they cannot have employees dragging their name and brand into political issues that they cannot win.  No matter which side Walmart takes, they alienate some segment of society that are potential customers.  Once those employees made that decision and it hit the news, Walmart could not win no matter what they did.  In this case, they tried very hard to take care of the customer and make the cake.  In the process, they possibly angered everybody that is sympathetic to Black Lives Matter.  They appear to be siding with a woman that some people will view as racist.  They could not win.

So, what about Black Lives Matter?  The news has been constant lately.  It seems that every week another story breaks that follows the same theme.  An unarmed black man is shot and killed by police officers.  These incidents are the reason the Black Lives Matter group exists.  All police agencies in this country need to understand something.  If you want the Black Lives Matter group to go away, stop killing unarmed black men.  It really is that simple.  It has gotten so bad that according to a Huffington Post article, three countries have issued warnings about travel to the United States.  This country is supposed to be a welcoming environment that is safe for all people.  That is no longer the perception some people have of us.

One thing I will not do in this post is list stories about unarmed, black men who have been killed by police.  Even if I limited the list to those that occurred in 2016, it would be too long for this post.  And that’s only part of the problem.  There is another side to the problem, and could be argued is much more important.  For so many years there has been an attitude within law enforcement that “We protect our own.”  It is important to know that you have backup in a stressful situation.  I understand that, but there needs to be a reasonable limit to that.  Covering for criminal activity is in itself a crime.  This Good ol’ Boy atmosphere in the police ranks no longer has any place in our society.  It is sad that the reason it is being challenged now is only because of squad car dash cams and officer body cams.  Until now there has never been proof when an officer acted outside the law and killed an unarmed person with no provocation.  Now we are seeing it weekly.  And much to the horror of the black community, the powers that be keep sweeping it under the rug.  They take a very long time to come to the decision that the officer acted appropriately when all the video evidence tells a completely different story.  What do you expect the black community to do when this happens.  They are the underdogs.  They are the marginalized.  They are  the powerless victims.  They are the ones that die.  Don’t be surprised when they stand up en mass and fight back the only way they know how.  This is the only way they can effect change in a broken system.  Who will listen to them if they petition lawmakers?  Who will take them seriously if they speak out?  It is only through the actions they are taking that they bring attention to the issue that is most important to them.  This is the only way they know to defend themselves from an armed adversary.So, what should the police do about this?

There is a good example of what not to do.  According to this article from CNN, North Carolina enacted a new law removing squad car dash cam footage from the public record.  In North Carolina, dash cam footage was considered public record, so it was available for scrutiny.  Not anymore.  This sends exactly the wrong message to these groups protesting police shootings.  If you do not have anything to hide, stop hiding the evidence.  The solution to the violent protests that are happening after the police shoot an unarmed, black man is not to hide the evidence behind some new law.  The solution is to STOP SHOOTING UNARMED, BLACK MEN!  Why is this so difficult to understand?  If you hide the video footage behind this new law, the black community will assume that you are guilty, and they will riot.  This law is not fixing anything.  It is perpetuating the Good ol’ Boy mentality that I wrote of earlier.

The best way to end this Black Lives Matter movement is to stop hiding the evidence.  Stop defending obviously guilty officers that kill any person without cause.  Release the unedited video in a timely manner so everyone can see what really happened.  Put the officers that are guilty of killing any person without just cause in prison.  The only thing that will end the Black Lives Matter movement is complete, honest, transparency.  Until that happens, they have every right to rise up against you.  Don’t act surprised when they do.

PS: I find it odd that I wrote such a liberal piece.  I mean, I am likely to anger more Republicans with this post than Democrats.  I don’t know that I like that, but it is what it is.  I created the Politically Incorrect category with the expressed goal of pissing off the Liberals and Democrats.  Unfortunately, with this post, I likely failed.  But stay tuned.  I’ll get back to my vast right wing conspiracies soon enough.