WTF Microsoft


Back In February, you started pushing advertisements through Windows in several ways.  The first I noticed was on the lock screen.  A small tile was offering me a suggested app for just a few dollars.  once logged in, while trying to launch an app, I noticed another advertisement in the start menu, also offering a suggested app.  Since you offered the Windows 10 operating system for free to so many people, I can almost understand how you could feel justified in generating ad revenue through advertisements.  If your user did not pay for the platform up front, you can try to make up some of that loss on the back end.  That almost sounds smart.

That is all fine and good, but I paid for this copy of Windows.  In fact, I paid a lot because I required the Professional version that opens up Bitlocker and allows marginal control over updates.  On top of that, I got the Retail version, not the OEM.  So I paid $189.98 at Amazon to get Windows 10 shipped to me on a thumb drive.  Then, so that I could put Windows 10 on a second computer, I bought a duplicate copy.  In that light, I took offense at advertisements being pushed in front of me.  So I did a few searches and learned how to disable those ads.  It was not difficult, but I should not have had to do it.  You know who bought the OS and who got the free upgrade.  You could very easily disable the advertisements by default on the paid for copies.

Last night, much to my amazement, an advertisement was again in my start menu.  This happened just after some updates were installed.  Seriously, how hard is it to retain user settings through an update?  This is not the first time my system has not retained settings through an update.  I very meticulously locked down all of the privacy settings and disabled Cortana.  I’m still not sure why I checked again at a later date, but I did, and they had been enabled.  Now I have to check them regularly just to make sure you have not turned those features back on.  It seems that you are up to your old tricks again.  This is why I do not have a Microsoft account, actively go out of my way to avoid getting a Microsoft account, and vow that never in my lifetime will I ever sign up for or into a Microsoft account.  I do not trust you, and you are giving me really good reasons not to.

It is completely unacceptable to alter a user’s settings through an update.  I find it offensive that you would enable advertisements on my computer after I specifically disabled them.  But it is especially egregious to alter the privacy settings.  You demonstrate no respect for me by dictating how I can use my computer.  You demonstrate no appreciation for the money I spent on your product by degrading my user experience.  It leaves me thinking of a specific posterior orifice I would like for you to insert this operating system into.

WTF Microsoft

Stranger Things

Stranger Things
Stranger Things

In a small town where everyone knows everyone, a peculiar incident starts a chain of events that leads to the disappearance of a child – which begins to tear at the fabric of an otherwise peaceful community. Dark government agencies and seemingly malevolent supernatural forces converge on the town, while a few locals begin to understand that there’s more going on than meets the eye. ~ IMDB

This is one of the best shows I’ve watched in a really long time.  With each new episode, I am amazed at how good it is.  I keep thinking, How could it possibly get any better?  Then it does.  And to top it all off, this is a Netflix original series.  I thought that any show made by and for Netflix could not possibly be any good (House of Cards).  Wow was I wrong.  This show alone is worth the price of admission for a Netflix account.  It’s so unlike that other one.  The only down side, season one only has eight episodes, and I’ve already watched half of them.  They were all released at the same time on July 15th.  I only have four left before I have to wait for season two.  Given the July release of season one, I can only surmise that I will have to wait ten months for the second season to hit the net.  That is entirely unacceptable.

If you have not yet watched Stranger Things, stop everything and go watch it right now.  Seriously, stop reading this and go watch it.  Right now.

Male or Female, Man or Woman

CAUTION: The following text is politically incorrect.  I wrote it with the intent to piss off liberals and the politically correct.  If you find this offensive, good.  I accomplished my goal.  Please comment.  I would love to start up a wall of shame.

Several years ago I attended a college class on Sociology.  It was interesting and quite strange.  While I enjoyed the class, there were a few topics we discussed that I strongly opposed.  The one that I will focus on here has to do with Gender Identity and or Gender Traits.

The professor stated that the terms male and female were not the same as the terms man and woman.  The belief being that male is not synonymous with man or boy, and female is not synonymous with woman or girl.  She lectured that it is also possible to be a male woman, a male girl, a female man or even a female boy.  The terms male and female only apply to the physical parts of the body, that being man, woman, girl or boy is an identity independent of the body’s sex.  I hope that I have described her views fairly, so now I will get on with my rebuttal.

That view, being taught in schools all across the country, is the foundation for the entire transgender rights agenda.  What was once considered strange, or freakish, or just plain weird, is now being applauded.  It seems that the media and academia are falling all over themselves to remake the transgender into a normal and socially acceptable reality, no different than choosing a style of clothing.  Were you born male but wish you were a woman?  No problem choose a feminine name, put on a dress, call yourself a woman, and everyone is expected to go along with it because it would be wrong to hurt your feelings.  Were you born female but wish you were a man?  Same thing, nobody can say anything, because that would be hurtful.  Well, I reject that for what it is.  Bullshit.

If a person is born with a penis, that person is male.  That person is a boy.  That person will grow up to be a man.  If that person decides he wants to be a girl/woman, that’s fine.  He is totally free to identify any way he chooses.  That is none of my business.  The same goes for a female (girl/woman) who wants to be a man.  They can identify any way they choose.  It’s none of my business.  However, there is something that is my business, the terms of which I choose to describe these people.  I believe in free speech.  I am free to use the words I choose to describe these people.

So, what words will I use to describe a person born with a penis, no matter how they identify?  I will always use the male-specific pronouns for that person.  If this person chooses to put on a dress and change their name to a feminine one, that’s fine, but that person is still a male, a boy, and or a man.  It does not matter if this person gets a complete sex change operation in which the penis is replaced with a vagina.  That person was born male, so they will always be a man.  They will just be a man without a schlong.  You cannot change that.  Calling that person a woman, girl, or she is lying.  They are free to lie to themselves and the world all they like.  But I will not.  I will NOT participate in that lie.

And the same goes for any person born female that gets a penis sewn on.  That person is a woman with a schlong.  Calling her a man is a lie.  Even using the pronoun he is a lie, and I will not do it.  Kaitlyn Jenner is not a woman.  He is a man whose name is Bruce, will always be a man, and nothing will ever change that.  He may get his penis cut off, but that will not make him a woman.  He is an outlier.  He is not normal.  He represents a small percentage of the already minority group that is the LGBTQ community.  If anyone wants to call him a woman, that is their right.  If anyone wants to reference him with she, or her, that is their right.  If Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner wants to call himself a woman, he can.  But exercising my freedom of speech is my right, so I will not.  I will always refer to him as a man, because that is what he is.

Project Fi

Some time ago I switched my cell phone service to Google’s Project Fi.  My first impressions, not surprisingly, were unrealistically positive.  Being that I am a fan of Google, and believing that Google can do no wrong, I knew that I could not write about them objectively without waiting until the newness and novelty wore off.  I think I have reached that time.

You may be wondering, “What is Project Fi?”  Rather than try to describe it, I recommend you Google it and read the plethora of descriptions already available all over the Internet.  I’m just going to get right into my impressions of it.

The primary reason for my switch was to reduce my phone bill.  I was with Verizon before, and I was not unhappy with their service.  I just do not like paying in excess of $70 every month.  In my opinion, that is a large phone bill.  I wasn’t really looking for an alternative.  I literally stumbled across a story about Project Fi by accident and loved the concept.  But how does their pricing work in real life?  They claim that their service is $20 per month for unlimited talk and text, and exactly $10 per gigabyte of data used, charged for just the amount you use.  If you only use 250 megabytes of data, they only charge you about $2.50 for it.  Well, it’s true.  My first bill with them was $34.59, paying for the first month’s 1 gigabyte of data up front.  My second bill, having only used .452 GB of data, the bill was $29.11 after they refunded the unused data cost.  My third bill was $28.73 (.413 GB used).  My bill has been cut to less than half what it was before.

Here’s the thing, I also use much less data than before.  I was on an account with 12 GB shared three ways, so there was no reason to conserve data.  My share was 4 GB, so I used it.  I was paying for it, so why not use it?  But with Project Fi, if I don’t use the data, I’m not charged for it.  There is an incentive to conserve.  An unintended side effect is a change in my behavior around my use of data.  If I don’t really need to use the data, I don’t because it directly costs me money.  A lot of the reasons I used data before I now wait until I get home, or on Wi-Fi somewhere.

Coverage is a huge factor in cell phone service.  The best pricing in the world doesn’t matter with poor coverage.  In this regard, Project Fi is inferior to Verizon.  Even though they use three cell services (Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular) and Wi-Fi, I often find myself in areas where mobile data is not available.  This includes at my house.  However, I have Wi-Fi at the house, so that fills in that hole.  Actually, I don’t get any cell signal at my house at all.  Verizon is the only cell carrier that provides service where I live.  But with the Wi-Fi, that is not an issue.  The downside, if the power at the house goes out, the Internet will no longer work, so my cell phone will also stop working.  None of these issues cause the service to not work for my needs, but they are issues that have to be acknowledged.  If you live in a city, these issues will likely not apply.  I do live in the boonies.  As for areas where mobile data is not available, they are primarily in rural areas, and voice calls are still clear.  The only downside is it negatively affects being able to start navigation assistance with Google Maps.

One oddity with Project Fi is its limitations on handsets.  You have to use one of three Google Nexus phones.  That is not a con for me, as I wanted the Nexus 6P anyway.  This was just a really good excuse to buy one.  My experience with the 6P has been nothing short of amazing.  Everything about the phone is awesome.  It is a flagship phone with great system specs and no manufacturer bloatware.  It’s the plain Android OS with no fluff.  The phone is just fast.  I’ll never go back to a non-Google phone again.  The Samsung Galaxy 5 that I switched from is a good phone, but it was held back by a lot of Samsung and Verizon crap installed on top of the OS that could not be removed without voiding the warranty.  The Nexus line may be ending, but Google is replacing them with phones branded the Pixel and Pixel XL.  Time will tell if they are worthy successors to the Nexus lineup.  I hope they are.

Overall I am pleased with Project Fi.  It has its quirks, but it excels a few key points that truly matter.  The phones are the best of Android, the coverage is just passable, but the price is unmatched.  Where else can I get a sub $30 cell phone bill?  Nuf said.

Faithful Churchgoing Agnostic

Somebody I know recently found out that I am agnostic.  They asked me, “Why do you go to church every Sunday?”  That’s a good question.  I didn’t have a very good answer.  I just spouted off something about the social contact, of being around people, about friends and such.  It sounded good, but . . .

To be truthful, being an agnostic is probably worse than being either a believer or an atheist.  At least with either of those options, there is some solidity.  You know what you believe, and by God you can stand for it.  But agnostic?  What does an agnostic stand for?  It doesn’t have the same effect to stand on my soap box and proclaim, “I don’t know!”  Is there a God?  I don’t know.  If there is a God, can his/her nature truly be known?  I don’t know.  Can his/her name be known with any certainty?  I don’t know.  It just sounds lame.

Yet, every Sunday morning, I sit in church.  I listen to the message.  I am sometimes encouraged by it.  I mean, I’m not evil.  I appreciate good, moral values when I hear them, and I like to see people helping one another.  Christianity is full of good, moral lessons.  I don’t take issue with any of that.  I visit with the other parishioners.  I am friendly and cordial.  I go home.

In many ways, I envy the Christians their faith.  It makes a lot of things so much simpler.  And it provides answers to the oldest of questions posed by humanity.  “Why are we here?”  Even atheists have an answer, even if it’s that there is no purpose.  We are here just because we are here.  No more reason is needed.  But for an agnostic, it’s all unknown.  We could be here to build a relationship with a deity, the ultimate goal being to return to him in an afterlife.  Or we could be just a bunch of evolved biological organisms running around mucking everything up for no better reason than hormones.  Who’s to say which is true?

So, if I envy Christians their faith, why don’t I believe.  In some ways I want to.  In other ways I just can’t  In fact, people have tried to help me.  I understand their motives.  They’re worried about my soul.  I can appreciate that.  Not too long ago one of my friends tried a pretty good tactic.  He said to me, “You are not a mistake.  You are not an accident.”  Be careful who you use that line of reasoning with.  Because my response was, “I’m not so sure that is an argument in favor of God.”

So I come full circle.  Why do I, an agnostic, go to church every Sunday?  I go because I’ve always gone.  I go because I really do need to get out and socialize with people.  I go because I have friends there, friends that are at least partially decent individuals, who care about me.  I go because I fear being wrong.  What if God is real?  Where better to find God than in his house?