Saturday, April 16, 2016

Time for some tech support

Time for a little pro bono tech support for my readers.  In case you've been hiding under a rock, Microsoft wants you to upgrade to Windows 10.  I mean they really want you to upgrade.  If you don't like the user interface, if you don't think your existing hardware can handle Windows 10 with reasonable performance or if you have software of hardware that isn't supported, there are two tools you must have to keep the Windows 10 menace at bay.

First, you need the GWX Control Panel from Ultimate Outsider.  It's free and it works against every trick Microsoft has tried to sneak Windows 10 onto machines so far.

Second, you need Spybot Anti-beacon, also a freebie.  Actually, you want this if you're running Windows 7 or above, because it shuts down all the interesting ways Windows phones the Microsoft Mothership with information on what you are doing on your personal computer.

Personally, I have a number of reasons I don't want 10 on my machines.  I have two that are simply too old and anemic to run it.  They exist to run special purpose software, each machine for its own special software.  Neither ever talk to the Internet.  (One can't--MS-DOS, baby.  Living history at The Freehold.  Admission:  One 3.5" floppy diskette.)  I have another that runs software that doesn't currently care for Windows 10.  It runs Windows 7, so it's fine for now.  It isn't up to running Windows 10 on its bitty Atom processor and it never will be.  It's a Win 7 box forever.  Hopefully by the time it dies the software will be updated for Windows Whatever.

The one I'm writing this on I tried the Win 10 upgrade on.  I tried it for 3 days.  Three days of slow motion lockups.  Thankfully I have an iPad, so at least I could still have access to the Internet for troubleshooting.  Day 4 was spent pulling Windows 10 off (not as simple as they say it is, at least not in my case) and Day 5 was spent making sure Humpty Dumpty was properly back together again.

I do have one very new computer that probably could run Windows 10, but at this point, the question is sort of "Why bother?"  It runs Windows 7 just fine, even though it was a bit difficult finding the last couple of drivers.  Yeah, it came with Windows 10.  Took it off when I stripped the hard drive out and replaced it with a solid state drive.

I will run Windows 10 at work, probably starting in June.  That goes with the job--you have to run the latest and greatest as a technology professional.  People expect it from you, and they get concerned when you don't.  And it isn't horrible--it's actually pretty solid and the UI is decent once you get used to it.

But if you don't want to get used to it, grab GWX Contol Panel and Spybot Anti-beacon.  They'll keep you Windows 10 free.

(Edit, 4/21/2016:  Damn.  I don't need to write blog posts under the influence of migraine attacks and/or rescue meds.  Wow.  Fixed it all.  Sorry for inflicting such poor writing on you.)

I think I'll appropriate this content

And to double my evil, I'm doing it twice--once from Jerry Pournelle, who mentioned it at Chaos Manor, and once from the author, Bill Whittle.  Feel free to appropriate it from me.


Knocked that sucker into another zip code....

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The dreadful truth at the heart of Trump's message on paying for American troops on foreign soil

There probably should have been one of those Joker meme's for it--"Someone says something outrageous and no one bats an eye, Donald Trump says American allies need to start spending their own money on defense and everyone loses their minds."

Of course, that isn't exactly what Trump said.  What he said was a bit more along the lines of if a nation wanted the US to protect them by stationing troops there (Japan and Korea) or to send in troops to straighten out a mess they'd gotten themselves into (a goodly portion of the rest of the world) they' should be prepared to pay for the service.

Still, a lot of people lost their minds.  Why, how dare he suggest that the American military be whored out as mercenary soldiers!  The cad!

Why not?  It isn't like we haven't walked up to that line a few times before and wiggled our toes over it.  I think the Hawaiians might have a few words to say about it.  So might  the Cubans or the Dominicans.  For quite some time, our armed forces were our big agriculturists' best friends.  Some banana republic threatening to nationalize your holdings?  We'll handle that for you.  1-800-USMARINES and it's done.

A slightly different situation has been NATO.  Born from the ashes of World War II, NATO was formed to give the United States a international legal framework that could be used to block the Russian bear from swallowing a pretty much defenseless Europe after the war was over.  The US provided the vast majority of the military might for the alliance, the European nations of NATO provided the land and took the risk of being the battleground should war actually break out.  Not the greatest basis for a relationship perhaps, but it worked for almost 50 years.

Unfortunately, as time passed the fact that the US did so allowed the recovering European nations to use money that they had traditionally used to build armies and navies for other things, such as highly socialized societies.  It is our fault that we allowed this to occur.  If we had more backbone, we would have told the Europeans to spend it on guns rather than butter, and made it stick by withdrawing some amount of our combat troops per year.  But for various reasons we didn't, and Europe got to have their socialism and their defense from the Russian bear too.  Europe got soft and as time passes is getting softer and softer.  Now they're being invaded by people with few to no weapons and they're losing badly.  Another generation and having been swallowed up by the Russians might be looked on as having been a good thing.  Damn those meddling Americans!

Once again George Friedman has penned a magnificent piece, this time on the history and lack of future for NATO.  As usual, it's a great read and worth your time and effort.  He goes into far more depth than I'm capable of.  He's in Europe now, laying out the truth of things for the Europeans.

I bet they will be losing their minds.