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Microsoft Bing: Small Tsu = Porn?

May 3rd, 2014 1 comment
I am on Facebook a lot now, and try to read some Japanese-language posts, especially ones written by my wife. They have the “See Translation” option, provided by Microsoft's Bing, which supposedly translates the Japanese text into English. The problem is, it often translates like it was written by a deranged screenwriter specializing in bad porn. Seriously, it's like one of those Chinese dictionaries that resulted in obscene English labels in Chinese supermarkets. Now I know that machine translation between European and East Asian languages is spotty at best, but one would think that certain words would simply not be in the translation matrix, or whatever it's called. However, it seems to be mostly related to a single Japanese character. Take this sentence in Japanese:
フィギュア男子素晴らしい演技でしたね。 すごいっ!ステキっ!
A fair translation would be, “It was a wonderful performance in the men's figure skating. Wow! Great!” On Facebook, it was translated as:
Figure men's amazing performance was ... wow.! Nice boobs!
I tried going to Bing translation directly, pasted the sentence there—and it was even worse:
It was the figure men's great acting. Amazing boobs! Nice boobs!
Seriously? “Boobs”? Turns out that the “boobs” comes whenever a small “tsu” () appears out of place, used often in Japanese to create a sudden stop, acting kind of like an emphasis for the exclamation point. On Google translate, it comes out as “tsu” or (strangely) “LI.” But “boobs”? Here is a Bing translation of a single Facebook post:
In less than two hours March! (early!) fliped over my private calendar is out! (did buy a desk calendar “Hoshino Chan” thanks for accepted calendar for a super House by mistake, I have is and & my husband face big boobs a March to forgive.) was indeed warm day, so it was just a happy. Mood shop & cold hardens me you cum Sasha! I'll do it! (what? for) of switch “chubby!”, I feel that it was. (Lol) weekend winter mode is, but another relapse is also no sense.
Seriously? “Big boobs,” and “cold hardens me you cum”? I've been getting questions from my family as to what exactly Sachi is writing in Japanese. When I put the text into Bing's official page, again it identified the small “tsu” () as the part translated as “boobs”—but it also translated the exact same character into “cum” in another sentence! What the...? This is what you get if the exact same message in Japanese is put into Google Translate:
March in less than 2 hours to go! (Ll soon) Tsu was turning a private calendar of my home! (And me accepted me to buy a desk calendar calendar super home for you've had “Hoshi-chan” by mistake and ... face Deka-tsuna March excuse of & husband thanks) Today is because it was a warm day, I was happy with it. For me, that hardens and cold moody & was the day that was popular, the feeling that “Pochi” was the switch “Yaruzo pretensions” of (what for) ... (laughs) The weekend seems to winter mode, but there is no sense going back.
As you can see, the translation as a whole is better on Google. It's still mangled, but much more clear, and no porn terminology. The thing is, it's not just the two strange “tsu” related hiccups I found—strange words find their way into the text fairly commonly. Here's a collection of sentences that I have strung together from various sources, to give you an idea of what I'm talking about:
Gaping! I always do you have weed... Hand fetish with me! Will drink your father who ate and I'm sure. Walk to him cum ♪ suffice in the exercise of said. I was the time you pack. Also to go out, when combined in the dog ultra-most fortunately I'm a boobs. Requests off my husband cum!
So, was Microsoft's software intentionally sabotaged, and after months or years nobody at Microsoft noticed? What the hell is going on there?

The Disk Wasn’t Ejected Because We’re Stupid

April 26th, 2014 2 comments
I simply cannot believe that Apple still has this infuriating bug after all these years. Connect external volumes and try to eject... and OS X comes up with this message:
The disk “(diskname)” wasn’t ejected because one or more programs may be using it. To eject the disk immediately, click the Force Eject button.
The “one or more programs” is so idiotically vague as to be worse than useless. The thing is, it's almost always some process in OS X, some stupid Apple service like indexing the volume, something that of course should just shut down when you try to eject... and after all these years Apple still hasn't corrected it. Freaking pisses me off to no end. In order to eject the disk, you usually have to close every app you're running and reboot the computer—something that is so SCSI and 1980's that it's pathetic. Follow the “Force Eject” suggestion, and some disk formats will not remount until OS X spends 20-30 minutes working on it somehow. It should be a simple and obvious point, but Apple seems to be either incapable of fixing it or else doesn't give a crap.

Tweetless Twitter

April 14th, 2014 Comments off
This did not surprise me at all:
According to a report from Twopcharts, an online service that tracks twitter users have found that, 44 percent of twitter users do not use twitter. These users have a twitter account, but never tweeted anything. This report says 30 percent of existing twitter accounts have sent 1-10 Tweets.
In other words, 74% of all Twitter accounts result in people never really doing anything with them. It does not surprise me because that's about how long it takes for people to figure out that they really don't want to tweet as much as they thought they did. And I'm one of them. Never got into the Tweeting habit. Tried it, thought “meh,” moved on. Except I use my Twitter account all the time: I find it is excellent for getting me into comment sections of web sites. I despise having to register an email address and wait for the sometimes unforthcoming confirmation email before I can drop a quick note into a discussion. A lot of places now allow you to sign in with Twitter. And that does not bug me in the least, as I used a junk email account to initiate it, and never put anything up on my page. Essentially, for me, Twitter is just a way to comment on sites more easily. Works swell in that way!

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Well, This Is a New One

February 18th, 2014 2 comments
I am used to the idea of splogs—fake blogs which steal content from real blogs so as to generate income from advertising—but today I saw something I had never seen before. Perhaps, in the spirit of “splog” (spam + blog), perhaps you could call what I found a “Spews Site”—Spam + News Site. I was searching for more information about a news story and was running through dozens of syndicated duplicates, when I came across one which was almost the same as the other dupes... but was worded rather ridiculously. I soon realized that I had stumbled onto a site which took syndicated news stories, but presumably to avoid paying the fees, they had a robot script go through and replace every 4th or 5th word with a random synonym from a thesaurus. Since it was done mechanically, a lot of the words come across as somewhat bizarre. Here's an example—real story on the left, and ripped-off version on the right:

Confederate sub made history 150 years ago Monday On a clear, moonlight night 150 years ago, the hand-cranked Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley glided out over glassy seas off South Carolina, sailing into history as the first submarine ever to sink an enemy warship. A century and a half later — and nearly a decade and a half after the sub was raised — just why the Hunley and its eight-man crew never returned is a mystery, albeit one that scientists may be closer to resolving. Monday marks the 150th anniversary of the Feb. 17, 1864, mission in which the Hunley sank the Union ship Housatonic as the Confederates desperately tried to break the Civil War blockade that was strangling Charleston. While the Housatonic sank, so did the Hunley.
Confederate underling done story 150 years ago Monday On a clear, light night 150 years ago, a hand-cranked Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley glided out over slick seas off South Carolina, sailing into story as a initial submarine ever to penetrate an rivalry warship. A century and a half after — and scarcely a decade and a half after a underling was lifted — only because a Hunley and a eight-man organisation never returned is a mystery, despite one that scientists might be closer to resolving. Monday outlines a 150th anniversary of a Feb. 17, 1864, goal in that a Hunley sank a Union boat Housatonic as a Confederates desperately attempted to mangle a Civil War besiege that was slaying Charleston. While a Housatonic sank, so did a Hunley.

Now, to their credit, they link to the original... but it still comes across as pretty shameless.

Network Neutrality Dealt a Heavy Blow

January 15th, 2014 4 comments
The D.C. circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision today to essentially give Telecoms sweeping powers to manipulate Internet access, control content, and do their worst to make the Internet more expensive and snarled. Telecoms can now freely block content as they please. If there is a competitor to their own services or services provided by an affiliate, they can throttle or block them; if there's an app they don't like, they can cripple its traffic.
Consumer advocacy group Free Press lamented the ruling. “We’re disappointed that the court came to this conclusion,” Free Press CEO Craig Aaron said in a written statement. “Its ruling means that Internet users will be pitted against the biggest phone and cable companies—and in the absence of any oversight, these companies can now block and discriminate against their customers’ communications at will.”
More importantly, they can now charge whatever fees they wish for faster speeds. Netflix or Amazon wants to stream video? Well, they better pay huge wads of cash to the Telecoms if they want their current speeds to continue. Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T can now decimate their businesses unless they pay the Telecoms whatever the market will bear. Which means that you, the consumer, will be paying more and more in the long run, because those fees will without any doubt whatsoever be passed on to you. The Internet just got a whole lot more expensive—and the Telecoms, already gorged with profits, will be swallowing all of that up. Now, remember for the past several years how the Telecoms have been whining about how that excess revenue is absolutely vital to fund rollouts of faster fiber service nationwide? Well, they said that when they got permission to raise fees years ago, and they lied then—there is almost no doubt that they are lying again now:
In the U.S., there's no practical competition. The vast majority of households essentially have a single broadband option, their local cable provider. Verizon and AT&T provide Internet service, too, but for most customers they're slower than the cable service. Some neighborhoods get telephone fiber services, but Verizon and AT&T have ceased the rollout of their FiOs and U-verse services--if you don't have it now, you're not getting it.
Meaning that, despite years of promising that they would give us all bright, new, shiny bandwidth in exchange for today's ruling, we will get only what profits them the most and not on baud more. Expect the Internet to get less efficient and more expensive. I hope I am wrong, but we're talking about a newly-unfettered corporate will now able to do almost whatever they want in a market ripe for exploitation. It seems impossibly naive to expect anything but a worse consumer experience.

The Metro-Interfaced Turd

May 13th, 2013 2 comments
Microsoft is getting fed up with people telling them how badly Windows 8 sucks. Frank Shaw, a Microsoft VP of communications, said:
In this world where everyone is a publisher, there is a trend to the extreme -- where those who want to stand out opt for sensationalism and hyperbole over nuanced analysis. In this world where page views are currency, heat is often more valued than light. Stark black-and-white caricatures are sometimes more valued than shades-of-gray reality. So let's pause for a moment and consider the center. In the center, selling 100 million copies of a product is a good thing. In the center, listening to feedback and improving a product is a good thing.
“Nuanced analysis” being sales-talk for “I'm about to lie to you.” Hate to carp on this, buddy, but you didn't sell 100 million copies. That may be the pipeline number, but as for actual copies sold and in use, the number is closer to 60 million. Some of the licenses have been shipped but not sold, and a good many are simply not used—users even pay a premium so they can downgrade to Windows 7. Not to mention that of the 60 million probable actual sales, it is more than likely that most were not willful, but instead were people who simply bought computers and Windows 8 happened to be on them. Not to mention that Windows 8 is now on tablets, which cannot downgrade to Windows 7, and tablet sales are included in the numbers reported, inflating the overall numbers and yet making the picture more dismal for the Desktop. This all means that instead of matching the adoption rate of Windows 7, Windows 8 is doing probably only about half as well, if even that. Which, of course, is in line with reality, as most people agree: Windows 8 sucks on desktop computers. I get the same vibe from W8 users that I got from Vista users. If Vista was a Chrome-Plated Turd, Win 8 is a Turd in a Metro interface. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not just trashing Windows, else I would call W8 a total failure. The fact is, for a tablet, 8 is supposedly a sweet ride. But that's the problem: Microsoft designed 8 for tablets, and apparently figured that it would be perfectly fine for desktops as well. Which raises the same question I had on the first day of the Windows 8 public beta release: What the frack is Microsoft thinking? It took me all of five minutes to conclude that Windows 8 was a complete and total frack-up on a desktop. It was not an act of genius on my part, it was simply stupendously obvious. I mean, really: changes to the basic user interface without even a hint to users about what to do? No tutorial? No step-by-step? Are you kidding me? And then later, with the official release, still no compensation? And even if Microsoft had decided to keep the Start menu in it, the OS was hardly a worthy upgrade for desktop users in the first place. Shaw's complaint comes across as… well, let's just say that if we pause for a moment and consider the center, the center is realizing that you have seriously screwed up and so you have to cover your ass with excuses. Which explains his corporate ass-covering statement. Microsoft has had four OS releases in the past 12 years. Two have been successful, stable, and well-liked releases. However, the other two have been breathtaking pieces of crap. That's not really a very good track record.

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Windows 8 PC Sales: “Horribly Stalled”

March 10th, 2013 1 comment
A computer industry analyst talks about why:
There were certain decisions that Microsoft made that were in retrospect flawed. Notably not allowing people to boot into desktop mode and taking away the start button. Those two things have come up consistently. We've done some research and people miss that.
“In retrospect”? Really? They didn't see that coming? Before the official release of Windows 8, I noted:
Windows 8 will be released very soon, and when it comes out, we’ll see if Microsoft is completely stupid or not. The test: whether or not Microsoft has added a tutorial to Windows 8. One which pops up immediately and tells people how things have changed, and how to get around the OS. With Windows 8, the Start Menu is gone, cannot be brought back, and has been replaced with the now-infamous start screen. Going from one place to another now requires new actions which are not apparent because they are not visible on the screen. It is anything but intuitive to figure out that moving your cursor to a corner will bring up a screen you are looking for. When I first downloaded Windows 8 Consumer Preview, I was hopelessly confused. I could not figure out how to get around—and I’m no n00b to Windows, either. There are bound to be lots of people who will be stymied when they see Windows 8, and who will hate the transition. “What?! I can’t bring back the Start menu? Why not?!?”
This was posted well after the beta release, but that's just when I blogged about it. As I note above, when I downloaded the OS and installed Windows 8—on the very first day of the public beta—I immediately decided that Microsoft was insane to have removed the start menu and Desktop bootup, not to mention having new gestures be required without giving any tutorial, even a hint, as to what those were. It wasn't just an opinion: it was obvious. Clear as hell. I remember shaking my head and wondering what the hell Microsoft was thinking. When I ask people who are using it, the basic response is, with a tablet, it's pretty good. With anything else, it's terrible. How long before we can start calling this “Vista 8”?

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I Do Not Accept the Terms of This EULA

February 16th, 2013 5 comments
So, you buy Office 2013—except now the purchase has changed. Instead of paying, say, $125 for a Home & Student version, which you can use for as many years as you like, you will pay a subscription for Office 2013, $100 a year. So, if you use it for just three years (I have been using my Office 2008 for 5 years now), you would pay $300. Deal, right? It gets better. With Office 2010, you can transfer the software to a new computer. Your old computer gets too slow, so you buy a new one. Just delete Office from your old PC, reinstall it on the new one, and you get more years of use. Not so with Microsoft's new setup. Here, the suite is tied to a single machine. You get a new computer, you pay all over again. Even if your old computer is stolen or breaks down. I know some people—not many, but some—who still use Office 2003. They may have paid $125 or $150 ten years ago, and still have a usable app. Microsoft's new arrangement means that in order to do the same thing, they have to shell out $1000. Sure, you (presumably) get the upgrades over time, but people still using 2003 obviously don't need them. And yes, you can still get the non-subscription apps—but Microsoft is clearly signaling a sea change here; you can expect the future to be by subscription. They try to sweeten the deal, like with 60 free Skype minutes (Microsoft bought up Skype, making changes I hate, like the “home” screen you are unable to escape), and 20GB of SkyDrive space. A lot of people feel compelled to get Microsoft's office suite. Because it's what everyone uses. Because they believe that only Microsoft's product can create or open Microsoft files. Because they don't know that any alternatives even exist. Well, they do. There are cheap and free alternatives. If you use a Mac, Apple sells their suite for $20 an app (Microsoft sells theirs at $110 a pop as standalones), or the whole suite for $60, no subscription. Outlook sells for $110 also, while Apple's Mail is free. But even better are the freebies. You could use Open Office (if you feel like you want to use an Office 2003 clone), or even better, just use GMail. It will open and save MS Word docs, so there's no problem with compatibility. Create Just create a free GMail account and get 10GB of storage (my school account gives me 25GB). Get Google Drive and have synced folders on your computers. Go into your account and click on the “Drive” link at the top, and you see all the files that are saved in that folder, from any computer you choose. You also get an Office Suite, not as powerful as Microsoft's now-even-more-pricey version, but with all the features you are likely to use. Available on any computer you sign into GMail with—ultimately portable. Wordproc Go into the word processor, and use an interface not unlike Word's. Use any of Google's 600+ online fonts, or just the standards. Do text formatting, indents, margins, alignment, line spacing, the works. Keyboard shortcuts work much as they would on a regular app. Headers and footers with automatic page numbering. An equation editor. Comments. Insert images, create shapes, make tables. Open any document, save it to your Google account, or export it to your desktop as MS Word, PDF, Open Office, RTF, or plain text. Printing will save the file to your computer as a PDF, preserving the fonts (though you can download and install any or all of them if you want). Moreapps Same goes for spreadsheets instead of Excel, presentations instead of PowerPoint. There's a drawing program and a form builder. And then you can add from a long list of extra apps, including code editors, QR code generators, Mail Merge, photo cataloging and editing apps, chart and diagram builders, as well as more alternatives for text editing and presentation building. More than 100 add-on apps. Sliderocket OK, so there's no “Smart Art” or “Word Art.” How often do you really use those, anyway? If you need advanced features, then you're out of luck—but probably 95% of all Word users don't. And I have not checked all the add-on apps; it's possible that some have the missing features you might need, like Mail Merge. Don't like where Microsoft is going? Don't use it. Just get free GMail. Save a cool grand over a decade.
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Another Telecom Attack on Network Neutrality to Grab Profits and Suppress Free Speech—International Edition

December 6th, 2012 Comments off
There's a conference in Dubai which is only now breaking out in the news. It's a conference to discuss a 25-year-old international treaty on how the Internet works worldwide. These people talk about how they only want to increase access to people in the third world, and make the Internet better for everyone:
“The brutal truth is that the internet remains largely [the] rich world's privilege, ” said Dr Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the UN's International Telecommunications Union, ahead of the meeting. “ITU wants to change that.”
The people running the show claim they're not doing any harm:
Gary Fowlie, head of ITU liaison Office to the United Nations, insisted in a phone interview that his organization's effort to revise outdated telecom rules is not an attempt to change the way the Internet is governed. “This whole idea there would be some kind of restriction on freedom of expression, it just doesn't fly with what the ITU has stood for,” he said, stressing that as a U.N. entity, the ITU is bound to uphold Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees the right to free expression through any media.
Sounds great, until you realize that “ITU” stands for “International Telecommunication Union.” That right away should be a giveaway. The next hint:
But the [ITU] said action was needed to ensure investment in infrastructure to help more people access the net.
Red flag time! Hear those alarm bells and sirens going off? Any of this sound familiar? “We want to help people get access to the Internet. That requires infrastructure.” This is the inevitable preface to the next statement: “We need money to do that. Let's talk about how we can make more money.” And thus we arrive at the actual motive behind the lobbying, and upon closer inspection, find the justifications to be specious. Yep. It's just like when the U.S. Telecoms tried to gang up and buy their way to Internet ownership in the U.S. Virtually nothing is different: the telecoms are whining about how they're losing so much money because of the big, bad Internet:
Some telecommunications companies are looking at WCIT as an opportunity to address the business reality that new technologies are severely eroding traditional revenues from old-style voice calls. Customers are no longer making phone calls as they once did, and are instead using an application layer on the Internet to carry voice and video. Landline services are increasingly being replaced with mobile communications services that are themselves increasingly being used to provide data connectivity. Beyond voice, the companies argue that large content providers are making revenue from customers’ access to those services over their Internet connections. So these companies see this treaty as a way to “re-balance” revenue streams between carriers and “over-the-top” providers. Claiming that regulatory help is needed to ensure the ongoing investment in the Internet’s infrastructure, they have dusted off an old concept known in telecom circles as “sending network pays.” On its face, the idea is simple: The network or ISP of the sending party should pay for the delivery of their traffic (just as with cross-border telephone calls).
That's the same bullshit argument made by the U.S. telecoms, the billionaire's cry of poverty. “We're losing revenue from people using Skype instead of making international phone calls, so we need to make up the money somewhere else.” What a complete load of crap. As if these people are not making huge profits on all-new revenue streams in several different areas, many of which derive specifically from the Internet usage they now claim cannibalizes their revenues. Let's see. I pay for my Internet connection—a monthly fee which easily exceeds, by quite a bit, what I used to pay for my traditional land line. I also pay for cell phone use—in fact, I pay, in a way, for no fewer than three different Internet connections, one the aforementioned home connection, and two more times for the data plans for my wife's and my own cell phone plans. Each of which costs about the same. Repeat this throughout the entire world, and you begin to understand that the telecoms have never had it better. If they want to cry poverty, I demand they first cough up their balance sheets for close inspection. Because I will bet you quite a bit that their profit line is probably not very far behind Big Oil and Big Pharma. Once again, they try to make it all sound more palatable by saying they are going after big corporations:
One of the other concerns raised is that the conference could result in popular websites having to pay a fee to send data along telecom operators' networks. The European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (Etno) - which represents companies such as Orange, Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom - has been lobbying governments to introduce what it calls a “quality based” model. This would see firms face charges if they wanted to ensure streamed video and other quality-critical content download without the risk of problems such as jerky images. Etno says a new business model is needed to provide service providers with the “incentive to invest in network infrastructure”.
Again, the same bullshit argument they made in the U.S. 6 years ago. And it's still full of crap. They already have all the incentive they need to expand infrastructure. They already have huge profits. The content providers who send bandwidth-intensive content already pay for sending this data, as do the users who consume it. And we have seen before when Telecoms make promises to expand infrastructure in exchange for the ability to charge more, and they never do what they promise. What they really want here is virtual ownership of the Internet. They want to be able to wring every last penny, yen, pound, and deutschmark that they possibly can by charging for something, then charging for it again, and then charging someone else for the same thing as many times as they can manage. Piggybacking this wave are governments scared shitless over the freedom of expression the Internet represents and the threat this is to their control over their populaces, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by people who know the Internet better than anyone—like Vint Cerf, co-creator of the TCP/IP protocol and regarded as one of the “fathers of the Internet,” who wrote this message of warning:
Today, this free and open net is under threat. Some 42 countries filter and censor content out of the 72 studied by the Open Net Initiative. This doesn't even count serial offenders such as North Korea and Cuba. Over the past two years, Freedom House says governments have enacted 19 new laws threatening online free expression. Some of these governments are trying to use a closed-door meeting of The International Telecommunication Union that opens on December 3 in Dubai to further their repressive agendas. Accustomed to media control, these governments fear losing it to the open internet. They worry about the spread of unwanted ideas. They are angry that people might use the internet to criticize their governments. The ITU is bringing together regulators from around the world to renegotiate a decades-old treaty that was focused on basic telecommunications, not the internet. Some proposals leaked to the WICITLeaks website from participating states could permit governments to justify censorship of legitimate speech -- or even justify cutting off internet access by reference to amendments to the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs).
Cerf then urges us to remain vigilant against those in power corrupting one of the most invaluable advances in communications and freedom of expression in human history:
A state-controlled system of regulation is not only unnecessary, it would almost invariably raise costs and prices and interfere with the rapid and organic growth of the internet we have seen since its commercial emergence in the 1990s. The net's future is far from assured and history offers much warning. Within a few decades of Gutenberg's creation, princes and priests moved to restrict the right to print books. History is rife with examples of governments taking actions to “protect” their citizens from harm by controlling access to information and inhibiting freedom of expression and other freedoms outlined in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We must make sure, collectively, that the internet avoids a similar fate.
Indeed. Let me reiterate something I feel is very important: the Internet is the single most important advancement in communications technology in the history of the human race. More important than the printing press, more important than radio and television. Why? Because the Internet is the first human technology which allows worldwide dissemination of speech and ideas which is not controlled by the wealthy. Before the Internet, if you wanted to speak beyond the reach of your own voice, if you wanted to deliver an idea beyond just the few people you have contact with, if you wanted to speak to more people than you could gather in a local public place—you had to beg at the feet of the Gatekeepers. The Gatekeepers are the ones who used to control communication. They are the publishers and the regulators. They are the wealthy and empowered who controlled all means of publishing content. Want to write a book? Not unless we say so, and thanks, we'll keep almost all the profits for ourselves. Want to speak over a network? Not unless you can make us big profits, or lend a popular or sympathetic face and voice to opinions we wish to propagate. Much of this was justified by the expense of said networks. Publishing books and building broadcasting networks isn't cheap, and the available resources were few. So there was not much complaint about the lack of freedom to communicate. However, the Internet changed all that. This blog can be accessed worldwide—and I don't have to pay much to publish it. I can write almost anything I want, within reasonable law, and within seconds, people in Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Israel can read it. I pay about $10 a year for the domain name, and maybe $100 a year for hosting; I could get cheaper pricing than that, or I could pay nothing and instead have a blog hosted by Wordpress or some other blogging service. This ability to speak to the world has never before existed. That is a greatly unappreciated fact of the Internet: how it has opened the doors to potentially anyone in the world communicating with a large portion of humanity, openly, freely, instantly, and (usually) cheaply. A freedom and availability that would be threatened if the ITU got what they wanted. So pay no mind to the weeping billionaires and multinationals, or the angry dictators fearful of losing control. Disregard the claims of the super-rich telecoms crying poverty and claiming they only want to give fiber-optic to children in Africa. Ignore the claims of sock puppets for dictators that no one is trying to squelch freedom of expression. Recognize these for the obfuscation, distortions, and lies that they are. And whenever possible, write to your legislatures: give the Internet to the Telecoms, we will vote you out. Threaten free speech over the Internet, and we will overthrow you. We have only just received this freedom, and we refuse to surrender it.

Windows 8: Upgrade to Confusion

October 22nd, 2012 Comments off
Windows 8 will be released very soon, and when it comes out, we'll see if Microsoft is completely stupid or not. The test: whether or not Microsoft has added a tutorial to Windows 8. One which pops up immediately and tells people how things have changed, and how to get around the OS. With Windows 8, the Start Menu is gone, cannot be brought back, and has been replaced with the now-infamous start screen. Going from one place to another now requires new actions which are not apparent because they are not visible on the screen. It is anything but intuitive to figure out that moving your cursor to a corner will bring up a screen you are looking for. When I first downloaded Windows 8 Consumer Preview, I was hopelessly confused. I could not figure out how to get around—and I'm no n00b to Windows, either. There are bound to be lots of people who will be stymied when they see Windows 8, and who will hate the transition. “What?! I can't bring back the Start menu? Why not?!?” As I noted previously, Microsoft itself, when making a case for how it was better than the Mac OS, used as one of their key points, repeatedly, that Windows was better because people were familiar with it, and would have to spend time and effort readjusting to the Mac OS. When I downloaded the Consumer Preview for Windows 8, however, there was no tutorial. Nothing to prepare you for things being different. That astounded me. You completely change the UI and you leave users completely in the dark about how to operate things? Not even an apparent “Help” icon? Are you kidding me? When Windows 8 comes up for the first time, it should have a tutorial (which can be dismissed, of course) which points out all the new UI features and the ways users can operate them. Once finished, the tutorial should then shrink to a small question-mark button on the Start screen, and stay there, with a note to users that they can disable the button if they wish. Anything short of that will be, in my mind, proof positive that Microsoft is being run by morons. Even with it, Microsoft is throwing away one of their key advantages as they themselves define it. Without it, they are virtually begging for another Vista-level migration to the Mac. Seriously, they have had eight months to realize that people are being stumped and aggravated by the lack of instruction. It should have been obvious before the Consumer Preview; it should be positively glaring by now. And there's not shame in a tutorial; lots of people do it, it's considered a feature, not to mention a necessity often times. Without it, people will be lost. And then there's the “What For?” effect: Windows 8 is mostly an upgrade for tablets. The new UI is the only notable new feature, aside possibly from the App Store—excuse me, the “Windows Store.” (Really, Microsoft—if you absolutely have to integrate mobile and desktop operating systems into one, why not make the desktop features dominant on desktop machines, and tablet features dominant on tablets, and have both set of features accessible on both? Why force desktop users to use an OS which is not appropriate for a desktop?) This means that people who “upgrade” to Windows 8 on a laptop or Desktop will be getting a new and confusing user interface designed for something different than their current device, while at the same time, they get to be confused by a new and unexplained interface setup and lose the one tool they have spent most of a lifetime getting accustomed to—the Start Menu. That's pretty much it. A few other bells and whistles, like having a USB-based version of the OS, a new backup system (strikingly similar to Apple's), and a smattering of other changes they won't notice because they'll be spending too much time trying to figure out how the hell to do even the most basic things. So, Microsoft. Tutorial? Or not?

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April 20th, 2012 3 comments

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This is likely the source of the “Macs are invulnerable” myth, GENERIC STRATTERA without a prescription. Online buying GENERIC STRATTERA hcl, I have never heard a Mac user claim this, but people who dislike Macs and/or Mac users claim it all the time, order GENERIC STRATTERA online c.o.d. GENERIC STRATTERA wiki, It's probably from just such cases--“Oh, you were hit by Conficker, GENERIC STRATTERA from canada. Heh, my Mac is immune to that, BUY GENERIC STRATTERA OVER THE COUNTER. GENERIC STRATTERA canada, mexico, india, I don't even run antivirus software.” The Mac user does not mean “my Mac is perpetually invulnerable to any kind of attack,” but the annoyed PC user hears it that way, GENERIC STRATTERA long term, GENERIC STRATTERA cost, and starts spreading the claim.

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Once we figured this out, it went like a breeze, although the BIOS showed a core CPU temp starting at 40°C and climbing to 55° or so, just in the BIOS. I read some posts saying this was relatively normal, and both rigs had the same readings, so I let it go but warned them to install the hardware monitors and keep an eye on the temps.

Not too shabby a day, but I could have done without the useless anxiety and frustration. All part of the DIY experience, I guess.

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According to PC Tools publicity rep Curtis Sparrer, a result claiming to have located a free download of the final Harry Potter film will actually prompt you to visit another site so that you can obtain the required password “to stop automated leeching and detection.”

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July 7th, 2011 5 comments

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That may be, but the real impact of Lion's upgrade mechanism will be that it forces Apple users to use the App Store at all--something which many are doubtlessly avoiding as they hang on to traditional outlets, buy cheap VITRIA no rx. Doses VITRIA work, Once they are forced to use the App Store to download Lion, they may start looking around, buy VITRIA no prescription, VITRIA without a prescription, could start finding some good deals, and might recognize that the App Store is a handy one-stop method of buying apps, online VITRIA without a prescription, VITRIA dosage, as well as the later realization that it keeps them up-to-date on upgrades. If they also start seeing lower prices in general, they may start doing what shoppers did when firms like Amazon and Netflix swept them away--rarely if ever going to a brick-and-mortar store to buy media again, BUY VITRIA OVER THE COUNTER. Apple started encroaching on the retail market with their own brick-and-mortar stores, VITRIA cost, VITRIA natural, now they are simply taking the next logical step--for Apple.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing for consumers, australia, uk, us, usa. No prescription VITRIA online, Depends on who you ask. The App Store does tend to be a convenience, VITRIA coupon, VITRIA no prescription, and can help you find lower prices (perhaps because of its DRM nature). BUY VITRIA OVER THE COUNTER, But what about competition. Well, buy cheap VITRIA, VITRIA online cod, frankly, there's less of that in the Mac world, is VITRIA addictive. Order VITRIA no prescription, Especially with Apple's stuff--they tend to control prices pretty firmly. There is probably a lot less comparison-shopping out there for Apple stuff than there is for PC stuff, buy VITRIA from canada. Cheap VITRIA no rx, One rather unfortunate side of the Apple world is that sellers assume that Apple users will pay higher prices for everything. I see this in Japan; stores like Labi, for instance, charge way more for Apple gear, despite it being essentially that same stuff as PCs use, BUY VITRIA OVER THE COUNTER.

I think the argument could be made that Apple, VITRIA canada, mexico, india, Purchase VITRIA, despite its reputation for premium price tags, is actually saving consumers more--especially when it comes to stuff Apple doesn't make, VITRIA long term. VITRIA price, They made it a lot cheaper to buy music, no doubt about that--you usually don't have to buy an album to get the one or two songs you want anymore, kjøpe VITRIA på nett, köpa VITRIA online, VITRIA forum, and albums themselves are now a lot cheaper digitally. And they made software cheaper with the App Store, VITRIA recreational, VITRIA interactions, especially on mobile platforms. And while some Apple stuff can be pricey, VITRIA pics, Apple does have its bargains. BUY VITRIA OVER THE COUNTER, The iPad was certainly priced to move. And Apple's office suite traditionally cost only $99, which may have led Microsoft to price their own suite down to a similar level--except now, in the App Store, the suite can be had for $60. And the OS upgrade for Apple, which previously was $130 and cheaper than Microsoft even then, is now $30, as we discover that Snow Leopard was not just an aberration. Let's see Microsoft match that. I have a feeling that if they priced Windows Ultimate at $50 and MS Office at $75, they might not have as good a profit margin. Apple gets away with it because their profits are driven by hardware; Microsoft doesn't have that cushion.

The only thing we can be sure of is that Apple will continue to try to slowly rake more and more business its way. Whether it will gain enough market share to let it charge more, or start charging more when it is able, is anyone's guess. While certainly an outfit bent on making large profits, Apple is clearly not a consumer advocacy organization--but they do seem better at paying attention to customer needs than Microsoft.

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BUY MEGA HOODIA OVER THE COUNTER

May 6th, 2011 2 comments

BUY MEGA HOODIA OVER THE COUNTER, I hesitate to really even call it “malware,” because it doesn't really do what most malware does. It's more like a scam, online buying MEGA HOODIA, MEGA HOODIA use, social engineering upon social engineering.

If you visit certain web pages, where to buy MEGA HOODIA, MEGA HOODIA natural, javascript code may automatically download a ZIP file on to your Mac. If Safari is set to automatically unzip files, MEGA HOODIA price, coupon, Buy cheap MEGA HOODIA no rx, you will be presented with an Install window which prompts you to install software called “MACDefender.” If you are careless enough to install an app you didn't even look for, and click “Continue, buying MEGA HOODIA online over the counter, MEGA HOODIA pictures, ” and then type in your admin password and complete the install, even then the software apparently doesn't really “infect” your computer, MEGA HOODIA schedule, Order MEGA HOODIA online c.o.d, not like malware usually does.

Instead, my MEGA HOODIA experience, MEGA HOODIA long term, it sets itself to start up when your computer does, and informs you, MEGA HOODIA wiki, Buy MEGA HOODIA no prescription, with odd grammar (“This unique module allows to do unbelievable things”), that your computer is infected, buy MEGA HOODIA from canada, Online MEGA HOODIA without a prescription, and tries to sell you anti-virus software. If you're still naive enough to buy all of this, you will be led to a web site where, if you buy a license, the fake virus alerts will stop while your credit card account is cleaned out, BUY MEGA HOODIA OVER THE COUNTER. It is likely, MEGA HOODIA coupon, Is MEGA HOODIA addictive, however, that the web site will soon be abandoned, effects of MEGA HOODIA, MEGA HOODIA from mexico, leaving the fake software merely annoying. One can apparently also rid oneself of the software just by throwing it in the trash, MEGA HOODIA interactions, Low dose MEGA HOODIA, though it would be best also to stop its processes, remove mention of it from Startup Items, buy MEGA HOODIA online no prescription, Where can i buy cheapest MEGA HOODIA online, and see if you can dump any related files from the Library.

This barely qualifies as malware, buy cheap MEGA HOODIA, MEGA HOODIA without prescription, in that it is software and tries to do something bad. However, comprar en línea MEGA HOODIA, comprar MEGA HOODIA baratos, MEGA HOODIA samples, it is qualitatively different from viruses, worms, MEGA HOODIA pharmacy, Where can i cheapest MEGA HOODIA online, rootkits, and even trojans in that it is nothing more than an avenue to steer you to a scam web site, order MEGA HOODIA from United States pharmacy. BUY MEGA HOODIA OVER THE COUNTER, I would class this more with risks like falling for the guy who claims that his wife is in the hospital across the state and he desperately needs a few bucks to get enough bus fare to see her. Where can i find MEGA HOODIA online,


On a similar note, Facebook “malware” is on the rise, about MEGA HOODIA. MEGA HOODIA for sale, People are getting tricked by various scams where you get prompted to see or try something that sounds interesting on Facebook, but it turns out to be a scam which somehow hijacks your Facebook account and sends copies of the scam to your friends, MEGA HOODIA pics. I've seen at least three in the past week: one promised to show you people who are “stalking” you on Facebook; another advertised an app that would age your photo by 20 years; and a third, the most pervasive, promised to show pictures or videos of bin Laden dead.

In all of these cases, clicking the link takes you off of Facebook to a site which gives you a snippet of Javascript code, telling you to paste it into the browser window and execute it, promising the desired result if you do. Clearly, trusting that is the mistake people make.

Needless to say, you should never copy and paste any such script into your browser URL window and hit “Enter.” Just as with email spam or viral attachments, it doesn't matter if it came from a friend. And since this is Javascript in a browser, it doesn't matter if you have a Mac or a PC. Some of these scams use different methods that may be more platform-specific--a general rule of thumb, then, should be to stay away from anything bin-Laden-oriented if it doesn't come from a major news site.

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ZOLOFT FOR SALE

April 14th, 2011 1 comment

ZOLOFT FOR SALE, When you tell a Japanese ISP that you want a connection, they give you the same predictable response: it'll take three to four weeks to hook it up. It's as if there is an eternal backlog, as that is always the lag time, buy ZOLOFT online no prescription. Why, ZOLOFT australia, uk, us, usa, I cannot guess. It should not be backlog of previous orders, as it is always in effect, purchase ZOLOFT online no prescription, no matter what the season; if they were always three weeks behind in orders, ZOLOFT wiki, all they would have to do is hire some extra people to catch up and then there would be no more problem. Or else, hire a few more people for the long run, ZOLOFT no rx.

As a result, I can only figure that there is either some regulation causing the delay, or else the ISPs just don't give a damn and this works for them financially, ZOLOFT FOR SALE.

I keep forgetting about this, Buy cheap ZOLOFT, and so in this current moving process, I waited until just after we closed the deal on the house to make the arrangements. Now, ZOLOFT price, coupon, that's what they tell you to do--technically, Buy ZOLOFT no prescription, they are not allowed to start the process until you have officially taken up residence. In the past, when I remembered and planned ahead, ZOLOFT gel, ointment, cream, pill, spray, continuous-release, extended-release, I lied about living there and they never knew the difference. Rx free ZOLOFT, This time, I contacted them after we closed on the house, a few weeks before we moved, is ZOLOFT addictive, and kicked myself mentally when they reminded me of the 3-4 weeks thing. ZOLOFT FOR SALE, I was looking at at least a few weeks without Internet. Order ZOLOFT online c.o.d, I was not too worried, though--I had considered doing the 2-week trial for WiMAX during the transition anyway.

Apparently they have learned from customer complaints, ZOLOFT street price, however--they have given us a loaner. ZOLOFT treatment, It's a USB dongle which seems to use CDMA, but when you use the utility to connect, it claims it's WiMAX, ZOLOFT alternatives. Huh. So far, in testing I have only gotten 2 Mbps from it--enough, but not exactly what you would expect from WiMAX, ZOLOFT FOR SALE. ZOLOFT reviews, KDDI didn't explain very clearly what the connection is, but whatever.

The problem is, buy no prescription ZOLOFT online, it only gives an Internet connection to one computer--and Sachi and I have four devices that need a connection, ZOLOFT mg, one (the iPad) requiring a WiFi hookup. Fortunately, it's possible to turn your computer into a WiFi hotspot, order ZOLOFT online overnight delivery no prescription. From what I can tell, ZOLOFT canada, mexico, india, to do so with Windows requires that you download and install software called “Connectify.”

On the Mac, however, the capability is built-in, ordering ZOLOFT online. ZOLOFT FOR SALE, In System Preferences, you can open Sharing and then activate Internet Sharing, choosing which connection (Ethernet, WiFi, FireWire) to share. Then just use the network menu in the menu bar to create a network, ZOLOFT overnight, give it a name and password, and that's it. I tested it at the new house and it works great--I was able to get a strong signal from anywhere else in the house, about ZOLOFT.

For fun, ZOLOFT coupon, I might also do the 2-week free trial for WiMax anyway; you go in and sign up, and they give you your choice of base station (e.g., fixed or portable), buy ZOLOFT online cod, and you take it home. Where to buy ZOLOFT, I have a feeling that they won't make it that easy--there will doubtlessly be a form and I'll have to register my credit card, and ending without signing a contract will probably be a hassle.

In the meantime, KDDI has picked up on a trick used by cell phone carriers (which, via “au,” they are), and is now hooking customers with two-year contracts by overcharging for setup fees, ZOLOFT FOR SALE. In the past, is ZOLOFT safe, ISPs I contract with either offer a free setup, ZOLOFT without a prescription, or a setup fee around 10,000 yen which they immediately discount. Now, ZOLOFT use, however, ZOLOFT pictures, KDDI is telling me that setup fees are 31,500 yen (about $375). When they tell you this, ZOLOFT dose, they know you'll object, ZOLOFT dangers, so the reps are trained, when they mention this, to immediately, where can i buy cheapest ZOLOFT online, without pause, Comprar en línea ZOLOFT, comprar ZOLOFT baratos, add that this is spread out of 24 months, and KDDI discounts 1/24th of the fee each month--so long as you stay with KDDI.

In short, ZOLOFT pharmacy, it's an artificial way of forcing customers to stay with their business for at least two years, styled after the telephone companies' subsidization plans for cell phones like the iPhone. ZOLOFT FOR SALE, I'm not fazed by it, primarily because it works out the same in the end--I've been with KDDI for some time and their service is pretty good, plus they have English tech support. I was, however, amused by the rather blatant artificial fee and the transparent hook. I am now wondering where else I will see the 2-year “deal” appear, and what fees previously discounted freely will be parceled out to keep customers on the line. I also wonder why it's always two years; is there some law which prevents companies from stringing it out longer.

Of interest: up until now, we have been using KDDI's 100 Mbps fiber optic service. When I arranged for service at the new house, they informed me that the 100 Mbps service is no longer available, ZOLOFT FOR SALE.

The only fiber-optic plan they offer is 1 Gbps. Monthly fees are ¥4,777. With IP telephone services, it's ¥6,090.

While 1 Gbps sounds nice, it's also overkill. ZOLOFT FOR SALE, I am also kind of irked that I am paying not for just one, but for three Internet connections: the home connection, and two cell phone data plans. If I want to get a connection with my iPad anywhere I go, that would be another connection--and each one is up to 5000 yen ($60) a month--pricey, to say the least.

When the iPhone 4's contract comes up, WiMAX should have its 300 Mbps service going. I will be sorely tempted to terminate our fiber-optic connection, keep using our iPhone 4s without data plans, and instead get two WiMAX accounts. That way, we'll always have connections for all of our devices, at less cost than we have now.

Ideally, ISPs and carriers will catch on and offer an “Internet everywhere” family plan, which will do the same thing for a flat fee. Not that I'm holding my breath.

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