Category Archives: EPIC FAIL

Be Unkind

I have been a member of Stack Overflow for nearly six years. It is a truly great resource for solving IT technical problems.

Recently they announced a change in their Code of Conduct. Whenever I see a change in the rules, I always ask myself “Why?”. I checked it out, and the sub-heading grabbed my attention:

The word “Kindness” jumped off the page. This is a site for people with knowledge to share and solve technical problems. Let’s look at the examples that they gave:

Looking at the “correct” versions, they are far more wordy and verbose than their terse, brief versions. So why the obsession with Kindness? Then the answer hit me:

Girls

The “correct” answers on the right are the kind of flowery, fluffy, unnecessarily verbose replies that are written by girls. I have found that when it comes to writing assignments, women tend to write a lot more than men, and they concentrate a lot more on presentation, while men are generally more terse and concise.

Men are (or should be) raised to be as impervious as possible to insult; “sticks and stones”, and all that. We insult each other to motivate each other. We rag on each other to toughen each other up. No less than an authority than the bible says: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another“. In another place, it says: “The wounds of a friend are to be trusted“. We live in a harsh reality, but that’s just the way it is.

Girls, on the other hand, operate by a different set of rules. They are highly susceptible to shaming language, and as a result are often far more easily offended. Women say sexist things all the time, such as “All men are dogs“, and we are encouraged to suck it up – and we do. But try saying something like “All women are…” in today’s corporate culture, and you may very well find yourself both unemployed and unemployable. So much for “Equality”.

As a counterpoint, let me take you back to the last century, to an article written by one Eric S Raymond, called “How To Ask Questions The Smart Way“, which deals with precisely this subject:

What we are, unapologetically, is hostile to people who seem to be unwilling to think or to do their own homework before asking questions. People like that are time sinks — they take without giving back, and they waste time we could have spent on another question more interesting and another person more worthy of an answer.

We’re (largely) volunteers. We take time out of busy lives to answer questions, and at times we’re overwhelmed with them. So we filter ruthlessly. In particular, we throw away questions from people who appear to be losers in order to spend our question-answering time more efficiently, on winners.

If you find this attitude obnoxious, condescending, or arrogant, check your assumptions. We’re not asking you to genuflect to us — in fact, most of us would love nothing more than to deal with you as an equal and welcome you into our culture, if you put in the effort required to make that possible. But it’s simply not efficient for us to try to help people who are not willing to help themselves. It’s OK to be ignorant; it’s not OK to play stupid.

So, while it isn’t necessary to already be technically competent to get attention from us, it is necessary to demonstrate the kind of attitude that leads to competence — alert, thoughtful, observant, willing to be an active partner in developing a solution. If you can’t live with this sort of discrimination, we suggest you pay somebody for a commercial support contract instead of asking hackers to personally donate help to you.

Returning to StackOverflow, it is obvious to me that this rule change was put into place for one purpose and one purpose only: to make the site more “female friendly”. The unintended consequence of this change is that the vast majority of contributors to the site will now have to write far more than they need to in order to jump through linguistic hoops to make sure that those with frail constitutions are not offended. Faced with the extra effort, many will simply not bother to respond.This is not a call for unnecessary cruelty; I am all for courtesy, and there are some things that one simply does not say in public conversation. But mandating speech, requiring us to say certain things, is not the way to go about solving this problems.

Ladies, if you are that easily offended, perhaps the Internet is not the place for you.

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Wooly Thinking

I came across this story in Psychology today. The story is a few years old, but I am amazed at how deliberately misinformed, if not disingenuous, someone can be.

Is Marriage Worth the Trouble For Women? The benefits go mostly to men.

Let’s start at the very beginning:

A casual look at how marriage is represented in popular culture may lead one to conclude that ending up at the altar is the ultimate female desire.

It is. Men don’t fantasize about getting married. Women have been known to.

Wedding magazines are aimed almost exclusively at brides, not grooms.

They are. Women spend far more on magazines than do men. And nobody ever went broke telling women what they desperately wanted to hear.

Reality TV shows highlight Bridezillas, not Groomzillas, and The Bachelor, in which multiple women vie for a ring, is a ratings juggernaut.

They are. Men don’t watch reality TV. Look at the adverts; who are they aimed at?

The central attraction in the pageant of the average wedding is reserved for the bride’s dress, while the groom’s attire receives little billing.

Working as designed. Women will spend big money on fashion. Man is the only animal species where the female wears the plumage.

Pop culture queen Beyoncé herself has famously admonished men that if they like it, then they should put a ring on it.

And most girls look like Beyoncé… NOT! If did, I’m sure that you would have no shortage of suitors. This is a classic Apex Fallacy.

Proverbs 31 says “An excellent wife, who can find? Her value is greater than rubies”. Translation: Most women ain’t wife material.If he ain’t “putting a ring on it” it’s probably because you are unworthy.

Men, on the other hand, are often depicted as commitment phobic, having to be conned or whipped into marriage, or dragged to the altar against their deeply promiscuous nature, which abhors long-term monogamy.

Close but no cigar. Decades ago, women were far more chaste and feminine than they are now. They had the requisite skills that made them good wives. I would posit that feminism has caused women to behave like men, and men have rationally started behaving like boys. As women invaded colleges and the workplace en masse, taking up more and more traditional male spaces and, men have become increasingly sidelined, less educated, less affluent, less able to support a family. Women have also put off marriage into their late twenties and early thirties, denying marriage-minded men of the youth, beauty and fertility that they crave and would pay the ultimate price for.

Both women and men have inherently become both less marriage-minded, and less marriageable. But since the men are the deciders of commitment, when they balk, women, ever reluctant to admit their faults, are quick to portray them as marriage-averse. But I have seen too many women who want to be a bride, but not a wife. It’s not that we don’t want to marry; it’s that we don’t want to marry you.

The notion of a “midlife crisis,” during which men are bound to jettison their old wives for a new, younger trophy model is also a familiar cultural trope.

…while the notion of wives who get fat and bitchy, deny their husbands sex (it is estimated that 80% of ten-year-plus marriages are essentially sexless) while holding the specter of divorce-induced financial ruination over his head, remains safely ignored.

Oh, and the “trope” is generally untrue; very few men “trade in” for the very good reason that most men can’t afford it. Another Apex Fallacy, methinks. Seriously. How many of the divorces you know of follow this pattern?

Marriage, we have been led to believe, is a natural habitat for women, but a stifling cage for men. Thus goes the popular fantasy. However, in the real world of data, things shake out quite a bit differently.

We’ll see about that

First, confounding the view of marriage as the female heaven and haven is the fact that marriage actually appears to benefit men more than it does women.

Yes, marriage is good for men. And Divorce is an absolute bloody disaster. And the Divorce rate is 50%. If a man is going into a deal where there is a fifty-fifty chance of having his head taken off, there had better be some serious benefits for him. This obvious and incontrovertible fact seems to be lost on some psychologists, it seems.

Research has shown that the “marriage benefits”—the increases in health, wealth, and happiness that are often associated with the status—go disproportionately to men. Married men are better off than single men. Married women, on the other hand, are not better off than unmarried women.

Correlation, it is written, is not causation. Could it be that women are attracted to — and tend to marry — men who are healthy, wealthy and happy?

Second, in contrast to the myth that marriage is a woman’s ultimate and sacred fulfillment is the reality that roughly two-thirds of divorces are initiated by women… A recent AARP survey of 1147 men and women ages 40-79 who experienced a divorce in their 40s, 50s, or 60s, found that 66% of women said they initiated the split.

It is also true that the longer a couple have been married, the more ruination a departing wife can visit upon her husband. It is often pre-planned; in many cases the poor sap had no idea until she had him served with divorce papers.

The results revealed an intriguing pattern: As expected, women initiated roughly two thirds (69%) of the breakups in heterosexual marriages. However, the gendered trend in relationship breakups held only for marriages and not for other non-marital unions.

I have a theory on this. Women don’t generally dump men for nobody. Outside of marriage, they tend to delay dumping their boyfriends until they have another one primed and ready to go. But with marriage, there are cash-and-prizes that come with a divorce. In some cases, the husband ends up with all of the financial obligations of marriage with none of the benefits that go with it. The Government effectively becomes her new husband.

Moreover, women in marriages, but not in other relationships, reported lower levels of satisfaction.

This is bunk. Study after study has shown that married women report the highest level of happiness. If you don’t believe them, reality is only a glance away. Think of the most depressed, miserable and bitter women you know. Who are they? Feminists. Just kidding! They are usually unmarried, childless, over thirty, and without hope of having the life they desperately crave.

According to Rosenfeld, these data suggest that the tendency for women to initiate breakups is not an inherent feature of male-female relationships. Rather, it is a feature of male-female marriage.

Rubbish. It is a feature of profitability; you can’t divorce-rape a boyfriend. The real acid test for this theory would be to look at the separation rates for couples in a state of Common-Law marriage, where they are not actually married, but the State treats them as if they were. If my theory is correct, common-law wives will dump their husbands for cash-and-prizes with the same alacrity that married women do.

This finding appears to provide support for the notion that women experience the institution of marriage as oppressive, in large part because it emerged from and still carries the imprint of a system of female subjugation.

What mealy-mouthed, self-serving Psychobabble. The popularity of “Fifty Shades of grey” shows clearly that women love the ideas of submission and subjugation… as long as he has a six-pack, a helicopter, a yacht, and conspicuous good looks. Hypergamy (the female tendency for women to date/mate/marry “up”) means that women are inherently much harder to satisfy than are men.

At the end of the day, the accumulating data paint a picture of marriage as complex commerce in which women may often play a paradoxical role: They work harder for a smaller share of the benefits, which may explain why, while they may often be more eager to get into a marriage, they are often also more eager to get out.

Women get plenty of benefits from marriage, but they get those benefits later in life, when his earnings are are their highest, her looks are gone, and no other man is interested. In a word, it is security. But if she can get the same security in Divorce Court, it will be easier for her to bust out of the marriage in a manner not unlike that infamous scene in Alien.

Here in the enlightened West, women are also never satisfied: how many wives have you heard complain that their husbands do too much around the house? None! This tells us men that women’s expectations are fundamentally unreasonable.

Conclusion: Data on Marriage and Divorce is like data on Climate Change – highly subject to interpretation. This piece seems to be written from a standpoint of “marriage is a bad idea because subjugation, and women shouldn’t do it”. If that is your honest opinion, don’t get married, for your sanity, and the well-being of the poor sap you are going to divorce. For those who do want marriage, I have one simple word of advice:

Appreciate what you have. Or someone else will.

Christmas in… August?

Just got this in my email:

 

My coverage does not run out until the end of the year, but they are trying to get me to pay up now; more than four months before the bill is due.

*SIGH*… They do this every year.

Google Goes Googly

I’ve been a “fan” of Google for more than ten years. However, they just did something that made me feel very uncomfortable.

They recently updated their YouTube App, but when I went to The Android Market Google Play store I was confronted with the following horror-show:

That’s a bloody awful lot of permissions!

Why all the new permissions? Why does YouTube need access to my contents (which they already own) device info (which they already know) and Contacts (which they already store)?

But wait! There’s more! A few days later they replaced the “Not Now” link (why not a button?) on the nag screen nag screen with a thirty-second countdown timer:

Update Or else

This screen comes up every time the app is started, which is extremely annoying, Google are playing hardball in their attempt to get you to get you to upgrade… and sign away a load of your personal information for which they have no clearly explained need.

Unlike most users, I do not use my main account to watch YouTube, so it doesn’t affect me. Instead, I use a secondary account with no Contacts for them to scarf, so updating is no big deal for me. I advise other users to do the same. But it is enough to make one wonder…

Google, what on Earth are you playing at?

In. Equality

Hot on the heels of April Fools’ Day, apparently today is “Equal Pay Day”. It is not to be confused with “Equality Day”, which is in August. How many more of these feel-good political-BS Hallmark™-Holidays do we need? But I digress…

According to USA today, “Women make up roughly half the workforce. But in 2015, female full-time, year-round workers made only 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 20%… Tuesday is Equal Pay Day, a symbolic day for advocates in the U.S. to show support for women in the workforce and draw attention to the gender pay gap.”

Close but no cigar

It is my contention that we don’t have a gender pay gap, we have a gender work gap. While it is true that the *average* man earns more than the *average* woman, this is a misleading fact: Think about it: the average schoolteacher/nurse/clerical government worker (mostly women) earns less than the average roofer/plumber/truck driver/oil rig worker (mostly men)… which is why the pay gap is bogus. Women choose jobs and careers that are less stressful, more convenient and provide better benefits. Men do most of the dirty/difficult/dangerous jobs, which, naturally pay more. And what thanks do they get? “Waaaah!

Even within the same professions, men and women make different choices, in the medical profession, most dermatologists (9-5, low risk, predictable workload, no emergencies) are female, while most ER Trauma surgeons (blood, guts, bullets and screams at 3AM) are male. Women tend to gravitate toward comfortable, air-conditioned, predictable office jobs. They do not generally want to work in hazardous environments, out in the elements or at night. Men to be drawn to high-paying jobs, often in unsanitary or triple-D (Dirty/Difficult/Dangerous).

Do not misunderstand me here: If a man and a woman do the same job with equal effort and competence, they should receive the same rewards. But there is a saying in the financial markets: “It’s all in the price“. What this means is that the price of a stock reflects all that is know about the performance of the underlying company, its values and its reputation.

Let’s take a look at the sporting world: Among professional tennis players, the men move faster, hit harder and have more stamina than the women. A men’s match is best of five sets, a women’s match is best of three. Men attract bigger crowds and bigger sponsorship deals. And yet there are some who think that women tennis players should be paid the same as men. But competitive sports are a meritocracy – the fact that the women players may “work harder” than men is irrelevant; it’s all in the price. It’s not all one-sided though; as an extreme example females in the porn industry get paid five times more than their male counterparts.

Once you control for the same job, the “pay gap” drops to less than 5%, and in some cities (Atlanta and Chicago, among others) women actually out-earn their male counterparts. Is there a pay gap? Perhaps, but it is not as bad as people like to think that it is, and government intervention won’t fix it, in the same way that they couldn’t fix poverty or drugs. But even when two people do the same job, there are differences: For one thing, women are less likely to ask for a raise; sorry girls, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

For another thing, men tend to work longer hours than women. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2014

“…even among full-time workers (those usually working 35 hours or more per week), men worked longer than women—8.4 hours compared with 7.8 hours.”.

That’s three hours a week, or 7.5% more hours. So if the men are working 7.5% more hours and getting paid 5% more, who is really getting the sharp end of the stick here? This can be seen in most office buildings: take a walk around the floor at 6PM. How many men are working late? How many women?

Even Forbes magazine admits what most of us already know: Men work longer hours than women. Of course, those who insist that women do the same work as men for 20% less forget about one crucial point: If profit-driven, greedy corporations know that women are cheaper and just as good, why don’t they replace their men with cheaper women? That’s a question that the pay-gap-advocates cannot answer and continually avoid. Indeed, one female CEO has gone on record to say that she will not hire women. Why? Short answer: Men get things done, women create drama. If a man had the temerity to say such a thing in public, he would be ostracized, disgraced and probably jailed. Equality. Yeah, right.

It seems that women have plenty of advantages as it is; there are almost twice as many female students in the US as male (great for guys who like chasing girls, lousy for girls looking for a M.R.S. to go with her B.A.). Women get more grants, loans and government help than men, who are beginning to look more and more disadvantaged. But the majority of less-useful degrees are pursued my women.

Why are so many women taking Psychology  and Sociology, and so few are studying Philosophy and Physics? This is reason why there is a dearth of women taking STEM subjects; for precisely the same reason that only 2% of Chess Grand Masters are female; not because of some vast conspiracy to keep them out of the winner’s circle, but simply because they don’t want to.

And let us not forget that married men make more money than single men – for precisely the same reason; they will work longer, less convenient hours, and put in extra time and effort. Yet you never hear single men complain that they are “victims” need government-level “help” and “encouragement” in order to achieve “equality”; they’re probably too busy drinking beer, watching games, chasing girls and enjoying life – and good luck to them.

Bottom line: Life isn’t fair. But it is not as systematically unfair as you would like to wish it were. So make your choices, and live with them. It’s all in the price.

TAXI!!

This morning, I got this email from Lyft, a company with whom I have an account that I have had for over a year but never actively used:

lyft

Let’s disassemble that, shall we?

“We created Lyft to be a model for the type of community we want our world to be.”
And there was me thinking that you created Lyft to make money. How altruistic of you. And what’s with the “community” talk? I thought you were a business.

“…diverse…”
We already have enough diversity. How about some unity?

“…inclusive…”
Inclusive of whom? Inclusive of illegals who have no business being here? Inclusive of Islamic Jihadists who want us converted or dead? Inclusive of Muslim Moderates who resolve their confusion and turmoil by shooting up scores of homosexuals in a club? Tell me more about this “inclusivity” thing; I’m not sure I understand.

“…and safe.”
Benjamin Franklin once said: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” America is not, and was never intended to be, a safe space.

“This weekend, Trump closed the country’s borders to refugees, immigrants, and even documented residents from around the world based on their country of origin.”
You obviously haven’t read the executive order. It does no such thing. Here are some of the highlights:

  • “The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.”
  • The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, shall immediately conduct a review to determine the information needed from any country to adjudicate any visa, admission, or other benefit under the INA (adjudications) in order to determine that the individual seeking the benefit is who the individual claims to be and is not a security or public-safety threat.
  • The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, shall submit to the President a report on the results of the review described in subsection (a) of this section, including the Secretary of Homeland Security’s determination of the information needed for adjudications and a list of countries that do not provide adequate information, within 30 days of the date of this order. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall provide a copy of the report to the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence.
  • Immediately upon receipt of the report… the Secretary of State shall request all foreign governments that do not supply such information to start providing such information regarding their nationals within 60 days of notification.
  • After the 60-day period… expires, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall submit to the President a list of countries recommended for inclusion on a Presidential proclamation that would prohibit the entry of foreign nationals (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas) from countries that do not provide the information requested pursuant to subsection (d) of this section until compliance occurs.
  • “…the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.”

As you can see, it is by no means a blanket ban; it is an invitation for other nations to either help us, or be counted among the enemy. It is a “put-up-or-shut-up” challenge. But let’s continue:

  • I hereby proclaim that the entry of nationals of Syria as refugees is detrimental to the interests of the United States and thus suspend any such entry until such time as I have determined that sufficient changes have been made to the USRAP to ensure that admission of Syrian refugees is consistent with the national interest.
  • I hereby proclaim that the entry of more than 50,000 refugees in fiscal year 2017 would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and thus suspend any such entry until such time as I determine that additional admissions would be in the national interest.
  • Notwithstanding the temporary suspension… the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may jointly determine to admit individuals to the United States as refugees on a case-by-case basis, in their discretion, but only so long as they determine that the admission of such individuals as refugees is in the national interest — including when the person is a religious minority in his country of nationality facing religious persecution, when admitting the person would enable the United States to conform its conduct to a preexisting international agreement, or when the person is already in transit and denying admission would cause undue hardship — and it would not pose a risk to the security or welfare of the United States.

AS you can see, there are specifically crafted exceptions. Nothing to see here folks, move along. Now back to the good people at Lyft…

“Banning people of a particular faith or creed, race or identity, sexuality or ethnicity, from entering the U.S. is antithetical to both Lyft’s and our nation’s core values.”
And accepting mass immigration from nations who hate us is not exactly smart. Oh, and “our nation’s core” values are binding on American Citizens and Legal Residents and no one else.

“We stand firmly against these actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community.”
That’s nice. And there is that lovely word “Community” again. Even nicer. But where were you when Hillary was calling me and half of the country “a basket of deplorables“? Where was your “Community Spirit” then? Were you standing firmly then? No, all we heard from you lot was *crickets*.

“We know this directly impacts many of our community members, their families, and friends.”
There is your favorite word again. You’re not a social club, you are a business. Start acting like one.

“We stand with you, and are donating $1,000,000 over the next four years to the ACLU to defend our constitution. We ask that you continue to be there for each other – and together, continue proving the power of community.”
You really love that word, don’t you? Can’t you come up with at least one synonym for “Community“?

There is a fine line between loyal opposition and insurrection. When a person does that, it is called protest, and is the right of any individual. When a publicly-traded corporation does it, it looks a lot like treason.

What you do with your personal share of the profits is entirely up to you (as long as you don’t donate money to the wrong causes). Whether your company gets any of that money from me is up to me.

The Un-personing of Milo

Or: Twitter, your slip is showing

Milo

I discovered Milo Yiannopoulos online last year. He’s an irreverent, unflappable, vibrant contradiction in terms — a British Gay Conservative, who writes for Breitbart news, and speaks out on the stupidity of political correctness and the insanity of third-wave campus feminism. While I am sometimes concerned by his excessive swearing (it doesn’t bother me, but it makes it difficult for me to share his ideas with friends and family who may be easily offended) I enjoy his style of writing and unabashedly self-promoting YouTube videos highly enjoyable. I find his ability to state the blindingly-obvious-but-politically-incorrect quite refreshing, including:

In particular, I love his sense of fun, particularly the way he can poke fun at liberals while taking cover behind what he calls  “gay privilege”. This allows him to get away with many things that straight people would be pilloried for.

He is currently in the middle ot a series of speaking engagement at US universities, which he cheekily dubbed “The Dangerous Faggot Tour“, which clearly showed that too many of America’s Colleges, far from being bastions of free speech had an aversion to it when a Conservative speaker says something that challenged their preconceived beliefs — in particular, one rather obese young woman who had a meltdown at one of his talks, then when it went viral, tried to assert that she had a right to privacy after misbehaving in a public place. I will not link to her, just Google “Trigglypuff” if you want to know what I am talking about.

Naturally, his unique brand of mischief-making did not go unopposed. Twitter, in particular, has made it obvious that they’ve got it in for him. Some months ago, Twitter “unverified” him. Verification is a process by which a Celebrity can protect themselves from impersonators by having their “genuine” account identified by a blue checkmark. Milo’s response was to put a red cross where the blue checkmark used to be.

Twitter’s official story was that he was “harassing” other Twitter users. This was strange, as many far more offensive speakers remained verified; I am sure that the fact that all of these miscreants were liberals and Milo was a conservative had nothing to do with it. Yeah, right.

Any road up, the “unverification” did not hurt Milo; his following and his stock continued to go from strength to strength.

Ghost. Busted.

Things came to a head, however, when he wrote a bad review of the new old movie “Ghostbusters”. Like most, this one panned the movie, which has gone on to become an almighty flop. He did not attack any of the actors personally. However, others did so, and a series of vitriolic tweets aimed at Leslie Jones, resulted in her making a complaint to Twitter. She complained, and Milo was banned from Twitter.

Milo’s account was “permanently suspended”, and all of his tweets, past and present, have been removed. Leslie Jones has said that she is leaving Twitter, but thus far, her tweets are still up. To quote Ariana Rowlands: “Twitter will permanently ban popular conservatives for jokes but will leave up ISIS accounts actively recruiting terrorists, and does not equally apply its rules and their punishments” (Source)

The saddest thing about this whole mess is that Twitter loses, Leslie Jones loses, Sony pictures loses, and the only person who wins is… Milo.

And so I concluded with a couple of open letters: one to Leslie Jones, one to Twitter. Enjoy!


Dear Leslie

As Milo so eloquently put it. You are the star of a Hollywood Blockbuster movie. Act like one. You are now a public persona, and will reap the benefits – and the brickbats- that go with it. Some are warranted, some are not. It doesn’t matter. But getting upset about mean things that people say to and about you reeks of insecurity, not Star Quality. Free Speech requires a Thick Skin; “Mean Tweets” does not equate to Harassment. People have opinions. They will call you ugly. They will tell you that you look like a man.They may or may not be right. *It doesn’t matter*. You have a block and a report button; use them- or even better, you can retweet/repost them publicly for all the world to see. Sunlight, after all, is the best disinfectant.

Finally, I would advise you to observe the golden rule. Your tweets about white people are every bit as racist as the ones aimed at you. You don’t get to launch arrows at others and then go running to Mommy when a hail of arrows comes back at you.


Dear Twitter

One of the reasons that I am on Twitter but not on FakesBook Stalkbook Facebook is because of your transparency. But that transparency is disappearing; lately I have seen more and more left-leaning bias creeping into the platform. Conservatives are censured in a way that liberals are not. Hashtags like #KillAllWhiteMen are considered acceptable, while #KillAllBlackMen would not be. To most well-balanced minds, both are equally racist and should be treated the same way.

The reason for this is simple: A lack of clear bright-line rules that apply to all people, all the time.

  • No Direct Physical Threats. Insults whether warranted or not, are not threats or harassment.
  • A clear reporting, complaints. grievance and sanctioning procedure.
  • Clear definitions for what sanctions will be employed and under what circumstances.
  • Sanctions for those who mis-use the complaints procedure for nuisance and censorship purposes.
  • A mechanism for warning sanctioned users as to exactly what they did wrong, as opposed to the usual woolly statement like “you breached our community guidelines”.
  • A clear explanation as to why someone was sanctioned and a clear and transparent presentation of the evidence.

Clarity and transparency are crucial here; anything less will be rightly perceived as editorial bias. When you removed Milo’s checkmark, others whose transgressions were far more egregious remained unpunished. This kind of bias is becoming obvious; it has already led yo your demise, and if left unchecked, it will lead to your eventual demise as a platform and as a commercial enterprise.

Holding Milo responsible for what others have done is wrong on so many levels. Hold people responsible for what they say, but is is wrong to hold them responsible for the actions of others. We have seen some of the vehemence and death threats that angry people (mostly feminists and liberals) have aimed at him; they remain unpunished while he is banned. Please explain this discrepancy.

Your shabby treatment of Milo has done you no favors and won you no fans, while his following has gone from strength to strength. When you ban someone like him, you deprive us of the diversity that we find most enjoyable about your product. It you want to know the real reason why your stock price is taking a dump, that’s it. Remember, Conservatives are wealthier and more generous than liberals. And when they leave, they take that money with them.

When Security Isn’t

Windows Update is Microsoft’s mechanism for keeping Windows secure. Each month, they release a bunch of patches that plug newly-identified holes that they have found. But from time to time they sneak in updates that are not related to security. One famous example is when they introduce a new version of Internet Explorer (“The best browser… for downloading a better browser”). It is perfectly fine to introduce these under “Optional Updates”or even “Recommended Updates”, but to present them as “Important” is disingenuous at best.

But wait! There’s more!

In the middle of last year, users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 started getting pop-ups urging them to “reserve your copy of Windows 10”. This was so odd and unexpected that many suspected that it was some form of malware, particularly when you realize that Windows 7 is supported my Microsoft until 2020, and Windows 8 even later than that. Which begs the question: So why is Microsoft pushing a free upgrade on its users so hard? But that is another story for another time… here’s what you need to know: Windows Update KB3035583 is the “update” that makes this happen. . remove this update and prevent it from reinstalling if you don’t need Windows 10 (here a hint: you don’t). Also download and install GWX Control Panel to remove the gigabytes of disk space Microsoft has stolen for the Windows 10 upgrade files.

But it gets even better. One of the biggest objections to the “free” Windows 10 upgrade is that it trades away your privacy, but that was not enough for Microsoft. The data-gathering “telemetry” functionality in Windows 10 was subsequently retro-fitted into Windows 7 and 8.1 (See KB3068708, KB3022345, KB3075249, and KB3080149).

So… if are running Windows 7 or 8 and you don’t want Microsoft snooping around in your computer and gathering information about your activities, all you have to do is to remove these updates. The following text in a batch file (run as administrator) will remove the “telemetry” updates along with the Windows 10 update mechanism from your computer:

start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3075249 /quiet /norestart
start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3080149 /quiet /norestart
start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3021917  /quiet /norestart
start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3022345 /quiet /norestart
start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3068708 /quiet /norestart
start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3035583 /quiet /norestart
pause

Once that is done, you will have to go into Windows Update and “Hide” these updates so they don’t get “accidentally” reinstalled. If you are not sure, you can always re-run the batch file as a preemptive measure.

Microsoft: quit abusing “Windows Updates” as an underhanded mechanism to get us to install stuff that isn’t security-related.

 

Light Bulb Moment

20140507_191008

May 2014

 

October 2015

October 2015

 

Careless Talk Costs Lives

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Ashley Madison hack, here are the details:

  • Ashley Madison (“A-M”) is a dating website that specializes in extra-marital affairs.
  • Their business model is likely aimed at men, who are willing to pay for access to available – and presumably attractive – females.
  • Personal Data from A-M was exfiltrated, apparently by an insider who no longer works there according to AM executives.
  • This data includes personal email addresses, names and credit card details of millions of A-M members.
  • A group calling themselves the “Impact Team” have threatened to publish this data unless A-M ceases operations.
  • A-M have not ceased operations.

I am not going to moralize, criticize or look for someone to blame; that’s above my pay grade. I am not going to say how stupid these folks were (they were) or how easy it would have been to avoid giving out personal information (it is). What I will say is that given the number of high-level people who are likely current of former customers of A-M, this information represents the greatest vehicle for extortion that has ever existed in the history of the world.

  • Not every person who signed up for an account with A-M has availed themselves of their services.
  • Not everyone who has paid them money got anything in return.
  • It would be relatively easy to ruin a completely innocent person by inserting their details into the published information.
  • Anyone who pays money to a blackmailer to suppress publication of their information will likely face repeated demands for payment from them or others who happen upon that information in the future.

Like so many of the portents of our time, the existence and success of A-M not the problem. Just like pornography, promiscuity, the marriage strike, or “herbivore culture”, it is but a symptom of the world that we have created for ourselves. We can choose to attack A-M, but they are evidently meeting a need that millions appear to have.It would be easy to dismiss every husband with a wandering eye as a “cheater”, but there are at least two sides to every story – three if you count the truth. Incidentally, why is it that a philandering husband is always vilified and castigated, but the behavior of a cuckolding wife is so often pinned on him as well? But I digress…

When the A-M hack was announced a few weeks ago, it was greeted with much cackling and merriment, mostly from the distaff side. I was a little more sanguine, and opined that the cost of such a disclosure would be measured in lives. So imagine my surprise when I hear that there have been at least two suicides because of the A-M hack…

I’m sick of being right.

Full disclosure: While I am aware of A-M, and have a superficial understanding of how their business works, I have never been a member or signed up for any of their services. Even if I were inclined, their premise – that there are attractive married women who are itching to get a little action on the side with little old me – sounds to good to be true.

And if there is a lesson to be learned here, it is that if is something is to good to be true, it probably is.