Welcome to the Tech Apocalypse
At this rate, the garage-full of outdated tech that I've hoarded over the decades, might end up being more useful than I could have ever dared to imagine.
1132 posts • joined 18 Oct 2013
"I have plenty of Abandonware on my PCs that can no longer be found"
The difference is that you can still run that abandonware on your fully updated PC, potentially decades after it was abandoned, even if that requires using the likes of dosbox or similar.
And you don't have to contend with Microsoft arbitrarily hitting a killswitch that deliberately disables software just because it's "too old".
Sure, there are compatibility issues, but that's not quite the same thing as being deliberately blocked. And unlike Android, you can easily work around those compatibility issues.
So where is the Android compatibility layer that will keep all my abandonware running in perpetuity, like on Windows?
This is especially ironic given that Android is a Java-like virtual machine, where you're supposed to be able to "write once, run anywhere" forever.
Well, I guess not.
Unfortunately a solid 50% of everything on my Android phone is probably abandonware at this point, despite my best efforts to find acceptable replacements over the years.
That includes the launcher itself (in my case the original, now abandoned version of Apex, before the new owners destroyed it).
I guess this is the inevitable consequence of making software development too accessible, by dumbing it down to the level that opportunistic kiddies dump their one-hit-wonders into the app store, before losing interest and running away.
So what will smartphone users do once the only apps they actually want to use have been essentially blocked by Google?
Go back to using PCs, I guess.
I'm not so naive as to think we can continue raping and pillaging planet Earth without dire consequences, I'm just a bit fed up being at the top of the pile of sacrificial lambs, while the wolves are allowed to continue roaming free.
Seriously, just let me have my goddamn gaming PC already, and go pester the actual contributors to California's groundwater problem.
Will my owning a Potato PC somehow magically stop California's mindless, greedy, hedonistic agricultural industry from relentlessly sucking the groundwater dry?
My best guess would be no, that this problem will only be "solved" once the parasitic humans responsible finally succeed in destroying the source of their own existence, and finally yeet themselves.
Good riddance, but please leave me and my previous gaming PC out of it.
Greetings from what has apparently been designated as the last muddy outpost in Blighty scheduled to receive fibre broadband, probably several decades after every other household in the country.
I look forward to the prospect of subsidising everyone else's gloriously high speed internet, while I remain involuntarily stuck on "broadband" speeds roughly comparable to using 2 tin cans connected by a piece of string.
As the proud owner of an "Exchange Only" line, in the middle of a vast wilderness populated only by myself, a geriatric postmaster, and several sheep, I suppose I should be accustomed to paying through the nose for services I'm denied the privilege of enjoying, such as any form of public transportation, public road maintenance, or even a council dustbin, so this latest move fits perfectly.
I shall now begin a Patreon campaign to fund moving home to an inner-city slum, so I can reap the rewards of a 21st century lifestyle.
Whoda thunk that the Extinction Level Event that ends humanity will not be a deep impact of stupidly large space boulders, an invasion of morbidly curious aliens armed with suspiciously familiar looking plumbing and kitchen utensils, or the comparatively banal option of nuclear war, but it will in fact be a deficit of coffee running through our increasingly pulsating veins?
The movie "I am Legend" suddenly makes a lot more sense.
"The heck with freedoms, look how beautifully engineered our system is."
Pretty much, yes.
I'm far more interested in the craftsmanship of a tool than what people may choose to use it for. Whereas I can exercise control over the design of the tool, I can have no reasonable expectation of control over the people who use it, much less how they choose to use it. Nor should I aspire to such control in principle.
Personally, I find the general question of "freedumb" to be more than just misguided, it's actually sinister. The people whining loudest about it tend to have the most sinister motives.
I used to be a GPL purist, which is funny because I actually started out as a UNIX (Ultrix) guy, more interested in UNIX engineering principles than political idealism.
Over the years, I found it harder and harder to consolidate these two increasingly opposing principles. Not that there's anything intrinsically about the GPL that compels such licensed software to violate UNIX principles, that's just the pit that Linux fell into, or more accurately was pushed into, mainly by Red Hat and the Poettering cabal.
Systemd pretty much single-handedly cured me of whatever little GPL idealism I had. When it comes down to a choice between "enforced freedom" or proper engineering principles, I know what's more important.
The Yanks desperately trying to shore up their failing economy using a hopeless strategy, under the guise of "national security".
If it really wants to be competitive, maybe it could try, erm, you know, actually making stuff, without gouging customers.
But nope, clearly it's easier to run a protection racket than reopen factories.
Make America Broke Again!
Nope, seems spot on to me.
The UK 5g infrastructure has been fscked because of completely unsubstantiated hysteria peddled by a pathological liar.
The question is, will Boris now have the balls to admit he never really wanted to do this in the first place, now that he no longer has to appease the Orange loser?
Let's pretend that the Yanks' entirely unsubstantiated bullshit has a tiny kernel of truth ... frankly I'd rather be spied on by a Chinese government with zero power to act on whatever it discovers about me, than be spied on by the NSA, extradited without prima facie evidence or even so much as an explanation, then tortured at Guantanamo Bay in violation of the United Nations convention. For example.
Please explain how China is a greater threat to me than America.
This was never about security, it was only ever about the US economy.
Not defending Apple - I despise them and everything they stand for with every fibre of my being - but consumers need to stop rewarding bad behaviour by persistently buying anti-consumer products.
If any given anti-consumer measure is industry wide, then stop buying that type of product entirely, and make sure the companies know exactly why.
It's not like any of these shiny toys are actually necessary for survival, and in any case the companies in question will soon back down once they see their precious bottom line swirling down the toilet.
As long as we continue supporting these gangsters, we only have ourselves to blame.
Ever heard of the US intelligence agencies' National Security Letter?
Or in other words: You should also be aware of the laws in America that compel every American citizen and company to assist in national security or intelligence work. This should concern you if represent clients that work in or with America.
However, is this odious legal requirement actual proof that, e.g. Facebook is spying on Chinese citizens at the behest of the NSA, secretly, under a gag order imposed by the legal terms of a National Security Letter?
Or is it just a case of "well they could do that if they wanted to".
And would this sinister power wielded by the NSA be tantamount to all the "proof" the Chinese government needs to justify outlawing Facebook in China?
Having the power to do something in principle is not somehow proof that this power is actually being abused. You should really learn the difference.
So, like I said, where's the proof?
The problem with recommending alternative browsers, every time Mozilla screws up, is that invariably the main reason users are complaining is because their addons are broken, and switching to another browser really won't help them.
In my case it's MetaMask, a cryptocurrency wallet, and as far as I know Firefox is the only mobile browser supported ... or rather it was until today.
Let me be crystal clear, Mozilla: your browser is utterly useless to me unless it supports the addons I need. It's literally just a delivery vehicle for my addons. The browser itself is irrelevant. I don't want Firefox, I want MetaMask. The sole reason I use Firefox is because it's the only mobile browser supported by MetaMask and the other addons I need. Period.
If you break the API, and thus break the addons, you've created something that is about as useful to me as a chocolate teapot. I'm sure the technical improvements under the hood are impressive, but that means nothing when the sole reason for using that browser is something that no longer works.
I'm also trying to figure out why you blatantly lied about it not being possible to roll back to a working version, especially since you host that and all previous versions on your own ftp site. I just tried it. It works. Why wouldn't it?
Sorry Mozilla, but the "release early, release often, break always" strategy just isn't working.
But you can do it for $749.00. In about 6 months time. Maybe.
But frankly, why bother?
The whole point of a smartphone is convenience. Take away the convenience and you might as well just go back to dumb phones. A phone without SafetyNet is basically useless to me. No banking apps, no Google Pay, hell even the bus timetable app refuses to run. I've tried hacks like Magisk but it's a game of leapfrog with Google and the banks, so ultimately it's a losing battle.
The top 3 apps I use are all Google: YouTube, Maps and Search, in that order. And BTW that's on both smartphones and the desktop. That, combined with SafetyNet restrictions, means I'm basically Google's bitch, so I may as well suck it up and let them compile whatever data they want on me. It's not like I'm going to die from a fatal case of "Google spying". In fact, as I sit here, I can't imagine a single negative consequence of allowing Google to know that I watched PewdiePie, listened to Eminem, then bought a USB cable on Amazon. What exactly could Google do to me armed with that data, that would in any way cause me harm?
So yeah, rooting and modding and hacking in general is an interesting exercise, and of course taking steps to protect yourself from genuine threats is essential, but this ain't one of them.
Yeah, and that is the only thing you will ever launch, my little Nazi former friends.
Maybe you could ask your equally Nazi soul mates across the Atlantic to plant a Union Jack on the moon, if they ever stop spending money on warfare long enough to save up for the trip.
Manufacturers are shifting more boxes than ever, specifically because prices have finally reached sane levels, and meanwhile they continue to make billions in profit.
And this is a problem because ... it's Y billion instead of X billion.
[Checks bank account]
Excuse me while I get out the world's smallest violin.
As a staunch socialist, you might expect that I'd be eagerly in favour of enforcing diversity in the private sector.
Unfortunately, I'm not just socialist, I also have the affliction of logic, and logic dictates that:
In other words, if the democratic majority dislikes a company's policies, then they should vote with their wallets, otherwise they are complicit.
Yes, this is very much a classical liberal view, and not at all socialist, but it's also a pragmatic view in a society that is clearly also not really socialist, except when it suits them. Play by the rules, or stop playing the game. Personally I'd rather do the latter, but I'm in a minority, so the best I can do is point out the hypocrisy of playing a game whose rules you don't like, and hope that somebody besides myself notices this glaring contradiction.
I used to be the sort of person who reached all the way to the back of the shelf, to get the newest items with the longest sell-by/use-by dates. Until I realised what a selfish bastard I was, and the fact that my selfishness was actually contributing to global waste.
So now, as a matter of principle, I always choose the oldest produce, provided it's still in date (which it must be by law anyway). And frankly I'd even buy the "out-of-date" stuff if I could, because those sell-by dates are set extremely conservatively, and the fact is that most of it is still perfectly safe and palatable even after that date.
I rarely notice much difference, and I highly doubt that anyone else would either, if they're being honest. There have been a couple of exceptions, such as chicken that turned out to be rather smelly once I opened it up, but the shop replaced it without argument, so no loss there.
So frankly I would much rather that the pickers were fulfilling my online orders with the older (but still in date) stock, as anything else is socially irresponsible.
Yup, we're all "terrorists" now, hacking the planet from behind the Iron curtain of encrypted tunnels, spreading our subversive agenda.
It wasn't that long ago that using a VPN, or even knowing about the existence of such a thing, lay exclusively within the realm of geeks, nae Übergeeks. Well OK, and remote office workers. In fact I'm pretty sure I recall mutterings to the effect that VPN and all forms of encryption were on the verge of being criminalized ... any day now.
Now it's virtually impossible to even watch a YouTube video without being spammed by one VPN slinger or another. Everybody's doing it, it seems.
I guess that whole Snoopers' Charter, warrantless mass surveillance, anti-piracy, anti-terrorism thing seriously backfired. Rather than putting a lid on it, it had the exact opposite effect, and now everyone and their pooch is digging tunnels under Big Brother's house.
Finally something to smile about.
Well I was being a tad disingenuous, but my question was not entirely rhetorical.
Regardless of cultural differences, and the Yanks' long-standing hysterical paranoia over, well, frankly anything not American, you'd think they'd at least have the acumen to suck it up and just get on with it out of economic necessity. Moreover, the fact that the Chinese are such significant trading partners, which the Yanks benefit from significantly, makes the Yanks' hostility seem not only irrational but utterly hypocritical.
In other words, if the Yanks hate the Chinese so much, stop trading with them, put up or shut up, and quit whining.
Of course, we all know why they will never do that.
Maybe somebody can explain this mystery, but why exactly are we even considering what amounts to sanctions against a country (yes, this is really about the Chinese government, not a company) that we've never been at war with, which we freely accept £45 billion worth of imports from every year, and which stands to gain nothing from damaging our diplomatic and economic relations, by means of spying, nuking, or any other hostile act?
Now repeat the above paragraph, but substitute £45 billion with $558 billion, then ask the same question of the megalomaniacal Trump regime.
I had a non-volatile ram once. I called him Yoda, mostly due to his voice. Instead of butting me out of his way, he'd just stand there patiently staring me down, like he was trying to move me with The Force. I suspect he may have been the result of a bizarre military experiment.
Not trolling, just genuinely interested, as I don't see anything bad here.
The only annoyance I've come across so far is the fact that I can't use the OneDrive desktop client without changing my Windows logon to a Microsoft account.
Yes, I have a Microsoft account, obviously, otherwise I wouldn't be able to use OneDrive, but the fact is I prefer not to log in to a local machine using remote credentials, if for no better reason than the fact that the Internet in this muddy backwater only seems to work on a part time basis.
I got around this by installing RaiDrive, which is handy because it actually supports a lot of Cloud services, including Google, MEGA and an SFTP to my own domain. But still, I do find it annoying that Microsoft is attempting to force my hand.
They do the same thing with Skype, but only if you use the client from the Microsoft Store. If you download the proper desktop client directly from Skype, you're not forced to change your Windows login. I could find no equivalent desktop app for OneDrive, other than replacing it with RaiDrive.
But that's literally all I have to complain about Windows 10. Everything else has been smooth as butter.
I assume the ads are the result of using an unlicensed copy of Windows.
I wouldn't know, as I bought a legitimate OEM key for five quid off eBay.
I also don't use the fuggly Win10 start menu, where I assume most of these mysterious ads live, as I've replaced it with Classic Shell.
As for updates, for me this all happens silently and without any drama. I've never needed to block one, and never suffered the consequences. I'm barely even aware that updates are happening.
This certainly wasn't the case with Win7. Keeping b0rked updates away from that OS was a major battle. But assuming you could keep all that junk out, 7 was mostly OK. I've not encountered anything even remotely like that with 10.
After the horrifying double fiasco of WinME and Vista, I could understand people clinging to XP. I was one of them. Hell, we all were (except Mac and Linux purists).
Then 7 came along, and it was like a more stable, more secure, better looking version of XP. The clinging recommenced.
Windows 10 is no Vista, in fact I've grown to like it, after replacing that hideous "Flat UI" with third-party alternatives (most notably "Classic Shell"). There's no question that this is the most drama-free version of Windows I've ever used, and that's really my only criteria.
But I can see how 7 users might still balk at the prospect of 10's sheer out-of-the-box fuggliness, not to mention all that Microsoft spyware. Believe me, it's all curable, and worth it, at least for the Windows part of your computing life. For everything else there's Linux (or, increasingly, Android).
I think I can solve that mystery. The problem is that all the actual flavour of any given food is locked into hydrophobic molecules, and thus can only be released in the presence of the aforementioned artery-choking fat, which sadly in the case of nearly all Stupormarket® meat these days is almost entirely absent.
The sad fact is that fat-free is, pretty much by definition, tasteless.
It may be a bit of a challenge, given that they're now virtually extinct, but try to find an actual butcher shop, and ask specifically for untrimmed bacon, preferably with a lot of marbling (i.e. lots of fat on the inside, not just a thick wad of it under the rind).
Feel free to conservatively trim the rind, but leave all the fat. Your taste buds will thank you. You'll die in your 50s, but at least you'll die with a big smile on your face. That's my plan, anyway, and I'm sticking to it.
While we're on the subject of fairness, I've eased off my criticism of "junk food" in recent years, as it's become increasingly clear that pretty much all "pre-made" food (i.e. not grown in your allotment) is essentially junk anyway, especially the stuff labelled "healthy". Not to mention the fact that the Powers That Be® constantly flip-flop between claiming something is an essential elixir of life and, basically, it'll kill you. In other words, I no longer know what to believe, so I have to assume that all claims, one way or the other, are just speculative bullshit.
Now I just eat whatever. Mostly bacon butties. I've often wondered why there has never been a multinational "Bacon R Us" in the vein of MacDs, Hell, it'd be my No1 feeding trough, if it ever happened. Seriously. Sod those utterly tasteless, virtually fat-free patties of minced beef from Hamburg. Give me huge wads of artery-choking bacon any time. Really, any time. Wake me up at 3AM on a Tuesday, if you like, just make sure you come bearing huge pallets of bacon butties, shrinkwrapped for freshness.
As for the arguably inappropriate use of Windows for, well, pretty much anything other than the PC Desktop, meh! I used to care. I used to stand on my upturned (and now empty) bacon box and scream obscenities at anyone daring to suggest using Windows for display terminals etc., spitting bacon bits onto the crowd (of one ... typically a bemused policeman) as I vented my spleen. But once I realised how much precious bacon I was wasting, in my futile efforts to bring salvation to the unwashed masses, I just gave up and went back to eating bacon full time, thus guaranteeing a short but blissful life.
I mean seriously, who wants to live forever anyway, especially without bacon? This irrational obsession with immortality is ill-conceived. An eternity without bacon isn't a good quality of life, it's a cruel and unusual torture. You might as well say wouldn't it be great to live for 200 years, where every day I have someone driving knitting needles through my eyeballs, while hedgehogs chew on my testicles. Well no actually it wouldn't, now that I think about it.
So bring on the greasemongers, and super-size me!
Can't remember which article (there's probably been a few), but I seem to recall a few commentaries to the effect that the Internet didn't quite turn out to be the utopia it was expected to be. Yes, there's a few plus points, take El Reg for example, but if we're being brutally honest it's probably an overall negative. Between fake news, Cambridge Analytica style manipulation, paywalls, identity theft, ransomware, spam, adware, e-commerce globalisation destroying small businesses and the high street, data harvesting, privacy violation, NSA warrantless mass surveillance, and the cesspool of human scum that anonymously pervades social networks, the Internet isn't really all it's cracked up to be.
I have a feeling that AI will be a similar story, except this time we're jaded enough to anticipate the dangers in advance.
Mostly I suspect it'll just end up being used for more precisely targetted spam, via profiling. And of course that same profiling will inevitably be abused by paranoid three-letter agencies to target "terrorists" (i.e. anyone who dares to disagree with our Corporatocratic regime's increasingly Draconian policies).
As for positive use cases, I'm not hopeful.
Actually you're both right, depending on the motive.
It's certainly legitimate for someone to apathetically dump the end result of their personal itch-scratching exercise into the public domain, in a half-baked act of philanthropy. I'm sure that is how at least some open source projects begin life. In such cases, expecting the original author to spend days carefully crafting policy documents is not very realistic.
However, it's far more common for open source to begin for more pragmatic reasons, where the license is chosen specifically to encourage community contributions, to distribute the workload among many, in terms of both developer contributions and public scrutiny. In such cases, the community surrounding that project is certainly no peanut gallery, and you absolutely need to listen to what they're telling you, assuming you wish to continue receiving their contributions, that is.
In this case, it seems that Kim started out as one of the latter, then ended up as one of the former.
It happens. Many open source projects see a lot of leadership changes due to irresolvable conflicts of interests, where tempers fray and people storm out. Exactly the same thing happens with proprietary software development too, of course, except behind closed doors, so we rarely get to hear the details.
Whether or not there's any benefit to seeing developers air their dirty laundry in public is debatable, but it's certainly entertaining.
I can think of a good way to spoil the AI harvesters fun, ironically using AI technology against itself.
Use a Deep Fake generator to create an endless iteration of modified selfies, merging them with photos of other people's faces to produce hybrids, then upload them as profile pictures and identity-tagged posts to every social network that you suspect has ever had your photo. And not just once, but keep renewing your fake profile photo, and keep spamming these sites with fake selfies, basically forever. Oh, and use TOR or a VPN so this activity can't be linked to the same IP.
If enough people do that often enough, eventually these AI databases will become overwhelmed with so much fake data that they will be rendered essentially useless.
Just a thought.
Few devices will ever need 100W chargers. Those are corner cases. By all means have a few exceptions. But a few exceptions does not somehow equate to a market filled with thousands of incompatible chargers, as was the case before a standard was introduced.
This is one of those rare occasions where the free market actually works, once properly regulated. The typical power requirements of the day will determine the power rating of the most common chargers at any given time, evolving as necessary as technology changes.
The important difference is they will all be useable with all devices, but only thanks to regulatory intervention.
I get the feeling that this analysis might be a case of "there's damned lies, then there's statistics", a bit like claiming that cassette tape is making a huge comeback, when in fact it's only huge compared to its own recent history, which belies its single digit market share of the market as a whole.
I think we need some perspective. Open source has gone from zero to omnipresent, which means there's now vastly more open source software out there. Stuff that was GPL is still GPL, it's still part of that - what was it? - 59% ecosystem. It's just that a lot of new stuff has now been added to that ecosystem, coming from places that previously wouldn't touch open source, but which have found it a pragmatic necessity in a predominantly open source world.
This is not a loss for Free Software fundamentalism, it's a testament to the influence it's had on the world of software, transforming the landscape into a world that's now orders of magnitude more open.
So what if most of the new stuff isn't GPL? It's coming from places that had never even heard of open source not that long ago, whose entire portfolio was proprietary. That stuff was never destined to become GPL anyway. It's just been forced to become slightly less proprietary, then even less, and so on.
Mission accomplished, frankly.
Sorry kids, but it makes me laugh witnessing supposedly grown adults arguing over the relative merits of the various "new" Star Wars, when frankly even the original holy trinity was just a cheesy cringefest suitable only for brain-dead adolescent American brats. The sequels, prequels, reboots or whatever the bean counters want to call them theses days are only slightly more shite than the originals.
Seriously, even in 77, when I would've been 11, I thought this whole Star Wars mania was just stupid. How any supposed adult can get all teary eyed over this garbage, four decades later, is beyond comprehension.
I can think of at least a dozen films I'd have rather seen that year, had I been old enough, including A Bridge Too Far, The Spy Who Loved Me, and Jabberwocky. Frankly I'd rather watch the home shopping channel all day than even a single minute of any of this franchise of junk.
Let the tsunami of downvotes begin.
As part of a hacker group, my guess is he cut a deal to sell out his partners in crime.
But even if Albayrak was a loner and his "group" was a mere fantasy, I'm sure the NCU won't treat it as such, because today's "everything is terrorism" paranoid approach to criminal investigation will ensure he becomes a permanent addition to their watchlist.
Of course, in order for the NCU to have something to watch, useful or otherwise, Albayrak has to be cut loose.
So in reality this sentence is more sinister than it first appears, although in fairness Albayrak only has himself to blame.
What I really meant was "any TV".
Just don't rely on whatever "smart" features are temporarily available, since clearly in today's market those feature are in fact only temporary. Augment it with something that is actually under your control.
Of course, the BBC itself is not under your control (the fact that it just arbitrarily ended service for a large segment of its viewers, without even any consultation, proves that beyond all doubt), and it could theoretically just kill the iPlayer service entirely, at which point all the DIY solutions in the world won't help you. But at least you'd be left with equipment you could reconfigure to use alternative services, since presumably there will always be some alternative.
With a proprietary black box, you won't have that option, you'll just have a very expensive paperweight.
This is more than just a practical consideration, it's a point of principle, and one with the power to affect positive change. If the majority of consumers vote with their wallet and make it clear that they're no longer prepared to have their legally purchased property remotely deactivated, manufacturers will have no choice but to cede to their demands, or go out of business.
In practical terms that means open hardware running open source software, and without any "Tivoization" to block your access to that otherwise open source software.
And not just for TVs, either. I mean everything, from consumer electronics to cars. If it uses software, for any purpose, then it must by right be fully modifiable by the legal owner of that hardware, and that right needs to be protected by law. Anything less is a violation of real property rights, specifically a tortious interference by the abomination known as "intellectual property".
How realistic it is to expect the great unwashed to actually care about such things is another matter, but the principle is incontrovertible.
No, only about 25 million of us.
The whole point of getting a RPi or similar, instead of yet another proprietary black box, is that you can be guaranteed to self-support it, and thus continue to actually use it, in theory forever, without having to worry about some third party remotely disabling your legally purchased property by "ending support".
Of course, I sadly accept that not everyone cares about such trivia as personal freedom and property rights. There's not much I can do to help people who don't want to be helped, who'd rather submit themselves to serfdom than suffer the minor inconvenience of not being terminally lazy.
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