Let’s give it a shot

Many times over the years we’ve heard Windows users say they wish that third-party apps could update with Windows Update; that’s more or less what the Windows Store offers.

Source: Even if you hate the idea, Windows users should want Windows 10 S to succeed | Ars Technica

I’d be willing to give it a shot. I’ve seen others bitch about these things but the reality is that trying to keep apps updated on their own is a total pain in the ass, requiring the perennial use of batch scripts, or things more recent like ninite.com. I love ninite.com but its functionality is something that should not be needed at all.

Hell, even Linux has the equivalent of an app store. It’s just call a package manager. If Microsoft enabled a powershell interface the the Windows Store then it’s going to be really damn useful for sysadmins.

Windows 10 waking up on its own

For the longest time I couldn’t figure out why it was doing this. One night it annoyed me enough that I went digging for the cause and found this link on how to disable devices from waking the system up.

In my case the device manager looks like this:
Windows 10 Device Manager

Under “Mice and other pointing devices” disabled all the HID devices except for “Microsoft USB Dual Receiver Wireless Mouse”. Both the keyboard and the mouse use the same receiver and I wasn’t sure if disabling it would also disable the keyboard. The article itself warns about being unable to wake the system up if you disable all devices.

Now, I previously had already disabled waking abilities on all network adapters but for some reason they always get re-enabled after a Windows 10 update. Worth double-checking after any and all updates.

As a bit extra, I noticed Spotify would wake the system up from sleep as soon as my phone connected to the local wifi network. Not sure why the Spotify developers think their application is important enough to warrant this, but the problem does go away once you disable waking abilities on network adapters.

The new corporate overreach normal

Today I have four stories that are the start of a trend that is quite worrisome.

First we have the story of a composer who says Apple Music destroyed his music collection. This is a case of a company messing around with your livelihood.

Then we have the story of Amazon disabling internet access for Kindle devices. This is a case of a company messing with your entertainment.

Next up is Google Nest disabling the Revolv smart hub because the company doesn’t consider it worth updating anymore. This is a case of a company messing with your convenience for its own profit.

At the last we have this new story of Microsoft disallowing Administrators from disabling the Windows Store in Windows systems. This is a case of a company messing with your ability to do work.

If it had been only one company, that specific product might have been shunned and the company could have corrected its course. But now here we have four of the biggest companies around deciding unilaterally what they think is best for you. Doesn’t matter if you don’t use the specific product talked about. This applies to the entirety of the company.

This is quite on purpose. They want to set the social precedent that it is okay to do this. A legal precedent might not be set since their EULAs usually include arbitration agreements; contracted and paid for by these same companies to make sure customers always lose and prevent the justice system from being able to intervene.

The government is quite unconcerned itself since most of these companies proclaim to support encryption, yet all of them are jumping on the Internet of Things bandwagon. The power of IoT is on its ability to eavesdrop and surveil your life ostensibly for your benefit as an user. The data gets sent to the companies… but must travel through connections that have always been monitored. So the government doesn’t care as long as they can do surveillance.

I’ll only mention Facebook in that their way of functioning precludes them from disabling access to products. Otherwise how can they obtain more information on what you do and who you are?

As it is, Open Source can provide a viable alternative only if we find a way to make sure that the developers of the software we depend on are rewarded for their efforts (remember OpenSSL having no money?) otherwise things like Heartbleed will happen again and again. Companies will provide funds only for things that will directly benefit them and/or their bottom line; never for useful software that competes with theirs.

For myself I know I won’t really use Apple products at this point. I do use Windows but I know I’ll switch back to Linux eventually. I use Google Apps but will brush up on keeping my own mailservers. I like Amazon Prime but I won’t buy a Kindle or an Echo device.

These are conscious decisions about how I interact with the business giants of our age. We all need to do that, lest we risk being stepped on.

Oh, Skype…

For the past two years or thereabouts, every time I’ve attempted to change my password in Skype I’m greeted with the following error:

Skype character error

No matter what OS, browser, or client I use, I still get it.

If memory serves (and I might be mistaken) Skype itself suggested you use special characters like !, @, #, $, %, ^, &, *, (, ), _, etc, to make your passwords more complex and help increase the security of your account. They wanted you to use the sort of password that is bloody hard to remember and easy for a computer to steal or crack or for another human to guess.

My guess is at some point (probably after being acquired by Microsoft), they updated their password code to disallow such characters. Which means I am now screwed as their systems literally don’t know what to do with my current password.

Maybe at some point I’ll be able to change my password, but with the migration from Live Messenger to Skype, it’s unlikely.

Oh, before I forget. If you want to use a password, it’ll have to be less than 20 characters in length. You know, for teh future lulz.

C’mon, now

I’ve been trying to get the damn Debian Wheezy installer to work via USB on a Thinkpad T60 for the past three days without any success. Sure, it works like a charm when put on a CD or a DVD and booting from there, but that is beside the point.

I’ve tried various methods I’ve found on the web and on the Debian wiki without avail. To use any of them, you need to fuck around with the terminal, or installing things (as in the case of unetbootin). As it is right now, most Linux installers still can’t easily be put on USB drives without fucking around on the command line and getting things wrong a few times.

I realize I’m just venting, but… really, it is now past mid-2012. Apple is selling its OS X via digital delivery. Microsoft is about to do the same with Windows 8, and did sell Windows 7 installers on USB drives.

Linux should have gotten there years ago, to make it easy for people to try it out and keep their files around with them. Instead, we have lots and lots of guides for “the perfect $LINUXDISTRO USB install”, all of which are outdated within a few months. This would have led to Linux spreading virally among the common user, instead of just staying in the nerd ghetto.

Combine this with motherboards implementing UEFI and Linux installers not supporting it, and the future is getting ever dimmer for “Linux on the desktop.” Next time someone says “This is the year of Linux on the desktop” I will laugh at them on their face.