As If I Needed Another

…reason not to install the latest “upgrade” from Windoze:  here it is.

Microsoft will soon begin pushing adverts into the Start Menu of Windows 11 with the inclusion of ‘recommended’ apps.

And why not?  It’s where users are at their most vulnerable, so to speak:  right at the beginning of the process.  It’s like starting your car, but before the engine fires, you first have to listen to a 15-second advert for “recommended” tires, Bud Lite or windshield washer fluid.  But of course, it’s being pushed as a helpful benefit:

Microsoft says the ads are aimed to enable users to find ‘some of the great apps that are available’.

That’s Microsoft all over:  just trying to be helpful, as is someone who will pass you a bucket of lighter fluid instead of water when you’re trying to put out a house fire.

Although the update [KB5036980] is currently optional, it will soon roll out to all Windows devices within the coming weeks.

Of course it will — coercion is one of Microsoft’s major strengths.  But:

Luckily, there is an easy way to turn off the pesky adverts with a simple change to your device settings.

Luckily.  Until that feature too is disabled in future “updates”, depending on how much blast-back Microsoft gets from customers — not that they’ve ever paid much heed to that in the past, unless the storm of protest was overwhelming.

I have generally made it my personal policy to skip generations of Windows OS — I never used Win 9, for example, going from 8 to 10, and then only because someone I trusted not only chided me but actually forced me to make that change, having to do it himself because I flatly refused to do so.  (Thanks, Dan.)  And I was only able to have him do that because I was a house guest at the time.  Unfortunately, he lives about two states away from me so I won’t be able to do that again this time.

And in any event, I’m going to get this fucking “feature” when I get my replacement PC* later in the year.  Let’s hope there really is an “easy way” to turn the thing off, or else the laptop’s durability will be sorely tested as it slams into the opposite wall.  (My new apartment doesn’t overlook the pool this time, so the laptop’s waterproofing will not be called upon.)


*In response to my earlier woes, several Readers sent me their older laptops to try to help me out — and thank you, every one — but I was never able to make them work for me, even with considerable input from Daughter, who is a pro at this kind of thing.  Sadly, it’s a new one I’ll be getting, or else I’ll just go back to using my older Dell which, although slower than a carthorse on downers, is at least still capable of closing without needing engineering manipulation of the Rubik Cube degree.

Looking Into It

From Airstrip One, home of the telescreen, comes this news:

A.I. speed cameras can detect how fast someone is travelling and send a report on the make, model and number plate of a vehicle to the police – but some Brits are concerned over privacy.

And of course, there’s always a willing number of the Terminally Supine who are only too pleased to lick those chains:

Louise Thomas, from Confused.com car insurance thinks it will help improve safety and protect both road users and pedestrians. “A.I. speed cameras will help catch drivers who break the law when behind the wheel, such as driving without wearing a seatbelt or for using their phone,” she said.

And no doubt, she would support compulsory implanting of microscopic ships into drivers’ brains, to cut the cost of the cameras and make surveillance of same much more “efficient”.

As for that “concern over the loss of privacy” thing:  I hate to break it to you Brits, but for you that ship sailed so long ago, it’s already begun the return voyage.

Enjoy the taste of metal on your tongues.

Pointless Shit

I’m always ranting about how the auto industry has overloaded basic transportation with evermore-complex technology (3 seat-position memory options? FFS), but of course, they’re not the only ones.

Here’s another example, seen via a link on Insty’s page:

What a load of bullshit.  My old Keurig essentially has two options:  size of cup, regular/strong brew, and that’s it.  (“High Altitude Setting”? FFS #2)

Oh wait… I forgot mine’s warning light for “There’s No More Water In The Reservoir, You Idiot, Can’t You See Through The Clear Plastic?”

Let’s not forget the lie of “Brushed Silver” when it’s just shiny plastic.

And forgive me, but the whole point of a Keurig is that you can make a cuppa quickly without waiting for the water to boil, so the “Auto On/Off” switch is the work of Satan.  (Yeah, “saves electricity” blah blah blah… fuck the whales.)

Needless to say, in the spirit of manufacturers everywhere, my model Keurig is no longer available;  so when it finally quits working, I’ll be forced to buy one of these multi-featured over-complex monstrosities at, of course, a price which is 40% more than I paid for mine.

Don’t even talk to me about the cost of replacing my ageing VW, or my soaring blood pressure will ensure that the Tiguan outlives its owner.

Got Me Thinking

Here’s a little snippet:

…and here’s a pic of the slag herself:

Ugh.

Let me tell you, the only way I’d be tempted into spending money on something like this is if the offer was for this model:

And I’d pay a premium for the “Sexy Contralto Italian Accent” option.

“The Name’s Backless; Green Backless”

As the totalitarians / utilitarians / technology-worshipers in our midst try to push us evermore towards a cashless society, we see situations like this occur, this time in Britishland:

The IT meltdowns suffered by Sainsbury’s and Tesco highlight the dangers of relying on cashless payments which puts our society ‘at risk’, experts have warned.

On Saturday morning, Sainsbury’s experienced a ‘technical issue’ which created chaos for thousands of people on one of the busiest shopping days of the week.

The supermarket chain cancelled online orders and couldn’t accept contactless payments – so shoppers either had to pay in cash, or scramble to try and remember their PIN.

While people desperately queued to use nearby ATMs, the dramatic uptick in cash withdrawal meant many of the machines ran out.

Many loyal shoppers turned to rival chain Tesco – it also experienced issues with online orders, with a small proportion being cancelled.

By the way, you don’t have to be an “expert” to see the inherent dangers of over-reliance on technology;  you just have to be aware of the old maxim that to err is human, but to really fuck things up you need a computer.  And we’ve all been there.

Nor am I a conspiracy theorist, but at the same time the odds of a “technology meltdown” occurring in the UK’s two largest supermarket chains at the same time are, wouldn’t you say, rather alarming.

In another context, if the flight guidance systems malfunctioned simultaneously in both United Airlines and Air France — two unrelated corporations — there’d be all sorts of alarm and governmental enquiry commissions, not to mention screaming panic in the headlines.

Nor would the scenario of malignant agency be simply dismissed as paranoia — but here we are, where people can’t buy food for their families because of a “meltdown”.

You’d think that we’d have learned this little lesson during the previous lockdown, where all sorts of nonsense happened because “everyday life” was dislocated.

But we haven’t.

Just wait till Ford and Mercedes together experience “system failure” in their driverless car fleets…

Technology can be our friend, and often is.  But over-reliance on technology means it often isn’t.  Remember, the acronym MTBF (mean time between failures) is often used for reassurance, but it also presupposes the existence of failure.

Like what happened at Sainsbury and Tesco — simultaneously.


Update:  And now Greggs, too.

See No Evil

In commenting on Florida’s proposed ban on social media for under-16s, Robert Shibley says this:

It would be wise for the big platforms to make it much easier for parents to regulate this stuff, because that’s far preferable to the law stepping in.

That’s a laudable suggestion, but unfortunately it doesn’t take into account the fact that getting kids hooked on their programs is the actual goal of the “big platforms”, simply to get eyeballs for their advertisers.  That any harm might occur to the owners of those eyeballs is to be ignored because First Amendment, dude.

I myself think that lowering the age of consent to 12 and the drinking age to 13 would probably do less harm to kids than does exposure to FaecesBook and the like.  What the hell:  if we’re going to trust kids not to do stuff that might harm them, let’s go all the way. [/Big Platforms]