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Deep dive into windows 7 support ending

written by owen, published 2020-Jan-23, comment

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I am sad this morning because #Windows 7 told me I will no longer be getting updates, security patches or tech support. I will miss those tech #support guys that I used to call at Microsoft when I was lonely and wanted new features to enhance my quality of life. #rip

Support is one of those memes in technology which has been coming up more and more in the modern age of software as a service (SAAS) and security through never ending updates (STNES). In the old days you could only buy software when it was tested and completed. Nowadays to buy software with LTS. Few people attempt to explain what it actually means to have "no support". It is assumed that bad things will happen - malicious software will attack you from all angles. If you are using windows 7 you most likely see the quoted message below popup on your screen when you log in;

"As of January 14, 2020, support for windows 7 has come to an end. Your PC is more vulnerable to virus and malware due to:
* No Security updates
* No software updates
* No tech support

Microsoft strongly recommends using windows 10 on a new PC for the latest security features and protection against malicious software."

I will attempt to go over this message in fine detail and try to explain it to the best of my knowledge. Every user on your entire network of Windows 7 machines will have no doubt seen this message by now.

"The end date"

The January 14,2020 date means that you will stop getting those annoying requests to install updates to your computer. This does not mean that the updates will totally stop but consumers on the lowest level of the food chain can hope to get less and less of them and be able to turn on their PC without stress.

"You PC is more vulnerable to virus and malware"

This is one of the most over used meme. The fact is everything connected to the internet is vulnerable to virus and malware at all times, Wednesdays, Thursdays, everyday. It is no more or less with or without support. Everything is a in a state of waiting to be hacked or you yourself might install malicious software that deletes all your data.

"No Security Updates"

Security updates protect you from known viruses. Most of the viruses are unknown which is why there are so many security updates. The severity of the virus, when, and where it will affect Windows is also unknown so with or without support a windows user is really hoping that Microsoft finds out about the virus before it hits their computer. It is essentially a catch-22 situation from which an individual cannot escape because of contradictory rules and limitations of time and space. You will get hacked.

"No Software updates"

I have been using windows 7 for several years and have NEVER seen a significant update to the base explorer that I could identify. It is as if the windows 7 explorer is frozen in time once you buy it. I am not even sure what "Quality of Life" updates mean because it certainly is not obvious. Facebook is hacking you through your friends.

"No tech support"

Wait is there someone at Microsoft that you can call to fix your Windows when it segfaults? Ok. Well if you did have someone that number will be disconnected and the twitter account will nolonger stalk @you when mention #windows #problem.

"Microsoft strongly recommends"

The word strongly in there suggests that some kind of urgent action is required on the part of the user at this very moment.

"using windows 10 on a new PC"

So the strong recommendation requires that you use a new operating system called "windows 10" and on top of that you buy a "new PC". Imagine driving down a road in a car that suddenly flashes across the dashboard "We strongly recommend that you buy a new car!". This is hard to imagine because this does not happen with cars. Automobiles are highly regulated, very expensive and can be maintained in serveral ways without the need aid of the original manufacturer.

"latest security features and protection against malicious software"

So "security updates" has been changed to "security features" in this section. And "malicious software" has been added instead of "malware". Most of this seems to point to you only getting new security features if you buy a new operating system. Protection seems arbiturary and does not specifiy what level of protection will be provided or the types of malicious software that you will be protected against. This seems to be just another ride on the never ending support cycle.

No Guarantees

Few people in Technology talk about the fact that computers are a "use at your own risk" medium. Software is eating the world and enabling children in Africa to make water from air. Simply nothing that exists on a computer is guaranteed. They work; when they work, while they work, if they work and if not, then you are out of luck and you can go dead a bush somewhere with no compensation. The few users that get some form of compensation need to prove the scenario in a world of chaos are akin to lottery winners.

This is the nature of personal computers and computer hardware from the beginning of time. There are particular areas in computing which need a higher tolerance such as the medical and automotive industry but in recent time even those industries have been show to be prone to glitchs after two fatal Boeing plane crashes were to a result of cost cutting software upgrades and price justification by addons. All software/hardware is covered by an End-User-License-Agreement (EULA) which reduces the chance of liability in case you die as a result of using the devices.

This EULA allows consumer computers to operate at in a environment that is often less reliable and cheaper since they do not have to do rigorous testing and quality control as would be needed in the medical and automotive fields. Smartphone batteries can explode or RAM can sporadically crash in certain unexplained circumstances and you just have to live with it, reboot and restart. Park at your own risk.

So in this context of cheap hardware and "no guarantees" what is support? Or what specifically is "windows support"? There is no wikipedia page. If you go to the Support website you will see a gigantic search box with more that 41,400,000 results if you search for "windows". The first result from the search is a link back to the page with the big search box.

Conclusion

With all this being said there are many kinds of support. Support is this nebulous/catch-all phrase that has a hidden timeline attached to it. If you told a consumer before they bought a new PC/OS they would probably think twice. This is one of reasons these messages do not popup on smartphones - it is more profitable to spend money marketing totally new versions and dumping/recycling old phones into poorer markets. PCs are harder to dump so why bother?

It does not matter what version of windows you are running because you are not secure and the hardware is not secure and your passwords are weak sauce. That fancy new bluetooth mouse you bought is not working? You will get 100 new mice drivers in the next update or you will get none - no one is really sure. You buy hardware+software, you enjoy it for a couple years then you are forced to buy something new - this is the way.

The long and short of it is that While you could continue to use your PC running Windows 7, without continued software and security updates, it will be at greater risk for viruses, trolls and malware. Going forward, the best way for you to stay secure is on Windows 10 or 11 or an apple device. And the best way to experience Windows 10 is on a new PC (so you should throw your old windows phone into the trash). It is possible to install Windows 10 on your older device, it is not recommended.

www.fsf.org/windows/upcycle-windows-7

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Stadia is trash (cloud gaming)

written by owen, published 2019-Apr-11, comment

Stadia was launched recently in the usual "lets throw it out there and see how many bored techies will hype it up". The claim is that it will allow gaming on any device (phone/laptop/desktop/washing machine) with "no hardware acceleration" which is a lie because browsing the web or watching video in a browser at any resolution above 480p requires some form of modern graphics card or you get a slideshow. The next big feature is allowing developers to write custom "cloud games" because console hardware is holding game developers back. lol I am not sure what is holding them back or back from what? world domination?

Stadia is going to "#change #gaming" seems to be the hashtag but these pundits have not finished a full game in 10 years and probably spend all their time re-spawning constantly in fortnite. Their brain is hooked on the unpredictability of game, the actual game itself is pretty repetitive. There are too many games and not enough time to play them. VR gaming is never going to get better. No matter how hard you pray. Stadia comes with high internet requirements and If you can afford to pay for the internet then you can more than afford buying games on other platforms. So the target make for this is kinda confusing but there are other issues;

All games should be cheap/free

I wish I could buy 5 BMWs but I cannot afford to buy everything I want or need. I would not even rent a BMW because renting is for people who never learn to buy. It is the same with video games just because they are expensive does not mean that they should cheap. If somehow they become cheap then it is some form of trap. If they can't catch you with $59.99 they will catch you with $9.99 a month for 10 years until you realize that you are wasting your time playing trash games instead of buying and playing only the good ones you like. Playing only the games you like is cheaper and gives you more fulfillment. Variety may be the spice of life but you cannot survive eating cinnamon alone.

Hidden Costs

The cost its not just $9.99, you have add the cost of internet into the mix - thats what? Roughly $50 a month? There has never been a more exciting time to be a developer - slaveSo you paying $9.99 for Stadia, $50 for internet and $2 per game to rent it per month? $60 a month to play fifa. While you watching advertisements between every match, lol. I dont see the costs netting out at all. At least console FIFA only releases a new copy every year. On Stadia they can release a new version every month - they could even sell you DLC teams that are priced based on real time ranking. The possibilities for micro transactions are endless.

Better graphics on the cloud

We have been chasing the graphics monster since the 90s. PS1 games are pretty much trash if you try to play them now. We had the Xbox360 red ring of death issue because we ran the consoles too hot. Now consoles use 8 gigs of RAM a jump from 256 mb the last generation. Game consoles use as much electricity as desktop PCs. Games are getting more expensive to make because they require more 3d art. We are basically playing 70s pacman with better graphics. Now we want to jump to the cloud so we can get better graphics - everything else be dammed.

Virtual Goods

I see people selling PS4 and Xbox accounts with 15 DLC games bought online. lol. Why try to sell your virtual trash unto someone else? Just keep it or give it away. It is so easy to buy games as DLC so no one wants to buy your crappy virtual game collection with 4 copies of FIFA and 3 Cod games. Luckily Stadia will certainly save these people some money in the short term but they will spend more money keeping the service active even when they get bored with it - too many options. There wont be a console gathering dust under your tv to remind you of wasted money - it will only be a monthly line on your bank statement - dust free but ever present. The good thing with Stadia from my point of view is that when these people finally realize that there are wasting their money and time then they will have nothing to re-sell so no more threads online trying to sell virtual goods that have no real value.

All that is old is new again

We are slowly going back to the days of blockbuster and game arcades where you rent videos games or you put a coin into a machine to play. The popular arcade games would cost more because more people wanted to play them so the arcade owner would bump up the price of the tokens. We stopped doing that when home consoles came around and we could pay a set price for our games and play them forever. In a arcade setup some times your favourite game would disappear because it was not drawing a big enough crowd. This will be the reality of gaming on Stadia: most games will be made as multiplayer first - battle royale or mobile trash because developers will avoid less profitable genres. Profitability will be tied to popularity or some other blackbox ranking system or A.I. or whatever.

Conclusion

I personally would rather not be totally dependent on something I have to pay for monthly for my entertainment. And you certainly know that advertisement are going to be inserted directly into your games if the service takes off. It will no longer be about what games you like to play but what games work best as multiplayer. Consoles bring diversity to gaming. Platforms like these are only interested in keeping you hooked on the fear of missing out. If you cancel your subscription - you will miss out. Bad habits that cost money are the worst kind of habit to pickup.

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Modern life-living in the future is a money pit (too many hobbies)

written by owen, published 2018-Jan-17, comment

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Seriously I cannot afford to buy the new iphone and a data plan because I have too many hobbies. Too many hobbies is like having a disease that you constantly need to buy medication to treat. A disease that never gets better because the medication has side effects. So I end up in a circle or a square or an endless shape that folds back onto itself.

I am distracted but I must have those new t-shirts that just dropped because they look and feel so awesome on the java script online start-up my friend on facebag just launched. I simply must have them but I need to get a credit card or some mobile money.

I should get 4k HDR monitor too but my computer cannot push that many pixels so I will have to wait until I can buy a new video card. Maybe I should just buy a whole new computer because since I upgraded to windows X I have been having all sorts of issues. The new computer will finally fix those driver issues and allow me to play all the free games I got on the steam summer sale on super-ultra settings. Or I could just get one of those new pro consoles? But then I would need a subscription to play online. Too many hobbies.

I could skip the iphone cult and join the Android cult but there is no guarantee that it will keep getting updates or it will not brick itself in 6 months. I have all my songs in itunes. If I go android I have to buy the absolute most expensive version on the market. Or skip the whole smartphone thing altogether but how will I get a girl if me no have a phone and whatsapp and lots of likes on instagram? I will certainly be lost without my favorite apps that allow me to follow everyone everywhere every minute and every second while I sit at home doing nothing.

Worse if I have a tendency to drop phones in toilets and at a bad angle on concrete causing the screen to smash. There might be drugs available for this sickness. Or I could take up tennis or juggling to improve my hand eye coordination. Struggles. My life will be incomplete if my phone does not feel good in my hand.

Scratch all that I will just keep my old phone. Who really needs VR? And mobile data plans are too expensive, I will just get the 4k smart TV and subscribe to an online video streaming service so that I can watch movies at 4k at home in peace while paying a small fee every month. If I need data on the road all I need is to go into a coffee shop and leech off their free wifi. But then I will need to buy food there or they will catch on to my leeching ways. The 4k tv is going to be hard to hide under my shirt.

I totally forgot that streaming 4k video is going to require a really fast home internet. hmmm. There are some good deals on broadband internet but I probably will have to get a bundle with phone+cable+internet just so that I can get decent internet speed and that will run me into even more expense and extra crap.

Better yet I could simply stick to browsing instagram on the cheapest package but I am not sure I want to stare at hyper embellished photos all day. I better avoid instagram because it is just another looker pit with auto-play video advertisements. I might not beable to resist the temptation to buy everything I see and red eye people. I just want to do my hobbies in peace without waiting 5 hours for my playstation 4 to download a 50 gig update for a game I bought on disc.

I could start a youtube travel channel or something. All I would need is a really good camera and join the gym so I can look ripped and meet a hot fashion model who has an apartment in the center of town. Get a car so I can visit all the cool places to take pictures and videos for my subscribers while I go to all the parties and make money from my side sponserships.

But alas. I got too many hobbies.

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Le-Noi commented: Good stuff! Your wrting style reminds me of Chuck Lorre's (Creator of The Big Gang Theory) vanity cards :) ... read more

Old Hardware

written by owen, published 2017-Aug-01, comment

I have been cleaning out my closet and dusting out the old PC and apple computer that I have found/kept over the years. Most of it merely for backup purposes. Too old to be useful but merely a display of the state of the art at the time when I was transitioning between high school and college in 1998 there abouts.

The IDE harddrive in the 486 still works although harddrives in those times were loud even with it 100+ mb of storage it hummed to life as I connected it to my current PC. The Apple computer needs a boot floppy disc because I hard crashed it experimenting at some point in the past but I am sure that it is functional once you can find the means to create a bootable disk for a Macintosh of that age.

The 486 (could be a 386 I am not sure) is easy to open but the Apple requires a special long bit when I borrowed and one point to get it open but now I cant seem to find someone that has the bit.

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New Point and Shoot

written by owen, published 2014-Aug-26, comment

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So I jumped on the opportunity to upgrade my trusty point and shoot to a newer version before I went on vacation. Friends will say "dude that is so old school! Everybody takes pictures with their smartphones! Its the future get with the times! Stop being so stubborn!".

To which I reply in writing with a list of reasons why I poo-poo smartphone cameras;

Smartphone cameras are not good at any particular thing. Except for maybe instagraming and facebooking pictures. Smartphones are small but the pictures are soulless.

Smartphones are less efficient; After six months using a smartphone as my main camera it turns out that I take less pictures. I am not sure if it's the clunky touch screen interface of launching the camera application then waiting for it to focus. Eitherway I seem to be taking less photos as time goes buy.

Point and shoot cameras are better for organizing photos. When I take photos on my smartphone all the pictures get dumped into the camera/photo folder. On a camera you get a big neatly organised daily/monthly folder structure.

Smartphone cameras lack all sorts of simple functionality. Yes you can pinch to do a digital zoom but who wants digital zoom? I like to tinker with my picture settings, aperture, focal point, ISO etc. I would rather take a good picture the first time that have to be adding filters after every shot I take. (might be why I haven't taken many pics lately)

Battery life; not matter how many services I turn of on my smartphone the battery still runs down by 5 pm. On less I plan to walk around with my phone charger, smartphones can't hold up to extended picture taking.

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Tami commented: What did you upgrade to? ... read 5 more