“First, we kill all the marketers.”
Wow, *28* sudden new followers in an instant, ALL selling something? Gee, you think I won’t figure out it’s ONE rotten spammer than needs to be up against a wall and, as Groucho Marx said in Duck Soup, “Pop goes the weasel” ?
ADDENDUM: And, predictably, some un-aware spammer script did a “like” on this post as well.
Remember when Rudolph and Hermie wound up on the Island of Misfit Toys but still didn’t belong as they were not toys? And they summed it up as being misfits even amongst misfits? I have that feeling, as I suspect many do, which is what makes the scene so effective – (almost?) everyone can relate, at least in some way. Some years ago $HOUSEMATE and I attended ConVergence in the Twin Cities. They even called themselves the Misfits… and… the results merely convinced us that the key to having fun when living in Minnesota that one must make Step One be: Leave the state. Yeah, misfits even amongst the soi-disant “Misfits.”
Recently I’ve had (yet another) experience like that. I follow a few authors, er, writers. (Writers WRITE, so Authors must merely AUTH.. whatever that is) and they occasionally have promotions and giveaways that are not necessarily directly tied to their own works. Two came up recently, neither of any interest to me. Alright, that’s normal, really. It’s a big world and I am but one creature in it, and not everything is of interest to me. BUT.. these are or were BIG DEALS amongst many (most?) of the READERS of the world. One was a collection of J.R.R. Tolkien works. I do not know if it was “everything” (or everything not in a stodgy professional journal) or just a honking big chunk of his fiction work. I could hardly wait for the contest to end. Not as I had entered, but as it was wearying to get promotional email after promotional email about the darned thing. Whoever won it, I hope they enjoy it. But I knew it was not for me, so abstained. Likewise with Stephen King’s ‘Dark Tower’ stuff. Zero interest. I just want it over so it ceases taking up space in the Unread Messages section. Yeah, I could unsubscribe from various lists (and have, a few times) but there has been some stuff of interest.
The Artificial Intelligence revolution will be when individuals have their own AI agents that can properly sort what is spam, what is not spam but still of zero or less interest, what might be of interest, and “You need to see this now.” That day might be close, but it is not here yet. And I do mean personal. It will “live” on one’s own hardware, and Yahoo, or Google, or FaceBook, or the Great Green Arkleseizure doesn’t have a single damned thing to say about it, except perhaps that they just hate having their crap shot down all the time – and that complaint, ultimately, will be the very mark of success!
A while back I mentioned some issues with Skype. In the last few days an update came along. It’s almost as if Microsoft heard the complaint(s – I am not alone) and went, “They fixed it? We’ll fix that!” The Skype window is too damn big again – and now I can’t resize it (vertically) and it eats space I wish to use for something else. Sure I can have one window partially cover another, but that’s not what I should be forced to do. My machine, MY rules. Microsoft can be [screwed] with a chainsaw. A rusty one. Sideways. And twice on Sundays, aye.
But since I am forced to throw one window or another to the background, guess which thing gets covered? That’s right, it’s Skype that is misbehaving, so it’s Skype that gets to “sit in the corner.” Will I miss anything? Don’t care. Bad design has side effects, and I can be reached here, various other WordPress sites, email, IRC. Meanwhile I dream of the SMOC (Sweet Meteor Of Competence) hitting Redmond one day.
Ages ago, Skype was its own thing and that was good. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked and worked well enough cross-platform. I could run Skype on Linux at home, on Android when out and about, and text, or talk, or even video chat with others, even if they were using a Mac or running Windows. At least one little thing was sort of right with the world. And then Microsoft bought Skype. The first, very predictable, thing they did was to all but ignore Linux.
Microsoft ignoring Linux wasn’t all bad. At least they were no longer targeting it and lying about it. Meanwhile, I kept running the old version of Skype as it was in the software repository and it worked. I could re-size things to my liking, adjust theme some, and go on. Things were still mostly right with one little thing.
Recently, though, I noticed that though I’d set myself ‘AWAY’ and had NO (count them: ZERO) other instances running, I’d come back to find Skype had re-set me to the default ‘ACTIVE’ or such, not the ‘AWAY’ I’d set. Uh oh. Cracked?
And then a day or three ago I came back to find Skype had closed – without my having closed it. Crap. Tried to start it. No dice. Oh crap. Web search… oh joy, the good, old version I’d been using was no longer supported and was actively being disabled. I’d seen the new version. It wastes screen like I have a freaking WALL for a monitor and can devote a square foot to what should be a mere few inches. And it cannot be readily shrunk. Minimized into an easy-to-miss taskbar tab, sure. But made actively visible at a sane size: Nope. “Get a bigger monitor.” Gee, I’m already running dual 27 inchers on the main machine. The secondary machine has but one monitor – and it will stay that way. And then there’s the laptop where screen, already the most precious resource in all (home) computing is even more precious still.
Evidently some damn fool in Redmond (or in their pay) has the stupid belief that s/he knows what I need or want more than I do. This idiot ought be fired – out of a cannon into a hard, thick wall. If that’s too cruel, they can be left near Tierra del Fuego and after they WALK back to Redmond, then, maybe, they can resume work. Maybe the dimwit will have learned something about people on the trip – assuming survival. People want what they want, focus groups be damned.
More web searches followed. So much stuff for Windows.. even when I search with -Windows to try to get useful results. Finally one page suggests a file to go edit. It’s outdated, and that particular path and file doesn’t exist. However, it does lead me to look at the .config directory. Aha! ~/.config/skypeforlinux/settings.json which has some window-size numbers in it. I reduce them and save. A quit and re-launch and.. it’s better. Lather, rinse, repeat. Much better. Still a bit too big (somewhere, there is another hard-limit on minimum size. Did I mention BAD DESIGN?), but at least almost-sane. Crap! The damn thing “fixes” my edit. Alright, I change it back and set things READ-ONLY. Take that, you incompetent shiteheads! So far, it seems to be holding.
The “amusing” thing is that after so long, all those years of hearing whinging about how in Linux one must resort to “hand editing” of configuration files, unlike the “easy” everything-is-graphically-controlled Microsoft Windows, it’s the Microsoft product I need to fix by editing a config file and adjusting permissions.
My next laptop, if there is one, will NOT have Windows on it – ever. Not even from the manufacturer. Those shiteheads at Microsoft deserve precisely NONE of my money Really, they though should be paying me damages for suffering. And if I end up paying a few bucks more, well, at least it’ll go to a better class of people – and verified compatible hardware. Dear Toshiba: Your laptops are nice, but until I get them unbesmirched by MS-Windows… bye!
Oh yeah, the old Skype was rather like IRC. Nice, simple, good. The new version? As @mjsminkey said on Twitter, “They made it into a suckier version of FB Messenger.” My text is sort of right-justified. Bleagh. And I get a damn tutorial or adverts or close on every launch. Bleagh. And ‘AWAY’ isn’t even an option any more. Only ‘ACTIVE’ ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ and ‘INVISIBLE’ are listed choices. Yeah, a dumbed-down Fisher-Price interface that lacks options some damn fool thinks are unneeded. Well, those three choices are not always any of the right choices. So now the account is probably going to be ‘ACTIVE’ all the time, unless truly signed off. If someone gets in a huff that there’s not a quick reply, they SHALL get told to go vent at Microsoft. I’d set ‘AWAY’ like a sane being if I could.
The ONLY thing they got right was including the choice of a decent dark theme in the setup. Better if I could fully control color choices, but… well, considering the source, it’s a win.
Skype is useful and overall I kinda like it. The news some time back that Microsoft had Borged it, was decidedly unwelcome news. Microsoft does NOT make good software, and at the time was looking like it was doing its damnedest to abuse its (near) monopoly in the desktop operating system market. That the Skype Linux client was ignored was rather expected. After all, Microsoft pushed its own Windows stuff and grudgingly acknowledged that Apple and OSX existed and tried to claim Linux was something evil. Project much?
More recently a new Skype beta for Linux finally appeared. I discovered this when I updated to a new version of my preferred OS (Linux Mint, Xfce version – in case you were wondering) on a laptop and Skype was not listed in the repository. So I went looking for a directly installable version and found the beta. I tried it. It works, I’ll give it that. The dark theme is there and not hard to find. But the thing EATS screen. It’s wasteful of the most precious resource in modern computing. Changing hard drives is annoying, but readily doable. RAM upgrades are a bit easier. A bigger screen or greater resolution.. on a laptop? Riiiiight.
While I am not *quite* feeling nasty enough to sentence Skype devs to using 640×480 screens until they get a clue, I’d be giggling madly if it happened and not feeling at all bad about it. I’ll settle for them having to use Windows Phones, 1366×768 laptops and 120 grit tp. That might help excise their heads from their tuchuses. I’m being nice. It could have been 80 grit.
Alright, I gave in and got the Chromecast even though Google. It was inexpensive, it works, and their Android app doesn’t demand the network be renumbered for some addlepated chucklehead. I’ve streamed stuff to it a few times now and it’s neat, but while being able to pause the feed is nice, being able to fast forward it is better. Even the “good” TV can be a bit annoying. One day when it was time to deal with “Laundry, folding of” I figured I’d catch up on news and let CNN roll by. Oops.
I was hoping for a set of stories or articles that lead from one to the next. Instead the one seemed to loop until I forced it to change. And in the “National” (USA) version the lead story was… not Hurricane Harvey. Not Hurricane Irma. Not North Korea’s nuclear testing, nor missile testing. Not anything of an Immigration “Agreement” nor anything else of real import. Nope, the lead was… a stupid vapid rant about Trump’s supposed temper. The bit about him, during the (now long OVER) campaign telling his audience to beat the crap out of someone if they were about to through a tomato.. well, what do you expect someone to say, “Let the asshole paste me”? And face it, had Hillary or Bernie said the very same line, it would have been shown in a very positive, humorous light.
This isn’t even fake news. It’s not news at all. It’s rubbish. “The Propaganda Arm of the Democrat(ic) Party” is how some have summed up the so-called Mainstream Media. It’s not merely obvious, but outright blatant. I’d find it funny, except It’s Happening Here. This was a bit easier take some decades ago when I listened to shortwave and would be entertained by the nonsense spewed forth by Radio Moscow. Of course, I was not living in the USSR. Not then, anyway. Nowadays, I can’t be so sure.