microsoft news

REDMOND, Wash., Oct 8, 2018 /PRNoisewire/ — On Monday, Microsoft Corp. announced new in-field promotions for users of the Windows 10 operating system. In a news brief, Microsoft CEO Natya Sadella says the company will replace existing STEs (Software Test Engineers) at the company with the product users themselves, removing the unnecessary positions at Microsoft. “By promoting our own users to in-field STEs, we’re streamlining the process of identifying and eventually dealing with the bugs in our operating system…, not that there are many.”

“Understandably, these are of course unpaid intern positions being offered to each user of Windows 10 but just think how great that will look on their resumes”, Sadella continued. “Who doesn’t want to work at Microsoft?”

MICROSOFT CORP- LOGO Logo

“We’ll be allowing Windows 10 users to include this position on their resumes for free for a period of twelve months. Afterwards, they may continue to do so by signing up with Microsoft ResumeFodder 365 on a month-by-month basis”, Sadella explained.

Nasdaq:MSFT responded favorably to the news, up $3.52 at market close.

one-line edit, no more google $$$

In reading articles today entitled “You can’t boycott Google” and “They Tried to Boycott Facebook, Apple and Google. They failed.” I would suggest that neither Adrianne Jeffries nor Jack Nicas, respectively, understand the power of activism. People do have personal power but only if they’re willing to accept this fact.

Case in point, today I made a one-line edit to my laptop’s hosts file. It’s so easy that it only took a moment of my time. And what great thing, you might ask, did I accomplish doing so? In a one-line edit, I just removed Google’s revenue stream for their search engine.

In a one-line edit, I just removed Google’s revenue stream for their search engine.

2jjzsp

Remove Google’s adSense from Websites You Visit

The beauty in all this is the simplicity. Even the mighty Achilles had his weakness in the form of a vulnerable heal. Much of Google’s ongoing stream of income relies upon those ad impressions. Remove the impressions and you remove their revenue.

Remove the [Google ad] impressions and you remove their revenue.

And let’s face it, we didn’t really want to see those ads in the first place. They’re annoying, they vie for your attention in ever-newer distracting ways and they use your paid-for bandwidth all the while and without your permission.

  • OSX:  Open a Terminal and enter the command: sudo nano /private/etc/hosts
  • Windows:  Start -> Run -> cmd -> Choose the option to Run As Administrator, notepad c:\windows\system\drivers\etc\hosts

In either case, add the following line and save/exit: 127.0.0.1     *.googlesyndication.com

Let’s See the Difference

Going now to the website which apparently ranks the highest in Google adSense revenue, I show what their website looks like without those ads.

Screen Shot 2018-10-06 at 1.34.41 PM

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Screen Shot 2018-10-06 at 1.35.32 PM

See all those empty regions? Yep, those were the ads. The page loads faster. The page doesn’t now try to update the ads while I’m trying to simply read the content. It’s now a lot quieter and easier to take in the information.

Less Impressions -> Now You Have Google’s Attention

This is all it will take to make a difference in the world. If others follow suit and take my advice, this revelation of personal power as seen in the aggregate might just change the way these big players operate.

It’s all up to you, though. What do you really have to lose (other than those unwanted advertisements)?

logistics

A while back and for an entire year, I did logistics for a third-of-a-million-square-foot plastic manufacturing plant in Tennessee. It looks like I may be returning soon to this field but in a decidedly-cooler sort of way.

Then

For that plant, I managed nearly every aspect of the company’s business: accounting, inventory, carriers, shipping/receiving, purchasing, documentation and labeling, systems design and management, website design and implementation, processes to improve productivity, you-name-it. Basically, I took over every aspect of my manager’s job except for welding and aluminum mold fabrication.

Daily, I drove a forklift and a pallet jack. I unloaded and loaded shipments. I climbed 60′ racks without any safety gear holding a clipboard in my teeth to do inventories. I mixed more tons of plastic by hand than I can remember, lifting each 30# bucket over and over again. With a forklift, I pulled replacement molds for the crew from inventory.

I ran a CNC machine to cut both plastic and wooden parts. I assembled pallets of parts, always optimizing so that the customer would pay the least for their order.

I drove a scissor-lift to 70′ to replace industrial-sized lightbulbs. I wired 120/240VAC circuits, sometimes three-phase. I repaired a CNC machine, the joystick control on the scissor-lift and the half-million dollar robotic ovens by Rotoline.

I swept the floors, I picked up and recycled parts dropped by the day crew, always being careful to remove anything from the floor which could puncture a tire. I drained water from the air lines. I both figuratively and literally put out fires.

I did color studies to make sure that the plastic was to specifications. I staged multi-truckload orders so that the correct several hundred pallets made it onto those trucks.

I maintained inventory levels for everything that went into these parts whether it was shrink-wrap, tape, labels, bolts, screws, raw plastic, colorants or the large cylinders of material which go into making foam. And yes, I manned a foam station at times.

I designed a layout and colors for the showroom floor and then stained its concrete to look like a beach. It turned out beautifully, btw. I could throw a roll of labels to the line crew at at distance of 40 yards and right into the hands of the intended receiver, saving all those steps and time.

I did cost accounting, determining that they were losing $6 each on their best-selling item. Across-the-board, I adjusted their prices and shipping quantities which actually resulted in happier customers.

In the span of just one year there, I doubled their sales, doubled the pallets shipped and most importantly, doubled their profits. Sixty thousand parts went out the door in 12 months.

Now

Today, it looks like I might be returning to this world in order to automate this same industry with technology. As a software developer in the IoT space, I’ll be challenged to deliver logistics solutions. Fortunately, I have the unique cross-experience of developer and logistics manager in one. I think I’ve got this one.

Academia

When I imagine the average college graduate tackling this same assignment, I have to just shake my head. How could the average college-trained engineer or MBA ever truly understand what it’s like to manage a warehouse and to manage supply chains?

In fact, I can’t even imagine the curriculum that could be crafted to take someone in a classroom setting alone and adequately prepare them for a task like this. Frankly, only back-breaking labor can prepare you for a task like this. Only existing in a warehouse day after day could prepare you for this.

Frankly, only back-breaking labor can prepare you for a task like this.

In my humble opinion, labor is missing from the academic path to success. And hard labor—the kind that can’t be accomplished in a business shirt—is the difference between success and failure in life.

Anyone with true experience in life, having personally sweated at a job is much less likely to create a business model which includes the exploitation of the labor of others. Could I ever expect someone in prison to make my products all day long for pennies? No, because I’ve actually worked for a living and I can empathize.

If you asked an MBA what it takes to maintain a plastic manufacturing plant, you can imagine that he/she wouldn’t know 1% of what I know about the same topic. And yet, as a society these people are highly-paid. Academia has lied by suggesting that you don’t need to know the details in order to succeed. And the only way to really know the details is to do the job itself.

Stepping back from all this

Every day we trust these big corporations to know what they’re doing, to behave in ways which are moral and to succeed without causing harm to others. The problem I see is that we are programmed to believe that only college graduates can and should run companies. As I hope to have demonstrated here, I don’t think there will ever be a way of teaching real-world skills in a classroom alone.

Assuming for a moment then that corporations are run by unprepared people, there are bound to be problems as a result of this. What I usually see in a college graduate is someone who sees the profitability and success from a perspective colored by their own optimism and ignorance of the actual world around them. They see the business through rose-colored glasses, in other words.

Perhaps it’s time that we stop putting so much faith in corporations and universities and more into the value of simple, hard work experience on the job somewhere. The only way to really know something is to live it.

boycott google

We reasonably expect that our service providers are not secretively working against its consumers/users and reporting search results to governments. In this case, if a Chinese citizen did a Google search which included marked keywords their name, GPS location and phone number were forwarded to their government. It is well-known that this then would eventually result in imprisonment and they will now be forced into slave labor to make consumer goods so that Wal-Mart can sell a toaster for $6.

When Google executives worried that the memo would somehow break out to the media, they then attempted to suppress the story by threatening emails, using technology to know who complied internally.

I think this needs to stop. And by “stop”, I’d suggest an all-out boycott of Google.

I think this needs to stop. And by “stop”, I’d suggest an all-out boycott of Google.

Google employees are reportedly resigning over China search efforts

Closer to Home

In a similar troubling story, Google employees are also protesting and resigning over its involvement with the DoD.

Project Maven: Nearly a dozen Google employees have reportedly quit in protest

DuckDuckGo Steps Up

I see that today the plucky DuckDuckGo.com search engine alternative has obviously read the news as well.

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The Corbett Report

Please watch this video. If you’re familiar with the character from the popular television show The Colbert Report, you might accidentally think that these are the same people (they’re not). Note the slight difference in spelling.

https://www.corbettreport.com/?powerpress_embed=24412-podcast&powerpress_player=mediaelement-video

Suppression of alternate media

As described in the video and demonstrated by the search engine comparison, Google has been caught manipulating the results in such a way that they are manufacturing public opinion. The days of valuing Google as an objective provider of search results are over; they’re no longer the “good guy”.

If you specifically depend upon independent media as opposed to the national media, GoodGopher.com has that option.

Change your search provider

Follow my lead and change your search provider today. Don’t wait for things to get worse.

dear starbucks

I’m sorry, but I don’t think we should stay together anymore. I know… it’s been (what..?) 25 years now. Wow. That seems like a half a lifetime almost when I say it like that. Our time together has been wonderful but somewhere along the line, you just got… evil. I suppose that’s the word I’m looking for. How else would you describe someone who condones slavery, basically?

It’s a matter of semantics, really. When you say that you’re cutting costs by using contractors who use prison labor, that almost sounds legitimate. Only it’s not, is it? In corporate terms, prison labor is the new word for “slavery” and you thought I wasn’t paying attention perhaps, that I didn’t see what you were up to? You think I’m “okay” with that, paying someone $0.30 per day instead of a real wage?

As a software developer in San Francisco, I just fell in love with your Grande Mocha. Do you remember when I’d visit you twice every day of the week? I couldn’t get enough of you. But you were always there. I thought I could count on you. I was addicted to you.

And now, everywhere I go, you’re there. Now that I know who you really are, it disgusts me. When I found out about all this, I haven’t visited you since that moment, not once. And don’t think I’ll ever come back to you because I won’t. I deserve better than you.

What you’re doing isn’t right. As a citizen, I could vote someone into office who might change all this but let’s face it, in a capitalistic country your only actual vote is the dollar. So, I refuse to “vote” for you anymore. I choose not to “elect” you as my coffee provider.

Anyway, I hope that you will be able to find someone who is perfect for you, like someone who’s also evil and… half-awake, perhaps.

Regretfully,
A long-time daily customer who will not condone modern-day slavery


From the Seattle Weekly:

In a statement, Starbucks public affairs director Audrey Lincoff said Starbucks is aware that Signature [its contractor] uses inmate labor and believes its contract with Signature is “entirely consistent with our mission statement,” which says the company will respect others, contribute to the community, and embrace diversity.

Starbuck’s Mission Statement:

With our partners, our coffee and our customers at our core, we live these values:

  •       Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.
  •       Acting with courage, challenging the status quo and finding new ways to grow our company and each other.
  •       Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity and respect.
  •       Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results.

We are performance driven, through the lens of humanity.

got chrome?

“Would you like to install Chrome?”, I’m asked a hundred times per day by my default search engine, Google.com. “No, Google. As I’ve already answered a thousands times before this, I don’t want to install another browser on my computer.”

No, Google.  As I’ve already answered a thousands times before this, I don’t want to install another browser on my computer.

In the browser wars, Google hates Microsoft and Microsoft hates Google. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then when you’re using Internet Explorer and you visit Google that they then try to get you to install their own competing browser (Google Chrome). And when I say “try” I really mean “relentlessly nag you to death on the subject“.

The Fix

I’ve posted before about using a custom stylesheet to thwart Google’s Chrome-nag. Here is a new method which seems to be working for me today. I just updated the option for IE -> settings -> Internet Options -> Home Page:

https://www.google.com/webhp??

Normally, that /webhp?hl=ca part is expected to steer Google so that it selects your home language, Catallà, for example. Interestingly enough, Google doesn’t apparently nag people (regarding Chrome) who speak languages other than English!

So we use this knowledge to break the chain of violence, so to speak. Actually, we’re breaking more than that since by putting two question marks we’re technically breaking (okay, “faking out”) the specification for query strings.

outsourcing your work as a captcha

I guess everyone’s seen the robot test captcha thing on Google these days. If you try to use their websearch engine too fast, then you’ll soon be proving that you’re not a script that’s running on some spammer’s computer.

I'mNotARobot

Often, though, you’re then next asked to select which squares have store fronts, or doors, or signs or food.

CaptchaSigns

And of course, since we want that content, we dutifully “prove” that we’re not a robot. But—and I realize this might sound a little cynical of me—what if we’re actually being forced into conscripted labor, as if we were Google’s robots?

What if we’re actually being forced into conscripted labor, as if we were Google’s robots?

Try to follow along…

Amazon Mechanical Turk

Amazon has a variety of services within the AWS space. The one I’m thinking about at this moment is their Amazon Mechanical Turk. If you have a computer and Internet and want to make some money doing (usually) mundane tasks, then Amazon will pay you to do so.

For instance, Amazon might pay a hundred people to look at one image after another and to indicate/highlight where in the image they see a sign or a store front or whatever it is that Amazon needs highlighted. Humans are great at this. Artificial intelligence applications are getting there, only it takes a supercomputer these days in order to do these tasks.

What if Google doesn’t want to use their supercomputers nor wants to pay anyone to do object recognition either?

Google Maps Streetview

Google’s mapping featureset with Streetview represents a way for them to make a lot of money. And their collection of project managers would love to know where storefronts are within all that captured data. (Imagine that they’ve paid drivers to drive around a car with 360° cameras.) Because behind every storefront is a business who could pay Google money for placement within Google Local.

Now, Google has datacenters with plenty of available processing power to do this. But what if… they’re using us instead.

Think about it, we’re asked to identify objects within photos (which look like they’re taken from the Streetview data) and we’re being asked to identify things (businesses) which could make Google money or things (signs) which could be used in mapping directions.

Call me cynical but Google is looking a little guilty on this one. Why aren’t we identifying the squares with puppies in them? Because puppies don’t buy listing upgrades, that’s why.

 

the cost of truth

The Internet is chock full o’ news on any given day and most of that is stark-raving free, which we’re used to of course. Contrast this if you will with Reality News Media and their promise of “dissemination of truth” as juxtoposed with their $20 subscription price to read it.

dis·sem·i·na·tion
noun
  1. the act of spreading something, especially information, widely; circulation.

Um, really…?

If you really wanted to spread the truth then charging for it isn’t in your best interest. If you do so, you’d only be spreading that truth to those who don’t value their money, in other words, the rich.

truth

the story of the us$100m button

Once upon a time…

…in an enchanted forest of Interweb there lived a kindly old oracle by the name of Google. Most days would find him smoking a long pipe and—seated at the end of a very long line—dispensing answers to the person at the head of said line. See, everyone came to Google when they were looking for something they couldn’t find.

One might inquire of Google, “where can a man go to find a good pub around here?” and he’d then magic up a scroll instantly. On the scroll would be a carefully-constructed list of pubs and over in the marginalia would be a bunch of advertisements for pixie dust, faerie potions, &c. As it happened, he paid for his various sundries and such out of the monies which he received from the witches who paid for these advertisements.

Sometimes, though, Google’s hand would cramp up a bit after a long bout of magical writing like that especially on summer days when the sun grew hot and rather than handing the person a scroll he’d just get a twinkle in his eye and ask, “are ye feeling lucky?” and if the person nodded, he’d then just tap his wand on their shoulder and they’d instantly be transported to the top place which would have been on the scroll, if only he’d penned it up as before.

This carried on for some time as things tend to do. But then one day the witches hired a man whose job it was to count all the beans in the King’s silos. They wanted the man to use his advanced forms of math to cypher up the sum total of lost monies that Google was incurring by this practice of not scribing down those advertisements.

So the Royal COB (Counter-of-Beans) then set about to find out how often Google was taking this shortcut (“one soul a’ hundred”) and further, the total loss in pixie dust monies (“I fully a’sure ye it’s nigh less than a hundred-thousand-thousand of the paper scrip they call dollars a month’s sail west o’ here”). Well, the witches were fit to be tied, I’ll tell ye.

“Ye can’ot be doin’ tha’ anymore, Google”, they said. “Ye’re costin’ us out of hovel n home, ye are!”

And so,

…that’s the story of why Google can’ot just send ye on yer way anymore without the fairie dust adverts. The Royal COB and the witches simply won’t let him.

~~~ The End ~~~

free coffee on your birthday

So it’s my girlfriend’s birthday tomorrow and in conversation today I mentioned to her that Denny’s gives you a free meal if it’s your birthday and Starbucks gives you a free drink. Without missing a beat she said, “too bad you can’t create enough accounts on their website to drink for free all year”. Slightly evil, perhaps, but definitely brilliance at work.

Since I’m also a project manager, I started thinking about the logistics behind this free-Starbucks-for-life plan and it seems to be easy enough as implemented below:

  1. You’d probably start off by registering a dedicated domain name to track all the email forward permutations that you’ll need to pull this off.
  2. Next, register a free email mailbox somewhere like Gmail perhaps.
  3. Create a spreadsheet where you track the 365 different email identities/profiles which you would then use at Starbucks, for example.
  4. Back at the domain name registrar, setup email with a catch-all email forward which forwards to that single Gmail account.

Throughout the next year you’d then visit different Starbucks stores and snag several blank Starbucks cards (without putting any money on them). Feel free to put money on one of the cards if you’d like—I’d suggest going with the minimum here.

Back home on the Internet (or even in the store on your portable device), register a new card on their website, issuing the first profile/email address from your spreadsheet and entering the card’s number into your spreadsheet for tracking purposes. If you have a magic marker, then it might be useful to mark the card in some discreet way to more easily identify it from the rest.

The important part is to enter a sequentially-unique month + day combination for this card’s birthday information.

All inbound notification emails for any particular account from Starbucks would then land in that single email mailbox for later processing, if required. An email rule or two should prevent the average advertising attempts to land in a separate folder, perhaps, so that they don’t clutter the more important ones.

The Result?

Starbucks for life.

Each week, you’d pull several cards from your collection, the ones which correspond to the upcoming week’s “birthdays”. Walk in with the right card each day and pretend to be pleasantly surprised when you’re awarded your free drink.

If you’re an actor, feel free to really get into each character you’ve created.  For your Jacque Duboisson profile, you could fake a French accent, say. And then you’ve got Giovanni Bere, Hans Getränk, Juan Beber to name a few.

Evil Is As Evil Does

Should you do this? It’s probably too much trouble, honestly. But I would do something like this for Wells Fargo or US Bank or Chase Bank because they’re all evil themselves. Every day of the year they illegally charge people a $7.50 or even greater service fee for simply cashing a check locally issued from their own bank. I personally have a great stack of the receipts from them in which I was yet again charged this transaction fee for simply cashing a local check from their own branch.

“In form, a check is an order to the drawee bank to pay the face amount of the check to the payee.” ~ Justice Buford, U.S. Bankruptcy Court

So when the issuing bank imposes a fee to cash a check, this is by definition illegal since the check itself is a promise to pay the full amount indicated rather than a fraction of same.

It’s too bad that banks don’t get their karma handed back to them in some sort of Despicable Me plan like this.