One Lump of Stupid or Two, US Navy?

"Looks like you're trying to move off Windoze."

“Looks like you’re trying to move off Windoze.”

The Hill tells us:

“The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) will pay Microsoft $9,149,000 through the contract, which was approved earlier this month. It could eventually grow to be as large as $30,842,980 by 2017.

“The funds will pay for Microsoft to provide custom security support to up to 100,000 Windows XP machines used by the Navy. Microsoft has abandoned supporting the system for users who don’t pay for the custom services. The contract will also provide support for other older Microsoft products, including Office 2003.”

The problem is that the Navy built custom programs on Windows XP that cannot move forward to whatever the hell release of Windows is now, so they will have to be rewritten. US Corporations did this, too, and paid millions to MS to keep XP alive for at least a decade after MS first tried to kill it off. The adoption rate of subsequent releases of Windows has been slow, customers are doing whatever it takes to keep old releases alive, including the Navy.

“In particular, Microsoft Premier Support Services and Custom Support Services maintain enterprise-wide Microsoft capabilities to ensure Navy warfighters have connectivity to their respective networks and to the data necessary to support and accomplish their mission.”

There’s a lot of FAIL (as the kids used to say) in this story, but it is not all the Navy’s fault. MS’ business plan—which has been highly successful—sort of forces people to buy all new editions every few years. The Navy’s IT department should have seen this coming.

Personally, I find it disturbing that our military is paying extra to use obsolete equipment and software that crashes a lot and is a gold mine for hackers.

 

A Ceiling Shattered Today: #WWDC2015

YodaI don’t write about Tech very often, because working in Tech makes writing about tech dreary. Today’s Keynote presentation at Apple’s WWDC stands out and breaks my embargo for a simple reason: Today Apple put women on stage.

And not just any women: women who manage developers and products. It was an impressive moment for Silicon Valley to show that it is not just a boys’ club.

Jennifer Baily came on stage early in the presentation to layout what was going on in Apple Pay, the service that allows you to buy physical merchandise using an iPhone in brick and mortar stores, as if it were a credit card. Later in the program Apple’s VP of Product Management and Marketing Susan Prescott unveiled an app that is essentially a news aggregator similar to Flipboard. Both of these projects are strategic to Apple’s dominance in the mobile market and challenges their arch nemesis Google in their own wheelhouse, and neither of these products is pink washing.

This was a watershed moment in Tech History (says ‘Grain, immodestly) to show little girls growing up that they too can have careers in technology. As the world’s most valuable company, Apple’s nonchalance in introducing women technology leaders was a long-time in coming, but so very well done.

Your Daily Gohmert

It’s not as funny as Alaskastan’s Ted Stevens’ A Series of Tubes…

…but it is just as out of touch with reality.

News That Will Drive You To Drink

Free-range conspiracy theorist Glenn Beck tells us that if Net Neutrality is preserved that Apple and Microsoft will move out of the country. I suppose now we must add computer punditry to his MPS Honorific.

Our Modern Life

Modern Life

Imagine how cool it would be if Dude got a video of the humpback whale that is right next to him. You know, instead of texting, “S’up?” to his bros.

The Morning Quote

Error Message

“I don’t see Christ’s redemption limited to human beings,” Providence Presbyterian Church Associate Pastor Dr. Christopher Benek insisted. “If [artificial intelligence] is autonomous, then we should encourage it to participate in Christ’s redemptive purposes in the world.”

Benek was already thinking ahead to a future with what Istvan called “a nation filled with robot pastors and AI spiritual gurus.”

“The Holy Spirit can work though AI; it can work through anything,” he said. “There may be churches set up to deal and promote religious AI in the future. AI can help spread the word of God. In fact, AI might help us understand God better.”

(HT Raw Story)

Pro-Tip

Hey Scissorheads, Greenhouse is a browser extention (for browsers built on Webkit, so Safari, Chrome, Firefox) that I think might be useful as we head into 2016.

Greenhouse “exposes the role money plays in Congress and highlights key election races.”

It does this by displaying on any web page detailed campaign contribution data (from OpenSecrets.org) for every Senator and Representative, including total amount received and breakdown by industry and by size of donation. So in essence while you are reading that story about some wingnut saying that global warming is not real, you can find out how much money big oil gave his/her campaign just by hovering your mouse over the name of the wingnut.

I’m finding it is really nifty.

(One caveat: it only works on desktop browsers.)

Don’t Be Evil: A Google Update

(Metro UK) ‘When they catch you they will do whatever they want’ (Picture: SWNS)

An offensive game that encourages players to shoot homosexuals has been pulled after appearing on Google Play over the weekend.

The game, Ass Hunter, is several years old but was downloaded 10,000 times yesterday and earlier today.

Players are rewarded with points for successfully shooting gay men but if they are caught by a homosexual ‘they will do with you whatever they want’.

It was there for several years?

As much as independent software developers moan and groan over how difficult it is to have their products accepted into Apple’s App Store, it is very rare that something like this slips through.

Fun Fact: there really is a (small) team at Apple that actually vets all the apps. It is not left to some automation program. So as weird as some of the reasons are that apps are rejected, there is always a human making the decision (and who is both accountable for omissions as well as inclusions).

Google? Clearly not so much.

(Metro UK)

Now Read This

TechCrunch has a great piece up about technology, democracy, and voting. This is is not the usual “technology will solve everything (Techtopia, as I like to call it) — The passage on gerrymandering I found especially interesting:

In a sane world, technology would fight gerrymandering, too. Instead of districts being drawn by hand, their boundaries should be set algorithmically, using only geographic contiguity and population counts as factors, not voting predilections. Of course the political hackers who have seized control of the system will never allow that to happen. It will have to be forced on them. But vulnerable systems have to be patched somehow if you want them to keep running.

Algorithmically defined districts would have another huge advantage: they would make it easy to create new “virtual” districts not tied to the tyranny of geography. Back when modern democracies were invented, that was the only viable option, but in our hyperconnected today, wouldn’t it make as much sense–if not more–to allow voters to register for online constituencies, instead of the one in which they happen to physically live?

Imagine a world in which any subculture or movement able to muster enough people could send its own post-geographical representative to their Parliament or Congress. That body would become enormously more representative…and less defined by two or three dominant parties.

I’m sure that a virtual district could be gamed, too, but I like the idea of an algorithmically defined district that takes the process out of the hands of the politicians entirely.

Also/too the author of the piece endorses paper ballots, which I am also enthusiastic about keeping.

Bad Marketing, Cont.

Laughed so hard I forgot about last night. And yes, CNN’s much-ridiculed Magic Wall was MS Surface.

Thanks, Microsoft!