Steve's Views Rotating Header Image


Microsoft requires disabled man to have email & cell phone

Today I helped an old man who wanted help restoring Windows 10 to his laptop that his kid gave him. The hard drive was broken and needed replacing.

The install went fine until Microsoft asked for an email account. He does not want to receive any emails from anyone but family so I gave it a test domain email address to use, and then it came to needing to send a text to his cell phone on order for them to be able to verify who he was. We entered his number, which is not a cell phone and cannot receive texts and that was the end of the install.

They try to send you a text which you are then supposed to enter into the computer. But without the ability to receive texts you are left out. There was no way of moving forward.

Looks like a dangerous road where they are limiting people with disabilities just because they are not fully on-board with technology.

First Amendment Rights?

Intended to those in charge.

As someone who has visited Auschwitz as a young man while traveling through Europe, who met people who were deformed from being concentration camp guinea pigs and saw the horrors that came because nobody would do anything about it before it became too late, I was utterly stunned to see how my all time favorite service appears to actually be taking a stance supporting extreme violence hate sites.

I’m guessing it has something to do with the 1st amendment which is generally a great thing to support, though one has to be aware that it only refers to what the government is not being allowed to violate:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Clearly free speech is a crucial part of society, but common sense can step in and say if, for example, you want to insult my wife in my own house, you must leave. If you want to proclaim death to my neighbors, you can’t stand on my stoop to do it from. If you try to promote violent rhetoric using my company – it will be removed.

Doing anything less is supporting what ultimately becomes criminal activities which at the very least is bad for business in the long run.

I also find it shameful. Certainly ignorance and stupidity alike can be very dangerous given the right situation. When I look myself in the mirror I much prefer to feel strength from doing the right thing, and not having acted from ignorance or misinformation.

There is a very real situation where people don’t bother to investigate what they are being told. They are commonly not very well versed with the world outside their own nor have a solid education. Thus being at a disadvantage frequently find themselves not finding any road to success but reasons to be unhappy. Some take advantage of that to misdirect their unhappiness towards people and activities that actually seek to help society. These “some” are stuck wanting to take the world down with them. Meanwhile the lesser educated and informed, but not automatically less valuable, fall pray to the lies and propaganda and with little to loose stand up ready to fight the false evil. Others even less educated about life become willing to meet the vestigial virgins supposedly waiting for them once they click the detonator. The price for freedom is constant alertness and willingness to fight back, not blindly supporting any activity or “right”.

Thus, I frequently assess who I associate myself with and as someone who has so far been a staunch supporter for a decade am now wondering what is your intention visa vie Nazi hate propaganda, and similar sites?

WorldVentures ventures where the world should not go

Today I ran into an interesting article by Ken White, an attorney who often blogs on legal thuggery, as he calls it. The blog is called Popehat. As he puts it:

It’s time for the Popehat Signal — the call for pro bono assistance for a blogger threatened with frivolous and censorious litigation. This time the victim in need of help is Stephanie Yoder of She needs your help to face a thoroughly bogus and repugnant threat by multi-level marketing scheme “WorldVentures.”


My thought is that it’s quote possibly attorneys like the ones used by WorldMisadventures who gives attorneys a bad name. One likes think that an officer of the court would be a person of strong integrity, but of course that’s not always the case.

Though it surprises me each time I see a person who managed to get through the bar exam and then operates as if he thought he could not do an honest day’s work by doing this kind of, in my eyes, despicable work. I’ve been a student of life for many decades. I know that people who fester on other’s weaknesses have their own skeletons in their closets. It’s those past transgressions which bears down on an individual and makes them cry out for help by hoping someone will handle what they are not able to handle. Namely themselves.

The right to work and school shootings

What I find interesting is that in ancient Rome a child between 12 and 14 would get some sort of position that they could hold and in effect were made part of society as an active contributor. What is more interesting is that they did not have any juvenile delinquency.

If you look back, or look at a young person, they are quite able at that age. Now we have labor laws that forbid the same young person from holding a position. You apprenticed under someone. Today you are not allowed to partake in society even though you are quite able to. What’s a person to do who is not allowed to be part of the group? They create their own group with their own ideas, which often becomes a nuisance or menace to themselves and others.

To top it off, we have psychotropic drugs being handed out as some sort of solution to this inhibition placed on young people. And normal symptoms from restlessness and desire to create and produce is now considered a mental disease and treated with psychotropic drugs that carry black label warnings because it makes people suicidal.

The same drugs that are found in more than a dozen of the school shooters…

Is Bank Of America Not Above Extortion?

Today Bank Of America appears to try to loose as many customers as possible in one fell swoop. With no prior notice I found myself having no option but to either consent to a new disclosure, requiring me to hire an attorney on the spot, or loose online access to my accounts.

Their online service gives you one opportunity to continue to do online banking and from there on you are locked out, unless you agree! I cannot but wonder what kind of buffoon would resort to these kinds of tactics?

Is a corporation of the size of Bank Of America unable to give their customers enough time to properly review the changes to their Electronic Communications Disclosure? What would prompt them to take such drastic measure? Either they don’t care about customers, which I suppose would really would not be something new, or some amateur threw it together without any thought at all over how this will affect their customers.

It certainly CAN be a very benevolent change, but how can I, a mere layman, be expected to understand the legalese that I have to consent to? Words have different meanings in law than they do in plain English, potentially creating a minefield.

Bank Of America does offer me the opportunity for to withdraw my consent, but only after I give Bank Of America a “reasonable period of time to act upon my withdrawal”. Of course it’s good for Bank Of America to have the unspecified time to make their change, but we won’t have that courtesy of a couple of days.

The language used appear plain but again not being an attorney I have no idea what might mean something different than what I read in to it. Initially it seem to suggest that I need to be able to SUPPORT certain hardware and software requirements. However at the very end I need to confirm that I HAVE the required hardware and software. Sounds like an important switch to me, but then I’m not an attorney.

About the only thing good is that they support the Chrome browser from Google.
Other than that I’m left with the careless implementation of their updated Electronic Communication Disclosure, which supposedly is updated to better serve me. Guess they don’t really have a clue of what is better for me.

I wonder how many other people will say this is not how I want to be treated as a customer, and take their business elsewhere?

RIAA Lawsuits May Be Unconstitutional

I’ve said before that I don’t condone copyright abuses, but at the same time corporate abuse of citizens is no less acceptable.

The RIAA (Record Industry Association of America) has been waging a war against people it decides has unauthorized copies of their songs. Which often enough is found to be a mistake on their part. This is the same people who tried to lobby Congress to allow them to hack and erase the disk on any computer they thought were in violation of their copyright. To make things worse, the methods by which they identify who has unauthorized music is vague and fulled of flaws. (The fact that I think they steal from the musicians they represent themselves is another story.) I came upon this blog by known security consultant Schneier, which he in turn found on USA Today.

Briefly: “Harvard law professor Charles Nesson is arguing, in court, that the Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999 is unconstitutional:

“He makes the argument that the Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999 is very much unconstitutional, in that its hefty fines for copyright infringement (misleadingly called “theft” in the title of the bill) show that the bill is effectively a criminal statute, yet for a civil crime. That’s because it really focuses on punitive damages, rather than making private parties whole again. Even worse, it puts the act of enforcing the criminal statute in the hands of a private body (the RIAA) who uses it for profit motive in being able to get hefty fines.

“Imagine a statute which, in the name of deterrence, provides for a $750 fine for each mile-per-hour that a driver exceeds the speed limit, with the fine escalating to $150,000 per mile over the limit if the driver knew he or she was speeding. Imagine that the fines are not publicized, and most drivers do not know they exist. Imagine that enforcement of the fines is put in the hands of a private, self-interested police force, that has no political accountability, that can pursue any defendant it chooses at its own whim, that can accept or reject payoffs in exchange for not prosecuting the tickets, and that pockets for itself all payoffs and fines. Imagine that a significant percentage of these fines were never contested, regardless of whether they had merit, because the individuals being fined have limited financial resources and little idea of whether they can prevail in front of an objective judicial body.

September 24 Is World Day Against Software Patents

Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure, has a press release declaring Sep 24 World Day Against Software Patents:

Brussels, 2nd September 2008 — A global coalition of more than 80 software companies, associations and developers has declared the 24th of September to be the “World Day Against Software Patents”. Five years ago, on 24 September 2003, the European Parliament adopted amendments to limit the scope of patent law and thereby protect small software companies from the harmful effects of broad and trivial software patents. A global petition asking to effectively stop software patents worldwide will be launched on 24 September 2008, together with specific additional requests for certain regions such as Europe, the United States or India.

Full Press Release.

Microsoft offing up another good laugh!

With all the anti competitive activities Microsoft is guilty of, here’s yet another twist in the saga of a company that is trying to make believe that they too are supporting OpenSource.

“To benefit from this promise, You must be a natural or legal person participating in the creation of software code for an open source project. An “open source project” is a software development project the resulting source code of which is freely distributed, modified, or copied pursuant to an open source license and is not commercially distributed by its participants. If You engage in the commercial distribution or importation of software derived from an open source project or if You make or use such software outside the scope of creating such software code, You do not benefit from this promise for such distribution or for these other activities.”

What they are saying is that you cannot use almost any commercial software. Except for developing non commercial software. It is apparently OK to use let’s say Microsoft tools to write code, but you better not use any Windows unless for developing, or since I don’t use Windows and closer to my own vest, something like CrossOver Office under Linux. Using a commercial SQL engine for Linux would disqualify me.

If you do, why then you are not an OpenSource developer and should not be protected from their promise of not being sued for violating their imaginary patents. My oh my what a nice twist.

Of course I’m sure they would not even be at this game of pretending to be OpenSource friendly if it was not for all the legal trouble they are in.

What was not so funny was another story showing MS business practices. This author was involved in the creation of the XML standard. His name is Tim Bray. This is a note from his blog

He refers to a friend of his who’s involved with OOXML.

“CNN picked up the story about Microsoft trying to retain Rick Jelliffe to
update the Wikipedia articles on ODF and OOXML for them, just as the ISO process around OOXML is getting in gear.

“Those with long memories might suggest a parallel between Rick’s position and mine when in 1997, I was sitting on the XML Working Group and co-editing the spec, on a pro bono basis as an indie consultant. Netscape hired me to represent their interests, and when I announced this, controversy ensued.

Which is a nice way of saying that Microsoft went berserk; tried
unsuccessfully to get me fired as co-editor, and then launched a vicious,
deeply personal extended attack in which they tried to destroy my career and took lethal action against a small struggling company because my wife worked there. It was a sideshow of a sideshow of the great campaign to bury Netscape and I’m sure the executives have forgotten; but I haven’t.

Microsoft vs Free Software Foundation

Cornered, Microsoft tries to say they don’t have to abide by the GPL3 license.

Lewis A. Mettler is an attorney who often comments on Open Source issues. In this article he’s explaining the use of the word believe when used by an attorney. Which is a direct response to Microsoft’s statement that they do not believe they have to follow GPL3.

He states:

“But, the B word was used by Microsoft and I do feel you need to understand under which circumstances lawyers use such terms. Their statement was:

“We do not believe that Microsoft needs a license under GPL to carry out any aspects of its collaboration with Novell, including its distribution of support certificates, even if Novell chooses to distribute GPL3 code in the future. “

I trimmed off the second part of that statement which you may read in my other article here.

But, I wanted to focus upon the use of the term “believe” when it comes from a lawyer. Of course they wanted to deny what they might refer to as the negative. But, they could have used other terms like “We do not think…”, etc.

Why did they use “We do not believe”?

Actually it is interesting and relates to how that term is used in religion as well as the courtroom. In most religions, the term “believe” relates to something that they can not prove but have to accept for one reason or another. And they normally have to do with miracles and all sorts of other stuff.

In the courtroom it is a true weasel word. ”