Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Some days, everything modern is maddening

Cryptocurrency mining isn't something I chose to undertake, but plenty of people do. If that's you, please note: "If you’re mining bitcoin from home, you’re now losing money." (In detail, the truth of that assertion depends on the rate you pay for electricity -- but subject to typical retail rates ....)

Do you use any Apple website? How about Amazon? Maybe you care about the integrity of (private) cloud servers used by the DoD. If any of those apply, you would have been justifiably alarmed by this recent Bloomberg headline: "The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies." Only Apple and Amazon deny the assertion vehemently, and other journalism shops find the claim unsubstantiated, impossible to confirm, and otherwise dubious. See (from the Washington Post), "Your move, Bloomberg."

(Is hardware with hidden trapdoors a threat? You bet your sweet bippie. This peril was the premise of a novel I started way back, circa 1990, and then shelved, when the Cold War -- however fleetingly -- went away.)

Get a lot of spam/scam calls on your cell? And the majority spoofed to look like your area code, and plausibly real? Me, too! And the trends are ever more ominous. See (again from the WaPo), "Nearly half of cellphone calls will be scams by 2019, report says."

Update is evil
And of course there's Windows 10 Update, unstoppable if you use the home edition. Likely you've heard that the feature update scheduled for this month was pulled at the last minute after some beta testers had their hard drives wiped. (If not, see: "Microsoft pulls Windows 10 October 2018 Update after reports of documents being deleted.") Oopsie!

But even with this "feature" update pulled (for how long? I don't know), there remained the monthly "quality" updates. In my October mandatory update, the sages of Bellevue included a Canon printer driver. (I have never owned a Canon printer. Doesn't Windows Update supposedly tailor what they download to your PC? Isn't that why voluntarily checking for available updates -- if you are foolish enough to do so -- can take an hour?) And then Update enabled, without asking, a deep-in-the-bowels of Windows setting, "let Windows handle my default printer." And then made the new Canon printer driver my default. And then broke the driver for the HP printer I *do* own.

Dishonorable mention goes to HP for the old printer setup CD that, when encountering a newer OS, didn't even try to go online to find a suitable driver. Bonus demerits for HP's broken website when I went looking manually for a new copy of the driver, or of a setup manual.

(Yes, I eventually got the old printer running again. No thanks to MS or HP.)

And now it's back to writing with my (safely old) edition of Word. 

1 comment:

Edward M. Lerner said...

This just in: New Windows 10 1809 bug: Zip data-loss flaw is months old but Microsoft missed it."