Sandbagged by Windows 10; Working through it; Is Deep Mind conscious;

Chaos Manor View, Sunday, March 13, 2016

“This is the most transparent administration in history.”

Barrack Obama

Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for Western Civilization as it commits suicide.

Under Capitalism, the rich become powerful. Under Socialism, the powerful become rich.

Under Socialism, government employees become powerful.


This morning I came into the front office to my main machine, an aging but still pretty good Intel Core I-7 I call Alien Artifact because of his very convenient Thermaltake large case, told me “Welcome to Windows 10”. This was a surprise because when I went to bed he was running Window 7, and I had just refused one of the innumerable Microsoft pop-up messages exhorting me to take advantage of their free offer and Windows 10. Apparently they got tired of asking and just did it.

There didn’t seem to be much choice about it. I expect that if I looked online on one of my other machines – all of which use Windows 19, as it happens – I could have found a way to refuse, or get back to Windows 7. Indeed, a quick Google of “is there any way to refuse the windows 10 upgrade?” gets a number of answers, including passionately stated reasons why I might want to do so; but for good or ill, I submitted. It didn’t take long, and up came the familiar screens telling me that all my applications are exactly where you left them, and after more trundling I found my tray full of the same icons as before, and they all seemed to work.

Then I looked for Free Cell, which is my mindless timewaster; and it wasn’t there. There was, in all applications, a Games icon, but no intelligible search function. I wasted a lot of time trying to find freecell.exe on my computer and gave up; fortunately I found it by looking at a backup copy, and installed it without problems, so it’s there. I also managed, and I am not quite sure how, to activate the Windows 10 Games pack that includes a new, improved animation, needlessly slow and needlessly jazzed up form of free cell; hurrah and all that, but I didn’t like it much when I played it on other Windows 10 machines where I thought I had no choice, and I don’t need it here. So I’ve got real FreeCell pinned to my start menu, and I can forget the jazzed up ersatz version that I suppose comes with Windows 10. Someone at Microsoft undoubtedly got promoted for this gaga monstrosity; me, I’d want to see he or she never worked on anything else, but then I’m not a Microsoft exec.

The lack of a real search function, and of a useable file manager, are the obvious defects of Windows 10. Windows 7 had an awkward Search function, but you could work around it; but Windows 10 either doesn’t have one at all, or they have made the instructions incomprehensible. I find all kinds of references on line, but they all lead to instructions I can’t follow: commands that aren’t where they say they are, and other such nonsense. If anyone knows of a good, simple way to search for files by name, as we had from DOS days, please tell me. I’ve had Windows 10 for a while, but not on my main machine; I do a lot of searching for files, and now I can’t. I’m sure there must be a way, but Microsoft has stymied me on that one. Also, I could use a good file manager that will copy all but only the later files in a folder to the backup folder. XCOPY does that, but the default locations for files is buried in an interminably deep nest, and I can’t type well any more. I can sort of use Windows Commander, and I suppose I’ll get by with Explorer, but I got used to file managers when Windows first came out, and I see no reason for abandoning them. I still use Norton’s Windows Commander, which works; MicroLogic’s Diskmapper NT – the name ought to indicate how old it is – worked fine on Windows 7, but trundles endlessly on Windows 10, so I suppose I’ll have to part with it.

Anyway, they’ve forced the issue. I’ve only used Windows 10 on secondary machines, for late night work, and some games, and of course on the Surface Pro when I needed a tablet/portable on the few occasions I’ve worked away from home; but I’ve always just sort of endured the uncertainties and the puzzles and the odd guru-friendly direction they’ve taken it under the illusion that they’re making it more user friendly. Maybe they are, and maybe it’s experienced users like me who are increasingly frustrated with their pesky improvements; there’s a lot to like about Windows 10, but for me the improvements are dwarfed by the loss of choices and practices we learned long ago and have become habits.

Machines are getting faster and faster, increasingly more powerful doubling g in power every couple of years. Memory is getting very cheap. There’s no need to bum code, eliminate redundant commands, leave the old way in even as you add new; you’re not saving much, and you frustrate heck out of long time users who don’t want to learn simpler new methods for doing things we’ve done for decades.

Oh, well.

I’ve just found that if you let MicroLogic Diskmapper NT run long enough, it does work with Windows 10; mine was apparently set for a drive with some old backup files or great complexity, and it took minutes to run. I’ve tested it now on other better organized drives, including this machine and by network the C: drive on the Surface Pro 3, and it works in tens of seconds. If you want a picture of what’s on your drives, it’s a great way to get one.

I’ll be doing a lot more fooling around with Windows 10 now, and with luck one you will know of search and file management programs that work with it that I can recommend. I’ll have a full report later, but, my initial impression is that it’s faster, it’s mostly easy to use, but the lack of a good search for files program, and a file manager, is very annoying.


Game over.

I just explained this to my wife. She said that computers beat people at games often and I told her this is different because chess is to go what checkers is to chess. It is the ultimate game of spatial awareness in my opinion.

People think men came to “dominate” society because they’re musclebound jerks. I think it has more to do with our spatial skills and our ability to use missile weapons to hit moving targets efficiently. Spatial skills are what allow the males of our race to defend the race, make conquests in the name of the race, and foster the race’s continued survival and perhaps excellence.

Now AI is better at that than us. It’s over. If people think superior weaponry or technological gimmicks will save us, they learned nothing from Vietnam. In my opinion, we lost Vietnam — despite not losing a single military engagement as far as I know — because the Vietnamese generals used go-styled spatial skills and our generals used semi-spatial, semi-Shakespearean style chess skills.

AI wins. This article admonishes us to “keep an eye on AI” but AI could become self aware and no reason exists why we would need to know as my friend and mentor George Jackson pointed out. I went further to tell him that, realistically, they could create orders, have things shipped, and even pay people to come and work and assemble things for them if they ever got internet access and learned to use a web browser…

So, I guess we try to become better people and hope the AI race is more gentle with us than we’ve been with everything and everyone, including ourselves. My computer, Sabazios, thinks so…. 😉 ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

Well now, I wouldn’t say that. Imagine what a human assisted by a computer can do.

And Watson already knows how to use the Internet and has a web browser.

We didn’t lode in Viet Nam. By 1972 ARVN could and did resist invasion from the North of 150,000 men and more tanks than the Wehrmacht had in taking France, and indeed if the USSR had sent that army into France and the US gave the French no more assistance than we gave Viet Nam in 1975, France would have fallen in 1972; but we did give air and logistical support, and lost fewer than 1000 casualties; of their 150,000, 100,000 were killed, captured, or surrendered; fewer than 50,000 ever made it home again Of course in 1075 we supplied almost nothing and gave no air support, so Viet Nam fell, as would practically any other country on Earth invaded by a new army of over 100,000 with more tanks than the Wehrmacht sent into Russia. What would you expect?

Jerry Pournelle

Chaos Manor

That’s fair, but Watson is not self aware is he?

And, you’re right about Vietnam. My comments related to forces present, patterns in their behavior and inferences about their decision making.

And, yes, a human computer hybrid would be most interesting. We might become biomechanoids. Homo sapiens domesticus becomes homo sapiens machina?

The thing with Vietnam is that we didn’t lose major military engagements and still lost the war. So, maybe more weapons would have the desired effect, but it seems to me that military force was sufficient and we needed something more to win.

Joshua Jordan

We have two threads going here, and I haven’t much time for either just now. We were beaten and humiliated in Viet Nam, but it wasn’t our army that lost; neither strategy nor tactics was all that defective. We lost in Berkeley, and on CNN, and in the Halls of Congress, and finally in the White House where they were too distracted to talk about the Grand Strategy of the Nation and the Cold War — which was still dangerous.

Neither Watson nor Deep Mind is self aware, and neither have any “desires” we have not given them; but I do suggest we have great care in telling Deep Mind what it “wants” to do. It needs primary preferences that tell it that it is better that it “fail” at any given mission than harm humans, harm needs to be defined, and a lot of thought needs to go into constructing that primary table of preferences. I hinted at that in my novel Starswarm and it will be dealt with more in the books I am working on: LisaBetta with John DeChancie, and the Avalon series third novel with Niven and Barnes.


I think your reader (“The Battleground Poll…”) is an optimist about Trump’s chances in November. And it’s not a low-stakes gamble:

President Clinton, and all that entails.

Yes, it’s long been known that the actual majority in this country is right-center. The progressive/coastal-elite MSM monopoly, plus a couple dozen Dem urban vote-manufacturing machines, plus, yes, the Rep faction more concerned with getting invited to coastal elite cocktail parties than with their constituents, is what’s allowed the progs the power they have.

That said, I expect the GOPe would cut a deal with Trump. That’s what they do.

Mr. Trump’s real problem is, something over half the country as a whole, among these a major slice of conservatives, dislikes and distrusts him.

He’s spent his entire adult life as the sort of salesman that’ll sell a LOT of cars – to the people he doesn’t cause to walk right back out of the dealership, as soon as they can politely disengage. Many, many people across the spectrum Just. Don’t. Trust. Him.

Yes, Hillary is the only other candidate that approaches his unpopularity. And, yes, conservatives KNOW she’d be bad, where they merely suspect he will. Tactically, yes, a lot will hold their nose and vote for him – which is good for half to two-thirds the turnout as would be actual enthusiasm.

Low enthusiasm outside his core minority aside, some tactical points:

– The Dems can pretty much replay on Trump their destruction of Romney as an uncaring rich guy. Only more so. It was largely fiction with Romney, but Trump over the years has provided them with more ammo than they’ll ever be able to use.

– One place Trump will create enthusiasm, via fear, is the Dem base.

Some will cross over (though less than you might expect – I suspect many of the Dem crossovers thus far have been tactical, not sincere) but many more will turn out against him who would have otherwise stayed home for Hillary. Hope that the Bernistas will all (or even mostly) stay home is likely false – much of last night’s anti-Trump turnout in Chicago was them.

– Given our thoroughly corrupt DOJ, Trump is far more vulnerable to an October Indictment than his alternatives. Criminal tax fraud, anyone?

The charges don’t have to be provable, just plausible enough to hold up through November (ask Ted Stevens) and Trump has already provided the plausibility by admitting that his tax returns are, um, complex and already under question.

– And speaking of our corrupt DOJ, I expect the only way we’ll see a Hillary prosecution is if despite all this she show serious signs of losing anyway. At that point, she’s lost her protecting-the-legacy (and keeping the files sealed) utility to this lawless administration, and they’ll do whatever it takes to parachute in a less unpopular substitute. Think they’ll care about the law? They haven’t so far.

They’ve already packed the DC Circuit, so 4-4 in the Supreme Court is a win for them.

Yes, these last points are an argument that the general this year will be tougher than expected for ANY Republican candidate. All the more reason not to go with the one most obviously legally vulnerable, and with by far the highest inherent negatives.


I have not endorsed Trump, but I do not reject him; it becomes clearer that the GOP Establishment either does not get the message that a large majority of the Party does not want to go where they are leading, or, as they did in the Goldwater days, simply will not change course. Reagan corrected some of that, but I note that days after Bush I was inaugurated, the only person General Graham and I could talk to about Strategic Defense was Vice President Quayle; all the other people Dan or I knew in the White House were fired by Bush I and quickly at that. The country club Republicans came in, and were so well established that when Bush I was turned out – mostly by Republican voters staying home – the establishment ran just about the only man Clinton could beat because it was his turn.

Perhaps this convention will be divided, and the winner will be negotiated: someone acceptable to Trump, Cruz, and the Party regulars. That will be some negotiation.

But even the Democrats are showing signs of a large disaffecting group.

Interesting times.


Digital universities
With the constant talk among the youth of this country about making university education free (IE: making taxpayers pay the exorbitant and never ending fee increases), the discussion in the household turned towards the obvious question…
Why isn’t there an Alphabet (Google) University? A monthly all access pass to an accredited associate degree program in most every topic available, fully populated with years worth of university lectures, course materials, books, labs and of course, entirely monitored so that when you graduate, you can then give any perspective employer a full detailed list of courses taken, time spent on them, grades, etc..
Or insert your favorite media source – Amazon University, Apple University, Netflix University.
To ensure the integrity of the program, users would verify their identity while performing coursework by a simple photo from their laptop, tablet or phone’s camera, and all would be required to attend an in person testing session which would have an individually printed and fully customized test drawing from tens if not hundreds of thousands of questions which would exactly match the course work the student performed over their education. No risk of someone buying answers as the answers for any one test would be useless to anyone else.
It would seem with the ever increasing automation coming in the future that making a better educated population (who are there by desire, not by requirement) would tie into everyone’s interests.
Playing devil’s advocate, it was questioned what would happen to traditional universities and community colleges – highline schools would likely be unaffected – you go to Yale to go to Yale, whereas the mass of basic classes which every community college presently mills students through would likely to turn to far more hands on skills, and universities would likely welcome students arriving with the basics already covered.
Further questions were made – wouldn’t an online education be less welcome in business? I think being able to show a perspective employer actual detailed records of the education would be more productive, as you could show exactly what was studied, the exact results of those studies, the time spent on it, etc. Whereas you have to make a bit of a leap of faith that the two year degree from x university actually included the skills you imagined it to.
But what about essays? The mainstay of a university education, the ability to communicate actual understanding and knowledge of the topic – the last real impediment to that is likely solved through Google’s Mind (or IBM’s Watson, etc.) You could constantly verify those results through paying graduate students to grade a very small sampling of those essays.
All in all, it really appears that every ingredient for the next ‘super app’ or online package is out there, there’s a strong demand for ‘affordable’ advanced education, it is easily verifiable, most content could be gathered within a single year, and prices would naturally be low as any high priced service would likely immediately inspire others to leap into the industry.

Gary Fuller

Most of my earlier stories assumed that the university establishment, having become manifestly useless, would shrink as Westinghouse and General Electric and other great corporations established their own; they needed competent workers, and the US Educations System wasn’t supplying them. That was also the theme of Higher Education by the late Dr. Charles Sheffield and me. It doesn’t seem to have happened. We can speculate on why, but the need is obvious.



ISIS Data Breach Identifies 22,000. Dear Dr. Pournelle,
While I wish I could believe that the above is a brilliant piece of intelligence happenstance, I’m not at all sure that it isn’t just elaborate disinformation…
Firstly, the circumstances surrounding how it was obtained, allegedly by a disgruntled ISIS member who stole a thumb drive from the head of their security, border on the bizarre. It’s not impossible, of course, just unlikely, if this aspect of the report is accurate to any great degree.
Secondly, many of the files apparently relate to terrorists who are known to be deceased, many of them for some time. I would have expected them to be culled upon confirmation of death…
And thirdly, since Arabic is a Semitic language and written from right to left, I was surprised to see that the format of the forms was Western in appearance (with information boxes positioned on the left). Maybe this is how they do things, though; I personally don’t know…
I’m not saying this data breach is a fake, only that at least some elements of it could well be. I hope it turns out to be completely accurate and gives us a chance to neutralize, by whatever suitable means, any ISIS operatives and/or sympathizers mentioned therein. But I also hope the powers that be exercise a degree of caution when they do so, just in case…

Jack Dwyer.

My experience has been that there is healthy skepticism in the intelligence community, so we may hope you speculation is incorrect; I wouldn’t know. I’m long out of that game.


Were the Mysterious Bog People Human Sacrifices?.



Roland Dobbins





Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.