The Hunt 2015 – Day Four Point Five

Well, this was supposed to be a warmer day but I was chilled to the bone even with an extra layer of pants. I waited, I walked and I waited some more. I saw some beautiful trees: pines, poplars, birches, oaks, and a mess of shrubs: hazelnut, saskatoon, and many more. What I didn’t see was a deer, not one.

The morning was fairly normal but all afternoon hooligans were shooting a variety of firearms just a few hundred metres from the bush I was hunting. Worse, they were firing in my direction. I could hear the impacts of the bullets a split second before the muzzle blast. Even after sundown they brought out some canon which was Earth-shattering. When I was walking out they were examining a target set up at about 100 yards from the far end of the opening around which I had been hunting. When they saw me they quickly jumped into a vehicle and sped off. I guessed they didn’t want me seeing their licence plate. Motor vehicles are not even allowed at that spot.

On the bright side, my hunting companions had split up and hunted in several other areas of the wildlife management area and they had ended up in a promising area with few hunters and they did see a buck. It came out to challenge them and when it saw they were no challenge at all just walked off. They didn’t get a shot because it came up behind them and they didn’t see it in time. That’s where we are going to hunt tomorrow. The place has an opening about 200m in size, ideal for scoped rifles. I will bring one, a .308 Winchester that can hit a target at 900m with sub-MOA accuracy. It’s zeroed for 300 yards with Hornady 165 BTSP over 44 grains of IMR4064. Many folks get < 0.5 MOA groups with this bullet.

Here’s the recipe from Hodgdon for a great target-shooting/hunting load.

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The Hunt 2015 – Day Three Point Five

OK. I did another half-day of hunting with the muzzleloader and had no fun at all so I didn’t feel much like writing about it. Then followed days of rain and wind…

So, today was the first day of “general” deer season when you can use any legal device, archery, muzzle-loading, shotgun with slugs, center-fire rifle, even crossbows… I went out with two hunting/shooting buddies and we arrived shortly before legal hunting time and walked to our planned ambush. One deer was seen over several hours and the cold seeped into our bones.

Plan B was a newbie and I hiking in a rectangular pattern around the spot guarded by the other. We hoped to scare up something. Two deer-beds were seen and the newbie got lost in a thicket of willows but he navigated on his own via smartphone. It was a very strange day. There was almost no wind which made shooting easy but the woods were so quiet that you could not move without being heard. Also, the rifles were so cold that fog patches condensed on the rifles, something I’ve never seen before. El Nino again, I guess. We should be at -10C and we are instead at refrigerator temperatures, too warm for a parka, and too cold for a jacket over a sweater. We were either sweating when walking around or teeth chattering sitting for long.

In the afternoon we split up, each covering more territory. I found a very comfortable sandpile upon which to sit and my back was exposed to the sun, absolutely glorious. The sandpile also allow me to sit with my feet slightly lower than my butt while allowing nice flat trenches for my feet. I could rest my left elbow on my left knee and cover a 100 yard X 20 yard opening with a very steady hold.

Near sunset the bush came alive with the sounds of deer moving but none showed themselves. There was one grunt. This is the sound I heard. I guess the buck had better things to do than play with me. I was using a Mauser 98k older than I but still quite deadly at such ranges. Until the light got very dim I could easily deal a deadly blow. When I could no longer see my sights I unloaded and headed back to the rendezvous.

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Enslaving M$

“Microsoft issued $13 billion of senior notes with various maturities to be used for general corporate purposes. Fitch expects Microsoft will use net proceeds mainly for stock buy backs given the company’s plan to complete the $17.9 billion remaining under the current $40 billion share repurchase authorization by Dec. 31, 2016.”
See Fitch Rates Microsoft’s Senior Notes Offering ‘AA+’
It’s kind of embarassing to have to borrow money to pay debts… but that’s what M$ continues to do. It has $100 billion in liquid assets but it can’t repatriate them to USA without forking out a ton of money to Uncle Sam for taxes, so it borrows money at this end to pay for what it does day to day. The problem is chickens come home to roost. When the day inevitably comes that the world sees M$ has no clothes and that M$ is not the one true source of IT, the gravy train ends but the debts will have to be paid. At the last 10-Q quarterly report, M$ reported $36billion in short+long term debt. Now about half it’s liquid assets will be needed just to repay that debt.

Yes, the increasing debt to asset ratio is a sign of the end of monopoly. I find it interesting that rather than being conservative and staying debt-free when the sun shines on the empire, they’ve already decided the end is near and they will rob Peter to pay Paul (Fitch expects the money will be used to buy back shares to prop up the share-price) until the last moment, like some drunk/gambler/fool. They are issuing notes out as far as 2055. I wonder if they will be able to pay the bills long before that. Clearly, the cloud is growing for them but that desktop environment is endangered and the server environment faces stiff competition. Fitch’s rating assumes governments won’t force repatriation of the money and that the gravy train continues… What could possibly go wrong?

Meanwhile huge government departments are using their own clouds based on OpenStack and their own office suites based on LibreOffice and, any browser but Internet Exploder and yes, even desktop GNU/Linux. I find it amusing to think of this not just as the decline of a monopolist but its enslavement of itself just as it enslaved users for decades. Most slaves have to be captured but M$ is enclosing itself with debt willingly, seeing no other option. Cattle do what’s expected in the chute at the slaughterhouse but they don’t build the chute.

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“The European Parliament calls upon the Commission “for the systematic replacement of proprietary software by auditable and verifiable open-source software in all the EU institutions, and for the introduction of a mandatory open-source-selection criterion in all future ICT procurement procedures”. The Parliament “strongly reiterates its call for the development, within the framework of new initiatives such as the Digital Single Market, of a European strategy for greater IT independence”.
The call for a migration to open-source software is part of the very same ‘Resolution on the follow-up to the European Parliament resolution of 12 March 2014 on the electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens’ that was amended with a call on the “Member States to drop any criminal charges against Edward Snowden”. The Members should “grant him protection and consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties, in recognition of his status as whistleblower and international human rights defender”.
The resolution was accepted last week by the Parliament in a 342 to 274 vote. The paragraph on Snowden was accepted in a 285 to 281 vote.”
See European Parliament wants EU institutions to switch to open source
This is a strange and prominent mixing of the direction of IT (Information Technology) and fundamental human rights. It’s a slap in the face of powerful people who call for Snowden‘s imprisonment/execution and a rebuke to powerful people who want to hide what software does to enrich or to empower themselves further.

It’s strange because it’s the excessive use of power which has helped the enslaved-through-software people of the world to realize they are enslaved by the kinds of things M$ and big government do. It’s strange because neither M$ nor big government want what’s happening yet they’ve helped make it happen. Slowly but surely the simple concept that Richard Stallman put forth so many years ago to fight abuse of power by corporations vis a vis software has become a global force not just among techies but politicians and citizens on a global scale. The freedom to run, examine, modify and distribute software is at last recognized by millions as a part of fundamental human rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those who wish to use the power of IT to suppress human rights are being exposed merely by their clinging to non-Free software. Yes!

The widespread use of FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) such as GNU/Linux, Android/Linux, smartphones, tablets, LibreOffice, VLC, FireFox and Chrome have demonstrated the extreme usefulness of IT to do good in the world to most of humanity but now appears poised to replace the underpinnings of power in the modern world which were developed in feudal times: secrecy as a tool for oppression.

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The Hunt 2015 – Day Two

I love hunting. It’s a great excuse to get away from The Little Woman and the grandkids and just be me. I went out a second day of muzzle-loading season and had another great adventure.

The first action was the appearance of a couple of fawns, apparently orphans or with a cunning Mom who sends her kids out to play in the forest… These were really tiny. Continue reading

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Lock-in To Be Locked Out In Portugal

“The use of non-proprietary open formats is essential to ensure technical and semantic interoperability, for interaction with citizens and companies and to gain the necessary independence from ICT suppliers

The discussion paper and the public consultation website list the proposed open standards. Examples include SQL for database queries, PNG and SVG for graphics, and PDF and ODF for electronic documents. There are also tables listing standards for electronic mail, for geographic information systems, computer networking and for IT security.”
See Portugal seeks feedback on interoperability policy
Gone are the old days when any large or small organization took whatever M$ and “partners” offered as the only way to do IT. Now countries all around the world are dictating what they will and won’t accept. That’s refreshing. It also puts GNU/Linux on the inside track because almost everything that runs on GNU/Linux will be able to follow such open standards. With That Other OS, one would always have doubts. I like IT you can count on to work for you and not against you.

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2015, The Year Of Android/Linux In Asia

See Top 8 Desktop, Mobile & Tablet Operating Systems in Asia from Jan to Oct 2015
We’ve known for several years that Android/Linux smartphones were very popular in Asia. One could choose any of the last few years to declare its year, but 2015 is special. According to StatCounter, in March Android/Linux got more page-views than “7”, M$’s most populous OS. I expect that Android/Linux has more growing to do in Asia so this may become the “Age”, “Decade” or “Century” of Android/Linux. It remains to be seen but times certainly are changing and for the better if you like competition, choice and low prices as I do.

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The Hunt 2015 – Day One

Yesterday, I went out with the muzzle-loading rifle and hunted white-tailed deer. I had too much fresh air and exercise and I saw exactly half of a deer…

Half hour before sunrise I set down at this “L”-shaped opening right near the corner where I had a view 300 yards to the right and 400 yards to the left. Where I sat was about 40 yards wide. It’s a funnel leading deer to cross preferring this narrowest point. It was just above freezing according to the weatherman but I was colder than that despite a lack of wind. Continue reading

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The Strength Of THE Monopoly

It wasn’t long ago when the strength of M$’s monopoly on the desktop was extremely strong and GNU/Linux was rarely encountered. M$’s recent quarterly report to the SEC shows a much different situation today:

  • “Office 365 Consumer subscribers increased to 18.2 million, with approximately 3 million subscribers added in the quarter.” Yes, consumers see M$’s office suite as essential… [SARCASM]
  • Revenue and margin for “Personal Computing” were down 12% compared to the same quarter last year. Yes, they are having to work for a living.
  • “Cost of revenue decreased $1.1 billion or 13%, mainly due to lower phones sales.” Nothing new here then… :-)
  • “Windows revenue decreased $322 million or 7%, mainly due to lower revenue from Windows OEM and patent licensing. Windows OEM revenue decreased $189 million or 6%, driven by declines in the business and consumer PC markets. Windows OEM Pro revenue declined 7%, slightly ahead of the performance of the business PC market.” It’s not just about consumers.
  • Almost 100 lawsuits were active against M$. Many were settled out of court but no one is afraid to sue M$ these days.

So, times are changing. M$’s is not the default OS any longer. Consumers have choice. Even businesses have choices. The slaves are being freed. The monopoly is not dead yet, unfortunately, but it is on its death-bed. They have a tidy nest-egg in the mattress, so I wouldn’t worry too much about their families while the rest of us enjoy fresh air in the market for IT.

See M$’s Form 10-Q

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Life In All Its Forms With GNU/Linux

“The system surprised us one day when a user’s Windows install went corrupt on her laptop and she accidentally installed Linux. When her laptop couldn’t boot from the hard drive, it automatically booted from the network. When she got the PXE install menu she just hit enter, installing a Linux desktop with all of our default network security settings and applications. She then logged into it with her network account and emailed me to say that her Windows had updated and she wanted to know why her Microsoft Office looked so different now and “Where did Outlook go?” We had a good laugh over how Linux is so easy you can install and configure it by accident now, even on a laptop.”
See Tony Maro: My Linux Story
I chuckled when I read this (->) in an article about a growing business preferring GNU/Linux and FLOSS for just about everything, saving a bundle and having total control of IT rather than being anyone’s slave… That’s freedom.

I’ve been experiencing that freedom for 15 years now. I use Debian GNU/Linux for everything and do some PXE installations right in my own home now that I’m retired, none of them by accident, however. 😉 I certainly can live without software from M$.

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GNU/Linux Is On The Move In Dominica

See Top 7 Desktop OSs In Dominica From January 19 to 19 October 2015
Yes, GNU/Linux is on the move in Dominica. The government made a deal with the government of India recently, to promote GNU/Linux at Dominica State College. “Unknown” took off at that time… GNU/Linux continues to grow slowly.

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Uruguay Reaps The Benefit Of GNU/Linux In Schools

Wow! After years of using GNU/Linux in schools we can see the users being pumped out of the school-system at a constant rate. Eventually these will be decisive folk in organizations large and small and growth will increase more rapidly. Way to go!

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