Upgrade Hell

the big restore

Quick run down of yesterday’s Mac chaos. Although I’ve considered myself immune to it over the years, I fell for Apple’s distortion field–or as others might call it: upgrade hell. I don’t know what happened. I think it all started when I upgraded from Mavericks to Yosemite. It worked so well, so smooth, my digital (self) was flawless. Then, about ten days ago, I upgraded to El Capitan. The shit hit the fan. But first a bit of history. §My household server is a 2010 MacPro that I picked up awfully cheap at a German retailer about three years ago. Up to that point I was running a 2011 Mac Mini as our home server for files, backups and iTunes (aghast!) The Mac Mini isn’t the special server edition and before long it was tapped out, it couldn’t deliver to our duelling AppleTVs, our iPhones and iPads, or, every once-a-once, provide some basic desktop work. The question then was whether I go with a NAS or if there was something else. Maybe I should invest in a “server” Mac Mini? Or what about just building a freeNAS system? At the time I had an old quad-core AMD PC lying around. But I had some unfavourable experience with NAS before. I knew I wanted to avoid that route if at all possible. To me, NAS is but another complication in an already complicated environment. It’s not that NAS doesn’t work. It works great. But all those Synology’s, Qnaps, homemades, etc., they all mean nothing more than yet another GUI and more maintenance. Obviously I’m spoiled by the ease and grace of Mac. Plus I’m only a techi in my dreams. §Little side note. Network routers are also unnecessary complications in a complicated world. Apple is the first to figure that out with its Airport series of routers. But I digress. §Like I said, I happened across a 2010 MacPro (quad core version) that a retailer couldn’t sell. The retailer only sold cheap desktop devices and, because he wanted to show-off a bit, he ordered some Macs during a special re-opening promotion. A MacPro on a showroom floor of cheap to less cheap PCs is indeed appealing–but only to those who can appreciate it. After almost a year of it sitting in the middle of the showroom as a spectacle, I made him an offer on the dusty MacPro and he took it. I was out the door with a new home server. §A 2010 MacPro has four drive bays, multiple internal high-speed expansion slots, four firewire and six USB ports. Its CPU is server grade. It has two optical drive bays. From what I’ve learned about Macs over the years–especially the fact that they are inherently networkable–this would be THE solution for mega home networking–and if needed it would still have enough power to allow some serious desktop work. During the past two and half years I’ve upped our server capacity to 8TB. Remember, this machine has to serve (and store) twenty years of CDs, ten years of DVDs and, newly (or as others would say, finally), Blurays (which I stream with plex to big screens). Last spring I also installed a 500GB SSD via PCIe which means the MacPro is insanely fast. The server connects to everything through a 5th gen Airport extreme (top), a 2nd gen Airport express (middle) and I’ve still got a 1st gen Airport express running as well (ground floor). I am connected to a measly 16kbit DSL internet connection through 1&1 Germany. I have long-since disconnected my landline phone and the krappy router 1&1 issues. Instead I use the Airport Extreme to connect to the Internet via DSL modem which is set to “bridge” mode. If I need to make a landline call I use SIP software on my Mac to do so. Talk about cord cutting. My wife and I haven’t watched terrestrial or cable TV for years. As far as talking with friends, I use FaceTime or Skype. Also, between Plex, iTunes, a second optical BluRay drive that rips like a boss, a raspberry pi as a Plex media client… Need I go on? Ok. Enough tech porn. Back to upgrade hell. §Like I said, the other day I upgraded to El Capitan. The panic since then has been gradual–until yesterday morning. Even though the upgrade was working, the deal breakers were starting to appear. The most important deal breaker has to do with Disk Utilities and RAID. With El Capitan I could no longer access the RAID drives I had setup when I was running Mountain Lion because Apple removed it from Disk Utilities. COME ON APPLE! I’ve been itching to get rid of the RAID anyway–but now I couldn’t even do that. Note: I’ve since learned that I could configure the RAID drives using the CLI of Disk Utilities. No thank you! Moving on. §I know. I know. I should have checked with the readme files concerning El Capitan. But I didn’t, so there! My only excuse is the distortion field. My bad. §Disk Utilities wasn’t the only problem. Keep in mind, I’m a stickler with both how my system runs and how it looks. It not only has to function but it also has to be neat and clean. So get this. You know what else Apple changed in El Capitan? Since I’m running my OS on a PCIe daughter card, the new OS recognises it as an external drive. Ok. Ok. Actually, previous OS versions recognised it as external, too. What previous OSs didn’t do when I set my Finder preferences to hide HDDs on the desktop is show the SSD anyway. It used to recognise that the SSD was also the home of the OS, which means it recognised it as an HDD and hid it along with other drives when I set preferences to do so. In El Capitan you have to set Finder preferences that hide both HDDs AND external drives. This may sound neurotic but that kinda krapp makes my blood boil. COME ON APPLE! Ok. Moving on. §Two questions: 1) how do I get access to the RAID drives and 2) how do I get back to Yosemite? Then another question came up. Do I even want to go back to Yosemite? To me, all OSs between Lion and El Capitan suck. With that in mind, can you say Snow Leopard? I’m running Snow Leopard on my trusty 2010 MacBook Pro that also sporting a blazing fast SSD. Even though I’ve gone through the gauntlet of OS upgrades on my 2010MBP, most of which suck because of the battery, I’ve alway found myself returning to Snow Leopard. The fact is, I love simplicity, sleekness, minimalism. Which mean, I think I’m starting to hate The Cloud. IMHO, The Cloud is screwing up MacOS. Even though I love the idear of being able to type something on my iPad and then see it on my Mac, the way companies are implementing cloud services is not looking good . I have an iPhone, iPad, MacBookPro, MacPro. Notifications, which obviously relies on The Cloud, was driving me crazy. Not to mention that after I had them all updated, when I got a phone call, all four devices rang. Constantly something is beeping, poking, slipping onto my screen. COME ON APPLE! §Ok. I’d better get off that subject before my head explodes. §I got myself a cup of herbal tea in the late afternoon yesterday. It was good tea. Then I walked my dog. The whole time I was thinking: how can I best solve my problem. Then the solution hit me. I had enough space on one of the four internal HDDs to partition it and install Snow Leopard. Here I could possibly kill two birds with one stone. Not only would I be able to use the version of Disk Utilities I love but I could also test SL on the MacPro–it had Lion on it when I got it so I’d never used it on her. Within thirty minutes SL was installed. Yeah, baby! In a poof of happy smoke, a setting here, an OK there, my RAID problem was solved. Note: I was using Apple’s RAID1 settings to test data redundancy for my media library instead of backup. Even though it worked great, I’ve since concluded that it’s not a viable solution if I have to add new drives every six months. Reason: no hot-swapping and no RAID5. For that you ha
ve to buy an extra RAID card from Apple. But that’s OK, there are plenty of backup solutions and storage is cheap these days. In fact, I’ve just ordered a used 2nd gen Drobo with Firewire. §Ok. Problem solved. Almost. After about an hour of fiddling around with Snow Leopard, I realised that the other install of El Capitan wasn’t liking it. Restarts were getting confused. Optical drives weren’t opening. Trackpad settings were haywire. Etc., etc. Again, more panic. I decided that the most important problem (RAID) was solved. I also concluded that I’ll just go back to Yosemite and decide later what OS to use. So. For the first time in all my years of using Macs, I did a restore via TimeMachine. It worked great. Smiley faces, baby. And. Enough tech porn. Rant on. -tommi

Some Seeds For Your Billions

apple profits and nobody else does

It caught my eye earlier today while reading through my feeds using the Flipboard app on my iPad. For posterity’s sake, I’ve documented the experience in the pic above. On the left is the initial link with the short summary of a BBC news article about Apple’s third quarter profits. On the right is the article as it appears after one clicks on the link. Now. Notice the picture on the left. Obviously there’s a glitch in the Flipboard app. And that’s all fine and good. But sometimes, just sometimes, even glitches can tell us a lot. In this case, even though I’ve not been able to identify what news article the pic on the left belongs to, it obviously depicts a man, most likely a farmer, holding up either two seeds or two kernels from whatever he farms. (I know. I know. It could also be crack cocaine or meth nuts. But let’s leave this worst-post to the better doings of shady characters, shall we.) I found the glitch quite amusing as I both laughed at Apple’s outrageous profits, a large portion of which sits in off-shore banks in order to protect it from taxation, and cried at the reality of what companies like Apple leave in their successful wake. Yeah. This is how we roll. A company makes more money than God and somewhere a farmer is worried if he’ll be able to water his crops in order to assist in the meek inheriting the earth. Or maybe not. Rant on. -tommi

Law Suits The New Unions?

consume hell
Some one has to work this. How ’bout you.

I covered some of this already in this post. But the links just keep coming. So let me remind you, dear worst-reader, a bit of what I wrote about before. One of the last corporate job interviews of my life was with Amazon in Germany. Talk about going out with a bang. It was the worst, most insulting job interview I ever had. And let me tell you, I’ve had quite a few job interviews in my day. I mean, being labeled a job-jumper is no small achievement. Anywho. I almost punched one of the Amazon managers that interviewed me. Luckily it didn’t come to that. But I did make sure that he knew a few Americanism before we went our separate ways. Which brings me to the fact, as an Amazon user, I could care less what the company does with its minions—all of whom deserve what they get for working for such a shit-can company. Btw. Is that a contradiction? You know, that I use the company but also hate the people that work for it? I don’t care. I hate Walmart just as well but sometimes, just sometimes, there is no getting around going in that redneck shit-hole to buy some (soy)milk or a friggin’ tooth brush or flowers that my mom wants to pot. The reality is, after all these years (30+) of #americant electing assholes to run the show, Walmart and Amazon represent the dream we’ve turned into a nightmare. Does saying that make me one of the bad guys? Bad because it’s true or bad because it’s not what worst-readers want to hear? Does it make the minions that work for these hell-businesses bad guys, too? Obviously the answer to both questions is easy. Who can blame minions? Father, forgive them, they know not what they do. Or? Which brings me to the days worst-news (see link below). Not only is it ironic that we, as consumers, can’t get around the realities of what is required of us, but it’s also ironic how workers try to organize through lawsuits that are somehow supposed to give them rights that the system they participate in, vote for, live for, took away because of pure, unadulterated ineptitude. In fact, companies like Amazon (and Walmart) are founded on the principle that workers are a commodity. You are not an employee–you are the product. Obviously workers (minions) don’t understand what that means. And so. As the future rolls over (on top of us) we enter into the new-old world order of startup companies like Uber and TaskRabbit. I mean. Seriously. Think of the minds that come up with this stuff. But that’s not even the worst of it. These startups are part of the final phase of a neoliberal economy that has nothing left to sustain it. In other words, these startups exist in a world of total and complete workforce marginalization. Which brings about even more irony. For example. The taxi business that we all know so well deserves Uber. The embedded, archaic business model of taxi services completely avoided technology—how it got away with that for so long is a mystery to me. It is only natural that Uber is a secretion of a/our rotting barrel and that it should try, somehow, to take a stand against something that 1) might have been broken but 2) could have revolutionized from within. Or? Ok. Maybe not. Actually it doesn’t matter what became of the taxi business that gave the world Checker cars and, somehow, must be replaced with Uber. The point is, the system is so screwed right now, it doesn’t matter if you come up with a new fangled idear to make a billion. There is simply nothing left in this system to take advantage of anymore. Except all of the minions who have lived their lives unable to recognize the margins. Indeed. But at least the names these entrepreneurs (boy do I hate that word) come up with are kinda cute. TaskRabbit just rolls off the tongue. And with all that in worst-mind, the only thing I think about when it comes to a future of a commoditized, marginalized workforce, driven by technology business models devoid of human effort, is children. Say what you will about the environment we’re leaving them behind or the debts they will have to pay. The real tragedy waiting in the wings is a future of not fate and now work. But what am I worst-saying here. Go on. Have yourself a cookie and maybe a glass of warm milk. While you enjoy it, close your eyes and think of those unicorns. When you open your eyes again all will be right as rain. Joyous rain. Or. Better still. Maybe Bernie Sanders can save the #americant–from itself. Yeah. Right. Rant on. -tommi

A group of drivers for the new Amazon Prime Now delivery service filed suit against the company Tuesday, alleging they were denied overtime pay, workers’ compensation and mileage reimbursements.

Source: Amazon delivery drivers sue, alleging pay violations – LA Times

It's Like The Moon Disappearing. If The Middle Class Joins It, Will You Miss It?

Not sure why I care about this. But I do. Having said that… Having grown up in the suburban hell of lower middle class #americant and now hearing academics describe (that) hell’s demise, I sit back with a dopey grin on my face and sing the lost torrent song that was once an anthem, an anthem beloved by druids, goths and subjects of Beowulf. The anthem is called Hell Yeah Bitch! I mean. Seriously. What’s with the golden pedestal a certain part of society has to be put on? Is this the only way to implement a particular political mandate in a failed democracy? It’s all (supposed to be) about the middle class? Wow. That’s pretty heavy stuff, dude. So heavy, in fact, I think I need to kneed it a bit in my brain. So. Let’s say it again and at the same time tap our ruby red slippers. The middle class. The middle class. The middle class. (Full stop.) What does it all mean, Johnny Cum Lately? Well. I’ll tell you what it means. It means nothingness. It means mean. It means uselessness. It means stupefied procreation that satisfies the needs of rotten wombs and severed manliness. It means… It means come on. Come on. Come on and ask the question. What the f’ has the middle class actually done? I’ll tell you what’s it done. It’s given the world the most vile, corrupt, greedy group of humans this planet has ever seen. The middle class is nothing more than the perpetrator of the lie of the mind that is The Dream. The grand American dream. The dream of what? Star spangled banners? Bombs bursting in air? Did it give truth through the night, you cock sucker, that your flags were still covering your naked ass as you ran away from your university brothel and pharmaceutical day job? Or should I just say that the f’n middle class gave the world consumerism? Yeah, that’s the ticket Johnny Cum Lately. Consume. That’s the middle class. In all its glory and essence. Which means, in turn, if the middle class goes away what difference will it make? Oh yeah. The middle class will do to itself what it’s also done to all the others that it walked over in order to think it was part of being, in its own way, rich. Indeed. The middle class will make a choice between working for what it created or starving. That’s exactly what it deserves. It is the middle class of the world’s greatest lie that deserves, more than anyone else on this planet, exactly what its getting. Now go vote for some dipshit who will make you feel better while you consume your coffee or hamburger or equity financed yacht with a credit card you’ll never pay off. Rant on. -tommi

You know, America was the first middle-class society. We’re about to become the first society that ceases to be a middle-class society. -Stiglitz

Source: Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz on “Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy” (Part 2) | Democracy Now!

Tech Doesn't Progress Because

apple watch v colour classic on the internet
Seriously. This is not progress. Or? Tommi trying the failed future (left) and having lived through a past that failed, too. Fail upward is the name of the game, baby.

Great article below. Love it when tech writers nail it. Also love it when they don’t. That said, it’s good thing I’m not a tech writer. Or does the tech world need worst-writer? Nomatter. Here’s the one thing to keep in mind when considering whether or not business can progress. It can’t. If it progressed then it wouldn’t be business. I mean, that’s how the world works. Right? Oh. Maybe it works differently if you’re in Silicon Valley. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Anywho. §The article I’m commenting on (see link below) addresses three things that supposedly halted progress in the tech world. And don’t you know–I disagree with them all. First. The iPhone had nothing to do with either email volume or mechanical keyboards. The keyboard of the Blackberry was gonna die with or without its virtual counterpart. Reason? Blackberry sucked. That’s why it’s where it is today. Blackberry was never going to traverse the chasm between being a tool, as in hammer & nail, pencil & paper, and being a lifestyle device that people are willing to subject their lives to. Also, the closed eco-system of the Blackberry only proves how dangerous such systems are. Closed eco-systems prove inherently that there is no change in technology (just as there is no change in business). I for one am so fed up with Apple’s mega-closed eco-system that I’ve resorted to going backwards with things like operating systems in my Apple household. Don’t get me started on the stupidity of cloud computing. The cloud, like closed eco-systems, is not progress. Things closed never progress. Yeah. Closed systems suck and that’s why Blackberry is where it deserves to be. Second. Gmail is supposed to have changed something in the email world? Are you sure ’bout that? The problem with email is that people still don’t know how to use it and most of the time it’s not even worth using. The idear that so many online companies require email addresses as a means to register something is stupid. Who came up with that! On a little side note. I actually spent a week sitting on a rock in the Alps where I tried to find both karma and inspiration that would allow me to re-invent email. That’s what email needs. (And. No. The rock sitting brought me nothing.) No email client is gonna change anything for better or worse–on or off-line. Third. Expansion slots? Really? You (author of article) believe that expansion slots have driven the popularity of Macbook Airs? Ok. Sure. Why not. But how ’bout this? People don’t care and have never cared about expansion slots. You know why? People are so sick of companies forcing them to have twenty different cables that they would gladly give up expansion slots. Also. And probably more important than cables and expansion slots, the Microsoft/Intel cabal has been the enemy since it humbled the assholes that gave us overpriced and underpowered Macintosh computers back in the 1980s–that also didn’t have very many expansion slots. Of course, it says everything about the issue of progress when, right now, you can still buy a laptop with a VGA connector. Ha. Ha. Ha. How can you even mention a device like the MacBook Air and not mention Netbooks? The MacBook Air was the answer to a world of really, really shitty sub-par laptops called Netbooks. It had nothing to do with expansion slots. And. Once technology scaled the walls of lifestyle it was only a matter of time before the software/hardware cabal that has been choking us gets its due. Which means, you can call it Windows 10 now? But the reality is, it doesn’t matter what you call it. It’s still Windows 95. It’s just shinier and more colorful! And so. Nothing but a few minor things have actually changed in the tech world–none of which are mentioned in the article. The reason? These changes did NOT come from big tech companies–including Apple. Indeed. With that in mind. Here’s an example of progress. Once I returned to Apple in late 2011–after ten years of corporate wintel machines–the thing that really shook me was being able to buy apps. As far as I was concerned bloated, behemoth software was dead. I mean, why pay for Office? I love the idear of paying a few bucks here or few bucks there for software that I can pick and choose. Now that’s a change–albeit a minor one. Still. It’s a good feeling to know that the gods of the bloated have kinda gotten theirs. My only question regarding tech progress is, when will Apple screw the pooch? Oh wait. With the AppleWatch I can see it coming already. Cause I’ve been there. (See pic above.) And so. What the author (of the article) fails to recognize is that same-old, same-old is pretty much what rules the tech world forever and ever. There is no progress–just old things that have been made shinier. Just like life. Or maybe not. Rant on. -tommi

Link that motivated this post:

The technology world talks incessantly about progress, but even with some of the best products we sacrifice great features in the name of progress. Here’s why, and some big examples.

Source: Tech’s dirtiest little secret: Sometimes we agree to go backward | ZDNet

How It Should Be Done – Visa Applications India

india visa.png

Say what you will about the trials and tribulations of the tech world. Robots steel jobs. Printers get rid of all them pretty secretaries. Email and digital documents save trees. My only worst-question is this: what was it like when humanity moved from horse & buggy to the automobile? I mean, come on. It’s not as though I really give two shakes and a hoot about the inner workings of society, humanity, or the friggin trees. Indeed, I do not, dear worst-reader. Or? All kidding’ aside. Maybe I should ask those meaning of life questions another way. How’s this? Do I really give a hoot what happens? In fact, f’ all this krapp. The only thing I ask for is that it f’n work, that it function, that it makes sure I don’t have to deal with some dimwit bureaucrat that sits at his/her desk the same way he/she sleeps at night. The tech-world has done more than provide us gadgets and online porn. Walk down the street and observe the hunched backs, the strained necks, the itchy fingers on scratchy little screens. Observe away. I could careless if everybody on this frickin’ planet ends up a junky-slave to technology. The only thing I really want is for it to just work. And since I gotta skedaddle next week to India, a place that requires them silly little visas to get in, I’m sure glad they’ve taken advantage of modern technology. I mean. Seriously. I have to get a visa every time I go scuba diving in Egypt. And since I travel there from Germania–and Europeans don’t have to get visas–I’m stuck in that long line at the other end of the gangway waiting to get my stamp and pay my fees. Which brings me to the following request–since I have to go scuba diving in Egypt in a few weeks. Come on Egypt, check out how India does it. I’m gonna go slum scuba diving in the gutters of Bangalore next week and I can get my visa to do so through some silly little webpage. Yeah, that’s how it’s done. Tech rules, baby. Rant on. -tommi

Source: Indian Visa Application

Forget Sheople. You're Really Cattle.

airplane seats
Obviously asking for cramped space like this is asking for too much.

It’s that time of year again, dear worst-reader. Travel time. Destination: India. Egypt. Ocean City, MD. All before xmas. Which reminds me of that movie Network when the guy says “We’re as mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore”? Boy was he wrong! No one is mad and everyone is gonna take it. Reason? There is nothing we can do. Well, there was something we could have done but since that boat has already sailed, this is where we’re at. I’m referring, of course, to the ramifications of thirty-plus years of heeding the call of political conservatism. Inaction, btw, is also heeding the call. I know. I know. I rant and rave about this krapp way too much. But seriously. You wanna know what ails everything? Political conservatism is what ails everything. It is that simple. I’m not talkin’ right or left or republican or democrat. I’m talking about the fact that we missed the chance to allow some hippies to run the frickin’ show. And not only that, but through the lightening bolt of Zeus, or something similar, some of those really cool hippies were turned into conservatives. (Can you say Steve Jobs?) Nomatter. At the least, political conservatism has made things very, very complex. With that in mind, how do we know that conservatism is the real problem? Again. It’s simple. Just look at how corporate #americant operates. How it’s managed? Who manages (and works for) it? How has it become part of the political process? Etc. All one has to do is look at the recent diesel emissions BS. Then there’s the too big to fail banking industry. And let’s not forget the airline industry. What a crock of krapp these “managers” are, eh! I mean, if anything represents the ills (and ails) of political conservatism and it’s negative after-effects on society, then it has to be the airline industry. What have they been doing over the years–other than consolidating into a monopoly? Cheaper fairs? Not really. Pay extra for luggage? But of course. Oh, you have to pay extra for peanuts, too. You want pepper in that tomato juice you just paid five dollars for? Those little pepper condiment bags are gonna cost someday, too.


standing seats

Now that they are making profits like never before, gotten rid of most of their rivals, what do they come up with? But of course. New & improved seating arrangements. (Sarcasm off.) The joke (for moi) is that I did some consulting work for Lufthansa once where I got the opportunity to attend a trade fair. I think it was in Frankfurt in ’97. At that fair an airline seat maker was showing off a new invention and, of course, an improved profit-maker for configuring economy class seating on an airliner. And what did they come up with? That’s right. It’s easy. You just turn sheep into cattle. Of course, that was a long time ago. I can even remember the remarks of some of the corporates around me. They were joking that upright, stand-up, vertical seating would never work on airlines because people can’t puke standing up. It will also cause dizziness and undo stress on passengers. But then there was that one corporatists who always cuts to the chase. But it will be profitable, he said. Yeah. That it will be.

Good luck suckers. Consume to survive. Rant on. -tommi

Links that motivated this post: