Open letter to Microsoft

Dear people at Microsoft,

Last year I rebuilt my desktop PC. Made sure it was all compatible, stable, reliable and tested new hardware. My previous Desktop PC had Win7 x64 and Linux Debain dual-booting. So at first I installed Linux on my new hardware, and ran a lot of Windows apps through wine and virtual options, but they still left a lot to be desired. I love debian for servers, would never do without it, but linux on desktop still does not entirely do it for me, I miss certain tiny tools and software, my USB-audio interface (Lynx Hilo) didn’t function to its full extent, and performance differences are still very much apparent in some libraries and drivers (that is to say; Working natively in Windows they perform a lot faster).
So I decided to install Windows 10 to dual-boot next to Debian. Install for that went fine. I decided to try and find out if I could actually like Windows 10, I used it on my super-fast desktop hardware for 3 weeks continuously (after killing all the snooping and stuff I didn’t like it doing behind my back), but it gave me so many blue-screens (I’ve photographed all of them, 26 different types, during those 3 weeks), and the start-menu kept disappearing (I found online that this was really common behavior), and I have no use whatsoever for this cloud-app engine called cortana, or the metro layout it offers. Why would I want another way to Rome? I know exactly what I need on my desktop, and it’s not available in the Windows 10 ‘App Store’. Plus, Windows 10 even decided to switch my computer ON out of nowhere. That was somewhat scary, it booted up to update the Intel Management Engine I never was prompted about in the first place. Apparently I had given it permission to meddle with BIOS? Many drivers weren’t even stable in 10 yet, like the Nvidia ones. Seemed to me even big brands (like NVidia) weren’t so happy with Windows 10 either. My attempt to use Win10 started to look like an enormous failure. After too many annoying crashes, where it actually LOST data for me, I decided to give up and install my trusted Windows 7 Pro x64 again (for which I bought a license ages ago, as a reward to the developers for a properly functioning desktop OS).
The *only* reason for me to try Windows 10 to begin with was the marginally better support for Skylake (and newer) CPUs, but since my desktop’s CPU is a generation 6 Intel Core i7 it’s fully compatible and happy with Win7 now. Hasn’t crashed once yet. Last but not least the network stack is faster and more configurable than the one in Windows 10 (if you can even reach the options, I had to enable all kinds of ‘classic’ Windows features before I could).
I can’t help but think it’s as if you’ve given the advanced computer users the middle finger;
“Fuck you advanced users, join the stupid majority why don’t you? That way we can advertise to and track you! You’ll get used to it!”
I now still have Win7 dual boot with Linux, but there’s a lot of tools and drivers that only exist for Windows, so I tend to live in the Windows desktop environment most of the time. MobaXTerm, Cmder, TotalCommander, StableBit DrivePool and DxO PhotoLab (and many others) I can’t do without, and they work best as native Windows apps.

So, dear people at MicroSoft;
Why would you want to entirely throw out a system that obviously works just fine for millions? I don’t get it. You should have just upgraded the core of Windows 7 x64, without messing with the UI, without adding ‘features’ nobody really needs. Can you please update Windows 7, leave it as is where possible, maybe add the best parts and tools of Windows 10 without interfering with the UI and then release that as a new *stable* OS, fully compatible with *all* software that currently runs on Windows 7 Pro x64, fully compatible with newer hardware? With your financial backing; How hard can that be?

Is it really too much to ask to offer a Win7 x64 Pro SP2 iso with native NVMe USB3.x support, so it can be installed on newer boards? Pretty pathetic that you left all those innocent users to work with a complicated dism mess to go through before being able to install winodws.

Thanks in advance.

It’s either that or goodbye Microsoft for good.

Safeguarding my critical sensitive data

For many computer savy users this is the eternal quest, with no end in sight looking into the (uncertain) future of computing power. It has to be somewhat user-friendly (easy, fast, few clicks to get results), but it also has to be unbreakable, preferably even for the idiots at the NSA, and even when quantum computing power hits mainstream. For my daily use this meant that I went from using TrueCrypt volumes (for a long time) to using VeraCrypt volumes (not so long), to now using ProxyCrypt volumes. ProxyCrypt may not be the most user-friendly of them all (although you could argue that it is, since you can script everything you ever need to do with it, unlike with most other software), but it sure is the fastest because it supports scrypt. ProxyCrypt works as a proxy for the ImDisk Virtual Disk Driver too, meaning you get to have read/write speeds emulating those for a RAM disk, if your processor is fast enough. CPU power and free RAM aren’t much of an issue for me anymore. Using DDR memory as a proxy for physical storage has become a mainstay for me recently, saving my SSD/nvme/nand/flash storage media from a few write-cycles so they last a lot longer than they normally would. For that I use SoftPerfect RAM Disk, which is one of the fastest around. I have tested and tried most known RAMdisk options for Windows, that one has a decent UI, and is really smooth at recreating RAMdisk at boot;
crystaldiskmark 100MB testing speed of RAM disk
These are speeds unheard of for the average SSD even, so you really notice that when you put your Mozilla profiles on them for example.
crystaldiskmark 1GB testing speed of RAM disk
Last but not least I don’t want 1 point of failure to store these volumes or images (that swap from and to RAM) on, so I use CoveCube’s StableBit DrivePool to make storing volumes or images really redundant, something I can rely on. The people of CoveCube are my heroes, since they provided me with a free license just because I promoted them once on twitter.

update october 2019
Did some bench-tests on my main in-use desktop PC. The RAMdisk tests (left 2 columns) show slower speeds than the ones I did last year because the same RAM is running at a lower speed now (no overclocking/pushing it), which I decided to do after experiencing lower stability with some IO-heavy RAM-heavy software;

Obviously the latest ImDisk version now beats SoftPerfect for RAMdisk writes, but only with files bigger than ~12 kilobytes, so if that’s your target usage; It’s free! A bit hard to config for intermediate automated disk-backups of the volatile RAM-storage though. Its UI is not very user-friendly, as opposed to that of SoftPerfect. And I recommend using a UPS, if even a small one, for the shit event of a power outage. Gives yourself time to write the RAMdisk to permanent storage.
Quite disappointing is the score for the latest NVMe M.2 I bought (PatriotMemory’s Viper VPN100 1TB), it’s barely faster than Samsung’s 960 Pro. Did not expect that.


^ ImDisk RAM-disk (Version 20190924)


^ SoftPerfect RAM-disk (Version 4.0.8 x64)

For now my RAMdisk software-maker of choice still remains SoftPerfect, but only because I’m too lazy to arrange the write-RAM-to-disk-at-x-interval scripting for ImDisk. They should post their code onto github, the core is blazing fast, but its UI can really use some improvement. Many of the RAM-disk apps I’ve tried have trouble dealing with the order to handle things at boot-time. Some allow using the RAMdisk for system temporary storage ( %SystemRoot%\TEMP ) but that’s not working if Windows does not see it at boottime. I’m tempted to switch to ImDisk, because Softperfect now wants me to pay for updates. Hate when people do that.

Should have taken warning..

Few seem to realize how much our survival is at stake. If a 76% decline of insects was observed in 27 years in German nature reserves, the ‘decline‘ would reach 100% in 36 years (conservatively, ignoring ecosystem collapse feedbacks). Meaning *all* flying insects in these nature reserves could be gone by 2027. Oh, and plants are in decline too. These are all assuming linear decline rates, while all we observe is exponential rates of change. That‘s not good.

If 60 percent of the world’s fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles have disappeared in the last 45 years, wouldn’t the remaining 40% also disappear in the coming 30 years? We’re not significantly changing that course of events, are we? And wouldn’t we, humans, then be part of those remaining 40%? If not: What bees do we expect pollinate our crops? Are we going to create sufficient artificial biospheres in time for it to actually function as a stable fake-earth, a replacement habitat? Do we know enough to get the details right? Where are we getting the resources and funding for that? Who gets to go inside that fake-earth when wet-bulb temperatures or radiation levels become too high? We can’t shut down all our nuclear facilities in time for it not to cause extinction level dosages worldwide, can we? There’s no miracle cure for thyroid cancer, or protection of the water-column against cesium-137 and iodine-131.

Maybe I’m overreacting, maybe I’ve “flipped a bit”, as they say in IT. But I keep evaluating this possibility and keep coming back to the fundamental and quantitatively convincing case:
We have built a life of growth and prosperity based on finite (and soon-to-max-out) resources with no equal replacement in sight. This is uncharted territory, and the fact that generations have experienced the fossil-fueled upswing holds no predictive power over our future. Just because growth has been thematic does not mean it will always be there. The failure of most people to treat this possibility seriously is disheartening, because it prevents meaningful planning for a different future. We can all hope for new technologies to help us. But this problem is too big to rely on hope alone, and in any case, no practical technology can keep growth going indefinitely.
In my lifetime human population has more than doubled, from 3.5 billion when I was born to 7.7 billion now. Yet during the same time more than 300 billion trees have disappeared and not been replenished/replaced.
Research by Thomas Crowther et al concluded that earth loses 15 billion trees each year, while only 5 billion new trees are gained, a net loss of 10 billion trees per year. Of which the vast majority is intentional (by humans). That means over 1.1 million trees are disappearing from earth every hour, 24/7/365. Tree cover is an enormous influence on surface temperature and moisture content. Very sensitive to becoming feedback loops in changing climates; Trees can’t migrate at the observed speeds of change, each migratory process is either coincidence, man-made or by evolutionary drivers (mutant trees). Trees go down sooner when soil is drier or wetter, when winds are stronger, when extreme temperatures make them less resistant to disease, older trees now die younger reducing leaf-count, and there’s a growing number of wildfires. CO2 intake is highly impacted by all of them, and they are -obviously- feedback loops. What’s more, the water that an average grown tree transpires daily has a cooling effect equivalent to two domestic air conditioners set to “freeze” mode.
That’s just not going to be sustainable in any way, it’s a recipe for disaster.


Will the skies indeed turn red because of bulk methane releases from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf? See this educational article explaining why: https://www.orionsarm.com/xcms.php?r=oa-page&page=gen_skyonalienworlds

“If you think this is all a tad extreme, the man who led the work, Professor Gerardo Ceballos from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, wrote: The situation has become so bad it would not be ethical not to use strong language.

To end this post, I’ll quote from an interview Nick Breeze had with Dr. Natalia Shakhova, one of the few humans on the planet ‘in the know’:

How can the changes observed more recently in a three decade period be conclusive?
Dr. Shakhova: For the permafrost, three decades is not a huge period of time, because the processes, the consequences of which we are studying right now and have to deal with, started long long ago. This was triggered by natural warming associated with replacement of the cold climate epoch with the warm interglacial period and followed by permafrost inundation by sea water. Scientists agree that submerged permafrost would eventually start degrading, but how soon and at what pace this degradation would occur became the major point of disagreement between them.
It was suggested by some scientists that subsea permafrost would keep its integrity for millennia, which means that in the areas submerged less than 1000 years ago (as we investigated in our study) it should not have occurred yet. Our study proved that not only has it already occurred, but it has been progressing to higher rates, which have almost doubled since this degradation started.
It is most likely that we are now dealing with the consequences of when natural warming is enhanced with anthropogenic warming and together they are accelerating the pace of natural processes. This appears to be continuing the processes of permafrost degradation at levels that we have never observed before.
(updated august 2018)