This Ain’t No CNN.

Crowdstrike.

In case you haven’t heard, we are experiencing what some have termed as “the worst global Internet outage in history”. It’s because of Crowdstrike, a security company used by many, many companies. They sent out a security patch to systems running Microsoft Windows yesterday, and that patch had issues. Computers that applied this patch then crash and can’t be restarted without removing said patch. The kicker is, getting the computer to a state where the patch can be removed is tricky, especially if the computer is not locally accessible by someone that knows how to do this sort of thing.

And because of this, airports and airlines and DMVs and banks and hospitals and telecoms and all sorts of businesses that run Microsoft Windows and use Crowdstrike to keep their systems secure and hurting bad today.

Apple devices (Macs, iPhones, iPads, etc) and Linux computers are not locally affected by this outage, but systems they access could be affected. Microsoft based computers on their own (not managed by Crowdstrike) are also not affected. I’m 99% sure your gaming computer is fine.

We have been dealing with Crowdstrike all day at work today and it looks like the fun and frivolity is going to continue into the weekend. Luckily, the applications my team at work supports all run on Linux based servers, outside of two legacy applications we inherited from another group during a recent re-organization at work.

I’m surprised a patch from a prominent security company made it into the wild with such a defect. Usually these things are caught well before they’re released to the public. As of this writing, Crowdstrike’s stock price is down over 11%. I’m a little surprised by that; I thought it’d be much more.

Sigh.

Judging by the number of filtered out posts marked with “SCOTUS” on my Mastodon feed, I can only assume the Supreme Court laid out some stupid, partisan, greased palm rulings again today.

As a kid I remember being in awe of the Supreme Court of the United States. They seemed like wise people who knew the law and were to be respected. Fast forward to 2024 and I realize two things: 1. They weren’t really that supreme to begin with and 2. The court now is just a bunch of paid off hacks that are doing whatever they can for monetary gain. They’re a bunch of idiots in robes. Honestly, if their stupidity and paid off rulings didn’t impact the populace I wouldn’t give them nine of them a second thought.

It’s kind of disheartening to realize that even in my mid 50s I’ll probably outlive the United States as we know it today. It’s really a shame the Democrats are too weak to do anything about it and the Republicans are gleefully taking us back to days reminiscent of the Third Reich.

I’m still voting for a large meteor. The 50 states will be nothing more than Spirit of Halloween states come November.

Debates.

I did not watch the debate last night. There’s no point in me getting worked up and expending mental energy over something as stupid as whatever happened last night. I know everything I need to know about the both of them. I can’t believe there is anyone in the country that doesn’t know what they need to know about these men. One has absolutely no moral foundation whatsoever and the other has a good moral foundation but probably can’t find it.

That’s it, that’s the choice. Any vote for a third party candidate is a vote for the worst of the two main candidates; that’s how our rigged election system works. It’s all a machine.

I miss the days of living in Chicago: “vote early and vote often”.

I would have loved to seen a debate between Pete Buttiegig and Nikki Haley. That would give me hope. But we’re stuck with the geriatric set.

Earl watched the debates last night and at the first commercial break he came downstairs where I was fiddling with one of my computers, passing the evening away with a mental break. He looked a little shaken and I asked him how the debate was going. He responded, “it’s not good”. He was visibly shaken when the whole thing mercifully came to an end 90 minutes later.

I can’t see anything but turbulent times ahead, no matter who wins in November. Couple last night’s travesty with the idiotic rulings coming out of the supreme Court (capitalization is on purpose there, folks) today and we are in for some rough times ahead.

I’m still rooting for the meteor.

And while I’m in a mood, shame on CNN for this whole stunt, zero fact checking, and then patting themselves on the back for a job well done. The only thing this debate accomplished was generating ad clicks, which was the point all along.

Project 2025.

I am generally avoiding news and posts and social media updates around political discourse during this Presidential election season. It’s not because I’m indifferent to the subject. I am very much aware of what can happen if Trump is elected to office again. No, I’m avoiding the subject online to maintain my personal sanity. My head is not in the sand; my mind is very much made up.

For those not aware, ultra conservative groups (I hesitate to call them “think tanks” and the like) have banded together to formulate a Day One plan should Trump be elected to the White House again. This plan is called “Project 2025” and it is horrifyingly alarming. Some high points:

  • Reclassify thousands of government jobs as political appointees, instead of designating them as a civil service positions. If they’re political appointees, Trump would insist they be loyal to him
  • Dismantling key governmental agencies, for example, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), because they’re “pushing the climate change agenda”
  • Other agencies on the dismantled list would include the Department of Education

I’m not a huge fan of John Oliver, but his recent coverage of “Project 2025” is enlightening. Take a few moments to watch this clip. I hope I don’t have to tell you that another Trump presidential administration would be a very bad idea.

34.

Joe Biden is far from perfect as President of the United States. Personally I’d like to see some younger candidates on the ballot, but that’s not going to happen with the political machine that runs Washington, D.C. The eldest generation is going to hang on to every ounce of power possible until their last dying breath.

That being said, choosing between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, a convicted felon where he was found guilty in 34 out of 34 charges, and with three more trials looming on the horizon, seems like a no-brainer. It’s not an awesome scenario, but when it comes to common sense, it seems like voting for the guy that isn’t a convicted felon would be the patriotic move.

But brains and common sense no longer prevail in these here United States in the 21st century. We’ve got our toe on a society reminiscent of “Idiocracy” and every day I wonder which is going to expire first, the United States as we know it today, or me.

Don’t be stupid in November.

Stepford.

I didn’t watch the State of the Union speech last night. For years these speeches have tended to not be about the state of the union but rather a drawn out, overhyped political speech full of all sorts of rhetoric and the like. Since there is little decorum in just about anything these days, the hooting and carrying on from those in attendance really rubs me the wrong way. Perhaps State of the Union is an apt description after all. We are just one page turn away from “Idiocracy”, anyway. Like humans will survive on a burning planet that long.

I’m digressing.

After the State of the Union address the other party (in this instance, the Republicans), select a representative to give their rebuttal to the points outlined during the hoopla of the SOTU speech. These responses are written well in advance of the actual speech and assumedly the person giving the response works with a coach to present themselves in an articulate, sane manner.

Apparently last night the selected winner was Senator Katie Britt from Alabama. Until last night, I’d never heard of her.

Today on social media, it’s all I’m hearing about.

I was only able to get through about two minutes of Senator Britt’s response before I shut the lid on my laptop and found something more productive to do. In those two minutes I observed the following:

  1. A string of 10 words would be accompanied by three to four emotions… choking back tears, whispering, a seed-of-chucky like hiss, and fake fire in the eys
  2. It appears Senator Britt is auditioning for a rendition of “The Sound of Music” taking place in the back of a barn. It’s easy to see she’s auditioning for the role of Reverend Mother. “What is it you can’t face?”
  3. So, even Republican Senators that happen to be a woman are suppose to be in the kitchen?
  4. Why isn’t she wearing the red and white cloak thing from “The Handmaid’s Tale?”
  5. Do women that vote for Republican really weep and moan in their kitchen over the existence of TikTok?

I don’t know what the Republicans are trying to accomplish with this train wreck but whatever it is, it can’t be good. I can’t believe anyone with the IQ higher than the tax on a Big Mac would think this was a genuine attempt at reaching out to voters. If suburban moms are falling for this shtick, we are so further screwed as a country.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This has to be the most bleak presidential election in recent history. It’s certainly the bleakest cluster I’ve seen in my lifetime, and I’ve seen the likes of Dukakis, Kerry, and Dole.

So as not to begin two paragraphs in a row with the same phrase, I’ll simply say, I’m grateful to be on the back half of my life.

Chaos.

The Doomsday Clock is once again at 90 seconds to midnight. This is the second year in a row the clock has been at this position; it is still at the closest point to “doomsday” in the history of the clock. Prior to 2023, the clock was at 100 seconds to midnight. Near the end of the Trump presidency, the clock was moved from two minutes (120 seconds) to 100 seconds to midnight. I find it somewhat interesting that the clock has moved closer to midnight and remained there during the Biden administration.

As a Gen-Xer that was constantly reminded of the threat of armageddon during the Reagan years, it still makes me quite nervous to see the Doomsday Clock so close to midnight, and things not getting better.

It’s an extreme clock setting in extreme times.

I know I’m not alone of really being tired of the constant chaos in the world. Wars, grandstanding, childish social media posts, focus on anything other than what’s important, greed, and a looming U.S. Presidential Election that will probably boil down to the “vote for the least worse of the two very old guys”.

I really want the chaos to calm down. I want to live to see the Doomsday Clock ramped to a less volatile territory.

But most importantly, I want the world to get better, not “less bad”.

OceanGate.

So yesterday I wrote a brief blog entry around the discovery of the OceanGate submersible “debris field”. The shorter version of my blog entry is this, “Stupid decisions sometimes lead to stupid results”. The whole thing is so unfortunate.

I’ve been watching the coverage of this tragedy all week and there’s a part of me that finds it a little coincidental that they found a debris field just as the figurative “countdown clock” of remaining in the air in the craft came to zero. I feel like the news media was stringing this along for ratings and I know that sounds very cynical of me. I own the cynicism.

I will say that no one “deserves to die”. I’ve read comments online around the drama; “well it’s just a bunch of billionaires” or “they knew better” or “they got what they deserve”. That’s harsh. People with money in those digit ranges can do what they want, just like someone that makes minimum wage can blow their hand off with fireworks in a couple of weeks. It’s all about personal responsibility.

Since the sub imploded I really hope they never knew what happened and they just quickly passed onto the next thing. I wouldn’t want anyone to suffer.

But I do hope OceanGate is as a company is a thing of the past.

Titan.

I’m going to keep this brief: do stupid things, sometimes end up with stupid, unfortunate results.

The dark depths of the ocean, much like the dark depths of space, are not forgiving.

Automation.

Fast food chain Wendy’s is working with Google to develop an AI chat bot that will replace a human taking your order at a drive-thru window. They plan on beginning their testing in Ohio this coming June. Here’s the article on The Verge with the details.

This is intriguing to me, though a fair sized part of me doesn’t like seeing humans lose their employment to computerized automation.

In the automation arena, I expect my job of writing code will be replaced by AI in my lifetime. One of my greatest skills as a developer is being able to use search engines like DuckDuckGo and Google to my advantage. Now that chatbots are able to write entire applications (mostly by stealing from work shared on the Internet by real developers), it’s only a matter of time before those of us that don’t write the chatbots are going to be replaced by the chatbots.

Smile to the human handing you your biggie meal. They might not be there much longer.

Graphic from The Verge.