I Love Windows 10, But Not What It Stands For

Last year, Microsoft did something strange–they started giving away their latest Operating System. This raised a lot of warning alarms for people like me. “Why would Microsoft, who has always earned most of their money through sales of Windows, suddenly be giving away their breadmaker?”

It didn’t take long to figure out why, though–Microsoft saw it as an opportunity to basically become one of the free apps on the Google Play Store, or to become like the many websites on the Internet who use trackers to collect pseudonymous data about you and sell that information to advertisers. Microsoft is no longer selling an Operating System. They are selling you. You are their new product, not Windows 10.

This is one of the few places where I adamantly disagree with Jim Sterling, whose primary rise to fame appears to have been on YouTube with the Escapist, where he needed the ad revenue in order to be paid. He even made a video respectfully asking people to disable Adblock so that they could be paid, and I refused to do it. Because I’m not a commodity.

I long ago abandoned Google Chrome, because it became the same thing. It is infested with trackers and aggregators that collect pseudonymous information about you, and then sells that information to advertisers. You and your behavior become the product, the commodity; it’s no wonder they are giving the browser away! The more people who take it, the more information Google gets, and the more money they make by selling that info to advertisers. This is how the Internet works now. This is not a conspiracy theory or a tinfoil hat rant–this is real life, and really how it works.

Microsoft has now done the same thing, but they have even more clout, even more potential to collect information, because they hold the Operating System itself. Google has not stooped this low. If Android was doing this, the Android power users would abandon it in a heartbeat, but I still use Android. Trust me. For the time being, Android isn’t aggregating information on you. Samsung and your carrier might be, but Android itself is not.

I turned back to Firefox when I abandoned the unusable mess of unnecessary features that is Google Chrome, and quickly installed NoScript, Ghostery, and Adblock Plus. I haven’t seen an ad on the Internet in more than a year. Those few ads I do see, thanks to disabling Adblock on this site or another, are not targeted toward me, because none of the trackers are able to collect information from me: Ghostery (if you download it, get version 5.4.11–v6 is a mess) prevents it. NoScript prevents JavaScript and PHP from executing unless I specifically tell them to, and my web browsing experience is totally unlike what it was two years ago. Now, I control the experience. My web browsing is fast, secure, reliable, and robust. I would highly recommend people use Firefox in combination with NoScript, Ghostery, and Adblock Plus. Even ads in Youtube videos don’t exist with Adblock Plus, which is why Jim Sterling made the video that he did.

It’s not because I’m doing anything shady or illegal that I don’t want to be tracked. It’s just that… I don’t want to be tracked. Why would I be okay with someone constantly looking over my shoulder to see what I’m typing, what my interests are? It’s like being followed by a private investigator 24/7. Fuck that.

It’s even more insidious than that, though. It’s like one company hired the private investigator to find out everything about you so that the private investigator could sell that information to advertisers. They hide under the guise of “improving your experience.”

Like Microsoft 10’s Cortana, a digital assistant that, allegedly, would make things easy for the end user. But it won’t. Like Apple’s own Siri, the information isn’t processed locally; it sends the request to Microsoft’s servers, which process the request and send the results back to you. Just like that, “what you’re searching for” is in Microsoft’s hands, and you no longer have any control over what happens to that information. It doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to see a problem with this, not when Microsoft has rejected your privacy rights in the past.

Then, they hid behind the idea that Hotmail is free, and the Terms of Use allow them to snoop email accounts. Does that sound kinda alarming? It should. Because now they’ve given you a free Operating System, and you can bet your ass that the Terms of Use allow them to snoop your activity.

I really like some of the features of Windows 10. The multiple desktops? Beautiful. I’m going to get tons of use out of that, and the same is true of Task View. Being able to right-click the Start Button to get access to all the admin/power user tools is beautiful and long overdue. No more clicking Start > Control Panel > Network & Sharing Center > Network Adapter Settings. Now it’s just right-click, Network Connections. Awesome. All of the features I need on a typical day to fix people’s computers–they’re all right there, simply by right-clicking.

I actually like the way that Metro was implemented, as well. Being able to use the categories to separate my games by type will be nice, though it will take me a while to dive into and configure that. And it’s unnecessary, since I launch most of my games through Steam anyway.

I hate that I still can’t create a shortcut to a particular folder on the taskbar, and I don’t understand why that’s such a complex thing to want. Vista allowed it, and it’s why Vista continues to be my favorite version of Windows. It started badly, primarily because it was being released on Windows XP hardware–512 MB of RAM and single-core CPUs that could never have handled it; Vista wasn’t to blame for that. Computer manufacturers were. And Microsoft, for underestimating how resource heavy Vista was.

All I want to be able to do is create a “Games” folder that contains about 20 other folders like “RPGs” and “FPSs” and “RTSs” and drag-and-drop the Games folder onto the taskbar. Then, when I want to play a game, I just have to click the icon, and it will take me right to the Games folder. But that’s impossible in Windows 7, 8, and 10. 7 used Libraries, and I had to make the Games folder a Library, and even then clicking the icon wouldn’t take me to a particular Library–it would take me to all the Libraries. 10 is about the same, except that whatever shortcut gets put there simply opens the File Explorer. Why is this simple thing impossible to accomplish now?

However, functionally, Windows 10 appears to do everything else right–I don’t have any other problems with it, and the multiple desktops (and excellent Task View) are clear improvements. The only issue is that Windows 10 doesn’t give a shit about your privacy. Because Microsoft can’t afford to care about your privacy.

Follow these guides to protect your privacy, and to tell Microsoft “I am not a commodity.”

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-configure-windows-10-to-protect-your-privacy-1716204024

http://www.cnet.com/how-to/windows-10-settings-menu-the-privacy-tab/

http://winaero.com/blog/how-to-disable-telemetry-and-data-collection-in-windows-10/   — especially this one. Be sure to restart your computer after changing the registry.

You can use Windows 10 and still protect your privacy; you can use Windows 10 while still refusing to be a commodity. I strongly suggest you do it, because the world has changed. We are now being bought and sold on a daily basis; we are the commodities of the future.

Ask yourself this question: Why would Microsoft give away an Operating System? PC users have long been accustomed to buying OSs; this isn’t mobile, where Operating Systems are expected to be free. Beyond that, what use could Windows possibly have for using geolocation? For one example, it would use that information with Microsoft’s Weather app to tell you the weather in your area. But wouldn’t someone who wants the weather use the awful, used-to-be-everywhere WeatherBug utility? Or simply google “weather <zip code>”?

Why has Microsoft, who has a long history of charging top dollar for its programs, suddenly included Mail, Calendar, People, Maps, Weather, Sports, News, TV, and all these other built-in apps that you canremove using Cccleaner, and given them away for free? Sure, there have always been a few bare essential tools–Calculator, Solitaire (which, as I hear, is no longer free), and even Outlook Express back in the day. But why these robust, seemingly-useful applications?

Because they provide an excuse to collect information about you, to sell to advertisers. And none of this data is anonymous, which is why we have the word pseudonymous now. You can be identified from this data. Researchers at MIT have proven it, and have done it. But even if you couldn’t be identified by it, why would someone be okay with having someone constantly looking over their shoulders saying, “Oh, you like football…?”

Do you really want your ads to be confined solely to things you’re interested in? Do you realize how difficult it makes it to try something new? If you’re interested in football, archery, and Game of Thrones, then you’ll see ads only related to these things (ideally–the technology isn’t that refined yet, but it will be). Maybe you’d like tennis, if only you were exposed to it. But in the future, you won’t be exposed to it unless you’ve already expressed an interest in it. Do you see how this could be a problem for society? For freedom and justice?

If you’re not interested in political matters, why would Google News suggest to you an article about how the NSA is illegally spying on us en masse? It wouldn’t. If you haven’t shown an interest in politics, then why would Google News suggest an article about Hillary and her private email server that unequivocally violated Federal Law and common sense? It wouldn’t. The information you receive becomes controlled, dictated not by the state, but by yourself. The state doesn’t have to control the media; you will bury your own head in the sand without even knowing it.

Fast forward fifty years, and you have a population that is the most ignorant to ever walk the Earth, and this is happening during the Age of Information. The sum of human knowledge is literally at our fingertips, and yet the average person is less educated than ever, compared to what is known. Facebook controls what you see–if you don’t like politics, Facebook won’t show you when your friends discuss the very important elections. Neither will Google, Microsoft, or Apple. You won’t know that we recently proved the existence of the Higgs Boson, or that we recently proved the existence of gravity waves, because you’ll never have shown an interest in learning about these things–because you never knew these things existed to be learned about, thanks to targeted advertising and these trackers.

We are blindly rushing toward this future. Despite all the connectivity we’ve invented, despite the wealth of information in the palms of our hands, and despite the countless ways we have to bring one another into our lives, we are wrapping ourselves in protective cocoons of ignorance, shutting out everyone else, and Keeping Up With the Kardashians while the world burns around us.

We must change. This is our world. This is OUR world. It’s time we took it back.

If you liked this rant, maybe you’d consider following me on Facebook, or following me on Twitter. If you really, really liked it, you may consider supporting me on Patreon–goal #1 is to migrate to www.shemalediary.com, and I am releasing a new weekly podcast series this week, so follow me on Facebook and Twitter to stay current on that! Thanks, and have a good day! 😀

 

11 thoughts on “I Love Windows 10, But Not What It Stands For

  1. You bring up a good point, that privacy with Microsoft is a joke. That is also something for me that I hate about Windows 10. It might be free, but we do pay for it with them and other companies slurping up information about ourselves that they can use to advertise products. Although I think Google by far is the worse of the lot.

    I also agree that most people are dumb as posts despite all the information they have at their fingertips. Some of it is targeted advertising, but I think some of it just being lazy. People in this fast paced information world we live in now, don’t want to take the time to investigate and find out for themselves. They just take it at face value whatever is told to them.

    Here is something you might try in regards to not being able to pin folders to the taskbar. Create a toolbar on the taskbar to the folder. I prefer that way to pinning myself. You can copy and move things to the toolbars by dragging.

    I love multiple desktops also. Also the ability to move windows around from one desktop to another. Right clicking on the start menu is great. Although it would be nice if I could customize what I see there. To have things there that I do use all the time.

    I dislike live tiles. To me most of the time they are just really big icons. Which are only really helpful when I forget to put my glasses on in the morning. Most of the apps in Windows store are worthless in my opinion. What is with having some of the settings for the computer in the Settings app and some in the Control Panel?

    But overall I am like you, there is a lot of things about Windows 10 that I can love it except for the fact that it is just way to invade my privacy just to sell me things. Although compared to Windows 8, anything after that would be something to love.

    • I did actually end up doing that with the Games folder, but I still don’t like that I can only have one–it’d be really great to be able to have Games, my Documents folder, and a few others there. I’m also pretty disappointed that there’s no Search feature for Start >> All Apps, because this Windows installation is about a year and a half old–I’ve got a lot of stuff installed. Scrolling down to ‘p’ to find Paint.NET is stupid, when I should be able to just type a letter ‘p.’

      I didn’t realize that until you pointed it out, but yeah… the Live Tiles are really just bigger icons, aren’t they? I guess if I had any intention of using Windows Apps like Flipboard (I used to really like Flipboard on Android, but they added WAY too many news categories, and I don’t ever have 2 hours to set up all my interests in a freaking news app), they could be cool since they’d update automatically, but among the first things I did was remove all the icons that were there and instead add my own–all of which are just static shortcuts. It makes it marginally easier to find programs and things that I use often, and it’s helpful that the icons are larger since I use my television as my monitor and sit like 15 feet away. But it’s still nothing that couldn’t have been done on my desktop by changing to Extra Large Icons or even Large Icons. I almost used Ccleaner to just remove the Windows Store as a whole, but decided against it at the last minute.

      That’s actually a messy issue at the moment in PC gaming, because Microsoft wants to take another crack at Games For Windows, except they want this to be compulsory–which would be bad, since they hold the keys to the Operating System. I’d be surprised if it doesn’t violate an anti-trust law, but they’re doing it, so I guess it doesn’t. They see all the money that Valve/Steam is making, and they’ve said, “But we have the entire operating system! We can do this way better!” In addition to how this would give Microsoft direct control over what games are and aren’t available on PC (which… would be bad), they want to control what display settings are available, prevent mods/addons from being installed, and other things of that nature–all in the name of linking PC and Xbox One together to keep their failing hardware alive when it was slain by their draconian policies… draconian policies exactly like this new stunt of theirs. Luckily, it’s not an issue. PC has never been, and will never be, a closed platform. That runs counter to PC at its very core. Still. Microsoft has shown themselves to be dangerously out of touch with what people want. :/

    • And I just now remembered how I added the Games folder to the toolbar in the first place. You CAN have multiple folders down there. It looks kinda sloppy (surely there’s a better way, Microsoft?), but it functions.

  2. AND WHY DO I STILL HAVE TO GO INTO THE REGISTRY TO CHANGE SHOWMENUDELAY TO 0? Why is that still, 15 years after Windows XP basically *needed* it to function smoothly, required? ARGH.

    And though the delay is only set at 400ms, if I have to navigate to F:Game FilesEmulatorsNESJNESSavestates, then that’s more than 2 seconds of waiting. Add that up over a year, and it’s easily 10-15 minutes, just waiting on Windows because of an artificially imposed delay.

    • Well as far as searching All Apps (I hate how they call software apps now :P), you might want to check to make sure Start Menu is listed in the Indexing Options in the Control Panel. I have no problems with clicking the Windows Icon and then typing what I want and the program shows up. I can do that without having Cortona turned on. Although there are times when the search seems to be on a coffee break and I have to go through All Apps to find the program I want.

      Live Tiles are great as static icons on my Windows 10 Tablet. Easier there to tap on the Windows icon and then tap on the live tile instead of trying to scroll or search through All Apps using my stylus. But like you said on a desktop with a big monitor, then they don’t make sense since you could make the icons bigger without live tiles. All they really achieved with live tiles is to allow the Start Menu to grow horizontally and vertically. Which is a step up from the old days when the Start Menu just grew vertically. But it makes a better marketing pitch to call it live tiles instead of saying “We finally figured out that allowing the Start Menu to grow horizontally would be awesome in some cases”

      I don’t have much experience with the games side. But that is what it boils down to is Microsoft trying to keep their X-Box platform going. They may not be able to make it compulsory, but they may make that people go with it because it is part of the operating system from the start. From there alternatives will start dying off until all there is left is the X-Box. Just like they tried to do with Internet Explorer in the early days of Windows.

      • I completely disabled Cortana, though, which breaks that feature, evidently. I didn’t realize that when I disabled Cortana, though. It’s also more difficult than it needs to be to… disable Cortana… since it requires killing the task and renaming the folder in quick succession, before the process can restart itself. Thanks, Microsoft. And thanks for tying my desktop search to your spyware. >.<

        • Completely disabling Cortana like that does kill the desktop search. You can disable spyware portion of Cortana (i.e. the part that sends information to the cloud) and keep the part of Cortana that does do desktop search and allows you to search the Start Menu. Thank you Microsoft for bundling things together like that and calling them the same name to add to the confusion. Be nicer if they kept the name desktop search for portion that indexes a computer and keeps the results locally. Use the name Cortana for the part that uses the results of the desktop search, along with web search and sends information to Microsoft.

      • I can’t for the life of me figure out why Windows 10 contains both Internet Explorer and Edge, or what in the world the difference is between them. They look identical to me. I can’t remember the last time Internet Explorer was my default browser. I guess when I was in high school, the tenth grade. That would have been IE6, I believe, since it was Windows XP.

        • Well Microsoft Edge doesn’t use ActiveX or any other plugin technology while IE does. Microsoft Edge syncs your bookmarks to the cloud so you can have your bookmarks anywhere your logged in with your Microsoft account while IE does with something like X-Marks. Microsoft Edge is a new browser that has no ties with IE. Edge is a work in process and therefore will not work with all websites, so IE is there when Edge fails. Too bad that Microsoft crippled IE to discourage people from using it, because it sucks when Edge fails to render a site. So if you have a web browser that is not complete alongside a web browser that could work if it wasn’t so slow then alternative is using Firefox.

    • That is a good point. Just one of those things that no one bothered to look because it doesn’t make a good marketing bullet to sell Windows. I could see it now “Hey upgrade to Windows 10 because we finally set the default for menus to show up to something more acceptable”. While we are at it. Why did Microsoft think releasing an incomplete browser called Microsoft Edge would be a good thing? What are they trying to do convince people that they shouldn’t use the built in web browser?

      We could go on for days ranting and raving about Windows 10 and Microsoft 😛 LOL

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