Flags, and what they mean.

If you fly this flag…

Nazism Flag German ww2 nazi - 5 x 3 flag

Or many of its numerous variants, that means you are a Nazi and support war criminals.

If you fly this flag…

Apple Pulls All Games Featuring Confederate Flag From App Store ...

It means you are a traitor and a rebel.

If you must profess your German roots, may I suggest this flag…

German Flag Icon Images & Pictures - Becuo

Or, you know, you could just use the colors of the country you proclaim to love with all your heart while you fly a foreign flag and a defeated nations flag. I give you…Old Glory.

american flag | My photo

Because of you people, however, I’m soon going to trade Old Glory in for

Season Canuck: Canadian Flag day

At least until WW3 ends, assuming the Earth survives it.

So. To summarize. There are five flags on this page. Two symbolize hatred. Two symbolize defeat. Three symbolize liberty and democracy. And the two the Alt-Right love…are not any of those three. :3

Google! Versus! Damore! Round 1! Ready?! GO!!!!

So. If you’ve been paying attention to the news recently, you know about a guy who wrote a 10 page paper on why Google isn’t diverse and enforcing diversity is wrong. You might even have an opinion on it. But there’s a non-zero chance that you haven’t read the thing. So! Here I am, to rectify that, and add my own comments.

Reply to public response and misrepresentation

I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes. When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions. If we can’t have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem. Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance, but unfortunately our culture of shaming and misrepresentation is disrespectful and unaccepting of anyone outside its echo chamber. Despite what the public response seems to have been, I’ve gotten many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude for bringing up these very important issues which they agree with but would never have the courage to say or defend because of our shaming culture and the possibility of being fired. This needs to change.
TL:DR

  • Google’s political bias has equated the freedom from offense with psychological safety, but shaming into silence is the antithesis of psychological safety.
  • This silencing has created an ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed.
  • The lack of discussion fosters the most extreme and authoritarian elements of this ideology.
  • Extreme: all disparities in representation are due to oppression
  • Authoritarian: we should discriminate to correct for this oppression
  • Differences in distributions of traits between men and women may in part explain why we don’t have 50% representation of women in tech and leadership. Discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business.

First, you should put the TL;DR at the end of the screed, or at the very beginning, and clearly mark where the TL;DR ends and the document begins. Otherwise it gets a bit confusing.

Second: Some behaviors deserve scorn and ostracism. If you don’t want to be treated like a Nazi, don’t act like one, otherwise, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Echo chambers are dangerous, however. Perhaps your document could have been used as a discussion point about how, indeed, biases do exist and they hold people back unfairly.

Background [1]

People generally have good intentions, but we all have biases which are invisible to

I strongly, strongly disagree here. People generally do not have good intentions. They are generally selfish and uncaring, and are only kind and compassionate when guided to be so, or when they think they can benefit from being kind. Altruism is a rare motivation in Human society. More often, what seems to be altruism is a ‘scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.’ There are exceptions to the rule, but in general, the above observations, at least in my circle, seem to hold true.

us. Thankfully, open and honest discussion with those who disagree can highlight our blind spots and help us grow, which is why I wrote this document.[2] Google has several biases and honest discussion about these biases is being silenced by the dominant ideology. What follows is by no means the complete story, but it’s a perspective that desperately needs to be told at Google.
Google’s biases

At Google, we talk so much about unconscious bias as it applies to race and gender, but we rarely discuss our moral biases. Political orientation is actually a result of deep moral preferences and thus biases. Considering that the overwhelming majority of the social sciences, media, and Google lean left, we should critically examine these prejudices.

Ya had to go make it political, didn’t you? Well, best to get it out of the way early!

Left Biases

  • Compassion for the weak
  • Disparities are due to injustices
  • Humans are inherently cooperative
  • Change is good (unstable)

And this a load of bullshit. How about: Change is inevitable. Those who anticipate it can blunt the pain against those who aren’t so good for anticipating it.

  • Open
  • Idealist

Overall, a rather biased observation of what motivates the left, with a value judgement (“unstable”) as well. I agree about compassion, but the rest of this is the Left viewed through a Right-wing lens. Let’s continue.

Right Biases

Respect for the strong/authority
Disparities are natural and just
Humans are inherently competitive
Change is dangerous (stable)
Closed
Pragmatic

And the Right view is pretty favorable compared to the Left, down to the value judgment of “stable”. Change is dangerous, but avoiding change doesn’t lead to stability. It leads to stagnation. Both the Left and the Right are viewed through simplistic lenses. I could go into the merits of Left vs. Right and what defines the Left and the Right, but I’ll leave it at this.

Neither side is 100% correct and both viewpoints are necessary for a functioning society or, in this case, company. A company too far to the right may be slow to react, overly hierarchical, and untrusting of others. In contrast, a company too far to the left will constantly be changing (deprecating much loved services), over diversify its interests (ignoring or being ashamed of its core business), and overly trust its employees and competitors.

Seriously, it’s like in your little world, there’s Left, and there’s Right, but there’s no Center. This is bullshit. Google doesn’t overly trust its employees or competitors, and you work in IT, where change is as close as Moore’s Law. Your failure to grasp this is reason enough for letting you go.

Only facts and reason can shed light on these biases, but when it comes to diversity and inclusion, Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence.

Oh, poor, pitiful you, told you can’t be a douchecanoe on company time or on company resources. It’s almost like you set this up so you could become a Martyr for the Alt-Right or something.

Google isn’t telling you you can’t discuss things on your private time. They’re merely saying that when you act as an agent for the company, don’t do things that will get them on the evening news. You know, things like a 10 page screed on how unfair liberals are and how women should just suck it up and accept they’ll be second class citizens? Because biology?

This silence removes any checks against encroaching extremist and authoritarian policies. For the rest of this document, I’ll concentrate on the extreme stance that all differences in outcome are due to differential treatment and the authoritarian element that’s required to actually discriminate to create equal representation.

This old screed is getting tired, honestly. But at least after a page and a half of rambling nonsense about how unfair the Left is, we’re to your thesis statement. You’re an Engineer at Google, who’s probably gone to the best schools, written your fair share of term papers, and knows how to do this, right? Well, my first literary critique of your screed is your thesis statement is weak. Show. Don’t tell. But a paper can survive a weak thesis statement with a well reasoned argument. Let’s see what you got!

Possible non-bias causes of the gender gap in tech [3]

At Google, we’re regularly told that implicit (unconscious) and explicit biases are holding women back in tech and leadership. Of course, men and women experience bias, tech, and the workplace differently and we should be cognizant of this, but it’s far from the whole story.

So far, still weak.

On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways. These differences aren’t just socially constructed because:

  • They’re universal across human cultures
  • They often have clear biological causes and links to prenatal testosterone
  • Biological males that were castrated at birth and raised as females often still identify and act like males
  • The underlying traits are highly heritable
  • They’re exactly what we would predict from an evolutionary psychology perspective

Note, I’m not saying that all men differ from women in the following ways or that these differences are “just.” I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership. Many of these differences are small and there’s significant overlap between men and women, so you can’t say anything about an individual given these population level distributions.

[Citation Required]. Seriously. You’re three paragraphs in, with a bullet pointed list, and not one damn citation. So, we’re just to accept this because you say it’s true? First thing you learn in freshman composition is that without proof, your ideas are worthless. Let’s pick them apart point by point.

  1. No. Your cultural norms are not universal across human cultures. Here’s some examples.
    1. In Japan, women are responsible for everything from the family finances through juggling a very hectic schedule for children. If you think this is an easy task, try taking over the chores of shuttling your nieces and nephews around (because I can’t believe you have kids), or in the very, very unlikely chance you are a father, take over the kid management duty for a week.
    2. Ancient Egypt had a hefty respect for women, including women emperors/pharoahs, the right to borrow money and sign contracts, bring lawsuits, and a whole host of other, ‘progressive’ rights we’d recognize as women’s desires today. While there were some limits to what an ancient Egyptian woman could do, they did have strong representation in the broader economy. Given the amount of physical labor that went down in that economy, it’s actually more surprising.
    3. Paleolithic cultures showed far more egalitarian gender roles than in modern society, with males and females to this day contributing equally to societies.
    4. Even studies of bonobos vs common chimpanzees shows how both an egalitarian society can function and how patriarchal societies function (and are more violent! I’d prefer a bonobo society to a chimpanzee society).
  2. I’m interested in your links to this. Specifically, how does prenatal testosterone influence a girl’s ability to do math. But you know what DOES impact a girl’s ability to do math? The The preconceived notion that women are no good at math. In fact, it’s very hard to get good at math when, even though you’re doing everything right and coming up with the right answer, your teachers score you poorly because of what you don’t have in your pants.
  3. Transgender men and women both would like to have a word with you about your total failure to grasp the concept that a person doesn’t feel like their body matches their mind. While they’re at it, maybe they can point out that it doesn’t matter, again, whether or not you have a penis (or were born with one and don’t have one any more, or didn’t have one at birth and have one now) on how well you can program a computer, or solve a math problem.
  4. Sure, traits are inheritable, which means that if your parents are dim bulbs, you’re likely to be dim too. But….again. Girls are better at math than boys when not scored through the lenses of gender bias. Doesn’t mean boys shouldn’t be in Math, of course, because if boys can do it with an unfair leg up, then boys should be allowed to do it. But…no. Math ability is not a Y-linked genetic trait. :3
  5. Evolutionary Psychology? So in addition to being a software developer, you’re an evolutionary psychologist as well?! BS. The studies supporting this are BS as well, cooked up by male supremacists trying to protect their power. Unbiased studies show that men and women both handle modern roles extremely well, which means that men and women should have equal shots at your job.

I hope that a woman wins your job, and does it so well that Google never regrets having let you go.

Personality differences

Women, on average, have more:

  • Openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas. Women generally also have a stronger interest in people rather than things, relative to men (also interpreted as empathizing vs. systemizing).
    These two differences in part explain why women relatively prefer jobs in social or artistic areas. More men may like coding because it requires systemizing and even within SWEs, comparatively more women work on front end, which deals with both people and aesthetics.
  • Extraversion expressed as gregariousness rather than assertiveness. Also, higher agreeableness.
    This leads to women generally having a harder time negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up, and leading. Note that these are just average differences and there’s overlap between men and women, but this is seen solely as a women’s issue. This leads to exclusory programs like Stretch and swaths of men without support.
  • Neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance).This may contribute to the higher levels of anxiety women report on Googlegeist and to the lower number of women in high stress jobs.

Note that contrary to what a social constructionist would argue, research suggests that “greater nation-level gender equality leads to psychological dissimilarity in men’s and women’s personality traits.” Because as “society becomes more prosperous and more egalitarian, innate dispositional differences between men and women have more space to develop and the gap that exists between men and women in their personality becomes wider.” We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism.

Pure, unmitigated bullshit. And what do you know. As citation free as the rest of your BS. Let’s look deeper at this though.

“Openness towards feelings and aesthetics vs. ideas.” Seriously, dude? 1) Do you know who the first coders were? Here’s a hint. ADA, a programming language you might be familiar with, was named for a name you should be familiar with — Ada Lovelace. Why do I mention her? Because she was the first damn computer programmer in the fucking world, that’s why! Without her, and the field she created, you wouldn’t be doing your work today. And you know what?

She recognized something Babbage himself didn’t recognize. His device, which he thought would just be a glorified calculator, could be extended beyond simple calculations. She didn’t have a professor teaching her how to write code, or a book with instructions on programming languages to work with. She sure didn’t have the Internet to work with. All she had was her own head, filled with….wait for it.

WAIT FOR IT…

IDEAS. You know, pure logical thought. “How can I take this thing and make it more useful.” Don’t you feel like an ass when you realize your entire FUCKING FIELD was started by a woman, who did something you accuse women of not being able to do.

And it gets even better. You see, until the 1970s, programming was a woman’s occupation. You see, back before the glitz of computers was real, and computers were giant machines hidden in the basement of buildings, no one wanted the drudgery needed to program the things. So, the job fell to women, as the job of mathematics did before. In fact, ‘computer’ used to be an occupation — a job where a woman would sit down with a spreadsheet and pencils and painstakingly work through calculations. Men got to play with the hardware, but didn’t want to do the drudgery of the calculations, so women took the ‘busywork’, and in that, were the first modern programmers. Jean Bartik, a calculator who had done computational work for artillery, got her first software developer job writing for none other than ENIAC. She and many other women who got their BS in Mathematics, came to the service of their country to first write up artillery tables, and then program that into a computer so it would do those calculations, and like Baroness Lovelace, realized that they could do far more with computers.

You probably dismissed the movie Hidden Figures, but know that that movie is more documentary than entertainment, and yes, a black woman DID run from building to building doing the math that put John Glenn into space.

Segwaying into personal opinion for a moment here, dude? I want to take a trip out to Hampton, Virginia, to give that woman a hearty handshake and a heartfelt thanks for everything she has done for math, science, and engineering. That woman is a hero. You? Not so much. BUT LET’S MOVE ON!

Men’s higher drive for status

We always ask why we don’t see women in top leadership positions, but we never ask why we see so many men in these jobs. These positions often require long, stressful hours that may not be worth it if you want a balanced and fulfilling life.

Status is the primary metric that men are judged on[4], pushing many men into these higher paying, less satisfying jobs for the status that they entail. Note, the same forces that lead men into high pay/high stress jobs in tech and leadership cause men to take undesirable and dangerous jobs like coal mining, garbage collection, and firefighting, and suffer 93% of work-related deaths.

Non-sequitur. The reason men do dangerous jobs like coal-mining and garbage collection is that strength is useful in those professions. The only reason why men outnumber women today can be found in my link above. You only bring this up because you know your argument is weak.

Non-discriminatory ways to reduce the gender gap

Below I’ll go over some of the differences in distribution of traits between men and women that I outlined in the previous section and suggest ways to address them to increase women’s representation in tech and without resorting to discrimination. Google is already making strides in many of these areas, but I think it’s still instructive to list them:

  • Women on average show a higher interest in people and men in things
    We can make software engineering more people-oriented with pair programming and more collaboration. Unfortunately, there may be limits to how people-oriented certain roles and Google can be and we shouldn’t deceive ourselves or students into thinking otherwise (some of our programs to get female students into coding might be doing this).
  • Women on average are more cooperative
    Allow those exhibiting cooperative behavior to thrive. Recent updates to Perf may be doing this to an extent, but maybe there’s more we can do. This doesn’t mean that we should remove all competitiveness from Google. Competitiveness and self reliance can be valuable traits and we shouldn’t necessarily disadvantage those that have them, like what’s been done in education.
  • Women on average are more prone to anxiety. Make tech and leadership less stressful. Google already partly does this with its many stress reduction courses and benefits.
  • Women on average look for more work-life balance while men have a higher drive for status on average
    Unfortunately, as long as tech and leadership remain high status, lucrative careers, men may disproportionately want to be in them. Allowing and truly endorsing (as part of our culture) part time work though can keep more women in tech.
  • The male gender role is currently inflexible
    Feminism has made great progress in freeing women from the female gender role, but men are still very much tied to the male gender role. If we, as a society, allow men to be more “feminine,” then the gender gap will shrink, although probably because men will leave tech and leadership for traditionally feminine roles.

Bullshit abounds here.

Women are as diverse in their interests as men are, and while they are definitely more cooperative than competitive, they see the appeal of a sexy computer as much as any man does (my wife is a good example of that!). As for stress responses? Men and women do not have a better or worse approach. They have different, but still quite effective responses to stress. Men give in to the Fight or Flight instinct, which prepares them for combat. Their cortisol and epinephrine levels spike, and they gear up for a competitive drive, or simply lock down their emotions and wait until it passes. Women have a similar response, but the addition of a third hormone, oxytocin, causes them to engage an alternative stress reflex, one in which they start coordinating and befriending. Here’s a secret. To achieve your goals, you need _both_. And you don’t need stupid politics to understand that!

Philosophically, I don’t think we should do arbitrary social engineering of tech just to make it appealing to equal portions of both men and women. For each of these changes, we need principles reasons for why it helps Google; that is, we should be optimizing for Google—with Google’s diversity being a component of that. For example currently those trying to work extra hours or take extra stress will inevitably get ahead and if we try to change that too much, it may have disastrous consequences. Also, when considering the costs and benefits, we should keep in mind that Google’s funding is finite so its allocation is more zero-sum than is generally acknowledged.

The Harm of Google’s biases

I strongly believe in gender and racial diversity, and I think we should strive for more. However, to achieve a more equal gender and race representation, Google has created several discriminatory practices:

Programs, mentoring, and classes only for people with a certain gender or race [5]
A high priority queue and special treatment for “diversity” candidates
Hiring practices which can effectively lower the bar for “diversity” candidates by decreasing the false negative rate
Reconsidering any set of people if it’s not “diverse” enough, but not showing that same scrutiny in the reverse direction (clear confirmation bias)
Setting org level OKRs for increased representation which can incentivize illegal discrimination [6]

These practices are based on false assumptions generated by our biases and can actually increase race and gender tensions. We’re told by senior leadership that what we’re doing is both the morally and economically correct thing to do, but without evidence this is just veiled left ideology[7] that can irreparably harm Google.

I always know that when I see someone referencing ‘left ideology’ as a harm, it’s because they want to be an asshole, and fear that their livelihood is threatened by some unfair protection against assholish behavior. I’m also certain that this guy will end up screaming martyr over this. It’s so fucking transparent.

Why we’re blind

We all have biases and use motivated reasoning to dismiss ideas that run counter to our internal values. Just as some on the Right deny science that runs counter to the “God > humans > environment” hierarchy (e.g., evolution and climate change) the Left tends to deny science concerning biological differences between people (e.g., IQ[8] and sex differences). Thankfully, climate scientists and evolutionary biologists generally aren’t on the right. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of humanities and social scientists learn left (about 95%), which creates enormous confirmation bias, changes what’s being studied, and maintains myths like social constructionism and the gender wage gap[9]. Google’s left leaning makes us blind to this bias and uncritical of its results, which we’re using to justify highly politicized programs.

BS is a kind term to use for this discussion, honestly. We’re getting deep into the Alt-Right’s beliefs that they’re right and everyone else is wrong. But what really stood out to me in this paragraph were the footnotes!  I was like, “Hey, maybe he DID cite his sources!”  I start scanning to the bottom to see what sort of sources this fellah used? And lo and behold…all I saw was personal interjections and more BS.

I’m going to call [citation required] again on the claim that IQ and sex varies in a statistical meaningful manner.

In addition to the Left’s affinity for those it sees as weak, humans are generally biased towards protecting females. As mentioned before, this likely evolved because males are biologically disposable and because women are generally more cooperative and areeable than men. We have extensive government and Google programs, fields of study, and legal and social norms to protect women, but when a man complains about a gender issue issue [sic] affecting men, he’s labelled as a misogynist and whiner[10]. Nearly every difference between men and women is interpreted as a form of women’s oppression. As with many things in life, gender differences are often a case of “grass being greener on the other side”; unfortunately, taxpayer and Google money is spent to water only one side of the lawn.

More Left-Wing bashing in an article that’s supposedly about why it shouldn’t be necessary to attract women to tech jobs. Reads more like Leftie-bashing.

The same compassion for those seen as weak creates political correctness[11], which constrains discourse and is complacent to the extremely sensitive PC-authoritarians that use violence and shaming to advance their cause. While Google hasn’t harbored the violent leftists protests that we’re seeing at universities, the frequent shaming in TGIF and in our culture has created the same silence, psychologically unsafe environment.
Suggestions

I hope it’s clear that I’m not saying that diversity is bad, that Google or society is 100% fair, that we shouldn’t try to correct for existing biases, or that minorities have the same experience of those in the majority. My larger point is that we have an intolerance for ideas and evidence that don’t fit a certain ideology. I’m also not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles; I’m advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism).

My thoughts here: It’s not that the Left has an intolerance for ideas not of their own. I really don’t see that. But what I do see is that the Left has an intolerance for ideas that are not grounded in reality or fact, and especially for ideas that are grounded in keeping the established power structures, where white men have all the advantages and if you are not white and not male, you have no chance, in power.

Basically, the core of the Alt-Right position.

My concrete suggestions are to:

De-moralize diversity.

As soon as we start to moralize an issue, we stop thinking about it in terms of costs and benefits, dismiss anyone that disagrees as immoral, and harshly punish those we see as villains to protect the “victims.”

Ah, the crux of the argument! So, basically, women and minorities should just sit down and accept what society calls for them, because there’s nothing moral about keeping them down.

Bullshit. Women didn’t get run out of Computer Science until men decided that job was too prestigious for them. Had nothing to do about cost-benefits analysis.

Stop alienating conservatives.

Viewpoint diversity is arguably the most important type of diversity and political orientation is one of the most fundamental and significant ways in which people view things differently.
In highly progressive environments, conservatives are a minority that feel like they need to stay in the closet to avoid open hostility. We should empower those with different ideologies to be able to express themselves.
Alienating conservatives is both non-inclusive and generally bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness, which is require for much of the drudgery and maintenance work characteristic of a mature company.

Conservatives wouldn’t be alienated if they weren’t dickwads to so many people. Argue for allowing a company to fairly compete in the marketplace as much as you want. Just realize that there are limits. You can’t treat your fellow humans as disposable crap. You can’t sully the environment. You can’t put out shoddy crap that hurts people. This is why conservatives get crap. And yes. Your ‘classically liberal’ (anarcho-libertarian) position will be criticized. That’s part of living in a free society, and the price you pay for associating with misogynists and racists.

Confront Google’s biases.

I’ve mostly concentrated on how our biases cloud our thinking about diversity and inclusion, but our moral biases are farther reaching than that.
I would start by breaking down Googlegeist scores by political orientation and personality to give a fuller picture into how our biases are affecting our culture.

Everyone views the world in terms of their biases. While I would accept that we should gather data on this to better formulate discussions, that was not the spirit this was offered in.

Stop restricting programs and classes to certain genders or races.

These discriminatory practices are both unfair and divisive. Instead focus on some of the non-discriminatory practices I outlined.

Have an open and honest discussion about the costs and benefits of our diversity programs.

Discriminating just to increase the representation of women in tech is as misguided and biased as mandating increases for women’s representation in the homeless, work-related and violent deaths, prisons, and school dropouts.
There’s currently very little transparency into the extend of our diversity programs which keeps it immune to criticism from those outside its ideological echo chamber.
These programs are highly politicized which further alienates non-progressives.
I realize that some of our programs may be precautions against government accusations of discrimination, but that can easily backfire since they incentivize illegal discrimination.

Focus on psychological safety, not just race/gender diversity.

We should focus on psychological safety, which has shown positive effects and should (hopefully) not lead to unfair discrimination.
We need psychological safety and shared values to gain the benefits of diversity
Having representative viewpoints is important for those designing and testing our products, but the benefits are less clear for those more removed from UX.

De-emphasize empathy.

I’ve heard several calls for increased empathy on diversity issues. While I strongly support trying to understand how and why people think the way they do, relying on affective empathy—feeling another’s pain—causes us to focus on anecdotes, favor individuals similar to us, and harbor other irrational and dangerous biases. Being emotionally unengaged helps us better reason about the facts.

Prioritize intention.

Our focus on microaggressions and other unintentional transgressions increases our sensitivity, which is not universally positive: sensitivity increases both our tendency to take offense and our self censorship, leading to authoritarian policies. Speaking up without the fear of being harshly judged is central to psychological safety, but these practices can remove that safety by judging unintentional transgressions.
Microaggression training incorrectly and dangerously equates speech with violence and isn’t backed by evidence.

Be open about the science of human nature.

Once we acknowledge that not all differences are socially constructed or due to discrimination, we open our eyes to a more accurate view of the human condition which is necessary if we actually want to solve problems.

Reconsider making Unconscious Bias training mandatory for promo committees.

We haven’t been able to measure any effect of our Unconscious Bias training and it has the potential for overcorrecting or backlash, especially if made mandatory.
Some of the suggested methods of the current training (v2.3) are likely useful, but the political bias of the presentation is clear from the factual inaccuracies and the examples shown.
Spend more time on the many other types of biases besides stereotypes. Stereotypes are much more accurate and responsive to new information than the training suggests (I’m not advocating for using stereotypes, I [sic] just pointing out the factual inaccuracy of what’s said in the training).

I decided I didn’t want to deign the rest of the comments here with a response. They’re basically boiled down to ‘let me be an asshole to other people, officially with company support, without consequences’.

 

[1] This document is mostly written from the perspective of Google’s Mountain View campus, I can’t speak about other offices or countries.

[2] Of course, I may be biased and only see evidence that supports my viewpoint. In terms of political biases, I consider myself a classical liberal and strongly value individualism and reason. I’d be very happy to discuss any of the document further and provide more citations.

[3] Throughout the document, by “tech”, I mostly mean software engineering.

[4] For heterosexual romantic relationships, men are more strongly judged by status and women by beauty. Again, this has biological origins and is culturally universal.

[5] Stretch, BOLD, CSSI, Engineering Practicum (to an extent), and several other Google funded internal and external programs are for people with a certain gender or race.

[6] Instead set Googlegeist OKRs, potentially for certain demographics. We can increase representation at an org level by either making it a better environment for certain groups (which would be seen in survey scores) or discriminating based on a protected status (which is illegal and I’ve seen it done). Increased representation OKRs can incentivize the latter and create zero-sum struggles between orgs.

[7] Communism promised to be both morally and economically superior to capitalism, but every attempt became morally corrupt and an economic failure. As it became clear that the working class of the liberal democracies wasn’t going to overthrow their “capitalist oppressors,” the Marxist intellectuals transitioned from class warfare to gender and race politics. The core oppressor-oppressed dynamics remained, but now the oppressor is the “white, straight, cis-gendered patriarchy.”

[8] Ironically, IQ tests were initially championed by the Left when meritocracy meant helping the victims of the aristocracy.

[9] Yes, in a national aggregate, women have lower salaries than men for a variety of reasons. For the same work though, women get paid just as much as men. Considering women spend more money than men and that salary represents how much the employees sacrifices (e.g. more hours, stress, and danger), we really need to rethink our stereotypes around power.

[10] “The traditionalist system of gender does not deal well with the idea of men needing support. Men are expected to be strong, to not complain, and to deal with problems on their own. Men’s problems are more often seen as personal failings rather than victimhood,, due to our gendered idea of agency. This discourages men from bringing attention to their issues (whether individual or group-wide issues), for fear of being seen as whiners, complainers, or weak.”

[11] Political correctness is defined as “the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against,” which makes it clear why it’s a phenomenon of the Left and a tool of authoritarians.

I thought seriously about snipping this BS, but remembered that my purpose here was to allow people who have not seen the original post the opportunity to read and react to it.

I take specific exception to 11. Political Correctness is really nothing more than not saying to other people what you’d not want turned around and used on you. Political correctness is a shorthand for the Wil Wheaton principle: “Don’t be a dick.” It’s a shorthand you can use in polite speech, and it’s sad that political correctness has been turned into some ugly caricature of itself. What this entire document has said is the author wishes he could be a dick to everyone without consequence. Thankfully, Google said, “No. No, you can’t. Your ignorance of the history of your profession shows through. Your inappropriateness for our company shows throw. Your poor fit is clearly demonstrated. We made a mistake in hiring you, and this letter gives us a clear justification in rectifying that mistake. Clean out your desk and turn your badge in on the way out. Good luck with Unemployment and finding your next job. Maybe Breitbart or Alt-Right.com are hiring.”

Update 7:25pm ET: Google’s new Vice President of Diversity, Integrity & Governance, Danielle Brown, issued the following statement in response to the internal employee memo:

Googlers,

I’m Danielle, Google’s brand new VP of Diversity, Integrity & Governance. I started just a couple of weeks ago, and I had hoped to take another week or so to get the lay of the land before introducing myself to you all. But given the heated debate we’ve seen over the past few days, I feel compelled to say a few words.

Many of you have read an internal document shared by someone in our engineering organization, expressing views on the natural abilities and characteristics of different genders, as well as whether one can speak freely of these things at Google. And like many of you, I found that it advanced incorrect assumptions about gender. I’m not going to link to it here as it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.

Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate. We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, and we’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul. As Ari Balogh said in his internal G+ post, “Building an open, inclusive environment is core to who we are, and the right thing to do. ‘Nuff said. “

Google has taken a strong stand on this issue, by releasing its demographic data and creating a company wide OKR on diversity and inclusion. Strong stands elicit strong reactions. Changing a culture is hard, and it’s often uncomfortable. But I firmly believe Google is doing the right thing, and that’s why I took this job.

Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.

I’ve been in the industry for a long time, and I can tell you that I’ve never worked at a company that has so many platforms for employees to express themselves—TGIF, Memegen, internal G+, thousands of discussion groups. I know this conversation doesn’t end with my email today. I look forward to continuing to hear your thoughts as I settle in and meet with Googlers across the company.

Thanks,

Danielle

Polar M600 Fitness Android SmartWatch

Recently, I purchased Polars second-highest end fitness smartwatch, the M600. A brief overview of what this watch is:

Hardware-wise, it’s your typical fitness watch. It includes an advanced real-time heart-rate monitor, that can pick up heart rates even as you move. It has an accelerometer tuned to detecting the athlete’s motion, from walking through running. It has a 2 day long battery (not because of poor battery quality, but because of the OS — more later), a unibody construction that is water resistant to over 1 meter, and a fitness optimized snap-in band that holds the unit itself. It features two buttons, a “fitness” button on the front that brings up Polar’s fitness app, and a “Google” button on the side that brings up your Google Apps, or if held, Google Assistant. As a watch, it is not a fashion accessory, but an obvious fitness device that will likely clash with your outfit unless your outfit is bicycle or running shorts and a t-shirt. It won’t necessarily ruin said outfit, but this is no Rolex, that is for sure. But you can sure get your Dick Tracey on. Try holding the Google Button and then asking, “What’s the temperature right now?”, and then bam, you’re looking at the current temperature in your area.

The software is what distinguishes this watch from all other Polar watches, and other watches in general. The M600 runs Android Wear 2. Thanks to this, you are far from limited on what the watch can do. On one hand, you lose the set and forget nature of the typical Fitbit style device. You need to interact with your device more often, such as to bring up workout data, start exercises, and so on. On the other, the Android Wear watch is light-years more versatile than any proprietary fitness watch thanks to its open nature.

Let’s start with the fitness app. Polar’s built-in app gives you features you’d expect on any modern fitness tracker — movement detection, sleep detection, HRM features, etc. The app is a bit short on useful features, such as Continuous HRM, and its sleep tracking support is a bit spotty. Unlike most trackers, it doesn’t detect when you start an exercise. These shortcomings are identified by the company and it’s on the radar for them to fix going forward. This is a great shortcoming of this watch, for sure, and many people might choose not to get it on this. But that misses the real advantage of these watches.

Android Wear allows you to replace the default fitness tracking app with something else. So, for instance, I have replaced Polar’s fitness tracker with Runkeeper Pro. I have mapped the Runkeeper app to the Fitness button described above, so when I hit my Fitness Button, Runkeeper pops up ready to start a run. You can program Runkeeper to track other exercises with a few pushes on the screen, and during the workout, Runkeeper will pull HRM data from the onboard sensor, or from a chest strap if you prefer (the watch has Bluetooth so it will pair with the strap). Continuous HRM can be provided with the Heart Rate OS2 app, which will measure heart rate every 30 minutes, or more often if you purchase the Pro version of the app, up to once every 5 minutes. More rapid heart rate checks may be desired in some use cases, but for my purposes, this is sufficient.

No Fitness Tracker’s sleep tracking system can match the Android app Sleep as Android. With two button presses on my watch, or a button press and a verbal “Start Sleep Tracking” (Dick Tracey again), my lights in my bedroom turn off, nighttime sleep sounds start up, and my watch begins monitoring my heart rate and movement, giving an image of my sleep states when I wake up. All of this is uploaded in the cloud.

If your goal is fitness tracking without mindfulness, you might look to a different tracker, but if your goal is to marry the fitness watch to the Android Wear smartwatch, Polar’s M600 is right up your ally. Combining Android Wear’s versatility with Polar’s hardware has made a winner of a device for me. Notifications at the wrist, a host of Androidwear Smartwatch features, options for tracking beyond the vendor provided app, and plenty of other apps that the vendor would never have thought of? It’s just what I wanted.

Is Trump Stupid? Or, How the Left is Being Bamboozled by the Right.

The common refrain we’re seeing with Trump is that he’s a fool, a useful idiot, a moron being used by the likes of Bannon, Putin, and all the other bad actors out there. He’s a patsy and a tool, and we delegitimize him as a real threat and claim he’s nothing more than a buffoon not worth getting mixed up with. Mother Jones is referring to Trump’s Immigration Order as immoral, stupid, and counterproductive. Tom Steyer is saying his position on the pipeline is stupid. Jeff Chidester of Seacoast Online refers to Trump’s tariff plan as stupid as well. Even the New York Times gets in, hitting not only Trump but the entire GOP as stupid. But what if Trump isn’t as stupid as people say he is? What if this is all just a show, and his team are all actors, and we’re all the audience? What if he’s smarter than Team Blue gives him credit for? Maybe we’re all being taken for a ride by this con man, and he’s actually smart, cunning, and completely unethical. Maybe, just maybe, he’s smart as a fox and twice as treacherous.

Let’s start with Trump’s life. He didn’t get where he is today by being stupid. Stupid people do not create multinational media powerhouses. They do not successfully stamp their name to countless properties across the world. They don’t end up marrying two models and an actress, and they sure don’t end up winning the POTUS where everyone said they would fail.

Let’s make no mistake. I’m not holding any of the previous accomplishments up as good, or even desirable. Trump’s accomplishments are those of a narcissist, and I’d much rather be an Elon Musk than a Donald Trump any day of the week, but let’s be clear here. You don’t get where he is by being stupid, and there’s a much better explanation that fits the bill here.

Trump is first and foremost an entertainer. What does that mean? He knows people. He gets people. And he knows what they want. The Left wants Trump to be the dumb evil fool they can love to hate. The Right wants Trump to be the easily steered useful idiot they can hate to love. The Alt-Right wants Trump to be the fellow Culture Warrior they love to love. Trump is playing all these parts perfectly.

To the Alt-Right, Trump is giving them everything he’s ever promised them. Bannon is in high levels of government. Culture-Warrior whackjobs are installed throughout the cabinet. Trump is putting in the Ban and the government is looking away from non-Islamic extremism (read: Racial violence). Basically, every thing Team Pepe wanted.

Team Red is getting what they want — economic deregulation, a supreme court justice with Conservative bonafides that will survive for 40 more years (minimum), and the gutting of their big bugaboos, the Department of Education and the EPA.

And Liberals? They’ve got the dumb evil fool they want. He spends time bitching about his bathrobe and about his daughter’s business deals. He rants on Twitter against judges and lawyers that rule against him, getting even the so-called mainstream Conservative supreme court justice candidate mentioned above to rail against it. He presents himself as the evil the Liberals love to hate…giving them plenty of red meat.

Mother Jones, even as they bashed Trump as stupid, recognized one simple fact. In all of this day to day noise, we’ve lost track of an older, bigger story: What happened to the Russian meddling with the Election last year? The Media has been busy chasing after Trump’s latest outrage. In the process, the actual scandal that could sink this entire administration, the collusion with and interference by a foreign agency, has been lost. Let’s say this another way. Instead of focusing on Trump’s ties to Putin, and his profiting from his office of President, we’re arguing about whether or not he wears a bathrobe at night.

Seriously, people? Is THIS what you’re going to focus on?

Trump is playing the Left like a finely tuned instrument. Far from the works of a barely competent, brainless fool, this is the work of a mastermind. Trump is playing the Left, giving them the foe they want to hate, and plenty of distractions. And the Left, underestimating him, is ignoring the real issues, giving him the pass he desperately wants.

Donald Trump, a Diary

So. We’ve done gone and did it. We’ve elected the guy I was sure would end up turning this country into a Fascist hellhole, and he’s now inaugurated.

So, I will keep a list of all the things he’s done here.

Before January

I’ve really not done much in the way of keeping track of all Trump’s done. The highlights of his activities include bypassing ethics reviews of his candidates and installing yes-men and cronies. None of this should surprise anyone. But in the interests of giving him a blank slate, I won’t detail anything in here. Let’s just say this is pre-45, and leave it at that. Instead? Let’s focus on Post-45.

January to March February (20th)

In the first quarter month of Trump’s first year in office, he has:

  • Scrubbed the White House website of all references to Climate Change. Let’s be clear here. Pretending it doesn’t exist won’t make it not affect us. This means he owns any climate change disasters going forward.
  • A petty, small-minded attempt to photoshop a much larger crowd (Obama’s, to be precise) into his own inauguration. I know it burns to have to do this, but the mind that needs to do this is a poor, small mind indeed. This is not just limited to places like DailyKOS, but also SlateGizmodo, and KDVR (a local Fox affiliate!).
    • Sean Spicer, Trump’s Press Secretary, went on a ranting tirade against the Press…because they dared report the real crowd size. Not to be outdone, Trump himself attacked the press. We’ll see where this goes, but when a tinpot dictator starts attacking his country’s press, crackdowns usually follow. Are we a Republic and a Democracy, or am I getting a truck and heading to Canada as quick as we can go?
  • Trump’s hotel has banned media coverage for the next week. What a precedent this is: a hotel bearing a name of a sitting president.
  • [PROPOSED] A Trump idea I actually agree with! H1B Visas are planned to come with a minimum wage of $100,000 per year. We’ll see if they actually do that. If so, this will be a win for Trump in my book.
  • Put back in the ban on federal contributions to international organizations that speak to abortion.
  • Appointed a pro-domestic surveillance mouthpiece for CIA chief.
  • Restarted the Keystone pipeline.
  • As promised, Trump backed out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
    • And China is positively salivating at this opportunity.
    • On the other hand, we won’t have to deal with the TPP’s downside.
  • In a surprising twist, Trump has engaged Elon Musk and Musk has gotten onboard. Supposedly, Trump is pushing for Musk’s electric cars to be further produced, especially since they are American technologies. We’ll have to see how this shakes out, but on the surface, it’s looking like a win.
  • As promised, Trump has issued an executive order banning Muslims entry into the US. People are already suffering under this.
    • Ignored a court order to stop carrying this out.
    • Got slapped down by another judge, with a full-on ban on the ban.
      • This didn’t take long. Ranted against “So-Called” Judge.
      • Got slapped by the appeals court. Will appeal to the Supremes.
  • Changed the group “Countering Extremist Violence” to “Countering (Radical) Islamic Extremism”, and retasked it with exclusively targeting Islamic violence, rather than its broader goal of protecting Americans from all extremism.
  • Another petty little attack: Trump whining about The Apprentice and its low ratings, not realizing that it’s as much about him as it is about vapidness of Reality TV in general. Extra dingus points for whining about it during the National Prayer Breakfast. That’s a good venue to vent your spleen in, Donnie! And amusingly, Arnold replied that Donnie should be worried about his own ratings, seeing that they’re in the tank.
  • Trump managed to put off the Australian Prime Minister in a phone call ended early….”due to fatigue.” I thought the guy was supposed to be a well-spring of stamina? 5pm? That’s it? Nobody told Mr. Complainer that Presidenting was Hard Work(tm)? Sorry, I’m trying to give Trump a fair go in this diary, but seriously, it’s getting old, and we’re not even two weeks in.
  • After criticizing Obama every time he took a trip, Trump racks his first days of vacation up merely 15 days into his first term. Cost to Americans? According to this site, about $3 million.
    • Good analysis on bitching about the current guy’s vacation expenses while giving your guy a pass. I won’t have a problem with Trump getting taxpayer funds for international trips, but he should respect that this is the US taxpayer’s dime and be diligent and frugal. His son needs the US Secret Service to protect him because of the damage a foreign interest could do to the US by attacking him, so the $90k tax bill makes sense. I’d hope that he’d reimburse the US government, however, because he has the money to do so and this would help clear up any improper looks. Hope. Not expect. My main concern about all of this is that Trump bitched so much about Obama going on vacation on the Taxpayer’s dime, and now that he’s in office, it’s all hunky dory.
    • Of the first month of Trump’s term in office, he’s already spent 3 weekends on vacation, on the US taxpayer’s dime. Let’s make this clear. Washington Post points out that over Obama’s 8 years as POTUS, he consumed 83 million USD for vacations. Trump is scheduled to pass that mark maybe as soon as the end of this quarter.
  • Of all the things Trump could deny, the notion that he wears a bathrobe was high enough on that list to actually occupy his valuable time.
    • I constantly say ‘amateur hour at the White House’. This, folks, is why.
    • But now I think I understand why
  • Shitstain Alert! Spicer, acting on behalf of Trump, insinuates that questioning Trump’s call on the raid last week is insulting the soldiers that died in it.
  • Days after losing his legendary stamina, Trump also lost his negotiating chops as well, and now he is agreeing to China’s One China Policy. Of course, Trump Trolls are out asking if those pointing this out want a war with China. Nah, I just want to point out that Trump is conning the entire country. Just remember. The Apprentice starring Donald Trump never ended. It just moved to the White House.
  • Trump rolled back Obama era Dodd-Frank supporting executive orders, and plans on rolling back Dodd-Frank itself with GOP help.
  • Oh, and didn’t we have a fuckfest of a hammering on Clinton’s e-mails? Wasn’t using a private E-mail server bad? Not so if you’re Trump!
  • In a much more sobering note, there’s the interview where Trump’s Senior Policy Adviser Stephen Miller made the Dictatorial statement that Trump’s decisions will not be questioned, most imperiously.Nothing ominous about that, whatsoever.
  • Time to change the format! Adding key events below.
  • So, the first head has officially rolled over in Trumpland. Mike Flynn got taken down by something that we have been pointing out constantly as a problem with the Trump Admin. Russian ties. This should be interesting.
    • Spicer had a hard time with the press briefing the next day.
      • Worked a blame Obama into there!
    • But that’s OK. The Republicans are all onboard with protecting Flynn from investigation, and would rather investigate who outed him.

March 

Because of the raw number of events in Trump’s first month in office, I’ve decided to break this up by month, at least for the time being. The pace of Trump’s BS has slowed down, as he has begun to realize exactly how hard it is to make things work, but already, he’s managed to roll back protection for Gays, Transgenders, Hispanics, and had his first scandal, but let’s see what’s next up

  • Trump’s admin has refused to release funding for CalTrans trains in the Bay area. One of the largest economic drivers in the US, Silicon Valley, is on the chopping block for Trump’s Admin. Surely, it’s only coincidence that they didn’t vote for him?
  • There are hints that Sessions is eyeing tightening up Federal enforcement of Marijuana restrictions in states that have legalized the use of MJ. I have listed the affected states below, with helpful color coding as to who they voted for. Everyone in blue voted Dem. Alaska and the ‘e’ in Maine are in Red, because Alaska went for Trump, and Maine split its votes up and gave one to Trump.
    • Colorado.
    • California.
    • Washington.
    • Alaska.
    • Maine.
    • Massachusetts.
    • Nevada.
    • Oregan.
    • DC.
  • In a not unexpected but still unprecedented (and unpresidented, to borrow a word…) move, press agencies critical of Donald Trump were barred from a Presser.
  • Finally, we get a chance to see what Team Red’s replacement for Obamacare will be. Turns out it’s so bad, even Redstate is bashing it.You know it’s bad when Team Reds biggest cheerleaders are railing against it.
    • It will knock tens of millions of people off of their plans.
    • Now, it looks like “victory” will be passing the bill in the House and giving up at the Senate.
      • It didn’t even get that far! Dead in the House because the House Conservatives didn’t think it went far enough!
      • Trump’s would-be signature move, the repeal of Obamacare….failed. Trump promptly blamed Democrats and Paul Ryan. Even conservatives aren’t buying that load of bullshit.
    • “Trumpcare” is now being called “Ryancare” in an attempt to insulate Trump from the fallout!

April

Been a bit lax about updating this as I’ve had plenty on my plate. But here’s a few things to see that happened in April.

 

 

Key Events

  1. 13 Feb 2017 – Flynn resigns after a reveal that he was parlaying with the Russians.

Keep coming back to this page. I will update it as new information comes in.

Steam’s Family Account Sharing: A Poorly Named ‘Feature

So, I’m researching how we can get Deus Ex: Mankind Divided so that we may both play it. Steam’s Family Account Sharing sounds like just the answer, right?

Wrong.

It’s not too much to expect that if I’m playing Mankind Divided, T can’t, and vice versa. I get that. One copy of the game means only one of us can play at a time. If we both want to play, we need two copies. It bums me out that this is true, but hey. If you wanted to play Final Fantasy X, and your brother/sister/husband/wife/mother/father was playing, you either had to ask them to surrender the game or wait until they were done with it. So, get the other PS2 out and fire up Kingdom Hearts on the other TV while they play FFX, right?

In the era of Steam, no. You see, when your partner borrows the game they are playing, they don’t just borrow that game. They borrow your entire fucking library! To use the analogy above, it would be like when you want to let your friend borrow FFX, you have to give every fucking game you own to them, because Sony insists that’s how it must be done.

What the fuck is wrong with these people!?

And if that’s not bad enough, if someone who is borrowing your library gets a ban for cheating, that ban applies to your account. I don’t worry about my wife cheating, but seriously…a ban for something someone else does? It’s almost like Steam is trying to discourage Family Sharing. Almost like they would rather you buy another copy of the game, so they throw all sorts of artificial bullshit in your direction.

So, I’ll have to see if there’s another alternative to Steam if I want to share games with my wife. Guess I’ll have to start researching that.

Windows 10 Release Imminent

Hello, everyone. Thought it was time for another post, now that Microsoft almost has Windows 10 ready to go.

Microsoft has been working on a new version of Windows pretty much since they pushed Windows 8.1 out the door. They’ve been paying attention to criticism of the tool by mainstream users and tech blogs alike, and have decided that their new version of Windows needs to address the needs of both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users. Their new OS, which you might expect to be called Windows 9, hopefully does just that.

Here’s a screen cap of a typical Windows 10 (not 9, they decided to skip 9) desktop, with start menu displayed.

You'd see a Windows 10 desktop here, if you were using something from this decade. :)

Daily Tech’s capture of Windows 10.

Prominent in the above screencap is the one thing that Microsoft had to do to get Windows 10 right. Yes, the Start Menu is back, with a few modifications. The Live Tiles from Windows 8 are visible, with the updates you would expect from them, but so are the old Windows 7isms of the recently used apps list and the pinned apps list. All Programs exists as a small link at the bottom of the Start Menu called All Apps. Finally, Microsoft realized that on a desktop, we want our OS to behave like a Desktop OS.

Another key way that Windows 10 fixes the Desktop Environment is realizing that all apps need to run in windows, even Modern apps. Here’s a Screen Cap of Windows Store running on the desktop.

You'd see Windows 10 Store in a window if you had something that was built in the last 15 years. :)

Windows 10 Store running in a Window on the Desktop.

Modern apps running in windows, and a Start Menu that doesn’t take over your screen, are both useful things on desktops. Mind you, the tablet experience hasn’t been ignored. There is a Tablet Mode that changes the look and feel of the UI completely, forcing all applications, including Desktop Apps, into full screen mode. While desktop apps are not forced into a tablet paradigm (you’ll  need a stylus to interact with their user elements…), they still become ‘tablet apps’, and you only interact with them one at a time. Here’s how that view looks:

Stop using Lynx to view my articles, already!  :P

Windows 10 can run in Tablet Mode as well, giving a slate the ability to run like a full slate.

There are other noticeable changes. The circle on the Task Bar belongs to a Siri and Google Now competitor, called Cortana. This VI personal assistant functions much like Siri and Google Now do, offering you assistance in your daily tasks (setting reminders, doing tasks, etc.), and running programs for you. She’s both text and voice enabled, also

The Action Center is a notification bar like what you’d find on a mobile OS, where things like ‘your Java is outdated, do you want to fix that’, ‘you just got an e-mail from so and so’, and ‘The Stock Market lost A MILLION POINTS, everyone panic NAO!!!!’ pop up. It’s also useful in letting you know if there’s bad storms in your area or someone has shot up a store. This leverages other apps, so theoretically anything that pops up a notice to Windows can use the Action Center.

Windows 10 also features many under-the-hood type changes, including a new version of DirectX (yay gamers), improved security (don’t we all need this), and the latest updates. If you are running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, you should be getting a notification about this new OS over the next few months. Once you get it, I strongly recommend you make the move. It’s free for the next year, but after that year, you’ll get stuck with buying a new license, which has a $119 (Home) or $199 (Pro) price tag. Move quick.

To lay this idea to rest, however, there will be no “Subscription” to Windows 10. The free upgrade to 10 offer means your 7 or 8 license will become a 10 license at no charge if you move before 29 July 2016. After then, it’s like upgrading from XP to 7 — you have to pay for it.