A military laughing stock

Of you want to know how bad the current Canadian government is handling their navy, here is an example.

It was revealed that in order to service the last supply shop – at 45 years old and counting – the HMCS Protector – the navy is now searching the Internet and checking eBay for spare parts.

You read that right.

At 45 years old, the manufacturer has stopped producing spare parts a long time ago. HMCS Protector’s sister ship, HMCS Protecteur, was put out to pasture officially within the past week after it was at least partially destroyed by fire a few years back.

Corrosion issues had begun to compromise HMCS Protector’s structural integrity. It is being patched up with what they have and are waiting for the next part to falter.

The Canadian navy had planned to replace both ships, but the Conservative government pulled the plug in August 2008 as industry proposals were proving too costly for the government to handle. The new program is still up to eight years way from delivering new ships.

Lauren Armstrong, a spokeswoman for Defense Minister, claimed that the navy will be able to carry out operations ordered by the government, both at home and abroad. She added the opposition Liberal party are in no position to be lecturing on military procurement. She claimed that the previous Liberal governments in 13 years only ordered replacements for some helicopter.

Maybe she was forgetting that when the Liberal party was ousted, these same ships were just over 30 years old [and I’m guessing there were plenty of spare parts]. As well, the military did receive from the Liberal governments LAV III armoured vehicles, M-777 artillery, CH-149 Cormorant helicopters, and coastal defense vessels.

The Conservative government has done nothing in the last ten years and even if a new ship would begin to be built tomorrow, it could take ten years for the first ship to set sail. I am guessing HMCS Protector may not be around by then.

In case you didn’t know, another story came out a while back where air force technicians were raiding museums for spare airplane parts.

And not to be outdone, Canada still use the Sea Kings, helicopters that has had a history of crashes and are in the same age group as the supply ships. The same Conservative party complained about not replacing them way back when – but has still done nothing in ten years.

May Patch Tuesday: We have a “winner” (or more)

[Update 2015/05/19:] This article has been updated to reflect that MS15-045 is not the culprit in the end.

Microsoft today has finally fessed up and said that in fact KB3020369 is the culprit where after rebooting, Windows is stuck on the stage 3 of 3 updating screen or boots up completely but shows a blank startup screen with no logon option.

The “fix” is quite simple. Force the computer to shut down completely. Either try Ctrl-Alt-Del and select shutdown, press the power button or at worse force an abrupt shut down [chop the power].

Microsoft has also mentioned that updates installed immediately after this installation may fail after installing this update. If you repeat those failed updates, it will successfully install the updates.

[Update 2015/05/17:] Now there also may be issues related to hanging operating systems for updates KB3020370 and KB3045645. While they didn’t elaborate, the status in the KB for both have changed to Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the “Applies to” section. So don’t be too surprised… Now I have installed the two updates on three Windows 7 systems with no issues. So there could be some connection maybe with something on the system.

[Update 2015/05/18:] Seems security update MS15-044 also has an issue if using Windows 7 and prior. The KB says little except We are aware of this issue and will address it in the near future.

Windows 10 upgrade options and what systems gets what

Consumers and small businesses [i.e. those not with enterprise licensing] who have computers running Windows 7 with service pack 1 or Windows 8.1 will be offered a free online upgrade to Windows 10 when released. The upgrading will be staggered to reduce bandwidth issues. So if [for example], Windows 10 was released to the public on September first, it may take a week or longer before you are offered to upgrade through Windows Update.

However, if you don’t want to wait, you can download the ISO image and upgrade. This may actually be a safer option as it could be faster to download plus less changes of something crapping out.

In addition, the few Windows 7 without a service pack and Windows 8 [not windows 8.1] may also upgrade with the ISO image.
When upgrading, Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 8.1 [not Professional] systems will receive an upgrade to Windows 10 Home. Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, and Windows 8.1 Professional systems will be upgraded to Windows 10 Professional.

As stated before, enterprise licenses can be upgraded through software assurance [for example]. they can’t be downgraded to a consumer edition.

There is still plenty of licensing issues that need to be decided such as the educational edition.

Microsoft lists versions for Windows 10

Not counting the three embedded/Internet of Things (IoT) versions, there will be six Windows 10 SKUs: Home, Mobile, Pro, Enterprise, Education and Mobile Enterprise, according to a May 13 blog post from Windows Marketing chief Tony Prophet. Microsoft is not yet disclosing the standalone pricing or the detailed feature set and licensing specifics of its Windows 10 SKUs.

On all SKUs: Edge browser, Continuum tablet-mode for touch-capable devices; Cortana integration; free Photos, Maps, Mail, Calendar; Music and Video apps; and Windows Hello face-recognition/iris/fingerprint log-in for devices that support those technologies.

Windows 10 Home: The consumer-focused desktop edition. On devices with screen sizes of 10.1 inches or less, users also will get the Universal Office apps for free [once they are available].

Windows 10 Pro: It will allow users to opt for Windows Update for Business [which will allow admins to opt to not receive all feature and security updates from Microsoft immediately after they are available]. Unsure what non-domain users will get.

Windows 10 Enterprise: The Enterprise version customers get access to the Long Term Servicing Branch of Windows 10 [allows them to opt to receive security fixes only and no new features as Microsoft rolls them out] and is for volume-licensing customers. No free upgrade like the other SKUs but software assurance clients will get the option to get it for free for deployments.

Windows 10 Education: In this version for staff, administrators, students and teachers, it will be available through academic Volume Licensing.

Windows 10 Mobile: This is the SKU for Windows Phones and small Intel- and ARM-based tablets. It will include the free Universal Office apps [once they are available]; and support for Continuum for Phone, allowing customers to use phones as PCs connected to larger screens [good only on new devices supporting certain screen resolutions].

Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise: It will incorporate the latest security and feature updates to Windows 10 [once they are available]. Unknown if the test/stagger their delivery, which is offered under Windows Update for Business, will be included.

A lot of the information is still changing by the day. Don’t be surprised if some things do change.

When a politician puts his foot in his mouth

Every once in a while you get a politician that likes to shove their foot in their mouth by making the dumbest comments. Every country has them.

In Canada, the federal government is governed by the Conservative party. Up until last week, their provincial counterparts governed Alberta.

Alberta was government by the Conservative party for 44 [yes 44!] straight year until Tuesday when the New Democratic Party [NDP] shockingly came from out of nowhere to take not just a majority, but a huge majority.

Alberta was one of maybe two or three provinces in Canada where the Conservatives could always count on the voters to bring them to power.

But they were stunned after the election. The NDP went from a distant third prior to the election to first. The Conservatives went the other way to drop to third place. Obviously the Conservative party leader resigned.

This is where the foot in the mouth comes in.

Federal Conservative minister Peter MacKay – not even elected in Alberta – munched on his foot by calling Alberta – Albertastan.

Now some use the stan ending of a state, province or country [well those not already have it in their name] to say that the region is a third-world region, run by dictators, idiots or whatever.

This because Albertans decided to jump away from the Conservative part and vote for the NDP.

His comments may now hurt the party in the next federal election in October. It could cost the party some votes and seats in Alberta [let alone in other areas of the country] and he could even lose his own seat [if I recall, he didn’t easily win his seat in the last election].

It hasn’t been the first time MacKay made comments he shouldn’t have.

Features to be added and remove from the Edge browser

This week, Microsoft detailed some of the finalized features that its Edge (formerly named “Spartan”) browser will be receiving. Among them on the list includes:

  • Extension support (including extensions for Skype, Reddit, Pinterest)
  • More Cortana scenarios
  • Object RTC
  • Pointer Lock

Among those Internet Explorer features where the days are numbered including ActiveX plugins and VBScript. The removal will result in the elimination of more than 220,000 lines of code in MSHTML.

There is another minor glitch from April’s Patch Tuesday

Looks like there was a semi serious bug in April’s Patch Tuesday. it hit me and it hit some others.

Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (3038314) seems to cause problems and here is what’s going on. For me at one point everything was fine. late last week, Internet Explorer notified me that my Google search provider information was corrupt. So I removed it.

But I could not add it. Not even after rebooting my system.

Seems others had the same issue. Here is what needs to be done to fix the problem:

  1. Uninstall update KB3038314. This may take some time to do.
  2. Restart the computer.
  3. Start Internet Explorer and add Google search provider from Internet Explorer gallery Microsoft site.
  4. Close Internet Explorer.
  5. Run Regedit as administrator privilegies and navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes.
  6. Right click on SearchScopes key and click Export and save it under what name you want.
  7. Close Regedit and install the update KB3038314 again.
  8. Restart the computer.
  9. Right click on the saved registry file from above and click on Merge. Press Yes to agree.
  10. Open Internet Explorer. Go to Tools > Manage add-ons -> Search Providers and set Google as your default search provider.

Alternatively, as we are under a week from the next Patch Tuesday, you can hide the update [if you wish] and wait for the Patch Tuesday update to fix the issue…. Hopefully.

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