Hotel lifts lifetime ban for man who destroyed room with pepperoni, flock of seagulls

A man's suitcase full of pepperoni led to a hotel room full of seagulls and a lifetime ban he finally got the hotel to revoke.

A posh hotel in British Columbia, Canada, has lifted a 17-year ban against a customer who inadvertently caused extensive damage to the room he was staying in by leaving a suitcase full of pepperoni next to an open window.

In 2001, Nick Burchill was staying at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria, B.C., on business. With him, Burchill brought a suitcase full of Brothers TNT Pepperoni – a specialty item from his hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia, he wrote in a Facebook post addressed to the hotel.

“I told my Navy buddies that I was coming out West and I was asked to bring ‘Brother’s Pepperoni’ from Halifax. It is a local delicacy. Because this was the Navy we were talking about, I brought enough for a ship. In a hurry, I had completely filled a suitcase with pepperoni for my friends,” he wrote in the post

When Burchill checked in to the hotel room, he realized it did not have a refrigerator. Burchill was concerned about the meat staying out, so he placed it next to an open window for the chilly air to keep the pepperoni cold.

Burchill then decided to leave his room and take a “4 or 5 hour” walk – and when he came back, he discovered a room full of seagulls.

“I didn’t have time to count, but there must have been 40 [seagulls] and they had been in my room, eating pepperoni for a long time,” he wrote.

Burchill told CBC the seagulls were “flying around, the curtains are falling down, the lamps are falling down.” Not to mention the seagull droppings, which Burchill said the “room was covered in,” as well as seagull “drool,” which the man claims happens when seagulls eat pepperoni.

“One was just bouncing around on the windowsill and I was kind of losing my temper at this point, so I took off one of my shoes and I threw it in the direction of the seagull, and both the seagull and the shoe went out the window.”

– Nick Burchill

Burchill managed to get most of the birds out of the room, but had to take more extreme measures for the last two.

“One was just bouncing around on the windowsill and I was kind of losing my temper at this point, so I took off one of my shoes and I threw it in the direction of the seagull, and both the seagull and the shoe went out the window,” he said.

For the last stubborn bird, Burchill said he had to wrap it in a hotel towel and throw it out the window. Burchill told CBC the bird was fine.

To make matters worse, when Burchill retrieved his shoe, he saw it had landed in mud. Since he had to meet a client that evening, he returned to his room to use the hairdryer to clean his shoe and shorted the power.

At that point, Burchill called down to the front desk to ask for some assistance.

“They sent this poor lady up and I still remember the look on her face when she opened the door,” he told CBC.

“She had her cleaning kit with her and it was quite clear that the kit that she had with her was not going to cover the damage and the mess that was in that room,” he added.

The hotel agreed to lift the ban after Nick Burchill reached out to apologize with a letter, and a pound of pepperoni.  (Fairmont Empress)

In the Facebook post Burchill said he apologized to the woman and then went to meet his client. When he came back the hotel had moved him to a smaller room.

“I thought that was the end of it all until I was told that my company had received a letter banning me from the Empress. A ban that I have respected for almost 18 years,” he writes.

However, 17 years later, Burchill wanted to reach out and apologize to the hotel over the damage he caused and ask the swanky hotel to “reconsider” his lifetime ban.

“I hope that you will see fit to either grant me a pardon, or consider my 18 year away from the empress as ‘time served’,” he wrote on Facebook.

Lucky for Burchill, who stopped by the hotel to deliver an apology and a pound of Brothers TNT Pepperoni as a peace offering, the hotel agreed to lift his ban.

“I’ve made friends with one of the managers there and he’s made it quite clear that I’m encouraged to stay with them,” Burchill explained to CBC. “They’ll be disappointed if I don’t.”

Woman finds spider in McDonald’s chicken sandwich

A McDonald’s customer was in for a not-so-tasty surprise when she bit into her McChicken Sandwich Monday afternoon.

Classical singer Ciara Harvie was eating at a McDonald’s in Edinburgh, Scotland, when she discovered a dead spider nestled between the shreds of lettuce in her sandwich

The 20-year-old said she took the food – and arachnid – to the register, where she was met by a manager who she claims refused to apologize, the Mirror reported. Instead, the manager gave her another chicken sandwich, which Harvie did not eat.

Harvie posted her creepy-crawly lunch on Facebook, where it has been shared 2,000 times.

“Went to McDonald’s at Fort Kinnaird today and found a dead spider in my burger,” she wrote on Facebook. “I took it back and didn’t even get an apology. I don’t think I’ll be going back anything soon.”

Ciara said on social media that she was angrier by the reaction of the chain’s employees than the spider.

“I didn’t realize it was a spider at first, I just thought it was a piece of brown lettuce or something. I looked closer and was shocked to see it was a dead spider. I understand that things like this happen, and probably not very often, but I think the way they handled it was the most disappointing thing.”

McDonald’s has since apologized to Ciara for the incident and offered her a free meal, which she has declined.

A spokeswoman for McDonald’s said in a statement to the Mirror:

“We are sorry to hear about this customer’s experience. Food quality and safety are of the utmost importance to us and we place great emphasis on quality control, following rigorous standards in order to avoid any imperfections. At the time, we apologized to the customer and provided her with a replacement McChicken Sandwich. We have since spoken again with the customer to apologize once more and offer another replacement meal, which was declined.”

Sheerly Genius is applying technology to an age-old problem for women: Hosiery that won’t tear easily

Sheerly genius "indestructible tights" made of ballistic grade fiber

Sheerly genius “indestructible tights” made of ballistic grade fiber

For any woman who’s ever confronted the age old problem of pantyhose that tears easily, one start-up is using technology to come to the rescue.

Sheerly Genius, a company based out of San Francisco, has created what it calls the world’s first “indestructible” pair of sheer tights. Hundreds of people are buying into the concept, with The Y-Combinator-backed venture has a Kickstarter campaign that’s already more than $100,000 over its fundraising goal.

The start-up created its own material by partnering directly with a fiber manufacturer. A caveat: The tights aren’t actually bulletproof, but they use a ballistic grade fiber that claims to be up to ten times stronger than steel, while still making the hosiery sheer. A pair can hold up for decades, Sheerly claims.

“The strongest material I could think of was kevlar,” Katherine Homuth, CEO of Sheerly Genius, told CNBC recently. “Ultimately I found a fabric that was 100 denier, but was ridiculously strong.”

Pantyhose fibers are measured in denier, a unit that determines fiber thickness. To qualify as pantyhose, the fabric needs to be 100 denier or less; to be sheer instead of tights or jeans, they need to be 30 denier or less.

After years of seeing entrepreneurs tackle products like connected pens and water bottles, she wanted to focus on a problem that really frustrates people, but is often overlooked by the retail and technology industries.

“When we got our first prototype I gave them to my husband and some of his friends and said okay, can you guys try to tear through these? Ultimately we were able to get through them with a fire poker” said Homuth. She added the tights can’t be cut with scissors, and certainly hold up against everyday sourges like rings and velcro.

The process of making the tights came with their fair share of drawbacks, she explained. “It had some problems, it was white and not dyeable, it wasn’t stretchy, and if you mixed it with something stretchy it would tear right through that fiber.”

Though the tights promise to be indestructible, it became apparent that the company’s hosiery machines were not. As the team started manufacturing their first tights, the fiber was so strong it actually broke their machines.

For Homuth one of the hosiery’s biggest attractions was its environmental sustainability. She mentioned that every year, more than $2 billion worth of U.S. pantyhose sales eventually end up in landfills. Each pair takes more than 50 years to decompose, she said.

“We’re using real chemical engineering and material science to take what is seen as just as this commodity where there is no room for innovation and really fundamentally disrupt it.” said Homuth, “There’s so much opportunity for innovation in more traditional industries like apparel.”

This isn’t Homuth’s first venture. Prior to Sheerly Genius, she co-founder ShopLocket, an e-commerce platform which she sold to PCH International in 2014, as well as Female Funders, an online education platform which was acquired by Highline Beta last year.

The company is focusing on just pantyhose for now, but Homuth told CNBC that the fabric could be applied to something like athletic wear, or other forms of apparel that need lightweight fiber fabric but with durability.

The pantyhose will cost $79 for early-bird Kickstarter buyers, then retail for $145 after that. The tights also come with a 30-day money back guarantee…just in case.

Silicon Valley investor Tim Draper defends Zuckerberg: ‘This guy is a hero’

Tim Draper

Venture capitalist Tim Draper defended Mark Zuckerberg as the Facebook co-founder and CEO testified on Capitol Hill.

“This guy is a hero, let’s face it. It’s awesome what he’s done,” said Draper, a longtime tech investor.

Draper also suggested that the intense scrutiny around Facebook’s handling around user data was hypocritical. “All of a sudden we’re worried about privacy. My God, we put all our pictures up there,” he said at Tuesday’s LendIt Fintech conference in San Francisco.

CNBC reporter Deirdre Bosa, who interviewed Draper at the conference, asked the attendees if they agreed with Draper or thought that Facebook had violated their trust in terms of privacy. The crowd of more than 200 was approximately evenly split.

Draper also implied that Facebook’s privacy concerns were relatively minor compared with other tech giants.

“If you have your credit card up on Amazon, you should be a little bit circumspect about all this attack going on on Facebook,” said Draper. “They’ve got your credit card. Facebook’s just got pictures of you, and maybe they’ve analyzed that you like cats. Who cares?”

The founding partner of Draper Associates and DFJ discussed the possible fallout from government involvement, saying that “more regulation leads to more corruption.” Another risk, said Draper, is that entrepreneurs may leave the U.S. for friendlier markets.

“I got a message for all the guys in Washington. We want these people. Bezos can live anywhere else in the world,” Draper said, referring to Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.

Draper, a backer of Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Tesla as well as Skype and other tech firms, is also a big believer in bitcoin.

Zuckerberg appeared before a joint Senate committee on Tuesday and the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday.

Chinese student to be deported after paying $3,000 to impostor to help her get into American university

A Chinese student will be deported after pleading guilty to paying $3,000 to have an impostor take an English-language college entrance exam that helped her get into an American university.

Leyi Huang, 21, was sentenced Monday in federal court in Boston to time served and she agreed to be deported, according to Reuters. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Huang told authorities she paid $3,000 and mailed her Chinese passport to an address in Massachusetts to have Yue Wang, 25, take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam to help her get into Penn State Behrend, the news agency reported, citing court papers.

Wang, a student at the Hult International Business School in Cambridge, also signed on to take the test for two other students as part of a similar scheme to help them get into Northeastern University and Arizona State University, collecting $7,000 in total, the Boston Globe reported.

The newspaper said Huang previously failed the exam on her own, which kept her out of Penn State Behrend. But she was later accepted into the school in Erie, Pa., and handed a student visa after Wang passed the exam for her in March 2016.

All four people were arrested on immigration-related charges in May and the two other women – who were also issued student visas after being admitted into universities – received similar punishments, according to Reuters.

Officials said Wang was sent back to China in September.

“Illegal schemes to circumvent the TOEFL exam jeopardize both academic integrity and our country’s student visa program,” William B. Weinreb, acting U.S. Attorney, had said following the arrests.

“The TOEFL exam ensures that international students have adequate English language skills to succeed in higher education programs in the United States. It also helps maintain the security of our borders and immigration system,” he added. “By effectively purchasing passing scores, they violated the rules and regulations of the exam, taking spots at U.S. colleges and universities that could have gone to others.”

Data from the Institute of International Education showed that the number of Chinese students studying in the U.S. in the 2016-2017 academic year was up 6.8 percent, to 350,755, Reuters reported.

Footwear company Nine West files for bankruptcy and will sell some brands

A woman enters a Nine West store in New York.

U.S. footwear and apparel company Nine West filed for bankruptcy on Friday and said it would sell its Nine West and Bandolino footwear and handbag business to Authentic Brands Group.

Nine West, which owns brands such as Anne Klein and Gloria Vanderbilt, said it had received $300 million in debtor-in-possession financing and had entered a restructuring agreement.

The company, which had missed a debt interest payment in March, now plans to focus on its apparel, jewelry and jeanswear businesses.

Reuters had reported of Nine West’s plans on Thursday and sources had said the company had about $1.5 billion in debt.

U.S. retailers are going through a period of upheaval, with more than 15 filing for bankruptcy last year unable to stand up to competition from online shopping.

Nine West listed assets in the range of $500 million to $1 billion, according to a court filing. The filing also stated Nine West’s liabilities in the range of $1 billion to $10 billion.

Former Qualcomm chairman Paul Jacobs is assembling a group of buyers to take it private

Paul Jacobs

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Paul Jacobs

Paul Jacobs, who was ousted as Qualcomm’s chairman in March, is talking to strategic investors and sovereign wealth funds to chip in for a fully financed bid to take Qualcomm private in the next two months, according to people familiar with the plan. He would run the company after it’s gone private.

One of the potential investors is mobile chip designer ARM, which SoftBank bought in 2016 for more than $30 billion, these people said. ARM’s technology forms the basis for most processors used in smartphones and tablets, including Qualcomm’s processors.

ARM denied that it has talked to Jacobs about a possible acquisition involving Qualcomm. ” “There have been no discussions between Arm and Paul Jacobs on any potential acquisition of Qualcomm,” a spokesperson said.

Jacobs has hired two banks and lawyers to work on the deal, the people said. When the deal is completed, he is hoping for fewer than ten owners to be involved. Economic ownership might not align with control of the company. Jacobs, himself, owns less than 1 percent of Qualcomm.

Control will remain in the United States under Jacobs’ plan, which he believes would allow the deal to avoid the kind of scrutiny that sank Broadcom’s attempt to buy Qualcomm for around $120 billion. President Trump blocked that deal in March after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States expressed concerns over potential national security risks. Broadcom was based in Singapore, but has since re-domiciled to the United States.

Still, Jacobs has been working with CFIUS behind the scenes to address potential problems, which theoretically could arise if a large amount of the economic ownership comes from foreign sovereign wealth funds. The SoftBank-controlled Vision Fund includes a major investment from Saudi Arabia’s main sovereign wealth fund.

A person familiar with his thinking says Jacobs does not believe Qualcomm should be carved up, but he believes he can only implement his plan for it as a private company, because that plan will require significant investment and things that public shareholders would not like.

Jacobs’ father, Irwin, was a co-founder of Qualcomm, and Paul Jacobs rose through the ranks to become CEO from 2005 through 2014. Steve Mollenkopf has been CEO since then, while Jacobs served as chairman. The board removed him in March after Jacobs informed them of his desire to take the company private.

The company has been involved in a complicated high-stakes legal dispute with Apple, which licenses core wireless technology from Qualcomm. Apple claims that the company overcharges for licenses and has sued it for patent infringement, while Qualcomm has sought to have Apple phones banned from China, among other things. Jacobs plans to settle the dispute with Apple and rely on his strong relationship with Tim Cook, the people said.

Jacobs plans to maintain Qualcomm’s license business, unlike Broadcom, which would have shut that piece down, the people said. Jacobs feels the licensing business is actually the strongest part of Qualcomm if operated correctly, the people said.

Zotac Magnus EK71080 Mini PC Review: A Powerful Little Black Box

Zotac is renowned for making powerful mini PCs. Zotac also makes the world’s smallest Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080 graphics card. Combine those two things and you’ve got one heck of a powerful small black box.

There are several ways to make a very small gaming PC. One way is to make a gaming laptop without the built-in keyboard or display. That’s essentially how the first Zotac machine I played with back in 2016 was designed. Another approach is to engineer a case that fits full-sized components in as small a space as possible, like Digital Storm’s Bolt line.

Zotac’s Magnus EK71080 does a little bit of both. From the laptop we’ve got SODIMM memory, designed to be small and lay flat. It’s got slots for both an M.2 laptop-style SSD and a normal 2.5 inch SSD or HHD. It’s even got a slot for Intel Optane memory, which can provide significant speed boosts loading games and applications from a slower, higher capacity standard hard drive. It’s powered by the Intel Core i7-7700HQ quad-core 2.8 GHz processor, a processor that’s seen a lot in high-end gaming laptops.

And then it’s got this:

At just 8.3 inches long, the Zotac Geforce GTX 1080 Mini is the smallest Nvidia’s 1080 gets without switching to the smaller, laptop-centric MXM profile. With performance on par or slightly higher than the Founder’s Edition GTX 1080, it’s the best possible graphics card for a very tiny PC. It’s 4K ready. It’s VR ready. And since it’s a desktop card, it’s got enough ports (three DisplayPort and one HDMI) to run four displays at once.

All of this inside a box that’s nine inches wide, eight inches deep and five inches tall. Not bad.

Magnus EK71080 Specs:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-7700HQ (quad-core 2.8 GHz, up to 3.8 GHz)
  • Memory Slots: 2 x DDR4-2400/2133 SODIMM Slots (up to 32GB)
  • Graphics: ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 Mini 8GB GDDR5X 256-bit
  • Storage: M.21 x M.2 NVMe PCIE x4 / SATA SSD slot (22/42,22/60,22/80), 1 x 2.5-inch SATA 6.0 Gbps HDD/SSD bay, Intel Optane Memory Slot
  • Ports: 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 1 x USB 3.1, 4 x USB 3.0
  • Network: Dual Gigabit LAN, 802.11ac/b/g/n Wifi
  • Dimensions: 225mm x 203mm x 128mm (8.86in x 7.99in x 5.04in)
  • Price: $1,500 without memory/storage/OS

Some Assembly Required

While there are models of the EK71080 that come with memory and storage pre-installed, the unit I am reviewing here came barebones. That means no memory, no hard drive and no operating system. So I opened it up and took a peek inside.

Turning the EK71080 upside-down and removing four speed screws reveals all the internals anyone needs to worry about. Clearly labeled areas show exactly where memory, an M.2 drive, an Intel Optane stick and a 2.5 inch SATA drive should go.

For memory I chose a pair of 8GB HyperX Impact DDR4 2133 SODIMMchips. The system can accept faster speeds and up to 32GB of memory, but it’s a good starting place.

For storage, the obvious choice would be a nice-sized M.2 SSD drive. Would be a shame to leave a system with an M.2 slot without an M.2 drive, after all. Intel’s 760p series is relatively affordable in all sizes, from the $70 128GB version on up to the $200 512GB beast seen here.

Note that the Intel SSD is perched on top of a much larger, much slower 2TB Seagate Barracuda laptop hard drive. I could combine the two, putting boot files and other programs I need to access quickly on the M.2, using the 2TB drive as storage. But this system also has an Intel Optane slot.

This little 32GB Optane memory module is the really cool. My 2TB Seagate drive is not a fast drive. After remembering to install the Optane disk management software (yes, there is software to install), my slow-ass drive sped up considerably. Games that took over ten seconds to load started up almost immediately. My browser opened more quickly. Windows loaded faster.

Optane has some very specific hardware requirements (not the least of which is an Optane memory slot), so it’s not for everyone. But on a system like this one, that’s built to use it? Its a great way to have a lot of storage without slowing things down.

There is no reason to have an Optane drive and an Intel SSD installed at the same time, but it made for a nice picture. 

What I Did With It

Once the EK71080 was complete, I played quite a few games on it, including a few I cannot mention I am playing yet. It’s basically taken over gaming duties for my normal gaming desktop during the review process, because the silly little thing is more powerful than my normal gaming desktop. That’s kind of sad.

What’s Great About It

Performance: There is no game out there that will give the EK71080 any trouble at 1080p, and few that give it pause at 2160p. Rise of the Tomb Raider, my current “ow it hurts” game, hovered around 60 frames per second at tweaked “very high” settings at 2160p, so it’s a brave little toaster. 4K gaming is certainly doable, though some of the more demanding games out there will need the bells and whistles dialed back.

A VR Monster: The EK71080 is a perfect virtual reality box. Small and portable, yet powerful enough to do anything asked of it by the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift with nary a stutter. It makes me want to grab an extension cord and take it out into the driveway so I can finally do VR without breaking half of my office.

The Size, Obviously: There is so much stuff on my computer desk. When I initially agreed to look at the EK71080, I was looking to approach it from the point of view of someone looking for a living room PC. I’m sure it would be great for that as well, but damn if it isn’t nice to have a PC the size of half a shoebox on a desk covered with toys, tablets, gadgets, video lights, coffee cups, scented wax burners and various gadgets and gizmos.

What’s Not So Great

Not All That Upgradable: While one can fiddle about with hard drives and memory configurations quite a bit, there’s not much else you can change in the EK71080. If it had just one tiny PCIe slot available, it would be perfect for my purposes (I use an internal video capture card). Considering most people looking for a very small form factor PC take such things into account, this might not be a negative for most. This is just me after looking up the cost of an external PCIe enclosure (several hundred dollars at best).

A Little Bit Loud: When not involved in vigorous gaming, the EK71080 is actually pretty quiet. I have a desk fan that’s louder than it on its lowest setting. Things only get loud when the fans of the 1080 Mini kick into overdrive—Rise of the Tomb Raider did it, as did my 3DMark torture test (to see if the computer explodes—it did not). Something to keep in mind if you’re looking for an unobtrusive gaming system.

Final Thoughts

The Zotac Magnus EK71080 is a small black box that does everything I need and want it to do. Looking at it then looking at my gaudy pink tower PC with its missing drive bay covers and dust-choked acrylic side panel, I can’t help but feel like I’ve made bad choices.

The Endless Quest To Make My Windows PC Stay Asleep Overnight

My PC can do a lot of things. It can play video games at high resolutions and snappy frame rates. It can run the latest virtual reality software, transporting me to fantastical virtual worlds. It cannot, however, reliably sleep through the night.

I built my current gaming PC in 2014. I love it to death, but ever since I first turned it on, it has suffered from sporadic insomnia. Things will be fine for a while, then I’ll wake up one morning to find it turned on, purring away and slowly sucking power from the wall. I’ll spend some time Googling, reading, and trying to determine the problem. I’ll try toggling some setting or other, and eventually I’ll figure out how to make it stay asleep. All will be well for a while, but eventually, inevitably, it will begin waking up again.

Every time that happens, I marvel at what a stupid problem it is. This is a basic thing for an operating system to keep getting wrong. Given the number of my colleagues who describe similar issues, along with the volume of internet guides, forum threads, and tutorial videos on the subject, I sense that it’s a widespread problem. Windows PCs just do not like to stay asleep.

A couple of weeks ago, after months of restful sleep, my PC once again began to wake itself up in the middle of the night. I put off dealing with the problem for as long as I could. Last weekend, I’d finally had enough. I will now walk you through how I fixed it.

1. Tried disabling wake timers.

This is a common solution, and usually what I try first. Going into Control Panel > Power & Sleep Settings got me into the neighborhood. From there I needed to click “Change when the computer sleeps,” over on the side, then click “Change advanced power settings.” Then I navigated down to “Sleep” under the advanced settings, and made sure “Allow wake timers” was disabled.

That rat’s nest of sub-menus is standard for solving this kind of issue in Windows. Navigating Windows system menus is like going below deck on an ancient luxury cruise liner. The top floors look posh and organized, but the deeper you go, the more rusty and labyrinthine things get. Soon you’re lost and worried that you might never see daylight again.

2. It didn’t work. Began diagnostics.

Doing a blanket disable of wake timers works about half the time. Sometimes it doesn’t, because whatever is waking the PC bypasses or ignores that toggle. In this case, it didn’t work. Next thing to do was to determine what woke the computer up.

After consulting Lifehacker, I did that by going into the command prompt and typing “powercfg -lastwake”. Here’s what it told me:

Not exactly helpful.

3. Diagnostics II: Diagnose Harder.

The next thing I tried, as suggested by a guide at How To Geek, was going into Windows Event viewer, opening “Windows Logs,” and opening the list of “System” events. I filtered by “Power-Troubleshooter” event sources, and it narrowed the list to a few things that seemed like they could be tied to the events that woke my PC. I scrolled down to “Wake Source” and it said…

“Wake Source: Unknown.” Well, shit.

4. Diagnostics III: Son Of Diagnostics.

There’s another command I could enter in the Command Prompt that’d give me more information: “powercfg /waketimers”. Unfortunately, that won’t run in a standard Command Prompt, because it requires administrator privileges. I had to reload Command Prompt as an administrator.

When I ran the command, it told me that the last time the PC woke up, it was due to a timer set by the SystemEventsBroker, executing ‘NT Task\Microsoft\Windows\UpdateOrchestrator\Reboot,’” which was a task that requested waking the computer. Okay, it looked like I had found the culprit.

5. Attempted to fix the problem directly.

It appeared as though after some update or other, Windows decided that something related to Windows Update was allowed to wake my PC up, even though I had Wake Timers turned off. (This may sound like a ridiculous way for a software update to work, but it’s par for the course with Windows.) I googled “Update OrchestratorReboot waking windows PC” and found multiple forum threads dedicated to solving this apparently common problem.

I opened up Task Scheduler, then navigated through a bunch of nestled menus to Microsoft > Windows > UpdateOrchestrator. There it was, “Reboot,” scheduled to run again later that night. I clicked on “conditions” and saw a ticked box next to “Wake the computer to run this task.” I actually couldn’t just click the checkbox in Task Scheduler, however; I had to right-click “Reboot,” then select “Properties,” then go to “Conditions” in yet another sub-menu, where I unchecked the box.

6. Got stymied when something stupid went wrong.

By that point I’d spent a solid 20 minutes poking through sub-menus and internet how-tos to try to solve this thing. I’d found the problem, but should’ve known it would never be as easy as just clicking the toggle and moving on with my life. This was Windows, which meant something stupid had to go wrong.

In this case, when I tried to uncheck the “Wake the computer to run this task” box and accept my changes, this weird-ass menu popped up:

I had (and still have) no idea what that username was, or what kind of password it might have required. I entered my own Windows user name into the top field and my Windows password into the bottom, and I got an error message:

“The supplied variant structure contains invalid data.”


As it turned out, I could not uncheck the wake timer box through that series of menus. Windows refused to let me.

7. Googled the stupid thing that went wrong.

It’s usually safe to assume that if I’m running into some dumbassed Windows problem, other people are as well. I did a little Googling and found that indeed, lots of people were unable to make their Windows PCs stay asleep because they weren’t allowed to disable UpdateOrchestrator\Reboot’s wake timer.

After searching for a bit, I found this Microsoft support thread from December 2017, in which a poster (not a Microsoft support person!) who goes by DebayanGupta had shared an input for the Command Prompt that looked like it would let me disable the wake timer.

8. Had my PC tell me that access was denied.

I ran the elevated command prompt as an administrator, then entered the suggested command: “SCHTASKS /Change /TN “Microsoft\Windows\UpdateOrchestrator\Reboot” /DISABLE” and my PC spit back to me:

Access is denied? Access is denied? I BUILT YOU. I GAVE YOU LIFE. How dare you??

9. Paused and reminded myself how simple this should’ve been.

My PC was waking up when it shouldn’t. This was some basic shit. It should be controlled by a toggle located in some easy to find settings menu, like, a check-box next to the sentence “allow software to wake the computer from sleep.” It was absurd that something so trivial should actually be so complicated.

10. Installed special software that overrode the access restriction.

After that I downloaded NSudo, which let me run things in Windows with “all privileges” turned on. I tried not to dwell on the fact that I was downloading some GitHub app that I’d never heard of to be able to give commands to an operating system that I’d bought and installed, but whatever. I installed NSudo, ran Command Prompt with all privileges turned on, and ran the command again.

Success! The parameters had been changed. I finally did it, right? (Right?)

11. Enjoyed my success until Windows overwrote it.

For one night, it worked. My PC didn’t wake up until I clicked my mouse the next morning. The next night, however, it woke up again. I re-diagnosed the problem the following morning and found that, yep, UpdateOrchestrator\Reboot had yet again woken up my PC. As it turned out, the UpdateOrchestrator has a tendency to write over your changes, even if you had forced the issue by using something like NSudo.

12. Fixed the problem again before locking the door behind me.

At this point I was too far in to give up. I needed to fix the problem, then lock the system out of the file so that it couldn’t change it after I left. Thanks again to the post from DebayanGupta, I loaded an elevated command prompt with Nsudo, then entered: “%WINDIR%\System32\Tasks\Microsoft\Windows\UpdateOrchestrator\Reboot” /inheritance:r /deny “Everyone:F” /deny “SYSTEM:F” /deny “Local Service:F” /deny “Administrators:F”.

I am no computer expert, but I believe that blocked off Windows from accessing the Reboot file, meaning it wouldn’t be able to change or overwrite it down the road. I am not used to taking this firm a hand with my operating system. Not only was I required to force my own PC to give me the access I needed to change a setting, I then had to lock the door behind me to keep it from undoing my changes.

13. Tried to relax and enjoy my victory.

It’s been four nights, and my PC has stayed asleep through all of them. I still have no real sense of what the UpdateOrchestrator\Reboot was doing, or if blocking my PC’s access to the file will be detrimental to its health over the long-term.

It’s probably fine. The important thing is that I won. Once again, I was able to bend Windows 10 to my will. My PC will sleep without waking, at least for a while.

Looking back over that convoluted problem-solving process, I keep reminding myself that I wasn’t trying to do anything weird or advanced. I wanted to stop my PC from waking up in the middle of the night. Like all the other people who have wrestled with this problem over the years, I wanted only to restore the most basic sort of functionality to my computer.

go to sleep go to sleep go to sleep go to sleep

Things will be fine for a little while, but if history is any guide, they won’t stay fine forever. Sometime within the next year, my PC will start waking itself up again, and I’ll dive down the rabbit hole once more.

It’s Hard To Go Back To Sub-60 FPS Gaming

On today’s Kotaku Splitscreen, we’re talking about noir games, how to get your husband into The Witcher 3, PC vs. consoles, and much much more.

First, Kirk and I jump into news on Mafia 3‘s developer laying people off, Kentucky’s governor blaming video games for shootings, and the System Shock reboot facing development troubles. Then we answer some listener questions (23:01) on console vs. PC gaming and getting your non-gaming spouse into The Witcher 3. We finish things off (48:05) by chatting about games we’re playing: Assassin’s Creed Origins and A Case of Distrust.

Also, we tease a little something that you should be very, very excited for.

Get the MP3 right here.

And here’s a brief excerpt about why I’m finding it hard to go back to consoles:

Jason: Here’s my position. I have now officially been a PC gamer, or more accurately, I’ve had a hardcore super-high-end gaming PC since the beginning of January. First of all, I love it to death. Second of all, the biggest difference for me has been the framerate of games. I knew this was going to happen, because framerate is the one thing I’ve noticed most over the years—when a game is chugging on consoles, I can always tell. It was tough to play Bloodborne for that very reason.

So jumping into something like Rise of the Tomb Raider, which I just started playing, and Assassin’s Creed Origins, which I just started replaying on PC, these games running at 60 frames-per-second makes such a huge difference. It makes the game feel so much smoother, and so much better than playing it at 30 frames per second or below on a console on your TV.

That to me makes the biggest difference. I’m not playing at 4K, I’m playing on a 1440p monitor. Man, I have to get used to all the jargon.

That framerate thing makes such a big difference that it’s making me want to play mostly on PC when I have the option. But the flip side is, sitting on a couch is more comfortable than sitting at my desk. For me, framerate has been winning out—I have a decent gaming chair, so I’ve been sitting back and playing on my DualShock 4 and I’m just having a blast, cause it’s running at 60 fps. I could not imagine now going back to consoles and playing that game at 30 fps.