War in Ukraine — 2023 wrap-up

Christmas is coming and Zelensky is back from a tour in the Americas and Europe just like he did one year ago. Putin also held his annual press conference, the first time after he started the war in Ukraine. Here’s my wrap up of what we have learned about the war in the past one year and what’s ahead:

1. Russia didn’t advance much in the spring and Ukraine’s much-awaited counteroffensive hit the defenses without any major breakthroughs. That does not mean the war would be stuck. Intense fighting is continuing all across the frontlines as we speak. We are in a situation where nobody is winning and nobody is happy. Men and machines burn on daily basis.

2. It seems clear Russia’s goal remains Ukrainian capitulation and complete takeover. We have seen the pattern. Now Putin says Odessa belongs to Russia. He doesn’t mention Ukrainian officials by name just like his political opponents who have been taken out. He is on a mission to punish Ukraine like Prigozhin just because they fight back. It looks very unlikely Russia would ever settle this war as long as Putin is alive and there are Ukrainian soldiers standing.

3. For Ukraine most of their territory occupied a year ago is still under Russian control. Ukraine will continue to defend Russian attacks over the winter and hopefully get into counteroffensive again when its resources allow. It is not conceivable Ukraine would settle and surrender any parts of its territory no matter what others say and how much support they get. Otherwise all the fighting and nation build-up project up to this point would become tears in the rain.

4. The Free World’s support has become the subject of political games. This is however all anticipated and expected. There will always be voices in an open society like the US republicans and the current head of the Hungarian government. It does not mean Ukraine would be out of backing anytime soon. Just remember the EU just decided to start official membership talks with Ukraine no matter of one lone opponent.

5. What happens in 2024 is all open. The big picture is very much like in December 2022. The parties are the same and the stakes are the same. Even the frontline is about the same. The default scenario is that the war just drags on and on unless some surprise event unfolds. My wish for 2024 is that in one year from now Ukraine has taken the next steps towards ultimate victory and I don’t have to write again the same projection for 2025.

War in Ukraine: the First 300 Days

I have been following the war in Ukraine through Twitter, Telegram and other real time social media channels since the very beginning on daily basis. Right now that Zelensky is giving a press conference with Biden in White House, and we are 300 days from day one, I have the feeling there might be a calmer period ahead but no immediate end in sight. So I thought it could be a good time to gather my thoughts together.

It is still obvious that nobody knows how the war will end. Not Putin, not Zelensky, not Biden, not anybody else. Some patterns and possible outcomes can be however identified:

1. Putin’s mission has been and remains to take over the whole Ukraine and he can be only stopped by a bullet, coup or the like. It doesn’t count a cent what Russia says and lies about their goals, peace talks etc. Their take over can go militarily up to the Polish border or at minimum they want Zelensky gone, Ukrainian surrender and some random puppet government placed in Kyiv. In this sense this war is comparable to WWI or WWII. Putin’s Russia is essentially running an old school conquest mission we haven’t seen in this world in a generation or two.

2. Ukraine will never surrender. They will fight until the last man standing no matter how much they are attacked or how much support they get from the US and EU. Before the war it was unclear to me if there will be genuine, large-scale conflict between Russia and Ukraine or if Russia will just march in like in Crimea back in 2014. This has no longer been the case after the first two weeks of the war or so. Ukraine has kind of reborn as a fully independent, sovereign nation and founding story in the past 10 months. They stand united. Ukraine will not stop until pre-2014 borders are back on the map.

3. EU, US, China, Israel and others were initially just following and reacting to the events as they unfolded. Since then the Free World has step by step increased the absolutely critical military support to let Ukraine defend its territory and stop Russia. But that is not enough. Now after significant Ukrainian gains over the past few months I get the feeling the military support for Ukraine should be still couple magnitudes higher If we want to see Russia defeated and retreat back to the pre-2014 borders in months instead of years. We also need to continue to build up unified political pressure and sanctions against Russia and all the Kremlin agents across the world.

4. Before February it was somewhat unclear to me who leads Russia. Was Putin just a puppet of some of the top oligarchs or vice versa? Now it is clear that everyone in Russia is under Putin who runs some kind of Peter the Great reality show on TV. Pretty many oligarchs and other regional bosses must hate big time letting their country get into this stage. Their capo has sucked all the power and runs a war economy in an unpredictable, dangerous way. Late John McCain has still the best description of what Putin’s Russia is all about: “A gas station run by a mafia that is masquerading as a country.”

5. Russian army is the black horse. They could simply stop the war if there is still some independent command structure left. They could do a quick power transition like has happened in some of the other modern-day dictatorships over the past 50 years or so.

6. Another random rider are nukes. It seems like Putin can at some point simply order Russian army to nuke any target and then we see what happens. In any event Putin is the only known person in this world both capable and even possibly willing to detonate a nuke on people. If they would nuke I think nobody would really respond in kind unless Russia would like bomb Kiev to the ground or something as crazy as that.

7. The default scenario is that the war goes on with conventional weapons until the bitter end. We will have more blood in the snow when the Christmas comes and the year turns into 2023. Where the borders lie next year — nobody knows. In the long term it is obvious Ukraine will take over the lost land, join EU and so on. Right now it feels like this journey will just take a long time.

8. What happens to Russia after the war is another major question mark but it has to be addressed because this kind of wars cannot happen again. One scenario is they follow the North Korean complete isolation model but I have hard times to believe in that because Russia is just too big, diversified and unstructured to be as tightly controlled. At the other end if Russia would succumb into chaos some independent regions could rebel and declare independence. Even if that would happen I don’t think anybody wants to go there, occupy, “peace keep” or grab any of that land with any pretext. They need to somehow sort it out themselves. Like Zelensky said in his address to US Congress: “The Russians will stand a chance to be free only when they defeat the Kremlin in their minds.” They do it either region by region, which I guess would be most likely, or then in some miraculous way as a reborn, unified, democratic nation among other nations.

Installing Windows 11 on Old CPU

Back in 2015 the news was Windows 10 would be the last Windows ever. I thought they would follow the Apple model where OS X is the last OS we probably see on Macs. Well, it didn’t take that long and now Microsoft decided to release another incremental update as Windows 11. Probably marketing was at play or then some sales department call to squeeze more money from the legacy transaction based software business model as long as it lasts…

I had switched from Mac to Windows laptops maybe two years ago just to get an idea how the Windows and Microsoft ecosystems work nowadays. I found somewhere two cheap units of Lenovo X1 Carbon 5th gen which I think is still pretty good hardware. Not for gaming but for production use. Great keyboard, trackpoint, matte black finish etc. Brought positive memories from the good old T20 some 20+ years ago…

Then Apple released M1 laptops and I was stuck with trying to edit 4K GoPro and drone videos. Quick switch back, Davinci Resolve rocks, and X1 Carbons started to collect dust with the old Intel based Macbook… until I decided to give them another shot with Windows 11.

Turns out Microsoft in 2022 somehow just can’t nail it. Feels like I’ve been through this kind of crap before.

I learn the X1 Carbons from 2017 do not qualify for Windows 11 hardware requirements. Two things fail: TPM 2.0 and CPU. Like WHAT? These were +$2k business laptops with top notch specs when new and they are still in pretty shiny condition. Run any business app no problem. They have 2.4GHz Intel i5 multi-core processors, pretty good SSDs and 8GB RAM. I have hard times to understand what is wrong with that. Microsoft officially requires only 1Ghz processor but, more importantly, it has to be the “next generation” of CPUs which came into X1 Carbons in 2018. To me it seems all that “generation” stuff is however just marketing bullshit and nothing to do with actual CPU horsepower. Microsoft has published here instructions how to install Windows 11 anyway on your computer that doesn’t meet these requirements but in my case I had to do a couple other tricks as well.

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Installing Windows 11 Pro aborts because of TPM and CPU? Here’s how you can do it and I think this should be a future proof method:

  1. Boot, go to BIOS, and switch TPM 2.0 on (if you have it). Somehow I got a treacherous computing flashback doing that. But I guess it’s now okay.
  2. Download Windows 11 Pro version 1 installer file. Do not try the online installer and do not try any later downloadable version which requires you to sign in online.
  3. Switch wifi and other network connections off so you avoid online specs checks.
  4. Now follow Microsoft’s instructions: open Registry Editor and add DWORD “AllowUpgradesWithUnsupportedTPMOrCPU” with hex value “1” into Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup\MoSetup and if you don’t have MoSetup key then create that first.
  5. Go ahead and Install Windows 11… I think it takes a few minutes to get started when the installer tries in vain to get connected but don’t worry, it goes ahead anyways.
  6. Once installed go back online and get the latest Windows 11 updates.

Trump Recap

I was planning to publish this post first time when Trump lost the election. Second time when the electoral college votes were cast. Third time when electoral college votes were certified. But no, I had to wait, as the guy and his presidency seemed to roll on and spin to yet another tangent. The guy kept on dominating the news. Still today when Joe Biden was sworn in he kept the lights on and the second trial for the capitol riot is still pending. So while this was the last day of his presidency, making a summary of his time and achievements over the past four years feels like a shot towards a moving target as we speak.


1. Trump made politics interesting again. I’d say that starting from his primary run he made politics, and not just US politics but politics all over place, a coffee shop topic. Trump was a change agent. And change is usually very good. Established institutions need shake-up once in a while.

2. Trump essentially started a trade war with China to balance down China’s continuous, unilateral business expansion in the US and across the world. He changed rhetoric and actual policy just like he had promised. I think the real key here was that he went in with trade as the lead argument which China also understands. That was a big ticket item where he delivered seemingly on his own.

3. Trump kept the US domestic policy focus on the economy. He quickly forgot the stupid wall and didn’t waste too much time on nonsense identity politics. Instead Trump kept on repeating his messaging on the economy and how stock indexes hit records, actually twice if you count the Covid recovery. All that was partly thanks to his and the GOP policies. No lefty can argue against that.


1. Israel and Middle East “breakthroughs”. Cannot be judged yet but those can have positive long term consequences. Or the other way around…


1. No principles or moral standards. Trump contributed big time in killing moral standards in politics worldwide — whatever there was left. It came with the populist agenda that kinda sucked him in over the years. But still, why did he need to lie all the time? It went to full time comedy show level at the end when even crazy consipiracy theories were called in.

2. No team play or predictability. When he ran he promised to nominate the best ever negotiators etc. to the top offices. However, after he had won the elections it became quickly obvious that he couldn’t build a team. And whoever decent he got also left, or was “fired”, soon enough and second class team members with no integrity came in. When Rex Tillerson called him a moron after his exit I think a lot of sensible guys took notice. At the end what he had left in his innner circle were basically his kids, Giuliani, and that total nuts lawyer who claimed Hugo Chavez stole the election. I’m not even going to his random exploits through Twitter except that I think the ban they gave him in the final two weeks was justified.

3. Losing US global political leadership (if you count out the trade war with China). That part made very little sense to anybody. Who can explain what was gained by playing friends with Russia and other long-term adversaries and going arrogant against allies? It looked like Trump went again here on his own against all possible advise from left and right. I hope Biden tries everything he can to reverse Trump’s damage here, starting today.

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Overall, while there were some clear positives, it became a clown show the longer he stayed there. It was about time he left today for good. I sincerely hope we don’t hear back from Trump or anybody like him at the top of US politics again.

In memoriam — Ville Oksanen

Went through some terrible news today. Ville Oksanen, my long time friend and colleague, passed away. He was my call-to guy for anything possible that mattered over the past 15+ years. No matter what I was calling about I could always know his feedback comes with deep insight and the highest possible integrity.

Ville needs more than a quick obituary. To start with here’s something we got published in Helsingin Sanomat back in March 1999 when we were just 22-year-old nerdy students. I still consider this early piece kinda set the stage to everything that was to come in his life’s work.