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Comment: They could turn things around (Score 4, Interesting) 863

by astrashe (#43460035) Attached to: ZDNet Proclaims "Windows: It's Over"

MS's main problem is that they still think like monopolists. That's the core of the Win 8 problem -- people at MS telling us what we'll take, and that we'll like it. That they know better.

I'm a Gnome 2 refugee typing this on a Macbook Air, not a MS apologist. But Windows 7 is a very fine desktop OS. All they have to do is to stop trying to kill it off. Put it back on the PCs in the stores. Admit that Ballmer screwed the pooch, and let him go. He's a leader from the monopoly era, and not well suited to this moment.

Active Directory is a huge asset for MS. There's a whole ecosystem of tools that people use to do work in companies that will be very hard for anyone else to displace. Excel is amazing, and it's central to the conduct of business all over the world. People in offices all over the world live in Outlook. These aren't small advantages.

in the old days, they had their boots on our necks, and we all hated them. I remember that very clearly. But now, as tech professionals, we need them to get it together, for the health of the tech industry as a whole. Too much is sitting on top of them for their implosion to be a good thing.

Comment: Does Amazon pay Canonical for this? (Score 5, Interesting) 529

by astrashe (#42236793) Attached to: Ubuntu Community Manager: RMS's Post Seems a Bit Childish To Me

Doesn't Amazon pay Canonical if people make purchases? (I might be wrong about this -- if I am, please correct me.)

*If* Amazon does pay Canonical, and Bacon doesn't mention that in his post, I kind of feel like Bacon loses the argument. I mean, if they're getting paid, and he's making posts that say, "We're doing this only because we want you to have the best search experience," it seems a little disingenuous.

Comment: Spin? (Score 3, Insightful) 99

by astrashe (#37653382) Attached to: Predator Drone 'Virus' Could Be Military's Own Monitoring

A big story goes out about how the drone control system are really seriously compromised. Not only have they detected malware, but they're unable to get rid of it. A few days later, a new story comes out. "Yeah, we totally meant to do that." Only it doesn't even say that. Instead, it says, "Wouldn't it be interesting if they totally meant to do that?"

Even if the malware was installed by some shadowy arm of our government, it's a giant screw up if the guys who are in charge of running the systems didn't keep it out and can't remove it once it's detected. If the guys running the system were competent, the shadowy arm of our own government shouldn't be able to install this crap and more easily than anyone else.

Comment: Re:One Era Ends To Make Way For Another (Score 2) 365

by Chairboy (#36649516) Attached to: Can the US Still Lead In Space Despite Shuttle's End?

Sorry, friend, but you're mistaken. The wings gave the shuttle the crossrange needed to launch, release a payload, then de-orbit back at the launch spot (which has at this point rotated a thousand plus miles away from where the orbit ended.

The wings were needed so they could re-enter, then glide back to Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Comment: They detect tethered traffic with the TTL field (Score 1) 513

by astrashe (#35536522) Attached to: AT&T Cracking Down On Unofficial iPhone Tethering

I agree with you that we should be able to do what we want with our bandwidth. But they can detect traffic without looking for "Windows traffic".

Every time a packet goes from one hop to the next, the TTL field gets decremented. If traffic originates from the iPhone, it has a TTL of 64. If you tether some other device (even another iPhone, connected to the first via wi-fi), it will have a different TTL.

Comment: G should support FireGPG-like product (Score 1) 215

by astrashe (#33699568) Attached to: Google Warning Gmail Users On Spying From China

There's a really easy way google can mitigate a lot of these problems. They could cooperate a little bit with someone who wants to make a firefox plugin that would encrypt people's email.

I know that goes against their business model, which lets them use people's emails to tailor search results and target ads. And it would probably piss off a number of governments. But in reality, almost no one would actually take the trouble to encrypt their mail, and it would allow people who really needed the privacy to take care of themselves.

It's such an easy, simple solution. I wish they'd consider it.

Comment: it's kinda like vim (Score 2, Interesting) 350

by astrashe (#33150338) Attached to: Why Wave Failed

Wave was confusing, and it demanded a big shift in thinking up front -- sort of like vim. You couldn't just add little changes into your workflow incrementally. On top of that, you had to have someone else to do it with. It was hard to be a geeky guy who was interested, and willing to climb the learning curve on your own.

So imagine you use a typical gui screen editor. And you want to learn vim. And the only way you can move forward is if you find someone else who's willing to use vim with you while you learn.

Most people just aren't going to do it.

Incremental gradual change is easier for people.

Comment: I see two problems (Score 1) 563

by astrashe (#32966036) Attached to: Passwords That Are Simple — and Safe(?)

I see two problems -- I don't know that either is a deal breaker, but I figure I'll put them out there.

First, users might not enjoy certain aspects of the experience.

Usually, there are rules, they tell you the rules, and if you follow them, your password is accepted. The system seems fair -- there are rules, you can follow them, if you follow them, it works. The proposed system will feel arbitrary -- you try a password, maybe it will work, maybe not. If it doesn't, you have to try again. Maybe it won't work again.

A certain kind of user is going to get rejected over and over again, because they're going to consistently pick common passwords. And they'll really,really hate this system.

Second, I'm not sure that dictionary attacks will be impossible. Attackers are smart, and they're good at adapting. Just because current dictionary attacks would fail doesn't mean that future dictionary attacks would fail.

People like to use words and swap characters around. So someone might start out with "football". That's not good enough, so they try "footb@ll". Or "footba1l". Whatever. I believe it might be possible to model the processes that people use to generate passwords in their heads, and to create a dictionary of words using the model.

Maybe that would be a lot harder than it seems -- but as well all know, some attackers are really smart and really competent. So that would worry me.

Comment: This strikes me as misleading (Score 2, Insightful) 185

by astrashe (#32381882) Attached to: Google WebM Calls "Open Source" Into Question

It seems very clear that Google is trying to support open standards and technologies. Different people are going back and forth over licenses and procedures. Everyone seems to be acting in good faith. And there's no reason to believe that it won't all get worked out.

The language in the /. article almost makes it sound like Google is trying to do something like "Embrace and Extend". I just don't think that's what's going on.

If we can move to a place where most video is managed with open technologies, it will be very good for everyone. I'm grateful to the companies who get it, and to people who are trying to figure out the best way to do it. And I don't think the fact that there are small differences of opinion among those folks is a good reason to get upset.

Computers can figure out all kinds of problems, except the things in the world that just don't add up.

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