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Comment: Re:Doesn't need much to make it right (Score 1) 234

by nine-times (#47757999) Attached to: New Windows Coming In Late September -- But Which One?

The real issue is that half of the OS uses the desktop UI, and the other half uses the "metro" UI.

And this problem, unfortunately, extends to the settings. Which settings are in the Control Panel, and which are in "PC Settings"? Who knows? Do the settings in the metro-based "PC Settings" only apply to the metro environment? Nope. There's not a clear distinction.

The built-in metro apps are inferior and redundant to the desktop counterparts.

I think part of the problem there is they were thinking, "Well we have all of these aging applications like Paint and Windows Photo Viewer. Instead of fixing them or making newer versions, let's just replace them with Metro apps!" So you have the metro apps which are simplified. They're simplified both because the metro UI requires simplification, and because they're new applications that haven't undergone years of development.

But they didn't seem to consider that, as a user, this leaves you with a dilemma between two unappealing options: Either use the old, dated "Windows Classic" applications that have sucked since they were written 20 years ago, or go with the new underdeveloped "Metro" applications that create a jarring experience every time you open them.

Can you remember which things are under "Accessories" versus the ones under "System Tools?"

Generally yes. "System Tools" is under "Accessories" and has like Windows Backup, Disk Cleanup, Disk Defragmenter, Task Scheduler. "Accessories" also included communication tools (Remote Desktop, HyperTerminal) and other things like Window Explorer, Notepad, Calculator, IE, etc. Of course, Microsoft made a regular habit of shuffling those things around a bit with every release, but it was relatively stable for 15 years.

In Windows 8? That stuff probably isn't on your start screen, so you'll have to search for it, or else switch the view to show all the applications. The list of applications is unfortunately flat, so you can't rely on the same kind of spacial orientation that nested folders provided in the star menu.

But they just haven't figured out how to offer full-screen apps with all the power of the desktop.

And they won't be able to. On the desktop, you can already maximize windows if you want a "full screen app", but most of the time, it's extremely useful to have non-maximized windows arranged freely on the screen.

Comment: Re:Why (Score 1) 234

by nine-times (#47757771) Attached to: New Windows Coming In Late September -- But Which One?

Google has enabled applications that are cached and run locally, without need of an internet connection, and basically appear to be local apps. Their strategy seems to be to use this method to enable cross-platform application development on any platform capable of running the Chrome browser.

Because honestly, what difference does it make if the browser was created using HTML, CSS, and Javascript? If it runs locally and looks like a local application, you might not even notice the difference.

Comment: Re:No (Score 2) 441

This is the correct response. Net neutrality is the only way to preserve freedom in the "market" of Internet services. The ISP market is not an example of free market capitalism. There are various governmental restrictions on where you can lay infrastructure, and the cost of that infrastructure presents an extremely high barrier to entry. This results in a monopoly or duopoly in most areas in the United States. Therefore, we're not talking about a "free market".

So if you want to allow for a free market of services provided over that infrastructure, you have to bar the ISPs from playing favorites, or using their control to further their own agendas. For example, if you want to allow services like Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and Box to all compete in a "free market", then you need a level playing field. You can't allow Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon to all decide that they'll partner with Box, and throttle access to the rest. If they did, that would give Box a de facto monopoly over the market, and no one would have an opportunity to compete.

And it's the competition that provides all those nice features that capitalism is supposed to provide-- the "invisible hand" and all that. So that's all that "net neutrality" does; it provides a level playing field, which enables competition. It's actually a very capitalist policy.

Comment: Re:It's job security (Score 2) 753

by nine-times (#47750687) Attached to: Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

Old-school Unix admins don't WANT anything to change, or get easier. It threatens their livelihood.

I would have my doubts that this were the real explanation. Maybe for a few people here and there, but most techies that I know wouldn't mind things being much easier. I think it's more of a stubbornness and resistance to change, maybe with a little bit of laziness in the realm of "I don't want to have to relearn things." And as you say, "I've developed some ways to make my life easier, and I don't want to re-develop them all."

Of course, there's also the possibility that some of the new ways of doing things are actually not as good as the old. That can happen too. All of these things can happen, but I don't know many IT people who actually go looking for ways to create job security. For most of us, the "laziness" overcomes that, and we're overloaded enough with other work that we're just looking to make things as easy as possible.

Comment: Re:I forced myself to watch it (Score 1) 298

by nine-times (#47749283) Attached to: Put A Red Cross PSA In Front Of the ISIS Beheading Video

So you're saying, "You can't claim that there's no value in watching the video unless you've seen it." On the face of it, it seems reasonable. But then, if I were to claim that there's no value in watching it, then why would I have watched it? If I had chosen to watch it of my own accord, then it would actually undercut my argument that there's not value in watching it. Obviously I would have thought that there was *some* value, or I wouldn't have watched it.

It's a little like saying, "I'm against gun control, but don't even argue with me unless you own a gun. If you don't own a gun, then you don't understand guns, and so you should just stay out of the conversation." It kind of almost sounds sensible until you think about it.

I think, rather, that it falls on you, as someone who has seen it, to explain what value I would get from watching it. Other than a sadistic juvenile rubberneckinig enjoyment from seeing something awful, what would I get out of watching it?

Comment: Re:Welcome to the Information Age! (Score 1) 143

by nine-times (#47747173) Attached to: It's Easy To Hack Traffic Lights

You know, I've thought about why this is the case, and here are a couple of thoughts that I had:

1) With all we've found out about big businesses cooperating with the NSA, I wouldn't be too surprised if the NSA had, in some ways, actively discouraged security and encryption.

2) I think part of the problem is coming up with, agreeing on, and an implementing a set of standards. We don't do standards anymore. Everyone has little walled gardens. We're not going to come up with better email standards, for example, because the days of everyone wanting to agree on protocols like SMTP and POP3 and IMAP are over. Now Google wants to have its own email standards and protocols, Microsoft wants to have its own, and Facebook wants to have its own. You aren't going to get those companies together into a room, working towards a better solution that they can all use. Even if you had a better protocol all worked out, they wouldn't use it. It's a combination of "not invented here" syndrome and "I want to control the patents and the infrastructure" and finally, "I don't even want people to be able to communicate with people on my service unless they also sign up for my service."

3) People prefer to do nothing than to undertake change. Fixing things takes effort, and your attempts to fix things might not go according to plan. As long as nobody important to yelling at them to get things fixed, a lot of people would rather sit back and watch things fall apart.

Comment: Re:Common sense (Score 1) 87

by nine-times (#47731367) Attached to: What's After Big Data?

Common sense will never come into style, and "they" will never hire people to think and actually produce useful/actionable insights. You see, it's a bit of a catch-22. No one will make good decisions until someone sensible is in charge, but we'll never put sensible people in charge until we've started making good decisions. It's ignorant sociopaths all the way down.

Comment: Re:Welcome to the Information Age! (Score 2) 143

by nine-times (#47730841) Attached to: It's Easy To Hack Traffic Lights

Did you not read the summary, even?

The network is IP-based, with all the nodes (intersections and management computers) on a single subnet. In order to save on installation costs and increase flexibility, the traffic light system uses wireless radios rather than dedicated physical networking links for its communication infrastructure ... The 5.8GHz network has no password and uses no encryption; with a proper radio in hand, joining is trivial. ... The research team quickly discovered that the debug port was open on the live controllers and could directly "read and write arbitrary memory locations, kill tasks, and even reboot the device.

Yes, ultimately physical security is always an issue. They can try to make the devices difficult to access, but as you've pointed out, that's always going to be a problem.

But this is a different level of "insecure". These things are controlled through open, unencrypted wireless networking. There are no passwords. It's like the difference between saying, "Your home is never completely secure, since someone can always break a window or crowbar the door open," vs. "Let's just leave our valuables sitting out on the lawn, completely unattended."

Comment: Re:Welcome to the Information Age! (Score 1) 143

by nine-times (#47729891) Attached to: It's Easy To Hack Traffic Lights

I don't know. I my experience, a lot of poor security isn't caused by incompetence. It's caused by someone saying, "But that will cost more money..." or "That will take too much time..." or "But I want to buy from this supplier because the owner is my brother-in-law..."

I mean, they don't necessarily say those things out loud, but those are often the reasons. It's not necessarily that they're too dumb to understand that it's bad security. They just don't care. They're not thinking about the potential for problems down the road. They're not thinking about long-term maintenance. They're not really thinking about public safety. They're just thinking about, "I have to get this job done in a way that makes my life better/easier. I want to work less and make a big bonus."

Not that I work in a traffic-related industry. That's just been my general professional experience as to why security is usually terrible.

Comment: Re:Welcome to the Information Age! (Score 3, Insightful) 143

by nine-times (#47728569) Attached to: It's Easy To Hack Traffic Lights

No, it's scary how much we still don't care about security. These things could definitely be fixed, we just don't care to fix them. We don't demand security in the first place, we aren't willing to pay for security, and we aren't really willing to fix security when it's broken. People will run around looking for blood for 5 minutes when it's discovered that there are huge security flaws, but nobody will fix them.

Remember all the news when it was discovered that a person could easily and untraceably hack voting machines? Do you think that was ever fixed? The way we use credit cards is insecure. Most email is unencrypted. We use Social Security Numbers as both an identifier and a form of authentication.

Most of what we do is completely insecure, and it's actually kind of amazing how rarely people take advantage of it. But it's really disturbing that we aren't remotely willing to secure things that would be relatively easy to secure, and would solve lots of problems.

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