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Comment: Re:The internet of crap ... (Score 1) 129

by Voyager529 (#49090709) Attached to: Gadgets That Spy On Us: Way More Than TVs

Stop rewarding them with your money for some shiny baubles which are doing nothing but spying on you and monitizing everything you do.

I do, actually, wonder if anyone has run this through Excel. Consider the following scenario:
Acme TVs makes a "Smart TV", intending to monetize the information gained from viewing habits and similar. Suppose said TV retails for 400USD. Does that sticker price reflect a subsidy from the marketing data they're expecting to get? If so, then the best thing we can do is to buy these TVs, then never connect them to the internet. This way, they've spent $425 to sell me a TV for $400. Either TV prices will go up, or they'll sell 10,000 TVs with only 5,000 reporting data back...if that proportion goes low enough, is it possible that, paradoxically, voting with our wallets could mean buying things we don't want so that it stops being profitable?

Comment: Re: Classics must be Finite (Score 1) 165

by Voyager529 (#49060945) Attached to: Star Trek Continues Meets Kickstarter Goal, Aims For Stretch Goals

You pronounce GIF with a hard g, don't you?

The "G" in "gif" stands for "graphic" - hard 'g'.
The word "gift" is pronounced with a hard 'g'.
There are no other vowels in the word to alter pronunciation to be like 'giraffe'.

The inventor of the format can say what he wants. It's a hard 'g'.

Comment: monoculture again? (Score -1) 296

by Voyager529 (#49001397) Attached to: Firefox Succeeded In Its Goal -- But What's Next?

Just thinking out loud here, the IE6 monoculture was terrible, and we all hated it...and justifiably so. However, with Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera all based on WebKit now, have we simply embraced a different monoculture? Admittedly the main difference here is that WebKit is more open than Trident, and the days of ActiveX and Java are more behind us than not...But is having an alternative render engine a better situation, or just redundant coding?

Comment: Re:I guess it depends on where you live (Score 1) 101

by Voyager529 (#48878465) Attached to: Google Plans Major Play In Wireless Partnering With Sprint and T-Mobile

I wonder if you live near where I live. It's actually pretty funny. My new-ish employer and I go back and forth a bit; he's on Verizon and I'm on T-Mo. He laughed at me when I told him that I really liked T-Mo and that their coverage was great. As I go from place to place, I've never once been without coverage, no matter where. In the office, I have solid LTE...and they have a range extender (i.e. paying Verizon to use your own internet coverage). They've listed basements where they can't get signal, and I'm like, "wait...you don't have service there?" Every. Time. I was surprised when I was at one site where he said that service was sketchy. I had full coverage, and got 6.9MBytes (yes, bytes, not bits) per second downstream.

Now, in fairness, the last time I took an Amtrak ride (last year), there were PLENTY of dead spots, but Verizon had noticeably fewer of them. If "middle of nowhere" coverage is important, then Verizon is still probably the better bet. I sure won't be switching, though.

Comment: Re:The policy is pretty clear on windows.com. (Score 1) 570

by Voyager529 (#48878305) Attached to: Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Will Be a Free Upgrade

Blows the subscription model idea out of the water.

tl;dr: "supported lifetime" seems to be the easy cop out here, especially since it is a term that doesn't apply to desktops in the same ways that it does in mobile, and trying to force desktops to adhere in that manner isn't a good thing...

True, but it raises other questions instead. "supported lifetime of the device" is a highly suspect phrase here. We see Apple giving phones and tablets approximately three years of "supported lifetime". Apple can do that for a few reasons, but amongst the reasons why the customer base generally tolerates it is because Apple releases new devices mostly-annually, so getting three years of both hardware and software improvements is usually a worthwhile investment for consumers - the "supported lifetime" is acceptable because of trade-up.

Desktops are a completely different animal. I suspect that a significant minority (if not a majority) of iPad users have a desktop or laptop in active use that is older than their iPad, and I'd similarly suspect that the majority of them would prefer to upgrade their iPad this year, rather than their desktop, given the choice of only being able to spring for one or the other. What we've done with desktops is had two functional tiers of existence: in-warranty (where the OEM generally updates and fixes things), and out-of-warranty (where 'the computer guy' handles this stuff). Mobile devices are more disposable, in no small part because repairing them and upgrading them isn't always desirable - either expensive, impractical, or both. This is the area where traditional desktop/laptop computing has always had an edge.

Moreover, it is highly irregular for OEMs to provide OS upgrades to their computers. I had an HP laptop that I bought with XP after Vista's announcement (but not its release), so I registered the machine and HP sent me a Vista disk and key. That was highly irregular, and had to do with my purchase date, not my warranty length. I bought my Origin laptop with a three year, soup-to-nuts warranty in early 2011. That ran out last year, long after Windows 8's release. No Windows 8 disc in sight, and while admittedly I didn't ask, I sincerely doubt Origin would have sent it to me, despite the laptop being within the "supported lifetime of the device" by most practical definitions. The machine does, however, get regular security patches for the version of Windows that it /does/ run. Mobile devices' concept of "updates" involve both "security patches" and "OS version upgrades", whereas desktops do not.

So how does all this tie into Windows being a subscription or not? Well, both "OS updates" and "supported lifetime" are more clearly defined terms in mobile devices, and bringing that paradigm to the desktop yields yet another issue: the "broom problem". If you're a Doctor Who fan, there was an episode this season where The Doctor was saying that if you take a broom and replace the head when it wears out, and then you replace the handle because it breaks, and then replace the head again because it wears out, it's not the same broom anymore. With desktops, we have the same issue - the hard disk dies, we replace the disk. We upgrade a 4GB RAM module with an 8GB module, we add a video card to play games, and the PSU to power it, then we want to SLI, so we replace the motherboard, which mandates a different processor, and change the DVD burner to a Blu-Ray burner...If all these upgrades and replacements happen over three years, we end up with a completely different computer than the one we started with - at what point does the Windows license no longer apply? Microsoft has arbitrarily pointed to "the motherboard", which in fairness is about the closest thing one can get to a reasonable component definition (it's got the most hardware-as-detected-by-Windows of any single physical component), but even those die or have some sort of issue or whatever. What if the CPU is supported, but the motherboard is not? I sincerely doubt Gigabyte is supporting this board anymore, but it is, in theory, compatible with a CPU I purchase today from Newegg. Conversely, if I put an old IDE DVD-ROM into a computer that's otherwise fully supported, does it no longer count as a "supported lifetime of the device" because one component is no longer serviced?

I don't like it no matter how you slice it. Either Microsoft gets super-duper strict with component swaps in order to uphold the definition of "supported lifetime", or Microsoft lets basically-anything qualify in the hopes that revenue is made elsewhere (tracking, mobile sales, and "apps"). The third option would be that MS goes "subscription", which then raises the obvious question of "exactly how crippled will the computer get if the subscription isn't paid", a line so difficult for Microsoft to toe that the closest present analog - a copy of Windows that's failed activation - relies almost solely on nag screens and a lack of wallpaper.

Finally, it's not entirely inconceivable that Microsoft isn't trying a new twist on their old standby - Embrace (new technology, 'services first' focus), Extend (market share by making it possible for every user to get the new version that is largely integrated with the new services), and Extinguish (make "Free Windows" progressively less useful with the shiny new "subscription" option a click away).

It will be interesting...and I'm most certainly hanging onto my plastic disc editions, just in case.

Comment: Re:I hope not (Score 5, Interesting) 489

by Voyager529 (#48851587) Attached to: Windows 10: Can Microsoft Get It Right This Time?

Not trying to start a flame war, but what would companies use instead?

This is exactly the problem, and I'll underscore it with an inquiry to anyone who echoes the grandparent post...

Amongst the reasons Exchange is as readily used as it is, isn't because Exchange itself is some awesome piece of software. Exchange is part of a bigger ecosystem that incorporates a few major pieces:

--ActiveSync - and more to the point, ActiveSync support from billions of phones and tablets.
--Active Directory - single sign-on through Outlook from a domain user, and the reverse: creating a mailbox also creates a user in AD.
--Outlook - a mail/contact/calendar/task client that has a handful of competitors that excel in one area or another (IMO Zimbra coming pretty close), but still a program whose replacement will require a barricade on the door to keep out the execs who wish to use their torches and pitchforks.
--Self-Hosted - Gmail and company don't count.

I've seen plenty of great answers to one or more of these solutions. I'm a fan of the super-easy-to-use-and-manage IceWarp, but the Icewarp mail client is lacking pretty notably. Google is great if you're okay with them having your mail (many are), but unless there's an on-site version of Gmail, it's not a fair comparison fight. Univention makes a pretty good PDC replacement, but using for its mail server isn't the greatest and mobile device support is lacking. Zentyal and ClearOS are also great for small environments, but scaling becomes a problem.

So, to those who say "Exchange Sucks", I say "fine. Show me a better system that satisfies all of the above criteria, and I will be MORE than happy to take a long, hard look at it." I don't like Exchange, or its CAL structure, either...but "worst except all the rest" seems to apply here.

Comment: Re:Disconnect (Score 1) 186

by Voyager529 (#48851437) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can I Trust Android Rooting Tools?

Different apps. I haven't been in Cydia recently, but I'd wager that the variety of apps that leverage the "rootedness" of an Android phone outnumber what's on an iPhone. Similarly, there are a number of apps (Rocketdial, GoSMS, etc.) that require a jailbreak on iOS

I'm not sure that's the case... besides there are more app options for things that do not require jailbreaking (like custom keyboards for example).

The examples I provided were a replacement for the dialer and the SMS client; I'm unaware of there being unofficial replacements for them in Cydia, but I'm all but certain that there aren't any in the App Store proper.

As for the example of apps that require jailbreaking... since the basic assumption is rooted/jailbroken system, why is that an issue? You get to use them if you like either way then.

Because very few users of rooted phones use rooted apps in exclusivity. I like having Xprivacy, but it doesn't mean that I don't also play Angry Birds - I can't have booth without root, but they're not mutually exclusive. There are also apps for Android that don't exist on iOS (again, perhaps in Cydia, but certainly not in the App Store) - there are several torrent clients on Android - they don't require root there, but if they're available at all on iOS (I remember cTorrent being a thing on iOS; don't know if there's anything better that's been released there since like 2010), you most certainly need a jailbreak.

Well, at initial setup, there's not much that Google can ascertain - your Gmail address, your cell number, your phone carrier, and your location...

Whereas with an Apple tablet all it's going to get is your IP during activation (it asks on first run if you are OK with it collecting location info).

For the purposes of this post, I'll roll with the assumption that Apple doesn't collect that data anyway. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you need an Apple account to use an iPhone, right? If there's no opt-out, then they get an e-mail address as well. iTunes always got my cell number when I would sync the phone (as well as being necessary for iMessage to work, I'd gather), and carrier is a fairly trivial thing to ascertain based on any number of things - a log file that indicates which .PNG file is accessed for the carrier logo, the aforementioned IP address, or even the serial number of the phone - I'd be shocked if they don't have some sort of record of which batch is sold for which carrier. This leaves us with location. Google also gives an opt-out on the location data, but I tend to not-trust them. The difference between iOS and Android in this respect is that Xprivacy gives a method by which to force an opt-out, completely irrespective of what any given application wants - including all of the system apps.

Because if you're rooting, and more specifically installing a custom ROM, carrier updates become irrelevant.

I'm not talking about carrier updates, I'm talking about installing new Google releases, which may have some new collection mechanisms you have not yet blocked or otherwise break your privacy software.

Xprivacy blocks access at a pretty low level and blocks them pretty effectively despite updates. I could see something interesting happening maybe at the driver level, but every time they update the Play Services, the "good luck with that" response from Xprivacy appears to hold thus far.

tl;dr: Android sucks, except for all the alternatives.

For out of the box privacy (esp. for the non-technical user) iOS is 1000x better than Android.

For jailbroken privacy for a very technical user, iOS is a tad better. But again it's a matter than the OS is not going to care that it's not collecting your data to transmit back.

I can't really dispute that, to be honest. Android, when properly beaten into submission, CAN have more privacy than iOS, but I'd completely agree that this is a very deliberate state that is not the easiest to obtain.

Comment: Re: 8.1 better than 7? (Score 1) 489

by Voyager529 (#48851277) Attached to: Windows 10: Can Microsoft Get It Right This Time?

bluntly, replacing the shell is a pretty deep modification

The program is CALLED "Classic Shell", that doesn't mean it's actually a shell overhaul (GNOME isn't a lawn ornament...). It's a simple ~5MB Installshield Wizard that puts a small overlay on the start button and preempts the internal Windows equivalent, providing a more traditional start menu interface reminiscent of either Windows 2000, XP(ish), or 7. The only other thing it touches with regards to the shell is that it can disable the 'hot corners' that Windows 8 seems to believe are actually useful on a desktop.

This is NOT like replacing GNOME with KDE.

Comment: Re:Disconnect (Score 1) 186

by Voyager529 (#48846729) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can I Trust Android Rooting Tools?

Step 1) Doesn't want Google observing them.
Step 2) buys Android tablet, wholly controlled by Google.

At this point, the options are a bit sparse...Google, Apple, Microsoft, maybe Blackberry....I mean, about the only place you won't find that level of mess is an HP Touchpad running WebOS, because I can't see any of the infrastructure still being switched on. The fact of the matter is that, while not outright collusion, I'm unaware of a privacy focused company who has enough chops to release a tablet running their code.

If you were going to root it anyway why not buy an iPad and jailbreak it?

Different apps. I haven't been in Cydia recently, but I'd wager that the variety of apps that leverage the "rootedness" of an Android phone outnumber what's on an iPhone. Similarly, there are a number of apps (Rocketdial, GoSMS, etc.) that require a jailbreak on iOS, but will happily run on a standard issue Android phone.

Nothing preinstalled even talks to Google without you setting it up, so you're already off to a better start.

Well, at initial setup, there's not much that Google can ascertain - your Gmail address, your cell number, your phone carrier, and your location...but neutering that stuff at first run means that they get all of one data point - one more than I'd like, but still not much. Personally, my first installations are Xposed Framework and Xprivacy; I neuter my phone so thoroughly in that respect that it's a royal pain to use the GPS even when I want to...but I'm perfectly fine with that arrangement; ymmv.

Every Android update is going to fight to collect information about you. I don't see why you would buy into a system that by default will do exactly what you do not want.

Because if you're rooting, and more specifically installing a custom ROM, carrier updates become irrelevant. Depending on the ROM, some do OTA updates, others have more conventional means. Either way, I personally have never once installed a carrier/OEM update; I've never once seen one that I wasn't certain was going to make a mess.

tl;dr: Android sucks, except for all the alternatives. There are roundabout ways to get privacy on Android, and as annoying as it is that it's required to do that, Android is the only contemporary mobile OS that supports them at all.

Comment: Re: Yes it is different, actually. (Score 1) 164

by Voyager529 (#48824253) Attached to: The Mainframe Is Dead! Long Live the Mainframe!

What walled garden does Google have?

You pose a genuinely interesting question - where, exactly, is the cutoff between "walled garden" and "open"? Google hasn't done much good in the way of proactively keeping their systems open - even the Nexus phones ship with locked bootloaders. KitKat severely limited the utility of MicroSD cards. Using an Android phone without a Gmail account isn't impossible, but it requires a whole lot of deliberate footwork. Lollipop is integrating some of the Samsung Knox stuff, as well as other security enforcing things. Google's "commit" frequency to the AOSP is lacking, especially since much of their work is done within their property apps (e.g. Maps, Gmail, Now, etc.), rather than the OS itself.

I would ultimately say that the ability to install apk's from third party sources, the ability for root-requiring applications to live in the Play Store, and the availability of apps that modify core system functions (e.g. RocketDial, GoSMS, NovaLauncher, etc.) keeps Google in the "not a walled garden" category. I remain unconvinced, however, that Google will stay this way - their recent steps regarding Android's architecture has consistently decreased openness, instead of increasing it. Personally, I still run Android because it's the worst except for all the rest. The next mobile OS that has Swype and XPrivacy is the next recipient of my mobile device dollars.

Comment: Re:Use of language isn't unique (Score 1) 154

by Voyager529 (#48812045) Attached to: Human Language May Have Evolved To Help Our Ancestors Make Tools

Hate to break it to you, but humans aren't the only ones who know and use language. We're not really that distinguishable from many animals if thats your deciding factor. Dolphins, Whales, Octopus ... they all probably would like to have a word with you.

I see what you did there.

Comment: Re:I've never liked Intuit (Score 1) 450

If I ever start a home business, I'll run it on some open source system. No Intuit products for me, not ever.

Obnoxiously, this is a situation where Open Source is still "note quite there". Quickbooks casts a pretty wide net in my experience, from the sole proprietor whose wife does the data entry, to the $30 million/year medium business that has a finance department and is using one of their enterprise editions, to "basically every accountant ever", who has quickbooks because all of his business clients have a quickbooks file that they e-mail him in order to have their taxes done. Now one of the reasons why Quickbooks is as popular as it is, is the fact that it's like Facebook - everyone uses it because everyone uses it. Even Microsoft failed back in 2007 when they tried to take them on.

The single reason why I see OSS have issues with the small business accounting software department is the fact that every title I've seen is double entry. GNUcash is, Xtuple is, and odoo is. Quickbooks is single entry, and populates the charts of accounts for you. I wanted Xtuple to work for me, but double entry accounting is a bit of an enigma to those without formal accounting training. One could argue that people who do the books should be familiar with regular accounting practices, but Intuit has made a fortune from nixing that requirement. Gnucash is a simple Installshield wizard, but Xtuple and odoo have their own issues in that they require networking experience as well (more so odoo; I think it's possible for Xtuple to do a fully local install). Most businesses, be it construction, interior design, small auto repair, landscaping, cupcake baking, etc...they don't exactly have someone familiar with both configuring a PostgreSQL server AND double entry accounting on their payroll...thus, Quickbooks again fills that void.

Intuit needs competition.The best they have right now is Xero, but they (and many of their competitiors) are web based SaaS titles that don't offer a self hosted option, at any price. I'm surprised that no one has come up with a solid, single-entry accounting title, be it either half the price, or full-on OSS. There's money to be made there, and right now, Intuit is getting it.

Comment: Re:Sigh... (Score 1) 640

by Voyager529 (#48805259) Attached to: Microsoft Ends Mainstream Support For Windows 7

Using Windows in health care was a really stupid idea in my opinion.

If Linux was in the state it's presently in, back when computers were making inroads in healthcare situations, you may be on to something. Linux in the 90's, however, didn't play too well with most things who's I/O didn't involve an ethernet port.

Not your stupid idea, mind you. A stupid idea on the part of all the software developers who chose to target it. What you really need is a good and secure core OS with very few features, which you can upgrade forever without breaking compatibility.

Which distro do you target in this respect? Red Hat, I guess (it's one of the handful still here today that were around in 1995, but at the time, there were plenty of other promising distros that didn't survive)...but if breaking compatibility weren't a problem, Red Hat wouldn't still be issuing minor updates for RHEL 4, because everyone could just jump to RHEL 7 without a problem.

Then you need packages on top of that core to provide all the user-facing features like the desktop environment, which shouldn't ever need to be updated (since they should be relying on the core OS for security).

As a trivial example, assume we ran with this logic of never updating the desktop environment. I've got no issue with GNOME 2; it's functional. Old computer didn't have wireless, new one does. Old GNOME won't have a UI for connecting to a wireless network. i'm sure it can be command line scripted, but that script starts getting longer as more and more edge cases for the desktop UI come to light.

All the healthcare-specific applications shouldn't ever need to be rebuilt or updated (except for security updates).

...unless the laws change and you need different information entered. Or, you switch upstream providers and you need to alter the output. Or, it was built in Java and the new iterations of Java outright block interfaces that don't have super duper blessed certificate chains. Or the facility offers a new service that they didn't used to. Or the vendor goes out of business and you have to migrate to someone new anyway. Or, MySQL/Postgres does things a bit differently and you need to match the new version....The list of why software needs to be updated is endless - name ONE piece of software that was "done" in its first iteration. *MAYBE* something like nano or another very simple program, but software gets updated, especially in the medical field.

None of this 10-year support window requiring a large expensive rollout of new software when it runs out.

Okay, fine. There is plenty of medical equipment that requires regular replacement for new technology, equipment, resolution, and procedures. Should a year-old MRI machine have Windows 2000 drivers? Conversely, what's the statute of limitations for old hardware to get support? Would you want an MRI on a 25-year-old scanner?

No need to waste developer time on updating existing applications for new APIs when you could be developing the next great thing instead. So why isn't the whole healthcare infrastructure built on Linux?

So, computers stop being computers, and instead just become part of the embedded hardware? That can make some sense - no one ever complained about their Nokia phones not getting software updates. Super standard languages for certain things are wonderful; it's why HP Laserjet 8000 series printers are still on the road. However, if we're not updating software, we wouldn't be able to update hardware, except in terms of what the existing software can do.

The correct approach is the correct approach. Pardon the tautology, but it's true - minimally changing UIs and APIs can be good. In other areas, allowing software to be more radically altered makes the hardware a better investment. Knowing which is which, is almost the definition of wisdom.

Comment: Re:No thanks to kiddie porn on my drive.... (Score 1, Troll) 331

by Voyager529 (#48790871) Attached to: Would You Rent Out Your Unused Drive Space?

It is sad to see that years of propaganda and fear-mongering by the government, politicians and police have actually worked out so well for them.

I might be wrong on this, but I don't quite think it's "propaganda" and "fear mongering" if you actually ruin lives over it.

Twenty years ago, the response to a peer-to-peer hosting network would have been "give me some of that".

Well, 20 years ago this wouldn't have been terribly practical (remember, back then dial-up was normal, broadband was not, and a 4GB hard disk was insanely large), but for the sake of the argument, I'll assume that the essence of this sentiment is "today's technology with yesterday's mindset, atmosphere, and culture". Today, if you know who you're dealing with, you can use something like Bittorrent Sync to do real-time replication. The P2P networks of that day (e.g. first-gen Napster and Gnutella), we were all "give me some of that" because they allowed the recipient to make use of the data, whereas this system does not.

Today, it's "imagine how the police could fuck you over if they wanted to".

It's a cost/benefit problem. A very low risk of legal trouble vs. music for free in a pre-Spotify, pre-Pandora world was worth it to most users of early P2P networks. Let's narrow down the market that could benefit from this:
"Everyone with data" - 1,001 backup methodologies exist for this. Carbonite, Dropbox/GDrive/OneDrive (crude, but survives a system crash...), Amazon S3 all help.
"Everyone with data they don't want on the hard disks of companies who will hand over data with a 'pretty please'" - WD MyCloud (and the Seagate & Buffalo equivalents), FreeNAS (and other DIY NAS units), BT Sync, and either family or friends who are willing to barter storing a backup drive at their place for storing a backup drive at yours.
"Everyone with data they don't trust on the servers of family, friends, or companies" - Two externals and a safe deposit box, or a hole in the ground outside.
"Everyone with data they don't trust on servers of family, friends, companies, and don't want to do a drive swap" - ...who would be in this category?

With the problem of "storing your data somewhere" already fairly well solved by other means, let's disuss cost/benefit: not trusting a company with a known agenda (you're still trusting Storj, though...), and not building your own data backup device or buying one, but instead trusting a whole lot of complete strangers, in exchange for cryptocurrency-at-best. The cost/benefit just doesn't seem to solve a problem that isn't already solved in one form or another for virtually every use case already.

How much more will it take to admit to ourselves that most Western nations are now police states?

Well, "police state" is a complicated designation to give; to my knowledge it's most commonly labeled in retrospect. The situation here is that this storage model enters a well-populated field, introducing a problem most others don't have, the problem just happens to be a legal one. Even if we hand-wave the legal trouble away, technologically it raises plenty of questions that just don't really seem to solve more problems than they cause.

Computer Science is merely the post-Turing decline in formal systems theory.