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Comment Linux's Big Chance (Score 1) 555

OK this is Linux's Big Chance. The nost savvy most technically literate most intelligent people are going to, for the first time, really really be looking for alternatives to Windows because of this shit. I know I am (not to say I qualify as any of the above). Those people, that 5-10% decide for their familes, their inlaws their friends their co-workers what's cool, what's great and what you shoudl avoid.

So is Linux ready or does it still expect its everyday users to be keen to memorize lots and lots of magical incantations - "sudo apt etc etc etc etc" - in order to really GetShitDone?

Every time I wanted to do something on previous version of Ubuntu- purpotedly the most user-friendly version of Linux out there- I quickly found myself instructed by the cognesceti to solemnly intone this and that long incantation into the darkness of a dos prompt. That's a deal breaker.

Does anyone in Linux-land really understand that very basic fact? People know how to use my computers by memorizing trails through GUIs. That mimics how primitve people (people like me and and you) learned to navigate and find their way around the real world; they used signposts and landmarks to remind them where to do next. Folks, accept it- this is how are brains are wired to find things in a complex environment.

Text is NOT how we are wired to find things. We have no good memory for text- it's always an explicit labor of memorization. And those memories are remarkably frail and subject to confusion with similar text-based memories. That's why indexes and filing cabinets and encyclopedias are alphabetical- because otherwise we'd never find that thing we were looking at before just by remembering where it was last time.

But I can remember how to get to the store, how to get home, where that vacation camp is that I last visited 20 years ago. Because it's a trail, just the kind of thing my brain is specialized to remember, with landmarks thattrigger further memories, landmarks which effectively let me offload the work of explicit memorization.

So.. do we have a real GUI in Linux yet or am I going to have to sudo apt my way around still? Because this is most definitely the magical moment Linux has been waiting for - the Gigantic, Customer-Alienating, Self-Inflcited, Grand Windows Fuck Up.

Comment Re:"My group is nuanced, yours is homogenous" (Score 1) 456

Very intersting obviously I've been schooled, so thank you fellow Slashdotters.

Monopoly is what you get when there is no regulation. Does anyone really want to argue that? Throughout history, what we've had is large corporations and banks getting larger without limit as they consume smaller efforts with anti-competitive practices, practices which are "natural" and dont' involve forcible coercion.

Sorry but Libertarianism is completely confused, at best and a refuge for scoundrels at worst. The whole Milton Friedman-Ayn Rand-Alan Greespan wing of libertariansim is just thinly disguised sociopathy. Rand herself was a true blue sociopath as evidenced not just from her policy recommendations but her personal utterances and interperonsal relations and Friedman, lest we forget, helped, approved and supported Pinochet , a torturer, terrorist, and mass murderer. and Greenspan's fantasy that the market is self correcting under all crcumstances, that it's impossible, as in physics-style impossible, for something like the 2008 crash to every happen in a market such as ours.

As far as indentured servitude goes, since when are libertarians concerned with one party's ability to inflict "duress" n another party? That is the whole point of not limiting financial power inequalities. If I own all the land through deals i made, I can shut off food production to everyone else and no one can do anything about it. If me and my buddies get together and decide not to hire Black people, then that's our business. If we decide to make a list of people to whom we dont' want food sold to or jobs offered to then that's out business.

People have power in this world to the extent that they control resources. For all practical purposes there is no upper limit on the resources a person can control under Libertarian schemes- a fact Libertarians are well aware of. IT follows immediately that there is no upper limit on the power Libertariansim gives someone over other people's lives and fates and their ability to pursue happiness . Libertarianism could give a shit about creating a fair and equitable world. It's monomanically obsessed with process and keeping the number of rules which govern that process as small as possible and what comes out the other end of this for real flesh and blood members of society who have to live and suffer under this "purity" , well , who really gives a fuck? It's a kind of poitical and social autism.

  It's not a coincidence that Rand Paul would roll back the civil rights legislation of the 60s. That's a prinicpled decision on his part that comes straight out of the Libertairan playbook.

Sorry, it's nto just that the Koch brothers have given it a bad name. It goes all the way back to Greespan and Friedman and Ayn Rand . This is a political movement built upon the predatory and incredibly short-sighted ideas of sociopaths and autistics. It just is.

One more thing. Libertariansim shares a LOT in common with Marxism in a very specific way- it suffers from 19th century-physics-envy. Like Marxism, it posits that a set of "laws" which should govern a "system" and if those "laws" are followed then the sytem's behavior will be predictable.

Well folks, that is just pure physics-envy bullshit when it's applied to hyper complex "systems" like "the economy" and "people's economic behavior", which are "systems" only in the sense that you have applied that word "system" to them and in no other meaningful sense.

This whole 19th century "call it a system and devine the sytem's behavior from a few underlying princples" is absolute wishful thinking. If you want to reduce it to a few underlying principles then reduce it to the physical forces - gravity the strong force, the weak force etc. and come show it to everyone when you're done. And good luck with that, too.

Comment Life Liberty and ......property? Really? (Score 2) 456

What are we supposed to think when the group explicitly replaces "the pursuit of happiness" with "property"?

From their site:

Statement of Intent: "I hereby state my solemn intent to move to the State of New Hampshire. Once there, I will exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of government is the protection of individualsâ(TM) rights to life, liberty, and property."

Pretty much sums up this group of people up. I think we all know a monpolistic, anti-social, predatory-capitalism-loving, big-bank-hugging, Koch-worshipping, Grover Norquist-loving, environment-trashing, indentured-servitude (hey, it's a contract btween consenting adults) pushing libertarian sociopath when we see one ...or 20,000

Comment Indoctrination? Good luck with that. (Score 5, Interesting) 132

Here's the full quote:

"In early grades, students differentiate between responsible and irresponsible computing
behaviors. Students learn that responsible behaviors can help individuals while
irresponsible behaviors can hurt individuals. They examine legal and ethical
considerations for obtaining and sharing information and apply those behaviors to protect
original ideas. As students progress academically, they engage in legal and ethical
behaviors to guard against intrusive applications and promote a safe and secure
computing experience. "

What these Kings of the Universe don't realize is normal people don't share and will never share their Ayn Rand -cocaine-driven amphetamine-fueled vision of extreme indivuduality at the expense of the health of society (which is the bedrock upon which protection of individuality rests).

So, sure, go ahead promote those discussions. The more discussion there is, the less well it goes for software patent lawyers like Brad Smith who, readers should know, basically originated the idea of using software patents as an offense weapon to supress innovation while he was at M$:

http://arstechnica.com/busines...

http://archive.fortune.com/mag...

which directly led to all other tech companies following suit and finally the fantastical, supernatrual prosperity of every Chinese take-out in Tyler, Texas.

All that's going to happen is they're going to find out no one shares their idea of societal good and justice. Every survey finds that young people are far more concerned with creating an fair, free and egalitarian society that benefits everyone, rather than the winner-take-all psychopathic shithole that is America at this particular tick of the clock.

  Not everyone blew their brains out snorting coke while reading Ayn Rand in the 80s. That's a particular generation and they have a particular , uh, "view" of what the goals laws of society should support. Going on 40 years later now, it's getting to be old-man-dying-time for this particular strain of sociopathic, societal predators. Can't happen too soon for my money. Here, take it with you; fuckin' see ya later.

Comment They'd rather pay than play (Score 2) 134

The fact that M$ and Oracle and IBM and all the rest of the "victims" of "trolls" would rather pay the trolls than do what is intellectually ethcially and morally right- lobby Congress to ban software patents (and yes trolls, those ARE a definable thing) tells you something. They'd rather endure the billions lost to trolls than have to compete in the open marketplace, without their trivial patents. If they didn't have this barrier to entrance and the threat of crushing legal judgements, then they'd have to compete on the basis of the goodness of their product offerings.

Obviously, such a "disaster" is monetarily more frigthening to them than losing to billions to trolls.

It gives you some idea of the amount of market supression and concomitant loss of innovation the consumer is experiencing without ever knowing it.

Believe me, lot's of "agreements to be acquired" by small companies are in reality software-patent blackmail- you can sell us your comapny, or we can go to court.

It how they make sure that all innovation accrues to them, and they retain all real financial and political power in the world.

Comment And computers hae too much memory too (Score 1) 522

And computers have too much memory also. Who would ever need more than 64k? It gives you a glimpse into what sort of mind people like Tom Wheeler and his Republican buddies have. They've effectively completely sat out the last 20 years of tech progress. They have no access- as personal memories - of the lessons, lore, and legends of computing and the internet and consequently lack the shared base of facts upon which sound judgments can be built. They are totally cut off from the weltanschauung of the modernity and are effectively legislating across time, legislating from the past. They have no idea what the cultural refernce I made above refers to. They have no idea of how it is shorthand for the tech insight: "if you built it, they will come" . If you create it, if you allow it, it will be quickly be put to extraordinary use which no one can now foresee, but which will become the stuff of future economic activity ....and the taxes guys like you live off.

Comment Not to mention they're all honeypots (Score 1) 225

Yeah the FBI seeing the photos is probably a non-issue since a large number of them are probably honeypots in the first place. It's a product of how much contempt they have for this man that they think one of them will eventually work.

HEADLINE:

Snowden caught in honeypot while stepping out on his girlfriend.

God, wouldn't they love that?

Comment just a thought (Score 1) 432

I don't know if these people have done anything or not; you might think that people that intelligent would not stoop that low. I will offer this though.

One of the persistent and compelling illusions I had in life was that somewhere, there existed a self-selected group of people for whom a primary concern was to just be decent to each other.

I am not sure where I got this idea from, but if you have it, if you think that *this* group of people united by *this* purpose or POV or goal or whatever is going to be some kind of refuge from Assholedom, then you owe it to yourself before you waste any more of your life looking for such a group to just stop. Put it down and walk away.

My first pursuit of this mythological beast was with a community of artists and counter-cultural types. I thought without jocks or grades or the pursuit of money or even fame people would have nothing but each others fellowship to rely on and that would be a kind of uniting force, or something. How very young and wrong I was .

After some years spent pursuing that ghost, I next chased another another idea I had always had in my head- that academics, university types, were just naturally a cut above in terms of decency and non-aggression. In my imagination they were people to whom the stated ideals of a university- diversity, the pursuit of truth, respect for excellence,

valuing of curiosity and the impartial unbiased pursuit of knowledge - were real living things. The university was THEIR place which abided by THEIR values and stood as a bastion against Assholedom.

So I went to university and I did meet people as described- a couple. And the rest were sort of Super Assholes - people who nourished grudges, pursued revenge via administrative back-channeling and complaint processes, for any perceived slight or offense, advanced themselves through undermining others, sincerely worked to

undermine others simply because they didn't like them, and worked the system as best they could to horde time, reputation, money and power. It was one of the worst

environments I've been in. At one point a recent-hire prof confided in me that "they" - the other professors in the department- "had taken him into a room and gone to town on him for spending time preparing for his classes. If he wanted them to recommend him for tenure, it was going to stop. The gist f it was that there was no reward for teaching,

only for publishing and grant getting- things that brought the university prestige and money. Nothing else mattered and the degree to which nothing else mattered was total. I

asked him who "they" were, exactly, and his reply was "all of them. Every one of them." Of course the teaching is what you'd expect given the above. And that's not even the

worst dirty trick- and that's what it was- I saw there. Not by a long shot .

After that I got it into my head that business, corporation, out of necessity, would be a place where the reality principle reigned supreme. Even if it wasn't friendly per se, at least it would be grounded in some kind of market discipline and that discipline would realize itself in the relations between people within the company.

I know, but in my defense, this was around 2000.

Here's the thing. If it's true, -but then harassment charges are just another arrow in the quiver or these types - this is not surprising , because *that's what people are*. If for some reason that actually doesn't describe you and you know it,then know with certainty: you're on your own There is no *good* group of people united by any property or purpose out there. The best you can hope for is a occasional light from someone you are completely removed from, say whose books you read. If you really want to swing for the wall, the trifecta is your mother, your spouse and your dog. If you can trust all three of those , then know you're luckier than most .

Comment Re:I'm a pro central gov't socialist (Score 1) 148

Ignore the trolls on slashdot who hate the government. What you said is exactly right. Netflix has a pretty good piece interviewing current and former Presidents (Bush I) NSA and CIA directors. What comes across is that there is not unanimity about surveillance, the WoT or how to run it or even the limits of governmental powers with respect to fighting the WoT. Some disapprove (!) of the killing of US citizen al-Awalaki (sp?) and see it as a slippery slope. Some are nervous about ubiquitous surveillance.

The point is, you're exactly right. The government is not Dr Evil. The trolls in this thread just get off on a certain small circumscribed set of ideas. They're less like thoughtful people and more like rats pulling that same lever over and over again in order to get their high. This describes most anti-government types. It's like a thought addiction, place in their minds where they can get their rage on.

To their point about Hitler et. al., it's they who lack an understanding of history. These guys didn't rise to power despite the will of the people. They didn't overwhelm the government and take control. The people in those nations themselves cheered when they took control. They WANTED it to happen. Hitler never would have come to power if Wall Street hadn't tanked the world's economy. At the time, the post war hyper inflation in Germany had subsided and things were looking better for Germany. Then the Wall Street speculators destroyed the economy and hyperinflation kicked in again and the people themselves wanted a "strong man" and a scapegoat and the rest is history.

There is nothing in any democracy which prevents its own people from willing it out of existence. That's what happened in Germany and Italy.

The best hedge against that is a stable prosperous nation. The best way to get that is to have a strong central government to act as a counter-force to the unlimited power corporations would otherwise have.

 

Comment Come on what do you want? (Score 1) 179

The fact is there are a lot of people who wish to do as much harm as they can. We have always had well-poisoners in our midst but thanks to current and near-future technology, their ability to do great harm to great numbers of people is increasing dramatically. I've said this before but here it is again. Tell me I am wrong:

1) The number of technologies that can cause serious, deadly harm to humans and other living things is going up.

2) The number of substantively different or novel attacks that technology is capable of producing, each requiring its own custom defense, is going up more than arithmetically, possibly geometrically.

3) The number of people required to wield those technologies in order to create one of those attacks is going down, heading distressingly towards one.

4) The number of people which can be simultaneously harmed by such an attack is going up, distressingly, headed towards millions or billions.

5) Failure to thwart a plausible large and successful attack will result in a distressingly large expansion of the powers of the national security state and a distressingly large diminuation of civil liberties, individual freedoms and privacy, heading towards fascism.

So what do you want from the world's governments? To just not take any preemptive measures? If you read what he's suggesting, he's suggesting that no one government be able to decrypt traffic without the others' approval. It's not a bad as in evil idea - we have to give the government the powers it needs and as Enigma has shown, decrypting the enemies communication is crucial- it's just that it won't work for mundane reasons. But it's a start at the kind of crazy, out of the box thinking we need.

He's not shown any reason why the 9 governments (who have to all agree to decrypt transmission X using their collective keys or it can't be decrypted) wouldn't just engage in politicking of the worst sort. We already have the Five Eyes collaborating in secret -for decades- and we already have the 11 FISA judges absolutely positively rubber-stamping just anything that comes their way.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wik...

What more proof do we need that when the circle of power gets small enough, there are no good guys? Governments are good at convincing their own kind to cooperate and this would all just devolve into horse trading. You give me my dissidents and I'll give you yours and we'll stay fat n' happy in a world we like to call "Things As They Ought To Be".

It won't work. But I praise his attempt mightily. The basic issue is, we need a police force whose sole purpose is to monitor the police force (NSA CIA ETC.)
and whose authority is final barring a super-majority of both houses of Congress (say). None of those agencies are going to go for that, obviously. A real issue is this- once the oversight circle expands enough, you get traitors and leakers and spies. But is that truly worse than a nation whose agencies ARE corrupt or whose population BELIEVE they are corrupt and act on that belief?

The effect of being in member of a TLA on the human psyche is profound and negative. The human mind wasn't made to perpetually tread water in an horizonless sea of stress hormones. It changes your brain; it changes who you are and how you perceive people and the world. You become someone who fits the job, and that eventually makes you very very different from ordinary citizens, especially with respect to your value system. You might very well decide to "collect it all" even if that makes no logistical or operational sense, and you know it. You might very well come to devalue privacy to a degree that outsiders would find shocking, even demented. You might very well see the Constitution or some of its amendments as the biggest threat to the nation.

Here's my first idea. Part of our problem is, we lack a particular representational language. We need a language, a way of expressing very specific, detailed facts and situations and threats, which produces a message (a set of facts) which is isomorphic to the actual facts (threats and evidence) *in very detailed ways, sufficient to bear the weight of full critical scrutiny upon the actual facts* but is not expressed in terms of those facts and the most importantly actual facts cannot be divined from the message,nor anything about them.

So this language has to be capable of very faithfully representing every evidentiary nuance involved in each real-world instance of a threat but nevertheless mask from the receiver the actual particulars, which have to remain secret, meaning, they cannot be reversed engineered or guessed at in any way at all.

It's so counter-intuitive and implausible that it seems crazy, I know, but crazy is where we have to look and because as far as I can tell we've already exhausted all the non-crazy ideas.

Comment Re:Slippery Slope (Score 1) 138

Yeah I am all for what they did and the way they did it. Your comment however:
I subscribe to the theory that when you break the laws of a country (i.e. by distributing child porn), you should forfeit the right to be protected by those same laws"

is the definition of fascism. No one knows if you broke the law until a jury or judge says so. What you're saying is, let's have no laws set upon the police because they only go after people who are (suspected of) breaking the law. That makes zero sense.

If we implemented that policy, we'd have cops framing everyone they suspected or really, after a little while under your regime, anyone they just didn't like.

Sure framing people is illegal and immoral but hey, no laws apply to law breakers so have at it.

We need the criminal justice system to work properly so people have faith in it and its results. That means protecting the accused whether you like them or not. Absent that, their is lawlessness everywhere, on the part of ordinary citizens, who would there's nothing fair about "the law" and law enforcement which would quickly devolve into thuggery, blackmail, racketeering, extortion and murder.

Do you think you're the first person to contemplate how law should be applied to people accused of a crime? This goes back centuries and the subject has been the focus of generations and generations of the world's best minds. Trashing it all for some idea you get into your head because it "makes sense to me!" is a frightening prospect. It's also the roots of fascism, which always needs lots of shallow-thinking "sounds good to me! " types like you to actually bring them to power.

You need to take a serious, searching and thorough moral inventory of yourself and you need to examine the criteria you're accepting of when coming to conclusions about how you would like to see society structured.

Comment Complaints go down for more than one reason (Score 5, Informative) 202

One of the effects of body cameras is complaints against the police go down:

http://www.sandiegouniontribun...

http://www.cleveland.com/cityh...

http://www.policeone.com/offic...

Policing involves dealing with people who are motivated to lie; lie to the police and lie about the police. All cops hear all day long are lies lies lies and some of those lies get pointed at them. It's true that cops are less likely to abuse their position if they know they're being recorded but that also holds true for citizens lying about cops' conduct.

The net effect is complaints go down, but there are two forces giving rise to that effect; it's not just the police changing their conduct. Just sayin'

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