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Comment Re:Give up PCs? Not likely... (Score 1) 197

If we want to do this kind of lockdown

For the record, that's a mighty big "if".

It wouldn't take much at all to expand that to every machine; all it'd take would be MS adding "in order to keep machines secure, don't allow disabling Secure Boot" to the Windows Hardware Certification requirements

And the resulting monopoly-related lawsuits in every nation that would support them, not to mention almost inevitable regulatory action in jurisdictions like the EU, would most likely be the final nail in the MS coffin.

Even if that didn't do for them, Intel and the major manufacturers of Intel-related motherboards and other hardware within the same architectural family are already under pressure from tablets (most of which are sporting ARM-based hardware) at the casual end of the market. The last thing they want to do is put all their eggs in one basket, particularly a basket as wobbly as Microsoft has been in recent years.

There are so many existential threats to the businesses that would need to participate in such a move, and so many well-funded organisations including many in governments that would have a lot to lose, that I still think it's completely unrealistic for the mainstream Wintel ecosystem to go that way. If anything were to lead to that sort of result it would more likely be a steady creep from the direction of smartphones and tablets where relatively closed and inflexible ecosystems are the norm, but even there the signs are that the initial glow is fading as users both become more aware of the pros and cons of such devices and tire of the cost and hassle caused by the lock-in effects.

The coming war on general-purpose computing and The Coming Civil War over General Purpose Computing are a good idea to read.

They were thought-provoking articles back when they were written, but again I'd say the recent evidence is that people are increasingly tired of these games. A new generation has grown up never not knowing what it's like to have their own PCs and consoles and mobile devices, and fast near-permanent Internet access, and a huge range of software available at the tap of a finger, and all that comes with this kind of technology. They've also grown up more aware of related issues like privacy and security, and wise to a lot of the problems that caught older generations off guard, even as the patience of the older generations themselves is wearing thin and they become less tolerant of the ever-worsening experience as tech businesses try to squeeze ever more profit out of them.

Consequently, there's been a lot of talk recently about things like on-line privacy and ad-blocking. Perhaps more telling than the talk are the moves by some of the biggest businesses in tech to actively support such things, even if means shifting industry norms or taking on governments. In fact, there is even a hint that some in those governments are finally becoming aware of the issues -- there have, at long last, been some substantial steps recently to bring copyright laws and on-line consumer rights at least a little closer to the 21st century in some major jurisdictions, for example.

I do think the writing is on the wall for some tech firms at this point, but from my perspective it is because their customers are becoming less tolerant of junk and starting to demand better quality for their hard-earned cash. Firms that ship software that doesn't work or causes security problems, businesses that leak personal data like a sieve, content distributors that try to double-dip with subscriptions and then ads, communications networks that over-charge and under-provide, on-line businesses that offer minimal customer service... All of these are increasingly on borrowed time unless they change their ways, and that's just in the B2C world. As soon as you go B2B, there are many more examples of long-standing schemes that are under threat in our increasingly open and competitive world, and consequently businesses are likely to be even less tolerant of attempts to lock down what they can do than private individuals.

Comment Re:This would level the playing ground (Score 1) 339

Hmmm, payroll taxes cap out at about $110,000. Who pays the full amount every time? The rich. Now, should they keep paying more, eliminate the cap?

The question was about the relative percentages paid in taxes. If you change the definition of "taxes" to exclude payroll taxes, then you end up with the misleading results the Tax Foundation reports.

The rich do not pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than the middle and working class. If you evaluate total incomes instead of adjusted incomes (since the wealthy are able to make far better use of the tax code, which after all, was written for them), then you see that the rich pay a far lower percentage of their incomes - their true incomes - in taxes.

The Tax Foundation is an advocacy group for energy and pharma corporations that don't want to pay taxes. Period. They are as phony as a three dollar bill. And their "reports" are excellent examples of how you can mislead with statistics.

Comment Re:This would level the playing ground (Score 1) 339

And not SINGLE citation refuted anything about the IRS data the Tax Foundation has used, or the conclusions they've reached.

Tax Foundation didn't include payroll taxes in their calculations. Compare the percentage of income that someone making over $500,000/yr pays with the percentage of income someone making $50,000 year pays. Since payroll taxes make up 34% of all government revenue, you will quickly see how including payroll taxes changes the look of the Tax Foundation's conclusion.

You shouldn't need me to spoon feed you this stuff. I'm surprised you didn't see it straight away.

Comment Re:Reasons why I don't like the Internet of Things (Score 1) 130

If your fridge or furnace can be turned off completely by remote (or even locally), you're doing it wrong. Think for a moment what you are automating. The temperature, not the furnace. Your thermostat will be controllable, the furnace will remain just a dumb unconnected piece of equipment, but smart enough to remain operating within acceptable limits even if the thermostat is compromised. I have a fairly comprehensively automated home, but with full control or even the ability to operate devices outside their normal limits, you could do very little actual damage there, and cause a minor inconvenience at best. It's good to be careful and wary of any connected device, but at some point it's just fearmongering and/or a complete misunderstanding of the actual risks.

By the way, I'd be happy to accept liability for any damages such as the ones you describe, if I were selling you a home automation setup.

Comment Re:Reasons why I don't like the Internet of Things (Score 1) 130

HA setups typically store very little data, what little is there is hardly worth taking, and certainly not worth worrying about. If a router in my house were open, I'd be much more worried about the stuff they could steal off my computers and NAS than the stuff stored in my "things". Besides, if data is exposed through a flaw in my router, there would still need to be someone aware of that fact and in a position to collect and exploit the data. If instead you are using IoT-devices, your data is harvested and abused by default with a 100% certainty, by the mothership.

Comment Re:Reasons why I don't like the Internet of Things (Score 2) 130

I'm a fan of home automation (a hobby of mine that's increasingly turning into a business). I, and many fellow HA enthusiasts, are firm proponents of the LAN of Things, or even a Separate Network - Controlled By a Hub That is Only Allowed To Connect To the Internet Under Strict Conditions - Of Things. There are plenty of useful ways to automate your home (no, nothing essential or life-changing, but sometimes very convenient), but very little of that requires data to leave the house. And when it does, it should only happen on your own terms. And cameras? The ones around my house have their power cut off externally when we're home, and show a light when they are on (a separate dumb LED on the same power supply). No use taking any chances there.

Comment Re:This is why ISIS wins (Score 1) 483

Seems to me most mission planners would avoid going near borders of countries they do not have an alliance with, or at the very least announce their missions up front to their more-or-less-allies (something Russia often neglects to do, and other nations active in the region have already complained about that). And Turkey is fast ceasing to be a civilized nation. This incident has all the rancid stink of a pissing contest gone wrong.

Comment Re:Whose problem it is is irrelevant. (Score 1) 130

A problem is a problem. It's just that simple. It doesn't matter if affects you, or me, or anyone else on earth. A problem is a problem.

Who told you that? Is it a problem? Well, it depends.

By your logic, if something is a problem for one person, then it's a problem for everyone. There is an 90 year old woman on the block for whom climbing three flights of stairs is a problem. There are three flights of stairs in my house, but is it a problem? Not for me it ain't. For someone without fingers, a keyboard represents a problem. Does that mean keyboards are a problem for everyone? Of course not.

You got a problem with that?

Comment Re:This would level the playing ground (Score 1) 339

The CBO gets their data from the IRS. If you think everyone is lying then point to your own solid analysis based off of IRS data.

The CBO only uses the data they are told to use. For example, specifically the report that you linked to omitted payroll taxes, which make up 34% of all federal revenue (income tax is 42%). When you factor in that the percentage of their income that the rich pay in payroll taxes is vanishingly small compared to the percentage of total income that the rest of us pay, those little bar graphs look completely different. If you factor in total income instead of just adjusted income, it skews the results even further away from what the Tax Foundation is claiming.

See, that's how your citation is useless. The CBO was just doing their job by reporting on only the data that Congress allowed them to use. And that friend, is how you use statistics to tell a lie. It's how congress does it and it's how the "Tax Foundation" does it.

You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements. -- Norman Douglas