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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: 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.

Comment: They should embrace Android (Score 1) 250

by astrashe (#32376338) Attached to: What Microsoft Must Do To Save Its Mobile Business

It seems to me that Microsoft ought to try to follow IBM's path. They should accept the world that they live in -- a world with multiple vendors, and open standards -- and be the guys who own lots of really key assets, and who are really good at making things work well together.

First, they should accept Android and build a stack on top of that OS, rather than trying to push their own system. They have to be hard nosed enough to accept reality, and the reality is that a second rate locked down proprietary phone OS ain't going to win.

They should produce a value added stack that sits on top of android and that's targeted really squarely at corporate customers -- it should include sync and access to office docs, active directory integration, an incredible exchange client, etc. Pretty much everyone with a good job would buy that, because almost everyone lives in a microsoft universe at work. There should be apps that let you control your SQL server from your phone, that let you monitor servers, etc.

All of this stuff should be extensible and scriptable by anyone who wants to write code. They should be all about open scripting and glue between components.

On the consumer side it will be harder and more competitive, but they should probably be pushing a tight desktop integration stack there as well. They need to tie the desktop and the phone together using the cloud as glue. You should get your songs, your photos, your docs, your apps. You should be able to pull up your desktop via RDP and do anything you want, and there should be separate phone friendly GUIs to do the most useful things.

Almost none of the really awesome stuff we'll be able to do with these phones has been built yet. Microsoft is in an incredibly good position to build out huge chunks of it, because they're the guys who know the most about so much of what we want to reach back and talk to. They still own the legacy world, and that's a huge, huge advantage.

But it's like they're thining in 1993 terms, and they need to control the OS, and they're going to fight that pointless battle that they can't win anyway. They have to accept the new world -- an open platform that everyone shares -- and they have to leverage all of their assets to thrive in it.

I never would have thought I'd be in this place. I love linux. I want computers to be open. And now I really want Microsoft to stand up and push back against the closed Apple iPad model. I want them to come out really hard, and push something more open, and I want them to run ads explaining why Apple's way is a bad idea. And instead they just seem to be floundering.

Comment: Re:Sweet (Score 1) 268

by astrashe (#32341610) Attached to: Fedora 13 Is Out

That's really interesting. I didn't know that. I ran Debian for a long time -- what you've said really sounds like Debian. :)

Yum and ruby's gems system are integrated. I tended to credit the yum people for that, but from your comment maybe it has more to do with the gems people.

I really dig yum -- I love the plugin that just grabs the diffs. I love that they have plugins at all.

Fedora isn't as polished as Ubuntu, but it really feels like engineers are front and center, and that they're working on the infrastructure.

And it feels like geeks are the target audience, rather than the proverbial grandmother who can't do anything on a computer. I'm glad the grandma has a good distro, but I'm also glad that I have Fedora.

Comment: Re:Sweet (Score 4, Insightful) 268

by astrashe (#32340854) Attached to: Fedora 13 Is Out

I really like the ruby packages -- it's easier for me to make ruby and rails work easily.

I'm sure lots of people get by just fine with Ubuntu, and I haven't tried it for awhile, but it seemed to me that the package manager and the gems system were always tripping over each other.

It's great that we have options, though. I've been running Linux for awhile, and in my experience, distros eventually melt down. They make bad decisions, try crazy schemes to monetize things, get too bogged down in ideology, chase off developers with fights, or whatever. Nothing lasts forever.

So I'm glad that Ubuntu is out there if Fedora caves in, and Ubuntu people should be glad that Fedora exists in case Ubuntu goes way off track. That's why Linux is cool -- it's distributed enough that no single pinhead can break it.

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