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Comment: Re:Newsflash: mobile doesn't actually matter. (Score 1) 139

by david_thornley (#47715565) Attached to: Ballmer Leaves Microsoft Board

Smartphones offer email and messaging (they mostly also can make phone calls). They also offer all sorts of PDA functions. What more do you expect something that size to do? There's plenty of money to be made there (at least for Apple and Samsung).

I'm not as sure about Netbooks. Chromebooks have possibilities, and they haven't been out all that long, so I'm not calling them a failure. Not now, anyway.

Tablets have succeeded in the market. Apple has sold a whole lot, and you don't get Apple. They sell an experience, not hype, and no significant numbers of people (in the sales sense) get quasi-religious. The fact is that you aren't Apple's target audience, and you fail to understand what might appeal to other people. I've seen lots of people making good use of iPads. I believe Samsung has also been doing well, although I've not seen many general-purpose Android tablets. Amazon has been selling massive amounts of them, many of them fundamentally Android tablets with special links to Amazon. Nor are tablets too locked down (the walled garden has a lot of advantages for non-technical people), and they are convenient.

Fundamentally, you need to either stop making sweeping statements, or get out more and hang out with people different from you.

The market for desktops and laptops is not going away, but for a great many people they can be replaced by tablets, or even phones. I don't want to get my mother-in-law online with her desktop or laptop, but I'd love to see her using an iPad for that purpose. It'll do everything she might want to do with a computer. (Not everything you or I might want to do with a computer, but people like my mother-in-law are a pretty big market in themselves.)

Comment: Re:Everyone spies on everyone... (Score 1) 160

There are two things about the NSA I find unacceptable.

The first is their mass surveillance in the US. This can't be stopped by security. I can encrypt my email, and the NSA still knows that I sent email, to whom, and when, and the rough length. If I had a phone scrambler that would actually stop the NSA, they'd still know who I was calling. This can only be stopped politically.

The second in their disregard for our security. The NSA has been trying to put NSA-specific holes in encryption. This not only hinders me from protecting myself against the NSA, but is a security risk for me if the NSA's corresponding key information gets out. Good thing the NSA never has any leaks, right? And we all know that Snowden's the only person who's gotten secret information out of the NSA this century, right?

Comment: Re:High Horse (Score 1) 160

Here's a hint: They don't WANT to spy on you. You don't matter.

On the other hand, we have FBI infiltration of peaceful groups and idiots who vaguely want to do something jihady but couldn't come up with a plan until the FBI suggested one. "They" are looking at an awful lot of people, and seem to have a considerable ability to get people in trouble. As long as I don't rock the boat, they don't care about me, unless they get a false positive result in surveillance. Once I start being politically active in an inconvenient way, I am explicitly a target of surveillance.

Comment: Re:Bottom line... (Score 1) 160

I'm not saying spying on allies is good, I'm saying that it's expected, everybody who cares knows that it's happening, and bringing it up is a diplomatic faux pas. Snowden's reports on domestic spying were extremely valuable. His reports on foreign spying told few people things they didn't already know, and made Merkel have to take exception to it.

Comment: Re:Bottom line... (Score 1) 160

Not going to work. Sorry.

If I don't pay my roofer in your suggested situation, I find it harder to buy things. If I walk over and shoot the wife of the first person (presumably a straight male or lesbian) who refuses to sell me goods and services, I may find it easier to buy things. I won't make many friends, but many people will think it safer to cooperate with me.

Now, suppose I team up with several other gunmen and start running the town. Nobody wants to mess with us, because we're mean and nasty and will kill the families of those who oppose us. People want to move out, but the towns down the road are also being run by people like us, so that's no improvement.

Basically, we're heartless and willing to use whatever violent options we have to get what we want. The only way to get rid of us is to form a larger force that is responsible to the people; in other words, a government and police force.

Comment: Re:Bottom line... (Score 1) 160

I don't remember any secret treaties involved.

Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy were in a public alliance (which Italy construed as being a defensive alliance, and since the whole thing was started by Austria-Hungary didn't require Italy to go to war). France and Russia were in a public alliance. Britain was not formally part of an alliance, but was a guarantor of Belgian neutrality and had close informal ties with France.

'There were diplomatic blunders and severe misjudgments, in that leaders frequently overestimated either their opponent's willingness to back down or their ability to defeat their opponent. I don't see how better intelligence was going to help that. There were also several national leaders that, for whatever reason, wanted war. Austria-Hungary feared being broken apart, and wanted a quick victory. Germany was worried about its possible opponents and their recent increase in military capabilities. France wanted to recover the lost Alsace and Lorraine land.

The German war plan was, in case of war with Russia, to invade Luxemburg and Belgium and attack France from the North. That had some unpleasant consequences, but by the time it was relevant (after mobilization) it would have been awfully difficult to back down from the war

How do you think better diplomatic intelligence would have averted war? I'm not seeing it.

"Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward" -- William E. Davidsen

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