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Comment Re:Yes, comments are too hard to police. (Score 1) 226

Churchill said "We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.".

The same can be said with technology in general... social and technical factors are deeply intertwined. It's true that individual character help shapes the final outcome/feel of a community, but that's just one factor out of many.

You may find this essay by Clay Shirky interesting: A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy.

Comment Re:Yes, comments are too hard to police. (Score 1) 226

Of course, that's primarily because censoring viewpoints tales quite a bit of work and the more reflective an echo chamber you want to built the more censoring there is to be done.

Instead of becoming an oasis where truth could emerge thru spirited, rational civic discourse, internet forums have instead become a choose-your-own-reality wasteland, where any politicized issue predictably elicits the same set of canned responses. You'll occasionally find some gems (well reasoned arguments, vigorous data-backed analysis, insider perspectives, etc.), but you have to wade thru a lot of dreck to get there.

So, while you can claim that censorship is the motivation for removing comment systems, I suspect it has more to do with the difficulty of achieving "everyday" standards of civility, courtesy, and self-restraint. For whatever reason, commenters are willing to speak with a level of venom that they would never use in real life, even if debating their worst enemy. What motivation do websites have to tarnish their brand with that?

Comment Jobs was great... (Score 1) 273

...but the problem with the great man myth is that revolutions usually require a lot of great men.

It's amusing, for instance, how George Crow and Bob Belleville had to sneak a deal with Sony behind Job's back, or the original Mac would have been delayed by months.

In another episode, Bob Belleville was the guy with the blind-spot, as he wanted to fire Bruce Horn, the guy working on Resource Manager subsystem (a nifty development/hacking tool that was fundamental to Mac applications until the advent of PowerPC). Bruce and his coworkers stood their ground (and also got Jobs involved) and thwarted what would have been a serious managerial mistake.

Comment Re:Which is why you don't let this stuff connect.. (Score 1) 98

I don't think there is a hidden agenda with camp 1. Camp 1 says "we cannot secure your private shit phone and thus giving it access to the VPN etc is a stupid idea and we're not doing it."

Camp 1's hidden agenda is making life simple for them (e.g., IT security). When a gatekeeper's opened for opening a gate, they'll have no incentive to do what's actually best for the organization. It's not just IT, either. We all do it. Want to order some software? Legal and Supply Chain and IT will all conspire to make this a big fucking deal that takes two months to get done. (Shhh... don't tell them about the thousands of packages flitting into their network via nuget/npm/git/aptitude/docker/whatever. This is the real reason Open Source won the world of software reuse. Blow your deadline doing paperwork and politics, or `npm install foo` and keep programming?)

That's not to say I'm a fan of camp 2 and the BYOD movement; I was saying "hell yeah" reading your post, so I'm probably not the best person to put forth the camp 2 argument. It's just that dealing with risk is a very, very hard balancing game. When you ask the person in charge of managing risk, they'll always say "no"; when you ask the person in charge of getting results, they'll always say "yes". But the optimal solution... the one that best maximizes shareholder value while keeping it within their preferred level of risk tolerance... is going to vary case by case.

Comment Re:Seriously... (Score 1) 245

If what is on the test is not what you want the students to be learning, then the problem is with the design of that test

Most people that object to our current system of testing, have no interest in improving it, but rather prefer no accountability at all.

Oh hi there! Sorry Test 1.0 didn't work for you, but there's an easy fix... it's Test 2.0! It has everything you love about the original, but now with even more tests!! Buy it today! No, the conflicts with Teach 1.0.1 haven't been fixed, and if you're one of the folks who filed a bug report about it, you're probably just a louse who wants to play Solitaire 2000.

Comment Re:Seriously... (Score 4, Insightful) 245

The argument isn't against testing, it's against standardized testing, and over-reliance on testing.

I like the term high-stakes testing, because issuing a standardized test once a year is a fine to gain visibility into trends and patterns (and maybe figure out where extra help is needed), but once you start tying compensation and school budgets directly to the score, it's over. People are going to game the system.

Comment Re:What's the point? (Score 2) 216

Downsides: 1. you lose remote access (save for second-class stuff like VNC), 2. you need to port most software or use X emulation. Upsides: ... [crickets] ...

Performance, battery life, innovation.

(And if you haven't noticed, X remote access is already second-class to thinks like RDP and SPICE.)

Comment Rationalization vs Principle (Score 1) 628

This has immediately raised concerns. Today, if a Windows user finds that an update breaks something BLAH BLAH BLAH

Author immediately launches into rationalization, but the most important "concern" is that IT'S MY DAMN BOX and you can't modify it without my consent.

Now I agree that patching is a good thing, but you can default users into it without usurping their property rights. That Microsoft didn't deign to do so makes you wonder what other infringements are baked into their new OS.

(This goes for all modern game consoles as well... there seems to be this ridiculous notion that you want to turn these puppies on and watch a progress bar instead of, you know, play.)

Comment Re:Nukes a waste for Iran anyway (Score 1) 459

What possible use are nukes for Iran anyway?

Merely possessing nukes changes the power dynamics. You don't have to use them to alter how your neighbors, trading partners, and enemies perceive you. Even if you have no rational way to use them, you need only convince people that you're capable of behaving irrationality to gain leverage.

Take Israel... they've done some pretty crazy stuff, and they maintain deliberate ambiguity over whether they possess nukes or not. If you're Iran, it might be nice to have a back-pocket action there. Of course, they're probably also aware that they sit b/t Turkey (who hosts US nukes), Russia (their love/hate trading partner across the Caspian Sea), and Pakistan. And wouldn't it be nice to intervene diplomatically if things got heated b/t India and Pakistan, since fallout doesn't confine itself to national boundaries? And while Saudi Arabia doesn't have nukes, anything they can do to one-up them and gain more influence over the region is highly desirable.

Basically, nukes put you in a very exclusive club.

Comment Re:If thou gaze long into an abyss .. (Score 1) 27

You asked for proof and I pointed out that we don't have the visibility necessary for proof. I then appealed to wisdom vis-a-vis human nature to establish concern. (Which was directed at first world countries in general, not NZ in particular, though granted I didn't spell that out. Hey, maybe the Kiwis have their act together... that's great if so! I'd love to be wrong.) The drumbeat of incremental power grabs is very telling though, at least to those of us who've seen a bit of history. But feel free to close your eyes and pretend you aren't boiling...

Comment Re:If thou gaze long into an abyss .. (Score 4, Insightful) 27

I note that the NSW Police was a user of Finn Fisher - but in that case also I've seen no evidence they misused it.

Of course you haven't... until the Hacking Team breach, you didn't know they were using it at all, am I right? With no transparency comes no accountability.

Human nature is predictable. If you want to give me primae facia evidence that they aren't abusing it, then show me the warrants they've obtained for the use of the product. Show me the disclosure reports. Show me the convictions for those individuals who inevitably misused it (in exchange for a bribe or to spy on their girlfriend, for instance). Saying that nobody misused it whatsoever is like Russia claiming they don't have any handicap or gay people... just simply ridiculous.

Western governments--those very countries which first embraced and first reaped the benefits of following sound democratic principles (limited government, human rights, due process, separation of powers, etc.)--are sliding into totalitarianism. I don't know how to fix it, but one thing we can all do is not be naive about human nature.

Nothing succeeds like the appearance of success. -- Christopher Lascl