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Comment Re:Semi-OT: Why does plain text still exist? (Score 1) 106

Well yes, runtime costs of encryption might be an issue, but that's sort of what I meant when I said nobody seems to be phased by SSL and how that works with trusted keys, etc. In short, why can't all data (like medical records) be encrypted inside systems that are incapable of exporting the plain text and can't be accessed by anything that doesn't have the cryptographic ability to do so?

Obviously, and attacker could steal the keys and write an application that read that data and then exported it as plain text. But encrypting by default would seem to a good way of preventing accidental or just stupid data breaches as so often seem to be perpetrated by idiots.

Comment Semi-OT: Why does plain text still exist? (Score 1) 106

Why does plain text still exist? Or put it another way, why is anyone who has data they must protect able to put such data into a program that will export, import or otherwise be accessed by an external system *without* an encryption key?

I know it's a stupid question, but being able to just dump a database to text is just totally wrong, no? Nobody seems to be phased by SSL over HTTP, after all. Excel, Outlook, Oracle, MySQL, etc. - stop the madness!

Comment The ratchet effect of censorship (Score 1) 164

"Chief executive and co-founder Steve Huffman told users: 'We've spent the last few days here discussing...'

There it is. If you've ever wondered how any repressive regime started with perfectly good intentions and ended putting humans through meat grinders, then there it is.

Imagine the scene: the great and the good at Reddit discussion what to do about revenge porn, swastikas and confederate flags in a plush air-conditioned office. They all have beautiful wives and young kids at home. Who, just who among them will seriously make any point about how Reddit is part of the fabric of free speech and that all they should do is give the community the tools to deal with it?

Nobody will. They don't want to come across as some swivel-eyed libertarian loon! We all know evil when we see it after all!

That's why I like Slashdot. Look at the length of my ID: I have never in all that time ever seen a swastika or any hate speech at all. I'm sure it exists though.

Comment Re:Seems he has more of a clue (Score 3, Insightful) 703

I'm afraid the burden of proof is on you to show the results of all your experiments proving climate change is not happening. The overwhelming evidence we have is that *is* occurring - so any disproof of this needs presenting far more than any more corroboration.

Which is how science works, BTW.

Comment It's about the gangsters and hoes, really. (Score 1) 218

"For decades, AM/FM radio has used whatever music it wants without paying a cent to the musicians"

That is completely false. They pay to ASCAP and BMI, who in turn pay to the musicians. That is why those organisations exist.

The real issue here is that those organisations are shameless parasites who take almost all the money for themselves before passing anything to the people they claim to represent.

A finer example of how utterly venal the music business is. Any musician who deals with them gets what they deserve, in my opinion.

Comment So a coat it silly, but what about...? (Score 3, Interesting) 40

While I agree that putting the fabric inside a coat demonstrates a naive view of human factors (you can't wash the coat, you have to wear it all the time, etc.), I wonder if this might simply be the first idea they had after developing the invention?

Fabric generating power from movement would seem to have applications in other places: sails on boats; flags flying on buildings; tarpaulins on trucks, maybe quite a few others if the fabric is sufficiently robust enough.

Comment Re:Dead as a profit source for Symantec, well, ... (Score 1) 331

As another poster pointed out, it is perfectly viable for a literate - or just sensible - individual to not use an antivirus. For more than 20 years, and for various reasons (monetary, but also relating to general hassle), I have been running my family's Windows computers without any AV save for MSE in the last few years. I have yet to have any significant problems in doing so. My parents, my wife and my son (although he just uses and iPad now) are perhaps unusual in not surfing pr0n or not clicking links on emails that tell them to re-set passwords, etc. Gmail is pretty good at filtering out these in any case.

When I've mentioned this to others, it's a bit like saying you don't eat breakfast. The reaction is variously like I've broken some taboo, or that I'm risking the health of the Internet by allowing malware to botnet my machines to hell (which they aren't BTW, since I do the occasional scan using a LiveCD from time to time).

Comment The greatest single disaster in computing history (Score 3, Interesting) 742

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that comparisons to the Holocaust and world wars are in fact quite appropriate when discussing the magnitude of what Microsoft did to the history of computing, and by extension to human history overall.

The reason for this is simple. The effect of the Microsoft monopoly lasted so long and was so stultifying that it meant we will never know what a different word processor might be like. We will never know if spreadsheets or email might be more usable or efficient. We will never know (at least not in our lifetime) what an operating system or software might be like that doesn't use the conventions laid down by a company that had no incentive to make anything better, no need to design anything more than barely adequate, or to listen to its customers. Yet all these things are of fundamental importance to our lives - far, far too important to have suffered under a brutal, money-grubbing monopoly.

Despite (very) small innovations, Apple was not and is not a counter-balance because they were forced to ape the conventions that the Microsoft juggernaut had laid down with it's 95% market share. Jobs knew as well as anyone that it would be suicide to create anything that the market place was not already at least partially familiar with.

In the final analysis, the Microsoft era was a massive failure of free market capitalism that left us all driving Trabants while thinking they were the best that we could have. The blame lies of course with politicians and industry regulators who had no clue what an immense influence personal computing would have on society until it was too late. But it is too late. The die has been cast for personal computing for generations to come, and that is an utter and maddening tragedy for all of us.

The issue is of course far bigger than just one man, but holy mother of god do I hate what Bill Gates did to all of us.

Comment Re:And that's exactly what I asked for. (Score 1) 2219

Use the Slashdot poll for something useful for a once.

Looks like Beta has hidden the comments on the polls. Coincidence?

Joking apart, putting up a list of features to vote on will just be chaotic. Better to put a list of high-level principles up first. For example:

1. Slashdot is about commenting on stories.
2. Slashdot is about finding out about new stuff in tech
3. Slashdot is about creating a community of like-minded people


Which one of those gets the most votes sets the direction for any re-design. Discreet functions like "mod up" or "quote OP" would just wear everyone down I think.

Comment Re:More reprsentative stats please (Score 1) 390

"My companies websites (Insurance) have an IE share of about 40%."

I concur. W3Schools is completely unrepresentative of a normal web demographic and I never know why people take their reports seriously. I worked for 5 years at a multi-national online travel agent operating in 48 countries. I posted some stats on our browser usage about 18 months ago as part of a similar rant about some loons called StatCounter claiming that Chrome was now the majority browser in the UK. There is no way in hell that IE has declined over 40% since then:

(BTW the differences between China and India on weekends is quite striking though)

Comment Re:Features != Capabilities (Score 1) 129

"You are confusing features with capabilities. The problem with features is mostly about complexity and interface."

No, you're confusing good UI design with bad UI design. That's a different thing to what I'm talking about because in your example features can be rendered easy or hard to use by the way they are designed into the interface. Put it another way, you can have great features poorly executed, or poor features well executed - and in both cases the outcome is fail. Features are neutral until executed (AKA designed).

Instead, what I'm talking about is the knee-jerk reaction of product managers (as opposed to designers) who immediately start listing "better features" in order to compete with a rival. They don't realise that what they need to do instead is list customer needs, then come up with features from there. That's much harder to do of course. Who cares if I have 1080p video if I don't need to record any video?


New York... when civilization falls apart, remember, we were way ahead of you. - David Letterman