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Comment Let me explain.... :-) (Score 5, Insightful) 309

This isn't entirely a mystery. For a technology to be widely adopted, it needs to be easy for everyone and provide demonstrable benefits. OR, it needs to provide benefits for a business who already has your custom. And there we begin to see the problem. There are two massive disincentives:

- Crypto doesn't play well with webmail
- Encrypted email can't be scanned for advert keywords

So you will never see the likes of Google or Microsoft championing this. Apple - just maybe, as they would rather promote devices, and I gather they actually DO have decent end to end crypto on iMessage and so on. But even then, it's VERY hard to do in a way that customers would actually appreciate. No-one wants to get email working 95% of the time. It needs to be 100%. If you can't read 5% of your email, you're in trouble. Or you can't read email on the 5% of time that you need to access from a borrowed PC.

It seems to me that the keys to making this work are:

- Concentrate on signing before crypto. Get banks to sign email. Have different security levels; get to a stage where by default, only signed email will download embedded images, make links clickable without a warning, etc..
- Find a way to make it work with webmail. Can we do this with JS? Or do we need browser support? End to end crypto It would require a way for a part of a page to be sandboxed, accept a secret to decrypt your keys, and not allow the plaintext info out. End to end signing is a little easier. This might also include retrieving the private keys from a distinct cloud service.
- Solve the centralized trust issue. Probably derive a format from S/MINE rather than GPG for email, but critically, signing of certs needs a community trust system so you can see who trusts who, and people can get their identities signed by people they know.

Finally, if that's widely deployed for signing then people can begin to encrypt with a hope of the other end being able to decrypt.

Comment Google Wave (Score 1) 299

I've felt the same way for years. I had high hopes for Google Wave to fill the gap.

It's not the same thing, and scripting for end users would not have been the same, but we don't need a direct replacement. We need:

- Web based, cloud based.
- Multi screen sized, flowable
- The card stack model from HyperCard was GOOD for naive use - and perfectly carried into Google Wave
- Simple scripting, but probably JavaScript not HyperTalk

In fact, my ideal system is somewhere in the middle of Wave, HyperCard, Lotus Notes, XSLT or similar and the web.

- Document templates that can be filled in. Let's get rid of MS Word and have more structured docs, but in a way that hobby developers can cope with.
- Effective visual editing of templates; HTML template editing but much more like a good UI editor,
- Somehow remove all the complexity from the scripting of events... HyperCard WAS good at this!!

I'm not going to mention SharePoint. MicroSoft NEVER understood groupware!

Comment Probabilities, Summation (Score 1) 800

Options would have to be costed. Many things would feed into that. The problem of course is that for all of those costings, probability multiplied by survivability does not produce a linear outcome of quality of life value; you could assign a value of harm to each individual present, but you could not get a meaningful figure by summation.

Comment It didn't matter whether it was last year or next (Score 3, Interesting) 306

It didn't matter whether it was last year or next...IP usage was accelerating into the wall anyway. The GOOD part about this is that now the US is out of addresses certain parts of the Internet industry are more likely to take IPv6 seriously.

Sadly, ISPs in other parts of the world have proven adept at further avoiding the problem by downgrading consumer connections to carrier-grade NAT, so we have another 5 years of eking out of old order before people REALLY have to take notice.

Comment Monolithic vs. standards (Score 1) 220

Surely for a few tens of thousands of pounds, it would have been better to publish and API for storing and modifying the info on (secured) web servers locally in a way that could be indexed and catalogued separately. Then, incentivize private firms to make and sell software to surgeries and hospitals that provide the API. Why do people always go for monolithic top down solutions for these things?

Comment Clearbooks.co.uk (Score 1) 571

http://www.clearbooks.co.uk/ - Completely cloud/web based accounting.

Sorry, I have no idea if there is a US version, and of course it it quite specific about taxes and so on. But it was the best day of my software experience life when I switched from SAGE to Clearbooks. Not only does it do everything we need, but it is the first accounts package I have ever seen that anticipates your needs - "this account isn't really suitable for this transaction, your probably want to use x instead". "This is a large capital purchase, so it's been added to your asset register pending approval". OMG it's wonderful!!!

Yes, I'm an evangelist. Most accounting packages are so bad that it's like night and day when you see a good one. It includes...
- PAYE (uk equivalent of withholding)
- VAT (EU equivalent of sales tax)
- automated monthly importing of bank statements direct from bank websites
- automated matching of statement items with purchases and vendors
- automated asset management and depreciation
- automated filing of govt tax forms for VAT, corporation tax and others
- multicurrency, + international transactions in line with tax rules
- quicky stuff like small business flat rate VAT, agricultural taxes, partnership tax rules, etc etc

I may no longer actually need an accountant. I could never say that with other software. With this, I am beginning to think that he adds no value whatsoever.

Comment Code and extension trading...? (Score 1) 173

Tell you what I always wanted in a remake of Élite... nerd tools. An extension API, allowing scripts, GUIs/HUDs and possibly external connectivity. And the same facility to trade code and attachments that you see in something like Second Life.

Imagine....
- The universe really IS newtonian, but you can develop and trade control systems that make it appear otherwise and apply directed power to compensate for unwelcome inertia
- Bots, autopilots, combat aids
- Buy extra ships, develop swarm/formation flying control systems

What? Is this a desirable mash up? To me, it's the logical conclusion of real trading and real newtonian physics. Give the society the real ability to develop and create.

The challenge is to make sure that automated things don't dominate, and to create a playing society that can police the worst renegades. Rules are enforced by players, with bounties etc..

Comment Ron Paul in Five Words (Score 2) 1797

There's a lot of clap trap in these comments trying to sum out Ron Paul by his financial policies. It completely misses the point.

Ron Paul is a constitutionalist.

He believes that the federal govt overreaches. Financially, yes, but also militarily, socially, and almost every other sphere of influence. I'm sure he'd be fine about individual states offering loans - or transport systems, or healthcare, or abortions, or ID cards, or gay marriage or whatever. But these are not the job of the federal government. It's not rocket science - he is simply the only prominent politician who takes the limitation to legislate only over "commerce among the several states" seriously.

In practise, this all means that he has the only plan that can save the USA, being as the first step to solving the financial hole is to stop digging. And that means cuts to spending. I personally hope that he would do it in such a way that individual states can take over whichever programs they want in a clean and managed way. But this man is your only hope. Vote for him.

Comment AFP (Score 1) 182

My own AFP experience with QNAP was terrible, due to the dodgy FOSS stack - I forget which one - that was included. There was no useful way to authenticate (no OpenDirectory, no Kerberos, no way to automate user import). I ended up with iSCSI between the QNAP and the Mac OS Server (ATTO iSCSI) and serving AFP from there, with a 5x speed improvement.

Was I doing something wrong? It doesn't seem to match the AFP figures in the article. Anyone else have similar awful real-world AFP performance?

Comment Fixing it... (Score 2, Interesting) 157

Of course, it IS still just about possible for one of us to fix USENET. If we cared enough.

- A distributed ratings system that works, and allows matching of your preferences to people with similar preferences.
- A better standard for signing articles, and ownership of virtual websites where threads or subforums can only be started by the owner
- Standards for structured documents and so on.
- Incorporation and acceptance into multiple CMS's so that you can actually read existing forums through NNRP

So far, in the 15 years since this has been an issue, noone has cared enough to fix it. Pity.

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