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Journal: Privacy and Secrecy 9

Journal by ShieldW0lf

These two concepts are presented as being synonymous in popular discussion. A "You can't have one without the other." kind of thing.

This concerns me greatly.

I could write at great length about the threat secrecy poses to human culture, and have before, but that's not what I'm going to do right now.

I've had conversations in the past where I claimed people never had privacy in the first place, that between the government and the schools and the banks and credit card companies and whatnot, their movements and activities have been monitored since the day they were born.

But this was never precisely right. Because privacy doesn't require secrecy. That is what I want to talk about.

First, a couple of illustrations:

When you go to the bathroom, it's not a secret what you're going in there for. We know you're going in there to release waste. You know that we know. But we would generally agree that this gives you privacy.

When you live with roommates, and you take your special someone to your room and hang a tie on the door, we know what you're in there for. You know that we know. But you still feel a sense of privacy, and you still do what you went in there to do.

So. What makes these situations private, when they're not even vaguely secret?

The lack of a requirement to interact.

It's a matter of social decorum. Good manners.

At the end of the day, I don't really care that you know I took a dump. What I care about is that I don't have to carry on a conversation about it. I don't even want to have the "conversation of the eyes". I want to forget, for a moment, that you exist.

I don't think I'm exceptional in this regard.

So, clearly, you can have privacy without secrecy.

Let's examine something a little more pervasive.

Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the last 15 years, you're probably familiar with the "Reality TV" concept.

These people are living in a fishbowl. They have no secrets, and they know it.

But you can clearly see that, despite this, they will seek out a space where they are physically alone so they can have some privacy. And you can clearly see them relax, because their need for privacy has been fulfilled.

Why? There are likely more people observing them that ever before... how can they possibly feel like they have privacy?

The answer is, they don't need to react to you. They don't need to respond to things you say. That automatic reflex we have to decipher what your eyes are saying never kicks in. That is what they really crave.

So. One more illustration. Not even anecdotal. Could not tell you when or where I heard this, but here goes:

The story is, there is an Asian culture where everyone is packed in so tightly, and their building construction affords them no secrecy because their walls are so thin that a man walking past your house can see and hear right through your rice paper walls.

Nevertheless, these people successfully find the privacy they need. Because they do not react to things that are none of their business. They know their place.

There is a lesson here for us.

We are grappling with a real problem in our civilization. We have forged tools with the power to extend our senses further than our great grandparents could have ever dreamed. But we have not yet demonstrated the maturity to handle it.

The result of this is that there is a small class of people who have access to vast amounts of information about everyone, and a large class of people who have very little access and what access they have has been carefully chosen to control their opinions.

The small class of people and the large class of people are both fighting to preserve this state of affairs. The large class are defending the "right to secrecy" because they feel they are fighting to protect their privacy from their ill mannered fellows. The small class are defending the right to secrecy because they have an unfair advantage over their fellows and they wish to preserve that state of affairs.

Simultaneously, you have people who are fighting for "transparency", because they recognize the unfair advantage that is held by a group that seeks to control them, and they wish that unfair advantage erased.

In this way, we are turned against ourselves by those who would rule us.

I've argued this point exhaustively in online forums under my standard pseudonym, and have been jeered at, and invited to publish my real name, address and banking information.

This is what we're up against. I've got skeletons in my closet, same as everyone. I'm flawed, but I'm confident I'm no more flawed than any of you. If the veils of secrecy came crashing down for one and all, I'm confident that it would be impossible for anyone to attack my character and reputation without being seen for a gross hypocrite.

But, to go first is to allow hypocrites to destroy you, and to fail in your attempt to address the problem.

It's a difficult problem. I'm not sure how to get from where we are to where I believe we need to be. I see it as a real possibility that we will destroy our own potential to grow beyond the limitations of our fragile flesh rather than develop the maturity to cope with this situation.

However, I think that creating a sense of the distinction between privacy and secrecy is an essential step towards having a dialog that will lead us there.

Thank you for reading.

User Journal

Journal: A new democratic model 4

Journal by ShieldW0lf

This is a work in progress, which I will continue to expand upon. I feel it is important to share it in it's unfinished, because I am frequently misunderstood when I attempt to communicate my ideas in conversation, and am attacked by people based on a false understanding of what I propose. This is intended to be a tool which I deliver as a gift to mankind, to use or ignore as they see fit, and not something I impose upon anyone.

The Principles:

Any person who wishes to participate in the running of society has the right to do so. They operate in the fashion that suits them best in each sector, and they do as they will with their spare time. They have the right to vote in the operation of the society they participate in and have their vote counted.

Some people cannot choose to actively participate in society. Children who are too immature to be safe, invalids who are unable because they are in too much pain, those too elderly to function properly.

People need to be involved to have the right to make decisions. If they are not involved, their vote should not count. To allow their vote to count is to those who are ignorant to rule. When one man knows, and another does not, the second should bow his head, and the first should take responsibility.

However, people who are not involved should still have the right to cast votes, propose changes to the system and express themselves just as any other. Wisdom can come from those who are young, elderly and infirm, and it is important that we respect that fact. We can all remember bearing witness to hidebound foolishness amongst our elders at some point in our youth, and those of us who are not yet elderly and infirm can rest assured that we most likely will be.

Those who are not involved and cast votes should not have their vote counted towards a decision, however, those who are involved are free to assign their vote to them, and those votes will count. Thus, a wise elder or visionary invalid who cannot participate through deeds may still be the voice of those who do participate through deeds, for as long as they believe his leadership is wise.

Children should be treated as a special case.

It is important that children continue to be born and that the system should treat them as future citizens of vital importance to us all and not the same as mature or invalid dependents who are cared for out of compassion.

Therefore, parents should be considered to have an additional vote that represents their child, for so long as they continue to nurture to them.

Children should still continue to be able to cast a vote for themselves when they are mature enough to understand what that means, participate in the process and develop their voice, and if mature adults choose to appoint a child as their representative, those votes should be assigned according to the choices of the child and not automatically be passed along to the childs parent.

All data and information should be available to everyone in principle, and it shall be an ongoing goal of society to see that all measures available to make it accessible in practice are implemented. Transparency of information shall never be compromised in support of other concerns, because it is essential to the sane and wise operation of a democratic society.

Where secrecy exists, the act of participating in democracy is itself insane and unwise. It is through exploitation of this truth that those with arcane knowledge make themselves parasites of the ignorant, leading to weakness and suffering of those kept ignorant, the inevitable execution of the parasitic ruler, and often the destruction of the entire human culture.

Preventing this situation from arising is the responsibility of all humanity.

The Tools:

The Watchers - A sensor network, intended to gather data and allow all people to be aware of the environment to the maximum practical degree

The Testaments - Personal mesh networked voting devices with record keeping and personal sensors, intended to allow a person to demonstrate their votes to their peers, review the ongoing operations of the culture and propose changes to the way things are run.

The Witnesses - Stationary mesh networked recording devices, intended to decentralize vote archives and create enough forensic evidence to make wide scale vote tampering impossible

The Web - Wired network, intended to act in a supporting role to the Watchers, Testaments and Witnesses where it is advantageous to use Artifacts of Mankind to analyze data and discover patterns.

The Transition:

This presupposes that the infrastructure for the new model for representative democracy has been designed and distributed and the vast majority agree in principle with its use.

I started writing this proposal with the idea of applying it strictly to legal systems, but realized that it really should govern all common systems, which would include all large scale infrastructure and commonly used systems for governing human affairs. This is a statement with far reaching implication and is going to have to be expanded upon significantly for it to make sense.

1) Cataloging:

We should create a catalogue of laws and systems, together with the justification for those laws and systems, an articulation of the sacrifice they represent, and an articulation of any conditions which would justify their being revoked.

The population should have x number of days to create a catalogue of the laws and systems which exist, together with the justification for those laws and systems continued existance.

2) Judgement:

The population should vote to determine if the closing period for contributions to the catalogue should be extended.

Any laws and systems which are not indexed after the closing period will be judged to be unsupported by anyone and therefore eliminated (there being no reason why they cannot be re-introduced at the end of the migration process)

The laws and systems should be indexed in terms of those which are justified by core values and those which are justified because of how they affect other laws and systems, and a map created that articulates these justifications.

The laws and systems sould then be considered in terms of the relevance of their stated purpose, how well they fulfil their stated purpose, and a consideration of how and if the current conditions are right for them to exist. The population should vote to keep them or remove them on this basis.

At the conclusion of this process, there should be no laws and systems which do not have justification, common support, and some thought put to the time when they might cease to be sane and wise.

3) Ongoing Operation

Any person may:

    a) Propose a new law or system with novel justification

    b) Propose that a new contraindication be ratified for an existing system
                  When the conditions of our culture are x, this rule will cease to be wise.

    c) Propose that a new sacrifice be ratified for an existing system
                  This rule causes hardship in x way, and that hardship should be acknowledged.

    d) Propose that the conditions for revoking an existing system have been met
                  This contraindication was set down long ago when this rule was made, and I propose that it now applies

    e) Propose a new law or system to supersede an existing system by meeting it's justification with:

                - less sacrifice (demonstratable justification)
                          We can meet need x with this different system, and hardship x which the previous system demanded
                          would cease to be necessary
                - less contraindications (deductive justification)
                          Existing system x will become a poor and unwise tool when condition x occurs, and this new system will meet
                          the need without the risk of becoming defunct under condition x.
                - both

A system will have to be agreed upon to determine at what point a proposal must be put to a vote. Possibilities might be that a certain critical number of people must "second" the proposal, or perhaps a critical percentage of the population.

User Journal

Journal: The Soap Bubble 3

Journal by ShieldW0lf

I'm going to use the term God. If you find yourself dragging your religious preconceptions into this as a consequence of this label, feel free to substitute the word "Reality" where you see the word "God". I do this because, to my mind, they are describing the same thing using different technical languages that come from different knowledge systems, and I hope to provoke others to look at them the same way.

The universe can be understood in terms of the complexity of the arrangement of God's substance.

The singularity is the ultimate victory of Gravity and Entropy
The big bang is the ultimate failure of Gravity and Entropy

The creation of this universe is the eruption of the substance of God into an increasingly complex pattern. The limits of this complexity are imposed by, gravity, entropy and the amount of God. These limits will cause the complexity of the pattern to peak, and the complexity will degenerate back into simplicity, which will be pulled back into a singular state.

These perspectives as I've articulated them are written from the observing position of a living creature within the multiverse and bound by time.

From the position of an imagined observer outside of God, and thus outside of time, this would look very different.

To model this in your mind, it may be helpful to imagine the universe as a soap bubble being blown from a wand. The force of the big bang is like the air being blown at the soap film.

As this force causes the soap film to erupt out of a two dimensional plane into a three dimensional sphere, there are other forces at work that keep the soap film from simply disintegrating.

By acting in opposition to this "creative wind", these forces maintain the coherency of the soap film, allowing it to be a bubble with a beautiful complex pattern rather than simply dust.

However, from a perspective inside the soap film, these forces would look like the forces of entropy and gravity look to us. They drag us back towards the simplicity of death, just as the surface tension in the soap film drags the film back towards the state of being a plane.

This model makes an interesting segue into contemplation of the contrast between the infinite model of the universe and the finite model of the universe.

I believe the evidence does not support the perspective that we live in an infinitely expanding universe, because such a model would look like the soap film being blown into dust by the creative wind rather than assembling itself into the complex patterns that we see around us.

Some other interesting things to consider when looking at this model from the perspective of the outside observer watching the soap bubble of our universe being blown:

Does the ending of the creative wind cause the soap bubble to fall back into a simple plane, and have all it's complexity vanish as though it never was?

Does the creative wind cause the soap bubble to resolve into a sphere and blow off the wand?

Does the soap bubble resolve into a sphere but remain stuck to the wand?

If the observer sees the soap bubble fall back into a simple plane, that would imply that time resides outside the universe. This isn't really consistent with what we've observed about relativity.

If the creative wind causes the soap bubble to resolve into a sphere and blow off the wand, that would imply that the universe either is in the process of being created by some sort of God and cast away, or it already has been. This also implies that time resides outside the universe.

The model in which the soap bubble resolves into a sphere but remains stuck on the wand is the model that is consistent with relativity. It is the model in which the definition of time is permitted to remain relative to this universe.

In this model, the imaginary observer outside of the universe does not see any dynamic action in time because, residing outside the universe, there is no capacity to relate, and thus, they see the soap bubble in its entirety, at all of its "times".

Following this line of reasoning, the universe in its complex state and the universe in its simple state is something that can only be expressed in terms of time,

How can I verify this?

Not the right question

How might I make this a more useful predictive tool to govern behavior than others who have espoused similar views before me and failed to do so?

I might use the model to imply useful and previously unrecognized boundaries between what is local and what is global in scope in terms of the "laws of nature" and thus find new "patterns of reality" by implication or learn how to break "laws of nature" that were previously considered inviolate by moving beyond the scope of their pattern.

I might use the model to help people recognize the difference between knowledge systems derived from experimentation and knowledge systems derived from deduction, allowing people to abandon the false assurance of faulty tools and work towards reconciling the conflict between science and religion.

I wonder if Paul Davies would consider this to be #3 or #5?

I draw comfort from the fact that I am not really a 3 dimensional object transforming and translating. I am actually a 4 dimensional object experiencing becoming. I have a boundary on the top of my head, and on the soles of my feet. I have a boundary at the surface of my chest, and at the surface of my back. I have a boundary on my left side, and on my right. And, finally, I have a boundary at my birth and at my death. I will never cease, but will exist forever within these 4 axis. At the time of my death, I will finally consciously know myself in my entirety. I consider that something to look forward to.

Windows

Journal: Vista/Windows 8 Hype Log. 1

Journal by twitter

All the usual hype is flowing about Vista 8. This mostly means that Vista 7 was a failure, but I decided to log it for laughs. Vista 7 did not sell as well as Vista did and Vista 8 won't sell any better than Vista 7. Vista failure has really killed Microsoft. The upgrade inevitability myth is six feet underground, traditional desktops are becoming a thing of the past and everyone looks to Google, Apple even IBM for cool and reliable computing. Despite that, Microsoft brings out the same old lines and strategies.

2009

  • 05/29 - Steve Ballmer tries to freeze the market by announcing an early release date, only to have Micrsoft quietly rebuff him. In reality, OEM outrage at Microsoft's limitations and power grab pushes Vista 8 release out of 2012.
  • 06/02 - A fawning article from business insider. We get all the usual BS, "riskiest OS ever," "biggest step forward in more than 20 years, when it pushed Windows as the replacement for DOS", "underneath that layer is the old Windows that users are accustomed to. It will run old Windows apps", Linux and Apple are too jarring, expensive and suck, and so on and so forth.
Windows

Journal: Windows in Decline, as More than 1 in 3 PCs Ship Without 7

Journal by twitter

As the Linux Foundation wins new friends and influences people, sharp reporters at PCWorld notice that Windows sales as a fraction of PCs shipped are in a steep and accelerating decline. Woody Leonhard of Infoworld does the math on Microsoft's numbers,

Between launch and June 30, 2010 -- a period of 251 days -- Microsoft sold 0.78 Windows 7 licenses for each PC sold. Between July 1, 2010, and April 22, 2011 -- a period of 275 days -- Microsoft sold 0.67 Windows 7 licenses for each PC sold: 175 million Windows 7 licenses, and 260 million new PCs. To turn the numbers the other way around, in the past nine months, more than one-third of all new PCs sold didn't have Windows 7. ... it's entirely possible that 40 percent of all new PCs in the past nine months shipped without Windows 7. Maybe more.

So, the Windows 7 PC sales "refresh" is over. Business adoption rates are still under 10%. Kanthryn Noyles of Computer World interprets that as a Win for gnu/linux

I think it's fair to assume that a good number of them are running Linux instead. Preloaded options, after all, are increasingly common, and the reasons to switch are more compelling with each passing Patch Tuesday.

Android/Linux, is another reason for the decline. Why sit around mom's basement with a big, noisy PC when you can drop the net in your pocket? PCs are less important and Windows is downright archaic.

Microsoft's bottom line sags with its cash cow. There was good evidence in 2010 and January of this year that Windows 7 was not driving sales. Roughly Drafted now looks at Microsoft's quarterly report and shows that Windows profits are down since 2008 back when they were trying to sell Vista which many people dumped in less than six months.

Advertising

Journal: What is Florian Mueller telling Slashdot? 7

Journal by twitter
A list of things that Microsoft lobbyist and software patent advocate, Florian Mueller has been telling Slashdot.

Florian Mueller has thrust himself into the news a lot over the last couple of years, mostly to the detriment of Microsoft competitors, and has been particularly successful at getting Slashdot to copy his message. Roy Schestowitz, of Techrights, noticed him early because Boycott Novell was on Florian's journalist mass mailing list. So was Groklaw. Both rejected Florian's message and both are now smeared by him. Techrights has this index and PJ has this about bad behavior in 2005, this, this and more. Florian waged a Twitter/Social Media FUD campaign against both "Groklie" and Techrights in retaliation. Even Slashdot submitters have called Florian a "gadfly" and noticed he's behind anti-Google FUD. All of Florian's media manipulation has earned him special mention by actual lawyers who advise those threatened by lawsuits to ignore him and people like him.

The best way to understand what Florian has been doing is to make a list of it. Here then, is a list of what he's been telling Slashdot readers over the last year or so, with context and links to refutations as time allows.

Android/Google Spin.

Red Hat FUD

IBM FUD

Novell's Patent Hoard.

Reframes Microsoft's attempt to tax Motorola's use of GNU/Linux and Android.

This issue should not be separated from general anti-Google FUD but Florian does this.

That's 16 articles in less than a year and each represents dozens of Microsoft press echos. All of it says something bad about Google, Red Hat, IBM and other free software users. When he's not busy smearing Microsoft competitors, he's telling us that they Love Microsoft and are working with them towards some noble goal.

People speculate that Muelller is fed inside information as part of Microsoft's coordinated campaigns against free software and Microsoft competitors. PJ of Groklaw thinks that Microsoft hoped that a community of deluded coders would form around Florian, but only Novell employees and Mono boosters pal around, while the larger free software community ignores him. His recent praise of the SCO Gang and smears of PJ places him among the most disgusting of Microsoft company.

Windows

Journal: ZDNet Author Dumps Vista for GNU/Linux 1

Journal by twitter
J.A. Watson of ZDNet belatedly joins the Vista Sucks Chorus. He makes up for his tardiness with zeal and by moving to GNU/Linux.

I simply can't believe how awful Windows is, and (unfortunately) how gullible I am. [my laptop] came loaded with Vista Business, and a "fallback" DVD for XP Professional. I tried running Vista on it. I really tried, I really wanted it to work, and I said exactly that in my blog here. But it didn't. Every time I tried it, things started out looking promising, and after a month or two it would go belly-up. Three or four times I reloaded Vista from scratch and tried again, hoping that the latest Microsoft Updates would fix it. Eventually I gave up, reloaded one last time with XP Professional, and ran that with no problem for two years.

A month or so ago, through my own carelessness, I wiped the disk on this laptop. I had to reload everything from scratch, so (like a fool) I thought well, Vista SP2 is out, everyone says that it is "all fixed up now and works great, and reliably", so I'll try that again. I loaded Vista from scratch, added all the updates to SP2 and beyond, and I've been running it that way since. Until today. ... Windows is unreliable garbage, it always has been, it always will be, and if you use it you should be willing to accept that risk. I am no longer willing to accept that risk, even part-time as a secondary operating system on this laptop. Windows is gone, it has puked all over its disk for the last time here, and I will not reload it. I am in the process of transferring the data to one of the Linux partitions - yes, Linux is quite happy to read the partition that Windows says is hopelessly corrupted.

Please, PLEASE, unless you want to hear a very long string of words that I learned during my military service, do NOT tell me that the "solution" to this problem is to give Microsoft even more money and "upgrade" to Windows 7. ... if Vista is not stable, or reliable, then Microsoft should withdraw it and either offer a free "upgrade" to Windows 7 or offer a refund of the purchase cost. ... I absolutely don't believe the Windows 7 is any better, any more stable or any more reliable than Vista. They come from Microsoft, they are utter garbage...

This is a sign of things to come for Windows. Windows 7 was predictably just as bad as Vista was. People no longer are falling for Microsoft's promises of "this version fixes everything."

User Journal

Journal: Installing Linux - My Experience 1

Journal by Macthorpe

Well, I finally got around to trying Linux out on a spare laptop. You'll have to bear with me because I don't have the exact specs to hand, but it's a Toshiba Celeron D with 512MB of RAM and an ATI card (Mobility 7000 series?).

Distro #1: Mandriva One 2010

Mandriva failed to boot from the LiveCD. Great start everyone, round of applause. We'll gloss over that and press on.

Distro #2: Ubuntu 9.10

Attempt 1 involved the disc failing to burn 100% correctly and Ubuntu cycling from the loading screen, to the terminal, to a black screen with gobbledygook at the top, back to the loading screen again. I admit this part isn't Linux's fault, so I'll skip to attempt 2, which is when it starts to get a little more interesting.

Attempt 2 got me a bootable install of Ubuntu. The install time was pretty long but once done I started plugging away and seeing how easy it is.

My first impression was that Ubuntu is dog-fucking-slow on a machine with that spec. Considering I'd just done away with a more than passable install of XP I was unimpressed. From looks alone I wouldn't put anything between them (though it was nice to get away from Fisher-Price land) but, from the speed of it, I would have expected a user interface that operated more like Vista/7 than XP and it does not deliver that on any front. Window movement and alt-tabbing was jerky and tiresome, and I honestly could only give it half an hour before I started looking into other distros. In that time I failed utterly to get the chess program to render in OpenGL because there were two dependencies missing. Not sure why you'd distribute a program and then not bother actually installing everything it needs to run properly. Oh, and the laptop ran so hot it shut itself down about 20 minutes in, but that's probably the laptop.

Status: Abandoned for something faster.

Distro #3: Xubuntu 9.10

Having read some reviews praising XFCE's speed over Gnome and KDE, I decided that would be the route I went. Installed again and far more smoothly than Ubuntu install did, working first and picking up everything except the graphics card. Actually, that's worthy of a rant - when I did install the drivers, I started getting random black windows and notification boxes. This probably means they were right not to download them in the first place if it did work out my card, but the pissing thing didn't bother to tell me that, so I wasted half an hour installing and uninstalling the drivers for no reason, and it's hard to work Synaptic when the window keeps blacking out.

Magical.

Oh, and the other fun thing - apparently my dial-up modem isn't free enough, so it initially refused to install drivers for that too. I would like to point out that most users don't give two fucking hoots about ideology, They just want things to work. So, why not install the drivers anyway and then tell me afterwards that I'm a capitalist pig? Cheers.

Other than that, I won't say that I was blown away, or even enthused, but I was surprised at how far Linux has come. Installing programs is getting close to easy, though sometimes the descriptions are a little naff, and it took me a good chunk of an hour to work out how to copy graphics files for OpenTTD from one folder to another thanks to some permissions based shit on the destination folder that I couldn't change without dropping to the terminal. I eventually copied each file one by one in the terminal using sudo. I'm sure there's an easier way than that, but I got frustrated enough that I'd had it. Installing from Synaptic rather than hunting down an installer made a nice change but I can't help but feel that repositories aren't something that Linux can keep going if, in the long run, Linux becomes more popular.

XFCE is a good replacement for Gnome and doesn't suck up processor and graphics power like a hoover, though creating desktop shortcuts is a bit odd, and took a little bit of poking before I realised you can't just drag icons from one place to another.

I think I came away from the experience thinking that there were too many little things that Windows 7 makes really bloody easy that just take one step too many in Linux. Copying files, creating shortcuts, installing games, all worked but required just a little bit more fucking about than I'd like. That's not to say I'm wiping the laptop again, on the contrary - I'll be trying a few things out. I just don't see it as a full-time replacement.

Nethack rocks, though.

Windows

Journal: Digitimes: Windows 7 Won't Drive PC Sales. 1

Journal by twitter

Digitimes has another reason for Windows 7 sales to be low.

PC replacement demand is not driven significantly by the consumer market, but rather enterprise and government purchases ... most enterprises in Europe and North America are expected to start planning annual purchasing budgets for the year in March and April of 2010, actual replacement demand is not expected to spur until the second half of the year.

Companies and government might buy computers next year, but they should already be buying orders placed in March and April of this year. There are already accounts of corporate rejection of Windows 7, so that OS is not likely to have anything to do with corporate buying and government won't be a big market because UAC still does not meet government security standards . Back in January, retailers at CES remembered being "burnt by Vista" and saw nothing to change their minds about the contracting PC market. Perhaps OEMs and retailers could deliver the gnu/linux netbooks and desktops that people actually want to buy.

Upgrades

Journal: email not shown publicly

Journal by twitter

Who decided that all story submissions would be tagged with user email addresses? You might as well demand and publish people's real names.

This is a breach of trust that will drive away long standing users such as myself. Email addresses were collected under the promise of never being published. Now I have the choice of submitting things as AC, publishing my email address or just giving up. I'm leaning towards giving up. Boycott Novell has been more fun anyway.

Windows

Journal: Vista 7 Fail Videos 1

Journal by twitter

Despite all the hype, it is easy to predict that Windows 7 will go the same way Vista did. Vista was a failure in every way, so a pretty new face was made to sell the same buggy and customer hostile core and the Microsoft hype machine was turned on full blast. Now that Vista 7 is RTM, we no longer have to make predictions, we can simply watch the results. Here is a collection of Vista 7 failures found on YouTube. Enjoy what I found in a few minutes:

Update 1/2/2011 Real users have been forced to buy Vista 7 with their new computers for more than a year and it's Vista all over again. They tell the story better than I can.

Here are videos that have collected at YouTube over the last year. Windows 7 is no less a pig and no more secure than Vista was, everything the Microsoft boosters say is a lie. All of these videos were made after the RTM date and most after the October 22nd, 2009 shelf date. The best have bold dates.

2009

2010

2011

The Media

Journal: Amazingly Bad Defense of M$ Monopoly Practices. 1

Journal by twitter
From the dept of brain dead or bribed journalists.

This ZDNet opinion piece has got to be the worst defense of unethical business practices I've see to date. Basically, the author admits M$ bribes and punishes OEMs and that's AOK with him. Let's preserve this gem:

a company gets twice as much from a PC with their brand on it as one they make for someone else. MSI needs this money to survive in a world where its Chinese partners can undercut them. The margin justifies MSIs existence.

It is also true that Linux cannot afford a presence in the channel. Its not how we roll. You cant invest in retailing if your product costs nothing. There is nothing to invest. Thats why Linux and open source depend on the Internet.

A monopolistic practice occurs when two sides are offering the same deal and one side gets all the business. But in this case both sides were not offering the same deal. Microsoft offered channel support, Linux a hearty handshake and rhetoric about freedom.

... What Linux needs to succeed is a way to offer more than was offered MSI. The question is, how would you structure a deal?

Well, that's a good question. What besides an OS that works and costs zero dollars does free software offer? OK, it can cost up to half what Windows costs if you get it customized and maintained by a company like Xandros. "Channel Support" is just a code word for exclusion of competition by bribes and threats, the very definition of anti-trust conspiracy. Lately, "Channel Support" has come at a terrible cost to companies like Asus. Retail partners like CompUSA, Circuit City and others who got themselves channel stuffed with Vista. This is what Li Chang, vice president of the Taipei Computer Association, was complaining about and it's worth a DOJ investigation. People don't want Windows, they want computers that work. Retailers and OEMs that don't deliver are going the way of other M$ partners and M$ themselves.

Ordinarily, I don't pick on language and style but the phrase, "how we roll," references to his parents' national origin bring special disgrace on ZDNet and the Wintel press. It's hard to tell if he's being cynical or if M$'s culture has really degenerated so far. This single article earns Dana a place in my Poison Pen Collection.

Patents

Journal: Today, I am an inventor in two countries! 3

Journal by Yaztromo

Rewind back to 2000. While everyone was taking a breather after Y2K turned out to be a relative non-event (thanks to hard work from the technical community everywhere), I was coming up with ideas. Ideas for things. Things that would do stuff.

Some of these things caught the attention of my then-employer (a company often associated with the words "big" and "blue"), and the slow wheels started grinding them towards some patents. Two of them in particular made their way through the internal grinder, and became actual applications: "Executing Native Code in Place of Non-Native Code", and "Dynamic Generation of Program Execution Trace Files in a Standard Markup Language".

Then that company gave me the boot.

Over the years since, I've kept an eye on my ideas through online databases. Both were filed in both Canada and the US, with the US applications appearing to be "links" to the Canadian patents. I'd look in on the CIPO database here in Canada every few months, generally to see the only "progress" being that my former employer had paid some yearly renewal fee.

This changed briefly back in 2006, when ""Dynamic Generation of Program Execution Trace Files..." was listed in CIPO's database as "dead". You win some, you lose some.

Ever since, nothing has changed...until I decided on a lark to take a peek today, to find:

I AM AN INVENTOR!

So I decided to do a quick search of Google's Patent Database to see if it shows up there too, only to find an unexpected entry instead:

...so I have been an inventor on a patent since 2007, and didn't know it. The one that was marked as dead in Canada turned out to have been issued in the US. So not only was I surprised today to find out that one of my inventions was just issued a Canadian patent, but that another one was granted a US patent nearly two years ago.

Regardless of what I might think about software patents, this is still a pretty happy day. Both of the ideas patented in these two patents are in use in the wild (and presumably without a license from IBM), and I personally hope it stays that way. I have no say over how my old employer uses these patents (I technically didn't have any say in them applying for these patents either), but it feels pretty good to have these two added feathers in my cap today. It's been a very long wait, and I had long ago given up on anything ever being granted, so this has been a rather pleasant surprise for me.

Yaz.

User Journal

Journal: Good job, Slashdot (Part 2!) 1

Journal by Macthorpe

So, I wonder what they did this time to force Opera to only be able to open Slashdot as an RSS feed?

It was doing the same for IE8 for a little while - but that seems to be fixed. Jeez, it's like I can't read this site for 10 minutes nowadays without them trying to ruin the way I read it.

Windows

Journal: M$ Employee Admits M$'s Poor Security Reputation. 3

Journal by twitter

Roger Grimes makes this startling admission of public perception:

Youll often read similar recommendations to dump Microsofts Internet Explorer (I work full-time for Microsoft) and use any other browser instead. To completely protect yourself, theyll advise moving off of Microsoft Windows all together.

He goes on to make some long winded excuses and insult users in a way that's completely torn apart in the comments. His readers sanely point out that Window's endless problems have been well demonstrated. What's interesting about this article is not the same old blame the user and "popularity" excuses, it's that M$ is no longer able to pretend to the general public that "computer experts" still trust Windows. They don't and neither does anyone else any more.

The relative importance of files depends on their cost in terms of the human effort needed to regenerate them. -- T.A. Dolotta

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