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Comment: Re:Way overblown IMO (Score 1) 148

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48283761) Attached to: Smart Meters and New IoT Devices Cause Serious Concern

Call me back when Smart TV's are pre-configured to connect automatically to cell networks. Then we can talk.

I called that one as the big risk a long time ago. As long as you can just not connect a potentially intrusive device to your Internet connection, you always have a certain degree of protection if you want it. As soon as devices can make their own connections, either you live in a Faraday cage or you're permanently at risk if you have any untrusted device nearby.

The disturbing thing is that it won't even need relative expensive access to a cell network before long, because everything from shared WiFi networks (think BT Openzone, for those in the UK) to mesh networks (a distributed, peer-to-peer wireless communications system) via drones is potentially a threat in this context.

The only way to stop this is going to be legislation requiring sufficient disclosure and/or outright prohibiting certain behaviours that are too widely abused, with meaningful penalties for infringement (i.e., criminal sanctions that will pierce corporate veils and throw executives in jail).

Comment: When is forcing not forcing? (Score 4, Insightful) 148

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48283631) Attached to: Smart Meters and New IoT Devices Cause Serious Concern

Don't like the "smart tv" features? Don't fucking buy one.

That argument is worth about as much as "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" once you reach the point where some undesirable item or behaviour is theoretically not compulsory but is necessary to live a normal life as part of society.

Don't like abusive airport security? Don't ever go on holiday to intersting faraway places or fly across a large country to see your family.

Don't like Facebook data mining your life? Don't participate in what is currently the main mode of group organisation for a lot of social groups.

Don't like unknown parties tracking your movements via your cell phone? Don't use the most common form of direct communication in today's society.

Don't like unknown parties tracking what you access and search for on-line? Don't use the greatest information and education resource created in the history of humanity.

At some point, something is de facto required to live a normal life, even if there is some weasel-worded get-out clause where it isn't strictly necessary so, y'know, no need for pesky things like basic human rights and common decency in how we treat each other.

Comment: Re:Disturbing (Score 2) 284

What I find disturbing is that at age 18, we're allowed to go to war

You know why? Because 18 year olds are dumb enough to want to. I don't say that to slag on service members - I was one, too - but it's the reality. By the time someone's in their late 20s, they start to have thoughts like "wow, it'd suck to die before I've had a family" and "man, I hope I'm not the one coming home as a quadruple amputee", and for most people that marks the point when you can no longer give them stupid orders and expect them to be rigorously followed. But at 18, they're still thinking "hey, let's go kick some ass!" Biologically, their prefrontal cortex hasn't yet matured to adult levels of decision making and consequence consideration.

This is the exact same reason why you can ask a kid if she wants to borrow $150,000 for an unmarketable major. "It's important to do what you truly love! Aren't you into medieval poetry? It'll all work out!", and she signs the loan application. The same kid four years later would reply "oh hell no, I'll be paying on that for the rest of my life", but an 18 year old thinks, "oh, sure, that makes perfect sense! And I won't be one of those bankrupt morons. I'm really good at this, unlike them!"

Note: I have the utmost appreciation for "unmarketable" majors. I'm glad people are studying art history, poetry, and other stereotypically unemployable fields, because experts in those fields contribute things to society that make this a better place to live. I mean that seriously. I'd hate to live in a world designed solely by STEM types with a complete emphasis on pragmatics and mathematical optimization. But it's nothing short of predatory to invite a kid who hasn't fully mentally matured yet to start life with crippling levels of debt, because they simply aren't equipped to appreciate the consequences.

Comment: Re:Huge setback (Score 1) 381

by PopeRatzo (#48282271) Attached to: Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Crashes

This is a setback, but crashes happen.

If everyone had given up on airplanes in the early days because of a few deaths, then we'd all be taking the train today.

Right, you've gotta break some eggs if you want to see the big return on investment.

A few lives here and there aren't going to stop the quest for profits.

Comment: Re:Not a good week... (Score -1, Troll) 381

by PopeRatzo (#48282193) Attached to: Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Crashes

Some of them become martyrs for the knowledge needed to achieve the goal.

No offense, but "the goal" was achieved decades ago. These people died for the profit of shareholders, not some "goal" of space flight which has been going on for half a century.

The guys (and woman) who died in Challenger were heroes. The casualties from this crash were like the people who died building the Empire State Building.

Comment: Excellent news! (Score 1) 284

A major problem has been that tuitions have risen alongside the ability of students to get loans to pay for them. This would go a long way toward a college charging $150,000 for an art history major. It's perfectly OK to still take those majors, but it's predatory for a college and bank offer to sell a kid (and at 18, yeah, they're still kids) a hugely expensive degree with little expected return on investment.

I feel strongly that college should not be a trade school. Nonetheless, that's how they're treated by financial markets. Well, that works both ways: just as you shouldn't lend a minimally-employed person $600,000 to buy an inflated house in a bubble market, neither should you lend a kid six digits without him having a reasonable chance to repay it. At least, you shouldn't do either of those and have an expectation that you'll ever be able to collect.

Comment: Re:I have one (Score 2) 129

by Just Some Guy (#48280483) Attached to: Microsoft Enters the Wearables Market With 'Band'
I have a Jawbone UP, and it provides 1) sleep quality tracking, so that each morning I get a graph of my light and deep sleep patterns from the night before, and 2) the ability to track a treadmill. Maybe your phone provides that; my iPhone 5 (pre-pedometer) does not.

I can't speak to the MS band, but there are useful sensors in other products in that class.

Comment: Re: hmm (Score 1) 129

by Just Some Guy (#48280381) Attached to: Microsoft Enters the Wearables Market With 'Band'

I don't think it's that straightforward. A tech giant like Microsoft has every smaller player gunning for them, either to eat into their market or to disrupt and replace them altogether. Microsoft probably could have stuck with XP forever, if it weren't for OS X and Linux showing "normal" people that alternatives actually exist. Even if your cousin doesn't want a Mac or Linux box, at least he now knows that Windows isn't the only OS out there. For a long time starting in the early-mid 90s, that wasn't the case for most people. MS probably could have profited of WinCE 7 for years to come if it weren't for those pesky iPhone and Android units that redefined what being a smartphone means. Word stagnated without Pages and OpenOffice. IE was dead until Firefox came along and reminded developers about things like "standards" and "crossplatform".

So even if Microsoft was perfectly isolated from shareholders and had no external pressure for growth, it's not enough for them to sit still and wait for competitors to chop away at them. They have to move into new markets just to keep from falling behind.

UNIX was not designed to stop you from doing stupid things, because that would also stop you from doing clever things. -- Doug Gwyn