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Comment Re:Yeah well... (Score 1) 279

Apple pretending that they had no intention to allow apps on the early iPhone was obviously misdirection in retrospect. At the time they were having enough trouble making the software work at all without crashing, and they didn't want developers/users to avoid it while waiting for the bright app future. Sort of a counter to the Osborne Effect.

Comment Re:Meanwhile (Score 2) 204

Yeah but, on the other hand, talking to hackers, even information security experts, isn't really good enough. There are too many opinions out there and not enough facts.

The first problem is that we don't have any sort of useful objective metric to compare the security of various operating systems. "Number of vulnerabilities found" is unfair to the popular ones. "Severity of the worst vulnerability found" is useless because everyone has remote root exploits found from time to time.

And even an objective metric doesn't measure what really matters: the threat ecosystem. Windows had lax security for years, even years during which the Internet was common, and nobody cared much. But this lax environment bred an ecosystem of hackers, and especially criminal hackers, dedicated to compromising Windows machines for profit. Then Microsoft was asleep at the switch for a while and allowed this problem to grow out of control. Melissa should have been a gigantic red flag but they pretended that it wasn't their problem and that everyone should just buy a virus scanner.

Once this sort of problem has taken root it is very difficult to eliminate. Once there was a large group of intelligent, highly-motivated individuals with experience in breaking into Windows computers, they weren't going to disappear just because Microsoft released some patches. It took a substantial security effort over many years and even still the Windows-based criminal community is likely to be much larger than the OSX one or the Linux one or the iPhone one, even by proportion to user base (although I am not aware of any actual surveys).

Even if OSX were easier to break into in an objective sense, these people have experience with Windows and they're probably not eager to switch to a new system. So Apple has an easier time of things and this could remain the case for a while as long as they are aggressive about going after new threats. I do think they are correct to recommend against virus scanners in general, since foisting the problem of security off on a third-party (and usually an incompetent one) only masks the real problems.

Comment People overestimate "business" (Score 1) 267

Come on! Everyone's talking about the BlackBerry as being good for "business" but nobody's talking about the elephant in the room: the "business" world is stupid!

Business is always focused on the wrong features, and stuck on consensus ideas and "best practices". Business is about being afraid of what will happen if you don't "control" your employees' phones. OMG maybe they will install Angry Birds!

Those of you who work in an office, look around. Look at your desk phone -- isn't it a piece of crap? Can you believe how badly-designed the interface is? Are you even allowed to set up your own speed dial? How about your furniture -- do you realize how expensive it all was? Would you make those choices with that budget?

The newsflash that's hitting the business world now, and why they are abandoning the BlackBerry, is that if a phone is designed to be usable the employees will be able to "manage" it themselves. "Cool" things like smooth scrolling, animations that communicate to the user where things came from and where they're going, etc are all more important than whether you can set your lame email signature policy from a central server.

The truth is that people used to think everything business did was "cool" and the hottest word in computing was "enterprise". No more, thank the stars.

Comment Re:Algorithms for what? (Score 1) 121

It's a little more complicated than that... CME has a discussion of their match algorithms on pages 42 through 52 of their electronic trading documentation:

http://www.cmegroup.com/globex/files/ElectronicTradingConcepts.pdf

Not that it's necessarily that much harder in principle to implement 10 relatively-simple algorithms, but when you add requirements for performance/latency into the mix it doesn't seem that surprising that there would be some trade secrets in there somewhere.

Comment Re:Back on topic... (Score 3, Insightful) 391

No reason, except that the fact that you bought an iPhone, is itself a statement that you desire electronics which serve other parties' interests in preference to your own.

This is such a misguided statement that I don't even know where to start. You really aren't thinking that through.

I think the problem here is that Slashdotters are always comparing Apple's successful mass-market products and services to some Stallman-esque ideal service that doesn't exist -- or, worse, falling for some transparent marketing (like thinking the PS3 was a great console because it "ran Linux").

In the case of the iPhone, it's worth remembering the cell phone market that existed before iPhone 1.0. Those devices were entirely beholden to the interests of your cell phone provider. If they had an app store (and many did) it would be controlled by your provider. If they could play music, your provider would determine where you could get that music from. Your phone would be loaded up with crapware out of the box, again controlled by your provider.

For typical users the iPhone is way more open than the previous situation. iTunes allows music from virtually any source and any music you buy there will work on any modern device. Although there are restrictions on the app store, it is far more open than the previous carrier-curated equivalents. Music services like Pandora/etc, video services like Netflix, etc are available without having to pay any any additional monthly fee to your provider. I think it's absurd to suggest that the only reason anyone would want access to the Apple app store is because they don't care about their own interests.

So now you're comparing to Android, and I guess you think you have your utopia platform, but I'm here to disagree. If you're rational about the parties involved in Android, you have to see the way the product is designed to serve their interests over yours:

1. The carriers. With Android carriers gain more control over the software delivered on their phones than is available with iOS. Some carriers abuse this, others do not; the point is that they have additional power over the user and they are going to use it if it serves their needs. This is why it's not surprising that the carriers have stocked so many Android phones in their stores and pushed them to their customers. When people say that Android is "open", what they mostly mean is that the carriers have control.
2. Google. Android on the Google side is conceived as a powerful platform to sell the users to advertisers. While Apple runs an advertising platform, iAd, that is optionally available to app developers, no ads from iAd appear on the device unless a user installs an app that uses it. In contrast, Android phones are deeply integrated with Google's very profitable ad-supported services -- GMail, Google search, Google Maps, etc. For Google, the user is not the customer; the advertisers are. So whose interests are being served here?

We can argue all day about whether it matters who the customer is, but I think it does. I prefer to pay for things myself rather than be sold to someone else, partly because I don't trust myself to be immune to the influence of pervasive advertising. If I wanted to run something on the iPhone that wasn't allowed on the app store I'd just jailbreak it, like Android people do when their carriers lock the phone down. So far I haven't encountered such a need.

Comment Re:Larry Sanger is anti-intellectual (Score 1) 949

I think you're ignoring the ways that projects like Wikipedia are developing to include rigor. Look, my whole point is that I don't think anyone is seriously arguing for a 100% naive interpretation of "wisdom of crowds".

The bible thing is a really good example actually. Although handing the bible to laymen resulted in a whole ton of bad theology which persists to this day, could history really have gone any other way? Even the modern Catholic Church is still repulsive and ridiculously stale despite attempts at reform. Keeping everything in the tower would not have worked.

Comment Larry Sanger is anti-intellectual (Score 1) 949

Personally, I think it's antil-intellectual to criticize the way others are learning to think and operate in a new, more complex world. I think it's anti-intellectual to proclaim that Wikipedia is useless. I think it's anti-intellectual to boldly assert that Google is making us stupid without solid research showing diminished capacity to solve real-world problems.

I think there's a real case to be made that some "democratization" of knowledge is a good thing. It's not that we can vote on the truth (and it's essentially dishonest for Sanger to continue to insist that Wikipedia operates democratically). I don't believe that it's very useful to absorb "knowledge" from the uninformed but I also don't believe that this is really what people are doing. Rather, I think the new information technologies make it possible to absorb knowledge from a wider, more diverse array of knowledgeable people.

I don't think anyone believes that you can understand a complex topic without careful study. However, I think it makes sense to expect the nature of this careful study to shift over time. There is some sense that "facts" are less important and understanding more so, and I think that in the past there has been in fact too much emphasis placed on memorized facts as a substitute for understanding.

We can debate the benefits of different methods of learning, but I fear that Larry Sanger in particular is not contributing to this discussion. Rather I feel he has a tendency to mis-state the arguments of those who disagree with him (Wikipedia as a democracy, etc). I wish he would spend more time understanding why Wikipedia is a better, more useful model than something like Citizendium.

Comment Re:paranoid nonsense (Score 1) 577

I think if you want an automotive analogy, you want to look at the iOS devices as cars, and Macs/PCs as trucks (think big trucks not little pickup trucks).

Cars are really a lot less versatile. They don't have big engines or hauling capacity, and you can't attach whatever you want. Heck, for most cars these days, the manual recommends against trying to hook up even a little U-Haul trailer. Though (much like jailbreaking an iOS device) you can hook one up if you really want to. Obviously most people buy cars for purposes like driving to work or the grocery store, but nobody imagines that you'd use a car to haul bricks around or anything.

The proliferation of cars doesn't mean trucks are going away; cars are ill-suited to many tasks, including the task of hauling the car parts to the factory so you can make cars. But many companies make only cars, or only trucks; and plenty of companies still make both. Cars and trucks certainly have a lot in common, but there are reasons for both to exist.

Lots of geeks are big-time truck drivers who can't understand why you'd want a vehicle without a complete complement of hauling attachment options, but there's no reason at all to be paranoid that greedy evil Steve is going to come take our trucks away. Desktop computing is very much going to change (as it always has) but there will still be complex, non-console systems like the Mac. They might be less attractive to the general public over time for sure.

Comment Re:Nope. (Score 1) 577

The great thing about "predictions" like yours is that you can keep "predicting" forever. If you don't tell us HOW soon you think this will happen, you'll never be proven wrong.

If this hasn't taken place by 2014 or so will you admit that you never really understood what Apple was up to?

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