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Comment HP may not be smiling as brightly as they think. (Score 1) 438

"You're forgetting about that whole Windows software compatibility thing."

My fathers businesses continue to use XP precisely because of software compatibility.

The business systems in place have business logic built in Visual BASIC which glues together a bunch of (mostly Microsoft) components. Change a component, and the component breaks; change the OS, and the glue breaks, and EVERYTHING dies.

HP is looking at a cash cow of significant reinvestment in hardware; Microsoft, by EOLing XP in the first place, is looking at a cash cow not only new OSs, but new component sales. SMB (small and medium business) is looking at astronomical costs to keep their workflows running. I have no idea why Microsoft, HP, et. al. think that SMB is the cow from which they are going to be able to get milk, given that larger businesses have established a regulatory environment in which most SMB is barely scraping by as it is.

Personally, I can think of at least three companies where my father will just close the doors, rather than facing a significant reinvestment. At best, he will not grow them or hire new employees to run the XP machines which he can no longer purchase in order to incrementally add the next new employee. In fact, thinking of it that way, as hardware slowly fails, it's more likely he will just lay off one employee per one dead XP machine, at least in the most marginal of these businesses.

HP may not be smiling as brightly as they think.

Comment interesting quote (Score 1) 584

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither safety nor liberty." --Benjamin Franklin

This is a rather extreme sentiment, but it has a point.. Democracy is an experiment, one that is easily broken. People and governments are fickle creatures. Seasons change, and one might find themselves under unwanted scrutiny. A lot of lives were destroyed because of their political affiliations (Frank Oppenheimer lost his physics professorship, etc) Nixon has his enemies list, and now we find out that the IRS specifically targeted Tea party organizations. I can understand the want and need for information, but it can too easily be abused. Perhaps now so much in our current environment, but it can set a bad future precedent.

Comment This blogger does not get it. Big time. (Score 1) 321

This blogger does not get it. Big time.

Jailbreaking did not come about for bypassing security or stealing iPhones. It came about because Apple wouldn't sell their GSM-capable phones on vendors other than AT&T, which meant that they also could not be used outside the US, which is the only place the things were being sold. So some Russian hackers came up with a jailbreak, but it wasn't so they could run arbitrary applications, it was so they could run a single application to rewrite the SIM vendor check, disable the carrier lock, and use the damn things on GSM carriers other than AT&T. T-Mobile in the US is one such carrier, and AT&T had demanded, and got, the carrier lock in exchange for letting Apple demand infrastructure changes to AT&T's network for things like "Visual Voice Mail".

The vast majority of these iPhones were legally sold for the full price in the US; Apple put a limit on the number of iPhones you could buy, in order to thwart this thriving export business, because technically, the carrier networks are fairly fragile things, and the phones had not been certified to the carrier networks on which they were being used, or by the regional equivalent of the FCC -- hence they were called "gray market" iPhones in these countries.

The benefit to Apple turned out to be immense, since with tools available for writing *an app* for the unlocking, it was relatively easy to classdump the objC files, and use the other APIs -- and apps were born. Steve actually didn't *want* Apps on the iPhone: he was deathly afraid of building another Newton, and the Apps he gave you were the ones he thought you needed, and no more. He didn't even want there to be ringtones that he and Jon Ivy hadn't approved (a pain in the ass when there are a small number of ringtones, 11,000 employees, and about half of them ate lunch in Cafe Macs in a two hour window).

For six months, many engineers inside Apple, including myself, were jailbreaking our own phones, and using the hacker tools because there *was no* formal API or dev kit. I personally wrote an X Code plugin for making iPhone Apps using the hacker tools, and we passed it around internally at Apple.

A startup was going to make a business of selling an SDK for the iPhone -- Apple _bought them_, and *that's* where Apple got their formal SDK, which they then went through and cleaned up APIs, and partitioned the data you could access from one app to another.

Everything that people jailbreak the things for these days is to get around data partitioning or carrier usage restrictions, i.e. things like using the phone as a WiFi hotspot for a laptop, without paying additional fees or metered rates to the carriers for the greater laptop bandwidth usage capability, or to be able to do the carrier unlock to get around per-region carrier lock-in contracts that Apple had signed.

The bottom line is that Apple could have avoided almost of of the hacking that happened fairly early on by not putting the carrier lock in the baseband firmware, which was a dumbass design decision based on the Samsung baseband chip having the feature implemented already, and having it up in user space in the commcenter program instead.

And their device would be a lot less interesting, and Android might have followed that lead, and been a lot less interesting as well. And Apple wouldn't have made tons of money on Apps because there would be no AppStore.

But as long as there are carrier locks, and more or less absurd carrier restrictions on bandwidth for phones s. hotspots (yes, Sprint, I'm talking to you), there will be jailbreaking. This is a DRM issue, and if jailbreaking is the only way to bypass DRM, then jailbreaking will happen.

Bottom line philosophy lesson: There will always be people who say "These devices are made of atoms. I paid for these atoms. I own them. They will God Damn Well Do What I Tell Them To Do".


Majority of Americans Say NSA Phone Tracking Is OK To Fight Terrorism 584

An anonymous reader writes "While the tech media has gone wild the past few days with the reports of the NSA tracking Verizon cell usage and creating the PRISM system to peer into our online lives, a new study by Pew Research suggests that most U.S. citizens think it's okay. 62 percent of Americans say losing some personal privacy is acceptable as long as its used to fight terrorism, and 56 percent are okay with the NSA tracking phone calls. Online tracking is fair less popular however, with only 45 percent approving of the practice. The data also shows that the youth are far more opposed to curtailing privacy to fight terror, which could mean trouble for politicians planning to continue these programs in the coming years."

Comment Re: When will it be open-sourced? (Score 1) 238

Why can't HP open-source the OS now?

They could, but then no one would buy the stuff they want to replace it with. This is likely a way for them to remonetize the existing VMS customer base, who isn't upgrading at this point because It Just Works(tm), and who isn't buying new hardware because It's Sufficient(tm).

This is the same problem Microsoft Windows XP are posing for Microsoft.

Comment Re:I believe all police activity should be filmed (Score 1) 161

Me too!

Especially when they are peeing in a public restroom, and they get footage of themselves, and anyone else that happens to be there. I expect they will work in mirrors when the officer is washing their hands.

And with no way to turn it for lunch breaks, we can see when they take too long, or are technically off duty and make comments to other cops who are technically off duty.

Comment Re:The limited revelations so far... (Score 1) 404

The point I am trying to get across with this is that the teams doing this type of surveillance are made up of individuals, and as such, if you collect this information about your own citizens, you risk that information falling into unfriendly hands.

You take that risk regardless of what you gather it on, even against mortal enemies of your country.

There's zero risk of a betrayal exposing the information if you don't gather it at all in the first place. Information that doesn't exist doesn't fall into the wrong hands. International lines, fine. Within your own countries borders on your own citizens, not so fine.

Comment Re:The limited revelations so far... (Score 1) 404

I have to point out this little tidbit:

The point I am trying to get across with this is that the teams doing this type of surveillance are made up of individuals, and as such, if you collect this information about your own citizens, you risk that information falling into unfriendly hands.

Consider that if Edward Snowden took even just traffic analysis information with him to China, which would be easy to fit on a several DVDs, this information could be used for economic and industrial espionage purposes. It would be very easy to see which companies were talking to which other companies, and impute information about the deals going down between various actors.

This information could be used to great economic advantage. Who wouldn't want to know the next company with publically traded stock that Google, Apple, or Facebook is in acquisition talks.

That the information was collected at all in the first place is a loaded gun, and one disgruntled ex-employee or contractor is all it take to pull the trigger on that gun, and in many cases they would have to go to extremes of hiding behind China to do it.

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