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Comment Re:Targeted customers (Score 1) 372

Good read; thanks. However, you seem to be more of a half-empty than half-full type?

Only looking at your last paragraph, I'd see gold, if I was running a small-town computer shop, or in my university years again. Charge people $100-200 to fix up their computer by installing a GNU/Linux distribution. Or, if that's not interesting, exchange their old hardware, and re-sell that to somebody else. Maybe supplement the business with some courses.

(Just don't patent the business plan though; stories of people doing exactly that have been frequent over the last couple of years).

Comment Re:hardware vs software (Score 1) 233

shares virtually nothing with the common Linux environment encountered everywhere

Here's my usual plug; quote by Richard Stallman:

“Android is very different from the GNU/Linux operating system because it contains very little of GNU. Indeed, just about the only component in common between Android and GNU/Linux is Linux, the kernel. People who erroneously think “Linux” refers to the entire GNU/Linux combination get tied in knots by these facts, and make paradoxical statements such as “Android contains Linux, but it isn’t Linux”. If we avoid starting from the confusion, the situation is simple: Android contains Linux, but not GNU; thus, Android and GNU/Linux are mostly different.“

Linux has always been, and will always be just the kernel. Although the kernel is at the core of an operating system, it is not the complete OS. It sounds what you are looking for is the rest of the OS, typically the GNU tools. We can all save a lot of text and sweat by using the those three letters when discussing OS specific topics.

What you call it when talking to non-technical people does not matter that much. However, here on Slashdot everybody will understand "Android is not GNU/Linux".

Comment Re:Summary implies that tablets are not a fad (Score 1) 243

I'm all with you, and keep seeing these things being used in places where there are much better tools for the job: Go to any tourist attraction these days, and you'll find people holding up their aluminium slabs to take pictures. Surely, if you can afford a trip around the world, you can also get a half-decent camera. Then there are the people who claim that writing e-mails, articles and even books is without effort on these things. The mind boggles.

As for niche use cases, I can think of a few: Once you get down to $50-100 range, they might make better picture frames than the dedicated devices for that purpose. For face-to-face survey-taking they work very well; think trade-show booth, or door-to-door questionnaires. An architect / building inspector recently mentioned that his tablet helped him is his job, so I'll have to take his word for it.

However, for John Doe, it's nothing but a fashion accessory at the moment. And as long as the iPad costs 5-10x times its competition, it will continue to be a show-off, just like bespoke suites, gold watches, and small-dick cars.

Comment Re:Irony (Score 1) 243

We need free and open source software now more than ever. The laws against installing any think you like on a tablet goes to show how backwards some people have this issue. We need free software to prove that there are a lot of alternative OSes out there, and that doing anything you like with the hardware you'd bought should be the law, as opposed to what is currently the case.

So, let's throw out the "pack of four", and build and use our own alternatives, whatever that might be. You bought the hardware; you own it.

Comment Re:Authentication (Score 1) 91

You're absolutely right, a lot of this is due to the patent and copyright shenanigans of the major industry players. They commit fraud and treason against society in broad daylight. So if there was software "that is acceptable to the six major motion picture distributors", I would reject it on principle. Example: I have never, and will never, buy anything related to BluRay.

As for the tax software, I'm not quite sure what you get from the accounting firms. A list of loopholes? Just some slightly more friendly documentation than from the state? In the various countries that I have filled in taxes, the software I used was free of charge, and distributed by the national tax authority or city counsel. In one instance through a central web service where you would fill in and save the number online, and in another through cross-platform (Java) software, which also included a GNU/Linux installer. If I needed more help, I could certainly pay an accountant, however, even at a very moderate rate, I think I would incur a net loss.

Finally, for video games, I made an exception, and went for a console. That took a long time to reason about: Should I pay any of these companies at all, and if so, which one was the lesser of evil. In the end, I feel the choice between Microsoft and Sony was arbitrary. Neither company deserves a penny from me, and I would happily see both vanish. So maybe I made a mistake.

Comment Re:Authentication (Score 1) 91

Well, what I wish for already exists, with millions of people benefiting and contributing to many thousand free and open source projects all over the world. If you were not aware of that, I'd suggest you download one of the common GNU/Linux distributions (it's for free), and give it a go. Try to apt-get, or similar, any application you'd like to use, and it will be installed within seconds, without any other action or transaction needed on your part. Even after nearly two decades, the efficiency and quality of the repositories blows me away every time. If I had to, I'd fight vigorously to protect that model, for others and for myself.

Comment Re:Authentication (Score 1) 91

The Windows, OSX and Android ecosystems are infested with a culture of greed and egoism. Pay $10 for DVD-burning software, $15 for an archive program, $120 for anti-virus, $50 for an SSH client/server, $40 for a media player, and so on and so on.

If I can contribute to the community in some way, and get free and libre software in return, that seems like a much better deal for everybody. But by all means, if somebody wants to put energy into a distribution which mimics the money culture of Windows and OSX, all power to them. I'm just not interested.

Comment Re:POS Termials (Score 1) 119

> Lets just hope you can trust the ATM's that you use.

No, you cannot. I've lost count of how many times my cards have been skimmed and defrauded in various ways. Luckily, I have not taken any loss myself, but it is still a hassle to report, renew the cards, etc.

If you are really paranoid about these things, you'll have to use cash as you said, but go inside the bank to withdraw your money. On a regular basis, that's probably even more hassle, and also puts you at risk of being mugged.

As always, security is a trade-off and compromise between a whole set of different attack vectors vs. convenience and ease of use of the security measures. There is no way to make it perfect, and we will just have to continue updating the security systems and practises as new threads emerge. Also, the same solutions will not fit all; each will have to judge for himself what is the best combination of security vs. convenience.

Comment Re:link = trafficking? (Score 2) 114

It is nuts, but not new. And since you mentioned PB, which is an example of exactly the same; metadata but no content. Unfortunately, that did not shield them from attack, eventually conviction, and lately censorship.

Judges, politicians, and governments everywhere are starting to catch up on the technology. Unsurprisingly, they twist it in their favour, and use it to survival, censor, and control.

It is time to build a new network: Decentralized, anonymous, encrypted, and free.

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