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Comment Re:Raspberry Pi (Score 1) 439

I had mod points, and I was planning on use them all on this discussion, but as no one said what I wish to say, I'll spend them elsewhere. Here it goes.

You claim that the Raspberry Pi proves Doctorow wrong. Well, tablet computers prove him right. And smartphones, too. These are the two personal computer forms which dominate today's market, and will continue to dominate in the future. The market for laptops is shrinking while the market for tablets has increased 42%, according to some estimates Apple is becoming the world's dominant computer platform, with the dominant product being a closed, locked-down, walled garden of a personal computer.

And what about your home router? It's also a general purpose computer, which has been locked down hard to force you to not fiddle with it. The same applies to NAS and even some external HDs.

If that isn't enough, take a look at every chinese trinket toy which is sold on ebay. I'm referring to stuff such as MP3 players, media players, tablets, video game consoles and all of the sort. You can't fiddle with their software, you can't tweak their OS, you can only use them until it gets bricked. I personally have purchased a cheap, 20 dollar MP3 player with a neat color display which, at the time, put my cellphone to shame, and the damned thing could only be used to display song names and play tetris. And it was a full blown computer, which had a SD card reader.

My media player is also a general purpose computer, which has been castrated by my cable provider. My TV is also a general purpose computer, complete with HDMI input plugs, SD card reader and USB plug. It runs linux, too. But I can't do shit with it. It's from Sony, which also sells other personal computers, such as the Playstation line, playstation portable and playstation vita. And you can't do shit with them, either.

This is what Doctorow is warning about. And you said he has been proven wrong? How?

So no, Raspberry Pi does not prove him wrong. No matter how cool it is or how open it has been designed, it is a very specific product for a very specific market. There is a risk it will be put in the same category as a multitester, oscilloscopes and pulse generators: technical tools which only the technically literate are interested in using. That is, true general purpose computers are being relegated to something that only the fools at the local modern incantation of the homebrew computer club are even interested with, and this is very dangerous.

This artificial limitation already plagues the software development world, where compilers are seen as scary stuff which only technical people care to have. I've seen police reports where they claimed that the target of the raid was somehow a hacker and a pirate because he had linux on his computer, as a dual boot. People already accept these absurd views on computers. They perceive locked down computers as something which is desirable and here to stay, and the hardware vendors are already taking advantage of that ignorance and lack of insight.

The path to a computing world where all computers are tight-down walled gardens is already set, and if we don't acknowledge it and do something prevent this disaster to happen then it will happen. And it will happen in the near future.

I'm sorry I was busy installing 3rd party code on my phone with a apk package installer app that runs without having to root my phone, did you say something?

Comment Re:Security (Score 1) 348

Security is a whole lot easier if the users are competent at it. And if they're not competent, why are they entrusted with secure information?

The problems with IT seem to derive from the same attitude that causes most corporate jobs to suck - treating the employee as some kind of mindless drone who needs to be babysat. Demand professionalism and competence from employees, treat them that way in return and everyone is happier and things work better.

"These are secure documents, I shouldn't put them on Dropbox" isn't any harder than "these are secure documents, I shouldn't put them in my briefcase and take them home" was twenty years ago.

Because it's 20 years later and people are still putting those documents in a brief case and taking them home.

Comment Re:Sigh (Score 1) 348

Better than, I'm supposed to use this dingly dangly to do work, but the tools I'm allowed to use don't quite do what I need. If I could just use this app I could increase productivity, but IT has the system so locked down that to even think about using a different app is grounds for termination. Face it, IT's job is to facilitate the rest of the company's performance of the real purposes of the company. IT doesn't make money for the company it enables the money making areas to make the money. A wise IT dept allows users to add additional tools, but with the caveat that the only fix available is a system wipe and restore to original configuration. The Users are responsible for keeping their data backed up. As to the Gadget aspect, if the company didn't buy it, the company isn't responsible to fix it. If the company did, the company should have an extra stockpile, and any broken gadget is simply replaced with a baseline new one, again leaving it up to the employee to restore the apps and data they want. And it's the employee's job if their failure to maintain a backup causes critical data to be lost. Okay, everybody tell me how wrong I am.

Your not wrong, but being right won't keep you employed when an executive looses something critical on their ipad that doesn't have a backup.

Comment Re:IP-level blocks (Score 1) 449

still possible with proxies

I used to work at a place that had pretty draconian blocking policies. They used Websense at full lockdown. Websense would not only block at the IP level, but it also actively blocked proxy sites and proxy lists too. And by "actively," I mean it updated every hour. It was VERY difficult to circumvent.

The point is, if your ISP really wants to block you (and if the government threatens them with jail time if they don't), they can. Even if 1% are clever enough to stay a step ahead of them, 99% will be blocked.

The government can't block all proxies too many business rely on them and I believe in the american corporation's ability to control out government enough that this will never happen.

Comment Re:IP-level blocks (Score 1) 449

If meddling with DNS doesn't work, network operators will simply be forced to block at the IP level, e.g. by withdrawing the BGP routes to the censored sites. Good luck circumventing this kind of blocking (still possible with proxies, and maybe distributed anonymous p2p proxies, but a nuisance anyway).

You can't block at the ip level all you have to do is move your site to a popular shared hosting company like Godaddy and the ip will automatically change at regular intervals. If you block the entire range of ip's your going to block enough non-offending sites that people will actually notice and care,

Comment Re:Particularly since they are almost nothing (Score 1) 156

I haven't used it in years, particularly what with having a smartphone, but I still keep it because why not?

Yeah. It's difficult to throw away something that still works. I used to pride myself in my lack of sentimentality, and then I realized that I'd been carting around vintage computers from house to house, as I moved over the years. I eventually forced myself to junk all of them (including a first generation SPARCstation and a Compaq luggable), except for a single conceit: a DEC Multia. How the fuck do you throw a DEC Alpha in the trash? It's like destroying a Model T.

It's easy to rationalize keeping that old junk, when you see stories like this, but, really, all it does is scare away your date.

You never throw a DEC Alpha in the trash you can sell the parts for a small fortune if you know the right people.

Comment Re:Hmmm (Score 1) 238

Wow. Does that mean that everyone who is unemployed right now could get people's attention by just making their own nameless ID badge?

My own ID is 3 steps more classified than that, though. There's no bar code, no photo, and no ID number.

You don't need to know any more than that.

Pfff....... I don't even have a badge my "company" is so secret they can't risk giving them out.

Comment Re:Typical Slashdot comments pattern to follow... (Score 1) 265

How Slashdotters approach all scientific articles:

1. Abounding skepticism.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Being extraordinarily skeptical isn't a bad thing, and is part of the scientific method. It IS a good thing.

Extraordinary claims without skepticism isn't science, it is religion.

Which is all well and good as soon as everyone can agree on what is and is not extraordinary.

Comment Re:Ant colonies! (Score 1) 172

Why not send ant colonies into space? They're cheaper than robots, and more adaptable than humans. The individual ants are easily dispensable, and with their fast breeding cycle we just let evolution do the mission design work for us. There's really no downside once you think about it for a minute, citizen.

Ant's still need life support. There not cheaper than robots if you take that into consideration.

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