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Comment Re:Kill!!! (Score 1) 855

Actually, i'd go so far as to say it is now way more than just that. There has always been a percentage of the population that unable to apply critical thinking simply due to the way they are. The part that frightens me the most is the trend in the past 20 years towards critical thinking being considered a negative thing. Anyone making consistent use of critical thinking will find out very quickly that thinking is no longer popular. There are a large number of people i KNOW are able to approach problems in this fashion, but refuse to do so as that just isn't popular.

I'm sorry but if they are that much more concerned about being popular, then either they are cowards or they do not deserve the credit for thinking ability that you are giving them.

It kinda sucks, but being well adapted socially requires a high tolerance for statements that make absolutely no sense.

"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." - J . Krishnamurti.

At some point you need your own idea of what health (mental and physical) looks like and you need the strength to continuously refine that idea and try to live up to it regardless of what anyone else is doing. This is the fallacy of the current method of defining who is and is not "well-adjusted". It is defined more in terms of what everyone else is doing and less in terms of objective criteria.

I have studied psychology and found it to be superficial and unsatisfying compared to Eastern philosophy (non-theistic philosophy, not religion) in terms of finding real answers to why we have the problems that we do. In fact, manipulating outward behavior is about the only thing at which modern psychology seems to excel. I reject the notion that it should be used for this purpose, as the centrally managed existence is the very antithesis of people who think for themselves and live their own lives. I am not a therapist and I am not a psychologist, so what follows is the product of my own critical thinking and nothing more.

The number of people I know who are not and have never been on some kind of anti-depressant or other psychological medication is a short list indeed. I believe our society is sick; in fact, "collective madness" is probably not too strong of a term to use. It is quite natural that a healthy person will be unhappy or otherwise suffer from living in a society that is not only sick but also shows no real interest in getting well. For various reasons, we don't really like to deal with underlying causes and put them to rest. So we see each case of this as a list of symptoms and we have become very clever at creating medications that address those symptoms without seriously questioning why they exist and why they are increasing. We give those to people who aren't happy here and tell them to buck up, meanwhile no truly satisfying improvements to the way we live occur. I am not saying that there are no people who truly need to be medicated, only that they didn't get that way in a vacuum.

It seems to me like this sense of "obvious cognition == bad call" has been on the rise especially in the generations born after 1985. i do not know what happened to overall education in the early 90s in north america (not just schooling but also parental and societal exposures as well), both in canada and the states, but it has destroyed the DESIRE to think critically in a large portion of the younger populace.

The educational system as we know it today was created by people who wanted to meet the needs of business during the Industrial Revolution. The biggest fear of the Industrial Revolution tycoons was "overproduction", that is, they saw the American traditions of independence and self-sufficiency and the entrepreneurial spirit as tremendous threats to their control of markets that required large initial investments. The current educational system was (openly) designed to produce people who knew enough to do their jobs but not enough to seriously question or otherwise threaten the order of society. This is not merely about power or control; it is much worse than that. This is more of a religious cause, the goal of which is to bring about utopia even if it costs us our humanity. It so strongly resembles Huxley's Brave New World that it's not even funny.

Today people are called upon to be replacable, interchangeable parts of the machinery of society. It's bass-ackwards because the people are serving the systems instead of the systems serving the people. It's a dehumanizing influence, and when each person is a replacable faceless unit it is very difficult for things like love (look at the divorce rate) or genuine inquiry to prosper. Of course, this is not the product of careful and honest consideration of all options available by everyone involved. Rather, it's a gradual bit-by-bit seductive influence that promises to simplify your life, reduce that terrible burden of thinking and being responsible, and provide you with more "stuff" to consume.

The best reference I can give you for the educational system, who created it, and why, is John Taylor Gatto. He was kind enough to put his entire book online for free and it can be found here. He also wrote a much shorter essay which can be found here.

My only hope is that i just happen to run into a really bad sample set of people during my life to have a proper opinion.

If only that were the case.

Comment Re:Kill!!! (Score 1) 855

despite my going to school for and being employed as a computer programmer, despite my having played hundreds more hours of video games than her, despite clear visual evidence within the game itself, no suggestion, no explanation, no comment of any sort on my part could convince her that only SOME of the characters we killed would actually drop a weapon. She just HAD to check every single dead body for a weapon, not by looking on screen, but by running over their dead body with her character.

I think this has more to do with her inability to admit that she was wrong than with your credentials or your competence. Lots of people, especially authority figures and significant others, seem to think that they are saving face or preserving respect by never admitting that they were wrong or made a mistake, when the reality is that refusing to admit when you were wrong when it's painfully obvious is a great way to lose respect. I'm not really sure where this idea comes from. It's as though such people are constantly evaluating everything in terms of "who comes out of this looking superior?" This is a self-imposed limitation like any other. It's a shame because as long as this is true, it guarantees that they will never understand that you can be a human being and make mistakes and learn from them without anyone being superior or inferior to anyone else.

needless to say, it made the game take quite a bit longer, and killed any desire I had to play video games with her, or try to carry on any rational semi-intelligent conversation. if you don't have that, man, then you've really got less than nothing when the sex runs out ;-)

As soon as it does run out, that's when you find out whether it was another fling or if you really have something good.

Comment Re:Family Provide Our Best Stories (Score 1) 855

> The GP suspected a virus before he suspected an upside-down mouse because he was giving some benefit of doubt; No, he suspected a virus before he suspected an upside-down mouse because he has roughly the same level of intelligence as his parents, who were having the problem, and that's being charitable.

There's this idea that smart people cannot make very stupid mistakes and unfortunately, that just isn't so. You can have all the "brainpower" you like and you will still fail if you have bad data, faulty assumptions, bias, or if your emotions/personal feelings are clouding your judgment.

You're now addressing the motivation or the cause of the benefit of doubt ("benefit of doubt" in the sense of "assumption of competence"). My impression was that the benefit of doubt occurred because of his personal feelings about his parents, in that it may not have been given to a client who is a complete stranger, or maybe it occurred because his parents are otherwise intelligent/skillful in other areas. Meanwhile, you contend that benefit of doubt occurred because of a low level of intelligence. Neither of us really knows the reason why. By that I mean you cannot rigorously prove beyond all doubt what you believe to be the case and neither can I.

All I was saying is that an assumption of competence (I called this "benefit of doubt") happened and that it greatly complicated the problem-solving, and that he now knows why such benefit of doubt or assumption of competence is so rare. The point I was making really does not depend on why it happened. It could have happened for a third reason that neither of us has thought of and still my point would stand. So, to be honest with you, this looks like you just wanted to put someone down and does not look very much like you are raising an important objection or bringing new information to light.

Comment Re:Kill!!! (Score 1) 855

Whatever problem we have, it is always an imposition on their precious time which never involves teaching us enough so that we won't be in their office in another 6 months

I would be quite delighted to encounter a user who is interested in learning. That's the kind of person for whom I would go well out of my way to help. Most of the time, they don't know and they don't want to know and they resent the very idea of ever wanting to know. This includes situations where the initial problem would never have happened if they would learn a little more about how to use the system. What the majority of users seem to want is for the administrator to wave a magic wand and solve all of their problems without involving the user at all, even though the fact is that user error is the primary cause of support calls. I call them "permanent newbies" because these are the folks who can use a machine for five years without learning much more about it than what they knew the first day. If you are one of the rare users who accepts the very natural idea of becoming gradually more knowledgable about a machine the more you use it, please understand how unusual this is.

when we cannot recall the magic incantations since the problem was never fully explained to us in the first place...leading the sainted admins to crack wise knowing inside jokes about the stupidity they manage to put up with (read: instill) in their users.

If you want to conduct an experiment, try working in a sysadmin type of role. Wait for a user to call you up and attempt to fully explain the nature of the problem to them. Note the hostile response, and note that you are regarded with contempt instead of being perceived as a friendly admin who is willing to take the time to educate and work with users. Wait for nine more calls and receive nine more hostile responses. You will then understand why admins don't do this and you may also understand why people who routinely catch flak from those they are sincerely trying to help might see humor ("wise knowing inside jokes") as one of the healthier ways to deal with this.

Believe me when I tell you that sysadmins aren't fond of this situation either. If you sincerely want to learn and grow and improve your skills with the tools that you use every day, and are willing to work with the IT department as part of this process, then you are so rare as to be statistically insignificant. I cannot prove this, but I believe that most sysadmins want to work with machines and networks and find themselves working with users instead. Users who so thoroughly resent having a problem in the first place (as though anything else humans do never has problems) that they neither appreciate nor respect the person who is trying to help them. I assure you that no sysadmin has ever tried to imagine the best possible scenario and come up with this one.

Comment Re:Kill!!! (Score 1) 855

I think sometimes it might be the that professions have the perception that someone spent time learning this through apprenticeships or many years at university and are therefore better people than that damned bespectacled nerd who only knows what to do from tinkering with those stupid computers in his parent's basement.

Formal education is severely overvalued in terms of the actual expertise of those who have it. John Taylor Gatto (or the excellent and much shorter essay here) is a particularly good reference for this, but if you forget everything you think you know about the matter and really look into it, for yourself, as someone who will follow the facts wherever they may lead, you'll find that modern methods of instruction are some of the worst ways to lean anything. I believe that the primary purpose of i.e. college is not to impart knowledge. The primary purpose is to teach you to allow others to run your life and set your schedule and that "the experts" will tell you whether your work is any good and how useful you are. It amounts to obedience training. In a modern society where most human beings are expected to be interchangable, replacable parts of the social machinery of corporations and other large organizations, this has immediate practical value despite what I must call a dehumanizing influence. Either way, my point is that I don't know anyone who has ever carefully thought about the matter who is terribly impressed by credentials alone. It's one of those numerous examples where some of the most important things that we collectively do are not the result of a conscious choice where everyone involved calls things what they are.

That and while people appreciate their cars or of course, their health, with computers it seems to be more that they HAVE to use it and resent every minute of it.

I maintain that for a user to have these frustrations and take them out on the guy who's trying to help them, merely because he's a captive audience who is forced to take it, is unjust and indicative of a petty, small-minded individual. If you really want to find out what sort of person you're dealing with, don't look at how they treat their friends or their family or their boss -- look at how they treat a captive audience. If someone's work involves computers and they resent using computers, they should deal with that by either learning to like them or finding another line of work. So, I again think this is a matter of personal responsibility and to be honest with you, these chronological adults who are really nothing more than overgrown children need to grow up and learn what that is.

Comment Re:Kill!!! (Score 5, Insightful) 855

That's actually not a rare incident. I don't even wonder how many readers nod their head to this statement because it's been an endless source to their own frustration.

One wonders why. Why do people just click away all messages sent to them by the system? I actually remember an incident where I was called to fix "something with the server". Turned out to be a raid6 system that lost three drives and thus didn't work anymore. Now, I hear you say, how can a raid6 system fail? Raid6 can lose two drives and still work. Three drives dying, power surge maybe? No.

One drive failed, but the hotspare took over. The server beeped, so the beeper was cut off. The server reported dutifully that a drive was blown, which was equally dutifully clicked away without reading it.

Another drive failed, but it still somehow managed to keep going. No beep this time since even the best beepers fail to work when they are not connected. And finally the whole system failed to provide data, or they'd probably have continued 'til a rebuilt would have been impossible.

But the real kicker was that I was being yelled at how we dare to sell a Raid6+spare as a system that prevents data loss. It does, when you don't do your best to ignore every information it gives you about an impending catastrophe.

And this is hardly an isolated case of stupidity. People simply close every warning information they get because "I don't understand it anyway". Without reading it, how do you KNOW whether you understand it?

I dare you to ask that question. It usually results in more yelling, but no really enlightening answers.

I think there is an explanation for this, or at least a partial one.

Microsoft makes a decent keyboard but other than that, I don't use anything Microsoft on my own machines and this has been the case for about ten or eleven years. I'll often go long periods of time without ever using Windows. If not for my friends who use it and ask me for help with problems from time to time, I might have lost the skillset. Because of that, when I do sit down at a Windows machine, I can easily see the contrast between the way things are done on it and the way things are done on other systems.

One thing about Windows that I find to be a nuisance is that so many non-critical messages will trigger system-modal dialog boxes. The examples of this are too numerous for me to begin to enumerate them here, not to mention it would be a rather boring list, but if you have experience with multiple operating systems then you have probably noticed this too. The problem with this approach is that users quickly grow accustomed to the idea that these messages are not very important and can be safely ignored. It becomes something like the "boy who cried wolf" fable, in that it sets up a situation where the occasional important error message gets ignored. Using Windows XP makes me feel this way; I can only imagine how much more true this is for Vista's UAC system.

I'm not saying that this fully explains your example involving RAID 6, only that it is a particularly egregious example of a much more general tendency.

Comment Re:Kill!!! (Score 1) 855

There is a reason for that. With Tech support, you're telling them how to do it themselves - and people hate that for whatever reason. They hate the time it takes, or feel like they're being bossed around, or whatever. With a doctor or an electrician, they do the work and just get paid for it. You'll notice people don't argue with the Geek Squad guys nearly as much, because they come out and do the work for you. I think it's a psychological thing more than a career thing.

Thank you for one of the first real answers to that question I have ever received.

Personally, I would still fault the user for this because they knew that going into it. They knew before they picked up the telephone that the person on the other end was going to give them instructions and that it was going to take time. They had other options available: they could have taken their computer to a shop or they could have called a company that does on-site support. They made their decision and the tech gets to suffer if they are not happy with the decision they made and that's simply unjust. Doubly so, considering that most tech support inquiries are the direct result of user error and user negligence in the first place. I wouldn't call that a psychological thing or a career thing, I would call it a personal responsibility thing.

Comment Re:Family Provide Our Best Stories (Score 4, Insightful) 855

That's very generous but I'm having a hard time blaming that one on you ...

I'm guessing you haven't had the joy of supporting users much. It was the first thing I thought of.

I most certainly have had this "joy". It means I do everything I can do for them (often in spite of them) but it doesn't mean I am responsible for every act of gross negligence or lack of due diligence. It's not like the proper orientation of a mouse is some kind of rare obscure knowledge that only the technically inclined could hope to understand. The GP suspected a virus before he suspected an upside-down mouse because he was giving some benefit of doubt; now you know why benefit of doubt is so rare (I say this with a smile).

Now, I've made enough stupid mistakes of my own that I would be not only foolish but also hypocritical if I disparaged or insulted the man for the upside-down mouse. But recognizing this fact is a matter of character and does not elevate the event into something greater than what it is. It's a dumb mistake, we all make them sometimes (if not computing then elsewhere), and it's okay to call it what it is. None of that is the GP's fault, so his willingness to take responsibility for it anyway was generous indeed.

I think I'm writing this because I'm a little weary of this culture of always having to sugar-coat everything. It's okay to see a spade and call it a spade. If someone gets upset over that, they are choosing to do it and it's okay to remain calm instead of joining them. You can make a blunder like that and view it in all its ugly embarassing makes-you-feel-stupid glory and still laugh at it. I greatly prefer that and the character that this attitude cultivates to the artifically sanitized, artifically uniform experience in which no one ever has a chance to get their feelings hurt.

Comment Re:Kill!!! (Score 4, Insightful) 855

To the people who.... 1) Send me screenshots inside a word document 2) Ask what FTP is when they're supposed to be a server admin 3) Can't run a select statement but are supposed to be the DBA. 4) insist the network is up even though we don't see any packets through an *inline* appliance 5) say the problem is super urgent, but then refuse to try anything you say. ... I will be rich when I invent a device to stab someone in the face over the internet.

I'll never understand what it is about computers that brings out so much of what must be latent stupidity. In your list, number five really captures it. I can't tell you how common that one is although it sounds like you know from experience.

It seems like no other specialists have that problem on such a routine basis. When someone's doctor says "you have X disease" they generally don't look at him and say "no I don't." When an electrician says that something needs to be rewired, they might get a second opinion but they don't usually argue with the guy. Same deal with mechanics. With almost any other specialist it's understood that if you come to them, it's because you recognize that they know a lot more about medicine, electricity, or auto repair than you do.

What do techies get? They get uncooperative users who come to you for help and when you give it, they argue with you and bicker and drag their feet every step of the way, insisting that such-and-such can't possibly work, until it does work, at which time they complain about how long it took or they give you some bullshit about how they just tried that and it didn't work for them. Of course there are exceptions, but this is the norm and I can't understand why this applies so much more to computing. What I am talking about has nothing to do with the user's technical expertise or anything like that. It's the simple principle that if you know more about computing or networking than I do, there is no point in seeking my help. No technical expertise is required to understand this simple principle.

Anyway, for the non-technically inclined who think that we're a bunch of arrogant elitists, this is an example of why we say users are stupid. It's not because we expect them to become experts or even technically knowledgable, it's because we constantly see users complicate simple things, drop all basic standards of common sense and mutual respect, and otherwise engage in behavior that is in no one's interests, particularly theirs.

Comment Re:Family Provide Our Best Stories (Score 1) 855

At my next visit home, I finally can diagnose the problem live instead of over the phone: Dad was holding the mouse upside down.

True story - lasted for a month before problem was fixed. My fault for not figuring it out sooner.

Your fault? That's very generous but I'm having a hard time blaming that one on you ...

Comment Re:batteries? (Score 1) 275

Batteries need to be replaced, and are composed of a number of undesirable chemicals. Seems like ultra-capacitors might be of use here. Several orders of magnitude more recharge cycles and generally safer. Portability isn't an issue, so they could be as big and heavy as needed.

There is one question I have about supercapacitors and you'd think it would be one of the most basic things about them, yet I have never seen an answer to this. Capacitors, at least the few I have seen, generally want to release their stored energy all at once. How is this addressed when supercapacitors are used? For example, let's say you have a supercapacitor that can power a light bulb for eight hours. How do you make it actually provide a lower current over those eight hours instead of providing all of that energy in a single instant and frying the bulb?

Comment Re:Hostile Action from Spammers (Score 1) 68

This point of this quote is that standing militaries (such as we have had here in the US ever since we decided wiping out the natives was more important) are to be avoided, and when needed they should be under civilian control. What this has to do with individual gun ownership, I'm not getting.

What does it have to do with gun ownership? They are not proposing that (during peacetime) the standing army should be replaced with nothing. They are saying that the standing army should be replaced by everyday citizens who are armed, trained to use their weapons, and ready to assemble and fight if necessary (the Minutemen were an example of this). This is what is meant by the "well-regulated militia" that the Second Amendment refers to. For this to be possible, the citizens need to own their own weapons.

Comment Re:I agree (Score 2, Interesting) 68

I always appreciate such a well-reasoned response.

My only concern is, and I doubt you are part of this, sites like Slashdot seem to carry a strange attitude that because something takes place on a computer, it is immune from law.

I think much of that comes from the "artificial scarcity" nature of copyright and the repeated extensions to both the duration and severity of copyright law. Our legislators are not carefully evaluating whether or not technology has made this model obsolete and using the results of that evaluation to make any necessary adjustments. Instead, they are applying more and more "brute force" to the law by turning formerly civil matters into criminal matters to appease various monied interests, as though such complex problems could be solved so easily. Not surprisingly, the reaction to this has not been a good one.

You sometimes see comments from people who whine about a spammer getting 10 years in jail--"they didn't hurt anybody". You'll get a story about some fuckhead getting 5 years for hacking a corporate network and some comments will bitch "they were just learning, and besides people should lock their doors better". All of it silly nonsense that has no place in our industry.

Part of it too is that the reason why you should have reasonable laws that are not weighted too heavily in favor of any particular group is because when people lose respect for the law, they tend to lose respect for the entire institution. It is trendy these days to "make an example of" people who commit certain crimes and sometimes the question of whether the punishment fits the crime is well-founded. There is also the possibility that a free-for-all network where all forms of computer intrusion are legal will result in more secure systems than would a regulated network where such people are prosecuted. This boils down to a form of Darwinian natural selection. I'm not saying it's a good or desirable possibility, only that it may be true regardless of anyone's personal feelings about it. A spammer getting 10 years doesn't bother me, so long as this is for actual fraud/ID theft and not merely because otherwise legitimate business offers were unsolicited, and so long as we aren't releasing violent offenders early to make room for them like we do in the War on (Some) Drugs. I am not agreeing with or defending the views you mention. I simply find it edifying to understand where viewpoints come from, especially those with which I disagree.

Tossing your hands up and saying "we give up" means we just blame the user, blame the system admin, or blame anybody but the criminal. Often times they won't even be labeled as criminals, worse they'll manipulate language to make them sound like some kind of modern hero (Hacker vs Cracker is nothing more then straight Orwellian doublespeak). I think such talk is a form of denial and worse a form of insidious propaganda. It is also a byproduct of a more innocent time in our computing history.

Let's just say for the sake of argument that an Ultimate Solution to the Spam Problem has been found and that this Solution can be absolutely rigorously proven with 100% confidence. If it turns out that the Solution is for the users to alter their computing habits, would you say someone was "blaming the user" if they advocated it? I believe that too much concern for who is at fault, for at whom we can point the finger, is counterproductive. There's a certain visceral satisfaction to it if you need that but it's not good problem-solving, especially if your goal is prevention. It can cause good ideas to be discarded for no reason except that they affect someone other than the perpetrator.

Look no further then how nature deals with nasty stuff. Study our own immune systems. Study the immune systems found in nature. The two are very similar. How we combat AID's or the common cold are good starting points for how we combat online criminals and their software.

The way I look at it, the OS's security mechanisms constitute the immune system, for that is what determines whether an attempt at compromise is successful. Government police power is more of a referee that usually comes into play only after said immune system has failed. It's better than nothing but it's not ideal and is a poor choice for a primary solution. The fact that we already have laws on the books which make intrusions and fraud illegal and the fact that both are increasing anyway is evidence of this.

But without somebody with authority talking about it, nobody will take computer crime as seriously as it needs to. Until somebody as high up as Obama starts preaching the gospel of security, we wont stand a chance.

Do you ever read something like this and seriously consider that maybe the problem is that we wait for authority figures to take care of things that we really should be doing for ourselves, with our own initiative and because doing so is in our own interests? In my opinion, users who think that learning the correct use of a system is an unreasonable burden and the cultural attitude that your security is someone else's responsibility (Microsoft's, Norton's, McAffee's, the government's) are the two biggest enablers.

Too bad "leaders" of certain open source movements dont start talking about security more. Maybe if somebody like RMS starts advocating for more law enforcement, these people would grow up and put more pressure on our leaders to take this seriously.

I think the open source community is already taking the best approach by making available the finest, most secure software that they are able to create. If you really want law enforcement to take action, it might be more effective to start with the credit card companies and the banks that process the transactions for most of these spammers. But I truly believe that so long as there is so much low-hanging fruit, the criminals are going to go for it in spite of any laws.

Comment Re:Hostile Action from Spammers (Score 3, Insightful) 68

I am [was] a volunteer security expert on CastleCops. I helped hundreds of people, but the task was very daunting. Back in the hayday for malware, there were literally hundreds of new posts everyday with problems that would take more than a canned response and a hijackthis log. There was only a handful of us and to be honest, I am surprised that it lasted as long as it did. I know I would get burned out and disappear for a few months then pop back in and try to help a couple people.

I should preface this by saying that your efforts are noble and should be commended. I am encouraged any time I see people like you who are willing to selflessly try to do something about a problem especially against what must seem like impossible odds. What I would like to see this world become has a lot more of that spirit than the real world does.

I'll be honest with you and hope that how I genuinely feel about this doesn't appear to you to contradict what I just said. I don't really believe in this kind of solution, not because it's labor-intensive but because it addresses a symptom or a result instead of addressing the underlying problems that keep causing it. In other words, it is damage control and not real prevention.

If you study computer security, one (very sound) idea you will come across is the notion that once a machine has been compromised, the only way to ever trust that machine again is to reformat the hard drive and reinstall the operating system from known good media. To our detriment, the way security is generally handled flies in the face of this observation. There is a plethora of virus removal tools and spyware removal tools provided by what has become quite the cottage industry. These tools operate by detecting and attempting to remove known malware from a system that has been compromised. After the malware is removed, the system continues to be used even after it has been both compromised and proven to be configured/operated in an insecure fashion. This is perfect for the antivirus companies because the job can never be finally completed. Under this model, there will always be work in the form of finding, analyzing, and creating signatures and heuristics for new malware. Work that someone will have to be paid to do. What was a volunteer effort that caused burnout for you equates to $$$ dollar signs for them.

What is needed is a proper security system built into the OS that can prevent the compromise from happening in the first place. Windows can be found on the vast, vast majority of computers and Windows has no such security system (whether anyone else has or does not have such a system is not my point; this isn't intended to be a Unix vs. Windows debate). Further, no one in the security industry is really interested in providing one because by doing so they would kill their own market. If Microsoft tried to implement something like that, something far more effective and less of a "band-aid" than UAC, they would receive tremendous pressure to desist from an entire industry. What further complicates the problem is that there is a very large and very ignorant userbase which does not understand these issues and does not care to learn about them. Because of that, they have come to accept this as normal and "just the way things are done", as though entering into an malware vs. antimalware arms race that cannot possibly be won is an inherent feature of computing.

I hate to say it but I think this will have to get worse before anyone will be truly interested in making it get better. Call me cynical for saying so if you will, but as a culture we're not very big on dealing with foreseeable problems while they are still relatively small and managable and prefer to ignore them until they become a crisis first. I have said for some time that perhaps the best thing that could happen would be a wake-up call in the form of a virus/trojan/worm that infects a machine, spreads itself rapidly to other machines, and then destructively formats every last writable device that the machine can access, preferably overwriting every drive so that a separate backup is the only way to recover the data. The reason why you don't see this is because the malware authors learned a long time ago that a good parasite does not kill its host computer; that is, they know this is not in their interests. It's not in their interests because right now, many people with infected computers say "damn my computer is running slow these days". If all of their data goes *poof* there is no denying that there is a problem. I don't advocate that anyone really create a piece of malware like this since it's probably illegal, and for that reason I would strongly discourage anyone from trying it. I am only saying that if it did hypothetically happen, it just might change things.

Comment Re:Your premise is wrong (Score 1) 68

The solution is *not* to just toss your hands up and say "we give up", the solution is to lock these fuckers up and toss the key.

My real response to you is this post but I also wanted to ask you something.

What I am advocating is that we should attempt to understand the real nature of the problem before we even begin to think about implementing any solutions. This may include a willingness to question what we think we know about it since the "conventional wisdom" has thus far gotten us nowhere. It might also include an examination of history to see if people have faced problems that had similar underlying principles, even if those problems were radically different in outward appearance. If any such examples are found, we should consider the attempted solutions and whether they had any success. In short, we need to know as much as we can about what we're dealing with and we should learn from the mistakes of others as much as possible.

My question is, what part of this constitutes "tossing your hands up and saying 'we give up'"? In light of my question, do you still believe that this is what I am advocating? I understand your righteous anger and your desire to see spammers punished, but these things are in vain if they cause you to take hasty action that cannot bring about your goal.

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