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Comment Re:There is something to that... (Score 1) 482

It's still proportionally much less than Mac's market share so move along

That's not really something you can move along from. There's a critical mass issue involved. Both a critical mass of users and a critical mass of third-party software:

- Users: Nobody, including bad people, are going to intentionally choose a market that's only 10% of the total when its just as easy to target the other 90%. I don't know what the critical mass percentage is, but its definitely higher than 10%.

- Third-party software: I'm not going to try and claim that the Windows kernel is as secure as the BSD one, but even in Windows the vast majority of exploits are enabled via third-party software (well, and IE..) The bigger the Mac software library gets, the more targets there will be for finding back doors.

Now, for the moment at least, "less viruses" indeed is a valid reason to choose a Mac. But "less possible viruses" is something we can't possibly judge until/unless Mac starts breaking some of these critical points. Whether or not Apple will be able to avoid the cat and mouse game that Microsoft plays with the virus writers and other villians other remains to be seen.

I personally suspect that if Mac ever manages to get close to parity in the market, Apple will end up with just as much of a malware issue as Windows has. Because software is hard no matter how good your marketing department or how zealous your fanbois.

Comment Re:There is something to that... (Score 1) 482

From my experience, Macs work great .. as long as you only ever want to do the things Steve Jobs thought you should want to do. Which admittedly, is a good fit for most non-techies that just want email and a web browser.

As soon as you try to break out of the mold though, things tend to take a nosedive very fast. Just try sorting your iTunes list by path/filename. Yeah no juice there. You use Apple's library system or you piss off. There's no third option.

Or Flash. Sure Flash might be terrible in many ways, but you _still_ can't access like half the video sites on the web from a mobile phone. Because Apple decided that breaking the web was a good tradeoff in order to boost their battery life marketing by 10%. I was super disappointed when Google followed suit on that one.

And of course, there's the age-old issue of lack of software for Macs. Definitely nowhere near as bad as it was 10 or 15 years ago, but you still don't have to go too far outside of the mainstream to find software that's Windows-only. A particular problem for gamers where its much more common to want to purchase and use a wide range of products.

Comment Re:There is something to that... (Score 1) 482

Depends on your definition of "waste." Its definitely not constructive, but it must benefit us in some way since people everywhere have been spending energy on hating things that otherwise wouldn't affect them for basically all of recorded history.

Of course, it may be among those things that were handy back when we were running around dodging tigers and just hasn't had time to de-evolve now that we no longer need it so much in the modern world. Who knows.

Comment Re:Everyone should be allowed to use a computer. (Score 1) 482

There's a huge difference though: A microwave has exactly one function with usually less than 20 buttons, most of which "everybody" actually doesn't understand and just ignores.

A car again has a single purples with only two pedals, a wheel and a few levers and/or knobs. Again probably less than 20 controls, many of which are rarely if ever used by the majority of people.

A computer on the other hand has typically has at least a half a dozen _functions_ for any particular user, and often into the dozens of functions when you add up your email, browser, editor spreadsheet, music, etc etc etc. And each one of those functions frequently has dozens if not hundreds of controls or options.

Your typical modern computer, regardless of brand or hardware or whatever business you're in, can potentially be hundreds of times more complex than a car or a microwave, just from a very high level "count the things you do with it" perspective.. never mind getting into the details!

Add in all of the background processes that most people don't even know exist never mind what they do, unexpected software bugs (especially the non-repeatable ones that just happen "sometimes",) intentionally malicious software, weak power lines/UPS' that can cause all sorts of random issues, drives and/or memory that "mostly" works but mucks up a byte here and there and so on and so on.

Remember, most people can't change their own oil in that car. That kind of kills your analogy. Its frankly simply amazing that we don't have _more_ issues among the computer illiterate given the complexity involved.

Comment Re:Petitions a scam to collect emails for politici (Score 1) 314

This will be the most obstructionist do nothing Congress ever iff Trump wins.

Agreed. Which is why I hope he wins. I have a feeling Clinton will get stuff done, and a lot of it won't be for the good. An ineffective government is still (slightly) better than an aggressively evil one IMO.

100 handwritten letters is viewed as far more valuable that 100 emails

Sure, but its not necessarily more valuable than 10,000 emails. Or 100,000. Scale is important.

Sharing your opinion in a letter/email/etc removes no politician from office, so they are largely irrelevant to politicians

That's an extremely pessimistic view. That assumes that politicians do absolutely nothing beyond sit on their thumbs for 3 out of 4 years. The issues that won't get them removed from office are actually more likely to get noticed during non-election years as its far less likely to bite them in the ass down the road than hot topics.

politicians know it is meaningly

A decent politician knows that they're representing all of the people in their jurisdiction, not just the ones that voted for them. Obviously when they're gearing up for an election they're going to target their core audience but again, for the rest of the time they actually have a job to do and its pretty pessimistic to assume they just aren't bothering to do it.

All they do, if anything, is give a politician heads up on an issue they need to manage opinion on, or distract from

Or you know, take action on. Write up a bill. Request a more scientific survey. Whatever else might be needed.

I don't know what world you're living it but you seem to think that the government does nothing at all other than run election campaigns. That's just not reality. These people have a job to do and sure, they might not always do it the way you want them to but they ARE doing it for at least 2 and often closer to 3 out of every 4 years.

Sure if your letter comes stapled to a $1000 check it will likely get a bit more consideration, but normal letters get read too. Every politician will have an aid (or 2 or 3 or 10) that does nothing but read letters all day and while they're certainly not bringing every single one up to the attention of the politician, if they start seeing the same issue being discussed over and over again by multiple letter writers, it will get noticed and perhaps at least discussed even if nothing comes of it in the long run.

Think of it like a log file. If you see one Russian IP address some day, you'll think nothing of it. If you see 100 that day you might raise an eyebrow. If you see 100000 you're simply going to have to take action, even if that action is "ehhh they tried but it didn't work so whatever" -- you at least looked into it enough to make the decision that no further action was required.

Voting is essentially meaningless these days on a national scale. There's just far too many people (making individual votes almost insignificant) and you have to cover far too many issues with a single 2-option choice for it to have any significant impact on the country (both of which are practically identical these days, and half the claims they make fall through anyway even when they aren't outright lies.)

Its during the non-election times where we should be focusing our efforts if we want to see real change on specific issues. When politicians are doing politics rather than glorified sales pitches.

Comment Re:That would be fine (Score 1) 169

Lots of things are fine to privatize. The question isn't whether or not its "important" but whether or not its competitive.

Unfortunately we try to apply capitalist ideals to everything, whether its viably competitive or not. Usually that fails miserably. There are just some things in the world that don't lend themselves to competition -- either because they're tied to physical resources that simply can't be divided or because they're so costly to construct that private industry doesn't deem worth the investment.

Things like telephones kind of cross both issues -- its super expensive to run any significant amount of line, plus there are physical space limitations (both to prevent interference between competing lines, plus nobody wants to see 14 sets of wires hanging everywhere when 1 or 2 is sufficient and the rest are just there because we don't like sharing.)

We've got it into our collective heads that private industry is somehow magically more efficient than public services. But that's a total false dichotomy. Competitive industries are more efficient than monopolies. Whether a monopoly is government run or privately run, its still going to be a big mess of greed and inefficiency because there's no pressure to improve.

The only difference is that private monopolies tend to charge more to end users because they've got an incentive to maximize profits that a public service doesn't have -- and that almost always just means increased prices as that's easier to do than coming up with more efficient processes.

But all of that doesn't mean nothing should be privatized. Most things in the world aren't natural monopolies and there's no problem with privatizing them -- competition will weed out the garbage from the market.

But even then you still have to maintain a limited amount of regulation in order to avoid things like non-natural monopolies from forming or to control/prevent externalities such as water and air pollution and to ensure that the products are going to be safe for consumers. Even in a competitive environment (and sometimes especially in a competitive environment,) when profit is the only motivation its far too easy for companies to just ignore things like public safety if it improves their bottom line.

Pure communism is bad. We all agree on that. However, pure capitalism is bad as well. Like almost everything else in the world, the best option by far is a balance between two extremes.

Comment Re:I'm having a really big antenna installed today (Score 1) 314

It is not remotely a tautology.

Yes, I was glibly taking the example to its extreme. Obviously feeding a troll here but come on. Read between the lines.

Who do you think pays now?

The big "shitty" corporations, which the OP grouped in with government as things he wanted to see reduced or eliminated. Though I'd be a bit surprised if they didn't have some sort of government subsidy mixed in there.

Libertarian and anarchist are not the same thing, by the way.

I'm aware. Anarchists want no government. Libertarians want a magic government that does exactly and only the things they want, exactly and only at the time they want them, for free, and disappears as soon as the task is complete.

Both are unworkable in the real world, but the anarchist vision at least would be plausible if humans didn't have such a strong desire for leadership.

Comment Re:Petitions a scam to collect emails for politici (Score 1) 314

Actually the Republican party and the Republican establishment do not want Trump.

So? The party (and the resulting government) is more than one person.. though with the amount of party line voting that goes on its sometimes hard to remember that.

Electronic media including emails is considered greatly inferior.

I think you need to join the 21st century. Email is no longer the unloved stepchild of communications. Most people treat it as a legitimate form of communications (and many companies don't even bother reading paper letters/resumes/etc anymore.. which I know isn't the same as the government but it definitely indicates a broader trend.)

And still even a letter is vastly inferior to a vote

No, no it isn't. For exactly the reason I mentioned: One vote gives you 1/350millionth of a say in government, applied to a broad range of issues, once every 4 years. Letters can be written whenever you want and can be specific to an issue that's important to you -- and you can even send it if the elected official isn't the one you voted for!

Trouble with letters isn't that they are useless. The trouble is that people assume if they send a letter that the politician will magically agree with everything they say and implement their ideas immediately. Which is not how things work. Just because you want something and even just because you spent the time drafting a letter, doesn't mean they'll listen to you. But then again they might so its always worth a try if your opinion is that strong.

Again, digital, largely considered to be of little value.

20 years ago perhaps. Maybe even 10 years ago. But that's no longer the case. People have realized that just because I use a keyboard instead of a pen doesn't make my thoughts less relevant, and similarly with online petitions -- just because the "signatures" are in the form of email addresses doesn't mean they aren't just as valid as a written one.

And the online petitions have scale on their side. If you go out canvassing you might get a few hundred signatures. That might be enough to get your local city government to install a new stop light but spread across the hundreds of millions of people in the entire country, 100 signatures from one tiny little area isn't even worth looking at.

100,000 "signatures" with representation from every state on the union on the other hand.. that's hard to ignore. Even if you allow a little fudge room for fakes and duplicates, that's a hell of a lot of people as I said. Even if the politicians ignore it, the media sure as hell won't and once they get involved politics kind of has to keep up.

Of course just like a real petition, you can't just collect signatures and sit on them. There still has to be someone running the operation who's willing and able to take the results to the politicians and/or media. But I'd just assumed that was obvious.

Look at the White House's online petition system

I'd rather not. The whitehouse running their own petition system would be like letting a criminal be the judge at his own trial -- you'd never get a guilty verdict.

Groups like the EFF and OpenMedia.ca as well as many similar groups internationally.. those are the ones you want to go to. I of course tend to focus on internet issues but you can find organizations setting up these kind of petitions for environmental issues and I'm sure many others.

Just keep in mind that the petition is only one step along the way. Someone has to first raise the issue, then raise awareness of the issue, then start and operate the petition, then take the results to someone who will listen and has the power to do something about it. Just like a door-to-door petition process. The petition itself is only one step along the way but its the most important one since its adding the voice of the people to the issue. In recent years, these online petitions have really been the ONLY voice against the continual lobbyist pressure for things like the TPP.

And that's fine. In fact its good -- its the first time in history that a large portion of the voting population have a voice outside of election time, even if its filtered through someone's petition system. And it DOES make real change happen. As long as you recognize the fact that on occasion, it won't be enough and your favorite issue will still go in a direction you don't like. That's life. But it gives us the chance to try, for a much much wider definition of "us."

Comment Re:Fiber everywhere (Score 2) 314

Because someone has to pay for it and nobody likes paying for things anymore. Companies don't like investing when it negatively affects the next quarterly report, even if they'd see a return in 5 years. And homeowners aren't going to pay for a line that does exactly what their current line does (if they could even afford it in the first place.)

I mean none of that should be taken as absolutes -- obviously companies occasionally manage to think beyond 3 months and there's obviously some homeowners who get enough benefit from fiber over copper to drop the cash on it when their phone company refuses to do so, but neither of those are the common case.

Back in the day when the copper was being deployed originally, this was of course still true but the government stepped in and made sure the wires were run, either directly or through major incentives to local providers.

There was some effort to do that again with fiber but the government also doesn't want to spend anything anymore and we're culturally super against corporate oversight these days to boot leading to more than one fiasco where companies took the incentives and then just didn't bother following through (https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20060131/2021240.shtml.) That puts a fast damper on the attempts to incentivize companies and we're all left in a world where widespread fiber is a far-future, if ever, dream instead of a modern reality.

Comment Re:Oh no! (Score 1) 314

The power outage for phone argument is over used.

I'm guessing you've never lived too far outside of an urban setting. Power outages are super common in even semi-rural areas. Basically any area that only has one main line coming in from the larger grid, especially if they also happen to be in a high-wind area (tree branches falling on the lines was a very common issue when I lived in such a place.)

And when I say super common, there was a while when I first moved there that during the winter months, multi-hour outages were pretty much a weekly occurrence and multi-day outages happened at least once a year. Its improved a lot since then (and I've since moved as well) but I have little doubt that there's plenty of places Verizon services that are still subject to frequent and long-lasting power disruptions (to make matters worse.. those also tend to be the places where its most expensive to maintain the copper -- long runs and low population really drive up the per-customer costs quickly.)

Comment Re:This is about power, control, and greed... (Score 1) 314

Not if they can help it. Maybe get a lower bandwidth since its almost certain that a tiny stingray box can't handle the throughput of a real tower, but the whole idea is that you can't tell if you're being snooped so they do everything in their power to maintain effective service while operating.

Comment Re:This is about power, control, and greed... (Score 1) 314

Greed I agree with but your arguments for control and power? What possible benefit would Verizon get out of fucking people over in a disaster situation? Not to mention POTS systems used to get overrun in those same scenarios before everyone switched to flooding the cell networks -- there's only so many circuits available.

Similarly, why on earth would they want to disrupt control communication? If anything they'd want states of emergency resolved as quickly as possible -- people running for their lives generally don't stop to pay their telephone bill on the way. Especially for a phone service that's currently sitting under 12 feet of water in a collapsed house.

I think your tin foil has is already on and perhaps its a tad tight. Might want to loosen that a bit.

This is purely about greed. Nothing else. Its simply cheaper for them to maintain a handful of cell towers than it is to maintain dozens of roadside boxes and last mile copper (or fiber if it was already there.)

Comment Re:Forcing customer to non regulated service (Score 1) 314

If you can follow regulation for $50,000,000 or skip it for $2,000,000, you break a few rules

That right there is a problem. If breaking a regulation only costs 4% of your returns, its effectively meaningless because its not "you" breaking a few rules, its "everyone" breaking ALL such rules.

That's like saying instead of jailing thieves, we'll fine them $1000. That might be great for preventing low-income theft but its going to coincide with a marked increase in theft in rich neighborhoods where you can make off with $10000 worth of goods and only have to return 10% of your earnings -- IF you get caught. So adjusted for risk it would be even less than that.

the regulators can and should start raising criminal conspiracy charges

They should, but they rarely do. Yes there's been the odd high-profile case as you mentioned later but there's no cumulative effect here so the vast majority of the time the company will just pay their fine, clean up their act for a few weeks until the pressure's off and continue on until the next time they're caught. Corporate fuckarounds don't have a three strikes law.

If our regulations can't keep businesses in line, we need to re-examine if our regulations are behind the current technology

Its not a question of whether the regulations can keep businesses in line. Its a question of whether the regulators can enforce the regulations that exist. I agree that regulations need to be updated and revised as technology and culture changes, but an unenforced regulation is useless regardless of whether its good or bad (also: to whom?)

There definitely should be a method in place to detect (likely the hardest part,) re-evaluate and revoke bad regulations, but simply letting companies ignore them isn't the best solution since they'll happily ignore good regulations as well if they can get away with it. Companies base all of their judgement on their bottom line with little or no regard to the environment, public safety or other desirable metrics.

The job of the regulators is to ensure that damage to those metrics is encoded in corporate bottom lines to ensure those companies do the right thing, and if the regulations are weak or the penalties ineffective then the regulators aren't going to be successful.

Comment Re:I'm having a really big antenna installed today (Score 2) 314

If there is no violence, actual threat, coercion, or fraud there should be no crime

If there is no crime, there should be no crime. Excellent tautology there.

Unfortunately history has shown repeatedly over and over that there's always someone out to benefit themselves by hurting others. You want to be rid of government _and_ shitty corporations. How do you expect that's going to work? Do you think the next Standard Oil just say to themselves "you know, we're too big and concentrating too much power lets break ourselves up let competition reduce our profit margins!" That's not a choice any company ever has made. Maybe you just think you can get the entire country to boycott such practices? Stop driving and heating their homes for several months or years out of pure libertarian idealism while their children freeze around them?

You say you have the highest rate of BitCoin acceptance anywhere. Well good for you. What are you going to do about it in your magic world where neither large governments nor large companies exist? You might get someone to start a local ISP and roll out cabling to the richest parts of your town, but who would you convince to drop hundreds of millions of dollars to link up with England or Brazil or India? Or even the tens of millions of dollars to link to the next county? And if there is an entity large enough to spend that kind of money, would they not then fall into your "shitty corporation" category? Not to mention someone to generate all the electricity to run your computers and the ISP and everything else. Or do you have a cool billion sitting around to build your own power plant? And the land to build it on? And where's the motivation to keep your plant from polluting the environment? After all the crap you pump in the river only affects the town downstream you and your friends a perfectly fine! And what's your motivation to provide timely and cheap access to your electricity? Competition? How many power plants do you think the population (never mind the environment) could sustain? And just building lots of smaller plants doesn't really work either since bigger is just flat out better in almost all power plant designs (in terms of lower cost per watt.) Perhaps just assume everyone will go solar? That's at least space and environmentally efficient. Who's going to spend the time and money on research to improve solar technology is another question though (and there's definitely no reason to believe we've reached the peak of solar yet! Unless we stop trying.) Maybe get a lucky tinkerer in his back yard have a eureka moment eventually but dedicated research also costs huge amounts of money -- the scale of which is usually only available to governments and large corporations.

The problem with all these libertarian dreams is that they only work if a majority of people don't follow them, at least if you scale them up past the size of a small town or so where people are close enough to have significant and direct influence on each other. Beyond that, it almost always breaks down into "we want everything the world has to offer but don't want to accept responsibility for our part in it." Its just not a winning formula.

Government exists for a reason. Sure they have a habit of stepping into areas they really shouldn't be (marriage is a good example) but what you need is checks against that, not complete elimination. And even the libertarians who grudgingly accept a small government still don't want to pay taxes as if governments can magically pull money out of thin air (well technically they can just print it, but that only leads to mass inflation. So yay you get to keep your $1000 this year but its only worth $10 in next year's money and pennies the year after. Savings! Then again a lot of you want to return to the gold standard so back to pulling money out of thin air.)

Ok so I've definitely ranted far too long already but the TL;DR is this: Libertarian idealism is simply impractical on any sort of large or even moderate scale and anyone who tells you otherwise almost certainly has failed to account for something (most often human nature.. "if everyone did X" is an immediate argumentative failure because everyone will not ever do any specific X no matter how awesome you personally think it is.)

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