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Comment Could have done something more practical. (Score 1) 166

If you had remote access, you should have put BitLocker on it, or encrypted it with your Open OS version.

Or installed a dialler to call 911 repeatedly from the laptop. Eventually the police will go to their house and find oh wow, there's lots of stolen property here.

Comment Free software assistant... already exists (Score 3, Informative) 64

Free software assistant... already exists

They've got an RPi image you can download, slap on a card, and be up and running with a USB mic and something to handle the audio out.

Seems to me like the FSF should pay more attention to what is already going on.

Comment Re:Congrats Wyoming! (Score 1) 344

I'm not sure about Carlin, but Robert Heinlein suggested exactly this in some of the stories in his "future history" series. Basically, his theory was thus:

Justice systems based on notions of "justice" nearly always degenerate into systems that are, in reality, based on revenge. So forget about justice, and focus on preventing recidivism and further harm to society. Criminals are therefore given a choice. Submit to psychological therapy to identify and correct whatever defect in their psyche that led to their criminality; or be exiled to Coventry. Coventry was a rather largish chunk of the midwest; with plenty of fertile land, water, and a controlled climate to make it ideal for agriculture. A force field surrounded it and a no-fly zone was strictly enforced. And criminals who refused treatment, thus rejecting society, would be exiled to Coventry and could live their life by whatever rules they made amongst themselves. There were gates and call-boxes, and if someone decided exile wasn't for them, they could accept treatment and be re-admitted to outside society.

Comment Re:He's missing the point. (Score 4, Insightful) 133

It would be nice if people could learn to think in terms of threats that fell somewhere between "safe to ignore" and "extinction level event". Or could distinguish between "extreme and expensive" responses and "effective" ones.

9/11 could have been prevented by simple, conservative and inexpensive countermeasures. After 9/11 politicians droned on about how "9/11 changed everything," but the cold sober fact was that it in fact changed nothing. It just showed that some of the things sensible people had already been telling us to do (like reinforcing cockpit doors or getting agencies to work together despite institutional rivalries) really did need to be done. Instead "9/11 changed everything" became the rallying cry for every pet scheme that had heretofore been correctly dismissed as too expensive, hare-brained, or just plain dumb.

Which doesn't change the fact that something needed to be done. Here's the lesson I think we should take into this infrastructure debate: we should take sensible and conservative steps to secure infrastructure against terrorism now, before events put foolish ones on the table.

Comment Re:The death spiral is continuing. (Score 2) 157

The pedantry here is ridiculous. "Everyone" in my prior post is obviously slightly hyperbolic in the context in which it was used, and a normal colloquial usage. The reality is that over 90% of everyone's PCs are running their software, and if you isolate that to business/government PCs it's almost 100%.

Comment Re:Good but... (Score 1) 114

Or... what if anytime anyone called a residential number, a nickel was transferred from the caller's account to the callee's account.

That wouldn't stop anyone from making a call where an actual person is likely to be involved; the labor costs for a three minute conversation would swamp that. But it would discourage people from robocalling a hundred thousand people in order to turn up a handful of suckers.

And the public wouldn't have to pay a regulator to try to track down these boiler room operations.

Comment Re:Corporate Arrogance (Score 1) 64

Stupid Slashdot should have a 1-minute edit option...

Also, if you're worried about companies being "morally bankrupt", please point me to any large company that isn't. Such a thing does not exist. If you're going to boycott any company that's morally bankrupt, you're going to starve to death while you live under a bridge.

Comment Re:Corporate Arrogance (Score 1) 64

That's impossible to avoid because there's only 4 networks in the US (Sprint, T-Mo, AT&T, Verizon). All the MVNOs work that way. The difference is that the direct customers of those networks get a worse deal, probably because of name recognition and also because they have to pay for all those fancy brick-and-mortar stores, whereas MVNO customers get a much better deal. The only way it really makes sense to be a customer of the mainstream networks is if you use a LOT of data and can't avoid it. But mostly, people subscribe to Verizon or whoever, pay $200/month, and blissfully stream all their music constantly, instead of subscribing to a MVNO and paying $30/month for just what they need.

Comment Re:The death spiral is continuing. (Score 1) 157

IOW, the faithful will in the not too distant future will be able to prove their loyalty with their wallets, forever and ever, world without end, amen. We'll see how that works out. It won't take all that long until you have paid much more for your Windows machine than that stupid hipster and his "overpriced" Mac.

I'm quite sure Windows isn't going anywhere for at least the next quarter-century, especially in business computing. We've had alternatives now for ages, but they just don't get any adoption. Customers have proven, over and over, that they simply will not abandon MS Windows and Office, no matter what, even when they're forced into using a horrible, tablet-ified, spyware and ad-laden version of it.

This isn't like the NFL; no one *needs* to watch sports, it's purely entertainment, and tastes change. Computing is different; businesses aren't going to go back to doing everything on paper, or back to 1970s mainframes. At this point, MS would really have to shoot themselves in the head (not the foot) to get businesses to abandon them. It's just too easy for them to pay the licensing costs and deal with the problems and stick with Windows than to explore alternatives.

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