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Comment Do what you want, just spare my context switching. (Score 1) 388

Context theft is the one thing that annoys me the most about all of this business. I don't care if my machine has thirty different update mechanisms churning away in the background on startup, just leave me out of it unless the box is about to catch fire, explode and maim me.

I've configure my machine as far as practical to have nothing that suddenly demands attention (it's used for graphics and illustration work, context theft can completely screw your flow, as per programming and etc), anything that insists on having popups or info balloons has its updates disabled or is replaced.

I'm hoping Windows 7's driver update approach indicates Microsoft is moving towards allowing vendors to use the windows update mechanisms for their applications - I seem to remember for major hardware vendors they contact their site directly and install drivers and utilities, I'd love to see this approach spread to the application space, providing they can manage the liabilities.

Comment Re:Interesting comparison to MS (Score 1) 322

Is this summary assuming that all research is aimed at developing a productized outcome for a company? From personal observation I wouldn't say its that common that Research produces "things", but it does generate a body of knowledge that can be leveraged in more traditional product development.

It's like cancer research - no one group will ever, as a standalone unit, really produce anything in isolation. The culmination of the knowledge in the form of groups contributing to the global knowledge base will however advance the field, perhaps eventually leading to a cure at the peak of the pyramid. Along the line companies will certainly take outcomes, even those that didn't directly contribute to the development of a vaccination, and turn them into products.

Eg, It was research in heart disease that led to viagra, or something along those lines. They weren't setting out to create a consumer product, but it was an outcome that existed due to research. Mind you, given all the spam associated with it, maybe we should terminate more research divisions.

Comment Re:Most people aren't interesting enough (Score 5, Insightful) 135

To try and demonstrate this:

Person X on facebook has a private profile enabled but have allowed for their friends to be visible.

Say 80% of their friends have public profiles on facebook. You'd then go through the process of mapping percentages for:

- Their hometown
- employment
- common venues
- level of facebook activity
- interests, hobbies
- participation in local events, clubs, universities etc

Repeat for a couple of iterations down the friends of friends chain and guaranteed you could learn a massive amount about the individual regardless of profile status (eg, their employment, lifestyle, hobbies, timetable etc).

Scale this up to properly managed automated engines for the task and multiple data sources and there's not much you couldn't pinpoint about an individual, even if for example they didn't use facebook but had a majority of associated who did. Replace facebook with anything, perhaps linked in because of its more "professional" sales pitch. FB is just an easy example.

Comment Re:Most people aren't interesting enough (Score 4, Insightful) 135

Look further though. You're essentially a part of a neural style network here. You might be dull as a box of hankies but a professional associate, a relative, even at N degrees of separation - you're providing additional information against that person. It's not _you_ or even your N+1 or N+2 relations, its your overall participation in the mesh of interactions.

In a very simple case you can be a part of a border analysis against another person. Your professional activities, your actions, combined with a group of people that encapsulate (via common connections) another individual or a subset of individuals is extremely valuable for analysis.

This boggles me that we have a group of what I can assume are intelligent professionals here that can't see past the most elementary, low level application of information research / analysis. I've done incredibly effective analysis against individuals with a handful of public domain information, none of which was _direct_ content of theirs, let alone what I could do with access to the entire facebook back end.

Comment Narrow sighted insights all over this... (Score 2, Insightful) 135

The issue isn't with, say, getting into facebook and checking out all your stupid farmville posts / drunken photos or etc, the issue is more on the privileged access side of things. Start thinking along the lines of your social graph and the back end of these sites and you have the gist of the real privacy issue here.

How many times you've viewed a certain profile, the times of day you access the system, the timeline of your creation and deletion of connections with other people, the correlation of your mood from content against these actions etc etc. Base level data mining activity. Volume, frequency, timing. Combine this with X number of social sites and other activity in the cloud and you can get a pretty concise picture of someone's life depending on their volume of online interactions. It doesn't matter what the _actual_ content is, it's the least important part of the picture.

Most of the responses to this topic online tend to drill down and go "I don't care if X can see my posted Y, I posted it assuming it was public domain". It really indicates that people are only aware of about a third of the real activities that are captured when you interact with social networking sites and the cloud as a whole.

Comment Re:It matters to future employers (Score 1) 736

Re - Fix windows / no drive wipe remark. Depending on organisation size, you _have_ to take the approach of wipe / rebuild / forget, and manage user data away from local drives as best you can. I don't even want to start contemplating the operational dollars involved with performing specific recovery on a per machine basis across even a subset (say technical people or engineering staff) of a large site.

Comment Does it come with a duffel bag? (Score 1) 412

I'm getting kind of anxious about the crop of standalone single function devices that seem to be turning up. Between my kindle, wikireader, peek mobile device, google images mediatablet, ping keyring, bluetooth bash shell voice command headset, RSS reading necktie and US keyboard necklace it's going to be heavy going during my daily commute. Thank god for my 8 port switch underpants or I'd be spending all day swapping SD cards around. As a budding futurist, I see that someday they will integrate all of these devices down into a common platform that you can use in your home or at work to complete all these tasks in a common manner, perhaps even in the far future as a small portable device that can house each of these functions on the one hardware platform..

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