* Posts by gnufrontier

125 publicly visible posts • joined 30 Mar 2013


Internet pioneer Vint Cerf predicts the future, fears Word-DOCALYPSE


Distant "fear"

Relax V. Most species that have ever existed are extinct. The amount of historical data we have prior to the printing press is paltry compared to what was written but we still seem to make up pretty good stories about the past and presume that what we have is more important than what we've lost (which can't be known).

The premise of the philosophy of progress is that the past is well, outdated and of little value. We want to know the future not what has already happened. Knowing the past doesn't prepare us for a future that is always new, always changing. So if you are a progressive type, it's a non-issue.

This is really a function of human development. As humans get older their attention always turns more to the past than the future primarily because they have little future left. Older people (and I am one) always think that the way it was was better than the way it is or is going to be. Not true. It will suck for people in the future just as it did for us in the past. It'll just suck in different ways.

Holding on to all this big data just means one ends up with a bigger haystack in which one has to search for the needle.

As for Doris Goodwin's book on Lincoln, we needed another book on Lincoln like a whole in the head. It's like getting another book on Jesus or Plato. Studying the past (I was a history major) is a great way to escape the present but it doesn't mean beans for the future anymore. When things changed very little for a thousand years, the past may have had some actual use but now, not really.

Microsoft waves white flag: We'll put Outlook on Windows RT slabs


Consumer vs Enterprise

Apple is a consumer electronics company. Microsoft is an enterprise software vendor.

RT was Microsoft trying to get additional market share in the consumer electronics space with something besides their game console. The only people really interested in RT however were enterprise oriented.

Mass consumer slab people have no interest in Outlook. It's inclusion now is a response to criticism from the enterprise side which doesn't really want a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) environment. Enterprises remember what happened when PC's first entered corporations. It wasn't long before IT had to get involved to corral all the cats. Now that everything is tied into the corporate network again with computing being controlled and dictated by IT, they don't want to go back to having to deal with a variety of consumer devices which they have not endorsed being used in business operations. They want a slab to pacify their employees and they want one that will enable their employees to work within the IT environment as it now exists and which for many is a Microsoft shop or at the least uses Microsoft applications.

That's my two cents for what it's worth.

iPHONES and 'Pads BANNED in US for violating Samsung patent



Obama's campaign spent over 700 million dollars. It's a laughable statement to say that $300,000 from Apple employees means anything. It won't be about campaign money it will be about how the decision will be perceived no matter which way it goes.

The patent wars between tech companies serve two purposes.

1. As a competitive weapon between deep pocket companies.

2. Keeping new entrants into the market out.

#2 of course negates a fundamental premise of classical free market economic philosophy: ease of entry into the market (of course all the other premises upon which this philosophy is built are not in operation either). Free market economic philosophy is like a fundamentalist money religion the premises of which have as much validity as Ptolemaic astronomy. There can be no Galileo however since economic philosophy is not a science but an art like politics. Economics used to be called political economy until the mathematicians got involved and tried to turn it into a "hard" science. All economic philosophies always have as their operational endpoint the consolidation of wealth regardless of the premises. Contentment is the enemy of accumulation and if there is one thing we all know about human beings, none are content.

Experts: Network security deteriorating, privacy a lost cause


Tin cans and a string

The issue isn't network security it's communications security. As soon as some form of relay is established, security is compromised and one faces tradeoffs.

Does one send a single messenger on horseback (slower, less conspicuous but more vulnerable), surround the messenger with armed guards for protection (slower, more expensive, more conspicuous, less vulnerable) or presume monitoring but encode like smoke signals (conspicuous, faster, decipherable)?

Technology has made the means of communication orders of magnitude more complex but the same basic trade-offs haven't changed. What technology has also done has increased the number of domains and instances of messages categorized as needing to be secure. No longer is security just the provenance of battlefield communication.

For some reason there is a growing acceptance that loss of privacy for individuals is inevitable but what hasn't yet caught on is that privacy for abstract entities such as governments, corporations etc. will also be eroded.

Right now, people accept cameras everywhere monitoring our behavior but institutions are allowed to go about much of their business without such constant monitoring. We can't Imagine that there would ever be cameras in every board room, every court, every meeting. What would be the effect of such transparency ? And yet this transparency is happening not with cameras but with every form of communication within institutions and they don't like it.

People think monitoring is fine when they think they have nothing to hide but does refusal to be monitored mean there is something to hide? Institutions give reasons such as state security, competitive advantage, protection of property, the recently conjured up modern notion of privacy etc.. but if individual privacy is eroded one can't expect institutional privacy to be maintained.

Technology is neither the problem nor the solution. It is rooted in our very attitudes towards others. Competition, mistrust, domination and unifying conceptions which tend to be exclusionary and limited (religion, nationalism, gardening and fan clubs are all examples).

We are dealing with two contradictory principles that have been used to describe our "information age", one that information is power and the other being information wants to be free.

Although as in times past, increasing amounts of money, time, effort and technology will be thrown at this security problem, we can neither get off this road nor know where it is taking us but there will be much "sound and fury" along the way.

Wikileaks leaks documentary script about Wikileaks


Human complexity

Having looked at the "rebuttal" and a video of the director about the film it strikes me that as usual one is dealing with two agendas and perspectives. I do think it is almost impossible to really determine all the variables involved in a person's actions (including Manning and Assange) . Biology, psychology and social experience all play their part whether one is chimney sweep or prime minister. We would like to have some simple answer but there isn't one. What's more important is the societal response to the action because it changes the societal environment and as we know, when an environment changes, some organisms go extinct and others flourish. If I had to make a bet, I'd say there will be more shade, less sun.

Industry execs: Network admins an endangered species


Humans, the weak link.

Technology has always been about reducing the need for human beings. One needs fewer people to conquer another if one group has bullets and the other has arrows or one has metal while the other has only wood.

No news here.

Everybody likes to think what they do is so important to someone or something. Not true. We are all dispensable, it's just a question of how and when.

If you work in technology, you are responsible for putting people out of work. That is our job. Eventually, they come for us.

There is nothing evil in this. Adapt or die is the foundational principle around which all life operates no matter how advanced.

It's a process one has to endure while one is alive but the good news is, it's not forever.

We all know this. We just don't like it. We still think of ourselves in small, tribal hunter-gatherer terms. Such thinking became obsolete as soon as we banded together into larger collectives. Today, the human being is worth less than ever. We are components of systems that operate independently of us. This is by far a minority view but I see little evidence to the contrary.

Irish deputy PM: You want more tax from Apple? Your problem, not ours


Re: It was like this when I got here.

"their constituency" - a typo. I know the difference for those readers who think such spelling errors denote a lack of intellectual rigor.


It was like this when I got here.

It is important to remember there is nothing illegal going on here. So what is the agenda of all these Euro and American hack politicians mouthing off ?

First, they must believe that there constituency is completely stupid. Tax law is set by government.

Politicians didn't seem to have any trouble with corporations avoiding environmental laws, worker safety, fair wages or any of the other multiple ways that corporations have used to avoid costs by basing operation in less restrictive countries and allowing these corporations to import those products. Why now is it so bad that corporations do the same thing regarding their tax costs ? Should we expect anything other than that. The answer is no.

The corporate agenda is based on a completely different set of principles and laws. Of course, it is the politicians who determine the environment in which corporations exist and not the other way around. If corporations are getting away with anything it is only because we now live in a world where politicians are completely ineffectual except as tools of corporate agendas but they keep up the pretense of being representatives of "the people". They are representatives only of themselves but they pretend they aren't thus the outcry. And corporations know why politicians are doing this and know it is only for public show and ultimately will lead to nothing.

If there is any "blame" here it resides with governments not corporations. Governments have created the complex and incomprehensible tax codes that exist for the very purpose that corporations use them.

Taxing is the ultimate power of governments and the last thing they want is for it to be a clear and understandable process that is fair. If that was the case they wouldn't be able to leverage their ability to manipulate the code to benefit their masters, which contrary to popular opinion is not us.

Blogger better be a billionaire, says 'open access' publisher lawsuit



Read anything about this company and it is obvious how absurd this suit is. Are they not aware of how ridiculous they are shown to be? I will allow for the moment that they know their suit is meaningless so then what is they are trying to achieve with this ? Some form of notoriety ? Any publicity is better than none ?

It baffles me.

I know identity of Bitcoin's SECRET mastermind, says Ted Nelson


Re: Don't you just love ...

The mechanism that Tedd Nelson had as to how material on the net should be linked may not have materialized but that doesn't mean it is not a good idea. The same idea was behind namespaces in XML which has had some traction but has gone largely ignored as people have used XML in ways divergent from trying to solve the problem of disparate and redundant formats.

Since I'm not sure how you define crackpot I can't speak to that "ad hominem" attack.

Climate scientists agree: Humans cause global warming


So, what's the plan ?

Whether there is climate change or not is not the real problem here, it's human behavior, which is not really a problem just something that defies all attempts to fit it into some sort of rational system.

The essence of science is the methodology used to describe and predict the physical aspects of a system. Science for example can tell you how a hydrogen bomb works, it won't provide any information on when if ever it should be dropped. And if one finds this example too extreme, the same rule can be applied to both every weapon and medical procedure ever developed from scientific research.

Science has provided a mechanism for heart transplants. The question is, who gets one ? Certainly not everybody. Science cannot provide any help with that question.

Climate change is no different. Even if it was as accepted a fact as the earth being spherical rather than flat, it wouldn't change anything. Human behavior does not conform to science, it uses science as a tool for advancing a variety of agendas that are part of the inexplicable behavior our history tells us we engage in.

The second issue here is that there are always unforeseen side effects which create additional problems to be solved. We don't know what those are until they present themselves which we seem to inherently know which may be why there is always a certain amount of conservatism built into our systems.

The fact is human beings have no mechanism or methodology that trumps the multiplicity of agendas at work in the world today as we know it and the probability is very high that we will never have such a mechanism or methodology.

So where does that leave us? It puts us where we have always been, battling against each because the agendas we have are not rational. Our agendas may be, depending on what one wants to believe, either the product of millions of years of evolutionary development or our fallen nature after we were cast out of the garden of Eden. The odd thing is it doesn't really matter which of the propositions one holds, the solutions come out of the biases, prejudices, temperaments and self interest that is at the base of all human decision making.

Boil it all down and one is left with one thing that has never been universally definable although it has been identified in specific instances and that is a sense of what is just.

Justice is our ultimate insolvable problem. We cannot determine or agree on what it is beyond very local instances. Move beyond the local instance and justice is a moving target. It is a notion produced within us through a combination of our temperaments and experiences in the world.

Climate change in my view will happen whether we cause it or not and we will as a species react to it as we have reacted to all changes in the past. We will fight and we will migrate. It should not be surprising to us that just as nationalism has not provided a framework for solving our social problems neither will globalism. Our best large scale approximation of "justice" is that we have an undefinable floor that we think all human beings should not have to live below (that floor is at different heights depending on where one lives) and this floor covers both economics and social interaction (ie. no slavery, no brutal living conditions, no forced labor etc.). It has always been the case that a sizable portion of the global population lives under that floor despite all advances and leadership.

So what's the plan? The people who propose plans claim to have an understanding which frankly is beyond what can truly be known. They speak as we all do from their own beliefs, experiences and temperaments. In other words they are just like all of us but what they do and what they say effects more people than when we say or do something. They give their best guess as to what they think will work. So far, given where we are today, which is the product of all the decisions these leaders have made over the aeons, it is difficult for me to hold out much hope that it will be different this time.

Things that cost the same as coffee with Tim Cook - and are way more fun


Justice and human rights

Will it be fair trade coffee ?

Ten years on: How did that cloud strategy pan out?


How can one word be so ambiguous?

I don't see how a "private cloud" helps simplify things. If you own the hardware and control the location isn't that just a corporate network running cloud software. It's one more thing to manage on top of the other technologies outlined at the beginning of the article. I'm really sick of the word cloud, outsource is better.

A big part of this is the "trust" issue which is very dependent on the temperament of whoever makes the decisions. Do shops that are as mixed as mentioned at the beginning of the article outsource the hosting of their website? If they do, they are already "in the cloud" as far as I'm concerned and everything is fair game for sticking stuff on hardware other than one's own which is all we are really talking about. Rackspace for storage, hey your files are already in the cloud.

The only question is how much does one want to offload. can it be done and how much does it cost.

And how paranoid are you.

'WikiLeaks of financial data' prompts worldwide hunt for tax evaders


As long as it helps us it's okay.

The politicos are more than happy to use Wiki leaks when it serves them but are the first to squeal when their evasive tactics are made public.

Judge orders redacted Aaron Swartz prosecution docs to be revealed


Clear as mud

The "transparency" buzz word is heard plenty these days. What is transparent, is the lack of it.

'Liberator': Proof that you can't make a working gun in a 3D printer


It's always about control

Disclaimer: I admit this post is a bit pedantic and broad -- so shoot me.

Your article contrasting the workings of the liberator with a real gun were informative since I am ignorant about firearms. Once one leaves the domain of the mechanics however the facts recede "like a distant ship smoke on the horizon". The struggle for control doesn't rely on facts and that is what gun debates and all societal debates are about.

Anti-authoritarian temperaments are as necessary as authoritarian ones. Societies are not static systems.

There is not a nation in the world that doesn't owe its existence to violence. We are a violent species. Periods of peace are the product of a surplus of resources for a group and the use of those resources to create a force to insure that those resources keep coming. That is what creates civilization. Civilization requires excess resources so that there can be culture. All civilizations have funded themselves by military expansion and domestic suppression of those opposed to such expansion and the populations of those civilizations enjoy the fruits of that conquest which keeps them happy.

When the powers that be however turn on their own citizens to maintain the status quo of their power, things get dicey. Anti-authoritarian temperaments do not trust power. They know that they as individuals are irrelevant to the power structure and feeling threatened seek some minimal form of defense to alleviate their anxiety.

One might wish for a world holding hands and singing Kumbaya but that is not who we are and never have been.

Of course a society can't exist either without a large portion of the population being compliant and agreeable to their leaders. Majority rule in effect has always been the case. We forget that the notion of "rights" are not there to protect the majority. They are there to protect the minority and they were instituted by a minority that knew how hard it was to overthrow the majority. Of course the "new boss" becomes the "same as the old boss". That is what power does. And so the cycle begins again.

I am one of the majority but I am not under the illusion that the world I live in is somehow sacrosanct and inevitable. It is the product of a long series of accidents and violent encounters and no one knows what the future will reveal but one thing is for sure, the battle for control and resistance to control never end.

I ask myself, if the population of Germany during Hitler's or Mussolini's rise to power had been armed to the teeth, would they have been able to enforce the control over their societies that they did? Would Assad in Syria been able to enforce his rule ? We laud the revolutionaries who fight dictators but it's just talk unless we provide them with the means to fight. How are the rebels in Syria getting weapons?

Of course the argument by anti-gun people is we don't live in that world. Which may be true now but what population living in relative comfort hasn't believed that. Democracy is not about voting, it's about distributed power. That is it's driving force. Voting is a mechanism. and we know from the news that there are places in the world where people vote but power remains centralized.

I don't own a gun but I do understand the mentality of people who desire to have them for a variety of reasons. And yes, there will be bad people with guns just like there are bad drivers in cars. Everything has a cost. More often than not, we don't know what the cost is until we are presented with the bill.

And if our leaders are so smart, how come we continually have to find new leaders to get us out of problems the old leaders put us in. They are just people too with their own view of the world, biases and emotional and psychological scars that effect them. And we see what happens when they have power.

We are still very primitive - we still operate under "them and us" divisions usually without any knowledge about the them. The simplistic models of the world in our heads are just that.

Peak Apple: Foxconn contemplating life after Cupertino


Re: Morons of the world, unite!

The U.S. suicide rate is higher than the U.S. murder rate. You are your own worst enemy. China's suicide rate is almost twice the U.S. rate.

Senate passes Marketplace Fairness Act by wide margin


We'll see

Everything goes to the Senate first these days. The Senate is somewhat toothless. If a bill can't pass in the House it doesn't mean anything. The Senate debates, the House legislates.

The House is much more reflective of popular sentiment.

Besides, as stated in the article, the Senate views it as a states right issue so whatever the Federal government does is irrelevant. States could have passed a sales tax on all internet sales in their state on their own. States didn't have trouble getting their cigarette taxes when people where buying cartons of cigarettes on the internet years ago and avoided paying the high taxes that many states put on tobacco. Cigarette sellers were forced to hand over names and addresses and those who had bought cigarettes over the internet and many found a tax bill in their mail. It looks more to me like state governments are trying to use the "Federalistas" as tax cover and the big box stores are happy to oblige although they also sell over the internet but they have all that real estate they are sitting on.

As for the all the lost sales tax revenue, I am skeptical that the figure is as high as stated. It's a classic political strategy to paint a situation as more dire than it is.

But we'll see...

Look ma, no plugins! Streaming web video with just JavaScript


Codec Shmodec

Just another tube that the matrix can stick into your brain. Entertainment 24 hours a day. I have to laugh. People always have these ideas about the noble uses of technology and it always ends up being just another PR delivery and advertising device. People are connected alright - but to what ?

Suspected Chinese NASA spy smuggled smut not state secrets


Old school

Why bother carrying anything out? Just bring some spyware in. Given recent revelations regarding trojan programs sitting for years on computers having sensitive information, the idea of someone actually hand carrying information out is at best nostalgic.

Not cool, Adobe: Give the Ninite guys a job, not the middle finger


Deserve ?

Since I have never paid Adobe anything I don't see why they owe me anything. When one is given stuff for nothing that turns out to be crap, it's hard to really complain. If the people who are paying Adobe's bills aren't complaining then I doubt anything will change. I presume they want to drive people to their servers for marketing reasons (certainly not for security issues - if that was the case their software would be better). But what are they going to say - hey don't use some third party app to update our stuff, we can't track you when you do that.

UK.Gov passes Instagram Act: All your pics belong to everyone now


Re: Words on paper

My reference to sentimental value had to do with the originator. Ever watch auditions for American idol ? There are many people who really think they can sing but you would never buy their tunes.

As for my dimness, I suspect that all legislation is benefiting someone otherwise it wouldn't exist. Regarding a picture of my daughter with a horny sex caption, I doubt that the presence or absence of this act would have any effect on their behavior (and I do have a daughter). For all I know that has already been done but I don't plan on combing through all the porno sites on the web looking to see if someone used a picture of my daughter. One must have a sense of scale here. In fact, I think scale is one of the issues here. How does one deal with "big data"? The same thing happened after the printing press. New rules had to be figured out. No one ever got in trouble for copying scrolls - in fact people were happy if you wanted or were able to do it.

What kind of money are we really talking about anyway ? The same kind of money received when a large corporation has to remit something back to its customers and so one gets a $ 1.50 credit or a $ 10.00 coupon.

Any one who has something which is taken and ends up with a significant commercial impact will have plenty of lawyers offering their company to help them get their cut presuming it is legitimate. As for how the act works out in execution and what other regulations will be imposed - that will take time to find out.

All case law is nothing but refining what started out as a simple rule when someone else was making the rules.

Somethings people just don't get paid for. There actually was a person who designed the smiley face (ban the bomb movements in the 50's) and he didn't get paid. I have put up music and cartoons on my web site and someone may have stolen them and used them but I have yet to see any of my cartoons syndicated or hear my music played by somebody else. There are plenty of mechanisms for protecting one's work if one wishes to take advantage of them. I doubt that this act changes any of them - but you do have to do something to protect your work. Even a corporation has to make sure their brand name doesn't become a generic commodity, like Sanka for decaf coffee or Xerox for duplication or Kleenex for facial tissue otherwise they will lose their brand protection.

This seems reasonable to me but then what is reasonable right ?

BlackBerry CEO: Tablets will be dead in 5 years



Given his statement one can presume no tablet will be forthcoming from RIM (of course that depends on what tablet means - size ? form factor ? touch only interface ? ).

Maybe they will create a new category - the capsule.

The desires of the enterprise market are different from the consumer market so in that regard he may not be wrong. It's not that tablets can't be used for business but they are primarily viewers.

Of course a smart phone is a viewer too albeit a lousy one due to the small screen size.

There is not much we are doing with these devices that we haven't done before except we can now do them while driving down the road or performing brain surgery.

Much of my time is keyboard time as well as some graphic editing so I still am stuck in the stone-hinge age

of laptops.

Of course the list of things people said would never make it is still far shorter than the list of things people thought would make it. We don't see all the failures. Like some rare species they appear for a moment and then hastily become extinct in the non-conducive environment in which they find themselves. Timing is far more important than functionality. We are still wedded to keyboard layouts from the mechanical age and Xerox was too ahead of its time to take advantage of all the things we now use as a matter of course in computing.

CEO's are just like politicians. What are they going to say - "I have no idea what the hell I'm doing".

That's a sure way to see your golden parachute not open as they toss you off the plane.

Public cloud will grow when experienced IT folks DIE


Hey, you, get on to my cloud

I think it is generational. We are at the stage in IT that is similar to when farms all had their own windmills prior to rural electrification. Increasing complexity yields increasing specialization. Eventually firms won't want to deal with all the different specialties they will need. We'll pay for computing power in the same way we pay for electric power. It will be a utility.