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Rob Malda Casts a Jaded Eye at Amazon's Silk

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the healthy-skepticism dept.

Cloud 143

m.ducharme writes "Slashdot's recently departed editor and Fearless Leader muses about the security implications of Amazon's Silk, which uses Amazon's massive cloud computing services to provide 'pre-caching' for the new Fire devices." Another potential downside to bear in mind (depending on exactly how much Silk relies on the AWS infrastructure) is that it provides a single point of failure, and sometimes cloud services go down.

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Huh? (4, Funny)

wsxyz (543068) | about 3 years ago | (#37554584)

Who's Rob Malda?

Re:Huh? (2, Informative)

Sporkinum (655143) | about 3 years ago | (#37554614)

Rob Malda
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rob Malda

Malda at LinuxWorld Boston 2006
Born May 10, 1976 (age 35)
Other names CmdrTaco
Known for founder of Slashdot
Slashdot

        Rob Malda (CmdrTaco)
        Jeff Bates (hemos)
        Slashdot effect

This box: view  talk  edit

Rob Malda (born May 10, 1976. in Holland Michigan), also known as CmdrTaco, is founder and former editor-in-chief of the website Slashdot. He is a graduate of Hope College and Holland Christian High School.

In 1997 Rob Malda and Jeff Bates created Slashdot while undergraduates of Hope College.[1][dead link] After running the site for two years "on a shoestring",[2] they sold the site to Andover.net, which was later acquired by VA Linux Systems.[3] Malda ran the site out of the SourceForge, Inc. office in Dexter, Michigan.[4]

Rob Malda also wrote a monthly column for Computer Power User.[5][dead link] In 2002, he was named to the MIT Technology Review TR100 as one of the top 100 innovators in the world under the age of 35.[6]

On August 25, 2011, Rob Malda announced his resignation from Slashdot.[7]

Re:Huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37554658)

I couldn't tell if the gp was being sincere or just trolling. Eitherway, just the link to wiki would've sufficed. Maybe mentioning that he's got a uid equal to your uid divided by your uid.

Re:Huh? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37554830)

I couldn't tell if the gp was being sincere or just trolling.

Isn't that the goal of every slashdot commenter?

Re:Huh? (1, Offtopic)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | about 3 years ago | (#37555154)

+1

Dammit, I wish I hadn't just spent all my Mod points on the Health Care thread...

Re:Huh? (0)

The Real Andrew (321273) | about 3 years ago | (#37554800)

Oh, THAT Rob Malda

Re:Huh? (1)

networkBoy (774728) | about 3 years ago | (#37555056)

Son of a bitch.
Take a while off from the site (been busy at work for the last month or so) and Malda retires ?@?!?!?
WTF and HTF did I miss that?
oh, and yeah, interesting topic too.

Re:Huh? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37555106)

Take a while off from the site (been busy at work for the last month or so) and Malda retires ?@?!?!?

The '@' sign there really emotes. I can feel your rage and frustration.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37555324)

Words cannot express the void after reading years of seeing CmdrTaco scroll over my screen.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37555352)

Words cannot express the void after reading years of seeing CmdrTaco scroll over my screen.

Ewwwww!

Re:Huh? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 3 years ago | (#37556488)

Son of a bitch.
Take a while off from the site (been busy at work for the last month or so) and Malda retires ?@?!?!?
WTF and HTF did I miss that?
oh, and yeah, interesting topic too.

He was modded down.

Re:Huh? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37554620)

Ask Cowboy Neal he might know

Re:Huh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37554666)

I don't care, but I suppose he's looking for a job. Henceforth, any press is good press.

Re:Huh? (5, Funny)

bonch (38532) | about 3 years ago | (#37554902)

The guy who infamously responded to the announcement of the original iPod: "No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame." So I'm sure we're all interested in his opinion about Silk.

Re:Huh? (4, Interesting)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 3 years ago | (#37555044)

But this only follows the /. standard response to any new device. There is not enough space, it's underpowered, it's overpriced, it doesn't render 3D models, it can't control the space shuttle, it can't beat Kasparov in chess, it can't even construct Kelly LeBrock for us - therefore, /. neckbeards have no use for it. Lame. Fail. Insertmeme

Re:Huh? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37555398)

His comment was correct, though. The first iPod WAS objectively inferior to the Nomad of the time. Note that the comment was a quality judgment of the product in question, not a prediction that it would fail in the marketplace.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37556364)

The first iPod WAS objectively inferior to the Nomad of the time.

It had more than twice the battery life, had far faster connectivity than the (USB 1.1) nomad, actually fit inside a pocket, and the Nomad wasn't "wireless" (whatever that meant) either.

The Nomad's only technical advantage was a 6GB (vs. 5GB) hard drive. (Just try filling that 6GB drive over a USB 1.1 connection.)

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37557336)

Fair enough; I guess "objectively" was the wrong word to use there. Nevertheless, it was inferior in the noted respects, and my point that Malda's opinion was not a market prediction remains valid.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37557326)

I actually think he was right on the money about the ipod. It did nothing new, and the UI everyone talks about was ripped off from Creative.The ipod was in no way a technological hit, it was a marketing hit.

People probably said the same thing about Android. Not secure like blackberry, not a huge app store like iphone. Doesn't run code native, so it's slow. Lame. Who would have known that Google would bend over for carriers, and get their product to take up 60% or more of shelf space at every cell phone store? Android is now beating Apple. Their technology was inferior at first and the only way they succeeded was finding a marketing route (the carriers).

I'm an outsider, though. I never bought an iPod or an android phone. This is what popular products look like to people who don't jump on the bandwagon.

Re:Huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37555018)

Who's Rob Malda?

Former CEO of Apple and inventor of the iPhone, she died earlier this year.

Rob Malda... (2)

sortadan (786274) | about 3 years ago | (#37555418)

He's some guy that wants the cloud kids to get off his lawn. It's Android, if you don't want to use Silk (and I'm sure it will work fine without using AWS), there are like 50 other webkit browsers you can download for free, so this is not an important point. The larger issue is privacy in my mind but the public doesn't seem to care (the market has spoken).

Re:Huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37556426)

He was a royal cunt and a douche but plenty of slashtards still love to lick his ass for reasons unknown. Practically everything he bothered to support concerning technology failed on its face, he doesn't know dick about the English language and the only thing he's come out with in the last few years is yarns about the early days of Slashdot and bad reviews of worse movies.
 
Stick a fork in his ass, he's done. A total shitball.

Re:Huh? (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about 3 years ago | (#37557044)

Let's just hope this isn't from Mrs. Malda!

Failure Not a Big Deal but Security Risk is (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37554586)

From my understanding it can dynamically determine which parts to load from the cloud and which locally on the tablet. So theoretically if it's down then it just acts as any other browser would.

The security/privacy risks are actually pretty frightening.

Re:Failure Not a Big Deal but Security Risk is (1)

Lisandro (799651) | about 3 years ago | (#37554802)

No, it's more like Opera Turbo [opera.com] . There's a server which preprocesses a web page for you, making it easier for the device to process and present. So yes, if Silk were ever down you'd be basically unable to surf the web.

Then again, every single online service i use daily has the same issue.

Re:Failure Not a Big Deal but Security Risk is (2)

icebraining (1313345) | about 3 years ago | (#37554950)

No, parent is right.

All of the browser subsystems are present on your Kindle Fire as well as on the AWS cloud computing platform. Each time you load a web page, Silk makes a dynamic decision about which of these subsystems will run locally and which will execute remotely.

The server can preprocess the web page for you, but it's not required.

Re:Failure Not a Big Deal but Security Risk is (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 3 years ago | (#37557260)

So Taco wrote in to submit a summary that ignores the one fundamental flaw in its whole argument?

Is this like him pranking all the other editors for the years of shit he's taken for posting exactly this kind of thing?

Re:Failure Not a Big Deal but Security Risk is (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 3 years ago | (#37555102)

I don't understand the "single point of failure" gripe. I already have numerous single points of failure. My ISP. The cable jack on my wall. The modem itself.

Re:Failure Not a Big Deal but Security Risk is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37555336)

Yea, it's kind of an irrelevant comment. We're talking about a personal entertainment device here, which generally means it will be built around one long line of single points of failure. I mean, yeah, I wouldn't recommend using your Kindle to run a script that calls a web browser that runs through EC2 and is somehow critical path to a mission critical business application. But I think I knew that before I read TFA.

Re:Failure Not a Big Deal but Security Risk is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37556096)

You are wrong. The silk browser can act like a normal browser if the user decides to or if the cloud fails.

Re:Failure Not a Big Deal but Security Risk is (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | about 3 years ago | (#37554834)

My understanding (I may be wrong) is that you can opt not to use Silk. As long as its not on by default, there are no privacy issues (opting in is willing declaration you dont care.)

If it's on by default, and you must hunt down how to turn it off, then yea, privacy is indeed an issue as most users may never realize they are even using it.

Even then, I dont think Amazon sells private data they collect. They use it, allright, but selling it just allows potential competitors to catch up with them. It's in their best interest (unlike Goolge or Facebook) to keep this data private.

Should a tablet be used to do secure stuff anyhow? (2)

Kenja (541830) | about 3 years ago | (#37554596)

I had much the same thoughts, but then I realized that I wouldn't use a seven inch tablet for work or anything else important. It would just be for when I'm too lazy to get off the couch to look up the name of a movie thats rattling around in my head. Frankly, this goes for all tablets. The mobile browsers have simply not been around long enough for me to say that they are secure, so if security is an issue, dont use them.

And finally, it is assumed that you will be able to install other web browsers at some point. While there are none to speak of on Amazons App Store I have little doubt that someone will figure out how to get Firefox Mobile etc installed.

Re:Should a tablet be used to do secure stuff anyh (1)

MrAngryForNoReason (711935) | about 3 years ago | (#37554824)

too lazy to get off the couch to look up the name of a movie thats rattling around in my head.

So if you then decide you want to buy that movie would you get up and turn a desktop computer on rather than just loading up Amazon and ordering the DVD? E-commerce from mobile devices is already a significant force in retail so obviously most people don't think the same way you do.

Re:Should a tablet be used to do secure stuff anyh (1)

Kenja (541830) | about 3 years ago | (#37554986)

So you're worried that Amazon will know your browsing habits when you order things from Amazon? I think that may be a non-issue.

Re:Should a tablet be used to do secure stuff anyh (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 3 years ago | (#37555030)

Well, if you're buying from Amazon anyway, who cares if their browser 'cloud' can sniff it, right?

Re:Should a tablet be used to do secure stuff anyh (1)

gauauu (649169) | about 3 years ago | (#37556618)

too lazy to get off the couch to look up the name of a movie thats rattling around in my head.

So if you then decide you want to buy that movie would you get up and turn a desktop computer on rather than just loading up Amazon and ordering the DVD? E-commerce from mobile devices is already a significant force in retail so obviously most people don't think the same way you do.

Most likely, yes. For me, ordering things off the web crosses that threshold where it's enough easier on a real computer that it's worth getting my butt of the couch.

Re:Should a tablet be used to do secure stuff anyh (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 3 years ago | (#37554940)

Lots of people use the iPad for travel, and even serious work. It may be somewhat less likely people would use the Amazon tablet for that, but many would at least use it to check web email...

And as for being "not secure" well try a public internet cafe when traveling if you really want to let the kimono hang wide open! Any of the tablets are a way better bet than something that can and probably does have a key logger attached...

Re:Should a tablet be used to do secure stuff anyh (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 3 years ago | (#37555464)

MD in general love tablets. They were the only group that really bought the old Laptop Tablets with a stylus. So yes it needs to be secure..

Re:Should a tablet be used to do secure stuff anyh (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 3 years ago | (#37555832)

It isn't much different that what RIM and Opera did in the mobile space.
As far as security goes I am not to worried. If Amazon blows it they will get sued to death and they know it so they probably be more secure than the average browser. I bet they revoke certs at light speed.
As far as the Gubmit spying on me. They have already told me that I am too boring.

Re:Should a tablet be used to do secure stuff anyh (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#37556436)

There is no particular reason why you shouldn't be able to have an encrypted home (or root!) and use VPN to your tablet device, especially with the ponderous flash most of them are equipped with. If you couple this with a decent password input scheme (moving the characters around the screen is a goodie) it ought to then be a pretty secure platform, if the OS it runs on is worth a damn.

You could do this on a PDA with Angstrom now if you liked.

Single point of failure (2, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 3 years ago | (#37554618)

Just like Battle.net, Xbox LIVE, Office 365, netflix (which uses AWS btw), etc etc so on and so forth. There are plenty of services out now with single points of failure.

Re:Single point of failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37554888)

> There are plenty of services out now with single points of failure.

What does that mean? Are you implying that services like Netflix didn't have a single point of failure before moving to AWS? The "cloud" isn't a single machine, it's a collection of machines across availability zones, just as any company would design their own infrastructure. Just because a company moves it's IT management from its own control to someone else's doesn't inherently increase risk for that site.

Now if your argument is that, since so many companies are moving their IT to such a few cloud providers, if those system went down then the blast radius (number of sites affected) is larger, then that I'd buy.

Re:Single point of failure (1)

robmv (855035) | about 3 years ago | (#37554938)

yes, but those services are isolated single point of failure, Silk isn't if it fails, your browser do not reach any site, unless you turn Silk off if it is possible to turn it off, or of you know about it, normal users will just say, the internet is down

Re:Single point of failure (1)

bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) | about 3 years ago | (#37555278)

Or unless silk is written to fail-over automatically.
btw. Amazon loose millions of dollars an hour if Amazon.com goes down, I would say they are valuing your browsing time fairly highly by putting it on the same system.

Re:Single point of failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37555612)

It has been confirmed that Silk is an option (it's no different than a browser accelerator plugin and a supplement to your browser cache).

Only now you cache is in the cloud too.

Re:Single point of failure (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about 3 years ago | (#37555748)

Agreed. Our power went out for half a day this last week. I was really wishing I could just connect through 4G and keep working from a cloud hosted workstation.

Good ol' Taco (4, Funny)

multisync (218450) | about 3 years ago | (#37554628)

At $199, the Amazon Fire stands to be shift the whole tablet market into a new (cheaper) place.

Carrying on the proud Slashdot tradition of not giving a whit about copy editing by mangling the very first sentence. We're gonna miss ya, Rob.

Re:Good ol' Taco (1)

kiwimate (458274) | about 3 years ago | (#37555402)

I actually decided to read the article and buck another proud Slashdot tradition, but I gave up after three paragraphs. It hurt too much.

But it's real use is to be a front end for the amazon store... the iPad always was meant to be a front end to Apple's stores... but it was always much more than that.

As I look at Silk and it's just making me nervous.

Random punctuation strewn everywhere, incoherent sentences...I know that complaining about grammar on /. gets you slapped down pretty quickly, but I found myself having to read most paragraphs two or three times just to understand what he was trying to say.

Forget it. I can get plenty of insightful content from a hundred different places on the web; there's very little which is important enough [slashdot.org] that I want to struggle. I'm not wasting my time on this tripe.

Re:Good ol' Taco (4, Informative)

sootman (158191) | about 3 years ago | (#37556098)

I got as far as the fifth paragraph (fourth, if you don't count the obviously unintended break between 4 & 5) and realized the horrible truth: he DID have spellcheckers and editors going over his work while he was here and, God bless their tortured souls, they did as much as they could--they just couldn't completely contend with the torrent of spelling and grammatical errors he sent their way.

My favorite bit is this sentence in paragraph 2:

Silk is the tech amazon [not capitalized] has built to pre-render? [he uses two spaces after questions marks and periods; sometimes three] to pre-cache? web pages on the massive AWS/EC2/S3 network (the same network that Iâm [quotation marks instead of an apostrophe] using to actually host this very web page in fact. [Parentheses not closed]

Slashdot editors, I salute you. *wipes tear from eye*

Re:Good ol' Taco (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37556884)

OTOH, his website (http://cmdrtaco.net/) has been updated and no longer looks like something designed by meth heads in a trailer park on a 14.4kbit/s connection some time circa 1995.*

*See also http://www.linuxjournal.com/

Yes, but (4, Informative)

slim (1652) | about 3 years ago | (#37554690)

I agree about the security/privacy implications.

On SPOF though -
1. Amazon has a *huge* interest in keeping its cloud services up and running. Downtime is likely to be negligible.
2. From what I understand, the Silk browser can fall back to a more conventional mode of operation.

My stance on this is:
  - Read and understand Amazon's privacy policy
  - Decide how much you trust their security
  - Put your Silk browser into client-only mode when you think it's appropriate -- e.g. when doing online banking.

Re:Yes, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37555450)

Who cares what's actually in a privacy policy. You either accept or don't use the service/device.

Furthermore, the policy is subject to change at ANY time by the company.

Even further, if the company fails or is bought out that privacy policy is rendered null.

If it requires a privacy policy, then that data is valuable. Thieves will try to steal it, and executives will try to sell it. Think otherwise at your own peril.

Re:Yes, but (1)

JTL21 (190706) | about 3 years ago | (#37556528)

1) Lehman Brothers had a vested interest in making sensible investments and not betting everything on the housing market. Diginotar had averted interest in securing their systems. Self interest doesn't guarantee success, especially when there is a cost.

2) I didn't realise there was a client only mode. That is good and I would use it for everything but I think it should be default for https connections.

I don't like any one company knowing too much about me, I already have Amazon knowing a fair bit about what I buy, Google know too much about my browsing, Linked In and Facebook have limited presences and only parts of my social graph but even that makes me nervous.

Re:Yes, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37557310)

On SPOF though -
1. Amazon has a *huge* interest in keeping its cloud services up and running. Downtime is likely to be negligible.
2. From what I understand, the Silk browser can fall back to a more conventional mode of operation.

The thing is, the network path between your network devices and Amazon's servers isn't entirely controlled and administered by Amazon. Therefore, even if Amazon is able to turn all those 9s into a 1.0 you are still forced to rely on a bit of network which may not be managed by then. And if you do then you are fucked.

And by the way, having a company monitor what we see and read is terribly scary. I don't believe that anyone with a brain cell would trade that for the promise of loading pages a tad bit faster.

Single point of failure? (2, Insightful)

adturner (6453) | about 3 years ago | (#37554698)

Well depending on how Amazon is using EC2, they could be doing the pre-caching in multiple zones so there may not be a single point of failure. But seriously, is this really a concern when:

1. The Kindle Fire screen, battery, PCB, etc are all a single point of failure
2. Your WiFi base station is probably a single point of failure
3. Your home cable/DSL modem is a single point of failure
4. The wires running between your home and the network POP is single point of failure
5. The DSLAM/whatever it's called in cable-speak is a single point of failure
6. etc etc etc

Yes, I know if you're using it at work you prolly have multiple WiFi access points and possibly redundant routers/connections to the internet, but why are you watching movies and playing angry birds at work?

Hell, the whole internet has gone down for large segments of the US due to construction workers/etc indiscriminately using backhoes to create huge fiber cuts, not to mention under sea cables being cut for various reasons.

I mean there's a lot of valid reasons why you may not want a Kindle Fire (I'm personally not interested in tablets at all), but I find this to be one of the weakest arguments out there.

Re:Single point of failure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37555242)

I think you're missing the point, or perhaps just a little self-centered. Those are primarily points of failure that can stop you from using Silk, not that will stop everyone from using it. A single point of failure that effects all users is a lot more impacting than one that effects you.

Re:Single point of failure? (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 3 years ago | (#37555264)

But seriously, is this really a concern when: 1. The Kindle Fire screen, battery, PCB, etc are all a single point of failure

Sure, but there's no way to get rid of that aside from buying multiple devices. But we're talking about a different kind of problem here: if all Kindle Fires use this service, then you're introducing a single point of failure for *all* of these devices. A single problem in Amazon's services could cause all Kindle Fires to be completely unable to access web pages, even when the device and the internet connection are fine. What's more, it's an unnecessary single point point of failure.

Malda's single point of failure (1)

Shivetya (243324) | about 3 years ago | (#37555396)

not realizing when we don't give a crap about his opinion.

I know who he is and my first reaction was, so what.

Karma be damned, it felt good to type it.

As to the Fire, I will have one when it ships and it may be my Christmas gift to friends and family if it provides and ease of use for mail and surfing.

Re:Malda's single point of failure (1)

CheetoNards (813730) | about 3 years ago | (#37557028)

At first read, I swear that last sentence said "Ass to the Fire".

I sure hope there's not an app for that.

This is not a novel idea. (1)

PlainWhiteTrash (1012235) | about 3 years ago | (#37554768)

It's worth taking note that this is not a completely novel idea. The Blackberry web browser when running the Blackberry Internet Service has also used server-side resources of RIM's infrastructure to slice and dice and optimize web services. The same is true of email attachments -- the RIM infrastructure intercepts and re-optimizes. Especially apparent in viewing PDF attachments to email. In the Blackberry Enterprise Server infrastructure, this functionality actually moves to ones own BES server instance, with end-to-end encryption between the BES server and the handheld. This fact, at least, provides a corporation with the ability to not have the security exposure of having RIM decipher the pages and content. Perhaps the objection is that for Kindle fire we don't have an independently implementable server-side browsing optimization node?

Re:This is not a novel idea. (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 years ago | (#37554820)

Opera Mini has been doing this for years.

Re:This is not a novel idea. (1)

PlainWhiteTrash (1012235) | about 3 years ago | (#37554848)

Agree -- and I totally meant to mention that as well. In fact, Opera Mini is a more on-point example than the Blackberry infrastructure, as with Opera Mini (at least some builds thereof) you similarly had no choice in keeping another server out of your web-browsing experience.

Re:This is not a novel idea. (1)

Lisandro (799651) | about 3 years ago | (#37555886)

Yes. Opera did it first. As usual!

Its all about the latency... (3, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | about 3 years ago | (#37554770)

This sort of structure for a web browser has huge potential latency savings.

Web pages consist of lots of pieces, from lots of places, and lots of dependencies. (Open up Firebug, open the HTTP console, and open up the New York Times to see). Latency is the huge limiting factor on page loads, and is why it takes 1.7 seconds for the NY Times to load for me, even though it only transfered 300 kB of data (which is only .12s on my Internet connection).

The Silk-style structure beats the latency bottleneck in two ways.

For NEW content, the Silk proxy is much closer to the content itself. If its just 20ms closer, that will still save 40ms for each dependent fetch from a different site, 20ms for each dependent fetch from an existing site.

And for content that Silk has CACHED, its even faster, shaving basically ALL latency off the fetch.

IT doesn't hurt that the Fire probably has too small a processor and too little memory to run a real browser, but the latency wins make this structure attractive even for real browsers.

Re:Its all about the latency... (2)

wsxyz (543068) | about 3 years ago | (#37554900)

And for content that Silk has CACHED, its even faster, shaving basically ALL latency off the fetch.

I shaved all the latency off my fetch too. Now it's silky smooth.

Re:Its all about the latency... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37555176)

IT doesn't hurt that the Fire probably has too small a processor and too little memory to run a real browser, but the latency wins make this structure attractive even for real browsers.

Yeah. Those GHz dual-cores with 512MB of RAM are really insufficient to run a full web browser.

It's so bad that you can buy PCs with the same specs today too, and unable to run Firefox, IE or Chrome.

Re:Its all about the latency... (1)

chrb (1083577) | about 3 years ago | (#37557434)

IT doesn't hurt that the Fire probably has too small a processor and too little memory to run a real browser

1.2GHz dual core ARM with 512MB of memory. That's plenty enough for a web browser. Plus, there are already multiple web browsers available on Amazon app store [amazon.com] .

HTTPS (1)

Xian97 (714198) | about 3 years ago | (#37554894)

I don't want Amazon being the man in the middle on any of my https connections. It's bad enough that they would be able to see all my unsecured browsing by using them as a proxy.

Re:HTTPS (1)

Threni (635302) | about 3 years ago | (#37555134)

You can turn off the proxying if you want the speed.

Re:HTTPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37556640)

You don't understand how HTTPS works, do you?

Re:HTTPS (1)

psydeshow (154300) | about 3 years ago | (#37556964)

You don't understand how HTTPS works, do you?

Or maybe s/he does -- Amazon controls the browser AND controls the proxy, so we have to trust them to follow the rules.

If they rewrite the part of WebKit's TLS stack that checks certificates then they can successfully and silently man-in-the-middle any secure site.

How would you know this was happening? After all, iOS was subject to a similar "bug" for years before anyone noticed.

Single point of failure. Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37554906)

Home internet connections no matter what ISP go down from time to time. Hell most peoples homes don't have back up generators for power outages. Another single point of failure! Look around, the whole world is full of single points of failure! Why the fuck should a cut rate tablet need to have enterprise level redundancy? It isn't a mission critical device. It is for dicking around on the internet and wasting time.

Jaded is polite. (2)

koan (80826) | about 3 years ago | (#37554946)

Is this what we are in for? Hardware dependent on cloud services, essentially a dumb terminal with content pushed to it, an item relatively useless if there are no supporting cloud services.
I realize at this point that description doesn't fully fit Fire, but mobile tech seems to be headed that way, seemingly turning the Internet into TV.

Re:Jaded is polite. (1)

slim (1652) | about 3 years ago | (#37555054)

I'm in two minds.

On the one hand, I agree with you. It would be very easy for this kind of thing to turn the Internet back into AOL. That would be bad.

On the other hand, it's a really cool way of squeezing a better experience out of cheap hardware.

So, I think that rather than dismissing it out of hand, we should be thinking of ways to protect ourselves and others from lockin and walled gardens, without throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Can we flash it? (1)

pmontra (738736) | about 3 years ago | (#37554970)

If we do, just flash it with Cyanogenmod or other stuff like that and turn it into in a cheap standard Android tablet.

Opera Mobile (1)

Jay Tarbox (48535) | about 3 years ago | (#37555010)

Isn't this basically the same thing? Albeit on a much larger scale and capability given Amazons (presumably) more numerous data centers and backbone capacity.

well yeah, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37555026)

there's always been a single point of failure, even before the Cloud. It's called your friendly local idiot.

Here's an idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37555032)

change his name from cmdrtaco to cmdrObvious. Great insight there.

I'm sorry, Taco, but you started it :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37555076)

itâ(TM)s less than half the price of the iPad, and that 7.5â screen is interesting: itâ(TM)ll be lighter and more comfortable for one handed use.

Wireless. Less cost than an iPad. Pr0n.

Yuo fail it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37555078)

things the right th0ug4 I have never

These concerns are way overblown (1)

brainzach (2032950) | about 3 years ago | (#37555094)

It is a consumer device that has a feature to make the browser a faster experience. I think we can live if the small chance that Amazon's cloud services can temporarily go down. There is concerns for security, but I don't think it is any worst than relying on Gmail for private email or Amazon to store your credit card information.

Amazon also is a reputable company that has lots of experience in cloud computing. They are going to be more reliable than most people can set up on their own. It is more likely that my ISP will go down, my power going off, forgetting to charge tablet's battery or the motherboard dying on my home built server.

So what? (2)

argStyopa (232550) | about 3 years ago | (#37555118)

So, cloud services sometimes go down? My local browser client crashes occasionally too.

The point being that if it's a system that will allow (generally) faster/smoother delivery of content to mobile endusers, that's a great thing. Yes, the 'cloud' might fail occasionally, but I don't know if you've ever browsed through your phone before but it's a fairly shitty experience anyway, and you'd ostensibly have a current-standard client browser available as a backup if the cloud-failure is persistent, no?

STARSHIP TROOPERS (1)

tekrat (242117) | about 3 years ago | (#37555302)

Anybody remember this awful movie? You must since it's on TBS every other weekend. Their idea of "interactive TV" was that things were still broadcast, but you get to vote, or something like that. This is what these passive media devices (tablets) are moving us towards. "The Cloud" provides us with TV and we watch it on our mobile device.

For interactivity, we get to vote, or perhaps read something of our choice (from what's available)... Sorta like cable TV is now with 1000 channels.

Starship Troopers (the movie) really predicted 'American Idol' more than anything else, but I see Tablets headed this way as well, where The Cloud decides what we can watch and what we can't.

He who controls the cloud, controls the world?

Perfect system to enable easy censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37555326)

The best prisons are the one where the inmates don't know they are held captive.

It Can Be Turned Off (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37555328)

Amazon has stated that the split browsing mode is optional and can be turned off so that Silk is like a conventional browser accessing its content directly instead of from Amazon.

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2011/09/amazons-silk-web-browser-adds-new-twist-to-old-idea.ars

Opera (2)

Zebedeu (739988) | about 3 years ago | (#37555386)

Opera Mini has the same problem.
Instead of avoiding the issue like Amazon though, they admit it openly: http://www.opera.com/mobile/help/faq/#security [opera.com]

I remember reading that FAQ few years ago, and they were even more candid about it. It used to say something along the lines of:
"Yes, technically we have access to every website you visit, even if it's encrypted. We promise, however to respect our user's privacy and never look, but ultimately it's up to you if you trust us. If you don't, please do not use Opera Mini to access sensitive websites".

Unfortunately I can't find that quote anymore. I guess some MBA must've found it "unprofessional" or something.

Re:Opera (1)

danlip (737336) | about 3 years ago | (#37556340)

I know some banks block Opera Mini for this reason. I would think they'll block Silk too.

Re:Opera (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 3 years ago | (#37556480)

Don't worry, the First National Bank of Amazon will be opening soon. They'll happily let Silk go through.

Slashdot's recently departed editor? (1)

unassimilatible (225662) | about 3 years ago | (#37555682)

I never knew the guy personally, but my condolences to the Slashdot community. He was to young to die.

Rob Malda has a blog .... (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 3 years ago | (#37555722)

So he writes posts about technology and other news for.. well lets just call them socially awkward math wizards. And he has people commenting and discussing the stories ... That sounds like this other website he used to have... What was it called "slanty line -period" or something. .. Can't remember off the top of my head.

The target audience doesn't care (1)

Sarusa (104047) | about 3 years ago | (#37555784)

This thing isn't an iPad killer, to start with, it's deftly sidestepping that. This is a media consumption tablet. Stripping out all the things that confuse people is a positive - something that Apple figured out a long time ago and nerds just can't seem to get our withered mirror neurons around.

The people who are going to buy it to read books and magazines aren't going to care where their packets go. I do, but I also want my tablet to be a laptop replacement.

Re:The target audience doesn't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37557602)

wasn't the ipad supposedly marketed as a media consumption device originally? did that change? i know some people can create some things and i'm not saying its impossible to do awesome things, but its ultimately designed for consumption if i recall correctly.

Indiana Jones returns... (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 3 years ago | (#37555786)

...searching for the fabled Jade Eye of Rob Malda with his new side kick Jar Jar Binks.

given how (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 3 years ago | (#37555874)

easy it is to have any random elected official of my government simply request my account be removed from amazons cloud, I feel the need to abstain.

Just like old times (1)

cornface (900179) | about 3 years ago | (#37555976)

Taco makes an ill thought out post that ignores important facts (like this being an optional service), slashdot readers work themselves into a frenzy arguing the minutiae of a scenario that isn't true, and then the rest of us just not reading the article and posting snide comments.

It's like he never left.

Single point of huh? (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | about 3 years ago | (#37555986)

They haven't had the entire service go down, ever, and never will. They've had single data centers have problems, and once they had a major thing that caused performance issues in an entire region with EBS volumes, but even that didn't mean "single point of failure." Because guess what, there's this cool thing called geoip which you should be using anyway, and then you could be using multiple regions (which you should be doing anyway, for better performance). And if, for some reason, an entire region fails...then, you serve only from the other regions for a bit. No biggie.
Having survived the great fiasco that took down Netflix earlier this year yet left a tiny guy like me completely unaffected (sans a slight performance hit for the alternate routing) I can speak to this well. I really don't understand why - for many reasons (stability, performance, etc) Netflix was so dependent upon not only a single AWS region, but a single datacenter...that's just so wrong, on so many obvious levels.

Cache for Speed (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 3 years ago | (#37556150)

Sounds like a great idea. This way with the more common data hosted by Amazon, I more quickly learn about the sudden Japanese treachery at Pearl Harbor.

single point of failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37556322)

The browser depends on the internet - that's a single point of failure. Obviously a non-starter.

Well that's a dumb design (1)

davidbrit2 (775091) | about 3 years ago | (#37556554)

I mean, as soon as you lose connectivity, your web browser stops working!

Will the MITM HTTPS? (1)

psydeshow (154300) | about 3 years ago | (#37557136)

So, will Amazon follow Opera Mini's lead (see http://www.opera.com/mobile/help/faq/#security [opera.com] ) and rewrite WebKit's security stack so that it doesn't check SSL certificates?

That's the million dollar question, here.

I don't care if Amazon sees what my family does on the public internet. But if they're going to proxy my GMail, bank account, and other HTTPS sites, then we have a problem. And, most likely, a Congressional investigation. Because unlike Opera Mini, Silk isn't being billed as a stripped down mobile browser. There really isn't any need for them to expose themselves to our private data, if all they are trying to do is optimize the public web for their CPU.

I wonder how we'll be able to tell if they do this, anyway? Will they release the source code? Will they admit to it, if no one important enough asks?

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