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Symantec To Separate Into Two Companies

PsychoSlashDot Re:Excuse me... (86 comments)

Norton Utilities 6.0 *was* DOS :)

Do you remember by any chance one of the utilities called NDOS? It was a shell replacement that was massively more powerful. Things like tab filename completion, arrow up/down command history, and a tonne of variables. Technically NDOS was a licensed version of a JPSoft product called 4DOS. Well, 4DOS ended up having an OS/2 version, 4OS2. Then they compiled a native WinNT version, 4NT. That has eventually changed product names to TCC. Which I still use on all the machines I have responsibility for. So... yeah, I get it how influential NU was.

You're saying their "enterprise products" aren't bloated, useless, fearmongering piles of crap?

Exactly. Don't get me wrong... there have been mis-steps, and like all software each version is a little bigger and slower than the previous, but there is a massive difference in the culture for the enterprise products relative to the consumer products. I can't stand the Norton Internet Security product, which purports to keep you safe from a myriad of different threats but really is a cluster of crap. Not slow crap anymore, but just crap. On the Enterprise side, there are things like Symantec Mail Gateway, which is an appliance/VM image mail management product based on Brightmail, which has a very, very high spam detection rate. Based on a honeypot definition-based system plus heuristics, its detection rate is very high and its false-positive rate is effectively zero. I've got a lot of customers running this and what gets through is rare and sporadic. We're talking customers with anywhere up to 650 users and anywhere as low as 10. It's not perfect, or else there'd be no such thing as spam, but for these customers it's very close, with most weeks seeing 0 bleedthrough. It's got reasonably system requirements, is flexible and configurable, and just works. That's what their enterprise products are mostly like.

Maybe that's why they're splitting, no one who has experienced the consumer products will believe that.

Yeah, I get that. And indeed, those missteps I've mentioned means that even in the enterprise world many admins don't like their products. But then, you've got the whole Windows vs Unix wars, and admins can't agree on best scripting languages, and, and, and. Coke & Pepsi both exist because half of people "don't like" one of them.

The problem is that the split - as it sounds - isn't consumer vs enterprise. It's security vs information system. Meaning my customers that have antivirus, antispam, and backup products from Symantec will have to be customers of both divisions. Antivirus and antispam (retail and enterprise) being one company, and backup being the other. Yay.

about a week ago

Symantec To Separate Into Two Companies

PsychoSlashDot Re:Excuse me... (86 comments)

Is Symantec doing anything useful? I think the last useful version of Norton Utilities was 6.0, which was before the Symantec buyout? Now they're just marketing fear...

Referencing Norton Utilities is like referencing buggy whips. It was a brilliant product in the DOS era, when it was necessary. It was less and less useful as Windows emerged and obsoleted most of its features. Once the OS contained a defrag utility, NU had less purpose to exist, for example. This is why PC Tools is also not around in anything like its original form.

On the other hand, yes, Symantec does plenty of useful things. For instance, their e-mail content control software and hardware, based on Brightmail is excellent. Also, Backup Exec for small/medium businesses and NetBackup for larger businesses. (Yes, BE2012 was kind of annoying as heck but functional and 2014 has returned the functions 2012 removed.) Also, on the security side of things, Symantec Endpoint Protection (think enterprise antivirus) is actually pretty good. It's highly manageable, has good performance, and an excellent set of features. Don't get me wrong... antivirus simply doesn't work these days against malware, but still... for that product segment it's actually a very good product.

Those are just some examples from my SMB experience. I know they do some very high-end products as well. Sure, the consumer market is kind of bleak, but even then Norton Antivirus is decent. Yes, yes I know it was incredibly crap for about four years a decade ago, which is all anyone can talk about to this day, but now is not then.

about two weeks ago

Microsoft Announces Windows 10

PsychoSlashDot Re: Unified Experience Across Devices (644 comments)

Windows 9x-ME was really Windows 4 all along. 2000 was version 5, XP-10 is version 6.

I don't want to be pedantic, but since we're all being pedantic, I guess I'll do it anyway. You're looking at the wrong codebase. The predecessor of Win2k (v5) was WinNT 4 (v4). The predecessor of that was WinNT 3.5 (v3.5). The predecessor of that Was WinNT 3.1 (v3.1).

WinME was based on the consumer codebase that (in inverted order) was Win3.x, Win95, Win98, WinME. The entire Win9X/ME series reported internal version 4.x but that had nothing to do with the codebase we run today. Again, Win95 was literally v4.0 and Win98 was v4.1 but the current kernel had its very own v4 (and v3) and WinME wasn't it.

about three weeks ago

At CIA Starbucks, Even the Baristas Are Covert

PsychoSlashDot Re:Traffic engineering (242 comments)

I can actually understand this - suppose I was an agent and I made up a random name, like 'Polly-O string cheese'. If I used it consistently, a spy for the other side could do traffic analysis - things like " 'Polly-O string cheese' always gets a coffee, except for 2 recent periods of about a week each. Suspected agent X was reported as being in country Y, an ally of ours, during those 2 periods, and at no other time. Next time 'Polly-O string cheese' doesn't get a coffee, if X is in country Y, get the Y state security to arrest him.

If I were agent X, I would be very nervous at having to give any name, even if I could make one up each time. Humans are not very good at making up random things...

If a nefarious entity has access to detailed records of what names are written on the plastic cups, as an intelligence agency you're already well-screwed.

Y'know, I wonder if they scrub the money involved for DNA before handing it over to the clerks...

about three weeks ago

World's Smallest 3G Module Will Connect Everything To the Internet

PsychoSlashDot Re:Cost (118 comments)

So I have 10 devices I want to hook up. The AC, the lights, refrigerator, washing machine, toaster, whatever. Does that mean I need 10 phone and data contracts with AT&T at 30 bucks (or more) each and then the payments recur every month? I can see why AT&T might like this technology.

No, it means two things:

1} You should reconsider the wisdom of having your household appliances connected to the Internet
2} You should wait for the appliances to have a Wifi modem instead, which isn't completely moronic

Seriously, why should anyone's fridge be consuming any neighborhood spectrum to communicate with a cell tower? Short-range grouping of devices onto one backbone - which more often than not is over wired connections - is far more efficient. But we all know spectrum is a renewable resource... we can just make more, right?

about three weeks ago

The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

PsychoSlashDot Re:I dunno about LEDs, but CFLs don't last (602 comments)

In my city, they started campaigning for people to save water. The result? People saved so much water that they ended up having to raise the rates because they weren't making enough to run the water system. The system basically has a fixed cost to run, regardless of how much water goes through it.In the end, we cut our water usage in half (averaged over the city), but we now pay twice as much for our water.

We've got something similar in my municipality with regards to garbage. A decade ago or so we opened a new landfill. Because of increased recycling and other diverted waste flows, the landfill is seeing reduced income, and has had to increase both tipping fees and what is charged to local towns for regular garbage disposal.

about three weeks ago

Emma Watson Leaked Photo Threat Was a Plot To Attack 4chan

PsychoSlashDot Re:Emma Watson is full of it (590 comments)

More than 19 out of 20 people killed on the job in America are men - are we interested in squaring that up as well?

Sure, why not?

Decrease the men's fatality rate down the women's rate. That would be a good thing right?

Or are you comfortable that so many men get killed at work? Is it just the price we pay for profits or something?

Okay, let's follow the logic. 19 of 20 people killed on the job in America are men, which means 1 in 20 people killed on the job in America are women. If we decrease the men's fatality rate down to the women's rate, we've got 1 in 20 people killed on the job being men and 1 in 20 people killed on the job being women. That leaves 18 in 20 people killed on the job being neither women nor men. Seems you're biased against asexual people.

Yes. I'm kidding.

But seriously, while I applaud your feel-good sentiment of "make working safe", it's not (entirely) realistic. The disparity is likely caused by more men doing dangerous jobs, for instance long-distance truck driving. You're inherently more likely to end up dead on the job if you drive 8 hours a day than if you sit behind a desk in an office 8 hours a day. It doesn't matter what you do for the truck driver safety-wise, that job isn't ever going to be as safe per-hour-worked as an office job. Sure, you could pad trucks in 50 feet of rubber foam, but that's clearly ridiculous as a safety measure. Effective but impractical.

Somewhere there's an acceptable balance between risk and reward? Here's the crux of my reply to you: how you do you know we're not already at that balance for most jobs in most places?

about three weeks ago

Physicist Claims Black Holes Mathematically Don't Exist

PsychoSlashDot Re:Hmmm ... (356 comments)

So, what are those big honking things seeing?

Don't know. Sometimes you think you've seen one thing but then it turns out it's something entirely different. That's the joy of learning. Our understanding (generally) improves over time.

Is this a case where something has been mathematically proven to not exist after it's been observationally confirmed?

Could be. Or not. I don't have the background to know if this paper is factually correct or not. But that's the thing about radio astronomy regarding things massively distant... you're not actually observing anything. You're taking in massive amounts of data then interpreting it. Sure, your eye does that when you look at a banana but it's not quite the same thing when you point a telescope at the far reaches of the universe and conclude "we've seen X". We've had a lot of cases recently where - for instance - some exoplanets have been found to not actually exist, because... reasons. It's all about how you interpret the data. If the math says that black holes cannot exist, perhaps you reinterpret your observational data and come to a better understanding of what you are seeing.

about three weeks ago

Why the iPhone 6 Has the Same Base Memory As the iPhone 5

PsychoSlashDot Maybe it's because... math? (264 comments)

So you've got a part that costs X, and after two years the cost is reduced by 13%, meaning that the part now costs .87 times X. You can continue to use this part, offering either a 13% reduction in the portion of your overall price that is contributed by this part, or you can maintain overall price and reap slightly more profit. You can also decide to use two of this part to increase device capacity, and now your cost is 1.74 times the original X. You can now reduce your profits by keeping your overall price despite increased cost, or you can increase your product price and hope that purchasers absorb the change

TL;DR? 13% is a trivial cost reduction compared to doubling the cost while doubling the memory.

Or maybe it's just that the electrical engineer doing the circuit layouts was wearing a green shirt that day. Analyst Foo Kin Ublivius believes green shirts cause electrical engineers to be afraid of increasing memory quantities. Others believe memory in smartphones are made from the ground-up brain matter of orphans and restricting storage capacity allows Apple to save their orphans for more important things like assembling iPads.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: Advice On Building a Firewall With VPN Capabilities?

PsychoSlashDot Mikrotik (238 comments)

Grab a cheap Mikrotik RB750 or similar and you'll find you have an out-of-the-box solution that's feature-rich, supported, and easy to use.

about a month ago

Firefox 32 Arrives With New HTTP Cache, Public Key Pinning Support

PsychoSlashDot Unsurprisingly an add-on broke. (220 comments)

The "new" DownloadStatusBar addon which worked around the changes in (I think) FF29... well, it's broken again. Probably I can go Googling and find an update somewhere.

about a month and a half ago

Wireless Contraception

PsychoSlashDot Re:If only... (302 comments)

If only getting pregnant always required long, conscientious, deliberate effort, and avoiding pregnancy were the easy result of one night's drunken whim.

But that's now how it is, and this proposal won't make it so.

You say that. What if deactivating this "chip" requires a trip to the doctor? What if you get to specify the exact circumstances under which it is permitted to change modes and one of them is that you confirm you decision daily for six weeks? See, this technology could give you most of what you want, if universally installed.

about 3 months ago

By 2045 'The Top Species Will No Longer Be Humans,' and That Could Be a Problem

PsychoSlashDot Re:Nonsense. (564 comments)

An ability to perform more calculations then a human mind does not mean it will beat us.

True. But it does provide the capacity to "beat us".

First, we self assemble from readily obtainable materials out of a self regulating biosphere. Where as this machine would have to be built and maintained by our industry.

Say rather "by industry". Including the word "our" is unnecessarily specific.

Second, there are fucking billions of us. So sure.. we might be able to build some machines that are smarter then ONE person but there are again... fucking billions of us.

Great point. Except that digital entities can be duplicated with stupifying ease while us biologicals require decades of education.

Third, the machine will have its programming directed by us. It will at best be a slave of whomever paid for it to be created.

By definition, adaptive code of sufficient complexity to be considered artificially alive won't be slave to anyone.

Fourth, that programming will be directed at preforming some task where as our task is generally the propagation of our genes with everything else being some sort of weird byproduct.

Again, by the time we've got code that fits the definition of artificial intelligence, it's no longer just an expert system.

Fifth, we have hundreds of millions of years of evolution behind our programming. And I don't think any collection of programmers is going to surpass it in the next century.

Unfortunately, almost all of that evolution was literally trial-and-error, mostly error. We've got a whole bunch of DNA that is literally not expressed because it's useless. That evolution was about getting from primordial slime oozes to walking upright. The lessons "learned" in the middle about how to do photosynthesis while we were ooze-like isn't even vaguely useful to us. Also, aside from symbiosis with the AIs we're talking about here, we have nowhere to go. Evolution takes so long, a decent climate change on this planet and we're screwed where AI can iterate purposefully to solve its problems.

Eventually might there be robotic rivals to humanity? Sure... but not any time soon.

Soon? As in this afternoon? No, probably not. Soon as in within a decade? Again, probably not. But really, once we develop one instance of something truly self-programming and "intelligent", its complexity growth will be very rapid, just like all of our technologies have been. Just like... flight. The hard part was getting the first airplane off the ground. From there... space shuttles in very little time.

about 3 months ago

White House May Name Patent Reform Opponent As New Head of Patent Office

PsychoSlashDot Re:Classic Obama (211 comments)

Insightful indeed.

As an outsider - Canadian - I see all of the things you describe. I think your theory is very likely right. Obama wasn't a twisted politician when he started. He had an agenda that was mostly in the favor of the average Joe. The problem I have with professional politics is that I realize you have to compromise to get anything done. If you want Bill A to be passed, you need the support of a lot of other people, and you may need to support Bill B to get the job done, though you don't like it.

It's selling your soul, bit by bit. In the end, some of the fights you were rallying for will cost you - and potentially the nation - more than you're willing to pay. The President isn't the Dictator-in-Chief. He's got rules to live by and the realities are that the office doesn't allow some of the sweeping changes Obama wanted... not alone.

So yeah, broken, depressed, dejected, and he probably views himself as a failure.

It's sad, really, because the nature of politics isn't his fault but his failures will be labeled as his.

about 4 months ago

Scientists Successfully Grow Full Head of Hair On Bald Man

PsychoSlashDot Re:title should be... (109 comments)

"Scientists Accidentally Grow Full Head of Hair On Bald Man"

To be fair, the real article title was too long...

Scientists Accidentally Grow Full Head of Hair On Man Who Was Bald For None of The Reasons That Would Make This Discovery Interesting To A Reasonable Number of People

about 3 months ago

Teaching Creationism As Science Now Banned In Britain's Schools

PsychoSlashDot Re:here we go again. (649 comments)

England != UK. This is the Dept of Education for England not Scotland, or Wales, or Northern Ireland - all of which are UK yet, strangely, they are not England.

Could you maybe make it easier on the world somehow? Maybe by going to war (again)?

I'd offer these as potential names that various factions could use:
The Kilt-Wearing Portion of the Formerly United Kingdom
Island Nation That Is Better Than Nearby Island Nation
Place That Didn't Invent Vodka Despite Plethora Of Potatoes
The Temporarily United Two Islands Which Hate Each Other But Hate That Other Island More
Why Do All Dwarves Have To Use Our Accents
We've Got Doctor Who
Yeah But Karen Gillen Is From Here

about 4 months ago

4K Displays Ready For Prime Time

PsychoSlashDot Re:Where's The Content? (207 comments)

Where can I get content worth watching on that display?

Start, Programs, Microsoft Office, Excel.

Alternatively, My Pictures, then some random folder that has anything more than 2 megapixel images in it.

Or some random CAD program. Or page-layout package.

My point, simply, is that you can actually make your own content by using this monitor as a monitor. Don't worry about if it makes a very good TV... it has other, more monitor-y uses.

about 5 months ago

How LEDs Are Made

PsychoSlashDot Re:Cheap labor versus automation (93 comments)

You have to expect that in a country where manual labor is cheap. In other countries, it makes more economic sense to automate or otherwise fix inefficiencies in the manufacturing process.

I'm not saying you're wrong, but I'd like to highlight that there is a second side to your coin. In other countries, it makes more economic sense to automate the manufacturing process so a larger percentage of the profit is converted to profit for those employees that remain, while those who would have done the inefficient manual assembly become unemployment statistics.

Somewhere in between your statement and mine likely lies an ideal.

about 5 months ago

HP Delivers a Big-Name, 7-inch Android Tablet For $100: Comes With Compromises

PsychoSlashDot I disagree about the biggest downside... (182 comments)

Android 4.anything will do just fine. What makes this almost a joke device is the screen resolution of NotEnough x NotEnough. Seriously... 1024x768 was a reasonable desktop resolution fifteen to twenty years ago. 600 vertical pixels in 2014 is an unforgivable sin unless you're putting them on a watch or a contact lens or the head of a pin or something else uselessly small to start with.

about 5 months ago


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