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Comments

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How One School District Handled Rolling Out 20,000 iPads

nine-times Re:Mission creep. (201 comments)

There is free internet everywhere for those of us that want it. Becoming an ISP would only be to try and capture those kids and parents where the parents find getting near a Starbucks, Lowes, Safeway, Home Depot, McDonalds, etc. to be more trouble than it's worth.

So your solution for providing poor people with the Internet is to suggest that they go to Starbucks and McDonalds?

I guess that's a solution. I guess we could also say that poor people don't need indoor plumbing because they can just use the toilet at their local gas station. It seems to me like it's a silly, inefficient solution that will be unpleasant for everyone involved, so I'd need more of a justification before I would agree.

12 hours ago
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How One School District Handled Rolling Out 20,000 iPads

nine-times Re:Mission creep. (201 comments)

Beyond that, I have to question the intelligence of buying iPads. We are not in 2010 anymore. There are plenty of perfectly capable tablets available at under $100.

There are more things to consider than simply the cost of the hardware. Do the iPads have any specific features that are required for their plans? Are there specific apps that they want to use? What platforms are those applications available for? What kind of administrative tools are available for each platform, and have they already invested in any of those tools? Is their IT staff more familiar and skilled in managing a specific platform? What kinds of price cuts and support are offered by the manufacturer?

Saving even a couple of hundred dollars per unit might be a drop in the bucket when compared with the peripheral costs. Yes, IT departments everywhere might be able to save a little money on the purchase of each computer by buying all of their parts from NewEgg and installing Linux on the computer that they cobble together from parts. Still, it ends up being cheaper, when you add up all the peripheral costs, to buy ready-made computers from Dell with Windows pre-installed.

Not everyone who buys Apple products is an idiot.

12 hours ago
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How One School District Handled Rolling Out 20,000 iPads

nine-times Re:Mission creep. (201 comments)

but look at the mission creep. The district becoming its own ISP next? Can of worms.

On the other hand, it's a can of worms that probably wouldn't have needed to be opened if we had some kind of a plan to develop public internet infrastructure that was free/cheap for people without a lot of money.

I only bring this up because I would imagine some people looking at this and saying, "A public school system should not be intruding into the area of being an ISP, which has traditionally been an area for private business." I would respond by pointing out that the Internet really should be considered public telecommunications infrastructure.

13 hours ago
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Lenovo Halts Sales of Small-Screen Windows 8.1 Tablets Due To "Lack of Interest"

nine-times Re:Why should Lenovo support their main competitor (123 comments)

I don't know why you have this weird agenda of insisting that any Linux on the desktop (that isn't ChromeOS) needs to remain a niche. You yourself cited FOSS desktop applications as something that people use, and that it doesn't matter what OS they use. It seems like either you're emotionally invested in being anti-Linux or you're just being difficult for the sake of it.

You have GIMP, LibreOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, Pidgin, Skype, Dropbox, VLC, Spotify, and an ever-increasing number of games offered through Steam. People who use those applications are not a 'niche'.

I don't know what your damage is, but you should get over yourself.

yesterday
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Lenovo Halts Sales of Small-Screen Windows 8.1 Tablets Due To "Lack of Interest"

nine-times Re:Why should Lenovo support their main competitor (123 comments)

We've had decades of being able to install other linux distros but ultimately there is no compelling reason to do so for the general populace because even when Windows changes Linux distros are still an unfamiliar environment but they don't run all your programs...

Which is a problem that isn't at all solved by using ChromeOS or Android.

yesterday
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Lenovo Halts Sales of Small-Screen Windows 8.1 Tablets Due To "Lack of Interest"

nine-times Re:Why should Lenovo support their main competitor (123 comments)

sure you could have yet another Linux distribution but what would that achieve?

Just to have something pre-installed on the computer that the manufacturer has enough control over to make sure there are drivers for whatever hardware is attached. You're right that people care less and less about the OS itself, but there still needs to be an OS.

And again, it doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense to say, "Suggesting that people use Linux is dumb. They can just use Android or buy a Chromebook!" That's still Linux. If I want all the functionality of Chrome OS and a couple other more conventional applications (e.g. GIMP, LibreOffice), then it makes more sense to just install something more like Ubuntu. So the point is, it would be trivial for a company like HP to take Ubuntu, include drivers for their own hardware, and brand it however they want. If they buyer doesn't care about applications available exclusively for OSX/Windows, then it'll probably do everything they need.

yesterday
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New Digital Currency Bases Value On Reputation

nine-times Re:Paper tracked barter (99 comments)

Well it's kind of better for the rich person, probably, since it doesn't actually cost them anything. It doesn't even cost them the time of a lunch date.

2 days ago
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New Digital Currency Bases Value On Reputation

nine-times Re:Paper tracked barter (99 comments)

I think you might be missing the point, in that it seems like this is not meant to be traded for actual goods and services. It's not supposed to be like money. It's not supposed to have real value. In big letters in the middle of the article, it says, "‘If Bitcoin is the toy version of what we’ll all be using the future, then i want to build the crazy art project version of the future.’"

It seems to be more like a way of quantifying social currency rather than economic currency. I get a lot of 'currency' when a lot of people owe me a favor, when they're figuratively "in my debt". I do something cool for a famous person, and they give me a coin. Now that coin becomes something like a trading card, which I can collect and trade, and who knows if or when it ever makes it back to the original issuer, or whether it would develop economic value.

2 days ago
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Dell Starts Accepting Bitcoin

nine-times Re:Dumb (151 comments)

This is a good point.

2 days ago
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Dell Starts Accepting Bitcoin

nine-times Dumb (151 comments)

it scales back slightly the decentralized and fee-less nature of Bitcoin, which are important features to many of its supporters.

This is a dumb complaint. Even if you think Bitcoin is great, there's no way it's going to do away with financial middlemen and transaction fees. Those things exist for too many different reasons. And even the fees it will eventually do away with, there would have to be some intermediate state between now and then, where businesses rely on some other business to deal with the processing of Bitcoin transactions, since Bitcoin hasn't become accepted as real currency yet.

Oh yes, I know, I'm going to get a whole speech about how Bitcoin is just as real as the US dollar because fiat currency is all made up and imaginary and all prices are set by the market and bla bla bla. I'm not claiming that Bitcoin isn't worth anything, but just that it hasn't been accepted as currency yet. If I can pay my bills or buy something with Bitcoin, it's the exception and not the rule. Plus, the value of Bitcoin is still very volatile. In practical terms, buying Bitcoins is more comparable to a speculative stock investment than it is to converting money into another currency.

So the reality of what's happening is, due to some level or customer demand, or maybe because they got a no-lose deal from their bitcoin processor, or perhaps it's just a publicity stunt, Dell has decided to accept a volatile stock as payment. Whatever you pay in Bitcoin immediately gets turned into dollars-- so Dell is really still working with dollars, but they've allowed a bitcoin payment processor to work as an intermediary to convert to the transaction into dollars.

It's a neat development, but you can't expect Dell to operate on Bitcoins at this point.

3 days ago
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Lenovo Halts Sales of Small-Screen Windows 8.1 Tablets Due To "Lack of Interest"

nine-times Re:Why should Lenovo support their main competitor (123 comments)

Because they all still have big businesses selling Windows desktops and laptops - and don't dare piss Microsoft off too much.

Yeah, that's kind of my point. They've spent decades being Microsoft's bitch, afraid to piss Microsoft off. And then finally Microsoft starts competing with them directly? If I were in their shoes, I'd be looking for some kind of leverage to balance the power out again. I'd grab Shuttleworth and some of the CEOs of my competitors, saying, "we need to collaborate on a viable alternative before we're totally fucked."

Especially as FOSS has grown and more applications have been pushed to the web, the 3rd party app lock-in isn't what it once was.

Between Windows desktops/laptops, Macs, iPhones/iPads, Android phones and tablets and Chromebooks, there's a lot of competition out there for a new platform.

And among that "competition", you also have Linux clients with the potential for some level of compatibility. If you count Chromebooks as a success story, then you can't say that Linux is doomed to fail because of a lack of 3rd party apps.

3 days ago
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Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

nine-times Re:Connect with a VPN (388 comments)

Nothing is better when you switch to Comcast.

3 days ago
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Lenovo Halts Sales of Small-Screen Windows 8.1 Tablets Due To "Lack of Interest"

nine-times Re:Why should Lenovo support their main competitor (123 comments)

Yeah, I'm actually kind of surprised that companies like Lenovo, Dell, and HP haven't made any kind of overt move toward doing what Apple does-- taking a FOSS OS and building their own distro/OS off of it, customized to their marketing needs. If I were running one of these companies, the announcement of the Surface would have been a real shot-across-the-bow that would have me rethinking my whole relationship with Microsoft.

Luckily the Surface was kind of a flop too. If it were not a flop, though, I would expect Microsoft to eventually move toward making laptop/desktop models, as they saw a marketing opportunity, and maybe network/server hardware. With Microsoft producing the Surface and buying Nokia, also selling the XBox, it's looking increasingly like Microsoft wants to go the Apple route of selling integrated hardware/software solutions instead of selling a commodity OS to run on other vendors' hardware.

A couple years ago, I actually predicted that we'd see something like a Dell/Microsoft merger within 10 years, which would then have a vertical market containing everything that businesses need for computing. Between those two companies, you have phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, switches, routers, servers, and the software to run it all. We've seen no movement toward that, and I personally think it's a bad idea, but I think that's where Microsoft wants to go.

3 days ago
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FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars

nine-times Re:Well, uh, yes actually (435 comments)

And yeah, a driverless car would be a good base to build some effective weapons on.

In fact, I'd bet that someone in the military is already working on the driverless tank.

5 days ago
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FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars

nine-times Re:don't drive with nobody in it? (435 comments)

I would think part of the problem would be that, whatever checks you put in place, there's the potential to have someone alter the programming. Or someone could find a way to fool whatever detects whether there's a person in the car.

Not that I think this is a good reason not to have driver-less cars. It's kind of dumb to try to uninvent technology just because it might possibly be abused. It doesn't work. However, I endorse the FBI trying to figure out how they can protect against this kind of thing. After all, security is not an absolute. It's just a matter of making it terribly inconvenient to do bad things.

5 days ago
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Selectively Reusing Bad Passwords Is Not a Bad Idea, Researchers Say

nine-times Re:Bah (278 comments)

Meh, then you still need to have access to that password manager on any computer you want to visit that site with.

5 days ago
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Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

nine-times Re:Silicon Valley is officially old (525 comments)

This is an unusual argument for "small government", if that's what you're arguing in favor of. You're saying government is bad because we don't have enough public infrastructure, and too much of our infrastructure is privatized?

If you just want to argue that our government has not done a very good job with our infrastructure, then I'd agree, but that's an argument for a bigger, more involved government (at least with regards to infrastructure). That stuff wouldn't have been better by the federal government being *less* involved.

5 days ago
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Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

nine-times Re: Gots to find more ways to avoid taxes (525 comments)

The idea that the largest most powerful entity to ever exist on this planet is only ever just trying to be benevolent and good, but is in danger because some people think it is too large is laughable.

I don't know if I've ever heard anyone suggest that idea. I think people have suggested that the most powerful entity to ever exist on this planet has the capacity to do good things. I think people have suggested that it should do good things, and that, since that powerful entity is to some degree democratic, we should be able to get it to do good things.

I think people have suggested that, because it's somewhat democratic and follows "the will of the people", ideologues convincing people to push that powerful entity to do dangerous and reckless things is... well... dangerous and reckless.

You might argue that, because it's such a big, powerful leviathan, it should be dismantled. I am not entirely opposed to the idea. The big question there that libertarians don't always seem to address is, where do you think that power will go? I see no reason why we should assume that it will all be distributed equitably and we'll all live happily ever after. There will be a power-grab.

We can present an argument, but I'm not sure I see the point.

The idea that libertarians would instantly reduce the government to nothing if they took power is laughable.

It depends on what you mean by "libertarians". Some libertarians are actually anarcho-capitalists who would literally like to reduce the government to nothing. Some other "libertarians" (e.g. much of the "tea party") aren't libertarians at all, but are neoconservative republicans who have found a way to make the trend of "libertarianism" server their political goals. They favor "small government" and "keeping the government out of our lives" when it comes to paying taxes, keeping guns, or being racist. But if you're an atheist, if you're gay, if you want to use drugs, or if you want to have an abortion, then suddenly the government needs to do something about that.

So we can't just talk about "libertarians". We have to be specific. Who are we talking about here?

5 days ago
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Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

nine-times Re:Gots to find more ways to avoid taxes (525 comments)

And without a government, a rich/powerful person can bulldoze your house to the ground if they decide to.

5 days ago
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Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

nine-times Re:Gots to find more ways to avoid taxes (525 comments)

To imply small government is the opposite of good governance is absurd.

That's not what he implied. He was saying that small government is not a *substitute* for good governance. In its simplest form, you won't necessarily fix your government just by making it smaller. But what he was actually saying there was more insightful than its simplest form. He was implying both that there may be some size of government necessary for good governance, and that whether the governance provided was at least somewhat independent of the size of the government.

5 days ago

Submissions

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What's holding back encryption?

nine-times nine-times writes  |  more than 4 years ago

nine-times writes "After many years in IT, I've been surprised to notice how much of my traffic is still unencrypted. A lot of businesses that I interact with (both business and personal) are still using unencrypted FTP, and very few people use any kind of encryption for email. Most websites are still using unencrypted HTTP. DNSSEC seems to be picking up some steam, but still doesn't seem to be widely used. I would have thought there would be a concerted effort to move toward encryption for the sake of security, but it doesn't seem to be happening.

I wanted to ask the Slashdot community, what do you think the hold up is? Are the existing protocols somehow not good enough? Are the protocols fine, but not supported well enough in software? Is it too complicated to manage the various encryption protocols and keys? Is it ignorance or apathy on the part of the IT community, and that we've failed to demand it from our vendors?

What challenges have you faced in trying to increase your use of encryption, and what do you think we can do about it?"

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