810 posts • joined Wednesday 23rd April 2008 16:59 GMT
Re: There is a reason why it's free...
"It's seems to be engineering lead rather than marketing lead."
Well they sort of had to be like that. They never had any 2G spectrum of their own, so they were forced to do 3G as well as they could otherwise they'd have had no business at all.
All the other operators had big chunks of 2G, and that allowed them to be lazy in their 3G rollouts. That worked well, right up until the smartphone revolution meant that punters wanted a lot of data instead of phone calls. Three were the only operator in a position to respond to that revolution in a sensible way.
I've noticed that Three's rural coverage is gradually getting better, and they're filling in the gaps in towns too. I think their service is pretty good at 3G, and I think I'll stick with 3G for the sake of my battery life.
Re: Speculative Conclusions do not Compute.....
"Ahhhh, Friday ... the sun is shining in a cloudless sky, the trees are vibrant with the green of summer"
Oh stop rubbing it in, you southern hemisphere types. Up here we've got a grotty winter in full swing you know, and I for one am not enjoying it much. Especially as we're not thrashing the Aussies in the cricket like we should be.
The only 5c with anything like a remote chance of being popular is the white one. Who wants yellow, pick it, green, etc?
I don't understand why they didn't do a black one. Black sold very well in the old days, and I think a black 5c would have sold quite well today.
That's pretty unfair comment I think. Whilst some of us don't mind thinking in multiple different addresses spaces all at once (if you think 2 address spaces is hard, try the 69+ you get with VME...), anything that makes the programmer's job easier is a good thing for NVidia; they'll sell more product because of it.
At the software level they are copying what AMD have done, which is understandable. They can't copy AMD at the hardware level though, so they may start to struggle to compete in terms of whole system performance.
Re: Unified Memory
It is a response to what AMD have done with their APUs, but it's definitely a sticking plaster (band-aid for our transatlantic cousins) for NVidia's problem. Sure, the programmer doesn't have to worry about transferring data between CPU and GPU anymore, but the hardware does and the latency is still there.
If anything this could make the situation worse for NVidia. Before this, when the programmer had to do their own data transfers, the latency was explicitly there in the source code. It was practically shouting "this is painful and slow, don't do this too often coz it'll be a slow steaming pile of shite". Now that it's all hidden from the programmer it is easy to write working code with little evidence of inefficiency in the source. Laziness will become harder to spot.
In AMD land where the APUs have properly unified memory at the electronics level everyone wins. There are no inefficient data copies to be done at all, so source code that looks efficient ends up being efficient. That's a very good thing. It's not something that NVidia can compete with unless they start building themselves a serious x86 core.
Re: Another win for open-source leechers
Firstly its not "our" software, it belongs to the FreeBSD guys. Secondly, if the FreeBSD guys want to license it under BSD that's down to them, not you. Thirdly, their choice of that license clearly shows that they're super-chilled about what other people, including Sony, Apple and even YOU, can do with the code. And I rather suspect that the FreeBSD guys derive a well deserved portion of smugness from the fact that their software seems to be so popular.
Personally I find that Google's choice of Linux as the basis for Android to be very odd given that FreeBSD would have done very well indeed. They would have had more control over the platform and the anarchy that is the Android ecosystem could have been avoided.
Re: Yet People Still Flock to the Cloud
Not everybody does.
As Clouds come and go that'll just condition the market into not trusting clouds in general. For instance, I doubt that the former Shard customers are terribly enthusiastic about the whole idea anymore.
It'll also probably end up with there being just a few clouds, perhaps Amazon, Google, maybe Apple & MS. Apple have too much of a reputation for closing cloud services, MS are late to the party.
The really scary thing is that Google are just a couple of privacy law changes away from having no business model at all. If they ever lose the right to sniff through customer data then the whole business model for their cloud services vanishes, as will their cloud. Given the court cases starting up in the US its not so hard to imagine this happening. So, would you take the risk of irrevocably basing your whole corporate IT around Google Apps if you thought you might wake up one morning to discover its not there anymore?
The way I see it is that for clouds to survive in the long run they're going to have to properly inter-operate properly. A couple of big failures and everyone will decide its safer to do it themselves with their own hardware. That's what I do,
Re: Pot, kettle, black?
"You have the option to not use google, so if you don't like anything they do, then don't bloody use it. ”
Right, but that means you can't send email to anyone with a Gmail account, you can't browse most websites, and now you can't even phone someone with an Android 4.4 mobile.
Because if you do any of these things Google are tracking you, they know your name, address, phone number, they know what you look at and who you know and what you're sending to them. They'll even know get SSID of your home wifi. And they do all this even though you have never ever ticked a box accepting terms and conditions on Google's websites. They do all this because someone else you know has ticked that box.
The logical conclusion of the claimed performance and characteristics of memristor is startling. The only storage anywhere in a computer will be directly attached to its CPUs, just like RAM is nowadays. No SATA, SAS, PCIe SSDs, Fibre Channel, nothing. Just DDRx (whatever the 'x' has become by then).
That memristor storage would likely be divisioned into an area to take on the role of long term storage, and another to be the equivalent of DDR RAM. Except that the DDR-RAM part won't forget what it stores when power is removed.
And we'll have to get used to the fact that switching off your PC won't necessarily mean that it's memory goes blank. Everything in its terabyte sized memory will be retained between power cycles. Sounds like a security nightmare... Just to be sure the shutdown process will have to consist primarily of securely deleting its short term storage so all that those decryption keys, important data, etc. are wiped out. A power cut could be a real security nightmare for some people. And losing a laptop - eeek!
If you think about how software these days deals with important things like crypto keys, etc. so much of it assumes that memory is volatile and will be forgotten when power is lost. With memristor based RAM, things like BitLocker will be extremely vulnerable to power cuts.
Re: What's in a zero anyways?
The first rule of cloud club is, don't get hacked.
The second rule of cloud club is, really don't get hacked.
The last rule of cloud club is, if you do get hacked don't ever tell anyone. Except when it's that bad...
Re: Here we go again...
"It's aimed at RICH grown-ups. I don't know anyone who would spend that kind of money on a mobile and if I did, I'd have to say they were fucking lunatics."
Are you suggesting that people who spend that much on an iPhone or Samsung are lunatics too?
Re: BB's saviour?
No, Google don't need to make direct money from Android, not so long as their shareholders haven't figured out where it's all going.
Google made $10billion in 2012, not bad for an ad broker. However Samsung are making more like $30billion. A very big chunk of that $30billion is courtesy of Android, yet it isn't in Google's shareholders' pockets. Samsung galaxy wouldn't be doing anything like that much business without Android. How long before Google's shareholders start wanting a slice of that pie?
Re: BB's saviour?
@ Steve Davies 3,
"Release a build that can be installed on say, Samsung Android phones and still let the user have full access to Android apps."
Er, you do know this is an article about the BlackBerry operating system, not about the recent BBM port to Android and iOS?
From what I understand of BB's architecture there's hardware features in BB's phones that support the operating system's security model. Without those hardware features the phone wouldn't be as secure. Porting BB10 to a Samsung might not be possible without ruining the security model.
BB have offered manufacturers BB10 under license, but so far there's been no takers. Understandable - Android is effectively 'free' and clearly good enough to attract a healthy market. BB10 wouldn't be free.
On the topic of money, I think it's astonishing how much money Google aren't making out of Android. They do all the work, but it seems that Samsung are the guys making all the money. Google clearly do make some money, but they're effectively missing out one many gigadollars that are being banked by Samsung.
Re: 1 out of 3 aint bad.
"The reaction and participation on the petition - or rather the distinct lack there-of - is a pretty good indicator of the impact and importance of this API. The internet says "meh"."
Except that most end users won't have a clue what all this means until they discover that the Skype peripheral they got given for Christmas last year stops working before this Christmas.
Ok, so perhaps there's not that many people out there who are going to care or even notice, but it is crap of MS to do this. The API was well established, used by quite a wide variety of hardware and software, wasn't doing any harm, and wouldn't have taken any effort to leave it in Skype alongside whatever new API MS want to introduce.
Gaining traction and market share in communications is a key business goal for MS, and they're not in an unassailable position. Skype is not the whole of the mobile comms market. Doing something that pisses off even a small portion of the customer base would seem to be a stupid thing to do.
They weren't kidding...
"They believe the HTML-based Skype URI interface lacks the rich functionality needed to build decent third-party services and products for Skype."
And they're right. Looks like all the URI interface allows you to do is start up Skype in one way or another, not access the audio/video data streams themselves. That's a severe curtailment of functionality!
...and I like it :-)
"Then there's the mobile messaging business BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins has said is BlackBerry's fallback position, although whether the world is ready to have its supposedly secure messages tended by a Chinese concern is another matter."
Lenovo buying BlackBerry risks them encountering the same sort of problems as Huawei. And for those users who really want BlackBerry secure messaging (Governments, banks) they might suddenly find that they can't use it anymore. What price does one pay then?
It's another example of something necessary and important for the few is supplied by the mass market, but then the market moves on leaving them stranded with few real options. With everything beginning to focus on the consumer, the tools used by the providers are going to become unique and expensive, or possibly non existent. For example, things like PCs used to be used by consumer and provider alike, but less so now.
Re: No surprise
Well the world's a crazy place.
People prefer to spend larger sums of money on a flashy metal finished iPhone 5s, then they cover it in cheap plastic and rubber protectors to make it look worse than a 5c. What gives?
No, I've not bought a 5c either.
Re: Not like Skype then
"Skype was never open source as far as I'm aware."
Quite right, it has always been proprietary. In fact, it kind of went beyond proprietary, it didn't even comply with any open standard. Instead they invented their own complete and finished VOIP system which poked two fingers up at the likes of SIP.
Judging by how successful Skype has been you have to wonder if any of those open standards is actually any good. Skype clearly had 'something' that all the rest lacked.
What You Really Need...
...is good support. Properly good support that actually works, will pick up the phone when called and give you useful answers. If you can find someone to support FOSS, great. If that means finding a good proprietary product from a good helpful company, great. In my time I have found both with great success.
Re: PCs are horrible
Well for anyone doing an actual job of creating something, tablets are pretty much useless. So if we want to the world to carry on existing as it is we're going to keep needing PCs (or Macs I guess).
"but hugely inconvenient and with many annoying flaws"
Not if you're creating something. Tablets are badly flawed from that point of view.
"Too much maintenance."
Not really, its just that the mobile platforms like iOS, Android and the like don't get updated often enough. Android in particular is truly dreadful; it's full of security horrors, and there's not much the average user can do to rectify them. PCs don't require too much maintenance; Android does too little. Apple, Microsoft and Blackberry all push out regular updates too, and as the hackers get their teeth into these platforms the need for regular update cycles will increase.
I suspect that the decline in the market is caused by two separate things. First, no one likes Windows 8; anyone with enough cash is probably going to buy a Mac instead. Second, most people only ever used PCs for content consumption, and having discovered that you can do that quite happily on a mobile device they suddenly find they don't need a PC.
Thing is, we will always need PCs, and they're only affordable because the market is so large. But if that market dwindles too much then PCs will start costing a lot of money. And where does that leave the people who actually need one for creating all that stuff that everyone else wants to watch, play or run?
Re: Oh FFS
"Is this important? In terms of distinction between kernel and OS, not really, no, though there are plenty of people who would vehemently disagree with me on that one. But in terms of remembering there are plenty of other Linux distributions out there (which may or may not have the same bug, depending on where it originated), yes it is. A bit. Relatively speaking, of course."
Well, for the average Joe it is quite important. How's anyone supposed to know which distro is good and proper, and which ones to avoid? And are the recommended ones popular because they appeal to a certain type of geek, or because they are actually well thought out for the average end user. It's especially difficult when the answers to these question seems to change every year or so. And as for desktop consistent experiences - ha!
He's an intern; there's bound to be an easter egg in there somewhere. Anyone going to go looking? It could take a while...
Re: "Beleaguered BlackBerry"
"...and worst: they are even unable to come up with anything remotely original on their own - "Beleaguered BlackBerry", dear Jesus in heaven, really?"
Well, a $billion loss in a quarter for a company of Blackberry's size is pretty bad, and definitely well down the road to terminal if not dealt with.
Being taken private is probably the best way to deal with it. They may even do quite well unencumbered by dullard shareholders wanting their firm to take on the likes of Apple, etc. Far better that they focus cleanly on what they're good at; a high security platform for those who want that above all else.
Problem is that I think that their core market is being taken away by company accountants reckoning on BYOD being cheaper for their employer. And of course all accountants of course know everything about IT security and the consequences of getting that wrong.
What Blackberry need above all else is a massive and public disaster in a large famous company to be traced back to a rooted and compromised Android BYOD employee phone. That'd focus minds somewhat.
How many fingers?
Does anyone out there know whether the phone keeps several fingerprints on record? I hope so, or its going to be very annoying on some occasions:
* when you've injured your first term and got a plaster wrapped around it
* if you're a couple used to sharing a phone
* when you just want to lend your phone to someone for a short while
* when you're wearing a pair of those touch screen compatible gloves on a cold day
If iPhone 5x doesn't deal with those scenarios then I suspect it will be quite annoying...
Re: Something for the kiddies
"I have never even considered that it was even possible to connect directly to an Exchange server from a BB terminal.."
Yes it is, and a whole load of other email server types too. Mine's bolted onto Hotmail (or whatever it's called these days) too.
Plus, BB Balance allows you to do a neat trick. The phone implements a Multi-Level Security System, and I've had to do a lot of reading to glean what follows from that. [Alas I've not got a company phone, nor my own BES, so I've not been able to try it out myself]
So, as I understand it, one level is "personal", and can be joined to your own email, Exchange, Facebook, Twitter, and can have it's own apps, calendars, contacts, the lot.
The other level is "company", and is joined to your company's BES server, has its own email, apps, calendars, contacts, the lot. The company has full control of that level, they can install apps, setup email, wipe data remotely.
The clever bit is that nothing in the company level can be interact with the personal level, nor can anything from the personal level interact with the company level. Personal apps can't nick company data. Company apps can't see personal data. That provides assurance to the company that their data is safe, but you can still do your own personal thing knowing that your boss can't see. The company can even remote wipe their level in the phone, but they can't touch the personal level at all.
And the really clever bit is that apps like the Calendar and Contacts sit above both levels and can see down into them. For example, that means that you can see both your company and personal calendar when arranging a meeting, but your company can't see your personal calendar at all.
What's more, all that's got some pretty good approvals from various bits of the US and UK governments. That probably means that it's quite strong (though of course recent events might have dented that inference somewhat...).
You need Z10, Q10 and so on to be able to do all this; older Blackberries won't, and I think that the company needs to upgrade to the latest BES too. There might be money involved in doing all that, which might put off a company from upgrading.
It'd be interesting to know if your company has heard of BB Balance.
Re: Something for the kiddies
@Seven Seas Jim,
"All that is very nice... but BlackBerry has failed to advertize and promote these advantages and features. They make great phones but don't know how to sell them."
Well, I think you're fairly right on that front, but I think no marketing campaign would ever be able to convey exactly what it is that might make a BB phone a good choice.
Part of Blackberry's problem (in my humble opinion) is that quite a lot of their really good technology is unmatched by everyone else. A BB phone is not a clone of anything else, it stands apart in quite a lot of important areas. So, when you show an iOS user a BB phone, there is not a lot in their previous experiences to tell them what a BB phone can do. You have to explain the Blackberryness to them from scratch.
For example, Apple have educated everyone to expect some sort of a home button. Android copied that idea. Blackberry didn't put one on, they did something different; a bezel swipe gesture that works no matter which way up you're holding the phone. It saves you having to hunt for the damned button, and also saves surface area (you don't need to find room for a physical button), and thus has quite a lot of benefits. It also stops the phone looking long and thin and means the screen can fill the whole frontage, unlike the iPhone 5 for example.
As for marketing, they have advertised things like Blackberry Balance, but you have to look at it all really hard to really understand exactly what Blackberry Balance is and why you might want it. That doesn't even begin to fit into a 30sec ad, never mind impart the true essence of that particular thing to someone who has never seen anything like it before.
So I think that BB are sort of in a Betamax vs VHS situation; in many ways they're arguably far superior to everyone else, but most people don't understand why so don't bother looking. Instead BB have to rely on users who have a pressing need for something different and are thus motivated to thoroughly explore what BB actually have on offer. Most of the 'deficiencies' of a BB phone (a lack of apps is the most common observation) would be easily fixed if they had mass market appeal; software devs would eagerly write the apps for the thing.
I think that BB themselves recognised this problem some time ago, which is why they said then that they'd be focusing primarily on the corporate market hoping that they at least could be bothered to read the literature properly. Instead it seems that the corporate market is itself largely committing data-security suicide by being happy with staff using their own phones.
It's a pity, because BB's Balance is the ideal solution to that problem. I'm pretty sure that most companies have no idea that Balance allows company data security to be assured whilst letting the user do whatever the hell they like with their own messaging, games, etc.
Re: Something for the kiddies
The reason why their email is so good is because of the corporate BB subscriptions and BlackBerry's Enterprise Server, worth paying the money for.
However, BB now offer an alternative. Point your BB at an Exchange server and the result is fantastic. And, if you've already got an Exchange server, it's free.
Me, I rent my own Exchange server online (well, a mail box on an Exchange server), a cloud I can call my own. Better than using Google's, Apple's, or Microsoft's. Costs only £3.99 a month which is a pretty good deal for privacy I reckon.
And we're lucky that Sun did gave away the source code to various gems like ZFS.
People who complain about it not being GPL2 licensed are simply being ungrateful. Perhaps they should chill out a bit. You don't look a gift horse in the mouth, as the old saying goes.
OK, I'll jump
One small jump for a frog, one giant leap for anurankind...
Re: He's right.
Not convinced he is completely right.
If you want discoverable buses, that all adds transistors, taking more power, and probably starts trampling over some other company's intellectual property, etc.
For ARM SOCs, power is king, and no chip builder is ever going to put in a whole bunch of additional transistors that then makes their chip look bad from a power consumption point of view. Nor can they afford to pinch someone else's intellectual property; someone out there is bound to be holding patents on discoverable buses like PCI.
Linus wants these things so that Linux doesn't need to be manually configured and built for each individual SOC design from every individual manufacturer. But if that's what we're going to be stuck with, how about making it possible for the manufacturers to easily contribute a single 'config.sys' file (for want of a better phrase) for their SOC that is then automatically available to everyone downloading the Linux source code? That would at least mean that the work gets done only once.
I don't know enough about the Linux ARM source code base to know if that makes sense, but something along the lines ought to be possible. For all I know it may even already be there but the manufacturers aren't playing ball, which would be a pity.
Didn't BlackBerry predict this downturn about 8 months ago?
Aiming at the cash
This is not entirely surprising. The patent trolls will naturally go for the wealthier companies, and they don't get much wealthier than Apple. The richer they are the less significant the consequences of just paying up. There's no point suing a close-to-bankrupt company, there'd be no profit in it.
Of course, Apple's own litigious tendencies will probably mean that there won't be much sympathy...
Use of this sort of tool is no substitute for designing the website right in the first place.
Scenario: website goes up, people start using it, author uses this trick to see how people use it. Author then decides to change the design in response to the gathered data. Users now have no idea how to use the website. Repeat that cycle a few times and you end up with no users.
Get design right first time; iterative design on a live site works only if you do it veeery slowly.
Website authors are getting very lazy. A search feature does not mean that you don't need to design the website and lay it out sensibly.
Re: Putting up the good fight...
"That means that IBM needs to open the door to higher single-thread operation (GHz or IE efficiency). This might be a cool thing to track over the next 1-2 years."
The biggest barrier to better single thread performance for everybody is memory latency. The memory architecture for Power8 is unbelievably complex and has tremendous bandwidth, and all that complexity is a good effort to overcome the fact that DRAM latency is way too slow in comparison to the core speed. But IBM and everyone else needs faster high capacity memory technology.
You can judge how hard it is to do. Despite the vast improvements in silicon manufacturing technology IBM and everyone else still has only about 64k of L1 cache running at core speed. We can put billions of transistors on a chip, but we can get only a few tens of thousands of those to operate as memory running at 4GHz. Unbelievable after all this time. IBM did pretty well with the Cell processor (256k core speed RAM next to each SPE), but we seem to have gone backwards since then.
Re: @ MacroRodent (was: The idea of using pulsars for spacecraft ::snippage::)
I suspect that they've not worked on any embedded system like that at all.
The following may be of interest. The Lockheed A12 and SR71 did navigation by star tracking. They had a little telescope system on the top, they could sight for particular stars and work out their terrestrial position that way. Kind of like an automation of navigation by sextant. That was all done with 1960s era computing. It follows that that's all that is needed for this sort of problem. A modern day 200MHz rad hardened PowerPC is massive overkill for this sort of navigational problem.
BlackBerry's emulation engine, rather than a platform-native app.
Dalvik in anything is theoretically the same as Dalvik on Android. Dalvik on BB10 is no more an emulation than Dalvik on Android. BB's implementation is getting better all the time, and reportedly will be Jelly Bean compatible in a short while.
Having said that, those Android apps on BlackBerry do show up how unsatisfactory a UI Android is. Use BB10 for a short period of time and you soon realize how stupid it is to have a home button in a fixed position on the mobile, and how crazy it is to have buttons at all. Native BB apps that use BB's bezel gestures are far nicer to use. It's a shame that app developers are taking advantage of BB' Dalvik to port apps in a lazy way rather than doing the job properly. However, BB would probably have very few apps indeed without their Dalvik implementation; beggars can't be choosers.
Re: One word for this prediction:
"Driverless cars may not be known to be foolproof, but humans ARE known to NOT be foolproof. "
"Driverless cars will never be foolproof, and people will die at their "hands". Big deal, guess how many people die on the roads worldwide each year?"
Yeah right. Fools have always and will continue to find imaginative ways to kill themselves and possibly others. The problem with autonomous cars is that you are placing your life entirely in the hands of other people - you have no control, no choice whatsoever. So then, how many of those people are fools? How many of them are malicious? Inevitably, a proportion of people involved in your safety are idiots, yet none of them will be involved in the car crash they'll end up causing. Personally speaking I'd rather choose to take responsibility for my own safety as far as is possible, and I definitely wouldn't want to be bored witless behind the 'wheel' of a car I'm not allowed to drive but am somehow required to supervise.
Your statistic of a million a year glosses over many regional differences. The roads in Germany for instance are amongst the safest on the planet, yet they have no automation and impressively high speeds. Go figure.
The problem with automatic cars is that they may reduce the accident rate in the short term, but they're inevitably just one unfortunate software bug away from causing a few billion car crashes in a single day (assuming that there's that many in use). Does that really sound like a good idea? Arguably it's unlikely, but no one would ever consider the outcome to be acceptable under any circumstances. Google can't even get a calendar right on a mobile phone; who says they can get a car right?
Also I note you didn't consider the opportunity for malicious hacking attack. Want to crash someone else's car? Deploy an exploit. Internet connecting these things sounds like a sure fire recipe for trouble on the roads, and you know that given the opportunity someone out there is guaranteed to give it a go. I just hope they're not internet connected, though knowing the US's / Googles propensity for connecting literally everything to the net, I fear the worst.
"Computerized driving is a much lower bar than computerized flying"
Totally and completely wrong. Computerised driving is far harder than computerised flying. An aircraft has a very simple navigational problem to solve (fly from here to here), and obstacle avoidance is easy (fly at this height, pay attention to the TCAS). Whereas the obstacle avoidance part of an automatic car is a really difficult problem. I notice that current auto-cars are mainly currently used in dry sunny places. I'd like to see them work reliably on a horrible stormy, rainy night with lumps of tree and rubbish flying all over the place on a narrow and twisty road in the civilised world. What if a fly squishes over a sensor? Is that obstacle ahead a genuine problem, or is it just a piece of paper blowing in the wind? And a car doesn't even have the luxury of being able to go where it wants; there's a road to identify, follow, and keep to the correct side of to within a couple of feet or so. Planes don't even have to be that precise when landing on a nice and straight runway. And, apart from landing and take off, there's generally loads of time in an airliner to sort out problems. In a car you've got perhaps half a second to respond to a system failure on a busy fast road.
There is a growing feeling in the aviation industry that the reason pilots are making mistakes is because the automatics are doing too much. Pilots these days (depending on which airline) are really just system supervisors, and only rarely do they actually do any flying. It's hardly surprising that when the automatics fail or are unavailable that they make mistakes. Even Airbus acknowledge this, and apparently the upcoming A350 will be less 'automatic' and will require the pilots to actually do some flying.
Sure, you could remove the pilots altogether and go fully automatic, but the crash rate for UAVs is appalling in comparison to manned aircraft. Making that change is, at the moment, guaranteed to lead to a significant increase in fatalities.
Re: One word for this prediction:
"What a load of utter bollocks."
Yep, I think that about covers it.
The article (and seemingly the study) touches only briefly on liability. And there is a fatal stumbling block; artifical semi-intelligent systems such as those that drive the current autonomous cars aren't known to be fool proof. We've got a pretty good idea that they work reasonably well, but that's not proof. This is reflected in current law: places where they are legal still require a competent driver to be behind the wheel in a sober condition and paying attention, to take control just in case.
So that leads to three possible future situations.
First, the law doesn't trust the tech and requires the 'passenger' to be able to become the 'driver' at a moments notice. In which case, what's the damned point of the whole thing anyway? If I've got an autonomous car I want it to be able to drive me home pissed as a newt from any watering hole that I choose, but I can't; I have to remain sober and with it. That's the current situation AFAIK. Sooner or later there will be a case where such a car is involved in a bump and all sorts of legal arguments will ensue.
Second, the tech advances to a point where the law and can reasonably trust the tech and pass all liability on to the manufacturers. Clearly we're a long way from that, and I don't think that we'll ever really get there. Not even the aviation industry has managed to wean itself off having two pilots in the front. And their operating environment is much more controlled (i.e. far simpler from an automatic software point of view) than the roads; their attempts so far have been far from reliable in UAVs.
Third, and most distastefully, the manufacturers do a large amount of lobbying and get autonomous vehicles mandated by law, but with the liability for their malfunctions residing with the 'passenger'. The old "you have to have it, but its your fault if it goes wrong" problem. In some countries (the US?) where the legislative system is completely broken and at the mercy of the powerful lobbyists I don't think that you can rule this situation out.
Boredom Threshold, and the Human Inability to Cross it Quickly
Regardless, there is a real danger that the public will fall for the marketing and the blurb and will start trusting the tech. Ok, so we trust car design and manufacturing now, but even though cars are mostly very mechanical at a fundamental level (so no room for complicated software to break) we still can't make Toyotas drive along the motorway at a speed of our choosing all of the time.
Put most people in an autonomous vehicle and they will stop paying attention; it will be just too damned boring. It's bad enough at the moment in normal cars. Expecting someone to intervene at a moments notice when something is going badly wrong quickly after they've gotten used to months of trouble free operation is unrealistic, but failing to do so will (currently) result in the liability resting with them.
Security? Is there any?
And none of that even begins to address the opportunities for the maliciously minded hacker. Google's car is no doubt wirelessly connected via the internet to The Chocolate Factory. How long before someone spots a crazy simple security weakness in that? I mean, has anyone done any penetration testing on these things at all? For all the current drivers know it could be dead easy for some script kiddie on the other side of the planet to hack into their car and send it haywire and cause an accident, just for the kicks. Would you want that happening to your car with you in it?
Well, that might be their answer, but Googling 6x9 reveals a very dull 54.
Clearly they've no sense of humour.
Re: Left hand, meet right hand @shawnfromnh
Linux is in no way an adequate desktop replacement, free office suite or not. If it were, everybody would be using it. But they're not.
Also as a hard working chap who finds many features of MS Office (eg Outlook) totally unimplemented in the open source world I would find it very hard to consider the combination of Libre Office and Evolution and everything else to be an "Office Suite". It's very unfortunate (I like Linux) but it has too many problems and omissions to be able to even begin to supplant Windows + MS office. Not even Apple have managed to slay that dragon, and they've been trying really hard.
And who cares how long it takes to install an OS? It's not as if you do that on your desktop every day. IT admits don't do it very often either, they just roll out some pre built image complete with required apps.
It will be interesting to see how Google explain this event.
It is difficult to think up reasons for the outage that don't put dents in Google's claims of being reliable enough to trust ones entire business to. After all, if you've trusted your entire business to Google's cloud (Docs, mail, everything) then when Google are down there's nothing you can do; you're not working. There's not even a phone number you can call.
At least if you have your own IT you can go and harry the IT guys.
Companies are very bad at risk management. It always seems that they refuse to consider highly unlikely scenarios that have devastating consequences. For instance how many outfits are there that have all their IT in a cloud and have an effective Plan B in their sleeve just in case? Companies like Google are highly unlikely to go off line completely for a long stretch, but if all your IT is Googlised and they do vanish for a few days, your business is guaranteed to be in deep trouble.
So what exactly would a good Plan B be? There's no easy way to start using another cloud because there is no way to do a bulk export of everything (docs, calendars, contacts, sheets and mail, etc) that you can bulk import into another cloud. In fact such a thing would be the very last thing that Google, Microsoft, etc. would want to give you. I know that you can get at the data piecemeal, but file by file and user by user exports and imports is no way to perform disaster recovery.
Synchronising a cloud with your own IT is more like it, but surely the whole point of a cloud is to avoid having your own IT. Such synchronisation is available only because the cloud providers offer it as a way to get going with a cloud; I don't expect that it will be something that will work reliably and well forever.
And if you're going to have your own IT then what exactly is the cloud for anyway? Backup?
To me and presumably anyone else that cares about coping with the ultimate What-If problems clouds just don't meet the requirements. However, with the likes of Microsoft, Apple and Google trying very hard to push their customers onto their respective clouds and a large be action of those customers being happy (or stupid) enough to go along with that, what choice will there be for those that want to do things on their own IT?
Clouds also bring big national risks. Say Google got to the position where 50% of American companies were wholly dependent on Google's cloud for their docs, sheets, contacts databases, etc. That would mean that 50% of the US economy is just one single hack attack away from difficulty and possibly disaster. Is that a healthy position for a national economy to be in? Isn't that a huge big juicy target for a belligerent foe, be they an individual or nation state? After all, Google's networks have been penetrated before (they blamed the Chinese as it happens); why not again?
Re: Random numbers
Shake a device to get randomness? That'll be not very good, especially if the user is told to shake the phone for that purpose...
Hmmm, your ignorance is unfortunately for BlackBerry too commonly found amongst the supposed experts of mobile computing. I'm not suggesting that you should know better, but there are plenty of people out there who should do more research when designing and choosing technology.
Currently BlackBerry offer the world's only mobile specific OS for smart phones with a functional, usable and DoD approved multi level security system which ought to be everybody's dream solution to the BYOD problem, as well as the best mobile messaging infrastructure out.
If you don't know what a multi level security system is nor why corporate users would want one then you're going to be happy with iOS, Android or WinPhone. If you do know what one is then iOS, WinPhone and particularly Android look really badly thought out from a security-usability-combo point of view. There is some tinkering around with crude MLS on the other OSes, but nothing as complete or as usable as BlackBerry's setup is on the cards.
When BB said they were intending on focusing on the corporate market, they weren't kidding. BB10's Balance is aimed fair and square right at the eyes of the big corporate IT admin. BB's problem is that either the IT admin is a dunce and doesn't know what a multi level security system can do for their company. Or they're overruled higher up by senior management anxious to pander to staff demands for company iPhones, Android's, etc, and data security be dammed.
Android in particular seems to be a terrible choice from a security point of view. Even if the OS's own security is improving all it takes is for one user in a company to root their own device and install something ill-advised and their employer could lose some business-killing info. And who would ever know anything about how it leaked out? The farce over ineffective signing of APK files on Android, a problem that will persist in the user base for years to come, is a classic.
WinPhone and iOS are better written than Android, but their design is such that they're only secure if the user is prevented from using all the fun stuff. So they'll still have to carry two phones. BB10 offers a way in which you can have fun and security at the same time. But they're trying to sell it to a world where even most companies seem to care only about the fun; not good for BB in the short term, probably not good for companies in the long run.
From a point of view of what would the best outcome for the whole of mobile computing, I think that the addition of a BB Balance style multi level security system to iOS would be best. It's probably not too bad a job - they're both based on POSIX underneath the glitz. Android is a real security nightmare (updates? What updates?), and WinPhone is so far removed from POSIX it would be a difficult porting job. That leaves iOS as the best home for the best bits of BB10.
Re: Useless certificate system
Enhanced Verification Certificates might mean that some meat bag has done something slightly more than usual to check an ID, but all the same commercial pressures exist to reduce their worth. I'm sure it will only be a matter of time before one of those gets abused.
I think that the only way to really ensure that a certificate system is good is if the commercial interests surrounding them are taken out of the equation, and actual real hard information (eg perhaps a street address for the websites owners) is encoded in them, and that a CA actually goes and checks out that address regularly. Unfortunately that starts sounding very governmental and expensive, which is bound not to work universally worldwide.
Re: Useless certificate system
They used smoke signal relay points? Yes, that would certainly allow a man in the middle attack.
Anyone up for writing an RFC for SmokeIP?
Re: Useless certificate system
I'm intrigued - how do you mount a man in the middle attack on smoke signals?!
" would be the browser that insists on its sandbox process running as root on linux."
Er, I think you have that wrong (though I'm prepared to be corrected). According to the various web pages I've read it runs the sandbox in a chroot, which is definitely not the same as running as root. I've not seen any reference elsewhere to it running as root.
Useless certificate system
Given the apparent ease with which you can get a certificate in the first place, the system seems to be pretty useless anyway. With all those certificate authorities out there how is an individual supposed to know which ones to trust? A list built in to your website browser is ok, but then you've only got their word for it.
Effectively all the system does at best is tell you that some outfit out there that your browser developer has heard off has some sort if vague knowledge of where to find some other guy (probably just an email address; like they're a strong identity...) whose website it is that you're visiting. Even then that doesn't mean that the website is actually trustworthy or unhacked, and these days is anyway likely to be attempting to gather as much data about you as possible for their own commercial gain. And then there's the sites that reuse the same tech but isn't part of the certificates system at all that you really do want to visit (eg your own router), and the sites that you do know about which have forgotten to renew their certificates, meaning you've got to bypass the system anyway with one or more mouse clicks.
The Internet does not have a good means of establishing identity. The technology is probably as good as we can make it, but the system is badly run by the meat bags that inhabit the system who are themselves out to make as much money as possible for the least amount of work.
Anyone got a better idea?
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