* Posts by Trevor_Pott

6747 posts • joined 31 May 2010

North Korea is capable of pwning Sony. Whether it did is another matter

Trevor_Pott
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I disagree. You're making a classic mistake thinking that defense is essentially a checkbox-following procedure of "doing the right things". It's not. You need to think messily. You need to think of new and innovative ways to break your own design.

The stuff that shelfware exists to solve is only a small part of the problem. It is nothing more than the beginning. Good defense, like great offense, requires totally orthogonal thinking. And yes, it will and does require implementing things that don't exist as off-the-shelf products. Open source or not.

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Trevor_Pott
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Attacking is easier than defending. It is easy to train attackers. It is not so easy to find attackers who have flipped over and trained to defend.

A good defender needs experience attacking. A good attacker does not need experience defending, though they could do with studying the shelfware.

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All Cisco certs add cloud, IoT, 'business transformation'

Trevor_Pott
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Re: "exciting as careers in professions like the law"

"the lawyers I know are hard-working, clever people who can wrap their minds around the many nuanced approaches that the law has developed to very complex problems"

Never met a lawyer like that. All the lawyers I know are pretty cookie-cutter types that push paper, fill our forms, follow patterns and scripts and that's about it. In most ways they resemble bored help desk operators, except that instead of Google or some internal wiki they have some overworked middle-aged woman running around in the back fetching an unending stream of paperwork, doing research and ordering around younger women to do even more research.

These lawyers find creative approaches to absolutely fuck all. Their purpose in life is to tell everyone how screwed they are and that there is absolutely nothing that they can do to help themselves. The law wasn't designed to work in their favour and it never will.

They can - and do - bill unbelievable fuckpiles for their work. They get away with it because the law mandates that all sorts of interactions with government, other companies, etc require a lawyer to be involved.

Like accountants, they have no requirement to innovate or even think, because they have engineered a system that requires everyone to use their "services" regardless of need.

Now, admittedly, the overwhelming majority of my interaction with lawyers is civil issues, not criminal. Perhaps these "hard-working, clever people" end up in criminal law over here. I don't know.

I do know that in Canada the lawyers I've had the misfortune of dealing with are overpaid and underworked. They care so little about their jobs that even when you are physically in a room with them they aren't really there.

Unlike systems administrators this isn't because they're dead inside. It's because the life they live outside the confines of their ridiculously expensive offices is so much more exciting than whatever you're bothering them with that they'd rather relive it in their own memories than deal with whatever issue you've got to be dealt with.

I want some of those hard-working, clever lawyers. Maybe if we had some the little guy would win once in a while on this miserable continent. Maybe if that happened once in a while it would stop being such a corrupt, awful place.

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Trevor_Pott
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"exciting as careers in professions like the law"

I don't see network administrators ever being paid seven figures while only being expected to work 40 hours a week and having unlimited interns/paralegals/$minions to boss around and make do the real work. You know, like the whole reason you go into law.

So, um...how is networking like law again?

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What America's drone owner database could look like in future

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Yes please

...and privacy law.

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This storage startup dedupes what to do what? How?

Trevor_Pott
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Re: A question on hashing

IANACE (I Am Not A Crypto Expert), so don't take this as the final word, but if I recall correctly hash collisions are a theoretical possibility with all hashing algorithms. It simply becomes a question of the size of the hash space as to how likely those collisions are.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Bah!

That may be the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me, thanks!

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: A question on hashing

Hi Steve,

Hash collisions are a pain. These can be avoided in any number of ways but usually boil down to using a hash space so large the chances are exceptionally unlikely you'll ever encounter one. (See here: http://www.backupcentral.com/mr-backup-blog-mainmenu-47/13-mr-backup-blog/145-de-dupe-hash-collisions.html) Of course, this doesn't eliminate hash collisions which is why a almost nobody uses simple hashing anymore.

Each company has their own take, but a scary number of deduplication approaches really are just "hashing with some kludges to solve minor problems" (like collisions), where "solving" doesn't mean "eliminating entirely".

Actually coming up with really novel ways to do data efficiency didn't seem to become "a thing" until the latest round of the storage wars started about 5 years ago. For many government and enterprise buyers this can be a problem. They only buy from the legacy vendors, unless the new ones go through years of proving out. This can - and does - leave some ops teams in a bit of a pickle trying to deliver the full range of modern functionality. (Or, at least, trying to delivery it at prices that compete with public cloud computing, which isn't as feature rich or as secure, but it is the reality of what they are compared to. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.)

That being said, kludges aside, things like hash collisions can happen. So don't take your 10 year old SAN with it's primitive deduplication features and try to shove 1PB worth of data into it by "just adding some shelves". The bigger the space the more likely you're going to run into problems with implementations.

Mostly, if you refresh every 5 years you shouldn't have to worry. Also, if you use one of the new technologies that isn't hash reliant, you shouldn't run into these issues.

At 100TB you should be fine. Even at 500TB you probably run no risks worth mentioning. But if you are planning at any point to have a storage space larger than 1PB using one of today's storage technologies then demand to speak to a nerd and start asking exactly these sorts of questions of them. It isn't that hash collisions themselves are a likely risk, but you start getting into the scale where implementations don't quite match the theory and it's worth asking the questions.

And don't just look at what you plan to load your storage system with today. Think about the total life cycle of the system. 5 years in production and 5 years as an archival unit. Will you expand it to 1PB in that time? If so, be relentless in your inquisition. If you don't get the warm fuzzies from the answers you are given, move on.

There are lots of storage companies to choose from.

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Brit filmmaker plans 10hr+ Paint Drying epic

Trevor_Pott
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Optimal solution

Create a competition between 4chan and reddit to come up with the single worst movie of all time. A movie that would make CIA interrogators looking break a subject weep with horror. Then film it and submit it.

The downside is that the despair for the sheer horribleness of which humanity is capable will cause anyone actually reading more than 5 minutes of that script would simply walk outside their house and blow their own head off. You'd go through a crew of thousands before you got the film shot and it would eventually be classified as a war crime.

But a film that was the result of a head to head between 4chan and reddit to create the most horrible thing ever would be one hell of a form of political protest.

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Windows 8.1 exams kept alive six more months, Win 7 tests immortal

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Probably a necessity

Oh, I disagree, sir. You are the living embodiment of those individuals which give Linux a bad name.

I, a Linux user for nearly two decades, bring up the fact that Linux is an inconsistent user experience across distributions (and it is a fact,) and you reply essentially saying "but that's irrelevant!" You are concerned about the perception of Linux, wanting to downplay any potential issues with arguments about semantics and an ever shifting goalpost of relevance such that any complaints can ultimately be dismissed.

This is why Linux has never managed to gain any traction on the desktop and why Android occupies the compltely-shit end of the mobile market.

This whole "the user experience doesn't matter" attitude is fucking poisonous. It is the very real problem at the core of all things Linux, from the pathetic attempts at desktop implementations to building and maintaining a server OS that's worth a damn.

Completely irrelevant minor distributions with no enterprise support and no hope of ever achieving anything like it do not constitute "alternatives" to anything except hobbyist level pissantry, self inflicted foot-oriented gunshot wounds and an interesting series of methods to get one's self into a world of commercial legal liability problems.

In the real world there is Red Hat, SuSe, sort of Ubuntu and fuck all else. When Red Hat farts, 10,000 tiny distros choke to death on the fumes. When Red Hat rolls over, the entire Linux ecosystem falls out of bed.

This isn't about "what I want". This is about stability and consistency. The discussion was about the stability and consistency of the Windows OSes. The comment was made that Linux is somehow better. It is not.

For all that Linux is good and has some excellent aspects, it is in no way more stable, consistent and certainly not more easy to use than Windows. It is as inconsistent across versions of the same distribution as Windows is, and as inconsistent across distributions as Windows is across it's own major versions.

Now, if you feel the need to take the speaking of truths in this matter and somehow see that as an attack on Linux, you need professional help. It's not. But you've clearly associated your self identity with Linux to such an extent that pointing out areas where work needs to be done feels to you like a personal attack.

Get help. Get over it. And maybe, just maybe, come back and we can all work towards making Linux a more stable, consistent experience that will benefit the entire industry.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Probably a necessity

@Doctor Syntax

"I think I can see your problem. You're not really using vi, you're using vim which stands for "vi improved". And all those improvements allow distros to play silly buggers with config. Old vi has been available since V7, which included the code for ed became open source. Old vi is confusingly called new vi, nvi. Use that instead."

Bingo. Except some distros map vi to vim and others don't. Some put vi under a new name, others don't. There's no consistency, and it requires learning who's done what that's different from the next guy. Which was sort of my point.

Also: re Red Hat 6.x still being "real Linux"...I agree. Unfortunately, support won't last forever, and nobody has taken up forking it and continuing on with a great distribution.

IMHO, Red Hat's arrogance has killed Linux. It's time now for all of us to learn BSD, for better or worse.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Probably a necessity

@Uncle Slacky

I've been getting behind Slackware more and more recently, but honestly having trouble with BSD. BSD is just different enough that it's actually quite frustrating to use. It looks like Linux. It feels like Linux. But every time I go to use my decades of Red Hat muscle memory something doesn't quite work right or some command isn't there. BSD is something I learn in small doses in between a lot of cursing.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Probably a necessity

I've bunged my protest money in their direction. I haven't seen anything like a practical product yet, however.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Probably a necessity

Not really. Red Hat has changed all this. Consider for a moment that minimal install of RHEL 7 doesn't even come with ifconfig! Starting and stopping services is completely different (fuck you sideways, with a rusty tractor, systemd!) and the names of many basic services have changed.

It's not enough to know some basic POSIX stuff. A distribution of Linux is way more than just basic POSIX stuff. It's names, file locations, configurations of basic software and more.

Editing a text file in Red Hat-based distributions is simple. You use vi. And all you really need to know is "i" for insert, ":q!" to quit if you screwed up, ":wq" to write and quit and you're good. There are, of course, other useful commands in vi, but you can administer a system with just those.

Move over to Ubuntu and...wait...vi doesn't behave the same. it's configured differently and doesn't respond to commands the same. Well, shit.

Now, we can go on and on about the whys and wherefores and even the how these things are made to occur. It doesn't matter. What matters is that the differences between Linux distribution versions can be (and often are) as big as the differences between any two Windows versions. What's more, different Linux distributions have drifted so far apart that they now represent a bigger real-world gap in administration than did the NT line to the 9.x line back in the day.

Linux isn't unified. And what you know in one doesn't quite port to the other. That's bollocks.

If II know Windows really well I can probably pick up $Linux_Distribution_1 as easily as if I knew $Linux_Distribution_2 really well. It has nothing to do with which OS you learn first. It has everything to do with understanding the fundamentals of how and operating system works, and why it works.

But knowing the fundamentals won't stop you from having to study, and study hard. Because the UI - text based or GUI, it doesn't matter - changes all the fucking time in Linux. Just like it does in Windows.

The difference in Linux is that you have choice. If you want to change the UI and set it up so that it behave as you expect and how it is burned into your muscle memory you can.

Or could. You know, before Systemd.

Fuck systemd.

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Tesla recalls every single Model S car in seatbelt safety probe

Trevor_Pott
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Tesla potential safety problem with a seatbelt: voluntary recall.

Other major manufacturers proven problems with hackable cars, braking systems and more: deny for years until the deaths of hundreds or thousands trigger a lawsuit and regulatory investigation.

You know what? Fuck yeah, Tesla! Good show.

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Hillary Clinton: Stop helping terrorists, Silicon Valley – weaken your encryption

Trevor_Pott
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@Big John

It absolutely is all your fault. By "you" I am indicating here the cohort of people who are ultraconservative bigots, but disregarding race, gender, religion ethnicity or country of origin.

Terrorism has no religion. But the most conservative individuals of all religions consistently seem to do the most damage to society. ISIS, Al Queda and so forth are the crazy-town class conservatives of their region. Their inhumanity towards others has caused the biggest migration of refugees since World War II.

Should you and others like you (Westboro Baptist Church would be an example of others I feel share roughly your capability for compassion and empathy) really be pushing for increased bigotry at home as well? Do we really need that sort of shit on our continent?

I will repeat this one more time: terrorism has no religion. An as you so ably prove, neither does the rampant bigotry that fuels it.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: "News"

@Big John

Now you're just being purposefully obtuse.

Hillary is referred to as the Democrats' Dick Cheney because they are both complete sociopaths, war mongers and believers in rule by fear. They also both really like the idea of a police state.

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France's 3-month state of emergency lets govt censor the web

Trevor_Pott
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Re: It's just like a bad French remake of the US 2001 bullshit

@Big John

I am indeed aware of America's declining crime rates, which are, just by the by, related to a reduction in poverty and an increase in education, not availability of guns. Because you seem to be sorely lacking in education and worldliness, I'll direct your attention to actual first world nations. They've experienced even greater reductions in crime (especially violent crime) over the same period by reducing poverty even more than America and increasing their level of education even more.

And yes, you are a fool from a batshit crazy place.

Cheers, from a place with gun regulations that ensure that even with a higher per capita gun ownership than America we don't tote the things around, own the really crazy stuff and - above all - don't kill eachother with the damned things anywhere near as much as the cuckoos to the south of us.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go safe the lab because it's Friday and I am doing a regular safety check on my firearms.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: It's just like a bad French remake of the US 2001 bullshit

@Big John: you're an idiot. There is essentially unlimited evidence that guns in the hands of the proles doesn't prevent crime. In fact, in the few batshit crazy places that practice this crime is not only higher, it's more lethal. It's more lethal because not only does more violent crime occur, when it does the criminals do more damage.

Not only that but on the very rare occasion where civvies packing heat pull out their pieces to threaten the criminals with guns they almost always cause additional civilian casualties.

A gun in your pocket makes you feel powerful, nothing more. It doesn't make you able to stop crime. Training and some actual fucking courage do that.

You want a great example of how to stop crime? Look to those trained folks who stopped that attack on on a train in France a few months ago. They handled a touch situation unarmed. Because they had training and courage.

Guns don't give you courage. Not being a terrified pissant hiding behind a need for a feeling of metallic power gives you courage.

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Google, didn't you get the memo? Stop trying to make Google+ happen

Trevor_Pott
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Re: They did their dash with me

@Stephen Jones, Dr of fuck all:

You're full of shit. Google isn't selling advertisers my information. Merely access to put their ads in from of me. They don't sell my profile. They sell the ability to put an ad in front of profiles that match given criteria.

Perhaps you need to be better educated to understand the difference? It's a pretty goddamned big one.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: They did their dash with me

"Easy test. Go watch about two dozen videos on YouTube that are out of your normal viewing habits, like "epic plane crashes" or somesuch. Then delete your viewing history. Then note that YouTube is making suggestions for you based upon what you just watched. How's it doing that if you supposedly deleted your viewing history?"

It's associated with your IP address. Google builds two simultaneous profiles: one attached to your user and one to your IP. This can be tested simply: log out of your user and see if the suggestions are the same. For me, they aren't. I start seeing stuff better tailored to my wife, or to the business account that I use for research.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: They did their dash with me

I see quite a lot of duplicitous language, such as the oft-used myth that "computers do it, so it's all OK" - oh really? And who programs those computers?

Who cares? I've programmed lots of things that crunch data I don't actually see. In fact, I've programmed things that crunch sensitive data, extract just enough information to establish trends then jettison the original sensitive data.

Why should I assume there is a nerd manually examining my data? I don't even assume Microsoft does that. (Though I do assume they give all my data to the NSA, since they're so chummy.) What I do assume is that Microsoft has algorithms that hunt through everything looking for information that is of commercial competitive value. Microsoft conducts industrial espionage, of this I am 100% certain. I have been given no reason whatsoever to believe that Google does.

Also let's not forget it was Google who was fined $22.5M by the FTC in 2012 for explicitly developing and deploying a method by which it could track Safari users despite the tracking prevention being enabled

It was Google who got CAUGHT doing this. I am 100% positive that Microsoft have done the same thing, and more. They are every bit as keen on tracking everyone all the time as Google, Facebook or Apple.

"The other thing they are not upfront about is your ability to opt out of Google Analytics. You know what their advise is? You should INSTALL something to opt out - why not simply follow the Do Not Track flag that most browsers now have, or would that make it too easy for people to drag Google again into court if it did regardless?"

This is one of the few valid complaints that I agree with. From Google's point of view DNT is about *advertisers* tracking you, so they see Analytics as a separate thing. (And frankly, I'm more than happy to ally website operators to see some basic data about me, but don't want advertisers to track me. That's just me, however.) I don't think that it should require a cookie to be placed on your system. That said, we don't currently have another mechanism to differentiate between the two types of information. That isn't an excuse - Google could be leading the charge to create one - but I can at least sort of understand their point of view, even as I disagree with it. I emphatically don't think it's malicious.

That's the thing, I guess. Google's entire income is based on building a profile of you and selling advertisers the ability to put an ad in front of the right audience. They spend a lot of time trying to walk a tightrope between what is okay to do to build that profile and what is not. Google is also huge. I can believe that some groups go overboard while others would not approve of the same actions.

Microsoft, on the other hand, seems to make decidedly hostile choices which are all the more galling because tracking you is such a small fraction of their income. Microsoft violates your privacy and compromises your data sovereignty because they CAN. Not because they have to.

With Google, we know what we're getting. They're selling us nothing so we're the product. With Microsoft, we're paying spectacular amounts and they're STILL screwing us over, privacy-wise. It's not okay.

Google are not the good guys. I acknowledge this.

But Microsoft are worse. They lie repeatedly about how very much they are the good guys, then behave just as badly - frequently worse - than those they deride. Give me someone overtly evil over a well trained conman any day. At least I know where I stand with the openly evil fellow.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: They did their dash with me

@AC RE: Google TOS

Good catch.

Re: "The main issue I have with Google is that NONE of their actions have inspired any trust."

But they haven't really done anything to break it either. They've been pretty up front about things. They've made some mistakes, but there has been no protracted campaign of lying or denial that I know about. (Except possibly the WiFi snooping thing.) They've been pretty up front that they slurp data and use it to advertise at you.

Microsoft pretty much seem to lie about everything by default, then backpeddle slowly until they reach a point where the screaming has died down to a dull roar. That's what politicians do when trying to pass bills people don't like. I don't want that from my software company.

I mean, okay, I don't really want Google-style building a psychological profile of me either, but the choices seem to be "a company that will spy on you and charge you a lot to do so", "a company that will spy on you and charge you nothing to do so" and "a company that will spy on you while denying they do so and then blame everything on you when it's proven that they are lying."

So I guess I'll go with the one that doesn't charge me to spy on me? Least shit option of a bunch of really not very appealing options.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: They did their dash with me

*shrug*

Okay, Google are horrible at collecting data. That's a fair point. But...

1) They aren't collecting the data at the operating system level in a means that can't be turned off and firing it back to the mothership. (ASOP does collect data at the OS level, but does actually honour privacy commands, and in the latest versions doesn't come all creepified out of the box.)

2) They have clear, simple controls for your privacy all in one place (though admittedly online) and the ability to nuke out everything they ever stored on you.

Caveat A) That is associated with your Google account.

Caveat B) You do have to trust they are actually deleting it...though they haven't really done anything yet to make me think they don't. Eventually. I am curious as to the time before the core data (and not just the association with the identifier) is deleted.

Caveat C) Google's creepy snooping is pretty well understood so there ate lots of browser plug-ins to stop them.

3) Google probably aren't "selling your data" to advertisers. That's actually silly, from an economic point of view. They are probably selling advertisers access to individuals who meet certain criteria. This gives Google the control. The advertisers have to constantly go to Google in order to get their data in front of your eyeballs.

It doesn't make sense to think that advertisers get a great big spreadsheet that says "Trevor Pott, Age: Feck Off, Likes: Fishkeeping, Gardening, Global domination", etc. Simply handing that data over to the advertisers means they don't need Google any more.

Depending on the details of this, and on Google's restrictions and controls about making what amounts to my complete psychological profile available to governments, my competitors, enemies, exes, leprechauns and so forth, I am mostly fine with that. (I realize not everyone is.)

Advertisers want to put an ad in front of me and Google is going to (mostly anonymously, at least as far as anyone other than Google is concerned) try to make sure the best ad gets in front of me? Okay. Since I choose when and where I view ads (thanks, Adblocker, Ghostery, etc), I am okay with that. Mostly. There are niggles related to Android.

Where I get squiggly is things like "invading my e-mail because you think a source of mine might have snuck me insider information" (see: Microsoft) or handing my info over to the spooks. Those are things I don't like. Here, I am more comfortable with Google's handling of these issues than I am Microsoft's. Apple is somewhere in the middle. Apple seem to have good intentions, but shitty execution.

So...I don't know, is Google really the Big Bad All Seeing Evil? It really depends on two things:

1) Exactly who can see how much of the psychological profile of you that they construct. If it's basically just bots and scripts, we're cool until the singularity.

2) When they say they delete it, do they actually delete it?

I wish Google would provide answers. Or Microsoft. Or Apple. Or anyone. And answers we can trust. Maybe from a non-US subsidiary. Because national security letters could let HQ lie.

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NetApp revenues and profits decline again despite positive spin

Trevor_Pott
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Storage consultants

Guys, can you please just get a measuring tape and snapchat and get this over with?

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Microsoft chief Satya drops an S bomb in Windows 10, cloud talk

Trevor_Pott
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Re: "why not try for devotion?"

@a_yank_lurker

I do understand the market. Microsoft owns the large enterprise market. Thus, as I said, it is enough to sustain Microsoft, but isn't going to provide them growth. Especially as tomorrow's large enterprises are today's SMBs. Alienating them doesn't build your future.

Shareholders demand growth. Where is it going to come from if not the hoi polloi so readily dismissed by Microsoft and it's devoted acolytes?

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: "why not try for devotion?"

And here, ladies and gentlemen, is devotion. The willingness to honestly and earnestly believe that trust doesn't matter. The ability to convince one's self that anything which gets in the way of belief is simply irrelevant.

Witness it in it's glory. Simply believing that such a thing as an "acceptable privacy cost" exists is the first step. But to sidestep issues of trust around end user control over their own devices, applications and operating systems as irrelevant? That's devotion.

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Re: "why not try for devotion?"

Maybe we aren't. Everyone has different things that matter to them. Microsoft is catching up in some areas (containers, for example) but is at par in most places and completely wrecking the competition in others (hybrid on premises/hosted/public self service virtualization a.k.a "hybrid cloud").

Let me be perfectly clear here: while Microsoft may be behind on individual features with individual products very few companies have the hybrid infrastructure, automation and orchestration capabilities of Microsoft. Fewer still make those capabilities as easy to use.

Openstack is possibly more comprehensive than Microsoft's stack, but is harder to use. (Which, given how horrible System Center is, is saying something.) ZeroStack is a startup that removes a lot of the installation and configuration headaches for Openstack and provides a decent user experience, but they do so through a SaaS management plane riddled with data soverignty concerns that they don't seem to care to acknowledge, let alone address. There are a handful of other Openstack offerings that might be useful one day, but aren't quite there yet.

Yottabyte has a hybrid cloud that isn't as feature rich as Microsoft's yet (they're missing the app store) but is otherwise fucking spectacular to use. Sadly, they're too small to be a real threat quite yet.

VMware has all the pieces of the puzzle, but they cost a mint, are crazy hard to install and even harder still to use in concert. (How the hell do you make something more miserable than System Center, I ask you?) VMware does the basic virtualization quite well. They even do basic hybrid cloud in an almost usable way. But they are completely worthless at automation and orchestration. Which is why they only have a handful of customers for those software layers.

Cisco has a complete-ish offering based on Openstack, but they are still putting the pieces together into something cohesive. They'll be a threat in a few months, if they don't flub it.

IBM's Softlayer can be pretty awesome, but nobody can afford it.

LOL, HP.

Beyond this I could start putting together stacks of software and they'd amount to what Microsoft has, but they'd be almost a dozen vendors. Almost all of which are startups that may or may not be there in two years.

So, for my money, Microsoft have some great technology that is better than most of what is on offer elsewhere. At least on the infrastructure side. Unfortunately, they're liars and scoundrels. Even more unfortunately, they're terrible at UIs and don't even know it. They measure themselves only against other large software vendors, all of whom are also terrible at UIs. But there are a whole bunch of startups out there who are great at UIs, and they have some compelling offerings on the table.

The next few years will be interesting, but for Microsoft I think it will mostly be with them serving as an example of how to get everything so close to right but not quite get the cigar.

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Re: "why not try for devotion?"

I don't know, from an end user side, you're probably correct. From an administrative side, however...their vision of hybrid cloud computing is actually quite compelling. Many of the technologies they've developed are quite good and they have provided perhaps the most complete and relevant offering in the space.

The problem is that their execution is entirely one sided and utterly lacking in trust. To be blunt: they got all the hard stuff (the technology) right and all the easy stuff (privacy, data sovereignty) wrong. They say one thing out one side of their mouth but do something different in practice. They break the faith as a matter of course.

For me, at least, that's what's so damned frustrating. I can make a convincing argument for why Microsoft have the best vision for the future of tech, the best technology on the table today and the best roadmap to get from today to a pretty kickass future. Unfortunately, taking advantage of this neato stuff means trusting absolutely in a company that has proven they aren't worthy of it and have zero interest in being worthy of it in the future. That's a huge problem.

I could see myself being devoted to the Redmondian vision. It's a really cool vision. In fact, it's so cool that I find myself wanting to believe in it, despite everything Microsoft has done. When you really learn how all the bits go together it's amazingly compelling.

But there are big huge problems in execution and in trust that shouldn't have to be there. They are there because Microsoft made a choice, and that choice was to pretend that privacy and data sovereignty simply didn't matter. Even users having control over their own systems didn't matter. (Let along users being able to license their systems in perpetuity, which Microsoft has become very against of late!)

Microsoft have a narrow vision of the world based on echo chamber use cases. They view the world only through the lens of USian large enterprises who are immune to data sovereignty concerns, can easily obtain insurance or legal indemnity against privacy concerns and are completely immune to boom-and-bust economics.

On the one hand, USian large enterprises are a huge revenue source. On the other hand, the majority of businesses in the world are SMBs and the majority of those are located in (and subject to) boom and bust economies. Microsoft made it's choice. It chose a niche to cater to and that niche isn't "the majority".

That is enough to keep a large company going. It isn't enough to see growth for that company. To see growth, they need to start at least paying lip service to those niches they wrote off as irrelevant years ago.

The question is: will the denizens of those niches fall in line? Or will they say "hold, enough"?

The vision is compelling. Unfortunately, it might also be fatal for those who choose to believe in it.

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For the same reasons that through the ages various religions have mouthed pieties whilst engaging in the unspeakable: they want not only money, but power and, through the exercise of that power, control.

Unlike governments, Microsoft has been unable to obtain power through fear. It thus needs to obtain power through devotion. So it will say whatever needs be said to obtain that devotion, but do not under any circumstances expect it to practice what it preaches.

Both fear and devotion have a rich history of causing people to forget the past. Since Microsoft has failed at using fear, why not try for devotion? It has worked for other tech companies.

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"Nadella spoke about trust as both at the core and central to Microsoft's mission"

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

*breathe*

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

*thud*

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

*wheeze*

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA....

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US govt just can't hire enough cyber-Sherlocks

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Ahhhh... the gall!

Has little, I think, to do with wages. Private industry can pay more, but not that much more. There are always people willing to take a government job if the benefits are good even at a lower wage.

No, I think the bigger issues are around how hard it is to jump through the FBI's hoops to get hired. (It can take years of your life and is absolutely humiliating. It can even require you to renounce relationships with friends/family/lovers and drive them out of your life if they don't meet the given standards.) That, and quite a few folks who do this IT thing are also civil libertarians, so view the FBI as the bad guys. Both of those probably make recruitment hard.

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The FBI are just as much the enemy as the people they hunt

If you're going to work for a band of amoral cyber criminals with no respect for privacy, decency, due process or the rule of law why not work for the amoral cyber criminals that pay more?

If you wanted to do the right thing in life you sure as shit wouldn't work for Encryption Backdoors McStupid and the Constitution Destroyers. You'd probably work for something like the Boys and Girls clubs and put your time and effort into ensuring they have the quality IT necessary to help real people.

Well. You. Me. There's some projection here. That's what I'd do if I wanted to do good. You, whomever you are...well...someone elected the nutjobs that appointed these FBI cranks...

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iPad data entry errors caused plane to strike runway during takeoff

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Using toys as tools...

"If all electricity fails in flight (including all backup systems) in a modern airliner, then it will not be flying much further, and not being able to recharge the iPad (which was the actual point raised) will be the least of the problems."

Only if all the electricity fails in flight. I imagine that, like almost every other electrical system designed, there are ways that electricity can fail to just the cockpit outlets. And there are certainly protocols where the cockpit can be ordered locked for the flight.

Loss of electrical power to where you might recharge your tablet does not by any means mean loss of power for flying the plane. Nor should it. That would be horrible design.

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Re: Using toys as tools...

@Vic

Being a pilot doesn't seem to have gifted you with reading comprehension. Pity.

That said, I wish I was a "bullshit artist". I've met a few. Those who are good enough to properly earn the title "artist" seem to be quite wealthy. I think I'd rather like being that wealthy.

Unfortunately, you see, I'm really not all that clever. I learned a long time ago that telling lies means you have to track those lies. It makes life terribly complicated. With my ADD that's a really bad plan. So I tend to stick to the truth as much as possible. For varying values of truth, of course. Human memory, for example, is highly fallible. See: eyewitness testimony. But as a general rule, I tell the truth as I see it. Makes life easier, albeit rather less affluent.

I am happy to leave my veracity up to individuals capable of actual reading comprehension. They'll be perfectly able to see that while I may have been wrong about some details of how iPads are current used. (I assumed they were used for slightly more tasks than they currently are, based on how I have seen laptops used in various situations in aircraft before.) I did state my assumptions in various posts, along with the history behind the rationale for those assumptions, but at no point did I lie about anything.

Within the context of those assumptions - that the devices perform tasks which are technically non critical to flying, because backup procedures or skills should theoretically exist to compensate - I stand by my original assessment of why the Surface is not a good choice. Mostly because even if device is filling a technically non-critical role, lazy or overworked pilots absolutely can become dependent on that device anyways. It behooves the IT nerds then to presume criticality and pick the least worst option available.

Unfortunately for me, bullshit artistry isn't something that is easily learned. I don't think I'll be a millionaire on the back of my ability to bamboozle. Fortunately, reading comprehension is something that can be taught fairly easily, so there's hope for one of us.

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Re: Using toys as tools... @Pott

@BillG

Where am I evidencing brand tribalism, hmm? "iPad is the least worst amongst a bunch of options that are kind of all crap" is a hell of a long way from "Surface is trustworthy because Microsoft says it is and I trust them despite all the times they've broken their word".

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Re: Using toys as tools...

"If the 'electricity is not working' it will be fixed before the plane is allowed to take off."

And if it fails in flight? That's the thing you need to plan for. You don't need to plan for everything going to plan. You need to plan for it going pear shaped in the least convenient way at the least convenient time.

Please, never design a critical system for anything, ever.

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Re: Using toys as tools...

"For crying out loud, Trevor, cut out the bullshit. Earlier, you thought pilots were flying planes through their iPads."

No I didn't. You're full of shit, Vic.

"What you are suggesting is nonsensical. Aircraft are not designed to have laptops plugged into them[1]. Even if you can find a diagnostic port, you're not going to get to it without stripping out quite a bit of the interior, and even then you're not going to know how to control anything through it."

Not something like an ODBII port, no. But depending on the plane there absolutely are external sensors and diagnostics that will get plugged into laptops.

A plane's core bits that are required to fly the thing will always be built into the plane itself. Usually with redundancies. I never argued otherwise, and in fact have argued a few times here that this is how things are properly done.

That said, new things are added over time to make the lives of pilots easier, or to add non-critical features. These can - and do - get piped through things like the aforementioned laptop. Let me give you some practical examples.

1) On a smallish aircraft that did runs up to the diamond mines the plane was refitted to carry some fairly nasty chemicals. Sensors were added to detect these chemicals and the computer that detected issues buried alongside the other computers. This computer had no primary display (other than a warning light) and no input directly. Detailed information was accessed and filtered entirely through a laptop. This was the same laptop that held mapping information, handled weather reports (which, incidentally, was actually handled by another computer buried in the plane, and merely displayed and filtered by the laptop) and also was used to receive text alerts from the local mining camps when the plane was in range. (I have no idea what the alerts were for, or how the plane received them.)

2) I remember a laptop being used as the interface to a new (IIRC it was a prototype and still in testing) security system for a plane. There were all sorts of sensors in the cargo hold that were beyond what was originally fitted. The thing also (for reasons I do not understand) was tied into bathroom usage. Again: the computer vacuuming up the data wasn't the laptop itself. It was merely how you got at the data in question.

" Do you really imagine we'd put anything into that to allow remote control from a laptop?"

No. I don't. I never did. In fact, I expect you'd use an analogue computer or a really hardened real time embedded digital computer. I can think of no modern commercial OS or system I'd trust to run avionics.

So get bent, mate. At no point did I say anyone flew a plane using a laptop. I said they were used as the primary interface to systems that were typically added after the fact. By this very definition that can't be critical to flying the plane because the bits required to fly the plane are the things that there will be controls for.

Adding more computers to a plane doesn't make those computers essential to flying the plane. You don't need a computer to fly most planes. (Well, not a digital computer, in any case. The need for analogue ones in some circumstances has been well proven.) Those planes that do need computers (analogue or digital) absolutely have every control you need to access and interface with those systems available without third party interface required.

That doesn't mean those third party systems which are used only to access "extra data" don't eventually become mission critical, in spite of themselves. Might I also suggest that as someone who flies light aircraft as a hobbyist you're more likely to do things the old fashioned way and take pride in maintaining the pen-and-paper skills?

A commercial pilot - especially ones who are on the "work is a pain in the ass" side of the spectrum might come to rely on the theoretically non-critical third party tools too much making them more mission critical than originally designed. Which is something that anyone doing IT design needs to account for.

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Re: Using toys as tools...

"No you haven't.

You have crossed over into fantasy-land. Please return to topics you know something about."

Yes I have. Back in the day the laptops themselves weren't powerful enough to do much, and there were systems on the aircraft which gathered (non critical) data. The laptops were the control interface. Now that interface was mostly "select between information sources" or "filter the data to deliver me this information", but that's what they did.

And why would that even be a bad thing? It's just burying the extra oomph in a wall somewhere. Now, that was long enough ago that it wouldn't apply today. Your average phone has more than enough heft to do all that and more besides. It can listen to a dozen satellites, broadcasts and what-have-you and parse the data for display without breaking a sweat.

Wasn't always the case though. Mind you, back then, it was more of a novelty, and people still used paper books, manuals and charts a lot more.

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Re: Using toys as tools...

" It is not like pilots randomly walk into unknown planes with random devices and get surprised by electricity not working."

Sure it is. Faults develop in airplanes just like any other workplace. if you don't anticipate these sorts of issues on an airplane, people can die. That's why you must have contingencies for absolutely everything. Clearly you've never worked in such an environment. Too bad, there's a lot to learn about proper IT architecture by having to design for failure.

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Re: Using toys as tools...

"Just one concern, I had two iPads lock up, on the same day. Access to all applications ceased.

I later worked out that it was 365 days since they had been connected to iTunes.

This alone makes them unsuitable for mission critical applications."

Now that is interesting. I haven't heard of that one...though I sadly do believe it is entirely possible. Worth investigating,a t the very least. You're right, it might make iPads pretty bad for any situation where they weren't regularly returned to base for service. Of course, if simply rebooting them gets them back to what they need to be, and they don't lock up again, that might be an acceptable glitch.

A one-time characterized event that is easily recoverable from in a short timeframe isn't the end of the world. It's the unpredictable ones over which you have no control that are the real problems.

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Re: Using toys as tools...

@ James Micallef

Well, based on some input from actual pilots for what these devices get used for, I understand better which systems they are augmenting and replacing. The short version is: no, they aren't replacing systems that are critical to flying.

The long version is that despite them technically not being "mission critical", they in reality are mission critical. Many of the things that pilots have for decades done manually are being done on this iPad. Especially things that required a lot of maths.

Every pilot - even the non-commercial ones - is trained to do this stuff by hand. The problem is that if you do this with the assistance of a computer often enough, the "do it by hand" is no longer second nature. And that becomes an issue, especially in stressful situations.

In the past, this sort of thing was done by a (typically not very reliable) laptop awkwardly bolted into whatever space it would go in the cabin. It was never a good fit. And the computers that this laptop served as an interface to were not the sorts of things that controlled the plane. They provided information (maps, positioning, even weather updates, calculated course corrections,) to the pilots. I can absolutely see how an iPad is eleventeen times less awkward.

The iPad isn't used to control the plane directly. Despite this, I can see how it easily becomes a very heavily relied-upon tool.

So that a grey area. Properly trained pilots who maintain their skills despite having more convenient tools available to deal with the miserable stuff won't have problems if the iPad goes kablooie. That said, we live in a world where pilots aren't paid enough and work stupid hours.

I argue neither the iPad nor the Surface are adequate for the task. Given the task to hand, however, I believe the iPad to be the least worst choice and thus the logical choice. The Surface may in fact be the worst choice (though, TBH, Android probably is the worst choice), as it is most likely to go completely fucked from an official mechanism (not an application going bonkers.)

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Re: Using toys as tools...

"Not as part of the fitted avionics. The amount of work to certify any flight equipment is extensive; anything that goes in a cockpit is well-qualified and expected to work reliably for the lifetime of the aircraft. Consumer-grade kit just doesn't meet the grade."

Well, to be fair, most commercial-grade kit doesn't meet the grade either. Not for the stuff that's properly built in. But there are lots of things in any modern cockpit that a proper commercial pilot is trained to do without, but which are used on every flight anyway that aren't fitted in. I've seen laptops used as the sole interface to multiple systems for these sorts of systems (as those systems don't have inputs and displays of their own.) My assumption at the outset was that the iPad was replacing these. The laptops in use for this purpose were never really fit for purpose to begin with.

"There will always be a place for tools - I still carry my CRP-1 on most flights, even if I also carry a tablet running SkyDemon. But these are pilot aids only; it is the pilot's responsibility to assess the results from all of these tools and act appropriately - discarding anything he suspects to be erroneous."

Agree 100% with the pilot's responsibility bit. Though I do question the "always a place for tools". While I haven't been in any of the larger Airbus cockpits, the larger Boeings don't leave a lot of room (not for equipment that might become a projectile and thus must be secured.) Smaller cockpits offer even less room.

"I really don't think you understand the requirements."

Always possible.

"Have you actually been in an aircraft cockpit?"

Dozens of times. For commercial cockpits at least. I've never flown a commercial craft - my experience flying is limited to some dinky little Cessnas - but at one point I very seriously considered "pilot" as a job. I gave up when I realized there physically wasn't a lot of room to do anything, and I would spend my entire career banging into everything.

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Re: Using toys as tools...

"Regardless of this, the current generation Surface 4 has about the same battery life as the vastly inferior Surface knockoff Ipad Pro (9-10 hours of continuous use)"

Can't speak to the iPad pro, but the wife's iPad mini gets 16 hours of continuous use. Also: the iPad isn't inferior if the purveyor of Surface can't be trusted. And since Microsoft can't be trusted, a paper bag full of shit is superior. Just sayin'.

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Re: Using toys as tools... @Pott

"Yes. It can. Provide proof if you want to be taken seriously."

The proof is in Windows' own history. Even on systems configured with WSUS or System Center it has installed patches against the express configurations of administrators. I've seen this myself and there have been plenty of similar complaints to litter the net. Google is your friend.

In addition, Microsoft has very clearly and publicly violated the sanctity of the update process for non-enterprise versions of Windows. Repeatedly. And done so against the express configurations of users. The number of times that you need to "hide" Windows 10 patches (because some other patch unhides them and they then reinstall in the next go) is insane. For that matter, downloading and installing an entire operating system against your will is not cool. Doubly so over mobile connections.

A company that does these things can't be trusted to provide a patch system that installs what you want and only what you want and does so only on a schedule you provide.

And for the record "installing only what you want" is far more important than when it installs. If it installs things you haven't vetted and are 100% certain work you're hosed.

"You're implying that instead you trust Apple in a life-and-death situation. That's beyond stupid. And this even isn't a critical system."

No, you don't actually read entire posts. I am saying, and have said multiple times, that the iPad is the best of a bunch of terrible choices, and that I trust them far more than Microsoft. Trusting Microsoft ever is beyond stupid.

"Except that the device doesn't last the entire flight as you've been told."

Except that it does. We've been told by a pilot that these devices are used for more thank just initial input. Thanks, but go fuck yourself.

"Try not to insult at first."

Why not? You have no issues with it. Or are you just aiming for claiming some moral high ground because you have nothing to offer except your own personal (and misplaced) trust of Microsoft? Brand tribalism is a piss-poor reason to choose technology.

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Re: Using toys as tools...

"Neither will any ipad. Luckily planes have power available."

You cannot assume that. Not for mission critical gear. The power bus the sockets run on could go for any number of reasons. If the pilots are, for whatever reason, required to lock down the cabin then they may not have access to a power port to charge from. You have to design for that...at least if the devices are critical.

It's be way the hell better for there to be non-computer backups to do everything that iPad does, however. That's the best means of dealing with power availability issues.

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Re: Using toys as tools...

@Dave Horn

"The iPad is completely locked down by Apple and has limited RAM"

A big problem and a very valid complaint, depending on what's running on it.

"Tasks that require a lot of CPU horsepower - take off performance, for example - take bloody ages on an iPad but are instantaneous on a Core i5 laptop."

Absolutely. No questions about this. In my case I was presuming that the iPad's use was primarily as an input device for computers that simply didn't have user inputs available due to space. If you are actually trying to run real applications on the thing that need real horsepower, the iPad becomes a bad choice in a right hurry.

"Half the apps don't survive an iOS upgrade without glitches - at least .NET doesn't tend to break between Windows Updates"

No debate here. This is very true. The difference is that you can hold the updates on the iPad until IT has tested the patches and made absolutely sure that every single thing works fine. You simply cannot trust that a Windows device will honour this setting. It isn't about the patches breaking. It's about knowing that you have that level of control over the device. I do not trust Microsoft gives us that level of control, full stop.

"Battery life is also an issue on the iPad; generally it won't get you through more than about 2 sectors without needing a top-up and we all carry external power packs to help."

Battery life is better on the iPad than on anything else out there. That said, if you are running number crunching applications that are demanding enough to choke an iPad in the first place you're going to have all sorts of problems with power, no matter the platform. (In case there's a problem with the power bus or ports in the cockpit.)

That leads to having to have a power solution that isn't charger based. Power packs are one option, but only if you can guarantee you'll handle the whole flight's worth of power like that and not give up too much valuable space. I suspect you'd need more power for the i5-based systems.

"Personally I'm not convinced that the iPad is the way to go and other airlines are starting to feel the same way, with multiple major carriers moving to the Surface 3."

I'm not convinced the iPads are the way to go either. I personally think they're absolutely awful devices and I hate them with the burning passion of 10,000 suns. But I am absolutely convinced that Surface devices bring with them even more problems.

What it really boils down to for me is that Microsoft can't be trusted with people's lives. Any computer can glitch, but I no longer believe that we have the control over Windows systems required to put them in mission critical positions.

Which leaves us choosing between a bunch of shit choices and trying to decide which risks are more risky and not actually having something fit for purpose. Grand.

I wonder if the latest Atom-based units aren't the acceptable midpoint here?

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Re: Using toys as tools...

@ James Micallef

First of all, nothing about iOS devices is "personal use". iOS devices are probably the most secure mobile devices currently available (though QNX might be better, Blackberry as a company is thoroughly compromised and cannot be trusted. No QNX mobiles are available without Blackberry intercepting everything.) iOS were crap for enterprise management. This is simply no longer true, and they are excellent enterprise devices for the few use cases where a mobile device is required.

"If they're using it as a pre-flight data input, not necessary. If needed and essential through all the flight, there should be backup, whether it's an extra charger or extra device. Manufacturer / OS is irrelevant"

How is a battery life that lasts an entire trans-pacific flight not a backup? And how do you know that even if the charger is available the electrical system/outlet/whatever will be online and able to power it? I think it makes a lot more sense to stick with the device that lasts as long as it is needed.

"I'm sure there are plenty of developers for both iOS and Windows"

I'm not. Not for apps that require touch input. Certainly the balance of good ones isn't on the side of Windows. Why don't you try actually hiring some and see how that goes for you. iOS developers that can make good UIs are cheep and cheerful. Windows? Not so much.

"AFAIK Windows Surface devices are pretty stable and can be set up to not auto-update, and would be so set up as a corporate device. As I pointed out in the beginning, if it's a personal device that's an automatic fail anyway."

Except this isn't true. Microsoft says that this is possible. Microsoft can't be trusted to tell the truth because they have broken trust by violating the sanctity of the update mechanism. You don't bet lives on a company saying "trust us". You analyze the actions of the company. And those actions say that they cannot be trusted.

Enterprise management for iOS, however, has moved from strength to strength over the years, and there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to doubt patch management processes in iOS. Doubt the patches, fine. There have been some shit patches. But Apple has kept the fail on the patch system. Microsoft hasn't. Simple as that.

"They need a device which will work with $external_device or $external_interface; in the mobile world, that always means iOS support.

Why?"

Well, I'm starting from the assumption that they use this device for more than simply inputting flight data. My guess is that it is the interface to any number of computers that don't have keyboards and screens. Mostly because there physically isn't any room in the cockpit to put one for every single system, especially on jets that have been overhauled at least once, and whose computers have multiplied since the original design.

If this is the case, then as the input device of choice it probably hooks up to various diagnostic tools and sensors. I've seen iPads used on planes as the back end for ticket readers, amongst other things. I've had people examine my passport (along with my tickets) when moved up to first class. I imagine the iPads onboard might get pressed into similar service.

if not, hey, bonus. But "if you build it they will come". Hell, taxi cabs as festooned with any number of devices (up to and including fingerprint readers) that back on to iOS. It is not exactly a stretch of the imagination to think that some (or even many) of these items might get pressed into service in an airplane. Especially when space is at such an absolutely premium in a cockpit, and iPads (along with their accessory ecosystem) are designed to be small.

"They need a device that anyone can use over the course of generations without retraining.

That's as valid for Windows as it is for iOS"

iOS hasn't gone through a bunch of radical changes in UI. Nor are those changes forced on users. Nor is there even a the barest hint of a question of a trust issue with iOS that settings to deny major upgrades will be overridden and you'll end up in the shit against your will. While it is certainly possible that Apple could change the interface dramatically in the next release, this isn't probable. That cannot be said of Microsoft. They have proven this is not something about which they care.

"Surely the important thing is that the App and/or program has a consistent interface, not so much the device?"

Are you using it as a single use device with only one application? In a cockpit where space is at an absolute premium? How do you get to that application? Does the thing always have it up? Boot into it? What happens if the application crashes?

You know what? Excepting under pretty special circumstances (typically embedded systems where the critical bits are in ROM and it will, guaranteed, always boot up the same way, into your application), the device UI does actually matter.

Now, if you want to point me at an iPad-like mobile device running an embedded OS that has all the bits required to make great touchscreen apps (including the developer and gadget ecosystems), then by all means, that's way the hell better. (Oh, QNX, what you could have been. If only Blackberry didn't sell everything we did to any government who asked.)

But that device isn't a Surface.

"Bottom line, this has NOTHING to do with the device and EVERYTHING to do with incorrect procedures (no double-checking of the inputs) and human error."

Yes and no.

It is absolutely correct that procedures exist to check this sort of data. I agree with that 100%.

What I don't agree with is that "any device will do". There are devices that would make this fairly crappy situation worse. Devices running Windows are among them.

The iPad and iOS isn't the perfect device. Not by a long shot. But it's the least shit of the available options for this requirement set.

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Re: Using toys as tools...

@sandtitz

"An application doesn't have to be "modern" to utilize touch. In Point Of Sale sector the operating systems are typically Windows/Linux and the GUI exposed to the end-user works beautifully with touch."

A valid point, however, the people who code this stuff well tend to be few and far between. There are umpteen horrific implementations, mostly because the APIs and frameworks aren't really designed for touch. In mobile OSes there's a whole new generation of developers who are used to touch...and the APIs that make it easy. The iOS ones they grew up on.

"No. Windows can be configured to patch and reboot on schedule."

No. It can't. It used to be something you could do, and (mostly) trust that it would work, but this is no longer true. Even when it was "true", there are plenty of examples of patches that downloaded and installed on systems even when WSUS was controlling them and the patches hadn't been released yet. I've personally gotten stung by them.

But more to the point, the very design of Microsoft's approach to patching means you need to trust Microsoft that patching will work how they say it will work, and they won't fuck with it. They've broken that trust. That means they can't be trusted. Which means "Windows can be configured to patch and reboot on schedule" and everything else related to patching boils down to "trust Microsoft not to lie about this".

I wouldn't trust them under normal circumstances. I absofuckinglutely won't when lives depend on it. They have lost that trust.

"I've had to fix iPhones and iPads that booted into recovery mode after an OS patch. Any device with a sufficiently bad patch can be hosed."

Absolutely. The difference is that iPads can be configured not to patch unless explicitly told to, and they will obey that configuration. There is no reason whatsoever to believe otherwise. Apple has never broken that trust. So patches can be held until well tested.

"And Windows at least gets patches. The first iPad was supported for only two years before Apple dropped support."

So? Why does this matter? Being "up to date" on patches simply doesn't matter anywhere near as much as having a stable, reliable system that you can trust. You can manage out-of-date systems many ways. Buying newer, up to date ones is a great example, and simple for the cost involved. Or you can build IDS and other security in at the network layer and implement policies that provide security for systems known to be out of date.

Being vulnerable to some security flaws is nowhere near as deadly or important as having a system that cannot be trusted to behave exactly as expected.

"You've moved the goalposts. First talking about $external_devices and @external_interfaces, and now Apple mobile gear? This Pad is working in a cockpit, Starbucks Interface isn't needed here.

Are you seriously claiming that there are more devices available for iPad with their proprietary connector than for USB? RDF is strong with this one."

I have not moved goalposts at all. I very specifically talked about mobile external devices and interfaces. You know, the sorts of small, low power things that you need in an aircraft cabin sensitive to EMF and where there is not a lot of room for things?

It doesn't matter if there are fleventy-five desktop-based USB dinguses out there. What matters is that the things needed are small, long-lived, low power, high quality and did I mention small? Because for this particular use case, that's the criteria.

"Please explain both sentences."

It's very simple: Microsoft cannot be trusted to provide software that does what they say it does. Do you need pictures? In crayon perhaps?

Patching systems are sacrosanct. You don't fuck with them. You don't abuse them to push advertising. You don't abuse them to push unwanted upgrades. You don't override them to make patches that were manually disabled reappear. You don't override them to push activation or DRM "updates" against the express corporate configuration.

Microsoft has done all of these.

Microsoft has violated the sanctity of their own patching systems and with it utterly ruined the trust any of us should have in those very systems. It does not matter whether or not Microsoft claim that you can control Windows patching using WSUS, System Center or anything else. Microsoft's word cannot be trusted in this regard and so the entire patching system cannot be trusted. As a result, Windows cannot be trusted for mission critical - especially life critical - tasks. Full stop.

You might trust them. You, personally. But the result of that isn't that Microsoft is trustworthy. It is that I will never trust any network where you have had input.

There are plenty of places where Microsoft's shenanigans and tomfoolery are perfectly fine. The systems don't perform roles where trust needs be an absolute. This is not one of those use cases.

"iPads are fine devices"

Actually, I hate them and think they're wretched. But that doesn't mean they aren't the best input device for the specific use case described here.

And for the record, I am presuming that they are not actually controlling the plane in any fashion, but merely passing inputs back to a computer stored elsewhere in the plane. One which doesn't have any other input device, because the plane was probably made 20+ years ago, overhauled several times, and there physically isn't any more room in that cockpit to put more keyboards and monitors. iPads, however, are self-contained keyboards and monitors and can be slipped in between the pages of a flight manual.

I'm also guessing the use the iPad for more types of input to different onboard systems beyond simply this one computer system. Hence the need for a device which lasts the entire flight.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Using toys as tools...

@Medixstiff

Windows and Windows CE are not remotely the same thing. I don't have problems with Windows CE, as an OS. Though, the truth is that I don't trust Microsoft enough to run mission critical stuff on anything they offer, so I still wouldn't use it. But Windows CE was a great tool in its day.

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