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* Posts by Trevor_Pott

3636 posts • joined 31 May 2010

Declassified documents show NSA staff abused tapping, misled courts

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Hysteria?

When the compromised people in government are General Alexander and James Clapper who run the entire show, then I feel it's entirely safe to assume that the whole goddamned thing is rotten.

You may believe in America Uber Alles but the Nazi rise to power was perfectly legal too. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, sir. The vigilant are screaming. You are in denial.

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Google scrambles to block backdoors

Trevor_Pott
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@Craigness

If the Canadian government requests an unencrypted copy of my data and they have a warrant, they'll get it. I also can't be sued by my customers for complying with Canadian law in this manner.

If the American government requests an unencrypted copy of my data, I'll tell them to kindly eat a sack of severed dicks. In doing so, I'll prevent myself from being sued by my customers by complying with Canadian law in this manner.

Do you have the capability and willingness to understand what I have written?

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Crack open those wallets: Microsoft is raising software prices AGAIN

Trevor_Pott
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Re: more footguns going off in Redmond

That would be me. And it's still true. The price hike for service providers is far more complicated than a simple money grab. This is emphatically not Microsoft footbulleting themselves.

*sigh*

Fine, I'll stir my stumps and write something on this...

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That earth-shattering NSA crypto-cracking: Have spooks smashed RC4?

Trevor_Pott
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Re: re: Why would we have known about it?

Um...the NSA is is part of the American military...

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Headmaster calls cops, tries to dash pupil's uni dreams - over a BLOG

Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Trevor_Pott

@Tom Welsh I'm a socially progressive, fiscally conservative centrist with libertarian tendancies but who doesn't buy into the complete libertarian package. I despise the hard core of the "left" as much as I despise the hard-core of the "right".

If you feel that I've mischaracterised the "tribe" you choose to associate yourself with, maybe you should take a long, hard look at the end result of the actions of that tribe. I'm a journalist, Tom. My job is to cut through the horseshit and to say the things other people find uncomfortable to hear.

You are free to try to convince me that the social doctrines of "the right" aren't based on establishing and maintaining social dominance over any other potential "tirbe" if you wish. I don't know what you'll say that will undo a lifetime of taking notes and living amongst "the right" every single day of that life...but you're free to try.

The right are about ownership. Of themselves, of their family members, of material goods, property, resources and ultimately other people. It is all about those with the most means being allowed to dictate terms to those with fewer means and no entity being empowered to stop them.

Those with greater means are attracted to the right because of this. That's simple and easy to understand.

The left is generally about being left alone with undertones of cooperation to mutual benefit. Again, that makes sense, because it encompasses (and attracts) those who know they don't have greater means and likely never will.

The part I find utterly fascinating is the tendency for those with virtually no means - but who also typically have virtually no education and a lower than average ability to understand the world about them - to also be attracted to "the right." They are easily swayed by the social messages of fear and hatred. Even more are swayed by the (utterly false) idea that they can somehow become individuals of means by believing what those with means believe.

A historic meeting occur ed recently between a recruiter for the KKK and the NAACP the other day. The most interesting thing to come out of it was that many of the recruiter's most violently anti-minority recruits admitted to being 25% mexican.

Humans associate with those they feel will make them powerful. Many amongst our race have not come all that far past Ug beating Grog over the head with a stone so he can drag Mig down the cave by her hair, rape her and obtain offspring.

In today's world, those traditionally in power (fat old white guys, for the most part...a demographic to which I belong, by the by) are losing that power. They are becoming ever more radicalized because of it; doing - and saying - ever more stupid shit in the desperate attempt to retain at least the illusion of power. There's your "right wing" today. Oh, certainly an overly broad generalization, but it hits the biggest cross-section.

The "left", on the other hand are reactionaries to the core. Composed mostly of people without any real power over their lives, they value anything that gives them the illusion of personal freedoms. They value communal resource sharing because they don't have the resources to go it alone.

They also have a nasty tendency to spawn super-reactionary NIMBYs and a whole other cadre of authoritarian types who work day and night to take power away from those who currently have it. "If I can't be the dominant ape, then by george, neither can you!"

Both "sides" are fucking idiots, IMHO.

There are right libertarians. There are also a metric fuckload of right authoritarians. The exact same can be said of the left.

What nobody on either side wants to admit is that the entire thing is about nothing more than dominance, and dominance is about sex. The driving force behind all of this ideology really boils down to "how can I stick my cock into the Alpha female" and/or "how can I get the Alpha male's cock shoved into me?"

Some of us have genetic predispositions that guide us towards choosing various elements of ideology over others. (Conservatism being one of those things we can actually test for at a genetic level now. I wish we could test for left-style authoritarian NIMBYism, but alas, we've not even come close yet.)

All of us have cultural training that guides us towards the selection of an ideology.

The intricacies of the ideologies are complex. They are over-rationalised and evolve over time to counter arguments that have a chance of making the holder of those ideologies look foolish...but it still all comes down to nothing more than dominance. And cocks.

As almost nobody can actually bring themselves to experience that level of self-awareness nor actually choose their ideology with that understanding - and a through exploration of their own genetic and cultural predispositions - I look down my long nose at the log of you. Primitive, emotional, instinctual brutes, the lot of you. I keep a veritable zoo worth of pets and I respect the pets more.

At least they don't have to lie to themselves about what drives them. That is a clarity of purpose I do respect.

Now, if you want to say I'm "heavily biased" against "the right" you can go right ahead. Live in your little fantasy world where I'm the evil Canuck that just hates the right wing. That's a hell of a lot easier to believe and it fits with gut feel better than facts.

Meanwhile, reality gives zero fucks what you think or why. It trundles on and so do I.

Cheers.

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Trevor_Pott
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@Ted Treen

Very American ideas of "left" and "right."

Let's try for some education here. There are multiple important elements to the "left" in most countries. The primary element is social progressiveness. It is entirely possible to believe that we shouldn't segregate blacks, burn witches, kill gays and ban porn or bad words whilst also believing that people should be free to do as they choose.

To generalize grossly: "right libertarians" believe in the freedom of the individual to oppress, belittle, besmirch, harm, defraud and even murder others. Their brand of "libertarian" is all about the "right" of individuals to establish and then maintain control over those around them, by force of might, force of charisma or by controlling the means of production.

"Right libertarians" typically believe in corporatism and viciously defend the "fundamental goodness" of the corporate veil (the right to commit any number of heinous crimes as a corporation but never have the consequences come to bear on the individuals owning or running that company.) They are very darwinian: your rights should really boil down to "if someone tried to kill you, you have the right to try to kill him back." That can be literal killing, or corporate/financial/what-have-you phaliic measurement and bludgeoning.

"Left libertarians" are pretty different. They believe that we all have certain fundamental rights (typically those laid out in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights) and that no entity - not government, corporation or individual - has a right to infringe upon them.

Right libertarians view the UDHR as a restriction of their rights. Left libertarians view the UDHR as a definition of their rights.

Left libertarians are all about privacy, the right to power over one's own life and the right to determine one's own future.

Right libertarians are all about the right to power over the lives of others and the right to harm others for personal gain.

Then, in the middle, there are centrist libertarians as well as individuals all up and down the spectrum.

Being "left" does not equate to a belief in "big government." Most "leftist" nations (such as Canada, Sweden, Norway, Finland, etc) are in fact fans of efficient government. They want some government programs (health care, policing, fire services,) but don't feel the need to have bureaucracy grow exponentially. They also don't seen the benefit in a massive military industrial complex because they simply don't have a desire to go forth and control the lives and beliefs of others.

People on the "left" who would identify as "left libertarian" (which covers a significant chunk, and is probably the biggest bloc of "leftists" after the aging NIMBY brigade) simply want to be left alone. They have a "you don't bother me, I won't bother you" mentality about life....but they will work together when they see an obvious benefit from doing so. That's where you get things like functional universal health care systems, policing and a military that does peacekeeping and disaster relief instead of trying (and failing rather catastrophically) to murder a bunch of brown people for their oil.

The problem with "right" versus "left" as it emerges in our political systems is that politics is so messy. There are way more dimensions than "left" or "right." There are plenty of authoritarian docuhecanoes amongst the "right" or the "left" of any nation. NIMBYs show up amongst the left as the cockferrets who are against quite literally anything and amongst the right as those desperately clinging to a morality the majority of their own nations no longer subscribe to.

So yes, "left libertarians" exist. They can even believe in things like centralized health care whilst still believing in the importance of individual liberties.

Try - if you can - to picture people who believe that they should have the right under any but the most exceptional circumstances to do whatever they want within the law...but who also believe they are equal to and no more important than anyone else.

These are the kind of people who believe personal privacy is important, but also see the value in a health care system that uses triage to determine who has the greater need instead of money. Let's use this latter as a real-world example.

A common American gripe about Canadian health care, for example, is that it takes too long to see a doctor if you go to the emergency room or would like an MRI/other type of test.

Right libertarians would be up in arms saying that they should have the right to buy their way to treatment. Anything else is infringing upon their rights.

Left libertarians look at it differently. In Canada, for example, in ER or test selection there are trained professionals making decisions about need. The guy with the bullet holes or the lady about to give birth gets to see a doctor before the kid with the scratchy throat regardless of how wealthy that kid is. Left libertarians see this as fair and equitable; we are all equal, regardless of means and part of our "liberty" is that you cannot "jump the queue" simply because you have greater means.

Sometimes, you end up waiting a long time. Sometimes, the doctors even make the wrong call and someone dies because they didn't get treated in time, when they might have had the money to simply buy treatment in an American-style system. It sucks. It's not ideal by any means...but we accept that this is the tradeoff for a more equal system that respects the rights of the individual.

The alternative is the American-style system where people die simply because those with means (but whose need is less urgent) bought their way up the queue and there weren't resources available to treat the less well-off. Most right libertarians I've met don't view this as unfortunate at all; many proudly say this is "darwin in action."

So there you have it. A short - and grossly generalized - overview of the beliefs of a "left libertarian". You may now commence frothing and demanding our scalps. We're used to it.

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Intel's Avoton Atoms give microservers muscle – and Xeon-class features

Trevor_Pott
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So, cutting through the shit on this...

...the new Atoms aren't Atoms at all. Instead of being really cut-down (to the point of being in-order) chips for Small CHEAP computers, they are in fact a slightly crippled Xeon with the clocks turned down and as much crap as they could possibly cram from the motherboard integrated into the CPU package.

The result: a mid-range (rather than CHEAP) server processor without the oomph to go up against a real Xeon or the price to go up against ARM or MIPS. In addition, you are sleepwalking into a future where you can't change motherboards (and/or changing motherboards doesn't matter) because all the bits you care about are integrated into the chip.

More money for Intel - as they are capturing a larger chunk of the silicon in your server/pc/switch/etc - without much of a climbdown on margin. That sounds great for Intel on paper...

...but I think they missed the part where the PC business collapsed overnight because Intel and Microsoft decided they had to kill the small CHEAP computer. CHEAP is the key here. It's what the market is demanding. When Intel and Microsoft tried to murder that concept the whole world went ARM and WinTel went from 95% of the endpoint market to 35%.

Something tells me their server guys are simply failing to learn from history here. There is nothing about what I read in this article that says to me "these chips will be cheap." Indeed, what I take away from this is "these chips will likely have even higher margins than the Atoms Intel tries to position against ARM on the endpoint side do."

You can change the CEO all you want, Intel, but it seems to me the cancer of "just not getting it" has far deeper roots than a sacrificial lamb or two...

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Snowden's email provider may face court rap after closing service

Trevor_Pott
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Re: The USA is the Nazi Germany of our era

Your omission is that the reason Germany was economically ruined was the completely nuts "reparations" they were forced to pay for their actions in WWI. Germany started it all with WWI and WWII happened because the allies got greedy.

Hitler may have been the most notable - and ultimately most hated - player, however, he was far from the only one. There's also a lot to suggest that while he was indeed a monster, he was not remotely the most monstrous of those who held power alongside him.

Germany's shame is the same as that of the Americans of the day and those of today: apathy. America of the day gave no fucks about what was happening to others based on human rights abuses. They are today no different. The only difference is that the first bricks in the road to having true monsters in power are being laid in America now.

Obama isn't Hitler, nor was Bush. (Though we could have an argument about Cheney.) The real monster will come in the not too distant future; a decade from now, two at the most. After all these rights have been curtailed within their nation and seem "normal" to the next generation. After 30 years of "foreigners aren't people" has been ingrained and embedded within the populace.

Then will the real horror start. Then you'll get a Bachman or a Palin or a pastor from Westboro Baptist Church with nuclear weapons.

I weep for the future.

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Microsoft cuts Surface Pro price by $100

Trevor_Pott
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Re: @mmeier

You assert but you don't explain. How is it bias? Explain the logical steps that lead you to call that "bias" and what you believe reality is.

I see consumers and businesses all around me every single day demanding more for less. They will pay less today for the same functionality as they would yesterday; it is a constant price pressure. I see other companies offering devices that suit my needs at the prices I want and then I buy those devices. That's the way commerce works.

You say it is bias because...what? Because I don't choose to pay more for less? I am somehow biased because I don't think that the Microsoft brand name is worth a few thousand bucks extra? Or am I biased because I value different things in my devices than you do, that I am willing to make different compromised on functionality versus price than you are, and that the compromises and choices I make are reflected in the choices of the overwhelming majority of people?

Explain this "bias." You assert and you assert and you assert, but you back nothing up with facts. I demand that a mostly usable system be provided with great battery life and a UI that is truly fantastic with a mouse and keyboard. I can take or leave touch as a feature, but if you have to include it then it needs to be in a convertible device where the interface is fucking excellent when a keyboard and mouse are used.

I never once said I needed the CPU to made out of sex and gold. In fact, I think you'll find I said "a netbook is a great thing" in an article not to long ago. I'm fine with my i3, thanks...in fact it's probably way more than I need in terms of horsepower.

I prefer to have the ability to upgrade my RAM. I like running VMs. They don't take CPU, but they do take RAM. That shouldn't be a burden, RAM is cheap, unless you are gouging your customers. I think you need an SSD, but companies like Sandisk offer you the ability to turn a small mSATA flash drive into a write cache for a spinning hard drive, so there aare lots of options to get speed without high price.

You assert that I want the moon on a stick for 24.99. I assert that I want a usable portable computer with great battery life. You assert it's impossible to buy such a device. I bought one a few months ago. You assert that "nobody delivers a full-powered convertible at 800€", whereas I see them all over the place.

"Full powered" means a processor at least as fast as that in my Galaxy Note 2 with as much RAM as the CPU can handle, enough NAND to make the system not suck and all-day battery life. You can get that from a fucking ASUS transformer nowadays. Intel sure as shit makes a few different chips that should be able to go nose to nose with a bloody Android device.

If Microsoft were building what people actually wanted instead of some retrofuture device that only really appeals to folks inside the echo chamber we wouldn't be having this conversation. It's entirely possible to build something with mass market appeal for the prices that people are willing to pay.

So cut the shit and get your nose out of MIcrosoft's ass. They fucked up and didn't deliver. End of.

Let's hope they can do better next time.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: @mmeier

Let me get this straight: in your mind, if I don't feel it is my duty to pad your profit margin that counts as "bias"?

The fuck, what?

Competitor A can provide me widget I want at price I desire. Competitor B cannot. I am "biased" if I choose competitor A because...how exactly? Fill in the blanks here, sonny. You've gone a might squiggly on me.

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Trevor_Pott
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@mmeier

I don't have an anti-MS bias. I have a "right tool for the job" bias. That includes everything from hardware to software to TCO to the attitude and long-term fitness of the company to be a vendor I bet my company on.

If Microsoft want to start putting out 13" convertibles that use Metro for touch and Windows 7's UI for productivity, I'll give it some serious consideration. Assuming it has the 18 hour battery life that I can get from my x230 with both the batteries in. Or at least the 12 hour battery life I get from my netbook. Battery life and proper inputs for productivity work matter to me, you see. My clients too, apparently.

My netbook recently died. I did a thorough review of every tablet, convertible, ultrabook, notebook and netbook I could get my hands on (which was most of what's on the market.) I ended up getting the Lenovo X230 with the extended battery and the external, attachable battery as the best compromise. With Windows 7.

I tried Windows 8 in many different variations, including a good sit down with both Surfaces. They simply didn't do the job.

Look, unlike the many and varied fanboys of the world I simply don't have time to be biased. I have a business to run, a significant chunk of which involves running other peoples' businesses too. I have my own personal affairs to attend to. A wife I actually want to spend time with. Hobbies and life goals that have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with computers.

I care that the widget does the job. I care that it does it for a price I can afford. I care that the widget's vendor is someone I can trust. I don't have time to fuck around with the widget, play with settings tweak some obscure, nerdy little preference or sit on hold for 18 hours waiting for support. When there are so many vendors out there that provide stuff that just fucking works, why the hell should I mollycoddle Microsoft when they fail to produce devices or software that are fit for purpose?

They are a multi-billion dollar empire. I give them money, they give me what I want. If they don't, I go elsewhere. Why the hell should I expect anything less than brilliant execution from a company with their resources? Why should I keep giving them more chances?

When they happen to make a technology or device that I find fit for purpose, I say so. When it's shit, I say so too. If your personal sense of self-worth is so wrapped up in a company's brand that you view that as biased then get bent. There are far more important things in life than some childish attachment to a brand name.

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Data protection bods Bocada list dog on senior management team

Trevor_Pott
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Another six months and that dog will be better qualified for management than a significant % of executives running the various technology titans. Certainly better at dealing with people...

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Make or break: Microsoft sets date for CRUCIAL Win 8.1 launch

Trevor_Pott
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Re: @ AC 1519h GMT - Question

No. They didn't change what people wanted changing. They made a series of half-asses pesudo-changes that don't actually meet the requirements people set forth whilst further reinforcing R&D into the options and configurations that people flat out don't want.

Saying Microsoft "did what people wanted" is like saying that a company selling whit shirts to a crowd demanding black is "Meeting demand" by selling blue.

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Big Mike heading for victory as SAM dumps HALF its Dell shares

Trevor_Pott
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Point of order

Icahn doesn't "do business." He UNDOES businesses.

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Peak Apple: Samsung hits DOUBLE the market share of iPhones

Trevor_Pott
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Gartner, Forrester, IDC and other AAA analysts are often given deeply NDAed closed-door briefings on such things that the rest of us don't have access to. Every major company I know of does it.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: This "Apple" company you speak of...

Yep. The same. The largest corporation in the world by market capitalization. The one named after a popular cultivar of a dessert fruit; coincidentally the same cultivar many others have named companies after.

They're DOOMED I tell you. Doomed.

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Lawsuit claims Microsoft misled investors in Surface RT fiasco

Trevor_Pott
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If telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth

without dissembling during calls with investors is to become a standard to which American executives are held, their economy is toast.

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There she blows! Mid-October release date for Windows 8.1 sighted

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Fail!

I did buy a Windows 8 tablet...but I put Cyanogenmod on it.

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Trevor_Pott
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I agree. Those OSX migration trials are absolutely stellar!

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DARPA calls Big Data boffins: Help us lock up everyone's privates

Trevor_Pott
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If you can defend your own datasets you can attack those of other people. And that's why DARPA cares.

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Elon Musk unveils Hyperloop – the subsonic tube of tomorrow

Trevor_Pott
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It's not just the exits, it's the fact that Californians don't understand the delicate art of signage. Such as placing your signs a decent ways before the turn. And perhaps indicating what side of the freeway it's on. Bloody 101 is a death trap...

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Trevor_Pott
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Eh, I'd use it. Almost certainly safer than driving.

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Xbox 180: Microsoft scraps mandatory Kinect policy

Trevor_Pott
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For once, Microsoft actually does the right thing.

Horsemen. I hear horsemen...

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It's now or never for old sysadmins to learn new tricks

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Move to (network) security

The need for security people is great. The number of those willing to pay for security people is few.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Great time for a morality(?) question, Mr Pott.

No, 404, you aren't crazy. I see the same things here. There are really only two paths forward on this: get engaged with some professional marketing wonks and start building a story around your company that says you are quality providers, not low-ballers. This doesn't mean you aren't SME friendly, but it does mean that the SMEs who have had bad experiences with their current guys and who are willing to spend a few quid more for decent service choose you.

The other path forward is to pull the eject handle. Leave the MSP racket behind, and with it, systems administration. I have to admit that this is what I'm in the process of doing. I maintain a few shops on my roster, but I"ll be honest when I say that's largely so that I have legitimacy when I write about this stuff. Writing and marketing are way better money than systems administration or development.

Ideally, I'll get another good marketing client and that will give me the buffer room to hire a sysadmin to handle the scut work. Then I think I can take on a few more sysadmin clients than I have. Honestly though, I think the days of "just being a sysadmin" - even as an MSP - are coming to an end in the SME space. It's hard to compete with the scum-sucking low-ballers on the local scene let alone the encroachment of over-the-net types from abroad.

If you have a sense of ethics and want to do well by your clients, but you play in the SME space then it may just be that in many cities you simply can't make a decent living any more. Each region will be different, so YMMV.

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Trevor_Pott
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I'm a contractor. Crazy stupid money, please.

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Trevor_Pott
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And yet, for the past 15 years those who've made the most money in IT are the hyper-specialists. That's changing, slowly.

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Snowden's secure email provider Lavabit shuts down under gag order

Trevor_Pott
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Three cheers for Ladar Levinson

Maybe if there were more like him - and those folks were the ones running the place instead of the current paranoid schizophrenics - we could treat the USA as adults.

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MS gets you hooked on Server 2012 Datacenter, jacks up the price for R2

Trevor_Pott
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Re: *ahem*

Working on it. I'd love to have a great excuse for you, but the reality is that I'm just so busy getting myself, my staff and my clients ready for VMworld I am only sleeping 2-3 hours a week. Time for research has been next to nil. That's not a good excuse at all and I feel terrible about not getting around to writing as much as I'd like, but it is the truth.

If it makes you feel better I'm training new sysadmin bloggers so that you have more voices than just mine; each with their own ideas and hopefully collectively we'll have more time to do research.

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Trevor_Pott
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@Anonymous FUD Coward

Hey look, it's the anonymous FUD coward! I was wondering where you'd been in many of the past Microsoft articles. I have a question for you, if you don't mind? I hear that MS is consolidating the different marketing groups into a single entity with the "One Microsoft" move. I know that's already caused some consternation and shakeup within Waggner Edstrom - as you can imagine they are having to bust out of old patterns and learn to do things a little differently) but I am wondering how it's affecting the "little guy" like you?

Do you see much in the way of management consolidation going on, or are they simply rearranging the coalface marketing types? I imagine the astroturfer brigade works hand in glove with the social media types; how has the move from multiple regions with independent astroturfers and social media bodies in to one group with one level of oversight and chain of command changed how you do your job?

More importantly, will you finally get together with the other Astroturfers and rationalize your FUD so that you are at least using true bullet points with credible hyperlinks to back them up and teaching eachother the tricks of the trade for making other believe them? Because you're just awful at it. (No offense, I blame management for not training you properly; I know from experience Microsoft has trained far better.)

But I'm very serious here; which arm are you with? Maybe next time I talk to one of the marketing wonks there I can recommend they send your entire office off to a junket to teach you how to actually not suck at FUD.

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Trevor_Pott
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@dogged

But they aren't up enough. Big Corp has nothing to do with "making a profit" or "growing revenue." It has everything to do with growing revenue beyond analyst expectations (which are largely numbers they pull out of their asses anyways.) Stock price isn't determined by market share, market capitalization, actual profits or reasonable growth. IT is determined only by meeting, beating or missing analyst expectations.

Windows 8 didn't meet analyst expectations. Neither did revenues. Need to bump that up, and the only way to do so is to squeeze the existing base like Oracle.

Customer? Fuck no, you're a hostage. From the looks of it, a well indoctrinated one. Denial isn't just a river in Egypt, fellow commentard. It seems that it exists deep in your heart as well. Please get on to Anger, Bargaining, Depression and finally Acceptance. You seem like a bright chap, and we're going to need all the brains we can get to start the very long journey away from Microsoft that our industry needs right now.

Just as moving off Oracle won't happen in it's entirety for some time - or IBM's mainframes, as a previous example - Microsoft will be around for a while yet. But the mass market portion of this exercise has concluded. Microsoft belongs up with Oracle and IBM's mainframe division: relics of the past and pushers of kit to those with extremely high-end - or very niche - needs.

Onward!

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Trevor_Pott
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*ahem*

I TOLD YOU SO

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Obama cancels meeting Putin in Russia, says Snowden 'a factor'

Trevor_Pott
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Re: how "dirty" the tar sands are

OOoooh. A hiway that has a nickname with the word death in it! So scary!

Of course, you don't actually talk about why. You just fearmonger. Which seems to be your MO. Let's discuss, shall we? Why is hiway 63 so terrifying?

Well, the answer is actually a pretty simple confluence of three factors. The first is that it is very, very long. So long that people have a natural desire to speed on it. Not regular speeding, but blindingly fast even for Alberta. The QE2 has got nothing on the morons tear-assing on that hiway.

The second is that the hiway has not been twinned. So it's just a couple of lanes with no median that if you want to pass the car in front of you you have to poke out into oncoming traffic, which is typically speeding and all too often using cars that don't meet Alberta safety regulations for having "always on" headlights.

The third item is that there are enormous trucks going up that hiway all the time. They are slow. They are difficult to get around. They are impossible to see around.

When you put the three things together you get some dumb shit poking his car into the oncoming traffic lane to pass an entire row of enormous equipment (that's probably 300m long) who then gets rammed head-on by some jackass doing double the speed limit.

The solution to this is simple: twin the hiway. Something that the government is in the middle of doing right now. So ooga booga hiway boogyman is far less the terrifying pamphlet-monster that will kill all the poor souls working in the oilpatch and far more "a problem everyone is aware of and one that the entire province agrees must be dealt with before we allow production to increase at all." Indeed, at least six separate projects are on hold - construction cannot start - until the hiway is twinned.

As for housing, Fort Mac got dispensation to create two new neighborhoods of dense urban housing and construction has already started.

Regarding manpower, I believe Newfoundland has not yet been completely depopulated, so we're still good. If we need more, we can just get the federal government to raise Alberta's immigration limit and there are an unlimited number of individuals from around the world eager to come work there for the $250K-$400K/year they pay.

I agree with you that the economic hit of oil production tapering off is indeed coming, but A) there's 100 years of oil left there at convention technology levels. B) Alberta is slowly diversifying it's economy because of the cash from the oil sands; we will be better positioned to deal with it as these other economic elements grow and replace the requirement for petroleum as a key sector.

I'm no fan or friend of the tar sands at all. I think they are disgusting and wastefull and we need to be moving away from them sooner rather than later. The issue I have with your pointless blitherings is that they have no connection to reality whatsoever.

Your arguments are straight out of Mike Hudema's ridiculous pamphlets and at the core of it boil down to "I do not believe that any amount of regulation can possibly make any form of mining activity - but especially tar sands mining - ecologically friendly for the simple reason that I believe companies will renege on their duties to rehabilitate mine sites and that governments will let them get away with it."

Of course, Hudema gets very angry when you present a list of mining and forestry companies that have done superb jobs of rehabilitating their mine sites and of massive government fines levied against those who don't...where the fines are calculated to be the cost required to rehabilitate the site properly.

Alberta has made mistakes, sure. We've let companies get away with some really bad stuff, damn right. But we're not British Columbia. We don't make a law that says "reforest of be fined" and then fine the company $5000 for not reforesting 1000sq km that they cut down for timber.

You also completely gloss over the political and economic realities facing the province - another Mike Hudema trait - in that for all the ills of the current regime the alternative is far, far worse. Bitch all you want about how evil the tar sands are, but you only alternative to the Tories in this province is the Wild Rose, and they so batshit insane the Tea Party denounced them. If you think for a second that they will do a better job of holding Shell's feet to the fire you're loony.

A nuke plant at Athabasca is the only realistic hope to mitigate the damage of the tar sands. Your fairy-tale Hudema-esque "just stop doing it right now" is not going to happen.

So quit pissing away your efforts on unicorn-chasing and start agitating for real-world solutions that will show tangible benefits for the people alive today and the children of tomorrow. Or, hey, bitch more on the internet. You'll convince all the powers that be to change everything that way, I'm sure.

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Re: @nonesuch

@zent1: we don't need you.

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Re: how "dirty" the tar sands are

BC Hydro's Site C still isn't enough to power the oilsands, and most of it's capacity is spoken for meeting the needs of the northern BC and north western Alberta communities. (Freeing up the more southern Hydro plants to sell more power to California.)

As for you "but they dig up the earth" bullshit, plug it. Yes, they dig up all sorts of muskeg - and damned little boreal forest, thank you - all of which can be restored. You are absolutely 100% right about the toxic ponds which I why I said that the majority of the power requirements are not for turning bitumen into usable oil, they are for refining and extracting the toxic minerals that go into the tailings ponds so we can deal with them in a far more ecologically friendly manner. Read my fucking post before gnawing on yet more of your leg.

Regarding your rampant anti-corporatism, there are a couple of issues with your logic. The first being that Alberta is nowhere near exploiting the tar sands "as fast as corporately possible." In fact, it has been estimated that we are using less than 10% of the possible extraction capacity given the supplies of equipment, manpower and the traffic density of hiway 53. Alberta makes companies looking to exploit tarsands go through an incredible amount of paperwork to get permission; a huge amount of which is "how will you restore the environment."

In addition to this, Alberta - and Canada more generally - is completely dependent on those tar sands. They are such a large part of our economy that if we were to simply stop tomorrow Canada could take something like a 20% hit to our GDP and our nation would collapse into a depression that would take us decades to recover from. It is not merely the cost of the oil, (and the resource taxes it generates,) it is the massive number of people it employs and the very high wages they get paid.

So you are simply flat out wrong and deeply misinformed. I don't believe for a second that we should be plowing ahead with pulling yet more oil out of the ground and burning it, but that is because I understand the science of climate change. I also understand economics and geopolitics and I am perfectly aware that nothing on this earth will stop that oil from being dug up.

So there are two choices before us: rail helplessly against the tar sands in general, waste our time and effort being completely fucking ineffective and worthless...or make sure that the fuckers to as little damage as possible.

If you want to make sure that they do as little damage as possible then you will do everything in your power to make sure that the nuke plant goes forwards. Because with that kind of electrical power we can not only cut the CO2 cost of refining bitumen into oil - a major factor - we can also make sure that we don't need toxic tailings ponds, because we can extract and refine the toxic metals from the waste products and deal with them in a far more ecologically friendly manner.

(I.E. react them with something that locks them up in a stable chemical compound that is non-toxic and then bury them in massive underground vaults designed for purpose. Because hey, with cheap electricity you can make cheap vaults out of non-toxic metals like iron or aluminium.)

But nope, we're right back to ranting-by-eco-pamphlet. Lots of angsty NIMBY talking points designed to get the normals all riled up...no actual understanding of the situation.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: how "dirty" the tar sands are

The problem with the BC Hydro approach - and it's been considered - is the transmission line length. The most promising BC Hydro projects for this would involve building dams on a couple of rivers right before they dump into the pacific. You want to truck that much power all the way to Ft Mac? Your line loss will be staggering.

Nah, I think sticking a GW of generating capacity in Athabasca is the best idea. Close enough to Edmonton to get reasonably cheap meat to build and operate it, far enough from the muskeg that it won't sink into the ground and close enough to Ft Mac that transmission loss won't be a big deal.

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Re: Colbert wieghs in

Oooooh. Neat trick! I always just ended up using a VPN. Cheers!

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Geez Trevor

Molson? Really? Utter horse piss, that stuff. I'm Albertan, damn it! Get me some Vitamin P, or at least a Kokanee Gold. Better yet, try some Alley Kat; I personally think the Apricat is amongst the best beer in the world.

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Re: how "dirty" the tar sands are

The biggest issue with the tar sands is the CO2 load per barrel of oil. That far outweighs the other issues. We burn so much coal to get a barrel of heavy crude that it's abominable.

After that, the biggest issues are to do with reclamation of the land. We can do a great deal to reclaim old mine sites, but we choose not to because extracting and refining a lot of the dangerous metals that end up polluting the tailings ponds is unbelievably energy intensive. IF we had a cheap, clean source of electrical power - say, for example, from the proposed Bruce Power nuclear station - then we would be able to do a gigantic crapload more post-processing on the tailings than we do now.

There is nothing about tarsands extraction that is inherantly bad for the local ecosystem. The negative effects are entirely because we choose not to bring our technology to bear on reclaiming the land. That's abominable, but I don't think we're going to realistically be able to do anything about it until we get nuclear energy involved.

The chances that Alberta will voluntairily evaporate over half it's GDP are exactly zero. The chances that China and the USA are going to stop buying our oil are exactly zero. The ecological costs of doing proper reclamation on those sites using coal or natural-gas-fired power plants are honestly probably higher than a few poison tailings ponds amongst the muskeg wastes of the north.

Get cheap power up there, however, and suddenly the government has a viable option. They can put in place strict - even outright punitive - ecological regulation and the oil companies would reasonably be able to implement them whilst still raking in the kinds of profits required to keep them interested in the oilsands in the first place.

Now, I don't know about you, but I've been up there. I've toured Shell and Syncrude plants and flown over the entire region in helicopter. I've seen up close and personal the damage we do...and also what beauty a properly restored area can be.

It's easy to buy in to a bunch of propaganda focused on terrifying images of active work sites or abandoned sites from 30 years ago. It's much harder to take an intellectually honest and objective look at what's going on. There's good. There's bad. There's horribly ugly. What's most damning of all is that there are viable solutions...

...we simply (stupidly) choose not to employ them. For that, I blame NIMBYs and I hope each and every one of them learns the true cost of their actions. Their fear, paranoia and greed will have repercussions for generations.

Of course, it's far easier to simply demand a province - and frankly most of a nation - live in abject poverty simply because of some propaganda and an unwillingness to do some investigation.

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"Canada as the good guy" is nothing but good PR. We have a bunch of asshole 1%ers (known as the Conservative party) trying to screw it for everyone. (Though the Liberal party did a good job of cronyism when in power, they didn't fundamentally screw us internally nor screw our foreign relations in the same way that the tories do.) We have some severe problems, however, that we are having a lot of trouble correcting and making good on.

The first and most damning is the continued misbehaviour of our troops abroad. Despite numerous very real efforts to reign in the excesses of our deployed forces, there have been some very unwelcome sexual assault scandals that I find unbecoming of a Canadian.

Second is a little something called "residential schools." Look it up; it is a truly shameful part of Canada's history and we will spend centuries trying to make it right. This is related to how the Native American populations are integrated (or aren't) within Canadian society. Native relations are among the most damning examples of how even Canadians don't get it all quite right.

We have several quite successful clans in Canada. various Squamish-descendant tribes to well on the west coast; a visit to the cities they own and run show they are more than capable of running their own affairs. Many of the Inuit tribes have done well; they've carved out the territory of Nunavut for themselves and another group have created an independent legislative assembly in Nunatsiavut; both examples of native peoples managing to do well economically, politically and intergovernmentally without losing their culture in the process.

Others aren't so lucky. Too many reserves are havens of drugs, alcohol and various forms of shocking abuse. Mental health issues can and do run rampant and unchecked as mental health professionals are not allowed to help victims of abuse or those with various chemical imbalances which lead to depression, bipolar disorders and so forth.

This is a massive quandry for Canada. I think you'll find an overwhleming percentage of Canadians believe it is important for Native clans to be able preserve their own way of life and to self-govern. We see it as their right. Yet some simply can't. We are caught in a national ethical dilemma about how to resolve this issue in the most fair way possible.

Should we intervene and impose our morals and/or governmental organisation upon communities? (This is where the residential schools thing went horribly wrong.) Do we let them sort it out themselves? How long do we wait before we decide that they lack the skills and tools to do so?

Is it right to keep throwing money at the problem? (Canada has various treaties that pay out a large sum to most reserve natives upon their 18th birthday.) Should we cut them off in the hopes that this forces them to get their act together?

There are no clean solutions here; no easy answers.

Then there's the hype about how "dirty" the tar sands are. And they are! the solution is actually simple: build a great big nuke plant to power the damned things and we won't have these sorts of problems, but my fellow Albertans (in their infinite wisdom) decided to scream and whinge and protest. (The majority of the protesting coming from several of the aformentionned native tribes who have treaty rights to veto such development and chose to do so because they weren't getting a large enough sack of cash to allow the nuke plant's development. At least they're honest about it)

Europeans don't like our seal hunt, mostly because seals are cute. They get all huffy when you explain to them that if we didn't cull the blighters they'd wipe out the arctic fishery practically overnight. That's not a part of the story people like to hear.

So Canada has our own problems. We are ashamed of them, we work our asses off to find solutions for them. We are aware of them and we even discuss them amongst ourselves and with our MPs. (I can remember at least 4 separate occasions where I sat around with several MPs, a few students and some native leaders to try to find innovative solutions to some of the issues facing the local tribes.)

Everyone is the bad guy to someone. We've done some bad things on the international stage...but our greatest shame is at home. It's one of the reasons we don't try shaping the world in our own image. What right do we have to do so when there's still so much we have yet to get right at home?

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I don't see it as all that strange. I've always believed they'll try it within my lifetime. I still do believe it. I don't even hold illusions that we would "win". The only question regarding the eventual American invasion on most Canadians' minds is "are we prepared enough to make them pay dearly for it?"

Robots will help significantly with that, I should think. Fortunately for me, my local MP agrees voiceferously: Canada not only needs lots and lots of robots, we need the capability to build them here in Canada. They will come. When they do I hope to hell they pay tenfold in blood.

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Acer to downplay Windows in favor of Android, Chrome OS

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Next step??

Where PCs = "Desktops, Notebooks, Netbooks and Ultrabooks"

Where Midclient = "client with locally installed apps which pulls productivity apps from browser or App-v"

273 Mint PCs (and counting!)

83 Android midclients.

1526 OSX PCs.

12 Windows XP midclients (But not for long!)

480 Windows 7 PCs.

18 Chromebook midclients.

It begins.

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Webcam stripper strikes back at vicious 4Chan trolls after year of bullying

Trevor_Pott
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Trollface

Can tell if serious...

...or ready for an asswhuppin'

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Nothing new

You can't police a *chan. That's as impossible as attempting to ruin a *chan. (Pissing into an ocean of piss right there, sir.) Also, by definition, *chan sites simply don't make any attempt to take ownership of responsibility for anything on those sites. Every now and again Moot tries something stupid...and how well does that work out for him?

You can not make the hivemind do what you want. You cannot impose morals on the hivemind. The hivemind is not your Personal Army. Attempting to tell the hivemind what it can and can not do will ultimately end up in a pile of internet so fierce you'd look at the idiocy visited upon the poor dear in this article as a polite bit of summer conversation.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Nothing new

Rules 1 and 2! RULES 1 AND 2!!!

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Cameron demands Brits BOYCOTT angry-troll-infested websites

Trevor_Pott
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Your father was a hamster and your mother smelt of elderberries!

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Give up your privacy so Big Data can FIX GOVERNMENT

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Secrecy is the keystone to all tyranny

Any idiot with a few kg of uranium 235 can build a nuke. You place a sub critical lump on the left side, you place a sub critical lump on the right side and you ram them together at high velocity. Boom. A few kilotons of explosive force and "salt the earth" radiation that sticks around for a few hundred thousand years.

Also, stealth bomber technology was used during the cold war. The fighter tech wasn't brought in until the very end. Frankly, by the time they had the B2 prototypes out it didn't matter anyways. Everyone had enough nukes on land and at sea to reduce everyone else to a sheet of glass anyways. MAD was far more important than any other technology. Stealthy fighters and bombers serve no purpose except when fighting some proxy war in some godforsaken jungle or hellscape of a desert.

You also forget that both the Germans and the Japanese had their own nuclear programs. (Actually, the Japanese had two separate programs, one of which may well have suceeded in detonating a test device.) The soviets also had a program at the time and the Japanese were convinced they already had the bomb. (Which, frankly, they may well have. There's some evidence to indicate they may have detonated the first device, but wiped the design team out in the process.)

So I will grant you the requirements of tactical secrecy. A short term use of secrecy to obtain or preserve a military advantage. Strategic secrecy, however - especially against your own people! - is insane. Security through obscurity is a terrible, terrible plan.

I ask you, sir, exactly how many civilians have visited Area 51 without clearance? We all know where Nellus is. What about White Sands? Los Alamos? You don't need secrecy to be secure. Indeed, secrecy just makes people even more curious!

Secrecy is something to be used sparingly, if at all. Certainly not with the paint gun of "classified" that the yanks of today use. If you need to keep something hidden, hide it in plain sight. Don't make eveyrone interested by keeping it hush hush.

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Perhaps at least some of the distrust in modern times stems from the fact that your government is actively, unashamedly, contemptuously, proudly evil.

Other than that, they're a pip.

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Flippin' tosser: Sun's magnetic field poised to SWIVEL on it - NASA

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Low activity

@DougS

The short answer to your question? Timeframe. You have to realise that Ice Ages are not generally mass extinction events. Ice ages unfold over millenia; species have thousands of years to adapt. They evolve, they speciate...and their lineage survives in the descendant species that carry on.

The problem with the holocene extinction event AKA "humans fucking up the planet") is that we are demanding changes of species in the span of 150-200 years that under almost any other circumstance they would have thousands of years to adapt to.

I should also point out that homo sapiens sapiens has never before lived during an era where the climate had shifted so dramatically. 4 degrees C warmer on a global scale and we're deep into uncharted territory. We have no idea if we can survive that, or if we do, how many of us can. Water availability - if nothing else - will change so drastically in the next 150 years that I believe strongly that full-blown water wars will start within our lifetime.

I don't think anyone except the most bizarre and esoteric of eco-nutter believes that the rare and endangered spotted horny stripy frog native only to southern Florida's Swamp #891247 is going to survive for the next 10,000 years. What most are hoping, however, is that it will evolve, give birth to descendant species and the diversity of their genome will be preserved.

We have only begun the era of genetics. The possibilities of life - from pharmaceuticals of plant life to genes for gene therapy from animal life - are endless. I think that it is remarkably shortsighted to attempt to make mass extinction into a moral item and then wash your hands of it by saying "well, those species might have gone extinct anyways (several thousand years from now), so who cares?"

We care. Your children care. Their grandchildren will certainly care. Ever species we wipe out is potentially dozens of diseases cured or new transhuman augmentations we will never have. Even if a person lacks the ability to appreciate the diversity of life as an end unto itself, even if they are the most sociopathic, self-centered, small minded individual in our history...they should be capable of understanding that to callously destroy the bounty of nature is to limit what that same diversity can do for us.

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Report: NSA spying deals billion dollar knockout to US cloud prospects

Trevor_Pott
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Re: U.S. NATIONAL DEBT What is bad for the USA is bad for us in Canada.

What is bad for the US isn't bad for Canada. The US is merely a source of finished goods. We can get those from Europe, or make them ourselves. (We do have an aerospace industry, in case you hadn't noticed, along with many other high-tech industries.)

We can cheerily sell our natural resources to the EU or China. The US is our largest trading partner, but it doesn't have to be. It's only really worthwhile because they have shorter supply lines than our other potential trading partners. If they go titsup.com, we'll take a small blow...but nothing too serious. A minor readjustment of the economy as we pivot towards other markets.

We saw this quite directly the last time their economy collapsed. 2008 might have been a fairly short-ish economic recession, however, Canada didn't suffer overmuch from it. We recovered way faster than they did (actually, has the US even replaced the lost jobs yet?), our banking industry didn't collapse, manufacturing jobs moved to Canada when the US collapsed and we took steps to diversify our economy, selling more into Europe, Asia and Latin America.

So not only did we not have to go through the half-decade of pain that the US has been miserably slogging through, we wised up and made our economy more resilient to such a single point of failure in the future. In short: fuck 'em. Canada doesn't need the US. They're a nice close place to sell stuff for now, but we've got lots of other friends. If the US wants to drink itself into oblivion then I say let 'em. You cant' force 'em into rehab; they have to choose to climb up onto that wagon on their own.

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