2285 posts • joined Monday 31st May 2010 16:59 GMT
My ideal (and non-existent) device? The one I've been waiting for largely my entire life? Interestingly I can describe that to you.
It would be an 8.5x11 tablet (sheet of standard paper here in Canada.) It would fit inside a standard foleo and be a touch-based input device not dissimilar from an iPad. It would have at least 1366x768 resolution, though I would far prefer 1440x900. It would have reasonable internal storage: flash somewhere north of 8GB for applications with 1GB of RAM. It would have a Wacom digitizer in addition to the touch interface and an operating system that didn’t suck horribly at touch input. (In other words not Windows.)
It would run at least a dual core CPU and come with all the standard phone options. Data from cellular and wifi, GPS, and a plethora of sensors from accelerometers and magnetics to luminance and acoustics. It would allow removable storage via SD card and come with two USB ports. It would be open, allowing me to install whatever applications I wanted and direct access to the file system. There would be an app store for ease of purchasing new applications as well as access to a cloud-storage/synchronisation system that automatically backed up my system to a server of /my choice/ without my having to bother with it.
A lot of thought would go into the design of the case it was in. I want that thing to be able to support this foleo-pad in a number of different configurations at many angles whilst still carrying in the other flap a pad of real, regular paper. When set up at an angle, I want a laser-painted keyboard to be available to me*. I want to be able to use a Bluetooth headset in combination with it and have it serve as my phone. (One less device to carry that way.)
In essence; I want a totally open smartphone/ipad that fits into my briefcase, weighs as little as is humanly possible but has none of the restrictions of the existing gear. It is /my/ device, allows me to add peripherals if I choose, remove media, control my own files and generally bridged the gap between “locked down smartphone” and “full blown laptop.”
I don’t need to replace a full-on computer with it. I don’t even want to. I just want it to be the device to serve as my access to a) a browser b) an RDP window c) all of my cloud-synchronised data. It’s job would be to fill the gaps between when I have a real computer available, not to completely replace a real computer with a real keyboard.
But with USB ports…why couldn’t it have a docking station at home such that I could just hook up a real keyboard? With a fully open device, there would be so many possibilities.
Either way, as far as I am concerned, the era of requiring Windows on the physical device is over. It’s into the VM with that thing and all it’s attendant applications as well. With it goes the need for a lot of the “beef” I used to need on my endpoints. They can really now just be thin clients of various shapes and sizes from any vendor. I know VDI isn’t exactly “cloud computing.” (Or is it? Someone give me a definition, please!) Still, more and more I am designing my digital life around the concept of “my information is available to me anywhere from any device.” This takes “who makes the device” or even “what form factor the device is” completely out of the equation.
If the device comes with a standards compliant browser and the ability to RDP then what makes me choose a device no longer has anything to do with the OS or vendor. Capability/speed, power consumption/battery life, ease of use, connectivity, openness/freedom of me to control my own device, price/rate plan and design/form factor matter.
I have a quad core PC at home with a stupidly powerful graphics card. Velociraptors and Windows 7. Shiny shiny in all colours of the rainbow…and I haven’t turned it on in three months. I have two laptops and a netbook. I use one laptop – very occasionally - because it got migrated to the living room table and sort of never left. The netbook is somewhere in my car. Gods only know what happened to the other laptop.
My Desire has become my primary personal computing device – a remarkable statement for a sysadmin. At work, I use a puny C90LEW Wyse thin client.
Give me an iPad or a decent Android pad and I can pretty much be guaranteed that my laptop at home goes unused as well. Heck, as I type this, it is into an OOo Writer application inside my personal VM located on my home server. I am RDPed into that personal VM from within my work VM. I am RDPed into my work VM from my Desire.
So…ideal device? Apart from the specs I mentioned above it really boils down to one question:
What’s the most convenient device? Because that’s really the bit that matters.
*(http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/keyboards-mice/8193/ for a primitive example.)
@The Original Steve
I made the very same comments to the Wyse folks during a teleconference with them. (This was whilst wearing the hat of "sysadmin for my employer" rather than "dude who writes for El Reg." I never really did get the chance to do any sort of interview with them for El Reg.)
They were really open to my comments! They put me on with some bigwig in charge of the WDM software and he took notes furiously. Apparently, they have not traditionally had many SMEs as customers…but are seeing this as a growing source of new clients. As such, they promised that they would start incorporating things into the WDM that addressed all of these concerns. Kind of cool for a guy sysadmining a shop that bought a piddly 45 units.
I promise you, I had quite a list. Not the least of which was “there’s nothing in this software that helps me diagnose why the PXE stuff works some of the time, but not others. I only have one DHCP server…what’s up?!?” I also wanted a simple way to do things like “put a *.RDP shortcut on someone’s desktop to talk to their specific VM.” Why do we have to build these absurd packages to deploy things…why can I not simply feed it an MSI? Why aren’t there some GPO like abilities to do thigns like “copy this file to the C:\ drive, into a folder called “Data Store” and set it as the background.” There were others, but those are the highlights. The Wyse guys seemed quite keen on all of this.
Long and the short is…at some random point in the future, we should be able to expect a bigish revanmp of the WDM software with all sorts of things to let SMEs manage these devices better. When, how much of what I talked about will actually make it in…this I don’t know. Here’s hoping it’s soon!
@The Unexpected Bill
Well, my first exposure to a Trash-80 was when I was...4? I don't actually remember my first forrays into computing...but I do remember vividly being confused by the introduction of the mouse into my computing environment.
My earliest experiences were generally as simple as using someone else’s pre-configured text menus and playing games. Type 1 and hit return to get into the spelling game or Type 2 and hit enter to get into a text-based adventure game.
It was the text adventure games that did it for me: having to learn exactly how to type in “pick up candle” or some such really made future use of computers easier. From a fairly young age I was conditioned to learn how the computer worked as opposed to trying expecting the computer to know how I worked. This makes me a terrible programmer (I am not used to bending the system to my will) but a good sysadmin. (As a sysadmin I learn what the system can do and thus how to make it behave in unexpected ways.)
It wasn’t until the 80286 that I really got some legs under me and started working on my own. Navigating the command line, writing batch files, coding in QBasic and generally fully exploring what DOS could do. I remember being so proud of myself when I got my first 386 laptop (1MB RAM, 100MB HDD.) I had figured out how to load almost everything into extended memory and was sitting pretty on 631K conventional post-boot with all my drivers and compression software loaded!
It was an attempt to be really clever in early grade school that sent me down the road towards systems administration. I was trying to get a document I had written in Word Perfect over to a floppy so that I could bring it to school to work on it over lunch. The disk I took out of the box was unformatted and my father (with his magic book of commands) was not around. I hit “Format, return, Y, return.” Wiped out the C:\ drive. Oops. Fortunately my uncle was able to unformat the drive – but it was that incident that made me decide it was time to stop farting around with these smeggling things for games and documents and actually learn how to use them.
As you can probably take from the context then, the original “smart terminals” really were before my time. I certainly had procomm plus and a modem on my 80286. BBSes and fun! But it honestly was the closest I ever got to “terminals” until I was in junior high (early 90s) and started spending time at Libraries.
Odd though…the more this technology progresses headlong into the future…the more I miss the simple days of my 80286 and the sacred sheet of local BBSes. Photocopied and re-photocopied and distributed with great ceremony to young nerds like me. Oaths of secrecy were sworn and much ado was made about the importance of the information on that sheet. Computers were a super-secret private club back then. They were kludgy and wonky, awkward…and really cool.
I miss that. This instant interconnectivity, disposability and interdependency is a whole other world. It’s lost it’s shine somehow. The /mystery/ is gone. There is too much information available at your fingertips, and not enough requirement to spend nights hunting through piles of old books and documentation. Oh, but that’s another rant altogether…
It's all bout ROI though, isn't it? Ballmer hasn't maximised the potential ROI over the past five years. Worse, he does look set to continue not maximising the ROI for as long as he's in power. There was a perfectly suitable candidate allready with the company that was far more likely to enhance shareholder value by increasing the ROI.
Making X% when you could have been making YX% (where both X and Y are positive values) is dumb. No matter how large X is. You may be content with X, but the ability to have obtained YX for the minimal additional work of replacing the chieftain just makes no sense at all.
Microsoft are worth a pile of money, and make a chunk every year. They are also totally stagnant. Google and Apple came screaming out of nothing and in ten years have provided growth beyond Microsoft’s wildest dreams. From an investor’s standpoint, that is what it’s all about: having the value of the shares increase. IF your shares are going to remain relatively flat, you’d have been better off investing that in bonds.
Constantly Increase ROI or die!
Oh, I'm no crafty as all that. I simply always figured that by showing up at protests and helping co-ordinate things with the cops etc. that I would be on such a list to begin with. Step one is to never actually do anything illegal. Step two is that if what you are doing is perfect legal, but may potentially annoy someone in power…cover your tracks. If there is a magical list of people to go shake down for such things then I was probably on it a decade ago after my really intense spate of late-teens protesting.
Dear Microsoft shareholders,
You are all – every last one of you – complete idiots. Ozzie should be running that company, and Ballmer should have been fired five years ago. He has just proved it, damning you all in one move.
It is far past time for a vote of no confidence.
BALLMER. MUST. GO.
I make less than forty kilopounds. :( I like to think that I am marginally more evolved than a monkey! Now my feelers are hurt. I am going to screech loudly at the people on the other side of the invisible barrier and fling various things around (the server) for a while...
Where do I sign up?
I'll take the job! I know a reasonable amount about this here IT stuff...and I have a captive audience of cynics to bounce concepts off of.
Alas, I'm Canadian. I doubt they'll let me work from home, not to mention the bit where they'd get poo flung at them for hiring a "dang furriner"...
I have a dumb question:
If you are putting a roving mobile base station into the field, presumably with WAN and SAT links, what is the point of the infantry? Could you not simply create robot walkers with guns that are remotely operated? I mean, if they need juice, they just trundle on over to the roving base station. If energy requirements become higher than it's battery load can handle, nothing prevents anyone for tearing all the batteries out an replacing it with a genny and a shitload of fuel.
Why are we bothering with trying to “equip” meatware anyways? It absolutely can not be that hard to create a death mech. Hell, take it a step farther. Why bother with the roving base station at all? Just make the Mech 15 feet tall and two lanes wide. (65 tons of American pride!) At that size, it ought to be able to house it’s own fuel, genny, mobile comns etc. Put a reasonable weapons load out on it and ensure it’s ROV-capable.
But wait! Then it’s a gigantic target! Well the way to solve that is obviously to make it fly. So we need some sort of FLYING DEATH ROBOT. Oh wait…we have those. SO what do we need dudes on the ground for?
Oh yeah. Stealth, silence, recon and dealing with other human beings affected by the FLYING DEATH ROBOTS. I don’t see how a gigantic battery on wheels remotely helps accomplish any of those. It seems to me that for every one of these things in the field, the grunts around going to be wishing they had another UAV.
They were indeed real terminals...
...but they could also emulate a variety of others beyond their "native" type. Does that make them hybrids? Real terminals? Emulators? It's a bit before my time, in truth. I started off with a trash-80 and c64 and went straight to an 80286. By the time I got around to dealing with anything more client/server or mainframe-like than a BBS, Novell was the 800lb gorilla.
I apologise then if the terminology is slightly off. Everything I can find from those days talks much about their capabilities to emulate various kinds of terminal…so I classified them as terminal emulators.
As to "thin clients," well...they wouldn't have called a bombe a "computer" in WWII, but I would still classify it as "an analogue computer" based on today's terminology...
I keep saying El Reg needs a subscription option that allows us see the site ad-free. (Similar to how Ars does it.) It would be equally cool if it included some sort of "voluntairily pay more money towards a 'convince Simon to write more BOFH articles' option."
Or pretty much anything that encourages the production of more BOFH articles. To we need some old VAXen, skulls, entrails and the sacrifice of a sacred IBM Model M? Whatever it takes...just moar BOFH!
It is become increasingly difficult to "just not use" Google. I contend you don't have the slightest idea what you are talking about in that regard. As to what is terrifying or not...that's in the eye of the beholder. Personally, I am a very avid student of history. Google is rising to a level of global information dominance that is starting to challenge that held by theocracies.
The ins and outs of that are not something I’ll debate online, (Sarah deserves a break,) but suffice it to say that I don’t hold Google in any esteem, I don’t trust Google, I don’t trust governments and I know that Google is legally required to work with governments to give up our data. (Not that Google fight that requirement very hard…)
The long and short of it is that every single time in human history that any one group or individual has obtained the power to control the flow of information as thoroughly as Google is coming to be able to, very bad things have happened. What is worse is that Google shows absolutely no tendencies towards “not being evil” and thus being even remotely trustworthy with the power they are accumulating. They simply aren’t ready to handle the “great responsibility.”
Combine this with the fact that the world’s various governments appear to have (some time ago) gone insane and I do not get the warm fuzzies. I do participate in political processes, work with dissidents and generally try to keep active making the world a better place. The more you get a global perspective on these matters, the more you realise how harsh total information control can be.
People in western countries simply cannot possibly comprehend it. They think that people in less fortunate countries are “just like them.” That these people believe the same things, desire the same things and are simply repressed by “the bad guys.” The reality is much different; in these countries, the general populace actually /support/ “the bad guys.” They believe the propaganda, heart and soul. They have simply never known anything else. They have been exposed to a certain set of information their entire lives – filled with it so thoroughly that to make an opposite claim seems to them to be ludicrous. Concepts we take for granted – like largish chunks of the UN declaration of Human Rights – are so foreign to them as to be absurd. IN their mind only the insane would believe such things.
In the western world we have fought many wars over the centuries in many different countries to lift ourselves out of that muck. Though the shadows are little longer today than twenty years ago, still…no one person or group can control the public consciousness to that extent.
Google is getting damned close. I would rather they quite simply never get any closer than they are now. I don’t ever want any one person/group/organisation/government capable of controlling the public consciousness or opinion as thoroughly as a theocracy can. I do not want Google to remotest inkling of the tiniest sliver of possibility of ever becoming to the western world what the Catholic Church of the dark ages was to us.
So I am sorry, but to me Google’s growing control of information is terrifying.
I am talking about my activities in generalities. I may be afraid to let the governments and political organisations involved in on the detailed specifics, but I do believe that I live in a country where talking in general terms about what I do will not get me in the shit. I am absolutely certain that my time spent protesting, talking at rallies, etc. is enough to have me on a list of “minorly annoying people” somewhere. I do tend to work within the system wherever possible.
Protest coming up? I am almost always the person to organise it with the Police. Indeed, the local Police seem to be far less tense about protests when I am directly involved – they are familiar with me and know that I would never let such things get out of hand. (I would call them if the attendees at a protest I was helping to organise got too rowdy.)
By the same token, the specifics of what I do could get me in trouble. The biggest issue is the research. I dig up primary sources for a lot of very embarrassing stuff – the kind of thing that I am certain some rather powerful people would prefer had never come to light. At the moment I am safe in that regard because no one can really pin any specific item to me.
The majority of politicians, officials and whatnot are not so far gone as to try to disappear someone simply because they might have been one of potentially thousands of such people that leaked an embarrassing whatnot that got them fired. That is even assuming I have ever gotten even close to digging up information that embarrassed someone in a position to have people disappeared!
If someone could pin my /specific/ activities on my however – that’s another story. Who’s to say that someone down the chain isn’t so far gone as to try something stupid? Or that someone currently under pressure to shape up thanks to recently revealed information isn’t willing to take a step like blackmail? I realise that even conceiving of that is cloak and dagger stuff – which in real life is fairly “out there” – but why take the chance?
I am not so crazy as to thing “the boogymen are after me.” In all likelihood, I could freely talk at length about the specifics of what I do and no harm would ever come to me. Canada is a fairly safe country in that regard. Instead, consider Google thwarting like buckling up your seat belt just to drive to car to a different stall in the same parking lot. It is in all likelihood unnecessary, but just as some car could come tear-assing through the parking lot at just the wrong moment, Google thwarting is a measure I put firmly in the “better safe than sorry” category.
In all honesty, I am mostly worried about folks in other countries. I work very closely with some of them…and I am heartbreakingly aware of what happens when someone drops the ball. As such, beyond “better safe than sorry,” learning to thwart Google is hugely important if for no other reason than to be able to teach those skills to others. While Googlethwarting is likely not truly necessary in my case…it absolutely is for others.
I don't think you have to have much of an ego to write for El Reg; quite the opposite in fact. El Reg commenters are /not/ friendly people. I write for El Reg really for two reasons. First, I was hugely flattered when they offered me the chance. Secondly...I have always wanted to write. It seemed like a great chance to learn how.
From the standpoint of “being an ego boost” however, it’s the digital equivalent of going on a polar bear jump and then climbing out of the water to have a thousand tittering teenage girls point and laugh at your junk. I would not ascribe “ego boost” to it; “soul destroying” is perhaps a better term.
It’s not all bad. There are unexpected moments of awesome. The people I have had the opportunity to work with here at El Reg are absolutely fantastic. My editor – Tim Phillips – is a great human being. Among others who have helped me, he has been an excellent resource and taught me a lot. I even seem to have a couple of fans, something I still find eternally bizarre given that I am a complete greenhorn at this writing thing.
If I have an active ego then I think it is most actively evidenced not through my writing but rather through my work. I specialise in MacGyvering computers into doing things they really were never designed to do. There’s pride in that. Even if it’s not the “by the book” way to do things.
Beyond that…I don’t think I’m any more prideful or egotistical than your average human male. I probably have the same number of insecurities and hang ups and the next guy. I just like ranting is all. Writing for El Reg – and more appropriately the comments section – gives me the opportunity to do so.
And hurray for that!
I wonder if it can serve as precedent to prevent Google turning our searches over?
What does the right to privacy have to do with the responsibility to pay attention when driving a multi-tonne highly-complicated bomb-on-wheels. One involves computers - devices we use to more conveniently interact with information. The other involves cars: large objects that have immediate real-world consequences if you don’t know what you are doing.
You can certainly get yourself into some real trouble on a computer; but there are some huge differences. While operating a computer, a lack of attention /might/ get you personally into some trouble. While operating a car, a moment’s inattention can (and so very tragically often does) cost lives.
So where exactly does privacy have anything to do with paying attention whilst driving again?
It's things like this that make honestly and earnestly wish i hadn't been born a white male. I didn't ask to be; knowing what I know now, had I been given the choice i would have chosen /anything/ but! There are still places, people and corporations in this world that discriminate. I don’t even disagree that the majority of that discrimination is probably by white males against non-white-males.
As a response however, we seem to be prepared to discriminate against all white males on the off chance that there might be some discrimination occurring against non-white-males. I believe wholeheartedly in equality for all individuals regardless of /any/ (rather than a selected list) of distinguishing characteristics. I believe that discrimination should be discrimination – even if it’s against a white male.
My father is a nurse. Quite in opposition to being someone who discriminates against anyone he has received his share of heckling for devoting his life to a profession that is traditionally female dominated. His father before him was an immigrant, descendant of a bunch of Dutch farmers who moved to Canada after the war. As far back as I know they are all poor farmers and labourers who never really had much of a chance to be in a position to discriminate against anyone.
Yet it is okay to discriminate against me. I am told in may cases that this is “revenge.” It’s to “make white males understand what it’s like to be discriminated against.” I don’t think that’s right – the sins I am supposedly to pay for aren’t even the sins of my forefathers. They are the sins of someone else’s. That’s not even getting into how unbelievably morally and ethically bankrupt holding someone to task for the sins of their ancestors is.
Totally apart from that argument…what have I ever done to deserve such discrimination? I work hard, I do my best to view everyone equally. I admit that I have a hard time being tolerant of intolerant people…but even that weakness is something I am actively working to overcome. So why is it that I cannot have a “boys only club,” yet a “women’s only club” is sacred?
Why is it that when employment quotas need to be balanced, it is the white males who are for the chop? Should the regular Joes just trying to work and do their jobs be punished if some HR drone is prejudiced? Shouldn’t the HR drone – and possibly those who hired them – be the ones up for the chop? In what universe is it right to hire candidate A over candidate B simply to fill a quota? If they are both equally qualified with equally compatible personalities and other such characteristics, shouldn’t the selection process essentially be randomised?
I don’t get it and noone has ever been able to satisfactorily explain it to me. Why should I not have the same rights and freedoms, the same chances of employment and the same likelihood of job security as someone who exhibits different identifiable characteristics than me? Why am I being penalised for how I was born – characteristics I can not control and in which I have no say?
And yes: being turned down for employment because you don’t help a company fill a quota is being penalised. I just don’t get it…
If you are employing a Muslim in your church, they probably should be allowed to lay down their prayer mats at the appropriate hour. By the same token, disabled folk - regardless of origin - should get preferential treatment on busses. Boggles my mind that folk would complain about such things. I always thought these concepts would really boil down to “respecting other people.”
The more I read about things like this, the more I think I must be from the past. My beliefs seem to be quite out of order in today’s world. Respect for others, waving a work ethic, noone being ‘entitled’ to anything except the human rights to which we are /all/ entitled.
Seems everyone nowadays expects everyone to have to work for a living except themselves. If anyone gets a leg up or a special consideration because they legitimately got a bad roll of the dice its arm flailing and teeth gnashing time!
Just can’t deal with the “me, me, me” pace of society any more…
...Microsoft is a company. Not a standard. (Sub or otherwise.) IE is a program, not a standard. Though it does poorly implment many standards. Unless you are honour Microsoft by saying "Internet Explorer is the standard against which all other browsers are judged." Personally, that seems a little bit too high praise for me.
(I prefer to judge all browsers against Firefox.)
Except it's not a car. It's not a multi-tonne bomb-on-wheels that can KILL PEOPLE. It's a microwave with a few extra buttons. A calculator on steroids. I don't take lessons in how to use a hammer or a wrench, why should I need a "driver's licence" for a computer, except the arrogance of self-important nerds?
It’s time we – the IT community at large – got our heads out of our collective asses and realised that these things are just TOOLS. They will never be more than this to the average Joe and Jane. They aren’t some super-secret worship device that forms a sacred part of new religion. They aren’t the magical enabler of freedom, justice or the cult of Bob. They are nothing more than an oftentimes far-too-overcomplicated wrench.
On less the computer is attached to something truly epic – a manufacturing robot maybe, or a nuclear power plant – then they simply aren’t remotely in the same class as cars. They aren’t deadly, they shouldn’t be a threat to the person using them or to others. It is our nerdly arrogance that imbues these jumped-up organisers into something grander. We want to feel special, we want to feel important. There is MYSTERY to what we do! Look at us: we are practitioners of The Dark Arts.
We need to get over ourselves. We’re not shamans of the unknown future. We’re digital janitors unclogging the tubes that allow individuals to send mail faster than the post. These things are filing cabinets, calculators, messengers, address books and organisers. To the vast majority of the people who use them, they will never be anything more. They contain the most intimate details of our lives and yet there is a huge dichotomy between those who maintain these toys and those who use them.
Those who use them don’t want these things to be as complicated as cars. They see no need! They actually /want/ iPads and iPhones and locked-down walled gardens because CHOICE simply isn’t as relevant to them as functionality. They want a toaster or a VCR. Simple functionality without the requirement to go through a complicated learning process like that of driving a car.
It is only our arrogance as insecure nerds that insists all computers be treated like cars. “But they can do SO MUCH MORE!” What a rallying cry; so deafeningly awesome that it was completely ignored by a populace sick of these damned things.
Computers are not like cars*…and IT practitioners just aren’t that important. It’s time to get the hell over it and start making TOOLS that people actually want to – and easily understand how to – use.
*Also: Ogres are not like cakes!
It's terrifying to the part of me that likes competition in a corporate marketplace, the freedom to say and think what I like and the idea that government efforts to snoop on everyone all the time are hampered in part by the sheer number of different places they have to deal with to snoop!
6% of all the world's traffic through a single hub makes those ideals seem a little further out of reach. Furthermore, there is an entity out there that is larger! So there are two entites that between them accoutn for at least 12% of the ENTIRE WORLD'S information transit. If you don't find that vaguely distrubing, then i think you trust both corporations and governments just a little too much.
A Burner VM.
You know, periodically people do have reasons to take a few simple precautions. I do serve as intermediary to periodically funnel information to Cyrptome. I prefer to never shuffle the goods in the same way twice...and that requires doing a little bit of research each time. I devote a reasonable amount of my spare time to setting up censor-busting systems for folks stuck behind the Great Firewall of China. Again, I would prefer that the details of what I am looking up as well as the e-mail counts and online webspace purchases be as untraceable as is humanly possible.
Sometimes I do a vanity search: I spend a lot of time on the internet and I am professionally curious about my “footprint.” It helps me advise people about how to do things like Internet marketing. Tor allows me to look at this “footprint” from multiple different countries – in essence bypassing Google’s geolocation. Shock and awe: I sometimes look up old acquaintances as well: see how they are doing, maybe try to find an e-mail or Facebook page. I would really rather that Google not be associating me with “the people I know” any more than *I* personally choose.
I participate in my local political scene…enough to want to keep much of that to myself. I am fairly certain my current government has next to no scruples and I since I am pretty left wing, when I go searching for evidence that ends up political documents or propaganda then I really don’t need my right-wing government even having a snowball’s chance in a neutron star of finding out who is supplying the research time.
Beyond that, there is simply a large amount of Google thwarting. Google have made an entire business out of knowing everything. Small as it is, a drop of water in the ocean maybe, I do have the tiny little bud of an ego. For whatever bizarre reason, that ego gets a real kick out of thwarting Schmidt even the tiniest bit. Adding some noise to their signal.
As to trusting Bing…oddly, I do. Google has proven to me over and over and over that they will sell you to the lowest bidder at the drop of a hat. Then they’ll sell you to the highest bidder…and everyone else in between. Bing is run by Microsoft. Microsoft might well make me pay some astronomical amount. They might code something so poorly that someone else might find a way to “hack” it…but I seriously doubt they’d sell my information to a third party. Their biggest card right now to individuals or businesses is “we’re not Google! Look how not creepy we are!” They’re going to dine on that for as long as people are creeped out by the privacy monglers at the chocolate factory.
For the most part though, even if Joe Spammer manages to find out that I personally ran a search for ‘+Europa +Surface +Radiation’ or ‘+Ibuprofen +”blood brain barrier” +”traversal rate”’ I don’t care. That’s random enough and harmless enough they can go nuts with it. I am entirely unsure what value that could have to an advertiser (beyond maybe legitimately advertising me things I might want.) It is of zero use to a government.
If you want to call the above paranoid, then I am paranoid. I accept that. I simply don’t trust Google. They have lost that trust. I also don’t trust the Canadian, American, British, Australian and virtually every third-world or developing government out there. It is distinctly in their best interest to quash dissent, intimidate folk who might consider speaking out against them and otherwise being dicks. Even though I personally would not present much of a threat, I do devote time towards doing a lot of research on behalf of folks who might well seem it to their governments.
People who want to (for example) figure out how to emigrate from China into Canada with the least amount of hassle, or who want to make sure information about some tragedy in Zimbabwe makes it to the press.
So screw Google’s all-seeing eye. Even if the whole world calls me paranoid for it.
Yes. Like WEP or WPA. Or even a way to implement them in an easy to understand fashion for the massed billions of twelve-o'clock-flashers.
Having privacy enhancing technologies is worth nothing if they are too difficult for the hoi polloi to implement. Nor if there is zero awareness about their existence or relevance. It's easy for nerds to look down their long noses and sniff at the great unwashed. "You should have known how it worked!" Great rallying cry. It's like advertising (broadcasting?) loudly and in public that you're a smug pompous arrogant twat.
There is no way that regular people should have to understand every detail about every technology in the world just to use them. I mean hell, do you understand exactly how to manipulate the DNA of a bacteria to produce a hormone? Can you do it in your basement? Well they use this method all the time to create neat stuff to add to your food, or the food of animals you eat. How about household cleaners? Quick, without Google, tell me exactly the chemical formula of VIM and how to cook it up in a mixing bowl in your kitchen.
“Everyone who uses a computer/the Internet/technology-of-any-kind should know exactly how it works” is the biggest bloody cop out in history. Just because you personally understand all the ins and outs does not give you the right to expect that Joe and Jane average should have to.
Google (possibly inadvertently) took advantage people’s trust and lack of knowledge. You know who else does that? Con men. So excuse me if I think that the world maybe has too many different fields – too much information – to reasonably expect the average person to magically know everything about everything they use or encounter. Instead, I hold corporations (and individuals) to the high standard of “not taking advantage of the folk around you” as well as “providing your product in an intuitive and easy-to-understand manner.”
This means I hold Google responsible for their actions. I also hold the entire IT industry responsible for making products that are damned near incomprehensible for mere mortals. Shame on everyone who had a part to play in this. If I had my druthers not only would Google be paying a whack of money towards the creation, simplification and promotion of privacy enhancing technologies, but so would AP manufacturers and any ISPs who supplied them.
"It's hard. Let's not try then."
Amazing that with that attitude around, we ever developed the concept of rights or implemented any social changes at all. I'm very glad there were people in our history who figured some things were worth doing regardless of difficulty. Seems nice to me to live in a society where slavery and most forms of discrimination are patently illegal.
I'd like to live in one where invasion of privacy was as well. Hell, it'd be damned near utopic if large corporations and governments were held to the same moral and ethical standards that our laws require of individuals.
But hell, it's hard.
Let's not try then.
...the market *is* apeing Apple. Apple however are aping the open source community who had the "app store" idea long before.
I am sure they are apeing some predecessor I am missing.
Or maybe multiple people had the same idea independently (and possibly) concurrently? Or maybe some combination thereof, with independent idea development occurring side-by-side with “observing the competition, mimicking that which works and improving or jettisoning that which doesn’t?” Probably with a dollop of “ensuring you don’t violate any patents in the process” and “paying some Bright Folks to come up with a new angle to differentiate our entry into this increasingly required feature/market?”
Of course, given that any journalist is length-constrained in what they write…all of the above probably would be bad to include in an article. Yes, even online they reign us in. Apparently, if the articles are more than one page, you “reader”-type folks don’t often click through to additional pages! That leads to shortcuts and some brutal editing-for-length.
Of itself, that’s maybe not a bad thing. Seriously, in order to keep up with the pedants around here every article would have to be written like a legal document. Eleventy squillion different footnotes and addendums combined with a density of detail that would make an average reader's eyes water.
All of that gets mixed up with the fact that different journalists have different opinions and viewpoints that get expressed in their writing! Suddenly, different opinions! Everywhere!
Whatever will we do?
Badgers. For the hell of it.
Converted to Bing myself.
It isn't perfect...I still find myself going back to Google for the more techie-oriented searches. Still, Bing does me just fine for 95%+ of the work I need. My Google searches work beautifully from a burner VM on my offshore server routed through TOR, with all the cookie killers on.
Also: WTF Schmidt. Can we please get some not-batshit-crazy CxOs for our large IT companies? Have you looked at our choices lately?
Free-Candy-Van privacy mongler
Temper Tantrum chair-throwing company-destroyer
Just change X to suit me egomaniacal OCD walled garden king
Soulless community-destroying, customer-sqeezing, vertically integrated yacht boy
Hoo yeah. We’re cooking with gas.
Stop the world please, it’s time to exit the vehicle.
All this has happened before...
...and all this will happen again.
Holy bleeping $deity. Wall Street really will buy /anything/, won't they? Does Facebook even have a revenue stream that comes closet o covering their expenses? In what universe is Facebook worth $5.7B?
Treat your toys well and they will treat you well in turn.
You see, the issue here is one of perception. I blame the low value/low quality vendors such as Acer. If you lop the bottom 20% of the PC market off, then everything you are saying is crap. (BTW, the nVIdia eutectic bump bit with the 8000 series? Affected the Macs too…)
I have a Dell XPS Gen 2 – one of the first shipped – that has survived more crap than I would throw at a toughbook. Fallen off of moving cars, dropped down concrete stairs, many coffees spilled. It has never taken much TLC to bring it back after a major incident. Shock and gasp though…being a PC, parts were available! I have a Toshiba 386 Laptop that is still around and doing it’s job. I have a dozen PCs of various flavours all older than 3 years old. I have a FLEET of 15 Pentium III PCs from 1999 that are still in operation!
As to netbooks, well so far I have seen zero degradation on any of the ones I have worked on…except Acer. The Asus one, the HP ones…they’ll be around for a /very/ long time. See, the trick is to take care of them. Periodically remove the cover from the bottom of the device and blow the dust bunnies out. Don’t force the power connector: treat it properly and realise it’s a weak point. IF you spill coffee on the thing, then turn it off, pull the battery, remove the mainboard and soak it in distilled water. (Let dry for three days before reassembling.)
My newest box is an Alienware M17. It’s about two years old. This one is a completely Novel device in the PC world because it has air filters on the fan intakes. (Shock!) This means that in all the time I have owned it I have never found a dust bunny inside. Oddly enough, I don’t actually pay all that much for these things. Even the Alienware was 25% less than the highest end Mac, whilst still being double the specs.
Macs have literally nothing to offer over PCs except the Magsafe connector. Frankly, I buy XPS and Alienware laptops for my primary because of the enormously beefy power connectors they use; they are powerful enough to take any banging on the power connector.
So to my mind, your entire argument would rest on “Buy a Mac because it has a Magsafe power connector!” I don’t think so. I’ll buy TWO PCs for the same price (of equal spec) and just throw one away if/when the power connector gets killed.
As always, the above logic disintegrates if you pay any attention to Acer/Gateway/E-Machines/low-end-Dells/etc. Use Asus/HP/Toshiba/Fujitsu/Lenovo/High-end-Dells and suddenly you have reasonably reliable gear.
I should also point out that we have to maintain a Macbook at my work so that we can run our Java-based order entry software on it (HAH!) in the environment our Mac customers have so as to troubleshoot their issues. I have had to rebuild the thing three times in it’s four-year lifespan because it’s a poorly put together piece of crap. It doesn’t go anywhere. It just sits on a desk in a fairly dust-free office and gets turned on once ever two weeks to troubleshoot some odd thing or another. I really wish it would die once and for all so I can stop supporting it. Thanks to Jobs’ Java faffery, it won’t be getting replaced!
So yeah, I’ll enjoy my netbook. For the next six or seven years.
This is getting WAY to long of a thread. Let me cut the replied down here.
Java users are Oracle's customers not Apple's. Finally, the "I have no time for greed or **naked self-interest**" comment. With you on the greed, but business is business, the aim of which is to make more money than your competitor. The naked slf interest bit, did't you say that this would cause **you** headaches with your customers? how is this any different?
Bull. Java users are customers of whomever makes their JVM. They aren’t Oracle’s “customers’ unless they are using an Oracle product! As to the naked self interest bit…I am angry at Apple because this will cause me headaches, yes. I am MORE angry at Apple because it will affect APPLE’S CUTOMERS – some of whom are also my customers – generally decent people who don’t deserve to get shat on by corporate power games so already rich people can nick another bent copper. Indeed, as much of a headache as this creates for me, it large is in my own best interests. There is now Yet Another Reason to keep me employed! Helping our Mac customers transition off the Macintosh platform will keep me busy for the next eight months at least.
It doesn’t mean I think it’s fair, or right. Apple have done their customers a disservice. Your argument with me rests entirely on “these people are Oracle’s responsibility.” If you honestly believe that, don’t bother responding to this comment again. They aren’t. Apple sold them the computer. Apple promised them everything they wanted would “just work.” When they bought the computer Java worked just fine. In no way was the customer ever exposed to “Sun” or “Oracle.” The customer interaction was 100% with Apple – it was the company they bought from and the company they put their trust in.
That trust was obviously misplaced.
"The majority of Apple users aren't "deeply reliant on Java-based applications""?!?
Why should everyone be beholden to "the majority of users?" You do realise that the extension of this logic is simply to remove everything from the computer except a browser, e-mail and an office package? I mean after all, these are the only things that "the majority of users" are deeply reliant on.
In the case of my specific cluster of Mac users, they /are/ deeply reliant on java-based applications. Shockingly enough, they are the only ones I care about. I couldn't give a right-angled twist about "the majority of users."
As to the fanboy bit, I can "fanboy" on anyone who would defend an indefensible move by a company. Apple botched this. There was a right way to do it, and a wrong way. They chose the wrong way. I don't care if you are Microsoft, Google, Oracle or Bob's Deli and Meat Shop. When you pull something you have supported for a long time, you give adequate warning that such is occurring and you put the minimal amount of effort in to ensure your customers have a means to obtain a usable alternative.
In this case, Apple should have publically announced the deprecation along with a release of code either to the community or an official passing of the torch (and code) to Oracle. Full bloody stop.
Nothing else in my mind would have been a remotely adequate way to deal with the deprecation of a technology that regular (non-geek) end users are reliant on. If you want to try to tell me either that regular end-users are supposed to go read the release notes on bloody everything to detect little deprecation notices or that they should be expected to go grab/compile an open source JVM and then PRAY their apps run on the incomplete version then /you/ can go twist.
That is a bunch of nerd-centric “you should heave a licence to be allowed to drive on the information superhiway” crap that I will have no part of. Computers exist to make our lives easier. Apple have built an entire company on the promise of the easiest to use computers of them all. (They “just work!”) They have in this instanced failed their users and no amount of name calling is going to convince me otherwise.
I couldn't agree with you more on the megalomaniac thing. I never expected APple and Microsoft and Google to come together.
I am shamed however that the Linux community can't get over itself enough to do it either.
Q_Q GREEDY CORPORATIONS!
Pissed at Apple because...
If Apple had never produced a JVM I would not have cared. Their users would never have gotten deeply reliant on Java-based applications, instead continuing down the well trodden path of past Mac users: having to own a PC to get the real work done. Instead, Apple introduced support for java...then pulled it. Anyone in the meantime who gained Mac user customers for a Java application now has to find a way to support those folks.
Apple users will never believe or accept that Apple has abandoned them, or can ever do anything wrong. That means that in the minds of Mac users, anyone who is using Java to provide functionality will now be bad/wrong/evil/whatever. Had Jobs simply left Java alone...Mac users would never have gotten a taste of being able to use these tools on their systems. They would have maintained a separate PC and that would be that. Instead, because it "used to work just fine on my Mac," the company providing the java software will now have to provide the alternate software (or hardware) at their own expense.
If you aren't committed to supporting a feature, don't introduce it. I don't care which company you are. All this shows me is how little Apple cares about anyone, once they have their money. If Apple wants to even begin to make good on this, they'll hand their code over to Oracle. The reason Oracle (and Sun before them) don't have an Apple JVM is because Ape have closed graphics APIs they won't share. You know: the sort of shit MS pulled before getting spanked for monopolistic practices.
As to behaving and shouting…NO I WILL NOT BEHAVE. AND I”LL SHOUT IF’N I WANT TO. I’m pissed; as much at the baying sheeple that follow in the shadow of their soulless uncaring capitalistic overlord as I am at the man and the company themselves. I’m deeply sorry if I hold companies to not only the finely-detailed legalese letter of their propaganda but the spirit of it as well.
If you base your entire image an marketing campaigns on the premise of sucking in the stupid and the gullible using ideas such as “it will just work” then you had damned well better deliver. You go ahead and try to justify or rationalise this move however you want. What I see is my customers receiving reduced long-term functionality via lack of support simply so that jobs can further tighten the noose on competition. I see my company and my customers being screwed so some rich man can make another bent copper.
AS much as I blame the greedy corporatists involved for this…I blame the fanbois far more. If it wasn’t for your drum-banging and your incessant wide-eyed mewing at everyone that would listen about how great and easy to use Macs are then the gullible would never have been sucked in. They wouldn’t be in positions of very soon not being able to run critical software their businesses require. They would have bought themselves a PC for work uses, and none of their would ever have been an issue.
So – fanboy – I have only one request. I don’t even care how rude it is: GET LOST. Haven’t your kind done enough damage already? Stay away from me, and stay away from my customers.
After all…we need computers that ACTUALLY “just work.”
@AnotherNetNarcissist && @Tony Smith
The issue is the closed graphics APIs. IF Apple hand over their code to Oracle so that they may carry on...then I am 100% okay with Apple ceasing support. TO expect Oracle to have to start this from scratch without access to the under-the-hood bits that the Apple JVM uses is madness.
Is Apple even a big enough market for Oracle to set about reproducing all that code? If they didn’t have to fight through all the hidden crap and/or try to make it work only with what is visible…probably. If they are reliant on trying to essentially duplicate what Apple have already done – but without the kind of under-the-hood access that Apple have – well…would you invest those kind of resources for less than 10% global share?
There’s a right way to do this sort of thing and there is a wrong way. I don’t care if Apple don’t want to support the JVM. That’s a business decision I can understand and even get behind. That said however, Apple are in a position of power over millions of users who are functionally dependant upon them. It is in my mind incumbent upon Apple to either release the code to the community or hand it over (likely with some strings attached) to a torch-bearer such as Oracle.
Deprecating Java off the stack without formal announcement and a passing of the torch is simply abandoning your users. If you honestly believe that the obligations a vendor like Apple has to its customers ends the instant money changes hands then we have some very deeply different life philosophies. In my world-view Apple sells continual support and the concept of the system “just working” as part and parcel of the hook they use to lure in customers. That carries with it the responsibility to follow through with support and customer-focused management of situations exactly like this one.
Doing the right thing while still absolving themselves of the responsibility for supporting Java is not remotely outside of Apple’s capabilities. It wouldn’t even cost them that much. (Scan the code for third-party copywritten bits and release to community or hand off to Oracle.) The only two explanations I can see for Apple’s actions are
A) This is a move to limit competition via a medium-term plan to remove Java from the Apple platform.
B) Apple’s customers mean so little to them that they simply aren’t worth the minimal effort to do right by them.
I don’t really care for either reason, however either or both would be perfectly consistent with Apple’s previous actions.
Thus my anger at this whole situation.
As to “not passing the torch being pure speculation,” well…Apple is certainly free to make an announcement and put everyone’s mind at ease in this matter. Until then, there is simply no reason to assume they will do the right thing. There are plenty of reasons to assume they won’t. IN fact, the right thing would have been to make an announcement before formally deprecating Java, including a passing of the torch at the time. It is – to me – merely one more indication of how little that company values their customers.
I am sorry if that ruffles feathers, but I really do hold companies – and individuals – to high standards. I have no time for greed or naked self-interest. If you commit to something then you follow through. That includes customer support.
...we don't talk about the cost of Mac toys because we know better than to buy them? Something about getting better value for money.
--Sent from my netbook using my HTC Desire as a perfectly legitimate and carrier-allowed MiFi point. (The pair of which still cost me less than an Air.)
The best way forward.
A large dose of no-strings-attached funding to an objective international organisation whose sole purpose is to develop and maintain privacy /enhancing/ technologies and promote their use and awareness amongst regular citizens.
If Google wants to show me that it supports privacy, it can put a large wad of cash towards taking digital privacy out of the darkened closet occupied by paranoid geeks and make it a part of everyday life. Nothing else will even come close to restoring my faith that Google does no evil.
Canada just got the old Desire!
You are so far behind. Two months ago we first got our hands on the original Desire. (The missus and I now have "his and hers smartphones.") Lovely toys. I would dearly love to take an HD for a spin though: see where the differences lie. Sadly, it will likely be quite some time before a carrier coughs one up here. Maybe I can worm myself into some sort of local conference or somesuch and get a peek.
The only problem is can’t actually think of any conferences in western Canada that HTC might be attending in the next few months. Ah, well…neat toys nonetheless!