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* Posts by Trevor_Pott

4451 posts • joined 31 May 2010

WTF is the Internet of Things and how insurers will use it against you

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Tumble Drying

I have, actually. Several times, as a matter of fact. I also know that it has descendents and responses in which numerous people have looked at how to mitigate and even take advantage of the stresses placed upon a grid by wind power.

It is Watts-like deniers and NIMBYs who generally wield that paper (and several others) and say "we should not install Wind power!" They also snub their noses and decry any attempts to enter into evidence other papers that show we actually can cope with wind power just fine, with only minor alterations to our existing grid...not even needing a smart grid to do it.

I hold those people in unbelievable contempt. Right up there with the "fission is bad because radiation" slanted-forhead crowd. Science isn't waving around one paper and screaming for a halt to progress. It is a process of learning, understanding and a continual search for knowledge and the truth.

So if, based on your comment, I lumped you in with the drooling idiot deniers of the world, terribly sorry. If I was correct in my snap assessment, well...sorry retracted.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: insurers do this

Zen comes from watching the fish swim about happily. Not from fighting with hoses and buckets and watchign the fish flail about in a traumatised fashion because WTF BUCKET OF WATER ON MY HEAD.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Benefits of IoT

Before it was "a solved problem" was it "just for nerds"?

I'm curious, at what point does fear of the unholy moral turpitude brought about by the Internet of Things give way to the realisation that this is not the future come to change us but a reality we are in the midst of living today?

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Tumble Drying

Let me guess, you sup tea with Anthony Watt?

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Tech-fetishism meets control freakery meets Big Brother

Computers man, what are they good for? Only nerds use them.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: pH sensors...

I got permission to run the whole development cycle of the sensor package as an SPB set, so I'll be doing articles about every aspect of development on El Reg. It looks like there's a fair amount of interest in the thing amongst the readers.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: insurers do this

I have a 30 gal breeder tank, a 50 gal display tank and a 180 gal office tank with a 75 gal sump.

A 25% water change on the 180 + 75 gal tank is more than "a few minutes." That's the better part of an hour's work. Add in testing for the various parameters and I'm probably taking 2 hours out of every two week cycle just for tank maintenance. Being generous and saying I miss two weeks for holidays, over the course of a year, that adds up to 50 hours. That's more than a pay cheque's worth of time spent on maintenance!

I estimate the prototype sensor package and automation setup to be $1000. Including estimated development time of 20 hours the whole rig would pay for itself in about six months. Estimated lifespan is somewhere on the order of 5 years.

Makes solid financial sense to me.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Something to consider...

I agree. Fortunately, if you look at the picture, I've got a sink right beside the aquarium. Plumbing the overflow system into the sump should be pretty simply. The primary tank's overflow has an auto shut-off, so it can't simply empty itself into the sump.

I also think multiple sensors for the top-up system have to exist. Redundancy!

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Tumble Drying

Sounds like a good idea. I like it. When you build it, I'll buy one. I bet you could get solid venture capital backing if you could produce a working prototype, even if it read "dummy data". All you'd need then is to bring it to a VC who could provide the funding for a production run and help you establish the business connections to feed local power data.

I'd bet you could make a mint off that idea. If you fancy making a real go of it, let me know. I know people who might know people who could help.

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Trevor_Pott
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Two questions:

1) Who are you to determine what "fun" I derive (or don't) from caring for my aquatic friends?

2) Who are you to determine where "the line" is regarding home automation?

Just because you find moral virtue or personal entertainment in mundane chores does not mean your life perspective does - or should - be the basis of someone else's life choices.

If a task can be automated for less than the cost of my time that would be spend on said task then automating that task is pragmatic. That time could thusly be spent on productive tasks that produce income, getting me closer to my goal of semi-retiring and writing my science fiction trilogy.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Solutions looking for a problem

I only do freshwater - I like me my Corydoras! - so I get to escape some of the more miserable parts of the marine equation. I haven't built the pump system quite yet, but I do actually have most of the parts from an old automated marine mixer system (that was used with an RO water purifier that I also have yet to install). That will all get sorted when the project takes off in Jan.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: fish tank

You know nothing, Jon Snow.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: LAN of Things?

Simple: Big Data Analytics. Once my test rig is done I can work with hardware providers to grind down the price of the sensor kits and start distributing them along with a Rasp Pi and some appropriate software at the local fish shop. A simple setup involving entering some information into the configuration webpage by the aquarist and they'll have this thing *paf* ready to go.

The units will fire their information up to one of my servers which, in turn, will provide analytics, alerting and so forth to end users. More critically, we'll be able to provide real-time water quality mapping of the entire city's water distribution network. This will enable us to provide herd immunity to other members of the hobby.

To an aquarist, the water that comes out of the taps is of critical importance. Water in the taps can contain ammonia (bad) or nitrite (worse!) or other nasty chemicals. They can enter the distribution network at the treatment plant or anywhere along the way. Identifying breaches in the distribution network and getting the city to respond is critical, otherwise we have to do a lot of pre-procesing of our water (or chemical naturalizing of Bad Things) before adding it to fish tanks.

With my sensor suite firing all it's data up to the cloud we'll be able to see this in real time, feed that information back to the city and even send out alerts to aquarists that are likely to be affected by water quality issues even if they don't have the sensor package. As long as we know where they live, we can say "there's a quality issue upstream of you in the water distribution network."

We can also start doing science on a scale that we haven't previously been able to do before. If we get individuals with sensor packages to agree to self-report when fish illness or deaths occur in their tanks we can start gathering hard, empirical data on how different water parameters affect various species. At the moment a large quantity of this type of information available to aquarists is simply conjecture, or "well these parameters mostly work for similar species, they should work for this one..."

The data collected at the local level enables real-time monitoring and minor proactive environmental maintenance. At scale, however, the data collected becomes absolutely transformative, enabling us to do things we simply couldn't do any other way.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Solutions looking for a problem

I enjoy watching my fish. Giving them treats. Playing games with them. Training them and scooping the younglings that inevitbaly occur into a breeder tank, raising them and getting them off to the store to be sold to another hobbiest.

I enjoy cross-breeding and getting new variations going. I enjoy watching my plecos om-nom-nom algea off the side of the tank or the wriggling hive cory cruise along the bottom and terraform the tank. I like how the guppies come up and say "hi" when I walk by, or how the Betta puffs up and does his tubifex worms dance.

I emphatically don't like losing fish to bad water conditions, testing, refilling the tank, making sure the snails have enough calcium or other bits of tedium. Automating that isn't a hobby, it's a tedious chore that I find bothersome...but less bothersome than keeping the water in parameters all the time.

There's an old joke amongst aquarists: we don't keep fish, we keep water. I prefer to keep the fish.

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Hello! Still here! Surface 2! Way better than iPad! says slightly desperate Microsoft

Trevor_Pott
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Re: reason d'etre ...

Did...did you just say I write what big corporate want me to write? For example, Microsoft?

A-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

You're a tool. Demonstrably.

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Trevor_Pott
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I disagree. I've seen some advertising that's done head-to-head comparisons and highlighted independent reviews. I've seen companies do this well...and companies fail.

Microsoft did not do it well in these ads. They are less "vicious attack ads" than the Scroogle set, but they still are not doing the "here's our competitors, here's us, you decide" trick quite right.

That's the thing. I've seen advertisements where A is openly shown against B and pointing done to independent reviews that can back up what was just shown. That is the sort of advertisement that truly gets my respect. They are rare as hen's teeth, but they happen.

Microsoft looks like they're trying to get there. Sort of. For that, they get a little bit of respect. But...they can't quite seem to make it. Like everything Microsoft's advertising group does they miss the mark and just come off as awkward.

For me, when I see a vendor putting their product up against a competitor and saying "here's where we're better" I know what they honestly think are the winning features. Even in the terrible Microsoft ads. It gives me a clearer view on where that company sees themselves differentiating than anything else they could run in that ad slot.

I don't sanction "attack ads." But I deeply respect honest comparisons.

Edited to add: also, do you know how hard the concept of "unbiased" reviews is? I make a living to them and you lot tear me a new arsehole regularly when I dare say something nice about a product/company you hate or dare criticise a product/company you love. No matter how unbiased the review (or the reviewer) the biases of the viewer will always colour perception.

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Trevor_Pott
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Surface, for business, is worthless too.

For business use I need something with a real keyboard that will give me at least 12 hours of RDP over WiFi and/or word processor usage. I see little-to-no business benefit from fondleslabs, certainly I see none over the Galaxy Note 2 I carry around with me everywhere.

If I were hot and bothered about being able to paw at some glass like a primitive for work purposes, I would use an iPad. It has rather more applications and a decent office package, at least as far as "use by glass-pawing primitives" goes.

Fondleslabs are inherently content consumption devices. At which point one is pretty much as good as the next, with the app ecosystem making the real world difference. Surface is a fondleslab with a terrible ecosystem and it's a damned shitty attempt to replace a netbook/ultrabook.

I think, for business use, I'll stick with my Lenovo x230 and the 18 hours of RDP I get out of it with both batteries in. For everything else, there's my Note 2.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Trevor Pott

All social mores evolve. This is one I happen to believe serves no purpose in the modern world.

The internet arrived and the world changed. Now people research their purchases before making them. You are either ready to deal with that reality or you aren't. Dealing with it means being able to stand up to both direct and indirect comparison.

You'll win on some aspects and lose on others. It's in acknowledging that and saying "no one size fits all, but we think we have the best balance of price/features/support/etc for our target market" that you earn my respect.

I recognize that my views may not be mainstream on this, but they are carefully reasoned and unlikely to change if the only rationale presented is repeated assertion of extant convention.

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Trevor_Pott
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Some people take that view. I prefer to see head-to-head comparisons. Hear claims that can be challenged. If you believe in your product, then stand by it! If you believe you're better than the next guy, say why and defend that position!

I simply don't believe in the totally arbitrary social rules of "don't mention the competition". If you have a comparison to make, make it, make it well and stand by it. Not that Microsoft did a particularly good job, but in my opinion they raised valid points worth considering.

Commerce isn't a gentleman's game. It's a fight to the death. If you think I should give you my favour over the next guy, show me why.

This isn't to say your view is invalid. It is just representative, I think, of a different time. I am going to do research on all products available. Marketing by saying "here are the things to care about in our product" isn't really helping me. Telling me "here's why we're better than the other guys" cuts to the threat of the matter and speeds my decision making quite a bit.

Better yet, get your product in front of multiple independent types to do comparisons and tell me the results - good and bad - so that I can decide for myself, and do it as quickly and efficiently as possible.

I'm just too busy for the game of parsing mealy-mouthed platitudes from multiple vendors, sorting through the noise and comparing apples to footballs. I think successful marketing to today's busy people would provide comparisons as a service.

Truth be told, however, I'd give anything to go back to an era where things were slower and everything was less cut-throat...

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Trevor_Pott
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On the one hand, I have to respect Microsoft for coming out and saying "we do this, and the iPad doesn't do it as well." I think companies that refuse to name their competition or competitor's products aren't worth any respect at all.

On the other hand, there's nothing about Surface that is remotely enough to get me to switch from Android.

Worse, buying a Surface would be validating Microsoft's end-user hostile moves, inability to listen to buyers and all the bad decisions that led to the creation of this device. Morally, I just can't bring myself to do that. Microsoft's endpoint people need a lesson in humility. The day they make VDI licencing sane, I'll know they've learned it.

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Dude, relax – it's Just a Bunch Of Disks: Our man walks you through how JBODs work

Trevor_Pott
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I figured some of the bigger ones had to be doing it, but I couldn't find links to any of it. Thought that article about Facebook's cold storage came out after I wrote this...

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Scott Lowe's article, bad link

Derp.

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Microsoft bans XXXXBOX gamers for CURSING in online combat

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Fucking snipers!

Well, we'll talk like that in a private Skype channel, or over teamspeak/xfire/what-have-you. I don't really do public voice channels much.

But I would sure get my panties in a bunch if an invite-only opt-in channel established for use only by my clan were monitored for foul language by the thought police.

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Trevor_Pott
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I won't swear at you for shooting me in the face. At least I can see you when you do that. it's the gor'ram snipers and the bunny-hopping knifers that will ASDFQ----+++++CARRIER LOST

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Trevor_Pott
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Fucking snipers!

Come down off your hill you poxy whoreson! I'm swear to His Noodly Self, if I catch you I'm going tear off your digital head and shove a grenade down your neck!

*bang* *dead* *respawn*

SON OF A BITCH, QUIT THAT.

You goddamned bastard I am going to hunt you...

*bang* *dead* *respawn* *jumps in F-22*

Hey, sniper ass-face, look up!

*drops bomb on sniper*

A-hahahahahahahahahahahhahaahahahaha

:::BATTLEFIELD 3:::

BA-DA-BUM-BA DUM DUM

BA-DA-BUM-BA DUM DUM

Oh, and yeah, I'd say the above to you any day. Face to face. Then pass you a beer compliment you on your accuracy and go kill your ass with a knife in game. I can't speak to anyone else, but such language amongst friends is exactly how me and my mates unwind.

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Trevor_Pott
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Goddamn it

Fuck this shit.

::table flip::

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Thanksgiving ROAST in SPAAACE: Comet ISON faces FIERY SUN DEATH

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Intelligent design at Nasa?

Was just coming here to post that myself. Depending on which subspecies you choose to include in the term "human", humans are between 8 and 6 million years old while hominids are at least 15 million years old.

We came out of the trees a hell of a lot longer than 1 million years ago.

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Want to reach out and touch your Chromebook? How does $299 grab you?

Trevor_Pott
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And does it whip the Llama's ass?

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Touch? Meh.

Oh, I always strip off ChromeOS and end up loading an ultra-lightweight Linux with Firefox. Sheild up, WiFi on standby...

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Trevor_Pott
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Touch? Meh.

But C720 has without looks like a decent netbook. Assuming the battery life isn't utter shite...

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Why Microsoft absolutely DOESN'T need its own Steve Jobs

Trevor_Pott
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Re: People are not nearly as locked in to iOS and Android as the author believes

I am surveying power users, certainly. I never once claimed that all users fell into the "costs hundreds to switch" category. You inferred more than was stated.

A significant portion, however, certainly do have over $100 in apps...some of those apps being made by Apple themsleves. (Thus wouldn't be paid out to developers.) iWork was a frequently purchased Major Application, weighing in at between $60 and $79 depending on purchase price! (And there's *still* no decent office package for Android!)

iWork uptake is significant amongst business users of iDevices. It was the #1 most frequently purchased app amongst those I surveyed. I emphatically did not restrict my survey to IT types, however, I very much so did survey individuals who were using their devices for work purposes.

The cost of switching apps alone for someone who is using the device primarily as a phone may not be that high, however, amongst phone-dominant mobile users I found that there was a significant usage of apps with no direct port to alternative ecosystems. This presented as strong a barrier as the cost of moving.

I also stated in my comments that the cost to move was predominantly from tablet users, as they buy more applications...which was also the focus of the article, as - quite frankly - tablets are where the money is in mobile. (The Smarphone market having largely been saturated, with new acquisitions predominantly coming from the poor who aren't much of a consideration anyways.)

Phones fall into two categories: individuals who purchase high-end phones outright and treat them like tablets (mostly Samsung users with Phablet-class devices) and contract-clangers.

Contract-clangers don't buy apps. They don't buy phones, either. They get a phone tied to the cycle of their contract and mostly seek out low-end-or-free stuff. They're cheap, and - to be blunt about it - they have fuck-all for disposable income. They are not using "a smartphone." They have an MP3 player with a web browser that can type texts and make phone calls. They emphatically do not use it as a portable general computing device and won't for at least another refresh, probably two or three. This category or user is completely irrelevant. There's no money here unless you're Google and going to advertise at them.

"I bought my phone outright" types typically can be lumped in with tablet users. They purchase applications. They use the device for more than just web browsing, Youtube and listening to MP3s. This is where the money is. It's also where the business usage of mobile devices comes in...and this category is fucking exploding at the moment. (Though that will change soon. Growth will taper off in two or three years.)

While survey work leads to generalisations and generalisations by definition don't address edge cases the following is largely true:

1) People who don't buy a lot of apps predominantly are "phone" users that treat their device as an MP3 player with benefits.

2) This category of people don't have money to spend and aren't worth chasing unless you have a long term strategy based on locking them in (or are advertising at them.)

Microsoft is never going to convert this group because:

1) This would require Microsoft to have a coherent long term strategy to attract, retain and then monetise the milled masses of people with negligible incomes

2) This would require Microsoft give lots of useful software away for free that would be better than what Apple and Google are giving away for free

3) Every passing day has the user's data increasingly integrated into someone else's ecosystem

4) Even a few low-cost apps are a barrier to changing providers if you have little money and the devices cost roughly the same

5) Familiarity with UI and extended ecosystem apps becomes a factor holding even "cheap-o" smartphone types in place

6) "Cool factor"

So you, personally may be both a Microsoft fanboy and have no problem moving from A to B. You are an edge case.

Device and ecosystem loyalty is strong, especially amongst tablet users and high-value smartphone users. It is increasingly strong amongst the low-end as well, though the reasons become less economic as you move down the value chain.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: "coast" for a decade, growing profits year over year by 15%

I don't particularly disagree...but look how many major companies tanked in those ten years, hmm? Even if all he could do was "coast" to 15% year-over-year, that's way better than most of the industry. Credit - and criticism - where it's due. Ballmer deserves a large helping of both.

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Trevor_Pott
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Standards do exist, even for Linux GUIs. X11 was the standard display server for ages. This was replaced with X.Org. On top of the display server run compositors, Compiz, KWin, Xfwm, Enlightenment (E17) and Mutter. GUIs run on top of those.

Of those systems, Compiz and KWin are the primary compositors and any app designed for a given compositor should run in any GUI that uses that compositor.

Compositors are not mutually exclusive. Many KWin apps will run in Compiz and vice the versa. Xfwm and Enlightment apps seem to run just about anywhere and so on and so forth. Why? Because even though there are differences they still do work hard to adhere to standards.

Right now, the Linux GUI world is undergoing a major shake-up.

The X.org team has decided that X.org is a piece of crap that needs to be rewritten. So they did. The replacement is called Weyland. The reference implementation is Weston. Critical is that they have jettisoned ridiculous things like "network display", something that hasn't actually existed in X for years but the uninformed and change resistant still wail about being dropped.

The existing "network display" (which is actually a broken kludge in X.org) is being replaced with an RDP 7 compatible RDP server based on the FreeRDP code. Why? Because RDP is the best and it has become a standard.

Weyland is already supported in Tizen, with most major distros planning support soon. Major GUI projects such as Enlightenment, Gnome, KDE have planned support. In short: Weyland is the new standard that any rational distribution is migrating to.

...but there are irrational ones.

Canonical has ambitions to be Android. They have a Microsoft-like "we're Steve-Jobs-like visionaries!" arrogance about them. They honestly think Unity is a decent UI. So they aren't moving unity over to Weyland. They writing their own display server called Mir. It's a stupid plan and it will fail horribly.

Others play it very safe. Look at the Mint developers who write the Cinnamon UI:

"ATI/nVidia support Xorg, and Xorg is stable and functional. This is what matters to us. A lot of devs are working on Wayland and not on Xorg these days and some Ubuntu devs will probably focus on MIR more than on Xorg going forward. So it’s likely things won’t remain that way indefinitely. With that said we’re not in the business of picking winners. Good luck to both Wayland and MIR in trying to become the next big thing, we’ll look at all that when the time is right."

I.E. for now, X.org is the standard and has the best support. When Weyland is out of Alpha and most of the heavy lifting is done, they'll probably port Cinnamon to it. (If they don't, they can kiss their UI goodbye.)

This is how standards work in Linux. Democracy. I can run a Gnome app on Cinnamon no problem. I can probably run it in XFCE and KDE as well. Hard work goes into that kind of support. But I do get to choose my UI. The guts underneath it all is very modular and changes either have strong community support or they get forked.

X11 doing stupid things? Fork it and create X.org. X.org getting crusty? Fork it and make Weyland. The bulk of the community will move towards a single solution, or at worst two or three.

The only real place where a massive diversity exists is UIs. Which, frankly, is as it should be. Everyone is different. We all learn different, understand space and data differently and are more productive on different UIs.

The interface should be customizable, dynamic and tailored to the user. The plumbing is what needs be standardised...and by and large, it is. Even if that standardisation is "voting with our feet" instead of by fiat.

And that, sir, is why Linux - and choice - has everything to do with freedom of speech.

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Trevor_Pott
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If my company could "coast" for a decade, growing profits year over year by 15% I would be quite content. Alternately, a net income of $23bn would be...desirable.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: People are not nearly as locked in to iOS and Android as the author believes

I have looked at stats, and asked a lot of people, talked to experts.

You would have been correct if we were having this discussion in 2010. In 2013, a huge number (100% of my sample size and over 50% of mainstream, according to the last stats I had checked) had over $100 in apps.

Factor in the cost of devices and rebuying (in some cases) your media and suddenly it's expensive enough to deter people from shifting. Your numbers are simply out of date. App prices are going up. People are buying far more apps, and tablet users especially are buying more expensive, complicated applications that drive the average app loadout far - far - above the "nobody buys apps, Q_Q" surveys of a few years ago.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: $1000s to replace apps?

RTFA. Apps and devices. And every single iOS or Android user I've encountered in the past 12 months with whom I've discussed the topic (at least 100 people by now) has had well over $100 in just applications alone. Many have had several hundred, especially tablet users.

Get into media libraries and you can cheerfully get into the thousands, for the iOS types, without getting into devices.

Apps are getting more capable and more expensive and many people are buying them. Just as it was on the PC. The longer this goes on, the higher the barrier to switching.

"Does the Surface have X app?" Even *if* the answer to all apps required is "yes", after running the numbers on what rebuying everything - from apps to devices - is going to cost, I've not seen a single person switch ecosystems. Not from iOS to Android, not from Android to iOS and nobody has gone back to Microsoft after they've left.

I've been purposefully looking for this information. Collecting data since at least March. (Got interested int eh topic when I was in Redmond.) My methodology and sample size are not absolutely conclusive, but they are good enough to convince me that a larger and more detailed effort would validate the hypothesis presented.

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Sysadmin job ad: 'If you don’t mind really bad work-life balance, this is for you'

Trevor_Pott
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I've done that job for the past 15 or so years of my life. That is a young person's job. Dear me, I'm too old for that shit now. </18 with 12 years experience>

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KILO-MACH SONIC BOOM probed in fireball embers of 1572AD SUPERNOVA

Trevor_Pott
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2-3000 light years

is not that far away.

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Cow FLATULENCE, gas emissions MUCH WORSE than thought - boffins

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Good work

...just capture the methane and sell it.

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City of London cops ARREST 6 suspected to be MICROSOFT COUNTERFEIT RING

Trevor_Pott
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Re: £100k

Except for the part where "£100k" means "full retail pricing with the maximum possible inflation of cost presuming that everything was bought under the most customer-hostile processes."

Which probably means half to a third of that in real-world dollars. Or about year's salary for one person. Also known as "the difference between an SMB with 10 employees folding and everyone losing their jobs or just managing to barely stay above water."

Context. It is lacking. But hey, OMG THINK OF THE STARVING MILLIONAIRES IN REDMOND *sob*. That's always a hit with the crowd and the logic is a hoot.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: £100k

Kinda comes off like someone who "pirated" Server 2012 and a copy of SQL. Maybe a few copies of Office and Win 7. OOooooOOoooOOOOoooooooOOooo....

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Four teachers indicted in Steubenville social media rape case

Trevor_Pott
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Answer your own question, prole.

Obviously, not nearly enough people see this as a problem, otherwise it wouldn't be so.

Computer "hackers" will OMG NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS and CHILD PORNOGRAPHY and STEALING AMERICAN JOBS. If you don't support harsher punishments for them than for rapists (or those who knowing assist rapists) you just aren't thinking of the children. And really, what kind of person does that make you?

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How much should an ethical phone cost? An extra penny? Or $4bn

Trevor_Pott
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@skelband

The question is not remotely meaningless and facile. It is a legitimate and very concrete question that anyone proposing to reshape a society must face. It is part of making the command decisions that all leaders of man are required to make.

Example: we have the technology to end all traffic accidents within our lifetime. All autonomous, human-driven cars could be eliminated; replaced by Googlecar-robotic minicabs or a complex virtual-rail system (strips of tracking material down each road, driven by robots festooned with sensors that avoid hitting babies, cats, etc.) No country in the world is moving towards building such infrastructure and banning personal vehicles, despite the multitudes this would save every year.

Why?

Simply put: it's too expensive. The cost is not simply money, but an aspect of personal freedom. You could not simply get in your car and drive somewhere. To enable freedom at that scale, every single lane on every single road and highway across the country would have to be retrofitted. So we could spend a staggering amount of money and some freedom to accomplish this goal, or we could spend an incomprehensible amount of money.

The point is that we choose to do neither. Our leaders - and by extension we, the people - accept the deaths everyone killed in a motor vehicle accident because the cost - money and freedom - are beyond what we are willing to pay. Those lives have a fixed value and saving them is just too expensive.

Oddly enough, I'm okay with that. That's a decision that we make as a nation about our own lives. We are saying "we accept this risk upon ourselves and our children and our loved ones in exchange for not expending our resources on that particular safety net." We all accept the risks, we all reap some part of the rewards for not spending those resources.

That is fundamentally different from "blood minerals" because here we are simply writing off people who have no say whatsoever in the process. We are faced with a very tangible, very real choice: how much are we as a society willing to pay to stop rape, torture, murder and maiming of other sapient beings in another society?

Our choice is simple: Is $32 /device too much to ask us to pay to put an end to that? Gather up the number of people murdered, raped, tortured and maimed and do the fucking maths.

When you say "no, that's too much to pay in order to stop this shit from happening" then you have discovered your personal threshold for the value of a human life. You are unwilling to pay $X / shiny gizmo to prevent the suffering of X people thus you value each life at ($X * number of devices shipped into your nation) / individuals involved.

This is completely different maths from a society accepting risks collectively (as in the balance between freedom and security), a doctor performing triage or a military commander making a command decision. This is us, with the power in our hands to stop the suffering of people who do not posses the power to stop it on their own.

Anyone who cannot understand the above is a sociopath. Pure and simple.

The only relevant question is "how much is too much for us to pay?"

Everything else involving this discussion becomes a two-step process:

1) Get the cost of action below the "how much is too much" line so that we can take initial action.

2) Continue to grind the cost of action as low as possible so as to weed out inefficiency.

For the truly hard-boiled sociopaths who give no fucks whatsoever, the "how much is too much" amount will be zero, or damned close too.

Indeed, there exists a category of disconnected number-nerd types who will seize upon the fact that taking action now might not be the most efficient possible action, cost-wise, and thus naysay and holler.

They might support action if that action could be "proven" to be the most efficient possible action to take, cost-wise. Of course, since that is proving a negative, it's possible for them to constantly demand action never be taken because it is impossible to be sure that we are being absolutely efficient, that not one penny of waste exists in the solution.

I have nothing but the utmost loathing and lack of respect for such individuals.

1) Determine "how much is too much" to pay to end the suffering of other sapient beings.

2) Get the cost of action below the "how much is too much" line so that we can take initial action.

3) Continue to grind the cost of action as low as possible so as to weed out inefficiency.

Any other path of action is quite simply saying "the possibility of cost inefficiency exists, which may make me pay more than the absolute minimum possible to resolve the problem. Thus we should not solve the problem."

Adding "until we have agreed upon what the most efficient possible means is and agreed to use that means" doesn't make you any less a goddamned monster than if you hadn't added it.

I'm all for efficiency. But we can work to make a process more efficient after we've implemented a more inefficient version of the same process. When the lives of sapient beings (especially those who have no say in the risk/reward balance whatsoever) are at stake, you work with what you have and then continue putting in effort to make it the process you have better and more efficient.

These are lives we're talking about. Not delaying some purchase agreement so we can grind an extra $0.10 per unit off the vendor.

Anyone who cannot get the difference really, truly is a sociopath...and I am completely unable to respect them at all. You can the lot of you call me whatever names you want, but on this I promise you you will never change my mind.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Tim

"Must make salary negotiations very hard."

Not at all. I pay my staff the best that I'm able. Everyone is aware of the finances of the company and we're all open about our needs. We discuss each individual's financial goals (such as paying off student loans, saving for a house, etc) and readjust our salary every year to take into account whatever profit growth we've made as a company. The staff get the bulk of the profits, I do not receive an increase higher than the lowest of them.

"Very glad you're not a doctor."

There is a difference between triage (or command decisions) and writing off people for convenience, sir. And you fucking know that.

"PS Thousands have died to make your life a bit easier. Getting frothy mouthed about it won't change the fact."

Bullshit. Working hard to alleviate the suffering of my fellow sapient beings is part of being human. Compassion, motherfucker, heard of it?

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Re: @Tim

I'm so very deeply sorry that I don't view human being as commodities to be bartered and discarded.

I'll do my best to be more of of an amoral sociopath in the future comments, just for you.

By the way, just out of curiosity, what's the value of your life? How much is an equitable amount to ask society to protect it from exploitation, harm and an untimely end? How much is too much to ask? Why? Do you apply the same value to others?

Please, detail your cold logic for the world, skelband. I await your wisdom, in awe of your profound humanity.

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Re: @Tim

If the choices on the table are "spend $10M to make the problem go away" or "spend $4B to make the problem go away" then spending $10M is more rational. Assuming it's possible given the political and economic realities that surround the issue.

If, however, the choice is between spending $4B to deal with the issue and not dealing with the issue at all, I say we deal with the issue and fuck the greedy "people" (and I use the term exceedingly loosely) that feel $32 per device is too much to pay for the lives of their fellow human beings.

Your presentation of the options on the table made it seem that the $10M option was not political feasible and that our choices had become "spend the $4B to deal with the problem" or "don't deal with the problem at all."

Alternative or more efficient solutions than $4B to solve this issue would be ideal. Unless you're a fucking sociopath, not dealing with the problem at all is absolutely unacceptable.

So hey, let's get viable options on the table and a means to move towards them. If, however, the more rational avenues are blocked, we still have an ethical obligation to proceed using whatever means are, in fact, available.

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@Tim

So just exactly what is the cash sum value of a human life? Or a rape? ...a maiming?

When is it "too much to pay"? $0.10 per phone? $10 per phone? $100 per phone?

What if morality in this regard is a cost with no benefits expressed as a cash sum at all?

Fuck 'em if they can't cope with dying for our fondleslabs? I truly am curious.

$4B a year seems pretty goddamned insignificant if we're talking about 2B devices, which is about what this says is the global consumption rate. That's $2 a phone. Is $2 /device "too much?"

What if we're only talking about $4B to cover units shipped into the USA? That's $4B across 125M devices. That's $32 per device. Is $32 /device "too much?"

I'm legitimately curious. I would sure as hell hope that every human being on earth's answer to that question would be the exact same, but I am all to painfully aware of the number of sociopaths that inhabit our world.

I would surely love it if we could get the kind of international cooperation together required to have all the refineries and all the chip spinners do their part and turn Billions of dollars of regulatory cost into a meager few million in externally-monitored self regulation.

Unfortunately, we have no way to compel many of these companies to agree to such a scheme or to enforce their compliance. They are beyond our jurisdiction. So instead we have to act on the "little guy" and use their market pressure to keep the multinationals in check.

Shitty, but there you have it.

I will gladly pay an additional $32 per device to ensure my widgets are sourced from conflict-free sources. Frankly, I'm fucking appalled that there are people who wouldn't. I am ashamed to be a member of the same species as those individuals and I consider anyone who finds that "too much to pay" as no different in my mind from the bastards perpetuating these horrific crimes: both groups view the life and suffering of another sapient being as irrelevant to their own selfish, petty desires.

How much is too much? And isn't a solution - even if it is not the most efficient solution - better than letting this sort of shit continue?

We must each answer these questions for ourselves.

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Leaked MS ad video parodies Chrome as surveillance tech

Trevor_Pott
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Re: "Great bit of advertising"...

Bullshit. Microsoft reads my e-mails in Outlook.com, Office 365, my chats on Skype, Lync, MSN Messenger, etc.

They've reduced the security of Skype to enable them to do so. So please, can the bull.

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Cisco untroubled by mega-clouds fleeing its proprietary ASIC grip

Trevor_Pott
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Re: The only way to take cisco down

http://www.opendaylight.org/

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Google underwrites Firefox another year, even as Chrome outpaces it

Trevor_Pott
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@bigtimehustler

Text ads are fine. Static images are fine. Moving images are...well, I find them annoying enough that I block them most places, but I don't have a strong technical argument for it and I recognise the moral argument against it.

Anything that uses a code base which could execute code on my system is flat out not allowed. No Flash, no Java, no JavaScript. Those are only ever going to be enabled manually by me on a case-by-case basis, such as "I want to watch this specific video."

I'm sorry, but the "moral rights" of advertisers simply don't extend to "opening a security hole on my system through which I could be infected."

I also totally randomise my browser informaiton for each session and tab so their tracking is useless. I'll allow them to display ads to me, but my privacy isn't for sale.

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