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* Posts by Trevor_Pott

4910 posts • joined 31 May 2010

Barclays Bank probes 'client data sold to rogue City traders' breach

Trevor_Pott
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Re: "what leads you to believe they, as a bank, have done anything wrong"

No Chris, here you are incorrect. A lynch mob is entirely emotive. It is the extreme end of the spectrum away from cold, corrupt justice. What I - and most people around the world - preach and practice is something very much in the middle.

It is holding people and corporations to a duty that includes social responsibilities, not merely legal ones. It is a recognition that any system can be gamed and anything that can be gamed will be. People who believe as I do believe we must evolve both our system of jurisprudence and our law enforcement to deal with this reality.

I do not preach extremism, unless your personal view is that anyone who preaches something other than the extreme to which you've attached yourself is an extremist. (A very republican (or Greenpeace) view of the world.)

You say you believe in Justice. Yet what you preach isn't justice, it's jurisprudence. What you preach is a gamable system where those with the most resources are above the law. You preach a system where one's past actions are not to be examined. That doesn't lead to justice. It leads to America: massively disproportionate numbers of minorities locked up for petty, victimless crimes while those who come far greater sins walk free.

People who believe as I do believe in concepts like "corporate manslaughter" and "piercing the corporate veil". We believe that corporations are to be held to as much account as individuals, even if that includes holding the individuals behind a corporation to said account.

There must be evidence to convict, but past behavior is - to us at least - entirely admissible evidence.

When you have nothing but the extremes - the lynch mob on one end and the sociopathic legalists on the other - you get America. That's not a good thing. There is no justice to be found there.

Laws must be open to some interpretation and procedures to a given amount of latitude in order to cope with those who seek to game the system. Past crimes need to be used to inform the severity of punishment - or the likelihood of guilt - of current crimes. And nobody - nobody - must ever be allowed to be above the law.

Pure procedure is as broken a concept as pure emotion. The answer lies in balance. Recognition of the fallibility of human nature, and of "the system". The creation and implementation of a system flexible enough to cope with reality.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: "what leads you to believe they, as a bank, have done anything wrong"

Guilt isn't determined by the act (or not) of breaking the law, either. In these days of cutting deals "no admission of wrongdoing" and blatant corruption the law is infinitely malleable to those with the right resources.

Fortunately, the people have more than a flawed legal system at their disposal to hold individuals and corporations to account. One of the more important tools is peer pressure. Ostracisation is a powerful incentive at the individual level and can become "voting with our collective wallets" at the corporate level.

Failure to be found guilty in a court of law does not mean the actions of an individual or corporation are just, morally correct, ethical or even legal. Human beings who aren't sociopaths hold themselves and others to more standards than the lack of being found guilty of a criminal offense.

It's easy to game a system with well defined rules. It is far harder to game a system where the only rule that truly matters is Wheaton's law.

So we arrive at the crux of it. As with so many arguments in the comments, when you strip the events away, it is a fundamental philosophical difference. On one side we have myself, and those who believe as I do, stating that individuals and corporations must be held to a higher standard than the ability to prevent themselves from being held criminally liable for their actions.

On the other side we have you and those who believe as you do, claiming that ethics and morality are arbitrary, and thus should not be used as standards of governance or the foundation of rules of interaction.

One side takes into account the variability of humans, their ability to lie, cheat, corrupt, adapt and conceal. The other side is procedural, believing that everything can be codified and quantified. The debate is as old as time. We'll not solve it here, today...or likely ever.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: "what leads you to believe they, as a bank, have done anything wrong"

The court of public opinion does not require the assumption of good faith.

The assumption of good faith is founded in the principles of the presumption of innocence and is a rational extension of the foundational principles of our society when dealing with unknown individuals or entities. You assume good faith when there is no history to inform you otherwise.

Where history exists it is rational to examine past behavior to deduce patterns. Thus presumptions can be made from past behavior, which may or may not continue to warrant the assumption of good faith.

There is a difference between caution and naivete. When and where a pattern of populace-hostile behavior exists I do not assume good faith because I have never been presented with a rational reason to do so.

At some point the assumption of good faith gives way to naivete. In this instance, I believe that your assertion we should assume good faith falls on the "naivete" side of that line.

What I find most interesting is that you are quick to assert the right of a bank to the assumption of innocence and yet are clearly willing to assume that I haven't read your comment in full. You would seem to believe that corporations are more deserving of the presumption of innocence than individuals. Or perhaps that we should not presume things of corporations based on past behavior whereas we should with people.

Either way, your standards appear to be dichotomic.

For the record, my standards are dichotomic, as I believe there is a difference between people and corporations. I don't for a second believe that corporations should have all of the same rights as natural persons and that includes the "right" to the assumption of good faith. (Not that this is an actual right.) Legally, a corporation is entitled to the presumption of innocence, however, that is a different and separate standard from the assumption of good faith.

The damage a corporation can do is orders of magnitude higher than that which most individuals are capable of inflicting. As such, I believe it is critical that we do not assume good faith of corporations and instead view them with a critical eye.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: "what leads you to believe they, as a bank, have done anything wrong"

Meanwhile, the rest of us live int he real world where it is far more likely that IT operations at any company is underfunded, internal bureaucracy makes implementing policy difficult-to-impossible and negligence is a more realistic assumption than not.

You give no reason to assume good faith beyond your assertions and personal beliefs. Conversely, there is a lot of history that demonstrates that banks have a lackadaisical attitude to regulations in general and large organizations of all types have hostile attitudes towards proper IT policy.

I see no reason to presume the bank did everything to spec when history says it is far more likely that they haven't. People are innocent unless proven guilty. I do not extend the same concept to banks.

Call it personal prejudice - and frankly it is personal prejudice - however, I will always view bank IT as paralyzed and constantly fighting uphill battles they can never win until proven otherwise. I've heard far too many horror stories from very reliable sources in the UK banking industry to be capable of holding a different view.

It's the reason I don't do any reporting on bank IT. No matter how hard I try I cannot believe a bank to be innocent unless proven guilty. Fortunately, comments don't require the presumption of innocence.

That said, you've nothing to prove your side either. Only a philosophical requirement on your part that they be presumed to have done everything right. Your beliefs and assertions conflict directly with every iota of experience - personal and secondhand - I've ever had with bank IT. As such, I feel entirely justified in calling you on it and saying that for your thesis to be accepted evidence is required.

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Trevor_Pott
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@AC re: "Dont Worry, Trevor *loves* sensationalism.."

With your utter lack of passion you must be an amazing romantic partner.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: "what leads you to believe they, as a bank, have done anything wrong"

Oh, I read what you wrote. But what you wrote basically says "oh, sure, It's not impossible to lock down your machines, but that's just such a hassle that no bank can really be held to those standards." Which is utter bullshit.

Also, under EU law data controllers have certain responsibilities. One of the most critical is ensuring that any third parties with whom they share data meet the same data protection requirements as the original entity itself. In plainer language: by law, the bank has a duty of care to that data even if that data is being used by a third party.

It doesn't matter if the breech happened at a contractor or at the bank itself. The bank is responsible for that data. It must ensure that all of the contractors it uses secure the data as well or better than the bank must itself.

That makes a data breach at a contractor the bank's responsibility and an abdication of responsibility by the bank. No matter how hard it is on the wee diddums to have to comply.

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Trevor_Pott
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"what leads you to believe they, as a bank, have done anything wrong"

They're a bank.

While it is ordinarily a safer bet to presume ineptitude than malice (see: occam's razor), when discussing banks malice is a constant and ineptitude an inevitability.

We're not talking about an excel spreadsheet with a phone number and address on it We're talking here about detailed information that could well be used for spearphishing attacks against the kind of people that make spearphishing attacks worthwhile.

There exist multiple ways to protect against insider data theft. If the person is in a highly privileged position there exist multiple technologies and procedures which will allow an organization to pinpoint whodunit in a matter of seconds. Whether this is an external breach or an internal one makes no difference to the duty of care the bank had to their customers in retaining this information.

"But the NSA are a bunch of derpy fucks too" is not an acceptable excuse. "Tommy put worms in Sally's sandwich so I put worms in Jessica's" doesn't fly in elementary school and it sure as shit shouldn't fly when dealing with the largest financial institutions in the world.

If the bank was unable to protect the data against insider threats it should not have been retaining the data. End of.

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Getting documents all too easy for Snowden

Trevor_Pott
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@Titus_Technophobe

A cogent reply! Yes, in many instances, you are correct...but in many instances this is not so.

Consider the following two scenarios:

1) A reporter is covering a topic in which they have someone (or multiple someones) to hand to interview. The reporter asks whatever questions they can think of, publishes the result. This is not really the reporter's interpretation at this point so much as that of the interviewees. The only means by which the reporter can/does skew anything in through a lack of knowledge or willingness to ask various questions. A good reporter will ask the hard questions, and ask every hard question they can think of.

2) The reporter has objective testing results to deliver. "I ran IOmeter on this disk with these settings and it returned these results" or "the parks and rec department discovered there were X milligrams of mercury per kilolitre of lake water."

There are a few more examples, but you get my drift. I far prefer to be as objective as possible when and where I can. Other times, I climb my soapbox and preach my opinion. I try for a balance.

When I am preaching my opinion it is typically because I done some analysis work and come to conclusions that seem nonobvious or go against the prevailing wisdom of the day. A journalist gains sources that they can't always reveal. What the journalist sees coming down the pipe sometimes needs to be talked about, even when it's uncomfortable or seemingly unlikely.

As only one example, I remember being pilloried for saying Windows 8 was going to Vista, and that it was about more than just the lack of a start menu. I also remember saying Server 2012 was awesome and would see wide adoption. Both - despite a great deal of grief - turned out to be true.

A journalist makes a choice - and thus injects some bias - simply by choosing what to report on. That's unavoidable in any model I know of. (Though an argument could be made that aggregators such as Google news are more objective.) For me, personally, this is why I do not rely on my own judgement. I have built a circle of confederates whose opinion I seek out regularly. Many of these individuals were asked to part of the club specifically because they disagreed with me loudly and often.

When I am thinking about embarking upon an analysis - an opinion piece based on connecting various dots where not all of those dots can be made public - I talk to the gang. I put forth my evidence and ask if the shape I am making out of these dots makes sense.

Sometimes what we write is our interpretation of events. Sometimes what we write is completely objective testing and empirical data. Sometimes what we write is utterly partial.

What I think sets the journalist apart from the average internet commenter, however, is that the journalist has cultivated a sense of self awareness. They don't trust themselves or their senses. They understand that eye-witness testimony is the weakest form of evidence (except, oddly, in a court of law,) even if it is their own eye-witness testimony.

When I asked a journalist I greatly respect what the secret to the craft was they responded thusly: "question everything. Especially yourself." I maintain that this is the core of good journalism to this day.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Trevor_Pott

"If anyone is vaguely serious about preserving the best of past journalism and reinventing it for the modern era, the linked issues of money, ownership, litigation and susceptibility are the ones that need addressing FIRST, or we're doomed to an eternity of the partisan puff-piece frippery and recycled press releases that so blight our current press."

I agree, but this must start with the understanding that journalists need to get paid, and not at poverty levels, either. They have a right to earn a living, and those at the top of their craft have a right to a damned good living. Just like any other professionals in any other craft.

Once we as a society accept that, the question becomes how to fund it. Display advertising is dead. Finished. Kaputski. People are completely immune to it and there is no fucking way that pays that bills for any serious news organization. Millennial are [happy unicorn bunnies] that wouldn't pay a subscription for the water to extinguish themselves if they were on fire. That leaves four possible ways to pay for journalism.

1) Government sponsored. PBS to a damned fin job in the US. The CBC in Canada are top notch. Tea Party types would have an absolute aneurism at the very concept, however, because they are fundamentally capable of understanding that governments don't fail at everything and that journalistic organizations like the CBC do not allow the government to micromanage. So despite the proven viability of the model, we have to scratch that off the list.

2) Patronage. Al Jazeera does a bang up job of this and cranks out some of the best news on the planet. The flip side of this coin is that if the Patron decides to meddle, it can all go to shit. The only way it works is what I call the "Mozilla model": build a loyal enough following that there is a reason for larger, more profitable "news" empires to ensure you are kept alive and left unmolested. Apple to a Microsoft under the Microscope. Hardly ideal, but it is proven to work.

3) Crowdsourcing a.k.a begging. The wikipedia model. Shaming your readers into coughing up a bent pittance for a resource they use every single day. Personally, I'd rather be peeled than spat on by a bunch of layabout assholes who will begrudge the outfit every bent copper and moan ceaselessly that "true" journalists should do everything "for the love of the craft" and that content should be free.

This model is simply untenable. Somewhere between the 10,000th post about how "the only way for journalistic integrity to actually exist is for journalists to work four shifts a day in a Chinese iPhone factory and pursue their journalistic endeavors on the side without having the gall to beg hardworking readers for their money" and the 50,000th accusation that "the journalist is biased towards/against Apple because of his job in the iPhone factory" the journalist will snap. He'll go nuts and paint times square with the warm, viscous entrails of the entitled fuckbags that believe themselves so pure and unimpeachable that they are justified in demeaning and degrading people who are literally killing themselves in an effort to bring them news.

From a pragmatic standpoint, I don't believe any news organization can withstand the continued decline of not only it's reader base but the source of it's income. Add to that the fact that once a journalist has snapped they are unlikely to return to the craft and ultimately this model fails due to sheer attrition.

4) This brings us back to content marketing, which brings us back to money from advertisers, vendors and so forth. This requires a decently sized journalistic organization in which editors serve as a firewall between writers and journalists. Money is handled on side of the house and writing on another.

The firewall has to be pristine. Vendors cannot be allowed editorial input on articles that run. Journalists must be allowed the freedom to write whatever they want about any vendor they want. The sales and marketing teams find companies to funnel money into the machine and the editors ensure that no pressure from vendors ever crosses the barrier to their writers.

The downside to this model is the same as any other: there is the distinct risk that the journalist snaps and makes satisfying, mewling, bleeding display art out of a readership that hurls accusations of bias at the drop of a hat. This is greatly reduced, however, by the journalist making enough money to live reasonably comfortably and perhaps even support a family.

Ultimately, this is the only model that works. The journalist is isolated from the admen who fund the enterprise and gets paid enough to tell the fickle fucks who read his articles precisely what to go do with themselves.

The journalist has a duty to the truth. Not to a given person's interpretation of the truth, but to report the facts. Any and all facts they deem relevant. Advertisers will prefer some facts be added and some facts be omitted in order to help control the message. The milled masses will prefer the same, so as to cater to their personal prejudices and preconceptions.

If the mob is screaming "the black man done it" while they prepare a noose and tree, it's not the journalist's job to agree. If the companies who fund the place he writes for demand that a black man be proven to have done it, it still isn't the journalist's job to agree. It's the journalist's job to report what he knows and - if possible - find out who did do it. Black man, white man, or space alien.

Money needs to flow to pay the journalist's wages. It is the job of the news organization that the journalist writes for to firewall him from the source of that money.

Critically, however, the journalist has no more a duty to represent the presidencies and preconceptions of his readers than he does to write what those who pay him demand. The journalist's first duty is to the truth.

Nobody likes the truth. We all prefer a comforting lie. It is far easier for the soon-to-be-lawn-art milled masses to pillory the poor journalist than admit that their preconceptions were inaccurate. This makes determining bias hard. It requires critical thinking. It also requires the ability to analyze evidence dispassionately.

Sadly, as much as journalism has seen a decline over the past few decades (thanks, Murdoch,) critical thinking and analytical capability amongst the general populace have declined at a much faster pace. What good is a journalist if the populace to whom he delivers information demands not the truth, but emotionally satisfying confirmation of their already extant beliefs?

This is the true dilemma facing today's journalists. "Truth" and "truthiness" have become tangled up in personal politics, apathy, self interest, frugality, entitlement and cynicism. The journalist can deliver the purest, most untainted truth there is to deliver...but all to often we're left wondering if there's anyone out there but us who gives a bent damn about it anymore.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Register needs an alternative funding model and #MDFC

Wow. And here I felt bad because I only paid the Timmies hobo a buck fiddy this morning.

I need to get a lot more evil.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Register needs an alternative funding model and #MDFC

"With a few entirely honourable exceptions, journalistic principles bit the dust some time around Thatcherism."

And yet, I see my generation - which largely rejects both Thatherism and Reaganism - believes strongly in those journalistic principles. A resurgence, you could say. Though now that there isn't much of a newspaper industry it's taking shape in the form of citizen journalism and "new media" enterprises.

How corrupt they turn out to be if and when they find success is an open question. That said, El Reg is quite successful, and we continue to bite the hand that feeds IT...

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iPhone maker Foxconn to pump $1bn into new Indonesian factory

Trevor_Pott
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Re: "no-one is brave enough to move into Africa as it's too politically unstable"

Bingo. Adam smith was a smart cookie. The problem with most modern "capitalists" is that they only really ever read select parts of his first book. He wrote more than just one, and he covered territory about the necessity of regulation, managing the morale of populations, etc. Marx and Smith both had a lot to say on the subject and both, as it turns out, were largely right.

They were never so dicotomic as we are generally led to believe and they would both be utterly appalled at the world we've built today.

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Trevor_Pott
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"allow the PRC to move in."

You're precious.

If China decide to invade Taiwan they will do so. Full stop. Not a power in the 'verse would be able to stop them. Once they've consolidated their position - something that ought to take a matter of hours, when you have a state with China's GDP backing the play - dislodging them would be a long, miserable, bloody process that would probably chew up the navies of every major power on the planet before the deed was done.

China can mobilize a truly unholy amount of men and equipment in a shockingly short amount of time. They have a very small pond to jump across and even with operationally acceptable 20% losses during the engagement they could occupy that island utterly and completely in mere hours. It wouldn't take much planning on China's behalf to be able to arrange a blitzkrieg strike before anyone even knew what was going on, let alone had a chance to respond.

Once entrenched, how, pray tell, do you extricate them without turning the entire island into a sheet of glass? China's military commanders are no fools. They have learned the lessons of the French resistance, of the VietCong and the Taliban. They know what guerrilla tactics work and what don't. They know how a resistance movement will organize, how to root it out and how to minimize the damage they can do.

Unlike western democracies, the Chinese have no need to seek a swift conclusion to anything. They don't need to "win the hearts and minds of the populace." They will march in, subjugate the populace and breed them out of existence. Two generations later, only a handful of extremists will even remember what their ancestors fought for and the rest will be Chinese citizens.

China doesn't invade Taiwan because the costs outweigh the gains. Nothing more. Do not delude yourself for a moment into thinking there is anything else restraining them.

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Trevor_Pott
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"no-one is brave enough to move into Africa as it's too politically unstable"

Balderdash. Somalia is capitalism unchained. No nasty government regulation to get in the way of anything. Governments only know how to screw things up. The free market will decide optimal stability of a region, just like it find the optimal point of all things.

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Netflix speed index shows further decline in Verizon quality

Trevor_Pott
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"Network ain't gonna resize itself just when you pay."

The Network doesn't resize itself at all when the money that should have gone towards infrastructure improvements is pocketed instead.

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Oracle and Pluribus team up, flip the switch on Cisco SDN killer

Trevor_Pott
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http://openindiana.org/ <-- Solaris for the masses

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Qipp debuts 'Clippy for your STUFF' app

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Great

Tag the enclosure.

"Change UVB bulb on snake tank every 6 months."

"Drop in frozen pinkie every 10 days."

"Change substrate every 10 days (offset by 4 from pinkie addition)."

"Milk snake every 21 days."

"Begin the unnecessarily slow moving dipping mechanism when $_tag_Austin_Powers is in range."

It all seems rational to me.

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Inside Microsoft's Autopilot: Nadella's secret cloud weapon

Trevor_Pott
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Autopilot is far closer to System Center + Puppet. Except instead of Puppet everything is a bunch of PowerShell, some imaging tools, a whole lot of sensor+trigger packs and this massive distributed scheduler.

You can make System Center + Puppet do what Autopilot does. It would cost you about $5 Billion and take you three years, but it's possible. Or, you could just wait until Microsoft has found a place where they feel it's safe enough to freeze the code and work it back into their server offerings and sell it to you. Which they will do, as soon as they feel that doing so won't give away a competitive advantage to anyone that might threaten them.

Microsoft are very big believers in DevOps. Religious about it, almost. The difference between "us" and "them" is that for us DevOps is Puppet, Chef or Saltstack. For them, it's Autopilot.

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Boffin dreams up smart battery gizmo for Raspberry Pi fiddlers

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Where's the incentive

"Neither of them went out with a begging bowl to get started."

Which again brings this back to "your objections are moral, rather than rational or logical." Which is pretty much what the other guy's problem was. Objections based on feels, not base don anything he could actually coalesce into a practical argument.

Kickstarter is representative of a new morality tied to an evolving culture. I believe the issue to hand is a sense of "get off my goddamned lawn" combined with a vague disgruntlement and a denial of getting old.

The beauty of Kickstarter is that there's no requirement to put money in. It's all voluntary. So if you are pinching pennies, then you simply wait to see what proves itself, which is also a valid way of approaching life.

Sir, this old thing happens to us all. Now, about my lawn...

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Where's the incentive

@ Humpty McNumpty oh, no, I was totally trolling the dude. 100%. He'd been douching it up so hard by the time I got to the thread that I decided to poop on him. I never claimed to be holier than the others who dwell here. I'm just a little more self aware. Thus when I'm being a jackass it's usually on purpose.

He didn't just offer his opinion, he went after anyone who disagreed with him, and completely ignored the fact that there already exist alternatives that do what he wants. I see him as demanding Kickstarter change because he isn't satisfied with the existence of alternatives: he wants his view imposed on the market leader, because it's the market leader.

And because, apparently, he's channeling Carl Icahn.

Under that circumstance I feel zero remorse about trolling his ASCII. In fact, I rather enjoyed it. A++++++++ would troll again.

As for your concerns: Kickstarter has all sorts of rules and regulations to prevent "exploitative capitalism at it's worst." It is vicious about scams and cracks down on them hard. Frankly, that's why a lot of the other services sprung up: to get around Kickstarter's more restrictive rules and enforcement.

Is Kickstarter perfect? No. But I honestly don't think that government regulation will help here. I'm usually down with my socialist brethren, but in this case A) there's no evidence that the model is broken B) there's no evidence that Kickstarter isn't capable of self regulation and C) there's a hell of a lot of evidence that if any government tries to "regulate" this industry it will get a lot worse in a hell of a hurry.

You ask the following question: "why are we prepared to give other people money for them to turn into profit for themselves?"

The answer - quite simply - is "because if we don't then the thing we want to happen or be built won't happen or be built."

Kickstarter exists to fund projects and products that in all likelihood would never happen otherwise. It's naive to say that this is some sort of magic hand of the free market making a moral decision about who should or should not survive. Anti-competitive measures exist in the form of artificial barriers to entry raised though everything from regulation to vertical integration that prevents startups from being bootstrapped in any number of industries.

Let's try a small hypothetical scenario:

I really would like a glowing plant. In fact, I want a glowing plant quite a lot.

Now along comes a scientist that says he has the skill to make me a glowing plant, but not the startup capital to make it work. He needs a Big Pile Of Money if he is going to make glowing plants. Making just one is only slightly less expensive than making several thousand, so he decides that if he is going to do this, he's going to make a business out of it. Fair enough. I can respect that.

So he turns to Kickstarter. He says that if he meets his goal then he will be able to sell anyone a bag of glowing plant seeds for $50. He figures he needs $65,000 or this isn't getting off the ground. He offers various things to funders from a free plant to a vase made out of old lightbulbs to the grand prize of having their name spelled out in the DNA of the glowing plant for the person who ponies up $10,000.

If I fund the project to the tune of $40, I get a bag of glowing plant seeds when they're ready. That's $10 off from the sticker price I would pay if I never took part in the project at all. That sounds like a fair deal, so i could do that.

Instead, I choose to give him $500. Why? I really want that glowing plant. He needs to make it to $65,000 this is how much I can spare. Did I mention I want a glowing plant?

I am helping him fund his business and in return I will be getting something I desire: a glowing plant. There is no rational reason for me to expect to own a portion of his company. There was never an expectation that I would own a part of that company and I paid my money in full knowledge that all I was getting was a bag of glowing plant seeds.

That's all i wanted. I'd have paid more than $500 if I'd had it to pay.

I don't know if you've ever started a business. I have. It's expensive. Far more so than just the raw costs of materials. If you have a moral objection to people making a profit then I don't understand how you function in our society. Businesses make profit. It's how our whole society works.

I - one of the most socialist commenters on El Reg - don't have a problem with these folks making a profit. They make me a glowing plant, they get profit. Win, win.

The market will determine if the cost is fair. If the cost is not fair people won't pay it. Nothing on Kickstarter is a natural monopoly or a good you just can't live without. Thus nobody is forced to buy anything: they are paying only if they feel the price is fair.

Because of that I don't think regulation is rational or warranted. I also don't think it's warranted to think Kickstarter should change it's model or try to become "all funding things to all people" just because it has name recognition. That's like suggesting that Coca Cola should sell coffee because they have name recognition and you like coffee.

Of course, you know, there is a way to decide this. Go start an Indigogo to raise enough money to lobby Kickstarter to change it's business practices. Let the market decide if your idea is fair and worth the money.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Where's the incentive

You spent the top of this thread banging on about wanting an "incentive" to buy things and woe to all that paying money and receiving a physical object in exchange for that money was "inadequate" incentive. No, you want a percentage of the man's profits as well as the physical trinket!

Who the fuck do you think you are, Carl Icahn?

Then you jump straight to bullshit like "Comprehension not your strong point is it?" and get your panties in a bunch when someone calls you out for being a douchecanoe.

What you haven't grokked at all from this thread is that the people here see no reason to change Kickstarter to meet your whims. This is because you have provided to reason they consider valid. Your argument-fu was just not remotely strong enough.

This isn't because we don't think that the model you propose is a bad model, it is because it exists elsewhere and thus there is no reason to change Kickstarter. Kickstarter is what it is is and it has no logical reason to alter itself to be like another option just because you prefer the model of another option.

Let me try to put this into perspective. If a bunch of people are standing around a Smartcar saying "gee willickers, this really meets my exact needs, I think this is great" and you trip onto the scene and exclaim that it would be better with a big-block V8, a full bed for cargo and the ability to haul 3 tonnes then they are going to tell you "go buy a truck, ass clown" and go back to talking about their Smartcar.

Now most trolls, missio accomplished, would go off and terrorize kindergartners or some such. Nope, you hang around and say the Smartcar lovers "don't understand" and "they haven't given you a good reason that the Smartcar shouldn't have a big-block V8, a full cargo bed and the ability to haul 3 tonnes. You deride them as sheeple and say that they are preventing innovation by refusing to recognize how much better the Smartcar would be if it would only evolve to be exactly like you describe.

Thus begins the circular logic.

"Dude. Go to ford and buy a fucking truck. There's no rational reason for Smart to build a pickup. Lots of people build pickups. Smart makes Smartcars. A niche they creates and do well in."

"You don't understand! They could do so much better if they sold a Smartcar, but with a big-block V8, a full cargo bed and the ability to haul 3 tonnes!"

"Dude. Go to ford and buy a fucking truck. There's no rational reason for Smart to build a pickup. Lots of people build pickups. Smart makes Smartcars. A niche they creates and do well in."

"You don't understand! They could do so much better if they sold a Smartcar, but with a big-block V8, a full cargo bed and the ability to haul 3 tonnes!"...

Ad infinitum. So while I do so enjoy being stuck in the Typhon Expanse getting blown up every time the Bozeman saunters through the portal, I'm glad you've chose to decompress the shuttle bay as there are many other places to be.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Where's the incentive

You haven't asked questions. You shat an "opinion" - that appears to me to be far more of a demand than anything else - followed by a stream of vitriol at anyone who told you your opinion was unwarranted, undesired and unhelpful.

So yeah, you know what, the best I got for is "dude, your opinion has been roundly rejected and based on how you've handled that you're coming across as the sort of fellow I wouldn't want to have beers with."

You have a lot of "I want" with bloody little "and here's why you should too." You're all stick and no carrot. I don't see a reason why I shouldn't call you on that. Writer, not writer...if you're wrong on the internet then expect the rest of the internet to appear out of a portal and beat you to death with a rubber chicken. It's kind of the way the internet is.

Kickstarter is one thing.

You are "of the opinion" that it should be another.

People say "no, it shouldn't"

You say "should too!"

I say "hey, there's this other thing over here that's exactly what you are talking about, but it's not Kickstarter."

You respond with "my opinion is valid, damn you!"

Yep. This conversation sure was just dripping with class until I arrived. Kickstarter is what is is and people like it that way. There are alternatives, ranging from Indiegogo to the TSX Venture. There's no rational reason that in the face of that diversity it would change or even should change. You seem averse to looking for alternatives. You're just being a hater.

So, if you're being a hater, why should I spare you the rod? You lot wouldn't give me a half a breath before you started in with the knives, it seems to me that turnabout is fair play.

Just...let it go. Even if you believe ardently and eternally that you're in the right on this, nobody else does. You're preaching to an audience you can't convert and you're just making yourself look the fool in doing so.

So yeah. Opinions are like assholes. Everyone's got one. And in this context, yours just happens to be the one that's smelling up the joint. Sorry man, but that's the way it is.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Where's the incentive

Opinions are like assholes: everyone's got one. But christ man, what the hell have you been eating? *hurrrk*

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Re: Where's the incentive

Chris W you are demanding that kickstarter be something that it explicitly is not, was never intended to be, nor has any rational reason to be whilst ignoring that the thing you desire already exists elsewhere. Basically you are whining on the internet because a popular service chose a model you don't like and (shock, horror) millions of people around the world were down with that.

When called on it by multiple people you basically went full douchecanoe all over these forums. After all that you want me to treat you like you're some sort of knowledge-bearing savant?

The fuck, what?

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Re: Where's the incentive

@Chris W: Kickstarter is a place to place advance orders to buy good or services from companies that don't have the startup capital to launch without a confirmed userbase.

What you seem to want is a way to invest in a company and obtain a percentage of ownership. That's called a stock market. There even exist "venture" stock markets specifically for what you are talking about.. For example, The TSX Venture Exchange.

Kickstarter is a means for entrepreneurs to minimise the risk of starting a venture by distributing that risk amongst interested potential customers, each of whom put in a small amount and eventually receive a product or service in return. It is nothing like a venture exchange, nor was it intended to be. It is a separate service.

If you want a venture exchange, go purchase shares from companies listed on a venture exchange.

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Google will dodge EU MONSTER FINES by 'promoting' rival search services

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Re: @ Trevor_Pott

Where did I say Google didn't have the advantage? Hmm?

I said "Microsoft is just as guilty of invading your privacy as Google." That presumes you use Microsoft, of course, but they try every dirty, underhanded tactic that Google does...and then some.

They're just not remotely as successful as Google.

So to sit there and decry Google for privacy violations and screaming "use the alternative" is a bullshit response. The alternative will violate your privacy just as badly. The difference is that if you go Microsoft you won't get a product and/or service that is as useful as Google's in exchange for your privacy.

So the market currently looks like this:

Google: creepy evil panopticon that provides products and services that people want to use in exchange for monitoring every aspect of their entire lives. Insinuated everywhere into everything. Virtually impossible to avoid.

Microsoft: wannabe-creepy but very definitely evil corporate that provides products which for the most part are second rate, outright ass or just plain not what people want. They make you pay for their stuff (well most of it) and the rest is a loss leader...but they monitor you through all of it. (Though they are vaguely less creepy about their monitoring the higher the amount of money you spend. But only vaguely less creepy.)

They used to be everywhere and now aren't. They are desperately trying to get themselves into the ultra-creepy paniopticon presence, but nobody actually wants their web shit so they don't quite have the reach to be nearly so perasive as Google. Should they get Google's reach there's zero reason to think that they won't be just as creepy as Google, and every reason to think the products and services won't be as good as Google's, but you'll have to pay for them and Microsoft will spy on you.

Yahoo: when it works, it still sucks. Even less effective at being creepy and pervasive than Microsoft. Still trying though.

Everyone else: Well, here you can find a mixed bag, from creepy to not creepy, from sucky to awesome. Sadly, you don't get a search engine that even pretends to be worth a bend damn. There are several non-Google analytics companies that are moving up the creepy-o-meter that don't offery end-users anything and make website owners pay. May e-mail providers scan e-mail for ads, many don't.

So yeah, I don't know where in that I said "Google don't have an advantage." Of course they do. That doesn't make the competition less creepy, evil or willing/desiring to invade your privacy.

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Re: @ Trevor_Pott

@AC Oh, I do very much care to enlarge upon that. When I do, it will be in the form of a nice multi-page feature. Gathering banners takes time, but the long story short is that they violate your privacy in pretty much the exact same ways as Google, with only a very few exceptions...and they have completely new ways of invading your privacy that Google doesn't even use yet.

They aren't like for like on every single privacy invasion, but wingus is just as guilty as dingus on this.

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Trevor_Pott
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@AC Re: Why? "Google + Privacy"

Which other online source are you going to where privacy is respected? Microsoft? Fat chance: they're as bad - if not worse - than the chocolate factory. Yahoo is just outright incompetent. For virtually all of Google's tools the competition is either just as privacy invasive, incompetent or - far more often - both.

Additionally, you can defang 99.9% of Google's privacy creepyness with Google Dashboard. Is Google creepy and evil? Yes. Are the alternatives less crap? Nope.

The possible exemption *might* be Duckduckgo, but I am willing to bet MS has put a bunch of money into figuring out how to de-anonymise searches sent their way through that thing.

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PEX vex: Partners uninvited from the VMware party – report

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Re: PEX is not about vendors

How very on message of you.

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*ahem*

Fucking clownshoes, VMware.

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Sputtering storage space portends poorly for PCs

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Windows has nothing at all to do with it, regardless of what you've read.

Some do. I argue that most don't. A lot of people suffer from Dunning Kruger and so think they know way more than they do. Or at the very least, they believe they know "enough" to make the call. Still more people simply go with "what they like" without ever asking for advice or help.

Those people asking for help or advice are in the minority. Most people think they know enough to go buy a computer, because they're on their second, third, fourth or moreth computer by now. Computers are a commodity. You don't need to talk to a nerd to get one. You just browse Futureshop's selection and pick one you like.

Amazingly, if what people want isn't on the shelf to be bought, they won't buy something that they don't want except under duress. They aren't buying Windows 8. That has little - if anything - to do with advice (or lack thereof) from nerds. It has everything to do with personal preference on behalf of the consumers.

"Good" or "bad" are entirely relative here. You might consider Windows 8 "good" because you wrongly conflate "new" with "better." I might consider Windows 8 bad because it not only is a piss poor UX, but to spend a bent copper on it would be to validate Microsoft's position that we are all consumers to have our preferences dictated to us instead of customers whose preferences should drive design.

"Good versus bad" mean nothing. The opinions of nerds mean nothing. The press coverage in tech magazines means nothing. People are making up their own minds without having to go to a nerd. They are trying out Windows 8 in stores and deciding "no".

That "no" decision usually occurs before they would go to a nerd. Nerds are used to help someone make the optimal choice, once they've decided that a purchase is to be made. They aren't making it that far. They are driving by the local "auto dealership row" and seeing that every car and truck on every lot has a Justin Beiber paint job and saying "fuck this."

They are so turned off by that paint job that they don't even call a knowledgeable friend and ask them "what's the best option." They don't bother taking it for a test drive. They see a deal breaker and decide to live with what they have.

My point in all of this is that Windows 8 is a fucking deal breaker. People would, will and do buy new, faster PCs when the option of Windows 7 is made available. That option isn't even visible to most people.

They simply don't have a conceptualization that you can buy a computer with "not Windows 8" any more. They don't go to a nerd and ask "can I have Windows 7" because they don't even know this is a question they can ask.

Let them know, however, that this is something they can still do...and you sell some PCs. Pure and simple. The difficulty is only in getting the word out that Windows 7 is still a thing you can buy.

PCs are a mature market. They are only going to be replaced as old ones fail or when new ones are so significantly faster than old ones as to make an upgrade worth it. (SSDs being the driver right now.) But the dominance of Windows 8 on retail PCs - and thus in the public mindshare of "what you can buy" - is artificially supressing demand below even that "replacement only" level.

People are willing to forgo replacements on systems they would otherwise be entirely willing to replace because they don't want Windows 8. That makes Windows 8 a great big fucking mistake. It makes the inability to admit that there was a massive problem with Windows 8 - and with Microsoft's customer-hostile attitude surrounding it - an even bigger problem.

Those who deny the present never learn from the past and are thusly condemned to repeat it.

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Re: Windows has nothing at all to do with it, regardless of what you've read.

My dealer says to do a paint job required removing components and thus they won't support warranty. Their word is the one that matters, not yours. I also checked the warranty on several of the notebooks I've recently purchased: same deal. Remove the OS and warranty is null and void. Again, their word is what matters, not yours.

Your repeated assertion that people want Windows 8 is equally irrelevant. It isn't reflected in the market. Windows 7 is selling far better than Windows 8. In fact, it's where virtually all growth is coming from. Evidence from retails has been mounting as well. Evidence from online statistics has been perfect clear too.

But you know what? I don't fucking care. I am not the one who suffers because you - and those at Microsoft - are in denial about this. Microsoft shareholders, employees and fanboys are. I'm done with Microsoft. So you believe whatever you want to believe. It doesn't change reality.

In reality, when I offer someone with the opportunity to upgrade to a Windows 7 computer with a shiny new SSD, faster CPU and so forth, they buy it. When I offer them the opportunity to downgrade to a shiny new Windows 8 computer, they pass. That tells me what I need to know to sell computers to my customers. That makes me money.

You can go on your merry way being poor and selling fuck all. It's no skin off my nose one way or another.

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Re: Windows has nothing at all to do with it, regardless of what you've read.

Wipers and tires are considered "user replaceable parts". A proper paint job on the car requires disassembly of components that are only supposed to be disassembled by the dealer during warranty period. Thus it would invalidate the warranty on everything but the powertrain, as the disassembly was not done by the dealer. (Warranty is only honoured if all such maintenance is performed only be the dealer during the warranty period.)

That's not exactly earth-shattering in conceptualization. It occurs on cars, printers, computers, even home appliances. Your manual will explicitly state what is a user-serviceable component. Any disassembly of the unit for any reason invalidates warranty. User-serviceable components never require disassembly.

Which brings me back to Windows 8: people don't know how to get rid of it. It's bloody hard to find a PC that doesn't run it for sale in the shops. Even if people did get the upgrade to Windows 7 done, they'd probably not get their warranty honoured.

If what is for sale is not what people want to buy they don't buy it unless they are under significant duress or pressure to do so. What the hell is so hard to understand about this?

People will buy a newer computer even if they don't need one if that computer is significantly faster than their old one and does exactly what they want (i.e. is exactly like their old one, but faster and without the viruses.)

Microsoft released a smelly turd onto the market and tried to force everyone to buy it.

People said "I'd rather use my beater than buy your goddamned Edsel."

This is not rocket science. It may hurt the feelers of the nerderati that the hoi polloi have the choice of doing this - that they the pendulum of power is no longer on the side of being able to force upgrades by fiat - but too fucking bad.

Put PCs on the market with Windows 7 and SSDs and they will sell. How do I know this? Because this is exactly how Lenovo ended up kicking HPs ass and stealing top spot. The market. Analyse it.

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Re: Windows has nothing at all to do with it, regardless of what you've read.

If I repaint my car before the warranty is up, then with most dealers I've ever encountered they wouldn't service it. To paint the thing would mean taking it apart, which means a non-dealer mechanic would have had at it.

If I take the vehicle to a mechanic that isn't a dealer, they won't honour the warranty. All service to be done by the dealer until end of warranty, and the dealer will only ever bring the car to stock. if the stock is a Beiber paint job, then it must be a beiber paint job until the warranty is up.

Thus a Beiber paint job would be a hell of a dealbreaker. I'd rather drive my 10 year old car than anything with a Beiber paint job.

Besides, how am I supposed to paint a car? I have no idea how that's done. I know it isn't like painting a wall. Who can do it properly? Isn't that expensive?

Fuck it, I'll just drive what I have.

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Re: Windows has nothing at all to do with it, regardless of what you've read.

Wrong.

Windows 7 may be simple for you to buy. You're plugged in, a techie, a nerd. The average punter isn't. What's selling in Best Buy doesn't rock the Windows 7, it has Windows 8.

You are correct in that people want what they know, but that very fact prevents them from downloading Linux, switching to Apple or doing "technical voodoo" to upgrade a computer to Windows 7.

I've sold more computers in the past 6 months than I have in the past three years. Why? People found out "I could get Windows 7." There's a strong desire for it. People want newer, faster PCs than what they have...but they wont those PCs to be exactly like what they already have, just faster...and they want it cheap.

A new system with an SSD meets their needs. $500-$750 at the top end is what they're willing to pay, and they'll keep it for 6-10 years. People are refreshing. PCs still get too old and too slow.

...but that refresh cycle is lengthening, and people would rather put up with a slow, creaky computer than use Windows 8.

Is all of the PC market decline Microsoft's fault? No. But a good chunk of it is. Those who - like you - refuse to admit that Microsoft was a big part of the problem will only depress the market further. You can't solve the problem until you admit it exists, and continuing to ignore the customer base while shoveling shit that people ardently don't want to buy is not going to reignite sales.

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Verizon: Us throttling AWS and Netflix? Not likely

Trevor_Pott
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Re: I thought Netflix had its own fat pipes

"They don't really need $utility". The hits keep coming. Keep posting. You just keep reinforcing my point whit every post.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: I thought Netflix had its own fat pipes

Congratulations! You are among the privileged few...and proving my point. The attitude of "I have what I want, so fuck everyone else" is exactly what I decry. Mainly because those who have what they want are generally few, but they hold the reigns of power, thus allowing for the creation of vastly imbalanced societies.

...but then, that's just tickety boo with you, it seems. Sad.

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Re: I thought Netflix had its own fat pipes

"The US has fiber to the home as well, the damn imperialist dogs!"

"You might as well say that those damn socialist countries have indoor plumbing, so take that US and UK!"

You are exactly correct, sir. The comparison is apt. In those damned socialist countries fibre-to-the-home is viewed to be just as essential as indoor plumbing and so it's provisioning is treated as such. The percentage of the population it reaches is damned near total.

Amusingly enough, I do agree that fibre-to-the-home reflects the view of the USA regarding indoor plumbing. If indoor plumbing weren't already built in to extant homes, I have zero doubt whatsoever that those currently holding the reigns of power would do sweet fuck all to help bring it to those without, instead they would say that those who weren't paying for it to be added out of thier own pockets were "lazy", "lacked ambition" and "needed to pull themselves up by their bootstraps."

So you are exactly right. I might as well just say "those damned socialist countries have indoor plumbing", because the difference in how both types of nations treat their citizens can best be viewed through exactly that lens.

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Re: I thought Netflix had its own fat pipes

"I completely agree, but that's not how the real world operates, now is it?"

Sure it is. It just isn't how the US or the UK operate. There are plenty of countries that do not suckle at the teat of trickle-down economics and free-market extremism. Then again, most of htose countries now have things like "fiber to the home". The damned socialists.

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Re: I thought Netflix had its own fat pipes

Bollocks.

If the ISP refuses to peer and instead wants to double dip by charging the content provider for transit as well as the subscriber for receiving said packets then what is the content provider supposed to do? Eat the cost of paying that ISP? Make the subscribers from non-douchetastic ISPs subsidize those who subscribe to the greedy one?

Indeed, can that ISP who isn't directly peering even handle high-quality streams, if everything is going through a smaller pipe? Seems to me that lowering the quality is the only way the content provider has in that situation to ensure that their customers get a stream at all.

Perhaps the better route would have been to charge an extra fee to the content consumers to deal with the transit charges imposed by their ISP?

Let's be clear here: infrastructure owners should not be content providers. Infrastructure owners should be "dumb pipes" providing the best possible quality of internet access with zero discrimination for the best possible price. Under no circumstances should an ISP be allowed to play any sort of shenanigans with content providers, but doubly so if they are content providers providing a service that competes with one provided by the infrastructure owner.

Most people have a very limited choice of ISP - if any choice at all - and as such corporations which are providing access to a utility which is vital to participation in today's society should not under any circumstances be in a position to be accused of "conflict of interest." It should never even come up. If they are going to own infrastructure and content then it needs to be regulated such that conflict of interest is not possible. Otherwise, ban infrastructure providers from providing content services of their own.

Utilities must be nothing more than "dumb pipes". By they providing you electricity, natural gas or telecommunications.

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Geek's geek Guthrie heads up Microsoft's mega-billions enterprise software biz

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Silverlight?

What was bad about Silverlight? Silverlight was amazing. It's a goddamned shame it never caught on.

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Fixed networks to sag under weight of mobile data: Cisco VNI

Trevor_Pott
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Re: The 2-iPhone craze

Actually, 2 iPhones each would drive data usage quite a bit. What uses the data? Updates. I've done the legwork on this, and app updates + OS updates account for something like 40% of data consumed. Increasing dramatically is browser usage, as people pull down higher and higher res images while browsing. Oddly enough, streaming isn't that big, as most people seem to only do that while at home/work where there is Wifi.

The updates eat the data plan, I suspect, because they trigger on a time basis, not a "what am I connected to" basis. So if the update trigger goes while you're on the bus, then the apps auto-update. Also, there's a bizarre thing in my studies where people pulling OTA OS updates seem to do it first thing in the morning while waiting for the bus. They get bored, accept the update then fidget ceaselessly whilst waiting for the bus to arrive.

Of course, my sample size is something like 50 units across 40 people, so consume the above with heaps of NaCl.

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The job-eating predator VMware users fear is ... VMware

Trevor_Pott
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When Scott says it, the Voice Of Authority Speaketh. When I say it, "oh that's just paranoia." Remember kids: it isn't Truth until it's spoken by a highly placed corporate employee in a venue that marketing and PR can't vehemently deny.

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Think British weather is bad? It's nothing to this WOBBLY ALIEN planet

Trevor_Pott
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Bucky Balls do. :)

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Rivals attack Google's antitrust search settlement deal with EC

Trevor_Pott
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Bing sucks. Fix it or fuck off, Microsoft.

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Google strikes deal with EU competition chief over abuse of search dominance claims

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Its simple to me

You cut off your digital dong to spite an algorithm? Wha?

You fail during your rant to mention which alternatives you feel are more morally or ethically "proper" when compared to our advertising chocolate factory overlords. Google are haughty, arrogant fucksticks, it's true...but the alternatives are worse.

At least Google mostly builds products and services I want, for a price I can afford and even periodically listens to me, the customer. (If you pay for Google Apps, you are the customer. Otherwise, you're the product.) Google stalk me, but they also try to keep me happy while they do it.

Microsoft tells me what I'm going to pay them, puts a loaded gun against my head and says "nice business you have there, shame if something happened to it. Now about our ransom...." all the while never giving a bent fuck about my desires or requirements as a customer. With added doses of Metro, Ribbon bar, SPLA restrictions, 15% user-over-dev price hikes and VDI licensing to make you scream.

Microsoft also stalk me, scan my e-mail and otherwise are creepy douchecanoes, but they don't even have the decency to use lube, let alone try to keep me happy while they're working me over.

Then we look at Yahoo's antiquated bucket of customer-hostile fail or Oracle's wallet-seeking doom missiles and things start to get progressively darker from there.

So Google sucks. I'm with you on that. But they suck the least out of the available candidates. It's like politics: you don't vote for who you like, you vote for the halfwit you think will do the least amount of harm. When it comes to my privacy, my pocketbook and the foundational principles of the open internet, at the moment that happens to be Google.

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Democrats introduce net neutrality legislation in Senate and House

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@Killraven

Hey douchepopsicle, one of the commenters very explicitly stated "In relation to the internet, we are consumers. In relation to our ISPs, we are customers." Thus, as someone who does things in relation to the internet, the conversation is indeed about me.

The argument that we are "consumers" of the internet is bullshit. Maybe if your forehead slopes just that little too much that's all you ever do on the net...but a significant chunk of wired humanity create content, not simply consume it. That's one of the beauties - and the horrors - of the open internet: everyone has a voice.

Don't presume I'm trolling just because you are too thick to connect the dots without me getting out the big crayon and doing it for you. I expect that the consumers of content in El Reg's comments section shouldn't have to have such things spelled out for them. I am appalled and shamed to be wrong.

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Spiceworks scoops $57m in 'last funding round before IPO'

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Dell staff?

I explicitly asked him about the Dell layoffs. Dell have many good developers, sales staff and marketing folk. The cream of that crop could find a home at Spiceworks.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Purchasing - No thanks

The core app will remain free, but they are opening the platform up for developers. Consider as one example Teamveiwer. Teamviewer makes great remote administration software. They could then sell their application through Spiceworks as a plugin, integrate with the platform so that as you are navigating through your inventory or responding to a ticket about a given PC you just click the button and Teamviewer will connect.

This would allow you to connect without having to exchange TVID/password combos, going into the Teamviewer manager or carefully curating a list of PCs through the "computers and contacts" section. Teamviewer could even build the app such that when Spiceworks detects a new system on the network it automatically installs Teamviewer on the new system and adds the TVID/password combination to the Spiceworks system. I'd pay for that.

Others are doing things like integrating their mobile device management software into Spiceworks. You get a set of features for free as part of the base Spiceworks app, but you pay the vendor to unlock the really sexy stuff if you want to go farther.

Spiceworks will always be free. But now there is a path to integration for vendors looking to build on the platform and offer non-free management tools to systems administrators.

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