4249 posts • joined 31 May 2010
Re: Once something become possible
Building a nuke is easy. Building rockets is hard. Building space planes is dark fucking magic.
Seriously. "North Korea built it's own nukes." Annnnnnnnnnnd?
Basic nukes aren't hard. They require zero engineering experience (for a gun-type nuke.) Even a basic implosion device is simple, assuming you're okay with it being the size of a house. (The chances that these are miniaturized enough to fit on a missile are slim to none.)
"Possible feasible and affordable" take a back seat to "comprehensible." An iPad is "possible, feasible and affordable." Yet, if you weren't allowed to do commerce with the rest of the world to buy one and didn't have knowledge of the past 50 years of intermediate technologies, that iPad simply isn't "comprehensible." It takes massive amounts of infrastructure, engineering and high-tech capability to make an ipad.
It takes some C4, a couple slabs of U-235 rich(ish) uranium and some scrap metal to make a nuke.
Wake me when North Korea can make an iPad using technologies it didn't have to steal. Then I'll believe that there is a chance of anyone but DARPA developing a SSTO spaceplane within our grandchildren's lifetimes.
Tried this one already. Lost the Kerbal. Spaceplanes not so good for getting payloads into orbit. Maybe I need a new mod?
It is well Ichan is wasting his time tilting at the windmill of Apple. Were he not occupied with that I suspect he'd happen along and ****ing wreck these people.
Microsoft, get your house in order. Before someone else tears it down.
As a dirty "furriner" I say to the Microsoft: "nyet".
"Microsoft everywhere" and "security" simply don't...what's that knocking at the door?
You are fucking a-rights there should be an eyeball on target before the call goes up to loose the bomb. As many of them as possible. Because it is exactly that sort of bullshit, cavalier "fuck 'em if they can't take a nuke" attitude that killed my friends.
So FUCK YOU if you suggest for even a moment that we shouldn't have complete civilian oversight over ever bit of ordinance dropped. Fuck you with an F-16.
Re: Size of brains?
Graphene will solve it. It solves everything.
Re: Instant 'No!'
Gods help me, I work(ed) for one of those types. Nothing but rage.
"What does one hope to achieve" is typically "don't share my data with third parties." That is how these lawsuits (and/or the settlements) usually go. As to "what is the privacy of one person worth in dollars"...nobody knows. As said in the article, this is minefield has yet to be cleared.
As verified by Carlos Danger (among others...). T,FTFY
Re: Blame the NSA
Doesn't it suck when the tinfoil hat brigade end up being validated?
As usual, Jon Stewart fucking crushes it, months before the NSA scandals even started. Add the NSA shit in and...you know what? You - nor I - nor anyone else gets to mock the tinfoil hatters regarding the US government for some time.
Power corrupts; it seems to have happened with some regularity in the USA. Apathy and denial are absolutely the wrong reactions.
1) 2048 qbits doesn't help you crack 4096 bit keys. Actually, it's dubious it will help you crack 2048-bit keys. I remain confident the NSA does not have a quantum computer with that capability because they just aren't that well funded.
You see, in order to get a quantum computer like that, they'd have had to have developed it outside the mainstream of academia and industry. We're missing all sorts of precursor technologies to get us there, which means that to assume the NSA have a quantum computer that can crack hard crypto you have to assume they managed to get enough of the right people to develop it in total secrecy without ever publishing a paper on it. Have you met the kinds of people who have the ability to do that kind of research? Convincing them not to publish a paper on it is damned near impossible.
2) As I said in my previous post, I am pretty sure the proper hard crypto algorthims remain uncompromising simply because so many people have attacked them for so long. These are not algorithms that were developed in secret and that remain secret. (Bitlocker, as one example.) These are public knowledge and the best minds in the world are constantly trying to break them. So far, with little success.
3) Explain to me how you feel you can "compromise" hardware processors in such a way that they specifically create a back door in any cryptographic algorithm they generate? This might be possible with specialist chips like TPM, but a general purpose CPU or GPU? Do you honestly believe the CHinese wouldn't have found that by now and exploited the living piss out of it?
4) Windows has all sorts of backdoors. Bitlocker is a great example. If you don't use the operating system's libraries to generate your crypto you're fine...or are you going to tell me that suddenly there's magic voodoo within Windows that has heretofore gone unnoticed that simply "knows" (how?) when a library or thread is running "some form of cryptography" and magically backdoors it?
A crypto library that Microsoft ships as part of their OS certainly can be compromised. They probably all are. TPM is probably completely untrustworthy as well. ("Trusted platform module" my fat, jiggly ASCII.)
But the generic computing stuff? CPUs, GPUs, basic execution of libraries written by third parties? To compromise that? We're not talking about your run of the mill engineer here. We're talking about potentially requiring the single smartest individual the human race has ever produced. Someone who would be able to learn so much - to know and retain so much - about how so many different things worked that he would make Leonardo Da Vinci look like Honey Boo Boo.
If such a person existed and were identified by the United States Government before anyone else...do you honestly believe - really and truly, deep down in your heart of hearts - that they would waste that person's talent so utterly by having that individual come up with new and interesting ways to compromise cryptography in generic computing systems?
Why? Where's the logic in that? What possible reason could they have for that when there are way easier methods available? Man in the middle fibre taps. $5 wrench. Secret letters demanding keys from providers and crypto implementers.
I think your tinfoil hat is on too tight, buddy. You should visit my guy. He custom-manufactures mine and it's quite comfortable to wear.
Annnnnnnnnnnnnnd...you're an idiot.
You do realize that proper hard crypto would take a computer with the mass of the universe several times the lifetime of the universe to crack, eh? And that at least some of those algorithms were developed with enough oversight that the NSA could not realistically have compromised them to have back doors?
If you honestly believe that the NSA can violate the laws of physics then you're a chump. And no, "quantum computers" will not crack that kind of hard crypto in a meaningful timeframe...even assuming we could make one (we can't). D-wave doesn't count; we're still arguing over if the damned thing behaves in a quantum manner. It sure isn't much faster than traditional computing at these sorts of tasks.
It is theoretically possible that a quantum computer could one day take apart RSA 4096, though we haven't the foggiest idea in hell how to build one that could do so. The chances of that happening within our lifetimes are slim to none. The chances of taking apart a 15360-bit RSA key within our lifetime are nil.
AES is another interesting one. It's symmetric, so it doesn't require as many bits to be funcitonally unfrackable. AES 256 requires polycosmic time to crack. Even after the dude from Microsoft found a flaw in the algorithm, we're only talking about 3-5 times faster. 3-5 times faster than polycosmic time is still longer than our solar system will exist.
Now, is it possible that the NSA has subverted the AES and RSA standards and have some means of decoding them without "cracking" in the traditional sense? Yes, it is possible.
Is it likely? No.
Too many people have been attacking those algorithms for too long. Attacks on them by the NSA are far more likely to be "get the key from a MITM attack" or "get the key from the service provider."
There are a lot of others encryption standards that I am absolutely positive were backdoored by the NSA (see: DES). I think, however, it's reasonable to assume that AES 256 and RSA 15360 remain uncrackable for the next few years, at least.
When the compromised people in government are General Alexander and James Clapper who run the entire show, then I feel it's entirely safe to assume that the whole goddamned thing is rotten.
You may believe in America Uber Alles but the Nazi rise to power was perfectly legal too. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, sir. The vigilant are screaming. You are in denial.
If the Canadian government requests an unencrypted copy of my data and they have a warrant, they'll get it. I also can't be sued by my customers for complying with Canadian law in this manner.
If the American government requests an unencrypted copy of my data, I'll tell them to kindly eat a sack of severed dicks. In doing so, I'll prevent myself from being sued by my customers by complying with Canadian law in this manner.
Do you have the capability and willingness to understand what I have written?
Re: more footguns going off in Redmond
That would be me. And it's still true. The price hike for service providers is far more complicated than a simple money grab. This is emphatically not Microsoft footbulleting themselves.
Fine, I'll stir my stumps and write something on this...
Re: re: Why would we have known about it?
Um...the NSA is is part of the American military...
@Tom Welsh I'm a socially progressive, fiscally conservative centrist with libertarian tendancies but who doesn't buy into the complete libertarian package. I despise the hard core of the "left" as much as I despise the hard-core of the "right".
If you feel that I've mischaracterised the "tribe" you choose to associate yourself with, maybe you should take a long, hard look at the end result of the actions of that tribe. I'm a journalist, Tom. My job is to cut through the horseshit and to say the things other people find uncomfortable to hear.
You are free to try to convince me that the social doctrines of "the right" aren't based on establishing and maintaining social dominance over any other potential "tirbe" if you wish. I don't know what you'll say that will undo a lifetime of taking notes and living amongst "the right" every single day of that life...but you're free to try.
The right are about ownership. Of themselves, of their family members, of material goods, property, resources and ultimately other people. It is all about those with the most means being allowed to dictate terms to those with fewer means and no entity being empowered to stop them.
Those with greater means are attracted to the right because of this. That's simple and easy to understand.
The left is generally about being left alone with undertones of cooperation to mutual benefit. Again, that makes sense, because it encompasses (and attracts) those who know they don't have greater means and likely never will.
The part I find utterly fascinating is the tendency for those with virtually no means - but who also typically have virtually no education and a lower than average ability to understand the world about them - to also be attracted to "the right." They are easily swayed by the social messages of fear and hatred. Even more are swayed by the (utterly false) idea that they can somehow become individuals of means by believing what those with means believe.
A historic meeting occur ed recently between a recruiter for the KKK and the NAACP the other day. The most interesting thing to come out of it was that many of the recruiter's most violently anti-minority recruits admitted to being 25% mexican.
Humans associate with those they feel will make them powerful. Many amongst our race have not come all that far past Ug beating Grog over the head with a stone so he can drag Mig down the cave by her hair, rape her and obtain offspring.
In today's world, those traditionally in power (fat old white guys, for the most part...a demographic to which I belong, by the by) are losing that power. They are becoming ever more radicalized because of it; doing - and saying - ever more stupid shit in the desperate attempt to retain at least the illusion of power. There's your "right wing" today. Oh, certainly an overly broad generalization, but it hits the biggest cross-section.
The "left", on the other hand are reactionaries to the core. Composed mostly of people without any real power over their lives, they value anything that gives them the illusion of personal freedoms. They value communal resource sharing because they don't have the resources to go it alone.
They also have a nasty tendency to spawn super-reactionary NIMBYs and a whole other cadre of authoritarian types who work day and night to take power away from those who currently have it. "If I can't be the dominant ape, then by george, neither can you!"
Both "sides" are fucking idiots, IMHO.
There are right libertarians. There are also a metric fuckload of right authoritarians. The exact same can be said of the left.
What nobody on either side wants to admit is that the entire thing is about nothing more than dominance, and dominance is about sex. The driving force behind all of this ideology really boils down to "how can I stick my cock into the Alpha female" and/or "how can I get the Alpha male's cock shoved into me?"
Some of us have genetic predispositions that guide us towards choosing various elements of ideology over others. (Conservatism being one of those things we can actually test for at a genetic level now. I wish we could test for left-style authoritarian NIMBYism, but alas, we've not even come close yet.)
All of us have cultural training that guides us towards the selection of an ideology.
The intricacies of the ideologies are complex. They are over-rationalised and evolve over time to counter arguments that have a chance of making the holder of those ideologies look foolish...but it still all comes down to nothing more than dominance. And cocks.
As almost nobody can actually bring themselves to experience that level of self-awareness nor actually choose their ideology with that understanding - and a through exploration of their own genetic and cultural predispositions - I look down my long nose at the log of you. Primitive, emotional, instinctual brutes, the lot of you. I keep a veritable zoo worth of pets and I respect the pets more.
At least they don't have to lie to themselves about what drives them. That is a clarity of purpose I do respect.
Now, if you want to say I'm "heavily biased" against "the right" you can go right ahead. Live in your little fantasy world where I'm the evil Canuck that just hates the right wing. That's a hell of a lot easier to believe and it fits with gut feel better than facts.
Meanwhile, reality gives zero fucks what you think or why. It trundles on and so do I.
Very American ideas of "left" and "right."
Let's try for some education here. There are multiple important elements to the "left" in most countries. The primary element is social progressiveness. It is entirely possible to believe that we shouldn't segregate blacks, burn witches, kill gays and ban porn or bad words whilst also believing that people should be free to do as they choose.
To generalize grossly: "right libertarians" believe in the freedom of the individual to oppress, belittle, besmirch, harm, defraud and even murder others. Their brand of "libertarian" is all about the "right" of individuals to establish and then maintain control over those around them, by force of might, force of charisma or by controlling the means of production.
"Right libertarians" typically believe in corporatism and viciously defend the "fundamental goodness" of the corporate veil (the right to commit any number of heinous crimes as a corporation but never have the consequences come to bear on the individuals owning or running that company.) They are very darwinian: your rights should really boil down to "if someone tried to kill you, you have the right to try to kill him back." That can be literal killing, or corporate/financial/what-have-you phaliic measurement and bludgeoning.
"Left libertarians" are pretty different. They believe that we all have certain fundamental rights (typically those laid out in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights) and that no entity - not government, corporation or individual - has a right to infringe upon them.
Right libertarians view the UDHR as a restriction of their rights. Left libertarians view the UDHR as a definition of their rights.
Left libertarians are all about privacy, the right to power over one's own life and the right to determine one's own future.
Right libertarians are all about the right to power over the lives of others and the right to harm others for personal gain.
Then, in the middle, there are centrist libertarians as well as individuals all up and down the spectrum.
Being "left" does not equate to a belief in "big government." Most "leftist" nations (such as Canada, Sweden, Norway, Finland, etc) are in fact fans of efficient government. They want some government programs (health care, policing, fire services,) but don't feel the need to have bureaucracy grow exponentially. They also don't seen the benefit in a massive military industrial complex because they simply don't have a desire to go forth and control the lives and beliefs of others.
People on the "left" who would identify as "left libertarian" (which covers a significant chunk, and is probably the biggest bloc of "leftists" after the aging NIMBY brigade) simply want to be left alone. They have a "you don't bother me, I won't bother you" mentality about life....but they will work together when they see an obvious benefit from doing so. That's where you get things like functional universal health care systems, policing and a military that does peacekeeping and disaster relief instead of trying (and failing rather catastrophically) to murder a bunch of brown people for their oil.
The problem with "right" versus "left" as it emerges in our political systems is that politics is so messy. There are way more dimensions than "left" or "right." There are plenty of authoritarian docuhecanoes amongst the "right" or the "left" of any nation. NIMBYs show up amongst the left as the cockferrets who are against quite literally anything and amongst the right as those desperately clinging to a morality the majority of their own nations no longer subscribe to.
So yes, "left libertarians" exist. They can even believe in things like centralized health care whilst still believing in the importance of individual liberties.
Try - if you can - to picture people who believe that they should have the right under any but the most exceptional circumstances to do whatever they want within the law...but who also believe they are equal to and no more important than anyone else.
These are the kind of people who believe personal privacy is important, but also see the value in a health care system that uses triage to determine who has the greater need instead of money. Let's use this latter as a real-world example.
A common American gripe about Canadian health care, for example, is that it takes too long to see a doctor if you go to the emergency room or would like an MRI/other type of test.
Right libertarians would be up in arms saying that they should have the right to buy their way to treatment. Anything else is infringing upon their rights.
Left libertarians look at it differently. In Canada, for example, in ER or test selection there are trained professionals making decisions about need. The guy with the bullet holes or the lady about to give birth gets to see a doctor before the kid with the scratchy throat regardless of how wealthy that kid is. Left libertarians see this as fair and equitable; we are all equal, regardless of means and part of our "liberty" is that you cannot "jump the queue" simply because you have greater means.
Sometimes, you end up waiting a long time. Sometimes, the doctors even make the wrong call and someone dies because they didn't get treated in time, when they might have had the money to simply buy treatment in an American-style system. It sucks. It's not ideal by any means...but we accept that this is the tradeoff for a more equal system that respects the rights of the individual.
The alternative is the American-style system where people die simply because those with means (but whose need is less urgent) bought their way up the queue and there weren't resources available to treat the less well-off. Most right libertarians I've met don't view this as unfortunate at all; many proudly say this is "darwin in action."
So there you have it. A short - and grossly generalized - overview of the beliefs of a "left libertarian". You may now commence frothing and demanding our scalps. We're used to it.
So, cutting through the shit on this...
...the new Atoms aren't Atoms at all. Instead of being really cut-down (to the point of being in-order) chips for Small CHEAP computers, they are in fact a slightly crippled Xeon with the clocks turned down and as much crap as they could possibly cram from the motherboard integrated into the CPU package.
The result: a mid-range (rather than CHEAP) server processor without the oomph to go up against a real Xeon or the price to go up against ARM or MIPS. In addition, you are sleepwalking into a future where you can't change motherboards (and/or changing motherboards doesn't matter) because all the bits you care about are integrated into the chip.
More money for Intel - as they are capturing a larger chunk of the silicon in your server/pc/switch/etc - without much of a climbdown on margin. That sounds great for Intel on paper...
...but I think they missed the part where the PC business collapsed overnight because Intel and Microsoft decided they had to kill the small CHEAP computer. CHEAP is the key here. It's what the market is demanding. When Intel and Microsoft tried to murder that concept the whole world went ARM and WinTel went from 95% of the endpoint market to 35%.
Something tells me their server guys are simply failing to learn from history here. There is nothing about what I read in this article that says to me "these chips will be cheap." Indeed, what I take away from this is "these chips will likely have even higher margins than the Atoms Intel tries to position against ARM on the endpoint side do."
You can change the CEO all you want, Intel, but it seems to me the cancer of "just not getting it" has far deeper roots than a sacrificial lamb or two...
Re: The USA is the Nazi Germany of our era
Your omission is that the reason Germany was economically ruined was the completely nuts "reparations" they were forced to pay for their actions in WWI. Germany started it all with WWI and WWII happened because the allies got greedy.
Hitler may have been the most notable - and ultimately most hated - player, however, he was far from the only one. There's also a lot to suggest that while he was indeed a monster, he was not remotely the most monstrous of those who held power alongside him.
Germany's shame is the same as that of the Americans of the day and those of today: apathy. America of the day gave no fucks about what was happening to others based on human rights abuses. They are today no different. The only difference is that the first bricks in the road to having true monsters in power are being laid in America now.
Obama isn't Hitler, nor was Bush. (Though we could have an argument about Cheney.) The real monster will come in the not too distant future; a decade from now, two at the most. After all these rights have been curtailed within their nation and seem "normal" to the next generation. After 30 years of "foreigners aren't people" has been ingrained and embedded within the populace.
Then will the real horror start. Then you'll get a Bachman or a Palin or a pastor from Westboro Baptist Church with nuclear weapons.
I weep for the future.
You assert but you don't explain. How is it bias? Explain the logical steps that lead you to call that "bias" and what you believe reality is.
I see consumers and businesses all around me every single day demanding more for less. They will pay less today for the same functionality as they would yesterday; it is a constant price pressure. I see other companies offering devices that suit my needs at the prices I want and then I buy those devices. That's the way commerce works.
You say it is bias because...what? Because I don't choose to pay more for less? I am somehow biased because I don't think that the Microsoft brand name is worth a few thousand bucks extra? Or am I biased because I value different things in my devices than you do, that I am willing to make different compromised on functionality versus price than you are, and that the compromises and choices I make are reflected in the choices of the overwhelming majority of people?
Explain this "bias." You assert and you assert and you assert, but you back nothing up with facts. I demand that a mostly usable system be provided with great battery life and a UI that is truly fantastic with a mouse and keyboard. I can take or leave touch as a feature, but if you have to include it then it needs to be in a convertible device where the interface is fucking excellent when a keyboard and mouse are used.
I never once said I needed the CPU to made out of sex and gold. In fact, I think you'll find I said "a netbook is a great thing" in an article not to long ago. I'm fine with my i3, thanks...in fact it's probably way more than I need in terms of horsepower.
I prefer to have the ability to upgrade my RAM. I like running VMs. They don't take CPU, but they do take RAM. That shouldn't be a burden, RAM is cheap, unless you are gouging your customers. I think you need an SSD, but companies like Sandisk offer you the ability to turn a small mSATA flash drive into a write cache for a spinning hard drive, so there aare lots of options to get speed without high price.
You assert that I want the moon on a stick for 24.99. I assert that I want a usable portable computer with great battery life. You assert it's impossible to buy such a device. I bought one a few months ago. You assert that "nobody delivers a full-powered convertible at 800€", whereas I see them all over the place.
"Full powered" means a processor at least as fast as that in my Galaxy Note 2 with as much RAM as the CPU can handle, enough NAND to make the system not suck and all-day battery life. You can get that from a fucking ASUS transformer nowadays. Intel sure as shit makes a few different chips that should be able to go nose to nose with a bloody Android device.
If Microsoft were building what people actually wanted instead of some retrofuture device that only really appeals to folks inside the echo chamber we wouldn't be having this conversation. It's entirely possible to build something with mass market appeal for the prices that people are willing to pay.
So cut the shit and get your nose out of MIcrosoft's ass. They fucked up and didn't deliver. End of.
Let's hope they can do better next time.
Let me get this straight: in your mind, if I don't feel it is my duty to pad your profit margin that counts as "bias"?
The fuck, what?
Competitor A can provide me widget I want at price I desire. Competitor B cannot. I am "biased" if I choose competitor A because...how exactly? Fill in the blanks here, sonny. You've gone a might squiggly on me.
I don't have an anti-MS bias. I have a "right tool for the job" bias. That includes everything from hardware to software to TCO to the attitude and long-term fitness of the company to be a vendor I bet my company on.
If Microsoft want to start putting out 13" convertibles that use Metro for touch and Windows 7's UI for productivity, I'll give it some serious consideration. Assuming it has the 18 hour battery life that I can get from my x230 with both the batteries in. Or at least the 12 hour battery life I get from my netbook. Battery life and proper inputs for productivity work matter to me, you see. My clients too, apparently.
My netbook recently died. I did a thorough review of every tablet, convertible, ultrabook, notebook and netbook I could get my hands on (which was most of what's on the market.) I ended up getting the Lenovo X230 with the extended battery and the external, attachable battery as the best compromise. With Windows 7.
I tried Windows 8 in many different variations, including a good sit down with both Surfaces. They simply didn't do the job.
Look, unlike the many and varied fanboys of the world I simply don't have time to be biased. I have a business to run, a significant chunk of which involves running other peoples' businesses too. I have my own personal affairs to attend to. A wife I actually want to spend time with. Hobbies and life goals that have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with computers.
I care that the widget does the job. I care that it does it for a price I can afford. I care that the widget's vendor is someone I can trust. I don't have time to fuck around with the widget, play with settings tweak some obscure, nerdy little preference or sit on hold for 18 hours waiting for support. When there are so many vendors out there that provide stuff that just fucking works, why the hell should I mollycoddle Microsoft when they fail to produce devices or software that are fit for purpose?
They are a multi-billion dollar empire. I give them money, they give me what I want. If they don't, I go elsewhere. Why the hell should I expect anything less than brilliant execution from a company with their resources? Why should I keep giving them more chances?
When they happen to make a technology or device that I find fit for purpose, I say so. When it's shit, I say so too. If your personal sense of self-worth is so wrapped up in a company's brand that you view that as biased then get bent. There are far more important things in life than some childish attachment to a brand name.
Another six months and that dog will be better qualified for management than a significant % of executives running the various technology titans. Certainly better at dealing with people...
Re: @ AC 1519h GMT - Question
No. They didn't change what people wanted changing. They made a series of half-asses pesudo-changes that don't actually meet the requirements people set forth whilst further reinforcing R&D into the options and configurations that people flat out don't want.
Saying Microsoft "did what people wanted" is like saying that a company selling whit shirts to a crowd demanding black is "Meeting demand" by selling blue.
Point of order
Icahn doesn't "do business." He UNDOES businesses.
Gartner, Forrester, IDC and other AAA analysts are often given deeply NDAed closed-door briefings on such things that the rest of us don't have access to. Every major company I know of does it.
Re: This "Apple" company you speak of...
Yep. The same. The largest corporation in the world by market capitalization. The one named after a popular cultivar of a dessert fruit; coincidentally the same cultivar many others have named companies after.
They're DOOMED I tell you. Doomed.
If telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth
without dissembling during calls with investors is to become a standard to which American executives are held, their economy is toast.
I did buy a Windows 8 tablet...but I put Cyanogenmod on it.
I agree. Those OSX migration trials are absolutely stellar!
If you can defend your own datasets you can attack those of other people. And that's why DARPA cares.
It's not just the exits, it's the fact that Californians don't understand the delicate art of signage. Such as placing your signs a decent ways before the turn. And perhaps indicating what side of the freeway it's on. Bloody 101 is a death trap...
Eh, I'd use it. Almost certainly safer than driving.
For once, Microsoft actually does the right thing.
Horsemen. I hear horsemen...
Re: Move to (network) security
The need for security people is great. The number of those willing to pay for security people is few.
Re: Great time for a morality(?) question, Mr Pott.
No, 404, you aren't crazy. I see the same things here. There are really only two paths forward on this: get engaged with some professional marketing wonks and start building a story around your company that says you are quality providers, not low-ballers. This doesn't mean you aren't SME friendly, but it does mean that the SMEs who have had bad experiences with their current guys and who are willing to spend a few quid more for decent service choose you.
The other path forward is to pull the eject handle. Leave the MSP racket behind, and with it, systems administration. I have to admit that this is what I'm in the process of doing. I maintain a few shops on my roster, but I"ll be honest when I say that's largely so that I have legitimacy when I write about this stuff. Writing and marketing are way better money than systems administration or development.
Ideally, I'll get another good marketing client and that will give me the buffer room to hire a sysadmin to handle the scut work. Then I think I can take on a few more sysadmin clients than I have. Honestly though, I think the days of "just being a sysadmin" - even as an MSP - are coming to an end in the SME space. It's hard to compete with the scum-sucking low-ballers on the local scene let alone the encroachment of over-the-net types from abroad.
If you have a sense of ethics and want to do well by your clients, but you play in the SME space then it may just be that in many cities you simply can't make a decent living any more. Each region will be different, so YMMV.
I'm a contractor. Crazy stupid money, please.
And yet, for the past 15 years those who've made the most money in IT are the hyper-specialists. That's changing, slowly.
Three cheers for Ladar Levinson
Maybe if there were more like him - and those folks were the ones running the place instead of the current paranoid schizophrenics - we could treat the USA as adults.
Working on it. I'd love to have a great excuse for you, but the reality is that I'm just so busy getting myself, my staff and my clients ready for VMworld I am only sleeping 2-3 hours a week. Time for research has been next to nil. That's not a good excuse at all and I feel terrible about not getting around to writing as much as I'd like, but it is the truth.
If it makes you feel better I'm training new sysadmin bloggers so that you have more voices than just mine; each with their own ideas and hopefully collectively we'll have more time to do research.
@Anonymous FUD Coward
Hey look, it's the anonymous FUD coward! I was wondering where you'd been in many of the past Microsoft articles. I have a question for you, if you don't mind? I hear that MS is consolidating the different marketing groups into a single entity with the "One Microsoft" move. I know that's already caused some consternation and shakeup within Waggner Edstrom - as you can imagine they are having to bust out of old patterns and learn to do things a little differently) but I am wondering how it's affecting the "little guy" like you?
Do you see much in the way of management consolidation going on, or are they simply rearranging the coalface marketing types? I imagine the astroturfer brigade works hand in glove with the social media types; how has the move from multiple regions with independent astroturfers and social media bodies in to one group with one level of oversight and chain of command changed how you do your job?
More importantly, will you finally get together with the other Astroturfers and rationalize your FUD so that you are at least using true bullet points with credible hyperlinks to back them up and teaching eachother the tricks of the trade for making other believe them? Because you're just awful at it. (No offense, I blame management for not training you properly; I know from experience Microsoft has trained far better.)
But I'm very serious here; which arm are you with? Maybe next time I talk to one of the marketing wonks there I can recommend they send your entire office off to a junket to teach you how to actually not suck at FUD.
But they aren't up enough. Big Corp has nothing to do with "making a profit" or "growing revenue." It has everything to do with growing revenue beyond analyst expectations (which are largely numbers they pull out of their asses anyways.) Stock price isn't determined by market share, market capitalization, actual profits or reasonable growth. IT is determined only by meeting, beating or missing analyst expectations.
Windows 8 didn't meet analyst expectations. Neither did revenues. Need to bump that up, and the only way to do so is to squeeze the existing base like Oracle.
Customer? Fuck no, you're a hostage. From the looks of it, a well indoctrinated one. Denial isn't just a river in Egypt, fellow commentard. It seems that it exists deep in your heart as well. Please get on to Anger, Bargaining, Depression and finally Acceptance. You seem like a bright chap, and we're going to need all the brains we can get to start the very long journey away from Microsoft that our industry needs right now.
Just as moving off Oracle won't happen in it's entirety for some time - or IBM's mainframes, as a previous example - Microsoft will be around for a while yet. But the mass market portion of this exercise has concluded. Microsoft belongs up with Oracle and IBM's mainframe division: relics of the past and pushers of kit to those with extremely high-end - or very niche - needs.
I TOLD YOU SO
Re: how "dirty" the tar sands are
OOoooh. A hiway that has a nickname with the word death in it! So scary!
Of course, you don't actually talk about why. You just fearmonger. Which seems to be your MO. Let's discuss, shall we? Why is hiway 63 so terrifying?
Well, the answer is actually a pretty simple confluence of three factors. The first is that it is very, very long. So long that people have a natural desire to speed on it. Not regular speeding, but blindingly fast even for Alberta. The QE2 has got nothing on the morons tear-assing on that hiway.
The second is that the hiway has not been twinned. So it's just a couple of lanes with no median that if you want to pass the car in front of you you have to poke out into oncoming traffic, which is typically speeding and all too often using cars that don't meet Alberta safety regulations for having "always on" headlights.
The third item is that there are enormous trucks going up that hiway all the time. They are slow. They are difficult to get around. They are impossible to see around.
When you put the three things together you get some dumb shit poking his car into the oncoming traffic lane to pass an entire row of enormous equipment (that's probably 300m long) who then gets rammed head-on by some jackass doing double the speed limit.
The solution to this is simple: twin the hiway. Something that the government is in the middle of doing right now. So ooga booga hiway boogyman is far less the terrifying pamphlet-monster that will kill all the poor souls working in the oilpatch and far more "a problem everyone is aware of and one that the entire province agrees must be dealt with before we allow production to increase at all." Indeed, at least six separate projects are on hold - construction cannot start - until the hiway is twinned.
As for housing, Fort Mac got dispensation to create two new neighborhoods of dense urban housing and construction has already started.
Regarding manpower, I believe Newfoundland has not yet been completely depopulated, so we're still good. If we need more, we can just get the federal government to raise Alberta's immigration limit and there are an unlimited number of individuals from around the world eager to come work there for the $250K-$400K/year they pay.
I agree with you that the economic hit of oil production tapering off is indeed coming, but A) there's 100 years of oil left there at convention technology levels. B) Alberta is slowly diversifying it's economy because of the cash from the oil sands; we will be better positioned to deal with it as these other economic elements grow and replace the requirement for petroleum as a key sector.
I'm no fan or friend of the tar sands at all. I think they are disgusting and wastefull and we need to be moving away from them sooner rather than later. The issue I have with your pointless blitherings is that they have no connection to reality whatsoever.
Your arguments are straight out of Mike Hudema's ridiculous pamphlets and at the core of it boil down to "I do not believe that any amount of regulation can possibly make any form of mining activity - but especially tar sands mining - ecologically friendly for the simple reason that I believe companies will renege on their duties to rehabilitate mine sites and that governments will let them get away with it."
Of course, Hudema gets very angry when you present a list of mining and forestry companies that have done superb jobs of rehabilitating their mine sites and of massive government fines levied against those who don't...where the fines are calculated to be the cost required to rehabilitate the site properly.
Alberta has made mistakes, sure. We've let companies get away with some really bad stuff, damn right. But we're not British Columbia. We don't make a law that says "reforest of be fined" and then fine the company $5000 for not reforesting 1000sq km that they cut down for timber.
You also completely gloss over the political and economic realities facing the province - another Mike Hudema trait - in that for all the ills of the current regime the alternative is far, far worse. Bitch all you want about how evil the tar sands are, but you only alternative to the Tories in this province is the Wild Rose, and they so batshit insane the Tea Party denounced them. If you think for a second that they will do a better job of holding Shell's feet to the fire you're loony.
A nuke plant at Athabasca is the only realistic hope to mitigate the damage of the tar sands. Your fairy-tale Hudema-esque "just stop doing it right now" is not going to happen.
So quit pissing away your efforts on unicorn-chasing and start agitating for real-world solutions that will show tangible benefits for the people alive today and the children of tomorrow. Or, hey, bitch more on the internet. You'll convince all the powers that be to change everything that way, I'm sure.
@zent1: we don't need you.
Re: how "dirty" the tar sands are
BC Hydro's Site C still isn't enough to power the oilsands, and most of it's capacity is spoken for meeting the needs of the northern BC and north western Alberta communities. (Freeing up the more southern Hydro plants to sell more power to California.)
As for you "but they dig up the earth" bullshit, plug it. Yes, they dig up all sorts of muskeg - and damned little boreal forest, thank you - all of which can be restored. You are absolutely 100% right about the toxic ponds which I why I said that the majority of the power requirements are not for turning bitumen into usable oil, they are for refining and extracting the toxic minerals that go into the tailings ponds so we can deal with them in a far more ecologically friendly manner. Read my fucking post before gnawing on yet more of your leg.
Regarding your rampant anti-corporatism, there are a couple of issues with your logic. The first being that Alberta is nowhere near exploiting the tar sands "as fast as corporately possible." In fact, it has been estimated that we are using less than 10% of the possible extraction capacity given the supplies of equipment, manpower and the traffic density of hiway 53. Alberta makes companies looking to exploit tarsands go through an incredible amount of paperwork to get permission; a huge amount of which is "how will you restore the environment."
In addition to this, Alberta - and Canada more generally - is completely dependent on those tar sands. They are such a large part of our economy that if we were to simply stop tomorrow Canada could take something like a 20% hit to our GDP and our nation would collapse into a depression that would take us decades to recover from. It is not merely the cost of the oil, (and the resource taxes it generates,) it is the massive number of people it employs and the very high wages they get paid.
So you are simply flat out wrong and deeply misinformed. I don't believe for a second that we should be plowing ahead with pulling yet more oil out of the ground and burning it, but that is because I understand the science of climate change. I also understand economics and geopolitics and I am perfectly aware that nothing on this earth will stop that oil from being dug up.
So there are two choices before us: rail helplessly against the tar sands in general, waste our time and effort being completely fucking ineffective and worthless...or make sure that the fuckers to as little damage as possible.
If you want to make sure that they do as little damage as possible then you will do everything in your power to make sure that the nuke plant goes forwards. Because with that kind of electrical power we can not only cut the CO2 cost of refining bitumen into oil - a major factor - we can also make sure that we don't need toxic tailings ponds, because we can extract and refine the toxic metals from the waste products and deal with them in a far more ecologically friendly manner.
(I.E. react them with something that locks them up in a stable chemical compound that is non-toxic and then bury them in massive underground vaults designed for purpose. Because hey, with cheap electricity you can make cheap vaults out of non-toxic metals like iron or aluminium.)
But nope, we're right back to ranting-by-eco-pamphlet. Lots of angsty NIMBY talking points designed to get the normals all riled up...no actual understanding of the situation.
Re: Next step??
Where PCs = "Desktops, Notebooks, Netbooks and Ultrabooks"
Where Midclient = "client with locally installed apps which pulls productivity apps from browser or App-v"
273 Mint PCs (and counting!)
83 Android midclients.
1526 OSX PCs.
12 Windows XP midclients (But not for long!)
480 Windows 7 PCs.
18 Chromebook midclients.
Can tell if serious...
...or ready for an asswhuppin'
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