3472 posts • joined 31 May 2010
Re: "The application suite has been rewritten from the ground up"
Office 2013 isn't "dire." It's Office, it does the same thing. It has some actually quite nice cloud sync stuff. It has some irritating and intrusive Bing/Internet social media stuff.
What is dire is the interface. That's partly an aesthetic thing, but it is also a pragmatic consideration for those of us who value screen real estate. I'd say "this is the office suite designed for a retina Mac," except that I can't use a retina Mac at it's native res because my eyes won't make out pixels that small from a reasonable distance.
When Retina-class displays start becoming common in 24" and larger screens for less than $500, I will be the first person to jump up and down and say "goddamn, this new interface paradigm is kinda sexy, and that's awesome!"
"Kinda sexy" however is of no use to me whatsoever in a 1920x1200-or-smaller world where I need every single pixel of real estate for multitasking.
There are a whole bunch of extra features here that most of us (Register readers) will simply never care about, one that we might (cloud sync) a push towards Office 365 (which I promise you is more dire than Libre Office) and an interface that, while aesthetically appealing to a certain segment of the population, takes up far too much space on already too-small screens.
The fact that we don’t all have 4K screens isn’t Microsoft’s fault, not at all. But they do have to design for the realities of the world. Not for a happy fairy unicorn future in which we all either only use one application at a time, or we have screens with enough resolution to handle that kind of massive interface bloat.
I just want to type a damned document. I don’t care if the borders are white, grey, faded, or contain a social media update from twitter.
It’s just a word document.
Re: Me Thinks :
It isn't "bashing" to point out flaws. Especially not when you devote at least as much time to pointing out the things done right.
As I have said before, Microsoft have some truly great stuff. Hyper-V for example, or System Center 2012. SMB 3.0 deserves a nod, as do Microsoft's efforts regarding NFS of late. I think SQL server is grand, and I am increasingly impressed by IIS. Microsoft Dynamics is a decent product that is coming along nicely and I think the xbox is finally coming into its own. (As an "own your whole living room" content delivery platform, complete with original/unique or first run content that Microsoft pays for.)
I even think that Windows Phone was a decently designed platform, even if I happened to prefer Android's interface. (At least WP7 was tight to the hardware with decent battery life and stellar performance!)
I have written articles to this effect. I give praise where it is due.
But this Office cloudy 8 Metro fingerpaints edition?
Lock that sideways.
Re: Me Thinks :
Why exactly should we be positive?
Fact: Metro is ass.
Fact: The goddamned ribbon bar is STILL ass, years later.
Fact: The "cloud" offerings are also ass.
Fact: Microsoft isn't paying the rest of us to astroturf.
So why, exactly should we be positive? Have faith in your favourite company? Why? I don't have faith in a deity. Why would I have faith in a company that doesn't listen to me, actively discriminates against my customers and goes out of its way to prevent the kind of innovation I would like to implement with its products for my customers. (Multitennant Windows 7 service-provider based VDI, as one example.)
Microsoft has some great technologies and great people. But the licensing department, Windows 8, Office post-2003 and Office 365 are not among them.
Poking at the preview
Companies spend money on IT so that IT can solve a problem. Solving that problem in a manner cheaper than paying a human to do the same task, either because it performs the task faster, with fewer errors, or both.
They do not pay for IT because someone told them they should. They do not buy a specific product because an astroturfer or marketer told them to. They pay for IT because the specific solution at hand meets the requirements of the task, is the cheapest solution that does so and won't endanger future productivity by limiting options or compatibility.
There are wide ranging considerations to all aspects of IT. I advise my clients to think about many things. I don’t simply say “Microsoft is bad.” Indeed, I push Microsoft solutions when and where they are appropriate, which is to nearly every client I have.
I do not however push Microsoft’s client operating system or office package. Why? Because there is simply no need to do so. It isn’t something my clients absolutely must have, and it isn’t necessarily the best fit for their requirements.
Which has been the whole goddamned point of my recent articles, including this one. Microsoft is falling away from “the default, de facto item.” At the fringes first (SMEs,) but this will spread. I am starting to see it now even in large deployments.
The endpoints can be whatever the user wants. Windows. Mac. Linux. Android…who cares? As long as the apps can be found to do the job…the choice of OS here isn’t nearly as relevant today as it was five years ago.
I don’t need my client to “give me the opportunity to work on something I think is cool.” Writing for The Register does that. I can ask a vendor; they’ll usually let me try their latest widget.
In addition, I run my own company. If I wanted to use the latest Linux/Mac/Windows/whatever, I simply choose to do so. Don’t be so presumptuous as to believe that I would force my predjudices upon my customers or advise them to choose something simply because I “like a company” or “dislike that other one.”
That’s bullshit, and you know it.
If Windows is the best OS for a customer, I’ll tell them to buy Windows. If it’s not, I’ll tell them to buy something else. In almost every case however, I am in the position to ask the customer “what do you want to use?” Because those customers’ needs can be met by any modern operating system.
And it’s a great thing to live in a world where that is true.
Why thank ye. If you're ever in Alberta, stop by, I'll buy you a jar. (Also, I'm going to be in Palo Alto second week areound Aug 7th, if you are anywhere near there.)
Inebriation and enjoyment to you!
Where have I ever stated that I don't like Microsoft? More precisely, where have I ever stated that I dislike Microsoft specifically, as though with prejudice? I like plenty of people who work for Microsoft. I like many of the departments, divisions and products produced by Microsoft. I believe Microsoft to be in many ways one of the more ethical actors in the IT landscape; for example, the license all their patents to competitors, instead of keeping them tightly tucked close the vest, as bludgeons to prevent competition.
But you can like many aspects of a multinational corporation while loathing others. You can like certain actions or choices made by the body corporate whilst still believing that the larger corporate direction is flawed. In this case, I honestly and earnestly believe that the decisions made by Microsoft will rain down ruination upon not only Microsoft proper, but the entire Microsoft ecosystem, from partners and resellers to the very systems administrators that are paid to support their product.
I don’t write much in the way of “news” here on the register. I periodically write in depth reviews of some products, and I do some technical deep dives into things. But the Systems Administrator’s blog is just that: a blog. It isn’t “news.” It isn’t the latest feeds and speeds and regurgitated press releases.
As I see it, the sysadmin blog is a discussion of “things” that affect systems administrators. These could be products, they could be legal issues. The “things” we need to care about could the direction of a corporation or a security vulnerability resulting from an unforeseen interaction between two applications.
This isn’t a place to simply reword some press releases. You have a whole rest of the website for that. The kind folks who publish my articles helpfully label my opinion column as a “sysadmin blog,” in case you are offended by something other than the bland delivery of pre-vetted fact.
I do try for objectivity in my writing. There are limits to objectivity however; when dealing with theoretical or opinion, the prognostication involved extends beyond the mere reporting of fact. This has been the basis of opinion columns since we have had mass publication. I present to you what I believe to be true…and why I believe it to be so. I will even engage with you in the comments if you feel I am mistaken…and I have had my arguments defeated soundly before.
Rhetoric, however, simply will not sway me. The plaintive cries of a wounded ego of the visceral evocations of emotive “reasoning” will not alter my opinion. If you wish to alter my views about the world – and by consequence what I write about – then you must make a sound logic argument grounded in unimpeachable logic and backed by clearly verifiable fact.
I will then engage you in some debate. Probe the logic you display. What assumptions underlie your arguments; what values underpin the judgements you make? Raw science shouldn’t require value judgements and here my opinion is shaped by fundamental science and repeatable, peer-reviewed works.
But economic and ethical arguments become trickier. I believe very strongly in the following:
The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, but the needs of the few outweigh the desires of the many. The fact that most people are not capable of separating need from desire is where most strife occurs.
If you fundamentally disagree with my ethical viewpoint above, then many economic, ethical or political opinion topics will never be resolvable between us. We simply disagree at too fundamental a level for any of the higher order operations to work themselves out.
If however we can agree on that fundamental basis of ethics, then productive debate is possible. We simply have to follow the flow of logic from this basic assumption to its application in the current environment.
But that is how opinion columns work. They are distinct from news. If you want to prevent my opinion from being aired you have two choices:
Convince me that I am wrong, or appeal to The Powers That Be to censor me.
Calling me names on the internet and saying Mean Things however is not going to dissuade me.
tl;dr: Bitch please, I’m from the Internet.
Re: outside of a few Excel power users ...
Everything I could do with Access, I could do with PHP and MySQL while drunk out of my mind and in half the time to boot.
Anyone who complains that Access is "just easier" is simply someone afraid to take the ~4 hours out that is required to learn PHP. Once you learn that, you'll never - ever - go back to Access.
Microsoft Access is Velcro, invented by committee and implemented by wage slave who view the end user as the enemy.
PHP/MySQL is proper shoelaces. Still not the best, but a damned sight better than most alternatives, and easily understood by the common man.
Eventually, someone with very deep pockets is going to scream antitrust...and this time it'll stick. Microsoft walk a very fine line with these shenanigans.
Re: You think MS don't know this?
I have enterprise Apple deployments in the real world. I even have Linux-on-the-desktop and a trail of Android-on-the-desktop.
For Microsoft to stay relevant, they have to prove to be offering superior value, even in the enterprise. Their name is mud. It is associated with lock-in, change to promote more lock-in, high prices and product differentiation that promotes more lock-in.
Maybe you like their interface choices. Good for you! Most don't. Even if you do - and that's a smallish chunk of people - you have to balance that against hard economic questions. "Is this a company that I am willing to bet my business on? Will they screw me? How hard?"
You advocate faith in Microsoft. I think that's certifiably insane. I don't have faith in a deity, why would I have faith in a corporation? More to the point, why would I have faith in a corporation that has done nothing to earn my trust and everything to take advantage of me and mine for decades?
Microsoft isn’t the default or the de facto solution anymore. And they are ill equipped to compete in the new world. Novell took a long time to die, too. And RIM is still twitching. But both are shadows of their former selves.
I believe that short of a dramatic overhaul in "listening to (and not screwing) customers," Microsoft is locked irrevocably on the same course.
Re: self contradictory
@Mallorn; you are correct. But I was trying to stay a little high level here. It is the difference between trying to explain that a matter/anti-matter reaction doesn't provide 2(MC^2) energy "beacuse half the mass is lost as neutrinos" and explaining that "half the mass is lost as neutrinos after first going through a series of intermediary decay states, all of which occur so rapidly that we cannot possibly capture and make any use of."
To say "the neutrino causes Cherenkov radiation" may not be 100% correct (it omits steps,) but the result is the same: a neutrino impact causes Cherenkov radiation, which is what we measure. a WIMP impact should cause a different Cherenkov distribution (with aditional non-Cherenkov photon events.)
So a WIMP detector and a neutrino detector are remarkably similar; so much so that the WIMP detector could never have been built without the technologies we created for neutrino detection. Indeed, data we pull from this detector will probably be mined by the teams not only for WIMP detection, but additional information on neutrinos.
Either way; there's a balance between spelling out the total sequence in such events and "trying to simplify the science enough that people are likely to retain the important bits."
The important bit about how this detector works is "when a Neutrino or WIMP hits something, we see a flash of light (photons.) Based on the pattern, frequency and intensity, we can tell if this was caused by a neutrino, a WIMP or background radiation. However, we can only do that if the damned thing is buried so far underground that background radiation is as close to null as possible."
After all, the original comment was regarding "radiation," and why neutrinos aren't. (Thier lack of interaction.)
That said, I do have to go plunder the ArXiv for information about this supposed TeV neutrino "radiation" concern. It hurts my science a little. Neutrinos don't have charge, and are already just-barely-subliminal in speed...exactly how does one impart more energy to a neutrino such that it is suddenly a radiative concern? Something doesn't parse there...
Re: self contradictory
Cherenkov radiation is a photon. WIMPs barf up a photon AND an electron; which causes another Cherenkov event. Thus the pattern and frequency of the events can tell you one from the other.
That, and a god-awful amount of maths.
Re: self contradictory
Neutrinos aren't considered radiation. A neutrino smacking into something can cause Cherenkov radiation, but neutrinos themselves are not considered a form of radiation.
Please go here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation
Catch up on the different types of particles (Photons, Neutrons, Electrons, relativistic Protons and relativistic Helium) that we consider to be radiation.
These particles are radiation, and can all be considered ionising radiation under the right circumstances. Some can pass through quite a bit of material - especially the gasses that make up out atmosphere - and will cause Cherenkov radiation when they impact the detector.
We need to bury detectors so far underground that that the chances of an accidental Cherenkov event are functionally eliminated. (As it is through Cherenkov radiation that we detect things like neutrinos.) WIMP interactions are no different than the standard rules for neutrino detectors. WIMPs basically don't interact with anything. Except on the *very* rare occasions that they do. When they do so, they ought to produce something very similar to Cherenkov radiation.
Now, we have a good handle on the frequency of Cherenkov events due to neutrinos, and we can filter the background noise of such events due to radioactivity from things like the materials used to make the detector. But is we plopped the thing on the surface the potential sources of noise would be so high - overwhelmed by actual radiation - that we couldn't take useful measurements.
In an ideal world, you'd filter out even neutrinos, but that is simply impossible. So the best we can do in the search for WIMPs is to build our detectors as far away from radiation as possible, and crank the sensitivity on the sensors up as high as our manufacturing processes will allow.
Then the only things we have to filter are neutrinos and virtual particle collisions. Relatively simple…where simple is building a widget to detect particles that don’t interact with anything excepting through gravitational force.
But no, the statement isn’t a contradiction…
Re: @Andrew (was: no objections)
The idea that rhetoric as a "short coherent point" is fundamentally superior to a more nuanced discussion that actually addresses the issue is one that suits the particular style of argumentation employed by copyright maximalists. It is really no different than those who attempt to control the discussion regarding climate change, sexual preference rights, the cancer-causing cell phone boogyman or any of a dozen flavours of renewable energy fanatic.
Regardless of if you actually bring the word God into the argument, the copyright maximalist arguments are presented no differently than a bible thumper from Westboro. You, Andrew, are operating entirely by the book.
You strip the nuances from your opponent’s argumentation in order to present an absurdly simplified argument that is easy to dismiss. Essentially, you turn legitimate issues raised by others into strawmen by refusing to acknowledge the complexities involved.
If I turn that exact same tactic on your arguments then what I get is “copyright maximalism matters because copyright maximalism matters.”
Your arguments can essentially all be boiled down to exceptionalism: “creators are more deserving than others, are downtrodden, poor, underappreciated and taken advantage of. More to the point, it’s morally wrong to infringe copyright because it just is.”
Well I don’t buy that any more than I buy anything else that was revealed to someone by a voice in their head.
I’m neither a Borg drone nor an autistic; I make up my own mind. Based on evidence. Name calling, rhetoric and attempts to shame based on a manufactured morality are irrelevant.
I refuse to buy the argument that we need ever more enforcement until we reach the mythical point that copyright infringement is impossible. I argue that pursing an extreme on behalf of a minority in untenable; doubly so when acceptable compromises do exist.
Among those compromises is altering enforcement to make copyright infringement more “parking ticket” than “half a mortgage per MP3.” Once you get in that range, people will accept greater enforcement and even assist with it.
Another compromise is acknowledging that most people who infringe copyright don’t do it because they want free stuff. Most do it because it is significantly easier than the alternatives, and comes with far fewer restrictions. If you want public acceptance – and assistance – in the hunt for copyright infringers, you need to make it a completely marginal activity by making obtaining legitimate content as easy as piracy.
It is however a lot more profitable to simply moralise and demand the right to externalise the costs of doing business while claiming both hardship and moral exceptionalism.
Unfortunately for copyright maximalists, the hoi polloi are starting to be educated enough to see that sort of déjà moo for what it is.
Re: "Most peole download because it's free and easy."
The Oatmeal's "Game of Thrones" comic resonates with nearly everyone I know who feels the need to engage in copyright infringement. Every one of them wants to be able to pay for the content they consume. Alas, we're Canadian, and the media companies often simply decide we aren't allowed. (Or they make it possible, but so unwieldy that a psychological barrier is breached, and the ethics of copyright infringement stop mattering when compared to the frustration and hatred for the publishers caused by overwhelming megacorporate derping.)
Re: no objections
Well Andrew, I do disagree. I hold creativity in high esteem...just like I hold the endeavours of all people who contribute to our society. I don’t happen to hold one “type” of labour in more esteem than the other without some damned good reasons. Those reasons usually are things like “saving a life, pushing the frontiers of knowledge or advancing the frontiers of human endeavour.”
Writing a novel or composing a song – unless you happen to be at the absolute pinnacle of your craft – does not in my estimation fall into any higher esteem than building a road or fixing a computer. Mind you, a truly exceptional road builder or systems administrator deserved above-par recognition just as would a composer or writer whose works will echo through the ages. (Consider that some of those truly exceptional roads have been around for centuries, for example!)
I value creativity, and I value originality. But no, I simply don’t believe that creators are more deserving than non-creators. And other than “because it should be so!” I have heard no remotely convincing arguments to explain to me why I should. Religions also use “because it should be so,” and yet I still believe in dame science.
What exactly makes your version of “should” more important than mine? What exactly makes your ethics and morals so almightily important that they “should” be considered whereas mine “should” be discarded? What exactly entitles one set of beliefs to trump another; to shape society and become law?
Because that’s what we’re talking about here…not “what is law,” but rather, “what the laws should become, and how they should evolve to meet technological changes, societal changes and so forth.” Copyright maximalism is not law. Not yet, and certainly not everywhere.
Indeed, the pendulum has even swung the other way; popular resistance to maximalist approaches is so strong that the US has temporarily ceased exporting it, and may even be looking to export fair use.
Once, only landowners of a specific gender and race had any rights at all. Eventually, the people rose up, and decided that this shouldn’t be so. It changed. Here, now, technology has brought us to an equally important crossroads in the definition of intellectual property. “The past” can be – and is – interpreted in many ways, depending on your bias. But what IP will be in the future is an open battleground, where there are many conflicting moral and ethical viewpoints.
You continually present yours in a hostile and righteous manner; but I bow before neither god nor man; no preacher of faith will tell me what to believe. Science - peer reviewed evidence, preferably backed by a strong consensus amongst experts within the field - can sway me, but rhetoric never will.
But it gets worse! Copyright maximalism – which you seem to champion repeatedly – isn’t even about the creators. It is about the exceptionalism of copyright holders, which in the modern world is rarely the creator.
To add to this poo, copyright maximalism is built on a false premise: that creativity can occur in a vacuum. Under copyright maximalism, nothing new would ever enter the public domain. (Except possibly “orphaned works,” I.E. the works of individual creators which are not owned by media-holding cartels.)
So each new work must be entirely original, or else derive only from those works which existed before the extant copyright scheme took hold and moved creativity into a special category.
This limits the possible avenues of creation for new creators. If you want to create something based upon a currently-culturally-relevant conceptual universe, you must work for/with/under the aegis of the cartel that owns it.
Let’s take a practical example:
In the copyright maximalist world, the Bastard Operator From Hell belongs to the copyright owner until the end of time. The characters cannot be reused, even the common tropes, memes and terms could be challenged, if they were reused in a similar context by a similar work.
So if I wanted to write a BOFH story, I would have to go get permission, have it vetted by the copyright owner and otherwise subsume my creativity to his economic interest. That BOFH story then won’t be told, and likely won’t appear in an alternate “universe,” for fear that it would be “too similar” and I’d end up owing eleventeen squillion times my mortgage in “damages.”
Now, let’s look at how this could work in a non-copyright-maximalist world:
The BOFH, having become a cultural icon to two generations of nerds gathers a massive following. Like-minded creatives who have similar experiences to draw on start to create derivative works. Simon and the PFY’s antics flow from a thousand keyboards and tell the tales of a thousand minds.
Someone throws up a subReddit; the terrible ones are downvoted into obscurity, to be deleted in shame. The great ones rise up, to be considered on par with – or perhaps even surpassing – the works of the original author himself.
A whirlwind of creativity occurs around these characters; the universe they established, the tropes, memes and terminology forming a common platform for systems administrators everywhere to tell their tale.
Branches emerge. Before Simon worked at a megacorp, he was an SME admin. These are the tales of the SME admin. PFY1 leaves to form his own consulting company, becoming a BOFH in his own right. These are his tales, and those of his unfortunate PFY…
In a non-copyright-maximalist world, I don’t have to first create the universe in order to make apple pie. If I want to end my systems administrator tale of woe with an ominous “kzert,” then I can do so…in the knowledge that I won’t get sued into a singularity, and my audience will understand…because the memes and tropes of the shared BOFH universe are in the public domain for all people – creators and consumers – to benefit from.
So I do take extreme exception to copyright maximalism. Copyright maximalism puts copyright owners on a pedestal; “better” than me, the systems administrator. Based on the (usually false) assumption that they are representing “creators,” copyright maximalism demands they be given rights and considerations regarding their labour – or labour they purchased – that simply doesn’t apply to my labour.
For me to ever accept copyright maximalism you have to first explain how the labour of a creative is deserving of more protection than that of a doctor, teacher, lawyer or systems administrator.
And then, after you’ve convinced Trevor Pott, Systems Administrator that he is worth less than Trevor Pott, Writer…you get to explain to Trevor Pott, writer why it is that in order to tell a fictional tale of Systems Administration woe I should never be able to have a PFY or a kzert or a sysadmin named Simon who mysteriously removes floor tiles.
But Snow White? Let’s write the HELL out of that one.
Until then, I am going to hold fast to the idea of balanced copyright, and I will continue to believe copyright maximalists are as ethically bankrupt as any “freetard.” Neither side of this debate offers a damned thing except rhetoric, and sticks, sticks, sticks.
I believe in the requirement for the occasional appearance of a carrot.
Contrary to popular opinion however, my beliefs can be altered. With sufficient evidence.
Re: no objections
Copyright is about providing a temporary monopoly over intellectual works in order to extract economic value from those efforts in the hopes of spurring the creation of additional creative works. It must also inherently recognise the need for works to pass into the public domain (while they are still culturally relevant!) and it must contain rational fair use exceptions.
Copyright infringement is wrong, and society needs protections against it. Putting aside the loaded word “deserved,” there is a strictly pragmatic reason for us to compensate creators: if we don’t, both the volume and quantity of new works being created will decrease dramatically. These people have to make a living too; with 7 (soon 10) billion of us, the competitive pressure for resources is so high that we simply cannot support a renaissance-era category of creators who “simply create in their spare time.”
Nobody has spare time; to avoid destitution you either inherit enough wealth to get a great start to life, or you work 12-16 hours a day. Given the economic context; copyright infringement is unjustifiable; it directly deprives society of the talents of creators by creating an environment in which there is no realistic way for them to be able to devote adequate time to creation.
But copyright maximalism is equally ethically bankrupt. It attempts to shift the balance the other way; making creators into a special category of individuals whose labours are valued more highly than those of systems administrators, doctors, lawyers or teachers.
If I help build a road, I am paid for my labours per hour…but that road belongs to society. We all get to use it. Other roadworkers may come along and build on top of my work, learn from my technique or destroy it in order to lay pipes/repair faults/what-have-you.
If I fix a server, I am paid for my labours, but that server is then used by other users who benefit from my efforts. Other systems administrators may check the logs to see how I fixed things, alter my settings, or combine my efforts with theirs to create something new.
Neither the road worker nor the systems administrator gets to tithe their work beyond the initial payment for their labour. The roadworker does not get a toll for every person who passes over the patch he laid, nor the sysadmin a % of the ad revenue generated by each view.
Creative works are built upon those works that went before. Nothing is created in a vacuum. The whole of human experience is built upon the tropes and memes of our antecededents, whether through genetic memory or learned behaviour.
To suddenly claim that the labours and efforts of one category of people – intellectual property creators – is so important – that these intellectual property creators must simply be so privileged – that we must immediately reverse the whole of the human learning, experience (and yes, the creative process itself!) to protect their “moral economic rights” is beyond lunacy. It is arrogance. Arrogance born of nothing more interesting than greed.
Creators need to see economic benefit from their creations. Most people on this planet will agree with this. But this does not translate to the either notion that for creators to see economic benefit they must have complete unrestricted control over all use cases of their works nor that they should retain this control indefinitely (and by extension that this control should be infinitely heritable.)
Balance is required. The needs of the individual weighed against the needs of society at large. The people will no more tolerate autocratic control over knowledge and experience than we will accept that same level of protectionism or exceptionalism for any other special interest group.
You may stone me for saying so; but the writer is no greater than the road worker. The singer no more deserving than the sysadmin.
And if I am a filthy freetard for saying so - and for espousing the beliefs above, which appear to be both the original basis for copyright and increasingly the stance taken by post-aughties copyright legislation - then I accept the label with pride.
My opinions on this matter are mine alone, and do not represent the opinions of The Register, Andrew Orlowski, the BOFH, the Vulture logo, the copyright symbol, members of W3C, any HTML tag, or any other entity real or imagined.
Y’all make up your own mind now, ya hear?
Re: FOSS versus Crowdsourcing
labout = labour.
FOSS versus Crowdsourcing
FOSS development gets a bunch of people together to develop something for a non-profit (or even charitable) cause. The labout is free, but so is the end product.
Crowdsourcing outside FOSS is almos universally an attempt by a for-profit organisation to get large quantities of labour from skilled individual for free.
See: The Huffington Post.
In short: FOSS is good, we all get something from it. But fuck for-profit crowdsourcers with 4 Vesta. Dry.
Microsoft's cloud services don't make sense to SMEs. Past a small handful of users, O365 costs more/year than buying a standalone product for a standard 3-year refresh cycle. (Hardware included!) Not only that, as I pointed out in an earlier article, you still need to be an exchange admin to use O365.
What does O365 get you besides less money in your pocket and increased sadness?
Re: As a small business owner, and systems administrator for SME clients...
When have I ever said I trusted Microsoft, hmm? I have said - and I maintain to this day - three things:
1) They have some great technology. Server 2012, System Center 2012, Hyper-V 3.0, SMB 3...they make shite a lot of the time (Metro), but they also turn out top notch stuff too.
2) They have a lot of good people at that company who are dedicated to making the best products in as open and standards-compliant a manner as possible. They also have a bunch of derpy proprietary lock-in fetishists, but significantly less of them in the past few years than the decade before that.
3) Microsoft's licensing department is powered by sadness and the tears of the innocent. There is nothing - nothing whatsoever - positive that can be said about them. Every customer- friendly move the rest of Microsoft makes which might earn them a little customer loyalty is instantly undone by licensing.
Whatever goodwill they might have earned through openness, kick-ass tech or so forth they immediately flushed down the toilet with user-hostile decisions (mandatory nature of Metro) and everything-hostile licensing.
I do not trust Microsoft. I will not trust Microsoft until they fly my ass down to Redmond to help them deal with their horrifically negative public image and help set licensing in the SME space to rights. (And actually IMPLEMENT those changes!) I am not far; I can even drive.
Ordinarily I abhor travelling, but I would be willing to go out of my way to help MS help SMEs. SMEs are my clients, after all. In the meantime however, every hostile licenceing decision they make to try to increase revenue results instead in a loss of more customers.
I can and do respect the technology Microsoft brings to the table. I can and do respect truly excellent individuals within Microsoft - like Jose Barreto - who strive to make the products on offer the best they can. I simultainiously believe wholeheartedly that Microsoft is pissing away its market, its customer base and its future.
People are voting with their wallets.
As a small business owner, and systems administrator for SME clients...
…thanks for pissing on small businesses everywhere. No, honestly, thank you.
Seeing as I run one of the few local consulting companies with any real world experience in CentOS/RHEL migrations, you guys just paid my mortgage. Between the hostile licensing and Metro...
...what can I say except thanks?
Re: Wherever you go, there you are.
They made a TV show called "The IT Crowd" and it was a hit all around the world. Why not a musical?
Featuring such worldwide hit songs as:
"Reboot! (Have you tried turning it off and on again?)"
"Wikipedia is down (what am I going to do?)"
"Oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god..."
"The Failwhale is back, baby!"
...and many more!
Buy your season's tickets now!
Re: Wherever you go, there you are.
Yep. Walking around outside the walls of my office. Gardening. Visiting with friends. Figuring out exactly where that catwalk goes or just sitting under a tree, writing.
And no mater where I go...
...I can still provide tier 3 tech support when the call comes through. So I'm still getting paid. More importantly, that 24/7 availability and support my clients pay me for? (A major reason in choosing me over the competition, even at my higher rates.) I can provide it.
Without having to be tethered to a desk, 24/7.
Wherever I go, there I am…getting paid.
Re: An extremely pessimistic article this
Pessimistic indeed. I use my Asus Transformer (Original), Galaxy Tab 7" (Original), my SGS II and my Desire all reasonably regularly. Each has found a different niche.
The Desire is "just a phone." It can sometimes browse if I am out of other options, and it can serve as twitter client for the customer twitter accounts I am supposed to monitor. It’s usually posting a WiFi hotspot for the tablets. Minor stuff.
The SGS II is a workhorse; the external battery case attached, I get a reasonably amount of use out of it. It serves as a SIP endpoint for my corporate extension, RDP client for all of the things and all-around general-purpose computer in my pocket.
The 7” Galaxy tab is an ebook reader and thing-I-play-Angry-Birds on. 100% pure content consumption.
The Asus Transformer gets a crazy stupid amount of battery life. 12 hours of use while it is charging the Desire via USB. With nothing more than my Desire and my Asus Transformer, I can plop down in the pub, RDP into my home VM and write articles for 12 straight hours before the battery dies. Nothing else comes close. Not a netbook, not an ultrabook…nothing.
What’s the point of a tablet? The same damned thing as a computer. Except the battery lasts a hell of a lot longer. The input devices you have available (mouse, keyboard, etc.) determine your ability to get various types of real work done. But push comes to shove, applications like Wyse Pocketcloud allow you to get real work done, even from a smartphone, if need be.
Portability. Convienience. Battery Life.
Why a tablet? Because I like to go outside from time to time. And there’s a whole world beyond my office walls to explore.
Re: What about the Thetans?
Typothetans are the worst.
Re: Why would following constitute endorsement?
Nicho has the right of it. Philosophy is not relevant to a systems administrator blog. The practical application and real world effects of other's people's philosophies are. I am not here to grapple with right and wrong. I am here to examine how the world is, and attempt to deal with it.
Preferably whilst remaining on the more profitable side of any transaction.
The fact that there are so many viewpoints on what is or isn’t acceptable, “good practice” and so forth makes social media – be it talking about work with friends at the bar, or using Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn – a professional minefield. This is not “settled.” This is not something that “we have established law/social moores/etc” for.
Each generation seems to have new technologies, new social mediums, new takes on the work/life split and new appreciations for the liberties that should be afforded to the individual. In modern America, unions are a curse word. Corporations are viewed as morally deserving of rights and freedoms. Even (sometimes especially) in a fashion that supersedes those of individuals, workers and even governments.
This isn’t true in Canada, and nearly ever nation in Europe has a different take form the next. Hell, Within my province of Alberta alone, I can name you five different cities where the prevailing attitudes of corporate/personal rights (and the balance that needs be maintained between them) is completely different one from the other.
Social media is the most visible battle ground for these philosophical, political and economic debates. But it is one where the questions at hand meet the real world implementations requested and required of systems administrators.
You may be asked to set up social media. You may be asked to monitor social media usage from within your network. You may be asked to monitor social media posted by employees outside the corporate network. You may be asked a lot of things.
How will you deal with it? How have you dealt with it? Are you in a position to back up your morals? Hell, what are your morals in this regard? If you are in a position to back up your morals…will you take the risk?
This article isn’t a series of philosophical questions. This article is about the application of philosophy in the real world. Perhaps to some it is a minor difference, but I feel it’s an important one.
Re: Almost 30?
30 in October, sir. Wait...it's JULY already?!? :(
Closer than I thought...
Re: Bored to extinction.
Many forums, but fish belong on ALL the forums. :)
Re: Alternatively ....
Sorry; was not trying to bash salties. (Well, any more than a freshie normally does.) But simply raising the point that the hobby - both fresh and salt - has it's share of things to answer for. Your point is well taken however; most serious hobbiests deplore the enviromental destruction, and go to great legnths to avoid participating in those aspects of the hobby.
Re: "Two words: Power consumption."
Patrick, buddy, you are wrong. Home automation tech is easy. It is simple to set up. At worst, you need to ensure that all your devices have the same logo on it.
"The market" isn't a bit of magic that automatically makes tech plentiful and cheap as soon as standards are settled and the basic ideas are sound. The problem is far - far - more basic than you seem to grasp: it is the problem of the chicken and the egg.
Home automation tech isn't everywhere because home automation tech isn't everywhere. It has nothing to do with easy of use, or even the standards. It has everything to do with lack of mind share amongst manufacturers and the fact that one piece of home automation tech is useless, where as a dozen or so starts to make for a smart home.
Home automation tech faces an uphill battle simply because – for it to work properly – you really need to have multiple bits of gear. I am not talking strictly about the technology involved, but the practical aspects of reaping the benefits of automation.
Not having to poke the fish filter doesn’t save me a huge amount of time. But not having to poke the fish filter, furnace, A/C, fridge, individual light bulbs, toilet paper stocks, security system, windows and all the other bits of maintenance that go with owning a home…that does add up to a great deal of time saved.
The problem is that for home automation tech to take off…home automation tech has to have already taken off. Hobbiests can only take it so far. For it to ever work it needs to not be a “selling feature” and start being “just another tickbox item.”
People may not buy a device because it has a home automation logo at first. But if you start building it into all your products now, soon enough people will choose not to buy any device that doesn’t have the home automation tech built in.
Look; you wouldn’t buy a car in Canada without a defrost setting on the HVAC. It’s lunacy. But the car dealerships don’t sell cars here advertising the existence of the defrost setting. It is simply expected. Not having that feature would simply mean no sale, regardless of however nice the car is otherwise.
This is where we need to get to for home automation; widespread manufacturer support. Get enough of the gadgets into the home, and you can start to tell people “you know, half your stuff already has this. Buy this widget, plug it into your home router and it suddenly all starts working!” (Home automation tech actually is that simple. Some of the widgety boxen even speak all three major protocols.)
At that point, they will buy the widget, play with it…
…and never buy another widget for the house without the automation tech again.
We don’t need to make it more simple. It’s simple enough. We need to make it more widespread.
Re: "Two words: Power consumption."
Zigbee, Z-wave and LPBluetooth are all dead simple. Home automation mesh tech is easy as pie. Device selection is all that is lacking.
Re: Webcam pointed at the filter display, and a bit of image processing...
Fish tank error conditions are chemical. If the chemical error conditions get to the point of affecting fish behaviour, you may already be too late. (Single exception: the tail of the red-tailed black shark will change colour with even the most minor chemical deltas. Sensitive shark is a test stip.)
Re: Alternatively ....
I like the cold. When it is cold; put more on. When it is warm, I can legally only take so much off. But the question of carbon footprint is valid. Fish - and reptiles - are carbon intensive hobbies. They also potentially disrupt several ecosystems. The saltwater hobby is destroying coral reefs, for example. We are right to ask the uncomfortable questions.
But these hobbies also save species. The red-tailed black shark only exists today because of the hobby. It's habitat was destroyed by Chinese industrialisation some time ago.
There are no quick and easy answers....and real action on environmental issues requires cooperation on an international level. But I choose to do what I can to make up for my wasteful lifestyle. I understand the science behind these concerns. If I didn't put the effort into addressing them...what kind of person would that make me?
As to the pint; sure! There's a wonderful local microbrewery called Alley Kat. If you're ever around, give me a holler so I can introduce you....
Re: "Two words: Power consumption."
Mesh networking is why they can work in low power environments. Handy for getting sensors into places where you have battery or PV power.
Re: Why WiFi or Bluetooth
Why not powerline ethernet?
Because I respect my local radio hams. And they're smart enough to track it to my house in about a day. I know; they've shown me.
Aye, works for my beardie. Not so good for the Anole + Gecko tank, but that's only because they exist primairily as devices to get fecal matter stuck on plastic foliage. (They are never really found except in said foliage.)
But I worry a lot les about lizards than I do fish. I've seen tanks crash in just a few hours. (They have to be overstocked, but it does happen.) The beardie, OTOH, can go a weekend without a heat lamp. She'll just go into torpor for a while and be very grumpy for a while. Give her some horn worms after you pick up the new cermaic bulb and she's right as rain.
Actually, the herp hobby has a lot of neat stuff here. Lots of thermalsensor-based lamp controls, etc. The one thing I have a miserable time sourcing is an auto-mister. Really would like a decent one. It would sure beat my "bucket on the top of the cage with a hole in the bottom" system...
Re: A Simpler Solution
So that's where all the stories of ropefish being found in the filter keep coming from! Escape artists, the lot of 'em!
Re: The Problem?
It costs too much to add a $30 Raspberry pi, $5 worth of sensors and $10 worth of R&D (after adjusting for volume) on top of a $1000 store-top sign? What? The functionality alone is worth an additional $100, which leaves room for margin!
And yes, a lot of people are wiling to pay an additional 10% on the items they buy if it includes sensors and reporting. Our time - the time to constantly check all the equipment, everywhere - is worth more than a 10% up front additional capital cost.
It is false economy to attempt to drive down the initial capex in exchange for increased opex.
Ai-yi-yi-yi...what company do you run?!? *fear*
Webcam tells you want about water quality?
Though it does make me happy when I am away from home, and want to see how all my catfish are doing. Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle! Catfish! \o/
Re: Alternatively ....
No frunace = death. I live in Edmonton. Winters here will kill you.
Besides, I pay the extra money to source my 'leccy from the wind farms in the south (Alberta has more wind power deployed than any province excepting Ontario,) and I do more than my part to fund the reforestation efforts in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan. I'd be willing to be my carbon footprint is negative, despite being a fat nerd from the evil oil-producing province.
I even go out of my way to ensure that (most) of the fish I get are hobby-bred, not wild caught. Admittedly there is debate about this within the hobby. There is a significant school of thought that says that – especially in Peru – the folks who currently can earn a living with sustainable fish trade (specifically various Corydoras species) would otherwise turn to deforestation to support agriculture if that trade dried up.
I try to do my research and make my decisions on a species-by-species purchase. What’s your carbon footprint like?
Re: It's been done already
If the fish swims upside down, please don't give up on them. They probably have a swim bladder disorder; and this is something that can usually be dealt with. Remove the fish to a dedicated tank with little-to-no current. Keep the water clean with regular changes. Feed the fish nothing for three days. (They will be fine!). This should reduce intestinal pressure on the swim bladder. If the fish is still swimming weird, feed them shelled peas.
Visually inspect the fish. Look for white spots, or any other discoloration. If you see anything like that, find a fish nerd. You may be able to solve this with medication. (Anti-fungals, typically.) Do not attempt to medicate your fish if you don’t know what you are doing; the medicines are highly toxic.
Examine the other fish in your tank for similar infections. These types of things typically spread. You may have to actually remove your fish filter media and run it off a separate tank (with a piece of shrimp in it or somesuch, to keep the bacteria alive) while you medicate the main tank.
There are a lot of different approaches, depending on the exact disease in question that can cause this, but no…
…swimming upside down is not necessarily a fatal error condition.
Not precisely what I was I looking for - the G3 reports on conductivity, rate of flow and impellor status as well as what that appears to - but a brilliant step forward. Certainly a tool worth adding to the mix, thank you!
Heh. I have a beagle board, a soldering iron and the DigiKey website. The sump on my new 180gal is going to run Webmin...
ZigBee/Z-Wave/Low-power Bluetooth instead of Wifi.
Two words: Power consumption.
I currently run an oversized (70-gal on a 50gal tank) hang-on-back filter as a backup to the canister filter. I still don't like the idea of the primary - festooned with sensors - giving up the ghost without letting me know. Considering the amount of tech in that thing, you'd think it could at least post SNMP...
I keep fresh water fish. The fish are almost exclusively catfish. Yes, I need a filter. I don't have any coral-like structures in which to maintain the relevant bacteria in-situ. (Which would still require current flow!)
You can design a filterless tank. It is however nearly impossible with the fish I happen to like. Next tank ll be a 180 with a sump; a lot more resiliant to crashing. But I'll keep the 50 with the G3 around for a breeding box.
Re: US-only contest
Blighty, San Fran, Oz...seems like El Reg is everywhere, eh?
Oh, and I'm from Canada.
It's a good point though, I'll get the sub-ed to add a note about that...
Re: Not at all
Just for the record; my beliefs are slightly more nuanced than that. I believe that intellectual property is a form of property.
What I don't believe is that Intellectual Property is Property in the same sense as a tangible good. The biggest reason for this is the implicit assumption that comes with tangible property of perpetuity.
When you deprive me of tangible property you deprive me of its use, forever. When you infringe copyright, you aren’t depriving me of use of that good. You are merely depriving me of potential revenues.
I believe that intellectual property is a separate and distinct form of property from tangible property. I believe that intellectual property belongs to society as a whole, but that we grant creators a temporary monopoly on the economic uses of that property so that they may see economic benefit from their works.
I believe that this arrangement is necessary for the continued creation of various types of works, and for the continued growth of western economies. I also believe – quite fiercely – that this arrangement absolutely must come with a strict limitation to copyright length for this system to work.
In this manner I both believe that copyright is a form of property – one that requires enforcement and the efforts of society to protect – and that it is not at all like tangible property; “ownership” should not be perpetual, as part of the bargain all sides make to ensure the economic viability of creative endeavours.
And I also believe I am correct in my take on this; this is the basis of social acceptance of copyright, as well as something that most countries maintain to be true in current laws and enforcement implementations. (Indeed, it forms the basis of a few of the aforementioned treaties.)
Intellectual copyright is quite simply treated as something different than tangible property, even in international treaties. Less so in the past few years…but it still holds true today. It is property…but different. Therein lies the basis of a great deal of disagreement, strife, angst and uncertainty.
I believe strongly in enforcement of intellectual property rights. But I do not support the attachment of these rights to the lengthening of copyright terms or the increasing restriction (or elimination!) of fair use.
I believe that for copyright to be accepted – for the general public and the businesses they run to choose voluntarily to put effort into complying with copyright a sense of balance and fairness must exist.
The needs of society to be able to use works without burden, the need of creators to be compensated, the need of creators to be able to extend the works of their predecessors…all has to find a balance.
I do not believe that balance will be achieved by extending copyright to perpetuity, eliminating fair use nor by increasing complexity and uncertainty. I do believe that if we can find the right balance of complexity, fair use and term length then society will support far more extensive enforcement, and even participate actively and willingly in ensuring that enforcement occurs.
In my opinion, that balance has yet to be achieved.
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