Heaviest users of Web face limits on 'unlimited' - Chicago Tribune
I've been reading about this particular theme for a long time now; personally I believe content providers and network providers should, by necessity, be wholly separate entities so as to avoid conflicting interests.
Why should they get to make money from the flow? They already get to make money from simply providing the access. These companies, much like the railroad companies of yore, have been provided with the chance to make investments in these kinds of networks, spreading their infrastructure across public spaces that they do not own, and can never own.
As far as I'm concerned, the pipe providers might as well be government-sponsored and chartered corporations like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Housing-loan-wholesalers and dumb-pipe-providers, although operating for a profit, exist to provide a public service - increasing the access and price efficiency of home loans or internet access.
Access to information is a basic human need, something that has been coming to peoples' attention in regards to the switch from over-the-air analog TV to a purely digital transmission medium.
These are just growing pains. The issue of information access is too essential to the health of our people for us to allow these corporations to set strong-arm policies regarding the use of the network infrastructure we allowed them to build.
This was posted on my Facebook wall by a guy I know from high school. For some reason, I doubt he authored this particular missive.
Yeah, he's gonna post a message on my Facebook wall out of the blue and leave that kind of garbage.
It's interesting that she has almost no friends that are all in one place, and certainly no one that I know. Why would they want to be my Facebook friend? The profile also has no real content in it - just a picture.
Then I got another friend request a week or so later from an awfully similar profile:
This one at least is attached to a university I might actually know someone at, but still, the profile is in the same pattern.
Why does female matter? I assume the bot creators have a higher response rate if they use female pictures in the profiles that they use to 'friend' males with.
the wall spam
I think that seeing this Facebook wall-spam indicates we have achieved an interesting new level of potential network compromise. I can only see two possible situations whereby someone could manipulate a Facebook account in this way. The first is simply that the account login and password have been compromised, and possibly the Facebook spams are carried out by a program running on my friend's computer (accidentally downloaded virus perhaps). This is somewhat likely, but I believe that this spam is the result of a malicious third-party Facebook application.
I can easily see the situation where a malicious program is able to run on Facebook's own servers in the guise of a third-party application that someone has added to their profile. Although I doubt the Facebook development kit is full-featured enough to have exploits hidden inside it that could be particularly damaging, it would seem that this sort of bot creation is certainly not impossible. Imagine it - a bot that's largely not detectable by administrators, because it's not really doing anything it's not supposed to be allowed to do. It operates within its own layer inside the Facebook cloud, never having infected the thin-client used to access the cloud, or the cloud itself, per se.
However, if we are to assume it's a malicious program, or 'computer virus', it would have to have a vector of infection, correct? Well, based on my buddy's page, it seems he's ripe for the plucking. Here's a random screenshot:
the computer virus's second cousin, twice removed
For a very long time, I never even had the chance to use a Macintosh computer. When I finally did I didn't understand why people liked it - it was the same crap with a different finish on it and a slightly different layout so it just took me a while to warm up to it.
Myth: Macs have less problems and run smoother than alternatives
In my personal experience, I have had no more or less problems with a Windows PC than an Apple machine. The bottom line is that they both are running proprietary, closed OSes. If you really have an intense problem, you probably won't get it fixed. I have found that the various Mac OSes are no more stable than Windows, and certainly less stable than a reputable Linux distribution (when I have a good setup going of course). This is despite the fact that they are built on top of a UNIX-like base. When I have attempted to use a Macintosh computer for any heavy-duty computer work such as 3D graphics, real-time audio, or film editing, I have experienced just as many problems as on a similar PC workstation. I also have a friend that frequently uses his very nice and expensive Mac computer for audio recording, sound synthesis, and film scoring, and I hear from him quite consistently about problems he experiences attempting to use his equipment for his serious computing needs.
Steve Jobs focuses upon generating his Reality Distortion Field whilst prostituting the iPhone
Apple rapes you for every last cent
Apple also tightly controls the hardware environment for their machines. In large part, they do this to increase their profit margins, although it does provide minimal benefit to the end user in that they are unlikely to purchase hardware or peripherals for their machine that are incompatible. Upgrade parts and peripherals from the Apple store are easily twice the price I would pay for the same part off Newegg for my home-built PC. Even if you can stick non-kosher replacement parts into your machine or find ways to make shady peripherals from Indonesian manufacturers work, you still have to deal with the fact that all the hardware inside was marked-up massively when you bought it.
Approximately the same high-performance tower and monitor combo that I bought in June 2007 for about $2100 would cost you $3500 direct from Apple as of this writing. $1400 markup from the thieves at Apple. I can buy a sweet laptop with the difference! I think part of this is promoted by cognitive dissonance on the part of Apple buyers; they paid such an outlandish and unreasonable price for something that they force themselves to believe that it was justified.
I was reading an article in the New York Times today that addressed this issue of perceived value; it just happened to be an article about wildly expensive kitchens as opposed to horribly over-priced computers. From the article:
In my brief glance over at the Apple online store, it seems like possibly the most egregious boundary-trouncing comes in the form of RAM; a ram upgrade that could easily cost me less than $200 to do to my PC (add 2 gigabytes - probably more like $150 for really nice RAM) would raise the price on that $3500 machine to $4000!! I don't understand how they get off charging $500 for goddamn 2 gigs of presumably 'Apple-certified' RAM, even if it's the latest and greatest speed-demon RAM. That's pure obscenity.
Macs suck for games
Very importantly for me, Apple machines suck for games; poor hardware and no one develops for the platform. I can play way more games with Linux than I could ever play on a Mac. I assume this could conceivably change as Apple increase market share, but it's going to take a while.
Oh yeah, as far as I'm concerned, Windows Vista doesn't exist. When XP becomes obsolete, I'll probably just switch to Linux full-time.
But Macs are just so easy to use!
Hogwash. No more or less complicated than a PC, and an interface is exactly that - an interface. If you want, you can skin up your Linux or Windows machine to look and behave exactly like a Macintosh; it's not until you start digging inside the bowels of the system that you'd even notice the difference.
It's packaged nicely to be sure, but is it worth a 60% mark-up over the general computer market? And if you're looking for cool and useful desktop effects, you'll find them all and more in Linux-land. Hell, you can even find them in Vista-land, although I wouldn't wish that fate on anyone.
Oh yeah, I said I hate Steve Jobs too
The reason I hate Jobs is because of an incident that happened in the past between him and Wozniak before they founded Apple. Long story short is that Jobs exploited Wozniak's engineering skills and then proceeded to under-compensate him and not let him know about it. That pretty much defined the character of their partnership from then on, but Woz never found out he was bilked in an underhanded manner on this one tiny project until 12 years later.
Finally, buying a Mac makes you their slave
Have fun with the artificially closed software/hardware eco-system you're about to buy into. I would even go so far as to say that Apple is enacting the technological version of Nazi Germany's economic policy: namely an autarky.
Oh yea, and don't tell me Macs are better for media or some crap like that.
A computer is a computer is a computer, and an Apple is just an overpriced one. Also, you can still have a 'authentic Mac experience' without paying an arm and a leg. Simply click on this handy link to a Google search to begin your journey. However, you will not get all the snazzy snazzy Aqua goodness. So Aqua and a warranty would cost me over the life the machine far more than $1400. No thanks.
Of course, most people just like how their laptops look and feel and that's why they buy them. Who am I to tell idiots how to spend their money? My computer is a tool, not some silly toy that's supposed to match my outfit. Am I to conclude that Mac worshipers are no better than LAN party geeks with neon lights inside their computer cases? Is buying into the Mac ethos any different? It's at the root of human nature; tribal relationships that are built upon and reinforced by symbols. Apple is in the business of getting you to pay a premium for those symbols of group membership.
I'm certainly not alone.
Yeah, it's PC World (ecch), but they have some good dirt. Key takeaways: Apple doesn't always have great design, and frequently does not respond to their market.
A revealing mixed perspective. However, I think we can all clearly see what's wrong with the following statement: "Maybe someone should just make a sticker that says "but I run linux on it" that would fit on Apple PowerBooks."
Typical Mac experience right here. Building up a bias sometimes just depends on how (un)lucky you are as this could easily . I have no bias; I know to keep my personal disgust with Steve Jobs, the hideous consumer mentality surrounding Apple, and my distaste of their company practices apart from the logical necessity of high value technology purchases. I would buy a Mac computer if it was reasonably priced and fulfilled my computing needs. Similar to the misguided fellow quoted above, I could always just run Linux or even Windows on it if I don't like the Mac OS.
"Fear and loathing is Not a Great Brand Image" - hatred and fear from one of their own loyal users.
So, if anyone wants to buy me an iPhone (make sure it supports 3G first) or tricked out whateverBook, I'm down with that. Just don't expect me to pay for it. Oh, sorry I mentioned the iPhone and and its $200 haircut.
Update 4/15/2008: Zecco has people griping in their own forums now - and they said it better than I ever could have: (reprinted for perpetuity)
and also from the same forum thread:
Zecco is completely unresponsive and I have not been able to log in for over an hour since the markets opened today!
I thought SogoTrade was fine - until it decided to do this to me while I was watching my NTZ position:
At least I didn't have an open position in Zecco... unfortunately I do have a somewhat precarious position of 300 short shares of NTZ that I'm holding in my SogoTrade account, which is sitting at a minor loss, but if it moves against me even more... I'd like to at least have a stop order in place. If I would have known SogoTrade was so worthless I would have put my stupid protective stop in, jeebus!
I guess with Zecco and SogoTrade you get what you pay for. Maybe one of these days I might be able to get an actually worthwhile broker that I can rely on. These have not been my first connectivity issues with either broker, and Zecco has proven itself to be particularly unreliable.
Is this their way of sticking you for the cost of 'broker-assisted' trades that you can make by calling them up?
At least some brokerages have the integrity to not make you pay more for a phoned-in trade; maybe because they realize that a lot of those phone-ins will be because their web-platform is COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY WORTHLESS?
I was finally able to get to the Zecco homepage without simply being unable to connect - they say the site is down for scheduled maintenance!
SCHEDULED MAINTENANCE ON MONDAY MORNING RIGHT WHEN THE MARKETS OPEN
Scheduled maintenance my butt - what broker would be so dumb as to schedule maintenance at possibly one of the most crucial trading times? Sounds like someone puked all over their servers, or they're using IT slave labor from foreign countries that have no clue about market hours.
Wow Zecco, you got my vote - you have such an awesome sense of how to run your business and please your customers!
Cost for Zecco phone-in trade: $20
Long story short - if you're more active than you are completely and utterly dead, you might not want to choose either of these brokers.
So the idea of open source software has been around for a while now. If you don't know what 'open-source' means right now, I can guarantee that within a hundred years everyone will know exactly what it means. This is because open-source software is the future.
If you'd like a more comprehensive background on OSS and some of its implications for the programming community, you should check out Eric Raymond's excellent write-up The Cathedral and the Bazaar.
Aside from all the wonderful things that OSS brings to the table, from its frequently unconventional development environments to the ability of anyone to take a look at the nittiest-grittiest details of a program, OSS greatest strength is not its own.
I would say that the relatively inflexible nature of important requirements is OSS's greatest strength. Once you define a particular methodology for doing something, whether that methodology happens to find the square root of a particular input, or that methodology presents a spreadsheet program to the user, the internal logic of these methodologies is entirely static. To be sure, the spreadsheet program has to have updated interfaces in order to actually display a spreadsheet on your screen or to allow you to manipulate that spreadsheet using a graphical interface, but its internal logic, the 'spreadsheet-ness' of the program, is entirely static. Of course, you can represent spreadsheet-ness in more than one way, but how many different representations do you need when you already have one that works well, or well enough?
In a nutshell, although you may have to define new interfaces for how you're going to pass inputs to your square root program, and for how you're going to interpret the output, the internal logic of the square root program is not going to change at all.
Also, due to the open and collaborative efforts that go in to producing OSS, requirements are frequently satisfied in the most generic or the most efficient manner possible, greatly expanding their use beyond the programs that originally necessitated those requirements.
The avoidance of re-inventing the wheel is a prime motivator for programmers, and OSS eventually gets around to making some damn fine wheels. The conceptual leap from considering a 'wheel' as a basic tool to considering 'spreadsheet-ness' as a basic tool is relatively small.