I left for Christmas break a week early because of housing problems and Monday morning got a phone call: no Internet access. I suspected students would try to work around my barriers to the Internet or turn off the teacher’s computer in the lab, so I left signs, a memo, etc. to try to head that off. The school did drop off the Web. I haven’t heard how the problem was fixed. I told the principal a few things to look for like cables unplugged… Routing is a wonderful thing. I blocked access to anything but W3Schools.com during my absence for kids in the lab. I expect a burst in productivity as a result.
It’s Christmas for sure this year with small cheap computers everywhere and they are not running that other OS. 2010 was the Year of ARM and GNU/Linux got a big shot in the arm because of the diversity of products that are small and cheap on which GNU/Linux runs. I don’t endorse any of these products because all I have done are read the specs but they certainly seem good enough for most of us. I still prefer a keyboard so devices with USB interfaces are essential IMHO and for a mouse+keyboard+Flash-drive more connectors are better. Some of the older devices are low on battery capacity/endurance but Moore’s Law is fixing that. 2011 should be even better. I cannot see any slowdown in the availability of these products as we saw with netbooks.
Assange is getting no contact with the outside world. His punishment has started already and he has been convicted of no crime:
“The lawyer said the only correspondence his client had received was a note telling him that a copy of Time magazine sent to him had been destroyed because the cover bore his photograph.”
He was granted bail but not released because Sweden appealed the bail … Where is Justice? The EU should step in and smack Sweden for human rights violation.
RMS has been a stalwart promoter of Free Software. His take on cloud computing is that it is “worse than stupidity”. In principle, he is right; trusting someone is worse than stupidity but we humans do it all the time. Not trusting anyone is paranoia. It is possible to use IT in the real world while being paranoid but a lot less gets done, networking, for instance. We should not trust our firewalls but we do. We trust other drivers to follow the rules of the road when that trust is obviously misplaced but the reward of getting from A to B is greater than the slight risk of a collision.
In IT, the reward of having experts of our choice to manage our data and to provide other services saving costs and having less to worry about and having an overall increase in reliability far outweighs the risks in many cases. Of course there will be outrageous crimes and incidents that make the news but they will have a far lower probability than a single hard drive on a PC failing or typing a space character where it could do you harm ( I did that once, thinking rm *something but typing * something. Bad things happened.). RMS is right as usual but his warnings should not deter most of us from using services on the web. We should be careful whom we choose to provide those services but I sleep better at night knowing Google is guarding my data and fighting spam than I did when M$ watched over our PCs at work.
SBS has been released with prices for the standard version including $72 CALs and a higher price and $96 CALs for the chocolate-icing version. We are not locked into M$ where I work so we can save a ton of money running Debian GNU/Linux on our ancient servers. Why would any organization pay a voluntary tax to M$ for the privilege of using the organization’s hardware? It beats me…
Combine this news with M$’s shrinking share of the desktop market and an anticipated decline in growth of IT spending on hardware and it seems to me M$ is in for hard times.