Regulating Big Tech: Hillsdale Opinion

Posted by  $  blarman 4 months, 2 weeks ago to Technology
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A well-thought article. What's your take? Unfettered, unlimited control subject to the inherent biases and prejudices of their Boards? Government micromanagement and stiff enforcement of busting up monopolies? Somewhere in the middle - if such a thing even exists?
SOURCE URL: https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/should-we-regulate-big-tech/?appeal_code=MK1118EM11&_hsenc=p2ANqtz--WLs1ipoGXWQbZDWy44TqsLHphmpfSJu42FUcnRTJn7bke4SEevvR_NrKSbh1l8QFsfYC5iaVd5UBNjBy4zXm6s13M9Q&_hsmi=68834203


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  • Posted by  $  exceller 4 months, 2 weeks ago
    There has to be a solution. Our resourceful bureaucrats should have a way up in their sleeves as they always do.

    I was thinking of this. When a company is successful over time, it is inevitable that it'll assume larger market share which is the goal.

    Think of Microsoft the way Gates ran it. The problem was that it forced customers to use its products and there was no alternative.

    Now MS degraded to the level that it'll rewrite Edge to favor Google's Chrome which is a shameful capitulation by Nadella.
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    • Posted by lrshultis 2 months, 1 week ago
      Never has Microsoft forced anyone to use their products. If you do not like their products go elsewhere or learn enough to create your own software. Microsoft's purpose is not to satisfy you but make a profit with a product which sells despite your wants.
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      • Posted by  $  2 months, 1 week ago
        What Microsoft did was to force retailers not to carry competitors' products. They also lied to both the EU and to Congress in order to put Netscape out of business while claiming that IE couldn't be separated from the OS. They built their entire enterprise on this type of market coercion. While I understand your argument, it totally ignores how Microsoft got where it is today.

        Fortunately for everyone, along came portable devices - an area Microsoft still is playing from behind on. Android-based phones and tablets are first in market-share with Apple second. Microsoft is a very distant third and I hope it stays that way because it has forced Microsoft to open up and start to play nice. You can bet they never would have ported SQL Server or Office to Linux otherwise.
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        • Posted by Lucky 2 months, 1 week ago
          I recall, was it a court hearing? MS said IE could not be taken out of the W operating system.
          A PC and a techie came in, the techie played with the PC. Result- there was no IE, memory use was down, the operating system functioned as before.
          No one was forced to buy W. But buyers were told they had to have the MS browser IE, and so were dissuaded from buying a (better) competitor.
          A mistake by MS? So a low level of competence.
          Deliberate? Then fraud.
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    • Posted by  $  4 months, 2 weeks ago
      "Now MS degraded to the level that it'll rewrite Edge to favor Google's Chrome..."

      Actually, I view this as a positive move. Microsoft's heavy-handedness in the Browser game is legendary, and the biggest problem is that until Edge, their browsers were technical crap. That they forced Netscape Navigator out of business due to their unethical (and illegal) business practices still doesn't sit well with me. Add to that their reliance on Microsoft-only technologies like ActiveX and Silverlight (both utter disasters) over industry standards like JavaScript and now HTML 4 and all I could say was good riddance. I can't tell you how many times in the past 20 years of my professional life I've been hosed by a Microsoft update to their browser.

      I also view Nadella in a much more positive light than any of his predecessors - especially Balmer. Nadella is finally understanding that an integrated digital community where everyone gets along is much better than constantly butting heads with regulatory bodies such as the EU and the Sherman Antitrust Act. Their recent moves to play nicely with the Linux community with Microsoft Office and even SQL Server and C# have been a welcome breath of fresh air after Balmer's intransigence. Of course much of that might have to do with the way Microsoft is getting slaughtered in the mobile device space and their recognition that if they don't clean up their act, they're going to go the way of IBM - whom they put out of business.

      Now there is the very valid point that all this is doing it transferring more power to Google, which I agree is worrisome. But with Opera and Firefox out there as well, I'm hoping that this introduces more IEEE compliance and competition into the field rather than less, but we'll see. The big key will be to see if Bing (Microsoft's search engine) remains in the field, because it is really the only major competitor to Google's. If that dies, then we really will just be seeing a frightening transfer of power to Google.
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      • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 4 months, 1 week ago
        I really hate BING, and MS. Wish there was a good alternative.

        MS was the original monp-u-la-tor and hasn't innovated a single thing. Macs were completely superior in every way, particularly any measure of productivity, but people kept putting up with MS until finally after IBM helped them develop a real OS (OS/2), did Windows NT emerge as a non-segmented memory, pretend multi-tasking pile of crap. Now since Windows 7, PCs can pretty much do anything Macs can, but Macs could do it 30 years ago.
        Jobs was an idiot about some things, and Jean Louis Gassee was a real moron. Do you know that Apple had a Mac OS that would run on a regular PC back in the 1980s, and Gassee killed it after it was complete?

        Now Gates is trying to buy a place in heaven with philanthropy and politics he never practiced.
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        • Posted by mccannon01 4 months, 1 week ago
          I switched over to an iMac in 2010 and, after a very short learning curve, was glad I did. By 2012 I also had a Macbook Pro, iPhone, and iPad. However, things seem to be changing. Bootups and program loads are getting slower, just like the old Windows systems (I do not have virus or malware running - I checked). What I dislike the most is, without warning, Apple did an update to Numbers on the iMac/Macbook and I can no longer read the spread sheets on the iPhone (spread sheet is kept in iCloud). I get an error saying I need to buy a newer model iOS device. Is this a ploy by Apple to force people to buy new EXPENSIVE hardware? My application is simple in all I do is maintain lists of items in a collection and while I'm out shopping I can check the list on the iPhone to see if I already have the item. I do have a work around that is simple enough, but why should I? I don't think Jobs would put up with some of this crap going on.

          I'm still happy with my Apple products, but that is starting to change because if Apple starts becoming more like MS, then why spend the extra bucks on Apple when MS would be just as good?
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          • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 4 months, 1 week ago
            Yes and now they are playing games with upgrades: "Not new HW, no SW updates". Clearly a ploy to force new HW sales. Not a good strategy.

            I had given in to Windows after NT, and work required me to be Windows. Then my wife needed a system for school. She is not computer literate, so I put her on Apple in ~2005. That worked well. My son ended up with her MacBook, and I wanted to teach him some coding. I bought the Apple Developer Workshop and my own Mac. When my PC finally died. I switched to that Mac that I had. Works great. Can read PC disks and manage them better than a PC. Runs Windows with VM Ware very well. Now is is aging, and no longer updatable.
            THe HW gap is ridiculously wide now. A good PC is $2,500-3000. A very powerful PC is ~$5.000 (w AMD2950x or Intel 7890 etc and Nvidia). A Mac variously matching the middle PC is $10,000. I can afford any, but don't see wasting that kind of money when, one thing I want to do is run Windows on it.
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        • Posted by  $  4 months, 1 week ago
          "Now Gates is trying to buy a place in heaven with philanthropy and politics he never practiced."

          If Gates had been as philanthropical with Windows as he does with his Foundation money, we'd have...

          Nope, we'd still have some trying to force his will on everyone else. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has a lot of money, but they use it to try to tell other nations what to do - especially birth control.
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          • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 4 months, 1 week ago
            I didn't mean be philanthropic with Windows, but he was rulthless and the community rallied around his stuff like the AGW zealots do today, disbursing lies and crap.
            I'll never forget the John C Dvorak article on "Power Users don't use a GUI" What a load of crap. In addition, the 68000, particularly 68020/881 and 68030 were vastly faster than the 80286/386 processors, and 68000 series math was extended precision in HW, not even single precision. It wasn't even a race. However, ass-munching liars like Dvorak would dismiss the Mac as a graphics machine, not for number crunching. Then why did the Mac use the same processors as Apollo and Sun workstations?
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            • Posted by mccannon01 4 months, 1 week ago
              Did a lot of assembly coding on the Motorola chips back in the '70s and '80s. Awesome hardware.
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              • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 4 months, 1 week ago
                Like a PDP11 on a chip.
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                • Posted by mccannon01 4 months, 1 week ago
                  Yep, worked with them, too, and you're absolutely correct. In fact it was chips like those that killed DEC, Data General, CDC, and some of the HP mini lines. I've worked on them all. By golly I figure a Raspberry Pi or two could outrun some of them systems, LOL!

                  Funny story here... The lower management of the company I worked for spent a small fortune on a Data General Eclipse system without consulting us techies and then found out later it wouldn't do what they bought it for. Oops. They spent another fortune on an HP 1000, that we recommended, that did the job, but were still stuck with the Eclipse, which they had to hide budget-wise from upper management. Now the Eclipse had a real pretty blinky-light display so one of my coworkers suggested it be mounted right next to the HP in the computer room and we could program it to constantly run diagnostics on itself to keep the blinky-lights working like mad to look like it was an integral part of the project. When upper management visited the computer room they thought the whole thing looked really cool and, since the project was very successful, were satisfied that all was well. About a year later, another smaller project came along and one of the lower managers (whose ass we saved) asked me if I could get it to work on the Eclipse so they didn't have to buy another HP. Furthermore, I'd get a steak dinner if I could get it up in less than four months. With lots of overtime and the aid of a very sharp co-op student we got our steak dinner and the Eclipse was finally earning its keep.
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                  • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 4 months, 1 week ago
                    Funny story. I worked in an IBM 370 Mainframe shop as a co-op in the 1980s. It has been interesting watching PCs, GUIs, networking, the internet, et all unfold.

                    I'm dead sure a $35 Raspberry PI would smoke the HP, DG and a 68000 all at the same time. The damn thing can do video transposition.
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                    • Posted by  $  4 months, 1 week ago
                      Yep. My son has one that he has alternatively transformed into:

                      - a battery-powered robot with wheels driven by a wireless keyboard
                      - a Java platform displaying several drill-in fractals including the Mandelbrot set
                      - a video game emulator for all the old eight-bit Nintendo games
                      - an interface for my Ham radio for digital transmissions
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                      • Posted by mccannon01 4 months, 1 week ago
                        Wonderful stuff, blarman! OK, what about this video game emulator?

                        Even though I'm retired, I got involved with a friend's startup company using a Pi as the processor in a railroad car wheel/axle inspection system. It collects data real time from proprietary sensor instruments (patented) as a train goes through an inspection zone at speeds up to 90mph - actually faster, but let's not press it too hard. After the train passes, the data (in standard CSV format) is transmitted via email to any desired address or you can just log on to it and collect the data manually. The low power allows these inspection sites to be placed in remote areas as long as it can reach a cell tower or a LAN. I wrote most of the code and would give more details, but it was just bought out by a multi-national corporation and I don't want to say anything that may be considered non-disclosable at this time. The funny thing is the Pi, which is the brains, is one of the least expensive components in the whole system.

                        When we were testing it in a low speed RR yard we even used a second Pi with a camera that was signaled to snap a picture of any axle that had an inspection issue. I wrote most of the camera code, including a nice GUI, which is not proprietary and was a fun project of its own.

                        I also wrote a nice oscilloscope program for an a/d board available for the Pi, but the a/d board is so slow it wasn't much use. The GUI came out nice, though. I didn't choose the board and I got it for free so no complaints and it was a fun project. This program isn't proprietary, either, and I may - someday- decide to map it to a faster a/d board.

                        I was thinking maybe I'll put a Pi to work sequencing a nice yard and garden sprinkling system with a GUI to keep it all simple. I set the Pies up so they are "headless" and don't need a monitor. I can access them using my Mac or iPad or my friends Windows systems. Fun stuff.
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                        • Posted by freedomforall 4 months, 1 week ago
                          Great cool project, ,mcc!
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                          • Posted by mccannon01 4 months, 1 week ago
                            Thanks, freedomforall. It was a fun project, but also had a more personal touch as my wife will not get on a plane so we ride the rails around the country and added RR safety is a bonus.

                            Edit add: Another "bonus". My friend with the startup company with the RR project had no money so I wasn't getting paid to help out and I knew that up front. I looked at it as a hobby to keep me active in my retirement. He asked what I'd like if this thing ever developed into a real saleable product. I said a stack of C-notes on my dining room table would be nice. Well, a couple of months ago he came over and dropped a stack on my dining room table. 'Nuff said, :-)
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                        • Posted by  $  4 months, 1 week ago
                          Very nice!

                          I think one of the things I like most about the Pi is its value: versatility at a very reasonable cost. I mean the thing is basically a small computer (with all the bells and whistles) for ~$30. That's pretty amazing!
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                      • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 4 months, 1 week ago
                        I made a media center (just audio used) for my brother-in-laws lake house (at the dock). Works beautifully. 100 W/ch amp, PS and PI in a sealed box.

                        These things are just amazing.
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                        • Posted by freedomforall 4 months, 1 week ago
                          I use an RPi with a DAC hat to stream via wifi both internet radio and all my digital audio collection to my stereo. Sounds good (could use a bit more low end, but the DAC was only $15, you get what you pay for sometimes;^) I use volumio which is a Linux version (no monitor needed) with a web interface to control the audio. Works well to control it with android and iphone smart phones via wifi. Getting it to access all your audio files is straightforward but you should set a static IP for the computer containing the audio files. You can set up multiple RPis to stream to different rooms, too, letting the kids hear their, (ahem, so-called) music in their rooms (preferably on headphones) while you listen to your (real) music in the hifi sound room.
                          Great bargain priced technology for streaming your favorite tunes!
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                        • Posted by mccannon01 4 months, 1 week ago
                          Greetings, Thoritsu. I've heard about using a Pi as a media center. Right now I'm using iTunes for holding movies and music and have Apple TV as the only way to play them and was thinking of looking into the Pi solution. Can you give a few hints as to where to start?
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                          • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 4 months, 1 week ago
                            I assume you are asking about the SW side. I can help a little there. I just did audio for my brother in law, but here goes:
                            https://www.sidify.com/guide/play-app...
                            https://howtoraspberrypi.com/media-ce...
                            https://mediaexperience.com/raspberry...
                            Kodi is very mainstream.
                            On the HW side, you may have what you need, but I am a speaker Nazi. If you want amp/power supply/speaker help, let me know, and I'll unload on you.
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                            • Posted by freedomforall 4 months, 1 week ago
                              Unload!
                              I'm always interested in better sound.;^)
                              Our preamps are starting assembly this week for sale via the net. Gotta get that website working ;^)
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                              • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 4 months, 1 week ago
                                What kid do you like. I started on a "get to 20Hz" epic task, and succeeded (Got 19). Sound damn good, but there were compromises. I love horn-loaded systems. They just reproduce beautifully, and are efficient, so I built a few transmission line speakers.
                                Now, I'm thinking of a line array.
                                I do have an idea for an arbitrarily low frequency woofer. I need to build and patent it.
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                            • Posted by mccannon01 4 months, 1 week ago
                              Thank you very much! The links are just what I needed. Plenty here to explore!
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                              • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 4 months, 1 week ago
                                There is a British magazine on he project you can often find at Barnes and Noble that is very good. These guys “Make” publish all kinds of good stuff too. The Plex Server is a nice setup, but I honk you have to pay for the SW.
                                https://makezine.com/category/technol...
                                Crazy people like me are always excited to see others with crazy interests.
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                                • Posted by mccannon01 4 months, 1 week ago
                                  Thanks, again, Thoritsu. My past computer experience is mainly industrial in chemical making and manufacturing and these applications in A/V, gaming, and other home use are new to me and are a whole new world to explore. I think the last video game I played was called Wolfenstein 3D back in the '80s (I'm really dating myself here, LOL). The Pi used in the RR project described above was a good port of my industrial and process skills to a new platform and I even picked up Python for the first time as a "new" language for me as well as TKinter for the GUI, not to mention getting up to my neck in Linux.
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                                  • Thoritsu replied 4 months, 1 week ago
            • Posted by freedomforall 4 months, 1 week ago
              There was a lot of that then (and now.) The Moto chips were very cool, but its all water long gone down stream. Today Apple hardware is still overpriced and no longer offers the advantages that were true back then. Now they get rich off those addicted to the brand. I've never been brand conscious unless there was a real tangible benefit for me in the product itself. I saw it in the mac products 20 years ago, but in a narrow niche that didn't include me as a beneficiary.
              I have an iphone because it was given to me. It's a PITA to use sometimes. So are other brands of smart phones. But they are most of the time very good devices that assist my productivity.
              For my computing needs, I buy 3-7 year old used intel/windows (usually Dell) and they work just as well as newer gear regardless of the brand. Much less expensive, too. But I have lots of experience with computers and don't need hand holding. The internet is a wealth of information for people who can learn to read the tech jargon and use a screwdriver.
              Gates was a very bright entrepreneur years ago. I think he lost his way as many do when beaten down constantly by statist rubbish and government meddling. He's certainly not Howard Rourke or Hank Rearden.
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              • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 4 months, 1 week ago
                You are quite right about Moto vs Intel, and where Apple is now. (See note to mccannon above). The only thing I really like about Apple now is the Unix underpinnings, and the ability to run Windows/Unix/Mac simultaneously with VM Ware. Doesn't seem like anybody puts VM Ware on a Windows box like that yet.
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                • Posted by freedomforall 4 months, 1 week ago
                  imo, the MSFT view is not to support the competition out of the box when most customers get no benefit from it and it may drive a few to switch. For those who can benefit they either pay a lot more (Mac) or install VMWare themselves (perhaps with a more experienced friend;^) VMWare installation isn't too bad but with a system that's open to a zillion different hardware possibilities under Windows or Linux, it can become complex. Apple deals with that by limiting the hardware to very few choices at high prices. For their target market it works. I'm not their target market and since they aren't the federal government, I have a choice. I like having the choice of hardware, too, and Apple has never included that option. (I also have a lot of accumulated knowledge using windows that gives me a reason to keep using it until MSFT completely chases me away. W10 has done that, but W7 is still a viable option for me at present.)
                  Apple's way of doing things is a continual irritation on the iphone and if the service wasn't given to me, I'd be using a different smartphone; one that doesn't require me to get permission to do things from Apple because their software is in the way by design (to make more money for Apple by picking my pocket. Definitely reminds me of the feds in that respect.)

                  I'm not really the target market for the feds either, but I don't have a practical choice, dammit.;^)
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      • Posted by  $  exceller 4 months, 2 weeks ago
        I think it was a fatal move to hand the internet over to Google:

        https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/...

        While I agree with you on Balmer, Nadella does not strike me as someone who will protect the MS brand. I think he is selling out to Google: both companies are run by Indians. Where does loyalty lie? You be the judge.

        The proper move should have been to write a browser that can compete with Chrome, not to capitulate to it. When Windows 10 was released, the biased Apple worshipping media slaughtered it. Never mind that most of the criticism was similar to toady's left's "resistance" to everything that is not violently against normal life. Windows 10 was a great software and only a goat had problems using it.

        At any rate, I think that "playing nice" is not going to cut it. The opposition will not appreciate that in terms of reciprocating, but will see it as a point of weakness which it is and will take full advantage of it.
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        • Posted by  $  exceller 4 months, 2 weeks ago
          I may add that I am completely happy with Edge, and blocked anything that has to do with Google. Firefox is also Google based.

          It beats me what people adore about Chrome. It is very restricted unless you do everything as Google prescribes.

          Google's abusive policies let alone the company culture that has been splashed across the media in recent months is enough to recoil from them in disgust. I am sure they have a file on me even though I try to distance myself. I hate to think that MS is turning over the field to them completely.
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          • Posted by  $  4 months, 2 weeks ago
            "Firefox is also Google based."

            Uh, no. Firefox is Mozilla-based (from the original code base of Netscape Navigator). They've consistently been the most IEEE compliant browser (when they've had people to work on their code). They used to be the fastest browser, but then they started adding in a whole bunch of crap that slowed things down. I still use it for some things, but I would prefer that it go back to its less weighty and speedier core.

            "It beats me what people adore about Chrome."

            For a time, the appeal was two things: easy access to Gmail and speed. When first introduced, Chrome simply beat the pants off everything speed-wise. Now, their browser is a hulking beast which commonly churns up the majority of my memory - and each tab only makes it worse. The problem is that the competition isn't much better. All have become very top-heavy memory hogs. Space hogs, too.

            "Google's abusive policies let alone the company culture that has been splashed across the media in recent months is enough to recoil from them in disgust."

            Completely agree.
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            • Posted by  $  exceller 4 months, 2 weeks ago
              "Firefox is also Google based."

              I meant that when you search with Firefox, it is Chrome "powered by Ask" that does the search, with no possibility to delete it.

              When you search on Firefox the "Search with Google" appears.

              I used Firefox as the default for a while then got rid of it due to this "relationship" between the two which apparently goes back to a long time.
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          • Posted by LibertyBelle 4 months, 1 week ago
            I don't have a home computer. I have been instructed in the library to use Google Chrome. Internet Explorer was used before. I don't really understand why the change came about. But the symbol is still visible at the bottom of the screen.
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        • Posted by  $  4 months, 2 weeks ago
          " I think he is selling out to Google: both companies are run by Indians."

          An interesting point. I know that the installation of a Chinese/Taiwanese at the head of Micron is certainly not going well for US Micron workers. And there is no question that culturally, Indians are very different than Americans.

          "The proper move should have been to write a browser that can compete with Chrome, not to capitulate to it."

          You do realize that you are talking about Microsoft, right? They haven't written anything original in years - they have to keep buying all their good ideas from startup companies. ;)

          Seriously, though, the big problem at Microsoft (and this comes from personal inside sources) is that their executive management teams don't play well when it comes to funding fights. They don't coordinate their efforts. Every division is trying to outdo their other divisions for resources instead of trying to work together and that culture has driven away a lot of good people. That's a cultural thing that Nadella is still fighting - unsucessfully.

          I wouldn't put Microsoft out of the fight just yet, however. They still have their cash cow in Office and billions in cash to throw at any initiative they choose. I'm going to wait until they blow through their $10+ Billion before I make any predictions of doom. I also wouldn't discount their seats on all of the major IEEE initiatives.

          "Windows 10 was a great software and only a goat had problems using it."

          Uh, I've been a Microsoft Admin for 20 years and I can tell you I HATE the interface on Windows 10. Moving the logout button to the upper right-hand side of the screen when everything you use is in the bottom left? That's stupid. Charms? Give me a break! All I need is another distraction sitting on my desktop taking up compute and network resources. No, thanks! Tiles? Those are for mobile devices - not desktops. Default save is now to the "cloud" (meaning more money for Microsoft) instead of to my computer or a network share. And there's no way to change it. This costs me valuable time and clicks every hour of every day. Having to search for the app I need instead of just being able to navigate right to it? I don't need freaking crutches. And don't get me started on the constant revisions to my bread-and-butter: the Control Panel. Some Microsoft genius just can't leave this crucial administrative feature alone for one version - probably so they can justify the ongoing certification classes.

          Computers are there to help facilitate getting things done (meaning applications). All Windows 10 did was put roadblocks in the way of me being productive that I didn't need. I didn't see a single feature in Windows 10 that actually made my life easier. The articles expressing criticisms like those I just cited were spot on in my opinion.
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          • Posted by  $  exceller 4 months, 2 weeks ago
            "And there is no question that culturally, Indians are very different than Americans."

            Yes, I have firsthand experience although you must abide by HR's "inclusion and diversion" guidelines.

            I used to work for GE's financial arm. The nearby Insurance division was staffed exclusively by Indians. Don't know how they got away with it but is was a very stifling environment.

            I stand by my statement on Windows 10.

            You must be one of those who obsessed with the Start button. I simply don't share your observations. I have been using 10 since it was launched and did not regret one second of it.
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            • Posted by  $  4 months, 2 weeks ago
              I've been hacking since DOS 5.0 and professionally supporting everything from Windows 95 up. I've seen everything Microsoft has offered - as well as many of its competitors. There are some things it has gotten right (Windows 2000) and others not so much (Microsoft BOB, Windows ME, Windows CE) - just like every one of their competitors. I could go into detail about Apple's misadventures as well as Xerox, HP, Novell, IBM, and DEC just to name a few, as I've had family members in senior management positions in many of those companies. My family reunions are a bunch of software developers and computer nerds getting together and comparing notes. ;)

              To me, the beauty of a computer is not in monolithic use, but in configurable use: it is the adaptability of the UI to the specific user's needs which is an OS' greatest value. An OS has zero other function than to assist the user in running applications. Anything which detracts from that capability is a disservice to the user because it reduces efficiency and value.

              You obviously found the changes beneficial to you, and that's great for you. None of the UI updates done to Windows 10 enhanced my ability to be productive, however, but actually did the contrary because they force me to use the computer in a way which doesn't make sense for my job and my needs. I wouldn't have cared that much if there was a way to configure the UI so it was most productive for my needs, but Microsoft has long been heavy-handed in demanding that everyone use the same methodology. That short-sighted and monolithic approach has long been my major bone of contention with them - especially when I can look over at all the Linux skins available (like Enlightenment) which allow the same core functionality but configure the UI to suit the user's tastes and needs. How I wish Microsoft would take a page out of that book!

              Just as an aside, but I found the same experience with the Office Ribbon. Where once I could build my own ribbon with just the small icons for the tools I needed (document creation and editing which included a lot of screenshots), now it takes me 30% longer (I've actually tested and timed this) to create the same document due to all the extra clicks necessary to get to the formatting tools I need and the document default settings which I have to disable or override. (I also don't appreciate the huge icons which just take up valuable screen real estate.) I am far more productive using the inferior technology in Open Office than I am using Word because of all those kitchen sinks they threw in there which just get in the way.

              "I stand by my statement on Windows 10."

              Which is why you hated the criticism - not only my own but that of the magazine articles. If you choose to wear quad-colored glasses that is your prerogative. It is rather infantile, however, to criticize those of us who choose not to.

              "You must be one of those who obsessed with the Start button."

              Apparently I was not the only one, as they quickly added it back in due to overwhelming customer feedback. And they didn't even wait for another major release that's how much pushback they got. Again, this was the result of their heavy-handed, "Microsoft's way is the only way" approach. They would have been far wiser to simply put in a setting which allowed the user to pick the interface which worked better for them. I still hold out hope that they will eventually move in this direction.
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              • Posted by  $  exceller 4 months, 2 weeks ago
                I like your post.

                Don't think that I am an orthodox when it comes to software and providers. I think one reason we see things differently is that for a developer 10 may not be the best venue. I am not one, and was more than happy to try out the new platform that suited me well from the beginning.

                To reply to your "criticism": at the time 10 came out, the bias of coverage was palpable. I said earlier, it was like the current animosity between right and left in the political arena. Any thinking person would see a red flag there: 10 was not nearly as bad as the reviews stated: only 1 out of 10 had a positive evaluation. As I read them it was obvious that most of them did not even try 10: they simply went with the flow against MS.

                Yes, MS quickly added the Start button back which was clearly a capitulation they should not have done.

                I fault MS for throwing 10 under the bus. From the beginning they went into the game as the underdog. Markets sense that and hit back hard.

                Nadella is a very far cry from the ideal leader who should run MS. It is a tragedy of great companies to suffer this fate. I know what it is like: my own was subject to it recently. Nothing lasts forever.
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              • Posted by Jstork 4 months, 1 week ago
                MS Windows. What is that? When they no longer supported XP thus making my computer virtually useless for me and many others, I transitioned to and tried various Linux flavours. A bit of a learning curve, but would not go back. I like having choices. I am afraid that if the government had its way, they would take this away from us as well.
                Thanks to Linus Torvalds and he crew for giving me and others the freedom to choose.
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                • Posted by ewv 4 months, 1 week ago
                  You can still use xp on old computers for which you have the proper drivers, as long as you manage the security risks properly.

                  What version of linux do you use and what did you do to ensure you have the right drivers for your hardware?
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                  • Posted by Jstork 4 months, 1 week ago
                    I began with Ubuntu and then moved to Mint. I am playing with Zorin on my spare computers. Mint 19 is a nice package that has a lot of features and Zorin is good for those who need a basic machine. Desktop is nice and friendly for both. The hardware interface is excellent (sets up automatically). Driver installs for things like printers, scanners, USB wifi sticks can be a bit more of a challenge depending on the manufacturer. Linux requires a bit of work or learning, but there are a lot of forums where just about every question is broached.
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    • Posted by ewv 4 months, 1 week ago
      There have always been alternatives to Microsoft.
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      • Posted by Lucky 4 months, 1 week ago
        This ewv seems to be unpopular, so much so that even saying there are alternatives to M$S gets a downvote. Now, there is no M$S product on my PC or the two or three before (but I could check about freely distributed fonts).

        On the other hand, there is "portability of data". You supply Girgle with your name, age, etc. Girgle processes that info. Work, effort, cost go into that processing so the processed info is considered property of Girgle.
        The info that you gave, in the form you gave it, is whose property? Not now yours? It may be considered to be in the public domain, it is certainly not the property of Girgle.
        Suppose that info which you gave away, in exchange to use Girgle, is sold, is that ok? Did you give them that right, to do anything with the info? Suppose yes you did, and now that info, processed, is used by girgle to obtain a credit card, ok? If not, then what are the limits to which that processed info can be put?
        You applied for a passport, can government sell the passport with your info to anyone? It was voluntary, you did not have to have that passport. Is ID info property in the sense that software or writing created from effort is property?
        I ask, anyone who cares to elaborate, please do so from the viewpoint of Objectivism, not anarchy, or even state why you think Objectivism is wrong here.
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        • Posted by Jstork 4 months, 1 week ago
          I agree.
          We voluntarily enter into an agreement with Girgle when we sigh up. Read the terms of the agreement. When (as an adult), you accept and acknowledge the terms of the agreement, you are entering into a contract. That is the case with so many other things we sign up for. We do it voluntarily and many complain about it later and claim ignorance because they have not read the terms of the agreement. I did and accept the results.
          I also am free from M$S and have the option to not be tracked as I surf and use the net.
          The world is full of choices, but are tethered when the government interferes. The government dictates that my doctor (for example) records my information on a public database. He and I have no choice. That is also the price I pay for being forced to use public healthcare as I have no other alternative for medical treatments/care.
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          • Posted by ewv 4 months, 1 week ago
            You do not have the option to not be tracked. The internet is inherently insecure and that is routinely exploited. You can block some of it but it is mostly not in your control.
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        • Posted by ewv 4 months, 1 week ago
          Obviously Microsoft did not and could not "force customers to use its products [with] no alternative."

          There are a couple of immature, cowardly militant conservatives here who can't control their emotions. Sometimes they blow up with irrational personal accusations in addition to the mindless 'downvoting'. It's not a matter of "popularity", but mindless resentment by a few. They lack basic objectivity, speculating in their own minds what they imagine "must be". They lash out mindlessly, often without even understanding what they are 'downvoting', and don't care -- they are harboring festering personal grudges that never made any sense to begin with, and it doesn't take much to set them off into a bulk 'downvoting' spree.

          As for the "Girgle" scenarios, when you provide personal information such as a credit card number to someone for a specific purpose it does not become their property (or in the public domain) to do whatever they want to with it. They are also responsible for securing it so that it is not stolen. The form in which they keep it for their own internal legitimate purposes is proprietary, but its proper use is not unlimited, either in selling it or neglecting to protect it.

          But the problem is wider than that. Organizations such as google, facebook and NSA are stalking people and gathering information they have no right to at all, and aggregating it in massive databases kept hidden from the public with no way to even challenge misrepresentations.

          Google and facebook routinely spy on what you are doing even when it is not at their own websites -- look at the cookies they store on your computer as IDs by which to track you; and look in the firefox extension NoScript to see how often they show up as para-sites running java programs to collect information from connections to other websites.

          Google routinely invades your privacy by monitoring what you do on your own computer or cell phone, along with where you are, misappropriating your property to gather and send the information back to its home planet. That is built into all versions of its android operating system and its apps no matter what OS they are running on. NSA routinely monitors and collects whatever it wants in its massive data bases as information passes through the internet. NSA also has access to the data accumulated by others. What all these organizations collect is aggregated with what they already have to build up massive dossiers on everyone.. All of them are lying and misleading us about what they are doing.

          The solution is to recognize property rights, formulating new specific definitions in law as required to apply to new technology as it develops. Instead, we hear an increasing clamor for "regulation" in which government bureaucracy controls private companies without regard to either their or citizens' property rights (or freedom of speech). The "progressive solution" is statism replacing a system of limited government that exists to protect the rights of the individual under objective law with "progressive" control by politically elite government "experts" making up their own rules to "regulate", not prevent and punish, the violation of your rights.
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          • Posted by Lucky 4 months, 1 week ago
            Regulators- I am not so strict as to say no regulators but, I do observe in the areas of my interest that what they do is get captured by the industry.
            They make rules easily achievable by existing players that only nominally protect consumers, and make working arrangements so complex that operating costs go up, that is accepted by the industry as the regulator okays or supports price increases.
            On top of that all the rules serve to make start-up costs very high thus squelching competition.

            Yes, the proper approach is to confirm, change and enforce as needed legislation to define and protect property rights of big and small players.
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            • Posted by ewv 4 months, 1 week ago
              Protect defined property rights in law versus "regulation" is a major conceptual distinction. The first requires people in government to implement, but they are not "regulators" and the proper goals is not to "force competition", which is another conservative false premise in the Hillsdale article.
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  • Posted by Lucky 4 months, 2 weeks ago
    Good stuff. The problems are widely acknowledged if not by all.

    The quote from Adam Smith- 'in a competitive economy', does that mean 'there must be competition', or the potential for competition?
    The question is partly answered by the example of the Power Ventures company, the use of intermediaries. Existing law prevents competition, except by replication, which cannot work. So, yes the first step is to wipe out the existing laws that prevent competitiors entering as described.
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  • Posted by KC-2019 4 months, 1 week ago
    Luigi Zingales...Great insights.
    I am a professor of economics. A market to be effective needs competition. As competition decreases the benefits of the market for the consumer decrease as well... until it becomes a monopoly where the consumer has little or no choice. As is the case in social media extremely concentrated industry dominated by very few players.

    The idea of portability of your information you post on social media and the response you receive is a great solution. But one could easily see why the dominant players would not want that.
    There is a principle in economics "Government may sometimes improve market outcomes" clearly there is a case for government to create content portability thereby increasing competition in social media and improving market outcomes and the benefits derived by the consumers.

    Really interesting solution.
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    • Posted by ewv 4 months, 1 week ago
      Freedom from government interference is the basis of the market, not someone's notion of he thinks competition should be like. Government does not "improve market outcomes" it dictates outcomes that deprive us all of the freedom that makes success and growth possible. There is no justification for statist, government-mandated "portability of data" in the name of "competition". It is unethical and it restricts development of improvements hampered to be "compatible" with the status quo.
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  • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 4 months, 2 weeks ago
    My take?...they violate the constitution on free speech, they silence to voices of facts and reason while allowing idiots, real racist, real terrorist to subvert the truth and to perpetuate a vial stupidity based only on harmful ideologies all the while, collecting every nugget of information on everyone that participates.

    The big question, however, how do you instill moral ethics in any business, corporation, government or people. It's not like moral ethics aren't clearly defined...it's common sense.

    I think this is what happens when truth, history and the attainment of the conscious mind are prohibited.
    It is clear that there are those that conspire against the conscious human race.
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    • Posted by ewv 4 months, 1 week ago
      Private companies setting their own guidelines do not "violate the Constitution on free speech". Government restrictions would violate the Constitution and the freedom of speech of those who own the companies. The Constitution prohibits government interference in speech; it does not restrict the freedom of private companies forced to provide you with what you want even you have good reasons for not liking what they do.
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  • Posted by LibertyBelle 4 months, 1 week ago
    I basically think about the same way Zingales does.
    Private people can get in private associations and start their own companies. I do not, however, think that government should intervene and bust up the companies that already exist.
    Of course, personally, I do not make that much use of computers; I do not even have, at this time, a working cellphone; my phone is a landline, rotary dial. As to personal information, I have long held to the policy that if you do not want something to be seen by everybody in the United States, don't put it on the Internet.
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  • Posted by Jstork 4 months, 1 week ago
    We don't need more government control. I want to be able to make my own decisions and be responsible for my own life. It is natural that people want to be taken care of (especially when they make poor decisions). That does not teach chem anything other that they do not have to be responsible. I am getting the feeling that the more our Canadian government interferes with our economy, the worse things are getting.
    We as free people need to be responsible for our own lives, otherwise we will eventually be subject to the dictum of our government/leaders. I choose freedom.
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