Archive for July, 2009

Every Person a Programmer

July 10, 2009

Reading about cloud computing, netbooks and simpler operating systems etc, all to make the consumers life simpler and maybe cheaper got me thinking. Are we not robbing the consumer/user of a golden opportunity to be come budding computer programmers.

Yes, I know, everybody does not want to be a programmer. Yet for generations to come our daily lives are going to depend on computers and there programs more and more. Is it not essential that future generations have a solid grounding in computer programming, just like it is deemed beneficial today to have a sound grounding in maths and language skills?

Imagine a whole society that at least understands the basics of programming. A society that could write simple macros for their daily use. Imagine the productivity gains. Would this not free those that want to be programmers to write truly ground breaking programs, instead of being employed to write simpler GUI interfaces for day to day use by users that have to be taught by “monkey see monkey do” methods to use those GUIs?

Imagine the programming such a society could produce with in a couple of generations.

Chrome – Cloud – Security

July 10, 2009

I started this morning reading various articles about Google’s Chrome Os. Amongst the arguments for and against, and the inevitable flaming there off in the comments I started getting an uneasy feeling. The whole point is being missed.

Imagine for just a brief moment Microsoft announced such an initiative and for arguments sake based on Linux and open source to boot. Yes I said just briefly. Surely your stomach turned there for a moment. No this is not a Microsoft bashing session, well not directly. My point is that if such an announcement came from else where we might have thought about it differently.

No my uneasy feeling is not about unscrupulous monopolies either, well not directly.

Imagine leaving your home in the morning and handing the key to your neighbour and then picking it up in the evening to get back into you home. You don’t like that idea? Ok well how about giving in your key at your neighbourhood watch association or at your local police station or maybe your friendly neighbourhood Secret Agency office every time you leave your house.

If your stomach did not turn now then you have a unfailing belief in the goodness of mankind and you should not be reading articles on the internet because they will just upset you. Stick to the close friends from your facebook page’s blogs.

I dont have a problem with cloud computing in concept, in fact I often advocate the use of web based applications to my clients since it does have cost and headache benefits, provided that it is done as securely as possible.

What horrifies me is mankind throwing tons of personal data out there for other “mankinds” to keep safe without securing it first.

Such a thought does not strike fear into your heart?!. Well lets say for arguments sake there is a unscrupulous person out there that owns a social site for singles to meet. Unfortunately the site is not doing as well as hoped. Said person wonders out loud about possible solution to another computer savy unscrupulous person. A scheme is hatched. How about stealing just a couple thousand identities of the internet and populating the single site’s database with those. Even better, come up with a hundred or so arbitrary introduction/query emails and faking interest in “real” site user profiles. Yes I have a convoluted mind, but if I can come up with such a scheme…

I am sure we can come up with a simple secure way of leaving our data in the cloud, using existing technology. In fact I would not be surprised that such already exists. Unfortunately neither am I surprised that none of the big entities that offer free cloud services have included such security by default.

Just a note, by security I mean such that the service provider can do nothing with the data it stores even if it wanted to.

Paranoid but true?

Some articles to ponder:

Cloud computing is a trap, warns GNU founder Richard Stallman

Cloud computing may draw government action

10 Reasons Why Chrome OS Is No ‘Windows Killer’

Linux Reaction Mixed to Google’s New Chrome OS

Never assume your data is safe, even if it’s online