October 1, 2004

Gnomedex II

I found where the plugs are, finally. The conference room here has outlets in the floor, groups of two plugs spaced every thirty feet. So of course everybody is clustered around these spots where the outlets are. I was able to find a power strip I could plug into, so my my wife’s three-year-old Vaio now has a nice food source.

Right now the online security panel is going on. Talk has ranged to how easy computers should be to use out of the box, and whether they are appliances or not. As someone said, unless you take it in the bathtub with you, you know your toaster is going to work fine. People expect the same from computers. They’ve also gone on to talk about DRM, and now they’re talking about what power ISPs and OS vendors should (or should not) have to force people to upgrade and keep up with security. Is it the ISP’s responsibility to make sure there are no computers with viruses on their networks? If somebody wants to run Win 98, with no anti-virus software, should anybody be able to stop them? Or should they have the freedom to do what they want?

In general, since the internet is supposedly for everyone, how do we stop the incompetent people from destroying it?

James Roberts, in the audience, just proposed that ISPs should charge more for people who are using older, insecure software. As he said, if the ISP charges $200 more per year, or goes the other way and gives you a discount for being up-to-date and secure, there’s the money for your Windows XP upgrade.

Filed under The Computer Vet Weblog

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