Information, security and functionality

3 posts

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As you know, most people know very little about computers, and while they days when some thought that there was a real mice inside of the CPU may be gone, it’s still common to hear people referring to the browser as the “Internet” and who will click “Accept” everytime they have the chance to do so.

Because of that, applications are being limited in order to “protect the users”, by completely removing functionalities from them or forcing UIAs or similar stuff.
Another common thing is to fill the application with annoying warnings, like post-XP Windows versions, spamming confirmation boxes anytime you want to do something, or Firefox and its giant warning when it goes fullscreen (via JS, not F11).

And even with all of these things, people keep downloading malware while trying to change their screensaver, giving out their passwords or cc information after getting an email or ending up with four different search bars on their browser while trying to find a book.

So it’s clear that all of these limitations aren’t helping at all and instead are limiting the experience of the “power” users.

I feel that the only way to deal with this is to educate the general population about computers, use and risk, just like governments do about civics; a general “this is how the cyber world works” explaining about security issues and how to avoid them; it really sucks that there’s still people clicking “You just won $1,000,000!” ads in 2012, but punishing the rest of the users to protect those isn’t the answer.

What do you think about it? How would you address this issue?

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People are stupid. The problem with educating them is that the ones who most need to learn something, are typically the ones least willing or able to learn about it. The problem is compounded by the number of people who will externalize their own mistakes rather than learning from them – for example, suing McDonalds because eating their food makes you fat.

Humans in general are very bad at understanding their own weaknesses, and if you don’t accept that you don’t know something, you aren’t going to be open to learning about it. Know any Republicans who still believe Obama isn’t American, or any Liberals convinced that GWB was secretly behind 9/11? Same principle. Despite the abundance of facts to the contrary, people still believe what they think they know already – and you can’t convince them they’re wrong without finding the same accusations leveled at you in return. maybe you’re the one who’s wrong and there is proof Obama isn’t American. Maye you’re wrong and GWB can be shown to be behind the 9/11 attacks. Maybe you’re wrong and this Nigerian prince is really in need of help. The people holding these opinions give them the same weight as you give your views on the topics, and react in the same way as you would if someone tried to persuade you the Nigerian Prince was real.

Despite that, I don’t like the idea of closed systems either. Some controls are necessary, and I wouldn’t recommend anyone switch off their AV and go back to IE6, however tech savvy they were, but there needs to be a compromise somewhere between “no controls” and “complete system restriction”.

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Actually, I’m of the opinion that computers operate on Magic, and that the work I do is just spellcasting and spell research/design.

I gave up thinking about computers as logical systems when my browser locked up trying to run Javascript (for a very specific forum I go to frequently) and I could get a few seconds of usability by end-tasking Firefox’s plugin container. Eventually the entire computer crashed and when it started back up, all of the symptoms were gone.

(Technical speculation: a few bytes of stuck RAM that wouldn’t clear until it lost power)