[Dshield] WSJ.com - PC Users Deserve A Free, Simple Service To Handle All Threats

Pete Cap peteoutside at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 17 18:36:50 GMT 2004

Hey lew, list,
Have been giving this some more thought.
Mossberg's apologists have noted that the internet is supposed to be a communications tool, therefore, the IT industry is letting people down if communications aren't happening.
With all due respect, they are wrong about what the internet is for.  It was designed to allow COMPUTERS to communicate.  That's IT.  And, amazingly, it functions quite well no matter what anyone thinks about the hassle of maintaining their desktop machines, or the FUD attached to the latest virus threat.
Adding people to the mix is like adding on functionality to a device after it's in the production stage.  I mean it: when the internet was created it was not designed to allow PEOPLE to communicate.  Some may this this is implied (after all, what are the computers going to say to one another if not for the people using them?) but I don't think it is.
Where we are at right now is the stage of drivers complaining about how uncomfortable their cars are, and how hard they are to steer, when in fact the auto industry (the metaphorical one) is concentrating solely on enhancing the engine and transmission.  Now we've essentially got rocket-powered cars which are designed to go fast.  You might say "Well then obviously they're meant to get people around."  No, they're meant to go, and go fast--passengers are not planned for!
To further the analogy, consumers have the choice of granny-powered little econoboxes to get around in, or the latest 6000 hp rocket-juiced death machine.  Of course, they choose the death machine.  This is why people buy alienware when they need WebTV or some e-mail appliance.  They ask for all this functionality--none of which they actually NEED in order to communicate--and with all the extra "stuff" comes extra vulnerabilities.
Then we have corporations, which shall remain nameless, which try to give you comfort and ease of use, but it's still an add-on after the fact.  You also have the option of building your own seats and steering wheel, if you have the technical knowledge, and your car will be better but you're still going to get hit by all the guys with rockets.
What I would suggest, and I'm no expert, is that if this medium is going to be about end-user communication, then it needs to be designed from the ground up as a secure tool which users can use for communication...like cars which are designed specifically for driving pleasure (e.g. BMW).
Just my $0.02.  Hope it makes sense.

lew001 at globetrotter.net wrote:
The way I see it, wrt the automobile analogy, the current Internet situation
is somewhat like ...

1) It's like asking each auto owner to also be an auto mechanic.

2) It's like requiring weekly (soon daily) maintenance on our auto (with the
real one, a few times a year is good enough).

3) It's like being stopped on the highway by the update patrol (like IE6 SP1
just now), having to get out of the car while update robot changes a few
parts in the car and restarts the engine.

4) It's like having to push a button (firewall) the first time your
granddaughter gets into the car.

5) It's like changing your car lock & key every week (virus definitions).

What Mr. Mossberg proposes is probably utopic. But when I think of my father
who only wants to do some simple occasional browsing/emailing, I feel sorry
for him that he also has to spend a fair bit of time maintaining his system.
And being a software developer myself, it's doubly painful (as I know we are
collectively responsible for the mess).

The hassle/enjoyment ratio is much higher for computers nowadays than for

Ymmv :-),

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