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Can't believe it's taken so long for people in NZ to question the gov't's (anything-but-NZ-owned-and-run) 'Cloud First' policy for offshoring NZer data with US-owned megacorporates like AWS, Microsoft, and Google. rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/ I'm appalled that our gov't ever thought this was ok given that those corporations are beholden to the US Cloud and Patriot Acts.

I requested very similar things (for slightly different reasons) in my recommendations for NZ's Digital Strategy in 2021: davelane.nz/suggestions-aotear Sadly, all of us have long been ignored by gov't. Here's hoping this new, indigenous resistance has more steel.

@lightweight Going through some paperwork for a potential client, I'd hate to be using anyone other than Catalyst Cloud for hosting...

Though I believed in using local hosting for local businesses anyways!

@lightweight I've found an unfortunate trend of idealistic technologists who fail to understand the Internet exists on boxes within physical sovereign nations, and hence, is subject to laws.

While hopefully less iron-fisted, I think we'll find China's Great Firewall was just them thinking two steps ahead of everyone else.

@ocdtrekkie what bugs me is that we've got under-informed gov't bureaucrats making cavalier decisions on data sovereignty that affects everyone in this little country. In the process, they've also hobbled the country's domestic IT industry. Seems they're not as uncorruptable by corporate lobbying as many NZers seem to believe...

@lightweight That is unfortunately true everywhere, and it's worse in larger countries. Google has spent billions lobbying Congress to erode privacy and competition. And I feel the brain drain even here as cloud pushes from a handful of companies are basically making core IT skills unnecessary for most businesses, centralizing and eroding the core of that entire skillset.

@lightweight People already act like those of us who maintain on-prem infrastructure are dinosaurs that program punch cards or something instead of flipping switches on an AWS control panel.

@ocdtrekkie I'm just waiting for the first big mega-tech calamity to be publicised. It's inevitable. There've already been big calamities, but the tech corps have managed to keep them mostly out of the public eye... mostly by making folks in gov't complicit... (if such failures are publicised, it reflects poorly on gov't decision makers, too).

@lightweight Some day, if us-east-1 goes down, and doesn't come back up...

@ocdtrekkie it'll happen eventually. I believe that it's inevitable for any centralised proprietary stack.

@lightweight Therac-25 wasn't big enough? (at least six people given potentially lethal doses of beta radiation)

Cambridge Analytica manipulating international elections via surveillance capitalism based so-called "social" media wasn't big enough?

Were Project Manhattan and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki big enough? They were definitely backed by mega-tech.

I am starting to get worried about how big a mega-tech calamity which has already been publicized needs to be.

@ocdtrekkie

@byterhymer @ocdtrekkie I think it'd be appropriate for businesses to no longer feel safe and comfortable doing business "the way business is done"... I wonder how many businesses have been hit by ransomware (that, to my knowledge, has only ever affected large organisations deploying Microsoft Windows) and how much damage that's done. No system is 100% secure, but MS Windows is a giant monoculture, and MSFT does not have a compelling record for competence/

@lightweight @byterhymer Short description is that Office 365 is a browser-based SSO authentication flow that often will redirect a user two or three times to barely recognizeable domains. A good phishing site looks more legit than the actual 365 logon process...

@ocdtrekkie @byterhymer yup. MSFT has a lot to answer for in helping ignorant users develop incredibly bad habits.

@lightweight It may be something akin to the blind leading the blind? The challenge is: if we view it that way (and I would posit that perhaps we should) then maybe we need to be treating MSFT and similar entities more like drug dealers? Yet, they are typically themselves enabled by even more corrupt aspects of societies (e.g. Big Pharma in the USA). Layers of enabling enablers? I don't have a PhD nor PsyD in harm reduction though, I can only help so much. @ocdtrekkie

@byterhymer @ocdtrekkie yes, the drug dealer analogy is a good fit for them, and the digital dark age they've helped put us into suits them very well... davelane.nz/darkage

@lightweight Ah nice, that the author had previously written about it & forgot is vaguely entertaining!

Similar themes occur throughout mythology, going back to at least Daedalus & Icarus, possibly also Atlantis?

Pop culture similarly perilous technocratic themes:

Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)
Blade Runner (1982)
WarGames (1983)
MegaZone 23 (1985)
Castle in the Sky (1986)
GREY: Digital Target (1986)
Sneakers (1992)
Toys (1992)
CUBE (1997)
eXistenZ(1999)
Summer Wars (2009)
@ocdtrekkie

@lightweight At least personally, given the preponderance of mythology and tales around similar subjects, as well as having survived at least one AI winter, am I inclined to posit that perhaps such things are cyclical? Maybe emergent properties of existence?

Surviving them doesn't make for a particularly great life worth living though. I'm uncertain if it's possible to escape the Saṃsāric treadmill as Siddhartha Gautama/Buddha postulated. @ocdtrekkie

@lightweight Yeah, I *hated* the book Sandworm (this is definitely not a recommendation to read it, please do anything else with your time) but the story about some company's AD getting *thoroughly* pwn3d and only "saved" because they had an extremely remote branch which had an AD mirror which had been poorly synced as a result, has some lessons in there for: 1. avoiding Windows and 2. how backups function in the real world (yikes, have some which are offline for posterity, please) @ocdtrekkie

@byterhymer @lightweight That's the story about Maersk, right? DC in Ghana. wired.com/story/notpetya-cyber

Backup resilience has thankfully seen a lot of progress in the past few years, the biggest issue is legacy configurations.

@ocdtrekkie Aye, that's the one! Admittedly, I've been a network and system administrator for decades and have had backups (and 5+ figure backup software and tape autoloaders, etc.) fail on me so many times for both back ups and restorations, that my own methodologies are way different these days too; but definitely AD+M$ averse. @lightweight

@lightweight @ocdtrekkie Y'know, as I re-read this toot and I see a "trekkie" in the thread, I can't help but think of the premise of "The Burn" in season 3 of Star Trek DISCO.

I haven't gotten to season 4 yet. To be honest, I mostly only bothered with season 3 because a friend from high school worked as an editor on several episodes. After I got through it, I cancelled the CBS service.

@byterhymer @lightweight Discovery has its ups and downs It's far better than some people give it credit, and also far more flawed than others are willing to admit. I enjoyed Season 4 but it's not drastically better or worse than season 3.

Strange New Worlds, however, knocks it out of the park, and if you want to give any modern Trek series a chance, start there.

@ocdtrekkie Yeah, I am probably going to sign up for Paramount+ eventually, but I have other "life issues" precluding me from many extraneous expenses at the moment. Hopefully in due time! There doesn't seem to be any urgency to worrying about a franchise that big suddenly disappearing from being able to view at least. @lightweight

@byterhymer @lightweight Yeah it's not going anywhere. Also, Paramount+ is generous with free trials even for returning customers, find a promo code for a free month, binge what you want and cancel. Free Star Trek.

@ocdtrekkie That's more or less what I did with season 3 of DISCO and CBS. If I were really uhhh insidious, I would do a write up on opportunistic window timing and free data, but there's probably a much much longer story in there somewhere maybe still worth keeping tacit for now? ;) @lightweight

@ocdtrekkie I see self-hosters as the ones who, like those who know how to grow and mill grain or build a water pump, or operate a ham radio, will help humanity recover after civilisation collapses as, thanks in large part to the efforts of corporations like the Frightful Five & complicit gov't officials, seems increasingly inevitable.

@lightweight I also throw a little party of one at work when Azure is down but my workplace is not. =)

@lightweight @ocdtrekkie
Honestly, I think one of the big problems in the Corruption Perceptions Index we tend to be at the top of is simply that we don't tend to recognise that the large oversease corporates' lobbying is a corrupt practice.

In large part, because they've inured our civil service and large companies to the idea that this is simply "how business is done".

@lightweight @ocdtrekkie And if you're using America as a model, you might be excused for thinking that level of regulatory capture really is "normal" :-\

@lightweight @ocdtrekkie
Not to mention that if your OIA requests on agreements with a big corporate can be denied on "commercial sensitivity" grounds, it's very hard to tell if any malfeisance is happening or not.

@lightweight @DrCuriosity This is pretty good. Another particular reason, IMHO, is as an island nation, dependence on foreign internet service could be a rapid emergency should an undersea cable or three be severed.

It appears New Zealand doesn't have a single point of failure there, but only one or two don't depend on Australia.

@ocdtrekkie @DrCuriosity yup, NZ is completely dependent on foreign tech corporations for its tangible existence. (see davelane.nz/mshostage)

@ocdtrekkie @DrCuriosity I've done it :) - so have all my companies and employers in the past 25+ years - so I can vouch for it being both possible and delightful.

@lightweight @DrCuriosity I am mostly referring to the open source project I contribute to. Unfortunately at work I do still live in the land of Microsoft for now.

@ocdtrekkie @DrCuriosity I just think that those of us who know better need to 'push it' a bit at our workplaces and engage with decision makers to force them to understand why you don't want it and why they're not working for their business' best interest.

@lightweight @DrCuriosity I strongly push against cloud migrations, but one of the problems with very established organizations: A user once thought we took their email away for a *month* because the old Outlook icon was yellow (2010) and the new one was blue (2016), so she assumed it was just gone.

Particularly in new businesses, and as the workforce becomes more tech savvy, I think these can become easier conversations, but some are very hard right now.

@ocdtrekkie @lightweight
There are definitely challenges in changing. But then if we wait another five or ten years to change, that's another five or ten years of entrenched staff experience with that vendor's lock-in, too. (Especially since they're selling *hard* into the education space.)

That change needs to be led, not just managed, and that's often the hardest part for the techie introverts who are most likely to adopt open source solutions on their own initiative.

@DrCuriosity @lightweight I think the newer generations of computer users are much more flexible when it comes to new tools. I am not super worried there.

My biggest issue is I think that in many cases open source still hasn't reached feature parity with Office, and that's a big part of being able to sell the transition too. The biggest cost isn't software, it's staff, and so staff productivity is king.

@DrCuriosity @lightweight I will tell you the difference between "features I use" and "features office staff use at work" is a shockingly wide gulf. People expect their document editors to do some obscene crud sometimes.

Of course, my hope is that the more companies make this transition, the more the open source solutions will improve to meet the demand, and that gap will close.

I work in a particularly weird environment though, too, us being behind the trend is... normal.

@ocdtrekkie @DrCuriosity problem is that 90% (based on my 30 yrs observation) of the multitudes whose livelihoods depend on producing documents, spreadsheets, & presentations couldn't create a valid (well structured) or accessible document if they tried. They wouldn't even know what that means. The vast majority of MSO users are almost entirely incompetent with the tool by just about any measure.Yeah, the tool helps them limp along, so long as they keep paying for it. But is that admirable?

@lightweight @DrCuriosity It may not be admirable, but it keeps business moving?

I mean, we're only a year into replacing paper time cards with a payroll management system where I'm at. People used to manually type in everyone's time cards into an Excel spreadsheet. In 2021.

One department has not switched over, and still uses paper time cards.

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@ocdtrekkie @DrCuriosity parity only gets reached when people use it. Consider this: LibreOffice (formerly OpenOffice, and previously StarOffice) was the result of Sun Microsystems deciding that rather than purchasing Office licenses from Microsoft (its main competitor) for its staff year after year, it'd be cheaper to acquire StarDivision (who'd written StarOffice, which pre-dated MSO) and open sourced the code. Relatively small gov't investment in LibreOffice could put MS out of business.

@ocdtrekkie @DrCuriosity to clarify: LibreOffice is in many ways the equal, and in other ways superior to MSO (its interface paradigm is far more semantically focused than MS' unholy mix of ad hoc and semantic). There's also an ecosystem tools built around it & it's the basis of others like CollaboraOffice. It's had a tiny fraction of the investment that MSO has had, but shows how much a small amounts of investment can achieve - communities can be vastly more efficient than corporations.

@lightweight @ocdtrekkie
(I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here, but sometimes I feel like this needs to be said out loud in more spaces just the same.)

@DrCuriosity I agree it’s worth saying/reading out loud. It’s an important perspective, and one easily overlooked.

@ocdtrekkie @lightweight

@DrCuriosity @lightweight Re: this is simply "how business is done"

Unfortunately, they're really not that wrong.

@ocdtrekkie @DrCuriosity as someone who guided my employer away from Azure and AWS and lowered our IT costs by 90%, it seems to me that questioning the "way business is done" could be quite profitable.

@lightweight @DrCuriosity I agree. At the core of it, the cloud will always be paying for your portion of their hardware, your portion of their IT staff, and their profit margin, and also you'll still need your own IT staff anyways, and also, their IT staff won't care if they push code the morning of your big product launch.

To be honest, the cloud still feels like a collective delusion that people thought it was a good idea.

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