I disagree, in my opinion the use of a laptop is a very good thing. However, it probably wouldn't be for anyone that is interested in the most basic adjustments you can get by with.
No, the use of laptops are not a good thing.
1st. Laptop, not everyone has one (I do, but who wants to carry that along to the track and get dirty possibly) It's bigger and more expensive to carry along, cost more to replcae if it hits the dirt at the track as well.
2nd. Cost. The software and cables cost just as much as the GYTR tuner. (in canada I got my GYTR tuner for free with the bike!) The MXA article states the Kawi kit is $515, thats a lot more than $280 for the gytr tuner that is much simpler.
3rd. Time. The honda and kawi systems need plastic removed and a friggen work bench to program them FI systems. Need a laptop, cables, separate 12v battery to charge the system. The yamaha tuner needs two aa batterys and a plastic clip removed by the head tube and you're on your way. The rider with a yamaha could be be programmed and on his bike before the guy on his kawi or honda has his laptop booted up LOL.
Sure, your "telnet/console" method seems great, but its not out yet and yamaha has everyone covered in their way in tuning the bikes in 2010. Hopefully the other brands take note and make a similar tuning system for them bikes soon enough. But if they dont it wont bug me as I'll have the advantage/bragging rights to an easier/simpler system.
Read this MXA article on how to reprogram the crf450, pretty long process. The simplicity of the yamaha system blows it away.
Kawi as well, even longer.
The KX tuner is head and heels more advanced than the YZ tuner, and that is before you even consider the data logging mode it offers. For anyone that has any experience using a Power Commander or similar devices on their street bikes, they would probably consider the YZ tuner very rudimentary. Which may not be a bad thing, depending on your perspective.
I am hoping that before I make my purchase that someone will be selling a more advanced tuning system for the YZ. I am sure most of the top teams are not using the basic factory tuner.