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* Posts by Neil Gerstenberg

15 posts • joined 9 Nov 2007

Swap your old iPhone for a new one, Tim Cook tells British fanbois

Neil Gerstenberg

After reading this I have decided to spend at least a year far away from El Reg.

The overuse of "Boffins", "Fanbois", "Jesus Phone", "Fondle Slab", and others that I once found vaguely amusing, is becoming ridiculous and annoying.

When someone (usually under the age of 10) tells the same joke 3 times (let alone 300), they are usually told that "it was funny the first time...".

That moment has long since passed.

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Boffins render fibre obsolete

Neil Gerstenberg
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Boffin, Boffin, Boffin...

I know this has been requested before... but can someone at El Reg please clamp down on the use of "Boffin"? Today we have 3 front page articles using the same word.

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Miranda Kerr backs Oz porn-surf banker

Neil Gerstenberg

Whodunnit?

My bet is that it was the guy who came to talk to him.

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Apple vs the iPad Bedwetters

Neil Gerstenberg

Too much hate, too much negativity.

I keep seeing the terms DRM, "locked" and "Closed" as a criticism for all things Apple. I have over 10Gb of DRM-free music on my iPhone so it seems most of the Apple bashers haven't used iTunes in years.

And what's all this crap about not being able to install the software I want to install? Any decent developer can get their work onto the Appstore for $99 - and please don't complain that it should be free; it's still much cheaper than VS, for example.

So far I've found applications for everything I want to do on the iPhone (no, iFarting wasn't amongst them, I prefer to use my iPhone to study Chinese for example), and if I can't then it's no big deal, as I'll surely find an app for Os X (or Windows ftm) to run on my MBP.

Of course it's great to be able to install any software you like (only really possible on Os X with VM's) - but with great freedom comes great responsibility, and I no longer trust MS, Adobe et al to live up to that task. Since discovering rootkits on two of my friends Vista machines recently that were running up-to-date virus and malware software, I'll never type my credit card details on Windows again.

Don't get me wrong - I still enjoy, and earn a living, using Windows (but only in a VM): each device and OS has its' advantages and disadvantages for different users, so there's really no point in bashing anyone, or anything.

Try a little love instead.

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Apple's iPad - fat iPhone without the phone

Neil Gerstenberg

iPad educational potential

As a famous visionary once said: "If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants" - there's nothing wrong with building on others' work, and nobody who has spent any time using their products can accuse Apple of uninventive plagiarism.

If you lack the vision to imagine how ebooks, online content/collaboration and interactive educational applications can converge to create a fantastic, simple, learning tool for millions worldwide - and you remain limited by arguments such as price and fragility... then you are the type of person who'd have spouted all the same objections to just about every great invention mankind has seen when it first arrived:

Lightbulbs? Too fragile. Electricity? Too dangerous. Television? Nothing wrong with radio. Radio? Nothing to listen to. Cars? Too expensive.

That is why Steve Jobs is Steve Jobs and you, sir or madam, are an anonymous coward :-)

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Neil Gerstenberg

Yes, Education.

Believe it or not most "education" does not happen in schools, and is not limited to children.

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Neil Gerstenberg
Welcome

What's it for? Education, for starters.

The negative iPad comments here sound to me like posts about a new urban electric car on a 4x4 forum. How can people hold such strong opinions on a device that isn't even available yet?!

Broadly speaking there's two types of user reaction to new devices such as this:

1) You try to force it to do everything you are used to doing in the same way you used to do it, hit loads of problems because it doesn't read this memory card or run that plugin, then complain that it's useless and reinforce your existing convictions that X brand/device is in fact total crap and that you wasted your money.

2) You play around with it to determine what it does best, start doing things you hadn't thought of doing before and discover new, and often better, ways to do what you are used to doing.

The iPad will not satisfy users who fall into the first category.

It may, however, revolutionise education, and other domains about which most reg readers seem not too concerned.

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Neil Gerstenberg
Joke

Want an "insanely great" web experience without flash? Easy!

...you need to use an iPad or an iPhone - for the same advertising-free, low-cpu-intensive browsing experience on any other system you'll have to install an ad-blocker ;-)

As for multi-tasking, I can't say I've ever missed it on iPhone. After all, if you need to render video while you're browsing you'd hardly be using a netbook to do it; I thought it was obvious that the iPad wasn't meant to replace your laptop/workstation. I was sceptical too at first, but the iPhone does exactly what it was supposed to do, perfectly, without multi-tasking because good apps are designed to start, and start fast, exactly where you left them. And as for being a "closed" system limited to Apple approved apps - well maybe that's why it works so damn well, and I suspect the iPad will do the same. As any accomplished musician, artist or even programmer knows, the key to creativity is not totally unlimited freedom - but total freedom within limits.

I've been using personal computers for exactly 30 years this year, and have only one thing to say about the Windows/Mac issue: if you have never used Windows in a VM on a MBP then you have never used Windows as it really ought to be used.

I bought a MBP not because I wanted to look cool (it never leaves the house as I can email and browse on the iphone, discretely), not because I'm a "fanboi", and not because I'm a sucker for marketing. I bought it so I could reboot my system once a month instead of too bloody often, so I can run multiple versions of Windows at the same time (and incidentally take snapshots of the entire system state as often as I like, in seconds), so I don't have to worry about rootkits bypassing Avast or even Kaspersky, so I could lift the lid with one hand, so I can type in the dark without disturbing others, so I don't have to worry about an "NTLDR is missing" message, so I don't have to worry (well, not every single day) about drivers, software conflicts, unwanted BHO's, spyware & malware, so I.... could go on for ages but I think most Reg readers know the details by now, even if they don't yet believe that things can be so different on the other side...

So I'm now an Os x AND Windows (in a VM) fan, I'm an xcode AND visual studio user - and I know that my business deserves what I consider to be the best PC on the market, and well worth the extra cost: an Apple MBP.

I'll buy the iPad just for fun.

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Google Wave invites stack up - who's still playing?

Neil Gerstenberg

It's not bad...

... but I admit it's sometimes slow and not exactly 100% reliable. I'm currently using it to collaborate on an iPhone app project, and it's very useful to be able to set up waves for different aspects of development, and insert comments, ideas and graphics at any point in the wave without duplicating everything and getting into a mess as you would with email.

That said, nobody else I know is remotely interested, so I''ll donate 24 invites for the davenewman wavefund :-)

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Google leaves censorship to China's experts

Neil Gerstenberg

Probably not...

but it turns out that we do. Oh I forgot, our political prisoners are terrorists, and we've all seen how great Jack Bauer is at saving the world.

I'd like to believe that most people realize that nearly all states are involved in censorship, brainwashing and murder even if western governments now use carefully crafted euphemisms for these activities, words that have been drilled into us from an early age. NLP at its' best :-)

Also, I'd like to see where the UK, US and China would appear in a study comparing the number of deaths caused by sovereign states on foreign soil. If any country is "a menace to world peace and safety" it's clearly not China, whose leaders are at least wise enough not to meddle with our affairs.

Back to the article in question - maybe, just maybe, this all about Google trying to save face (now that's very Chinese!) before pulling out of China for other reasons?

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Neil Gerstenberg
WTF?

Someone's lying

Let me get this straight: from what I read on the net:

"A primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists."... two accounts of its online mail service - Gmail - appeared to have been accessed.... the attack was limited to accessing account information such as the date the account was created and subject line, rather than e-mail content... dozens of US, China and Europe-based Gmail users, who are "advocates of human rights in China", appeared to have been "routinely accessed by third parties"... accounts had not been accessed through any security breach at Google, but "most likely via phishing scams or malware"... At least 20 other large companies were similarly targeted.

I know Google Do No Evil, but are we really expected to believe that they are considering closing an operation worth well over $300 million a year because 2 email accounts of human rights activists were phished?

And how on earth did Google ever notice that the phished accounts belonged to human rights activists? And if the accounts were indeed phished/malwared then can a reg reader please explain to me how come no email content was compromised? And how the hell could Google know 20 other companies were "similarly targeted"? And what is the relationship between this story and China's internal censorship policy (which btw at least means kids there can actually surf porn-free). Sounds similar to the 911/Iraq sleight of hand to me.

I'm not going to get into a human rights debate, but this story just doesn't add up: someone's lying.

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Frenchman calculates 13th root of 200-digit number

Neil Gerstenberg

Great memory feat

I'd be really impressed if he demonstrated multiplication of two 13-digit numbers picked at random by a computer... Shakuntala Devi did that in 28 seconds.

It looks like Mr Lemaire, shy as he is, would like to be the only authority of the only "Official" 13th root Universe Records list, with himself as only member. He also claims Guiness Records are "really stupid" on his website, and gives a mysterious link to "Apocalypse" revelation...

I think all these years memorizing huge tables of numbers may have driven the poor man mad. Check out his website and see for yourself: http://www.13throot.com

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UK anthrax victim infected by drum skin

Neil Gerstenberg

Hide and Sick

Since in both these cases the victims had "animal hides" at home, why do the experts conclude that the drumming sessions were to blame? No one else caught the disease except the guys who hung untreated skins up in their living room... Have I missed something?

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China celebrates first lunar pictures

Neil Gerstenberg
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@Shad

Shad, you really need to take a trip abroad sometime - your remarks show a combination of fear, gullibility and paranoia that I'm surprised to find on El Reg.

"China may not be bombing other countries, but given that they have no respect for us, or for anybody not "them" its only a matter of time before they do."

In all my visits to China I have never met a Chinese citizen who expresses such ignorance and paranoia as Shad does in this post. If anything the Chinese have too much respect for the West to the detriment of their own culture.

"China may not be bombing other nations, but they are flooding our economies with incredibly low quality products and taking jobs from us."

Now that shows that you have swallowed the propaganda hook, line and sinker:

Think hard... do really believe that any country can "flood" the economy of another?

It is mostly Western companies, not Chinese, who pursue a relentless drive towards cutting costs in production, quality control, wages etc. It is Western companies who force suppliers/manufacturers into unhealthy price competition.

How many 100% Chinese brands can you name who dominate a UK or US market? How many 100% US or UK brands can you name who dominate a market with Chinese made goods? And you blame the Chinese?!

As for your last comment:

"China is ten times the threat to our way of life than Russia ever was. And we, in our greed for cheap disposable goods, are letting them do it."

Fortunately most people realize that a country is easier to control/coerce/govern if the population has clearly identified enemies to fear.

We now have Islamist extemists held up as the ideological enemy, and China as the economic enemy.

Before that we had Communism as the ideological enemy and Japan as the economic enemy.

Before that we had Fascism and Germany...

Note that I am not saying that the above threats were not real, just that they are not always as real as they are made out to be - and are always useful to someone.

As a mind reprogramming experiment, try believing (wholeheartedly!) for a couple of days that China (or Islam...) may not be the threat most western media portray it to be. Maybe the real danger lies elsewhere, or within...

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Website for computer security experts hacked

Neil Gerstenberg

Title

Looks to me like the F3 website uses Xoops opensource content management system, which is understandable for non-profit organisations since these CMS provide great functionality for free.

However one of the drawbacks of opensource systems like this are script injection vulnerabilities etc that are posted on underground websites and then used by low-level hackers (the infamous "script kiddies") who are often just trying to boost their ratings on a hacker website like www.zone-h.org. Interesting that that site is built with Joomla!!

I had an e107 site hacked in this way last year, "elhackerone" even kindly renamed the index page "indexold" before replacing it :-) I sent him an email and he told me which exploit he'd used so I could patch it. Took all of 30 seconds to sort it out.

So it wasn't really the admins or hosts fault, unless the Xoops version was very old - it is more accurately the price you pay for using "free" software...

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