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* Posts by Christian Berger

2735 posts • joined 9 Mar 2007

That's all folks! US TV streaming upstart Aereo files for bankrupcy

Christian Berger
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They should have done it differently

Simply sell "housing" for your servers which not just includes power and cooling, but also terrestrial reception. Then set up a separate company which offers ATSC terrestrial receivers which are able to stream, either for sale or for rent.

That way you'd have 2 completely legal businesses nobody would complain about. The fact that they marketed it as a service was the main problem.

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Leaked screenshots show next Windows kernel to be a perfect 10

Christian Berger
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It's not like many people complain about the Windows kernel

It's probably by now means particularly slow or bad in any way. It does have some interesting ideas like "Personas" which would allow you to have different APIs.

What people complain about is the Windows user space. It stops supporting old software and drops vital features while gaining irrelevant ones. The user space is where most security bugs lie. If you'd just install cygwin directly on top of Windows, you would probably have a rather decent and secure operating system.

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Google Contributor: Ad-block killer – or proof NO ONE will pay for news?

Christian Berger
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Will they still track you?

I mean few people mind the ads, they mind the tracking by Google. This solution still means all requests will be known to Google.

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The cloud that goes puff: Seagate Central home NAS woes

Christian Berger
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Why would you use a NAS with just one disk?

I mean you should at the very least have a RAID... particularly since large harddisks are still more expensive per Terabyte.

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Two driverless cars stuffed with passengers are ABOUT TO CRASH - who should take the hit?

Christian Berger
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Completely unrealistic problem...

As this problem has already been solved 100 years ago.

1. You put the cars on rails

2. You divide the rails into blocks

3. You devise a system which counts the number of trains/axles going in and out of that block

4. You close off the block when one car got in and open it up again when it got out

5. You enforce the rules by multiple systems

I've seen such systems working driverless on underground stations. It works like a charm, even without sophisticated computing equipment.

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Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION

Christian Berger
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This is one example of the difference between...

...an "informed Society" and an "information Society".

An "informed Society" would have people knowing the basics about networking and default passwords, they would then configure their devices accordingly and perhaps even ban them from accessing the Internet.

An "information Society" simply outsources all of those things to the manufacturer and expects it to somehow magically make everything secure with a cloud service.

An "informed Society" uses data networks to exist, an "information Society" can only abuse them.

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Where the HELL is that Comcast technician? Finally – an app for that

Christian Berger
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Not sure if they are actually complaining about the technicians

I'd rather assume they got that for not upgrading their networks and throttling their users while mandating for a non free Internet.

Of course to the normal user that's just "Youtube doesn't work and the technician didn't do anything about it".

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GOTCHA: Google caught STRIPPING SSL from BT Wi-Fi users' searches

Christian Berger
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To do something about it, we might need to give it a "terrorism" spin...

We could be saying something like, "All that collected data could be used by terrorists". After all BT and Google are collecting lots of data which can/will be misused eventually.

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Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k

Christian Berger
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DNA living on?

I doubt it would live on the moon considering the harsh conditions. And unlike living beings a hair cannot repair itself. It'll just gradually decompose into carbohydrates.

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Hewlett Foundation lays out MEELLIONS on security

Christian Berger
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45 millions!?

You could probably advance the science of proof assisted language enough to provide a well usable language, then implement an operating system and a browser in that language. You'd still have enough money left to provide free courses to learn about it.

Of course the money will be spent on patching already broken systems... which will be obsolete in 2 years and replaced with systems that have exactly the same flaws as there were no decent more secure platforms out there as a well known and usable alternative.

I mean seriously, 45 millions, that easily gets you 20 people working just off the interest rate. That's easily the manpower to develop and maintain a decent unixoid operating system.

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Countdown contestant pays homage to IT Crowd's Moss

Christian Berger
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It's on the 2014-11-17 issue of it

for all the people who want it look it up.

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USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked

Christian Berger
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Serioiusly where is the problem?

You need to have access to a USB device in order to re-program it. If you have that you can just as well open it and replace the electronics...

If your computer is taken over in a way to re program your USB device... you have probably already lost.

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NOKIA - Not FINNished yet! BEHOLD the somewhat DULL MYSTERY DEVICE!

Christian Berger
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The most boring product they could think of

I mean seriously, it's a crowded market, and that launcher might not be enough.

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Nokia's N1 fondleslab's HIDDEN BRILLIANCE: The 'Z Launcher'

Christian Berger
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Makes sense and is totally logical.

Scribbling letters works even on small screens, and minimizing the amount of input you need based on your previous history makes sense. Similar ideas are found frequently in collapsible menus and input fields that automatically suggest common inputs.

So yes it's nice that someone with a bit of experience looks into at least one problem of "smart"-phones.

The real killer feature would of course be if it had an open bootloader and a PC-BIOS so I could install any operating system I want.

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The Nokia ENIGMA THING and its SECRET, TERRIBLE purpose

Christian Berger
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It's most likely something to plug into your TV or perhaps some pico basestation

Nokia already has had lots of experience with "things to plug into your TV" with their rather successful line of analogue and digital satellite receivers. They even supplied 2 generations of equipment to what's now known as Sky Germany.

Plus they even used to build rather decent TV sets. They had nice pictures... but broke rather quickly. They had Level 2.5 teletext decoders, which had buffer overflows so one of the _many_ patches was a software update to the teletext decoder.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teletext#mediaviewer/File:Teletext_level1_0_lebel2_5.jpg

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Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work

Christian Berger
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Well... they've gotta make money

Even the workplace hierarchy data can fetch lots of money, after all recruiters have lots of money.

I'm sure even other people would pay quite a lot for access to that data, after all when you have a problem with your ISP, calling a technical staff person and telling him you were given his number from $boss_two_layers_above can help.

Plus this puts Facebook in a position where they know even better what a company is doing, probably even better than the company itself.

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Pre-digital computer 'cranks out' Fourier Transforms

Christian Berger
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Re: Fluid analogue Computer

Actually the Z1 didn't use relays and it never was a full blown computer.

Mechanical calculators were quite common, they were still in use in specialists applications like cash registers well into the 1980s.

http://www.vintagecalculators.com/html/mechanical_calculators.html

Electronic analogue computers are also rather cool. They allow you to interact with differential equations.

You could, for example, patch in the differential equations for air flow over and under an airfoil. You could then set it up so it'll calculate a series of example air flows each one starting at a different height. You get a number of lines representing the air flow. If you have resources left you can make the computer even draw the shape of the air foil on the screen. This all is on an oscilloscope screen drawn dozens of times per second.

Now the clever thing is that it's calculated in real time, and you can build in some pots to be able to interactively work with your model. You can, for example, change the rotation of it or other parameters giving you a good idea of how it would behave in the real world. Of course even the best equipment won't get you more than 4 digits of accuracy, but it's a fast and quick way to solve differential equations.

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Christian Berger
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It's actually not normal Fourier transforms...

but discrete Fourier transforms, therefore that machine can work without integrators. Essentially what it does is to sum sinusoids. Must have been a nice tool for certain tasks.

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Christian Berger
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Re: be careful about calling it Non- or Pre-Digital

Well the number of gears doesn't matter. It doesn't count steps you could also build it with rubber wheels. That part of the machine is only there to create gears running at n*x steps of speed.

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Christian Berger
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Those often work by disk integrators

Not sure if this one in particular does, but the ones I've seen work by disk integrators. Essentially to do a Fourier analysis you need to calculate the integral of (x*sin(w*t)) with w being the frequency and t the time.

This can be done by disk (or sphere) integrators. They work like this:

You have a disk (let's assume it's horizontal) which can turn, for example it can follow your input signal. If you input signal goes up, it'll turn in one direction, if it goes down, it'll turn into the other direction, if it remains the same, the disk will stop.

On top of that disk, there's another, smaller disk mounted on an axle which can move to the left and right. The small disk pushes against the larger one in a way so the small disk turns with it.

Imagine the big disk revolves in one direction at one speed. If you move the small disk from left to right on it's axle, it'll turn in one direction on the left side, then gradually get slower as it approaches the center of the big disk where it will stop, before going on turning into the other direction at increasing speed. If you are a mechanic you can calculate that the speed of the small disk is proportional to the speed of the large disk multiplied by its position.

Do that twice for every frequency, once for the real part, once for the imaginary one, and you'll have a nice fourier analysis.

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Google Glass: Even the people who stand to MAKE MONEY from it hate the techno-specs

Christian Berger
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It cannot be done by Google, it cannot be done now...

Google is restrained by its mindset to centrally process and store every Shannon of information it can get about you. This is how Google works.

However this is not how we want our glasses to work. They are primarily supposed to be working for us. They are supposed to store their data locally or on servers I own and they are supposed to do what _I_ want them to do.

For this we'd also have to have computer literacy. People would have to be able to understand computers. We are not at that point now and we may actually move away from that point.

Mayb, just like in the 1970s and early 1980s, we should first look at specialist markets. We should build computers in the hundreds, so we can experiment with them, without being limited by marketing. That way computer literate people can have such devices and find out ways in which they could be used sensibly. We'd need sensible ways to work together with little communication, just like Unix enabled us to do.

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Walmart's $99 crap-let will make people hate Windows 8.1 even more

Christian Berger
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Re: Hmm, it's small

"It's $99 at the retail level. You guess how hardy it is."

Hmm, plastic and good design are rather cheap. That's why we do have 2000 Euro laptops which break apart if you look at them, and laptops like the Elitegroup G320 (or something) which, though extremely cheap for that time, could take some serious beating.

Quality is no longer correlated to price.

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Christian Berger
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Hmm, it's small

If they didn't include a huge bezel around the display, this device could actually have lots of use when you install Linux. I mean it's easily powerful enough to ssh into your server and the resolution is not bad. 16 gigabytes is plenty of space for an operating system.

The more pressing question is, if it is crap hardware. This usually cannot be judged by the specifications noted there. The quality of the hardware mostly depends on build quality. How well is it designed. How well can it take some beating. The question is, is it made to last.

If the build quality is decent and you install something more sane than Windows 8.1, it might be a rather decent small laptop, much more usable than any Android or iOS device, but also much more portable than a normal size 13" laptop.

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PROFESSORS! PROFESSORS! PROFESSORS!

Christian Berger
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Back in the 1990s...

Microsoft propagated the idea that you could somehow productively use a computer without being able to program or learn a command line. Now they complain about not getting enough programmers.

Please Microsoft make up your mind.

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VINYL is BACK and you can thank Sonos for that

Christian Berger
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And yet again Sonos managed to sell cheap Chinese kit...

...at extraordinary prices.

I mean it's not that hard to build a decent record player, probably not even at the sub $50 price point of cheap Chinese ones, but charging £329 for one is outrageous.

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'You village peasants: Do you want broadband? Then give up your freedom'

Christian Berger
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In Germany this looks like this:

Communities are giving huge sums of (partly EU) money to large telecomunications companies, typically already monopolists in their areas, and those make small upgrades to their networks... they would have had to make anyhow since they plan to ditch ISDN.

Of course once the network is set up and customers are locked into long term contracts, they have no motivation to maintain or upgrade their networks.

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Jony Ive: Apple isn't here to make money. And students shouldn't use computers so much

Christian Berger
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Did he at least elaborate what's supposed to be so great about the iPhone design

I'm assuming he talks about the exterior design. Of course you can argue about beauty. To me it's just a slab, but some people might find that appealing.

However it does have some serious industrial design issues.

The most obvious is that the display glass extends over the whole surface of the device. That makes it very likely to break when it falls down.

Less obvious is the lack of a keyboard causing you to have to resort to soft keyboard. Those don't have any tactile feedback making it hard to type without looking... and they obscure part of your screen.

To me that seems to be design that cares for a shape, but does not care for the user. It's just like Philippe Starck’s lemon squeezer.

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U wot? Silicon Roundabout set to become Silicon U-BEND

Christian Berger
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Isn't it weird...

... that a place where companies are located which should not depend on people or things being physically moved from place to place, cares that much about changes in their roads? I mean shouldn't there be more news about fibres being laid or commissioned?

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Mellanox preps to ship 100 Gbps adapters

Christian Berger
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2.5 kWh? Over what period?

And also, is a 2.5 kWh saving, which translates to something like 50 cents really worthy of being mentioned?

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Annus HORRIBILIS for TLS! ALL the bigguns now officially pwned in 2014

Christian Berger
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TLS is to complicated

And it has lots of things that make it unnecessarily complicated like storing keys in ASN.1 which sounds like a good idea until you understand all the implications.

Maybe we need a simplified new attempt at TLS in which we take into account all the things we have learned. A protocol where attempts have been made to avoid people doing stupid things like choosing 15 as a "large prime number". (some stacks do accept that)

Maybe also one where we can use key pinning instead of that elaborate PKI which has so far turned out to not be exploited regularly by governments.

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Google DoubleClick goes TITSUP. ENJOY your AD-FREE WORLD!

Christian Berger
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Wait a minute, there are still ads?

I'm sorry, but I'm not using any sort of ad blocker and for me ads have gradually disappeared over the last decade or so. Maybe this has something to do with the rumor I've heard that some ad companies are now using Javascript/Flash ads... which I don't execute for security reasons.

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Microsoft .NET released from its Windows chains... but what ABOUT MONO?

Christian Berger
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Well it needs to be open to have a minimal chance of survival

Microsoft cannot go on basing their business on fanboys, they need to have a minimum of actual facts supporting their platforms.

And there only being one implementation which even is even closed source certainly does not help. So it's a no brainer.

Of course .net is still just competing with Java. And both try to solve problems already solved by POSIX. And unlike Sun and Oracle, Microsoft still doesn't seem to quite believe in .net. Otherwise they'd offer "Office for .net" or at least "Internet Explorer for .net".

Plus Microsoft has had a history of abandoning their "latest fads".

So it's an essential move for Microsoft, but it still doesn't put .net on my map. It's a technology I haven't been able to find any use for.

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The last PC replacement cycle is about to start turning

Christian Berger
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There always have been people who do things in a certain way...

... just for the sake of doing them in that way.

In a productive environment, tools shouldn't be used because they are hip or trendy. Tools should be used for maximum efficiency. Having to learn how to use a tool you need to use daily shouldn't be a point against using that tool, particularly since the time spent learning will be saved many times by using it later.

To me someone using a "mobile device" for something a laptop would be better suited tells me that that person obviously hasn't thought about what tools he uses and he obviously hasn't looked at what tools are available. Instead he listened to some advertisement which may or may not be in the interest of the organisation he's working at. In a way it says that person doesn't care about the interests of the organisation. If I was this persons boss, I'd have to fire him.

Obviously fun things like trying to prove you can do X even with unsuitable things just to show that it could be done are excluded. I mean the existence of bottle boats does not mean that actual big ships are constructed through the neck of gigantic bottles. People build bottle boats for fun, not to show that conventional ship building is obsolete.

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BlackBerry chief vows: We'll focus on 'core devices' and on, er, NOT LOSING MONEY

Christian Berger
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They have lost their advantages

Blackberries used to be pretty much e-mail reading devices. They were so unique in that regard that people even put up with their backend server reading all their mail.

Today not only even the cheapest android mobile can do e-mail acceptably well, it also doen't need such a backend server as it can work reasonably well with IMAP.

What Blackberry should have done would be to open up their devices as "mobile terminals" which can talk to any pre-defined server, either from Blackberry or something you could simply develop in house. That way they could provide some actual security.

Trying to build a device that's not in the crowded end of the market is a good strategy, but for that to work you have to provide some actual advantages.

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Virgin Media CUTS OFF weekend 'net surfers after embarrassing smut-filtering snafu

Christian Berger
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Such things should be illegal

After all such systems change your data and that's something an ISP should never do. After all we trust them to just forward our packets. It's kinda like if your mail company would start censoring your letters.

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TECH BUBBLE? No, no way, nope, says Silicon Valley investor

Christian Berger
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There is one difference to 1999

Back then nobody cared about those companies going bust. It was purely a stock market thing.

Today people have built infrastructures and other companies on top of revenue less companies. Also companies are now much better, plus there is a new and dangerous idea, the idea that a company may be "to big to fail".

Maybe this time, instead of companies failing, giving rise to new generations of companies, they might be propped up by the government. This would have been unthinkable in the 1990s, but the banking crises made this an option. And this is, effectively, what has turned the banking crises into a crises for real life economies.

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Christian Berger
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To be honest

Most of the companies in Silicon Valley today have very little to do with tech. The time when that place still housed high-tech companies is long gone. Today's bubble mostly consists of (wannabe) ad-slingers.

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Doctor Who trashing the TARDIS, Clara alone, useless UNIT – Death in Heaven

Christian Berger
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One scene doesn't work in Germany...

As we've grown up with this little clip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qx9HEn8aq1c

Which is a reference to a song from this guy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLQk3YrJ5e8

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Amazon: Put our ALWAYS ON MICROPHONE in your house, please. WHAT?

Christian Berger
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The problem isn't the always on microphone...

...the problem is that it's probably doing voice recognition via a cloud service and that cloud service will probably store every utterance you make. After all a standard voice stream for voice recognition is only 4800 bits per second (there's a standard for that) and storing more samples allows you to train your system and make it adapt easily to new words.

Nobody would mind if this was actual FOSS with minimal interaction with central services. (i.e. only sending words it couldn't recognize with its local database, after it has removed your personal inflections). However that would be hard to do, and Amazon doesn't care about your privacy or who else is listening.

On a political level you can argue with "The Government" or "Terrorists" depending on who you are talking to. Both have an interest.

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Hide your Macs, iPhones and iPads: WireLurker nasty 'heralds new era'

Christian Berger
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I wonder when we are at the 1000th "first" Mac-virus

Seriously, those have existed for decades, there even were some for old 68k Macs.

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Can you really run your business on a smartphone?

Christian Berger
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Actually thinking about it...

If you look at your typical business software, like CRM systems, it's already amazing what kind of crap many people endure. I mean I once worked at the archive of a hospital, and if the e-mail program and the archival software would have been scriptable, half of my job could have been automated.

So yes people will probably use their cellphones for that... even if it just means scratching paper with a corner of it to leave marks.

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Christian Berger
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Well if you allow "cloud services"...

...you can also run your business on a VT100 or an ASR-33, as you can just log into a real computer.

Using "cloud services" is no option for companies in countries with meaningful data protection laws.

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Microsoft's TV product placement horror: CNN mistakes Surface tabs for iPAD STANDS

Christian Berger
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They probably know what's wrong with it...

...but in a real life company it doesn't matter. What only matters is the opinion of some top ranking internal personal.

I mean imagine Microsoft would bring out something closer to what people wanted. Let's say a surface tablet which is just a laptop in tablet form, without any limitation on what operating system you could run on. People would either want to run Windows 7, some Linux or Android on them. None of those options is particularly attractive to Microsoft. Plus they probably wouldn't be able to shoehorn their app-store, which means a hope for constant stream of commissions, into it.

In real life companies it is often not possible to do what's sensible.

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Wanna be Facebook? It just open-sourced some of its web server code. Now to find 1bn users...

Christian Berger
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That reminds me of the AOL web server

That also eventually became a piece of open source software.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AOLserver

I wonder if that's still in use.

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CURE for DEATH (by PowerPoint) emerges from Japan

Christian Berger
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That's old

Really old, I mean I've heard about it _years_ ago, and I'm not going to conferences a lot.

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That 'TECH-FREE' Nophone? It was already out years ago

Christian Berger
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Logical consequence of current developments

I mean mobile phones become more and more useless. Devices like the Nokia Communicator used to be tools designed to be used for productive work. Modern "smart"-phones are more and more becoming ad display devices with tracking features.

If we extrapolate current trends, this is what we'll end up in 10 years. Of course it'll be shiny and have some brand fetish around it.

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BBC clamps down on ILLICIT iPlayer watchers

Christian Berger
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This will only drive people into piracy

Some won't notice, some will stop bothering and use other means to get the programmes. In any event it won't be a success for the Beep.

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Disney wins Mickey Mouse patent for torrent-excluding search engine

Christian Berger
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Wonderfull, so i I run a search engine...

and content Disney doesn't want to show up shows up, I can claim that I couldn't filter or "nudge down" those results because then I'd violate their patents.

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Clara goes to the dark side, with dark secrets revealed in Dark Water

Christian Berger
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Female Master was predictable

If you look at one of the scenes in "Last of the Time Lords", you can see a the ring of the Master dropping from his burning corpse being picked up by a female hand with red painted long fingernails. He's probably regenerated that way.

The 3 words "Don't cremate me" were probably a reference of how Timelords find their last resting place.

Come on it doesn't take much to figure that out. Even I could, and I haven't even met the Doctor or have set foot on the UK. All I know about him is from the BBC.

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Pixel mania: Apple 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display

Christian Berger
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Re: The display

"Why do you want a 5K screen for "Email + Web "?"

Simple, more pixels means more characters on the screen, which means more panes in tmux.

Unfortunately the pcworld article doesn't quite get it. Once you have more than roughly 60 pixels per degree they will blur into each other. It may be useful for people who do desktop publishing on Macs, since the Apple implementation of hinting for TTF is severely broken, and there is a point to be made for a display approaching the resolution of print.

However for the rest of the population using fixed sized bitmap fonts, to small pixels will only mean we have to use bigger fonts... which counteracts the idea of having a higher resolution.

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