* Posts by Christian Berger

3073 posts • joined 9 Mar 2007

It's the Internet of Feet: Lenovo shows smart shoes, projector keyboard phone

Christian Berger
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Re: I don't know if I want any of these ...

Used Lenovo laptops are rather affordable.

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Christian Berger
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This reminds me

Back in 2000 there was an Austrian series of documentaries called "Schauplätze der Zukunft" (stages of the future) where they showed smart shoes made buy a guy called Joseph Paradiso. They were supposed to control the lights and the TV, open doors and operate the microwave oven.

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Christian Berger
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Re: Intriguing...

Simplez, they use a black light LED.

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BlackBerry: We ARE cutting jobs AGAIN

Christian Berger
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Re: Blackberry's own Windows 8

Blackberry never quite knew what they had. If they had only offered a "terminal" mode using an open protocol so you could use the hardware with your own software running on a "terminal server", they might have had a stable market niche. Trying out out-iPhone the iPhone doesn't work unless you are Apple. Even the "I want an iPhone, but I don't want Apple"-market has been filled by thousands of Android devices.

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Christian Berger
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Re: Sadly...@cb

"Will Ubuntu do better?"

From what I've seen, no. They kinda took out all the good parts of Ubuntu (mainly Debian) and replaced them with all the things you don't want to have in a mobile device. (like App stores and useless info-crap)

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Christian Berger
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Re: Sadly...

Well unfortunately for me as a citizen I do not care much which nation-state/corporation is behind the device, what I'd want is a counterweight to all of this.

I'd like to have a simple smartphone without all the crap the industry wants to add. I don't want an app-store, I wand a distribution. I don't want some complex OOP-based software engineered system just to store a phone book. What I want is a system that's as simple and modular as possible. Essentially just the Unix-Idea brought to a mobile device.

Unfortunately none of the players in the field give that to me.

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Boffins create tiny holographic battery that fits INSIDE a chip

Christian Berger
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Re: Anyone remember the DS1386-8K

Well that actually was a little module in a black plastic case much bigger than your usual DIP case. You can probably cut them open and replace the battery.

The reason they did use something like that was that till a decade ago EPROM was believed to only last about a decade.

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Queen's Speech: Snoopers' Charter RETURNS amid 'modernisation' push

Christian Berger
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Re: Measures will also be brought forward to promote social cohesion

"Most of the people I know who have VPN's do it to fool netflix and iPlayer rather than anything to do with privacy."

That's because simple VPNs cannot provide you with privacy. There's still a simple 1:1 connection to you and if you pay even to your bank account. If you want privacy you use Tor.

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First production car powered by Android Auto rolls out – and it's a Hyundai

Christian Berger
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Needles complexity

Essentially they use Android, probably one of the most complex operating systems out there, to replace much simpler systems. The result will be (security) bugs without end.

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Pavegen: The Company that can't make energy out of crowds tries to make money out of them

Christian Berger
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Re: What a complete and utter pile of crap

You forget something. Interest rates are at a historical low. Investors are desperately seeking for places they can sink their money into.

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Bluetooth privacy is mostly ignored, so you're beaming yourself to the world

Christian Berger
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Why do I increasingly have the feeling...

...that consumer products are more and more designed by companies like Perfect Curve:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EySLuYWTy0

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SAVE THE PLANKTON: So much more than whale food

Christian Berger
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There's a 1970s German apocalyptic Sci-Fi series

where the apocalypse mostly has been brought along by 2 tankers of pesticides colliding in 1986 which wiped out the marine ecosystem which was already weakened by pollution.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4PQ2RwddmI

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Celebrating 20 years of juicy Java. Just don’t mention Android

Christian Berger
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Re: RE: Just in his mind I think

"What are the alternatives? A bespoke app for each platfrom? Too much effort. All the cross platform APIs I've seen are pretty rubbish."

Honestly, have you looked at things like Lazarus? It seems to be one of the few things which are kinda usable.

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Christian Berger
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Solving problems which don't exist anymore

The first main point about Java was that it was platform independent... by simply coming with its own platform. This allowed you to distribute binary software which could, so the idea, run on any system. However today we have POSIX. You no longer need to port software you can just re-compile it. So it's trivial to just publish your software in source code. And if you want to have unfree software, you can always have web-services.

The second problem with Java is that it fell into the complexity trap. Java, like C++ and similar languages seem to make it easy to write complex software. Now most problems in IT are very trivial, the core of the operation of most companies could just as well be managed by punchcard collators or very simple computer programs, often not even needing an SQL database. However since it seems so easy to write complex software people don't bother having a nice and simple design first. The result often are brittle and inflexible systems.

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Huawei announces tiny 10 KB IoT kernel

Christian Berger
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Re: It's not about the technology

Well to be honest, that's probably a tiny project, perhaps one or two people. Such things have been done by hobbyists before. It wouldn't be surprised if translating the website would cost more than the rest of the project.

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Christian Berger
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Re: 10KB for the OS?

Actually in the embedded world that's already rather large. The more interesting questions are how much RAM it needs under certain conditions, for example with one TLS connection open.

Flash is cheap in embedded devices, RAM is the expensive thing. Your microcontroller may have anything from 256 bytes to 256 kilobytes and anything beyond will need external RAM which makes is so expensive you can just as well add 16 Megabytes with no additional cost and run Linux.

Anyhow in that order of magnitude you can also get an FreeRTOS/OpenRTOS which gives you the advantage of being well designed and documented, plus even the free support via Webforum is _way_ better than anything you can pay for with companies like Mentor Graphics.

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Get off the phone!! Seven out of ten US drivers put theirs and your lives at risk

Christian Berger
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If I had a car...

I'd install an VoIP ADA and a fax machine, so I can fax while driving. :)

But seriously, at driving school we learned you shouldn't do _anything_ distracting while driving. So no eating no smoking or anything. It's just foolish to text in any situation that would require your attention.

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IN YOUR FACE, Linux and Apple fans! Oculus is Windows-only for now

Christian Berger
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Re: Oculus is PC-only for now

Yes, particularly since Microsoft and Ubuntu are working hard at turning the PC into glorified mobile phones.

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HTTP/2 is now utterly officially official

Christian Berger
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It should be dead anyhow

It adds a whole lot of complexity while not performing better than what we already have under real life conditions. There is no logical reason for this protocol.

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4K refresh sees Blu-ray climb to 100GB, again

Christian Berger
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It hinges on...

when the DRM will be broken. As soon as the DRM is broken, such media is a decent way to get a DRM free copy of something. And unlike streaming software where the DRM malware runs on your PC and can be updated quickly, standalone players usually cannot be updated quickly.

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Back to the Future: the internet of things as imagined in 1985

Christian Berger
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actual IoT would require custom solutions

Of course you can just use apps as remotes, but what do you gain there? If you want those systems to be of any use they need to be programmable by the user/installer.

Otherwise all you get is this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CQA3X-qNgA

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That DRM support in Firefox you never asked for? It's here

Christian Berger
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The societal question about DRM simply is

Do we accept malware on our computers to sustain a business model?

Essentially any form of DRM software is malware. It needs to prevent you from doing things you'd like to do, it may in fact even spy on you and in many cases DRM software has even damaged computers or opened new security holes.

At least in Germany there is a basic right for integrity and privacy of data processing equipment. Is it right to give up that right to sustain a business model? Is it right to ask people to give up that right just to watch TV?

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Christian Berger
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Yes, but do you really want to move 1970s business models which make no sense in a digital world into the 2010s?

Movie rentals don't make sense in a digital world. We should instead move to a business model where we benefit the creators, not people who create a fleeting DRMed copy of a work.

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Christian Berger
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Firefox is a prime example of why complexity kills the FOSS Idea

Mozilla recently made quite some questionable decisions about Firefox, starting from weird GUI stuff over displaying ads to DRM. In an ideal world people would either steer the development of Firefox into the direction that's desirable, or fork it.

Now the problem with Firefox is that it's _huge_. It's much larger than the Linux kernel and extremely complex. It needs to be in order to support hugely complex web standards. The problem any meaning full fork would have is that it would have to need about the same amount of people as the original, which, in case of Firefox, is a lot.

We must finally learn that complexity is the root of all evil in IT. Not only does it create lots of bugs and waste developer resources, it also prohibits truly free software development.

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Pakistan URINE STORM: Google Maps chokes off user editing

Christian Berger
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I think Google misunderstood their product

They simply created a public forum in map form. A way for people to express their thoughts and feelings... in map form.

I mean it would be foolish to think people would provide free map data for Google.

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Hordes spaff cash on Chip titchyputer to rival Pi (maybe)

Christian Berger
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Re: Life moves pretty fast....

Well extrapolating current trends, I'd say that in a year this will be considered magical alien technology from the past, particularly the "Pocket Chip". If current trends prevail, mobile devices will probably turn into something like multi-channel interactive TVs, devices which throw ads at you, intermingled with a bit of information or entertainment.

Or of course the mobile world gets into a stasis where nothing changes any more... which is actually likely since we already have mostly identical devices.

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Christian Berger
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Re: The "Pocket Chip" is the interresting part

"For a micro device, there's always openpandora.org - designed for emulation, but probably does almost everything else (linuxy) that you need."

Absolutely, however it would be nice, for a change, to have something to choose from.

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Christian Berger
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Re: Interesting, but

Actually as far as I know you can still install Debian without systemd or Gnome. In fact my Debian laptop even runs without NetworkManager.

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Christian Berger
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The "Pocket Chip" is the interresting part

I mean there's lots of single board Linux computers, but having a portable Linux computer with a kinda decent keyboard and screen running Debian is something the world actually needs badly. Add the possibility to stick in an LTE stick and you've got probably the most exciting mobile device on the market.

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The next Nest? We talk to Ring, the doorbell-come-security system

Christian Berger
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Re: Is it just me?

I don't know when the last time was The Reg actually published a review they did themselves. It seems like the last company doing actual reviews is iFixit.

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No, really, that 12.9-inch MaxiPad is totally on the way now

Christian Berger
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Yes but evil Steve has declared...

...that pens are evil. That's why he got rid of the Newton even though a huge order from the educational market was under way.

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Why don't you rent your electronic wireless doorlock, asks man selling doorlocks

Christian Berger
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IoT and the companies doing it

I've worked in the IoT department of a large household appliance manufacturer. The problem is that people who worked there have little idea how to do things as simple as possible.

I mean any household appliance essentially is a finite state machine with some servo controls regulating things like temperature, a bit of networking to have distributed sensors and actors inside your machine, and a user interface. This is comparatively easy, that's why for decades those systems worked even without micro controllers. Since you have a huge development department anyhow and nobody wants to downsize, you have no incentive to make it easier. For example even though there was a movement for a common internal bus used in every device, every department uses it in a completely different way with completely different parameters.

Now there are new systems to be bolted on, and even systems which might have a little bit more intrinsic complexity in them. However since the rest of the systems are so diverse and unwilling to compromise a meaningful amount of their diversity, while still wanting to claim to support the same interdepartmental standard, the interdepartmental standards become highly complex.

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Christian Berger
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Problem is simple: You cannot sell pre-made custom solutions

Every installation is different and in order to make a truly useful system you need devices to talk to each other. That's one reason why some vendors try to use cloud services. It's comparatively easy to make one cloud service talk to another one, much easier than having different devices talk to each other directly. However obviously that's not acceptable to most people.

What such companies would have to do is to provide simple and open interfaces to their products. Then others, particularly integration companies will provide the glue between those systems.

It would be just like modems or printers. You don't need special support for them from your operating system or application, but they have just "clustered" together to certain standards so nearly every laser printer can be supported by the "HP LaserJet" setting, or virtually every modem can be accessed as a "Generic Hayes".

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How Project Centennial brings potentially millions of desktop apps to the Windows 10 Store

Christian Berger
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Re: Of course there is a thing like an App @Christian Berger

"Please explain why the registry not a good idea. Is it the binary nature that scares thee?"

Well first of all since it's binary it cannot be easily edited. If the GUI on your Windows machine won't load, you cannot edit your registry. If your GUI won't load properly because of a problem in your registry you cannot mend it without huge effort.

Then there are obvious usability aspects. The registry is not really discoverable. You can only see entries that are there and there is no way to write comments. If you look at a typical configuration file it'll have all of its documentation inside of that file.

Ohh and BTW, since the registry is Windows only, you are giving yourself a mayor hurdle when you want to port your software. Since there are now very decent cross platform RAD solutions out there, limiting yourself to just one platform is rather disadvantageous.

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Christian Berger
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Of course there is a thing like an App

Unless you are a total idiot using really bad tools, it's trivial to create a statically linked win32 executable which does everything you want it to do. Delphi and Lazarus do it by default and I'm sure most other IDEs will allow you to do the same easily.

And while you may be excused in the 1990s for thinking that using the "Registry" is a good idea, you should have learned by now that it's not.

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Security bods gagged using DMCA on eve of wireless key vuln reveal

Christian Berger
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Re: Perusing this Cyberlock website...

Well... they know about the ones who haven't just exploited issue 7... using a magnet!

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House of Cards UI central to Mozilla's plans for Firefox on tellies

Christian Berger
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Re: Missing the problems of TV GUIs

Well there are at least 3 problems with using an Android (or whatever) touchscreen device as a remote.

1) The batteries just last for a few hours vs the months or years you get on normal infrared remotes.

2) They are automatically harder to use, i.e. you have to master Android (or whatever) before you can even begin learning to use the TV, that's much harder than just pressing a button and the TV goes on.

3) Android devices are more expensive, even those $40 are _much_ more expensive than an infrared remote.

And I'm not even talking about problems like pairing. Maybe a sensible solution would be to have a very simple interface, perhaps based on HTTP. That way you could have a primitive HTML interface and integrate it into home automation systems easily. (without the complexity overhead of binary Java blobs or whatever) It also would be a future proof solution since nobody know how the mobile market will develop during the lifetime of your TV-set. (10-20 years)

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Christian Berger
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Missing the problems of TV GUIs

TV GUIs are different, you have no pointer device, or if you want to have a pointer device that's very inconvenient to use.

With a TV you essentially have a keyboard interface. You have your 4 directions, an OK button and a few others. The challenge is to provide an interface which makes it easy to see what functionality you can expect behind every button. That's why well designed user interfaces have, for example, text written in the 4 colours of your coloured buttons on the remote. Or they have numbers or colours next to the menu entries.

And BTW, more buttons on a remote are usually a good thing as they make using a particular device much easier since you won't have to switch between looking at the menu and the remote, but can just press the button on the remote. Here's an example for an old (1980s) remote from Germany:

http://azshop.eshop.t-online.de/WebRoot/Store4/Shops/Shop37961/4A5C/3703/8BC3/3845/9CC1/AC14/500B/9531/001.JPG

Certain assumptions were different back then. That's why that remote has a combined Teletext/Bildschirmtext field in the middle. People back then believed you'd want to connect your TV to data networks. Also it was designed for the case where you were unlikely to have more than 10 channels... that's why it has a _/__ button to select 1 or 2 digit entry of channel numbers and no Ch+/- buttons.

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Key ADSL contributor Joseph W Lechleider dies at 82

Christian Berger
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One also has to note that in the early drafts the uplink speed of ADSL was supposed to just be 32k. ADSL never was meant for the Internet, but for "Interactive Television" where you can live with a much lower uplink than downlink. If it was meant for data it would have symmetric rates.

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NSA-restraining US law edges closer to reality, leaves just 6.81 billion under mass surveillance

Christian Berger
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How do they find out if you are an US citizen?

I mean I have a friend in Nevada who is on a very bad phone line. Given how low flatrates from Germany to the US are, it would make sense for him to route his outgoing phone calls via a VPN through my flat in Germany.

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Ha! Win 10 preview for Raspberry Pi 2 pops out of the Microsoft oven

Christian Berger
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I wonder if that's like the Netbook market?

Where everyone had hope that you'd finally get small and affordable mobile computing, but then Microsoft jumped on it, ruining the market with arbitrary limitations. Making Netbooks with Windows essentially useless... even by the standards of the most die hard Windows fanboys.

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'Android on Windows': Microsoft tightens noose around neck, climbs on chair

Christian Berger
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Re: Why stop there?

"there was no longer any reason to make an OS2 application when Windows support was included"

Yes, but seriously nobody starts developing any new Windows only applications anyhow. It's a legacy plattform. People run Windows because they have this 20 year old software package which cost lots of money and has some obscure features some of their employees believe to need.

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E-voting and the UK election: Pick a lizard, any lizard

Christian Berger
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Re: Please, keep up with the state of discussion

Yes, but that doesn't change the opinion. If the UK wants to be a democratic country it has to adhere to similar standards than Germany.

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Christian Berger
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Please, keep up with the state of discussion

Since I'm tired of re-writing the same thing over and over again, I'm going to post my summary of the opinion of the constitutional court in Germany again. It represents the current state of the discussion when it comes to e-voting:

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The position of the constitutional court of Germany is worthy of note

Essentially they say that even _if_ those machines would be "secure", they still couldn't be used as it's not about them being secure, but about the layperson being able to check for election fraud by themselves.

A simple pen an paper system may be easy to compromise, however it's trivial to check. You look into the ballot box before they seal it, it needs to be empty. You count how many people came to vote and how many ballots are in the box when they open it again. Then you make sure those ballots are properly counted and nobody adds or removes any ballots. Since the ballots will be stored in a sealed box afterwards, you can always recount them.

Any sort of system that involves mechanics, electronics or mathematics is much harder to understand. A voting system has to even work in the "paranoid" situation where everybody is against you. You cannot ask a mathematician to proof it's correctness to you, you cannot ask a team of forensic engineers to disassemble and check your voting computer.

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SOHOpeless Realtek driver vuln hits Wi-Fi routers

Christian Berger
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Re: At some point a vendor will just go ...

Considering that OpenWRT actually has decent update features, I'd say OpenWRT would handle it a _lot_ better.

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Christian Berger
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Re: We must finally outlaw hardware without publically documented interfaces

Well that fine would have to be astronomically high to get those companies to have updates. After all their whole workflow is not designed to bring out patches. They take a complete image from their chipset vendor, skin it and release it. For a patch they need to do the whole thing again.

Just forcing public documentation would be much simpler. I mean nobody profits from a closed system, except for maybe the NSA.

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Christian Berger
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We must finally outlaw hardware without publically documented interfaces

so we won't have to rely on the software the vendors sent with it. If hardware vendors refuse to comply with that, they should have to pay for all the security bugs they created with their buggy software.

Free software may not have fewer bugs than commercial software, but once they are found they get fixed.

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MIPS quietly bares its processor architecture to universities

Christian Berger
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Nobody cares about the core

as the core is abstracted away by the compiler. What makes people care about an SoC is the peripherals on it. If MIPS would bring out an SoC with 100% open and well documented peripherals they would have an advantage over typical ARM SoCs as those are typically either not or badly documented, particularly when it comes to things like frame buffers.

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C++ Daddy Bjarne Stroustrup outlines directions for v17

Christian Berger
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Re: Life imitates art?

Good satire highlights the core of the truth in a different light. :)

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Christian Berger
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The problem are different sensible subsets

Yes, the best way to deal with C++ is to throw out everything but a small sensible subset of it. The problem with this is, that different people will choose different subsets. This happens with many standards and usually is a sign that the standard is _way_ to complex to be useful.

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