* Posts by Christian Berger

3537 posts • joined 9 Mar 2007

No, the VCR is not about to die. It died years ago. Now it's VHS/DVD combo boxes' turn

Christian Berger
Silver badge

Outside the UK

Well outside the UK there is virtually no DVB-T, so DVB-S(2) is the way to go. And yes you can get cards with 4 tuners allowing you to record 4 transponders simultaneously. There's an advantage of recording "everything": You can just get any programme from the past. For example recently there was a German comedian sued by Erdogan. There was lots of discussion about what he said, but nobody published the video of his show. If you recorded it yourself, you could form your own opinion on what exactly he said. You would also find out that most of the people talking about it obviously have never seen it.

0
0
Christian Berger
Silver badge

Actually VCRs still exist

In the professional realm VCRs still exist, particularly as an archival and programme exchange format.

VHS, which originally stood for "Victor Helical Scan", was just one of the low cost consumer formats in the 1970s. Apparently the big point why it existed for so long is that the licensing was rather open and the build quality was OK.

The obvious successor to the VTR in home use is something I like to call "computerized television". Essentially you have a computer with an array of DVB-S2 cards. You enter search words into that computer and whenever a show which matches one of those words, it'll record it and present you with a video file of the recording. You can then do anything you want with that file.

4
0

Wavering about Apple's latest security fix? Don't, says Talos

Christian Berger
Silver badge

Re: What we need to acknownledge is...

a) You can map everything to text. If your data structures are complex even though your problem is not, you have a serious design problem. There are very few problems that need complex data structures.

b) You can always to input/output validation at the edges where you get your input or you interpret it in a problem specific way.

Real life problems aren't complex. They are things like making a database table editable. Such things used to be done with a handful of commands in dBase, or a couple of clicks in Delphi. It shouldn't take some actual work in newer systems.

0
0
Christian Berger
Silver badge

Re: What we need to acknownledge is...

Actually DOS was a step towards more complexity. Since it didn't come with a host of standard tools (in part because Microsoft was lazy, in part because that concept doesn't work on diskettes) every program had to implement it's own functionality. For example every program had to have its own printer drivers.

As for "needed" features there's always the idea of having small maintainable programs with well defined functionality. You can then just add whatever functionality you want. That's how we got editors like ex and vi. That's how we got sed. Those are all just minor modifications to get a whole different kind of functionality. Often you will find that it's much easier to have a fork for a particular usecase than to try to cram certain functionality into some software.

Also today we have immense amounts of useless complexity.

Here's an example for Android: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgifNa7qD5s

Another category are systems where someone tried to solve a problem, then found out that their solution creates 2 new problems, then tries to solve those 2 problems only to create new problems and so on... eventually you will end up with feature upon feature that you wouldn't have needed before. Typical examples for this category are systemd and HTTP/2.

0
0
Christian Berger
Silver badge

What we need to acknownledge is...

... that such huge code bases are simply not maintainable. We need to go for smaller code bases. We need to eliminate unnecessary features.

Unfortunately there are some people now who don't understand that and try to shove unnecessary complexity into every aspect of computing. One typical example is HTTP/2.

3
2

Really Scary Telecoms Stuff? Nah – telephony's just an app

Christian Berger
Silver badge

There's actually another very real danger if you host your PBX outside of your network

If you have a local PBX on your LAN, it doesn't matter how secure your internal credentials are, unless you're very stupid, nobody will be able to pose as an internal phone.

How if you have a cloud PBX all you need is your credentials to pose as an internal phone... and if you use an app, that means that you store your credentials on a highly insecure device.

This is a real danger as calling someone involves money. Perhaps not when you call someone locally, but there are providers like wpremiums.com which offer your premium rate numbers all over the world. Just get one of those numbers and call them over your snitched PBX login.

0
0
Christian Berger
Silver badge

That's actually not the topic

VoIP can provide reliability advances as you can just switch your IP uplink. What the article is talking about is to use "hosted" PBXes where you have little control over your PBX any more as it's just on some virtual system hosted by some company.

Such an idea may have made limited sense in the TDM world where PBXes were expensive, but today running your own PBX can be done at next to no cost.

0
0
Christian Berger
Silver badge

Re: @Ragarth

"Absolutely correct. But the same applies to on-prem kit too: If the PSU in your PABX goes bang, you're stuffed until a replacement/fix arrives."

Actually not: First of all you can have a whole second PBX as a compete spare sitting around... which isn't particularly expensive. Then most PBXes use standard ATX power supplies you can find everywhere. They also use common PC components and since most of the appliances run Linux, you can simply swap the mainboard and it'll just boot.

Second: Most appliance PBXes are also available as "Software Only" solutions where you get some ISO-image and just boot it up. Since they don't require any special hardware, you can simply install them on any virtual host you want.

And again, your problem probably won't be that your system will be fully down. Your problem in such situation will be, that occasionally the voice quality will be bad. Or that your uplink will be saturated by internal calls (not every hosted PBX leaves the voice streams locally as in a world of NAT, that's actually a hard problem).

So essentially it is a stupid idea to use a hosted PBX. There's way more things that can and will fail, and far less things you can fix or even diagnose.

0
0
Christian Berger
Silver badge

That's pure insanity

I mean with a hosted solution you will have a lot more parties to shift the blame... and also a _lot_ more things to go wrong. Remember VoIP requires pristine connections with low latency, low yitter and next to no packet loss.

Typically you are much better off with a small PBX, for example a "Starface" or something else based on Asterisk. There are certain vendors like Mitel or 3CX which tend to offer you solutions that are just plain broken.

Telco stuff isn't scary if you are prepared to learn a bit and not choose the worst solutions. Unfortunately there are people who refuse to learn things and reliably choose a solution in the lower 90%. Unfortunately many of those believe they know how to install/run some PBX.

0
0

Guilt by ASN: Compiler's bad memory bug could sting mobes, cell towers

Christian Berger
Silver badge

Re: This wouldn't be much of an issue...

Yes, but seriously in many situations you just hand craft your code for the few messages you need to decode. Unless of course you are in a area where you can afford to license such a compiler and need to parse many of those messages.

0
0
Christian Berger
Silver badge

This wouldn't be much of an issue...

if "smartphone" vendors wouldn't allow the GSM baseband access to the RAM of the application processor. Or if GSM cards for PCs wouldn't be connected via PCI or USB.

(Yes I know, this doesn't affect GSM as such, but I'm using GSM as a general name for mobile communications networks. GSM doesn't use ASN.1)

0
0

Intel's SGX tiptoes towards Linux

Christian Berger
Silver badge

This will just provide the illusion of security

Thanks to heavy optimisation and caches this is incredibly hard to get right. And then there's still Rowhammer and other problems. The only area where this might be usefull is DRM, and that's malware by definition.

If you want security, make sure you're running a minimal amount of software and you control that software.

2
0

Ban ISPs from 'speeding up' the internet: Ex-Obama tech guru

Christian Berger
Silver badge

The problem is actually rather simple

Any kind of QoS only makes sense when your network is overloaded as QoS on Ethernet can do little more than decide what packets to throw away. That's actually even a rather expensive feature on a router and many routers will have severe limitations once you turn on QoS. QoS means looking at more than one packet at a time, that's not what routers are made for.

The solution is to make sure your network never is overloaded. No that doesn't mean that you have to add up the bandwidth you advertise to your customers. What it means is that you look at your utilisation and make sure that on a typical month you are never above 50%. That way you'll always have spare bandwidth, even if one of your redundant links breaks.

We should also note, that unlike the telephone network where individual lines could break (or at least individual 2MBit trunks), we now live in a time where your connection may simply consist of 2 redundant links, each one able of holding the complete traffic. There is no "emergency situation" where capacity is severely limited to 10% or something. Things either work, or they don't. Also in real life emergencies there is no increased amount of bandwidth. People don't watch Netflix en masse when their house is being flooded. They might use their telephone, but even on IP telephony that bandwidth is next to nothing.

0
1

Thermostat biz Nest warms to home security, touts cam with cloud storage subscription

Christian Berger
Silver badge

So it's a twofold business model

Sell the data off to the best bidder _AND_ ransom some money from the people buying it so it'll keep working. Smart idea!

I know this is primarily marketed to dumb people, but this affects us all. Those cameras will be installed in public places and their data will be stored on servers belonging to companies who are good at extracting information from data like this. So in the end, we'll end up with a dataset containing the movements of many people, even the ones who don't carry around a mobile phone with them.

3
0

Microsoft silently kills dev backdoor that boots Linux on locked-down Windows RT slabs

Christian Berger
Silver badge

Again, "Secure Boot" is not a security feature...

... the only thing it can secure is business models.

It keeps you from running a minimalistic simple operating system which would be more secure than Windows RT, where you are supposed to run untrustable software from some "App Store" and install updates you cannot control.

31
2

5G: Mother of all pipes, or actually useful?

Christian Berger
Silver badge

5G is currently more or less just a buzzword

Such standards usually have a clear idea what people are going to achieve with them from a technical standpoint. And standards always take about 10 years from finalizing what operators want to the products getting onto the market.

1980s: GSM was about digital telephony and low bitrate circuit switched data.

1990s: UMTS/WCDMA was about "high" bitrate circuit switched data and soft handover.

2000s: LTE was about packet data, ditching all that circuit switched data, as well as scalability and interoperability on oddly shaped spectra

Essentially all the hype about 5G can already be done on "LTE Advanced". You can have special "low bandwidth, low power" nodes. After all LTE already stands for "Long Term Evolution". Maybe there won't even be a 5G for the forseable future.In any case, whatever will be decided now will result in products 10 years down the line.

2
0

Florida U boffins think they've defeated all ransomware

Christian Berger
Silver badge

Like with all those classification problems there is a blurry line

I mean sure, current ransomware is easy to defeat that way. After all it tries to encrypt all files as fast as it can.

Now imagine it encrypts one file an hour, or even less. Of course with some randomness, and with transparent decryption for userspace applications. Even if your software would detect that, it couldn't distinguish it from normal behaviour.

The obvious solution is to lower your attack surface. Make it hard for the user to install software from random sources, make sure you always use a minimal amount of code so you minimize the chance of getting compromised via a bug... and so on. You know, normal best practices security.

0
0

The Reg Coding competition – 10 times as hard as the last one!

Christian Berger
Silver badge

Re: Managed C++/CLI

Actually what I've seen with many people who claim to be good at C++ is that they usually are extremely closed minded and try to stuff everything into what they know.

Also all programming environments have their strengths and weaknesses. For example PHP is good for teaching about SQL-Injections. C++ is good for writing books about and giving lessons.

In practice you must choose the tools that make sense for the problem you are trying to attack. Limiting yourself to some currently "fashionable" language, like this contest does, is a bad idea.

0
0
Christian Berger
Silver badge

The provided tools are non-suitable for the task

I mean after all those are all "fancy" OOP languages where people spend 90% of their time learning the new feature that doesn't quite solve the problem they think they have.

The obvious solution on any modern unixoid system is to write a little program, lets say in awk to calculate the scores and write them to a temporary file. If you encounter a #, you close that file, run "sort" over it and format the output. Then you reopen that temporary file and on you go.

Since processing one "dataset" surely takes _much_ less than 5 seconds, it's unlikely your resulting file will ever touch the disk.

If the number of lines per "dataset" is small and bounded, you can also store them in RAM, for example in a statically allocated array of structs, with a smaller array containing the order in which it'll be after sorting.

We live in a world where such problems can be attacked with extremely simple means. For example such a sporting competition might have 2000 contestants with 24 contests. That's 48000 results. Having a 2 dimensional array containing the points is trivial. Even with 128 bit numbers, we are still well below a megabyte. There is no need for a database, you can just write a file and replace it every time a new result comes in.

0
0

Android Nougat may contain traces of NOT for users of custom CAs

Christian Berger
Silver badge

That seems like a security problem

I mean if I have some program which only needs to talk to my server, I can just deliver the correct certificate with it. There is no advantage in relying on some external certificate authority which I do not control.

In fact, since I have no idea what the Google approved CA does and I have to hand over the keys to my kingdom, it's kinda a problem. I trust in yet another external organisation.

Plus the obvious problem is that this might hinder reverse engineering as I cannot bypass TLS by using my own certificates.

2
0

Hands On with Project Centennial: A better app installer for Windows

Christian Berger
Silver badge

Well but isn't it the primary selling point of Windows...

... that you do not need an installer since your software usually will just be a statically linked .exe file you can just copy?

1
2

A bad day for DBAs: MIT boffins are replacing you with a mere spreadsheet

Christian Berger
Silver badge

Re: Actually in many cases

Well in this case there is just a single table with 3 columns, number/prefix, start date and operator. There is only one "index" that would make sense, and that's the prefix. To query that database, there already is a highly optimized pseudo in memory database (it uses mmap on a prepared read-only file). That's actually several hundred times faster than MySQL. That's actually the only part of the whole process which is not in plain text.

The rest of the operation, essentially adding updates to that dataset, is much quicker to do with plain text. Even our first prototype, done by an inexperienced programmer can do the task in about half an hour.

Again if you are doing random queries, or if you have multiple interconnected tables, a relational database system is right for you. If you are just storing rows and rows of numbers (e.g. temperatures, statistical data, etc...) it might be wise looking into something else. It's always better to use the right solution, not the only one you can think of.

1
0
Christian Berger
Silver badge

Actually in many cases

A simple text file may be a much more efficient and simpler. Databases, or more precisely, relational databases, are made for the case when you have lots of tables that "link" together forming some sort of relation.

However there are other applications where you want to handle data. One example I came across recently was the "Portierungsdatenbank Festnetz", which is a large table storing what operator handles what number(-prefix). It has over 100 Million datasets. Using this with a traditional database is incredibly slow, as even with indexes, looking up a data set will take a good fraction of a second. However if you simply sort it once, then sort the updates and simply mix them into your main file, you can work with it faster than your harddisk can handle the data... and since those are linear reads, not seeks, your harddisk will be at peak speed. And all that with text files you can simply edit with a text editor.

It often makes sense to look at alternatives off the hype.

4
3

Google aims to train two million Indian Android devs by 2018

Christian Berger
Silver badge

So that'll be 1.99 million unemployable people in a couple of years

Seriously you should not learn APIs as if they were something important. You should learn how to solve problems, then you can look into the API and learn the few bits you actually need.

Learning an API will just teach you about tools and you'll try to fit your problem around those tools... which usually results in those horrible software we see from so many "single language / single platform" developers.

0
0

Linus Torvalds in sweary rant about punctuation in kernel comments

Christian Berger
Silver badge

Re: Well there is a point to this

"In my experience, you read the comments and then realise that the comments have little or no bearing on the actual code..."

Well then you have mostly looked at bad code. Kernel code must be of higher quality than userspace code as errors in it can bring down the whole system either by crashing or by security problems.

22
2
Christian Berger
Silver badge

Well there is a point to this

Code primarily is read by humans, and in fact comments are more commonly read than the actual code. So it makes sense to improve their readability.

And those are tiny things, but they are probably defined in some style document everyone touching the kernel should have read. It's a common argument that if someone doesn't even care about such small things, they probably haven't read the rules. It's like with that band that, somewhere in their specifications, had the rule that there had to be a bowl of m&ms, but no blue ones. If they found blue m&ms, they knew that their specifications were not read properly.

Just like with a concert, where a problem with the strength of a stage can lead to disaster, problems in the Linux kernel can be highly problematic.

45
4

Bomb-disposal robot violently disposes of Dallas cop-killer gunman

Christian Berger
Silver badge

No it doesn't make sense

There's someone alone in a building. Just seal the building and he'll eventually want to come out by himself. Killing him, particularly in such a way, is the _worst_ they could do.

24
8

New DNA 'hard drive' could keep files intact for millions of years

Christian Berger
Silver badge

Well probably not as durable as the marketing blurb says

I mean we all have destroyed DNA, for example by cooking food. Ultraviolet radiation also is a problem. Essentially you'd get a storage medium which might hold its data for millions of years, but will quickly degrade when left out in the sun, or at temperatures higher than 40 degrees Celsius. It's also very susceptible to chemicals. Just about the only advantage is that you can make copies very easily. (even without a living being)

2
0

Gartner: Brexit cluster-fsck has ballsed up our spending forecast

Christian Berger
Silver badge

I'm sure that...

Gartner regularly is surprised by the arrival of night, or winter.

I mean was there anything they ever got right? Their whole purpose seems to be tech marketing. Predict that product X will be popular in the future and maybe that will attract some interest.

12
0

'Double speak' squawk users as Silent Circle kills warrant canary

Christian Berger
Silver badge

There are basic properties a secure system would have

1. It would be as simple as possible: Every line of code is a potential bug which is a potential security hole. If your mobile OS is more complex than a Windows 3.1 system including MS-DOS it's most likely to complex.

2. It should not make obviously false claims: You cannot protect data against physical access, and physical access is a very likely vector for mobile devices. So avoid companies which claim that they can store data on your device with no one being able to access it even when having physical access to the device. Most security chips can be read out by de-capping them and probing them directly.

3. It must be open: Not just open for everyone to see and analyze, but also open for people to make simpler. Non open systems tend to be rather complex as they need to cater the needs for diverse groups of users. If however the user can directly manipulate code, there might not be a need for some complicated configuration features, as the same use could be gotten out of a function you change for a particular group of users. This can help to achieve point 1.

4. There must not be an entity behind it: Entities can be manipulated into doing things easily. They can be forced to do things with national security letters. Instead you want products that are made by a loose collective of developers. It helps if you honor point 1, as simple code is simple to maintain.

5. You must be able to control it: If your manufacturer can push updates onto your device without you being able to understand them, it can easily bypass all the security easily. You must be able to make your device talk to noone but you and your servers. This also means that if you store your data on a server, you must be able to store it on your own servers or servers operated by people you trust.

5
0

New phones rumoured as BlackBerry cans BB10 production

Christian Berger
Silver badge

Re: Bit of a prediction

"If Blackberry had any sense they would look at modifying their Android version to provide an experience as close to the current Blackberry experience as they can get."

If they had any sense, they'd have an open bootloader and actively encourage different boot images. Or at they would have a Google-free stock Android with an added packet filter so you could make sure the device will _only_ talk to _your_ server.

0
0
Christian Berger
Silver badge

Re: A sad end

The security of Blackberry devices always was just an illusion, just like the security of any other mobile device on the market today.

Blackberry delivers user data to governmental departments all over the world:

http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Blackberry-liefert-User-Daten-an-Behoerden-in-aller-Welt-3235507.html

How BlackBerry helped to uncover 2 mafia cells:

http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Wie-BlackBerry-half-zwei-Mafia-Zellen-aufzudecken-3175296.html

And so on. However BlackBerry could have a chance as a manufacturer of Android devices with a keyboard if they allow alternative firmware images.

1
0

Never-never chip tech Memristor shuffles closer to death row

Christian Berger
Silver badge

Actually that's not the reason why you should be worried

The reason is that it apparently cannot get traction in areas where you could already use memristor memory. After all you can already buy 16 kilobyte chips, and there probably are usecases for this.

0
0

Forget YouTube – meet ChewTube: Strangers watching millennials eat

Christian Berger
Silver badge

And again, that was already done in Germany

There was a Bavarian TV show in which you would watch an astrophysicist and a philosopher dining. It was filmed from outside a restaurant through the window.

1
0

You can be my wingman any time! RaspBerry Pi AI waxes Air Force top gun's tail in dogfights

Christian Berger
Silver badge

Hopefully?

Do you seriously think we need to make wars cheaper? After all in our current wars are highly asymmetric. Wars aren't fought between equal states, they are now fought between powerful states an some ill-defined groups of people. Particularly with drones the risk on the state side is close to zero.

At the same time you will have large parts of the population living in constant fear. Every drone strike could kill them and their families even though they haven't done anything. And no, they cannot flee, as people like Merkel closed a deal with Erdogan so Turkey won't let them through to Europe, or airlines being forced to pay the cost of bring refused refugees back, or refugee ships being prevented from entering harbors.

Then if you look at the people the states fight against, you'll find that those are often exactly the people which have been militarized in the first place:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taliban#Background

And if you look deeper, you'll find that much of this is based on thinks like The Sykes-Picot Agreement:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sykes%E2%80%93Picot_Agreement

You cannot solve problems by killing people on mass. Making war even cheaper will certainly not help.

This isn't "SWAT Kats"!

4
0

Looking good, Gnome: Digesting the Delhi in our belly

Christian Berger
Silver badge

The criticism about Gnome isn't about missing features

The main criticism is that it's simply overcomplex. I mean if you look at it realistically the feature set you'd want from a GUI is roughly the one you got from Windows 3.1. I mean Windows 3.1 even had it's own OOP-style process communications named OLE.

Now you have an overcomplex system which doesn't do much more, but somehow managed to require _way_ more lines of code.

My guess is that there is now a whole generation of people having grown up without gaining any experience in making working designs. After all many universities now teach C++-style OOP as if that's the only way to make software. They see "Open Source" as a way to advance their career. As recruiters typically cannot tell good from bad code, they just stuff their code in where ever they can.

3
0

Quick note: Brexit consequences for IT

Christian Berger
Silver badge

Meritocracy in the UK?

I'm sorry, but what countries are they moving from. From all I hear the UK seems to be rather bad in that regard. After all you recruit your leaders nearly exclusively from special private schools. Certain positions are even down right reserved for people who were born into the right families.

Of course I can only see this from the outside, but at least from my German perspective it doesn't seem to be a particularly attractive place to move to.

19
2

Australia's Defence Department tips AU$12M to seat spies with students

Christian Berger
Silver badge

And this is why we need to teach the "hacker ethic" in school.

After all, working for a secret service greatly contradicts the rule of avoiding centralization. The whole idea about a secret service is to gather information and only let information flow towards a centre. It also contradicts the rule that information should be free, as all information passing through such an agency becomes more and more secret, even if it's based on "open source intelligence" (newspapers and such).

Then the military is rarely interested in defense strategies when it comes to IT. After all defense is utterly trivial when you have that much money. Just make your computers as simple as you can, and encrypt everything, preferably on additional secure devices. You don't need to have exploit writers to get your software more secure. What you need is to have programmers which are aware of where the security issues are they need to avoid. So essentially they concentrate on the offense. They try to exploit bugs. They try to destroy the integrity of those computers, essentially robbing people of their right of free (as in speech) access to computers.

Now the big problem is, that there are not many jobs for smart people, so it's likely that even smart people will have trouble finding a decent job.

1
0

DARPA demands brand-new command … IN SPAAACE!

Christian Berger
Silver badge

Hmm....

Well commercial satellite operators probably already have such systems to inform them of nearby objects, after all once you have the kepler data of those objects (which is usually freely available) you can just predict where they are. Or they just don't care about small objects as those aren't in the databases anyhow.

Furthermore, satellite operators can actually look up and see what's going on there.

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

0
0

Netflix picks fight with internet exchange industry

Christian Berger
Silver badge

Re: How much do they waste on DRM?

Well but doesn't Netflix use DRM on their _own_ productions? I mean Apple also claimed they needed DRM with iTunes... until they released some songs without DRM which then outsold the rest.

Netflix could use their market position to move the market out of DRM, but they refuse to do so. Faced with the option of either loosing a big part of their market, or ditching DRM, I'm not sure if they would continue to require DRM.

The least Netflix could do is to complain about DRM like they complain about so many other things. Instead they drive the W3C into adopting DRM into the browser, spreading DRM even more.

0
0
Christian Berger
Silver badge

How much do they waste on DRM?

I mean DRM is rather expensive. For Pay-TV stations that's usually in the range of several dollars a month per user. Since it's trivial to find out users which just subscribe to the service for a month and then just download _everything_, there is no real need for DRM. The business model of Netflix would still work, just like the business model of television works fine without DRM. In the 1990s Pay-TV stations even introduced their own line of VHS-tapes.

Waste is just a fact of life in any larger organization. You will always find pointless things companies do. If you are lucky they aren't bad for the society at large, if you are they are destroying it.

1
6

'Nobody cares about your heart-rate'

Christian Berger
Silver badge

The targets aren't single individuals

Nobody will pay money for your heart rate, but when you have the heart rates of 10 million people you surely will come up with some pseudo business model raising your stock value.

The problem with such mass-produced devices aren't "hackers", the problem is the company you have a contract with, the company you give access to intimate details of your life. The current company might actually do an OK job at keeping your privacy, but whenever they fold, they are sure as hell going to sell off that data to the highest bidder. After all it's an asset in their books.

If a business model requires money to come into the organization, you are likely to be the product, not the customer, as you can always get more money by selling your data, even though you already paid.

10
0

Should we teach our kids how to program humanity out of existence?

Christian Berger
Silver badge

It's certainly not the worst way of teaching someone to program

I mean the "real" programming languages are often designed by people sitting in their room being tired of having to solve trivial problems. So they come up with special language features you'll probably never need. Those features are then taught to people who will never need them and struggle even understanding them. They still try because those features are hyped. Eventually all they do is struggling with the language, learning new features while not actually getting anything done on time. It's one of the reasons so many software projects fail.

Instead we should give children, and perhaps even professional programmers, systems that are appropriate. Children might need shiny IO features like controlling a robot or a grapics card. Adults might never need the complexity of C++-style OOP, but could work with a simple underlying principle like the UNIX-Philosophy. We must learn to use the tools we should use, not the ones we are being told to use.

0
0

E-books the same as printed ones, says top Euro court egghead

Christian Berger
Silver badge

If we would just address the underlying problem...

... and simply ban DRM. I mean you can also copy a physical book, that's what book scanners and printers are for.

1
0

Spam King sent down for 30 months

Christian Berger
Silver badge

Where to start...

Well first of all, yes E-Mail Spam is a managable problem today, it's slowly going down.

Then knowing the end point of a TCP/IP connection is not of much use, if you find that it's the NAT router of some large ISP putting thousands of users behind a single NATed IP-Address.

Then there are 2 numbers which are transmitted with a modern telephone call. One is the "User provided" Number, which you are supposed to easily fake (e.g. if you use different providers for incoming and outgoing telephony) as well as the one your phone company sets for you. Unfortunately, you usually only see the user provided number, not the network asserted one.

4
1

Linux devs open up universal Ubuntu Snap packages to other distros

Christian Berger
Silver badge

Re: It's a stupid idea

Furthermore it'll create a simple way to install such images. While before downloading a Debian package with your web browser will just give you a file you then need to install manually, it's likely that those new packages will be installed automatically as they are supposed to be "secure".

1
0
Christian Berger
Silver badge

It's a stupid idea

It gives the illusion of security by sandboxing. This illusion creates the illusion that you can simply run "apps" from untrusted sources. This means that people will just download whatever "app" they find which means they will enter "$programname free download" into a search engine and click the first link... which likely isn't the trustworthy source... and likely is malware, reducing security to a sandbox which only pretends to work against certain problems and probably will even fail at that.

Typical problems I see are something called "Abofalle" in German, where you think you download some free software, but instead sign a contract forcing you to pay money to some criminal. There probably will be downright malware in those packages, too. After all, if the user wants to execute a certain program, they will give it all the rights it want. A rights system only works if the application cannot determine if it got the rights or not and I can always edit the list of rights the application has.

We live in a sad age when people just write code without thinking about it first.

3
9

Apple quietly launches next-gen encrypted file system

Christian Berger
Silver badge

I'm skeptical

File system code requires a certain kind of programmer which is determined to write error free code, and also has the ability to write near error free code. File systems are rather delicate parts of the kernel, after all if you mess up your scheduler or memory management, your system likely will just crash. If you mess up your file system, it's likely you end up with corrupt data on your disks without noticing.

I don't know if Apple still has the right people. After all in recent years it focused much on bad UI design (relying on the transparency of fingers) and turning their products into lifestyle products. Actual engineering didn't play a big role. I wouldn't be surprised if the engineers suitable of doing this have since then moved on to different companies or retirement.

4
2

Intel takes aim at Arduino with US$15 breadboard

Christian Berger
Silver badge

Please please please more RAM

If they could squeeze a megabyte of RAM onto it that product would have had a chance as you could at least run DOS on it.

So you just have bog standard microcontroller which is barely large enough for C, and hard to program in Assembler.

0
0

The Windows Phone story: From hope to dusty abandonware

Christian Berger
Silver badge

Re: They missed their chance

"...Still baffles me how a Company on the experience of Microsoft bet all the small cattle on a single provider. There is no option but to keep research on the issue."

That's because Windows on x86 isn't seen as something important by the marketing department of Microsoft any more. They think that a stagnating x86 market means that they need to move to other platforms. To do that they have to cut their legacy branches.... unfortunately Microsoft is very much a company built on people wanting to run legacy software. MS-DOS was more or less CP/M compatible. Windows was, in its early usable days, mostly used as a way to run multiple DOS applications at once. Newer versions of Windows always had to execute old DOS and Windows applications. If Windows XP wouldn't have been able to execute Win16 applications, it would have had a much harder place in businesses. Of course this was all aided by a market growing extremely fast. In the past people simply bought more new PCs which came with the newest version of Windows so new versions were adopted much quicker. Also PCs used to have a lower practical life span. A PC from 1995 was essentially useless in 2000, today a Laptop from 2010 is still perfectly usable.

0
0

Forums