* Posts by Christian Berger

3173 posts • joined 9 Mar 2007

US beats Iran as Japan's tincan footie team wins robot World Cup

Christian Berger
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It's so humane

I think it was 2005 when the RoboCup was in Germany. A German public TV station had several hours of live coverage of it.

I have to say it's much more humane than human football. You see a player trying to score a goal with the goalkeeper in it. It looks at the ball, then the goal, then the ball then the goal again, before repositioning itself and repeating the process.

Then it carefully lifts its leg, raising its arms to balance before putting it down again and repeating the process. Then it pulls back it's leg and kicks. It falls over backwards, but somehow was able to give the ball a gentle nudge making it roll slowly towards the goal.

The goal keeper watches the ball and promptly reacts by spreading its legs watching the ball as it rolls in between the legs.

No superhuman athletes, but performances we all can can identify with. That's humane football.

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Jeep drivers can be HACKED to DEATH: All you need is the car's IP address

Christian Berger
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It might be best if those exploits would be published

After all while it won't have many consequences now, hordes of cars being taken over could finally beat some sense into automotive (and industrial) developers.

Unfortunately since the car industry has a mighty lobby the pendulum might swing the other way and the Internet will be abolished.

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Christian Berger
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I think you have a far to romantic idea of the industry

People in the (car) industry don't have much clue about security, in fact they don't even understand basic concepts of what they are doing. I have seen people doing things, every book on embedded software design warns you against and gives alternatives, yet they do it like this anyhow.

Somehow it seems like, even if you have trivial problems, software developers (and their surroundings) seem to want to "blow it up" into something big, by adding needless complexity.

This is, in a way like this Czech(oslowakian) animated series:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJsFj9exAlc

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Christian Berger
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simplez

"But why does the radio need to be able to control the speed?"

That's obvious, the range of volume the radio can put out is limited so if you are going to fast for your music the radio needs to be able to break your car.

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Here's why Whittingdale kicked a subscription BBC into the future

Christian Berger
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Subscription won't work from a technical standpoint without criminalizing lots of honest users

Essentially it's a form of DRM, and DRM has the logical cryptographic problem of making Bob receive Alice's messages without Bob receiving Alice's messages. So part of Bob has to receive the messages while another part of Bob must not receive them.

The "solution" Pay-TV providers choose to use is to enforce not the Common Interface, but CI+ which requires Bob's receiver into acting against the will of Bob, turning off all the advantages of digital television.

Also if you look at the world, subscription TV services have failed nearly everywhere, however the more you force people into them, the better they work. Murdoch forced satellite viewers in the UK to subscribe to his services by scrambling nearly all channels in the 1990s. Sky UK now can actually do creative fictional programs. Sky Germany always had just one of many channels, so people didn't bother. The result is that they essentially play a wild mixture of movies and sports, but no original programs outside of sports.

In the US where cable companies force you into getting Pay-Channels for decades now, they even mildly work, producing well watched programmes like "The Daily Show".

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Fragmented Android development creating greater security risks

Christian Berger
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The problem with Android was listening to much to hardware manufactureres

They should have had a "single OS-image" policy from the start. Where you have one Android image which can run on any device, just like you have with most PCs. This would also have made alternative images a lot easier.

Hardware manufacturers would have had to agree to well defined interfaces, eliminating the need for binary only drivers and making hardware discoverable.

Unlike previous attempts like Microsoft's MSX, we now can have rather flexible hardware with features added in compatible ways. Your SoCs would, for example, all have the same framebuffer mode, acceleration features however, could be different on each one of those.

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Your poster guide: A fascinating glimpse into North Korea's 'internet'

Christian Berger
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IPs make sense

I mean DNS, tell very recently, could only do latin characters. So people would not only have to remember the domain name, but also it's latin transliteration.

Just imagine having to type Korean transliterations of your favourite websites. Remembering numbers seems easier than that.

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GOOGLE GMAIL ATE MY LINUX: Gobbled email enrages Torvalds

Christian Berger
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Re: Yes

"However one of my requirements for a desktop system is to enable me to place files etc on the desktop just where I want them."

Yes, but that's actually not simplicity, that's just the usual UX-designer idiocy. In fact not having that ability creates more complexity. Suddenly the desktop behaves differently to directory windows which both takes more code and makes everything less consistent to be used.

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Christian Berger
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Re: Yes

"Ah, much like systemd then?"

Perhaps yes, but there are so many other examples. A great example are "modern" desktop systems like Gnome or KDE which try to solve trivial problems, but are huge. That's why there are other developments like "suckless" which aims to create simple yet powerful tools.

Systemd is probably not the worst in that range, but it's the most problematic as both groups need to boot their systems. Therefore it's a point of conflict. It's possible to live without a GUI, but it's incredibly hard to live without your OS booting up.

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Christian Berger
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Yes

It may be that Google doesn't even have places where they can take bug reports, and there is a serious reason why Linus might not know people involved in Google Mail.

There seem to be 2 groups of software engineers. The one Linus belongs to is the one trying to solve problems in the most elegant and simplest way. They think that knowing how to solve a problem is the most important part of software design, and a low number of lines of code is one of their top priorities. They know that, when they do a proper job, a small number of orthogonal features can provide a world of use to the user.

The other group puts its emphasis on development processes. They commonly start with hugely complex designs and frameworks designed to solve very general cases, often even much more general than what they want to actually do. The rationale for this is that, hypothetically, you could reuse those components. In reality, this rarely gets done, as they are not as general as the developer thought they would be, and changing them to be more general would mean changing them, which means changing your old projects.

Those two groups rarely talk to each other since their views are so different. Google Mail probably was done by the later group.

It's noteworthy that in the bigger scale of things, the first group is seen as the one that gets things done. UNIX is a typical example of a product of that first group. In contrast the second one seems to be responsible for many projects which try to solve a rather trivial problem in such a complex way, it's hard to maintain the code. Such projects also seem to "never get done" and continuously evolve for years without getting to a point where they are "done".

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Ad slingers beware! Google raises Red Screen of malware Dearth

Christian Berger
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The distinction between "good" and "evil" ist subjective

For example I'd expect my browser to protect me from sites like Facebook and Google as well as other tracking sites. I'd also expect all that a browser would remove all that cruft that modern "web designers" but into their sites.

I mean if a browser would enforce a "single origin" policy for Javascript, the web would already be a much nicer place. Pages would load _much_ faster because there wouldn't be so many needless DNS lookups.

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Time for a brutal TELLY-OFF: Android TV versus Firefox OS

Christian Berger
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Re: Nice old GEC set in the photo

It must have been a rather early teletext unit as it has thumbwheel switches for the magazine, page and subpage. It may in fact not even have a microprocessor inside.

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Christian Berger
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Well, but the 1990s are over

The time when content was still in tight control of the stations and movie companies is over. Since the change of the century television doesn't work that way any more. Since then it simply became possible to just get your receiver to record everything you could have an interest in in a DRM free format so you can do whatever you want with it.

Those products are trying to use DRM to turn back the clock to the 1990s when making copies was hard and lossy.

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Pray for AMD

Christian Berger
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Shouldn't be understood the wrong way

It would be a shame if PC hardware manufacturers would understand that as wanting to run Android and/or more bloatware on their systems.

Instead AMD could position itself stronger in the professional computing market. They already have the huge advantage of having ECC by default on most CPUs.

The future of PCs is not with Windows, the people still using Windows are either stuck with legacy software requiring legacy hardware, or don't see anything bad with Android.

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Mozilla's ‘Great or Dead’ philosophy may save bloated blimp Firefox

Christian Berger
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You know how they say...

If you pay and you don't have the source code (or it's to complex), you are the product.

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Christian Berger
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Re: Agree - don't run scripts without permission. mMatrix and mBlock are good for chrome.

A really bad example for those sites is Patreon. Their login page is severely broken.

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Christian Berger
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Actually browsers should go a step further and just have local sanitised copies of the typical bloatware javascript. Instead Firefox constantly phones home to Google.

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Christian Berger
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Unfortunately Mozilla already behaves like a large coorporation

They even implement things none of their user base wants like DRM or binary Javascript.

Firefox is there to make the web a better place, it has done so in the past, but gradually it's becoming part of the problem it self. For example the web would be a lot faster if Firefox had a "same origin policy" for executing Javascript. Sure it would break some badly designed websites, but it would eliminate the need for Noscript and other cludges to get a usable web.

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Hacking Team spyware rootkit: Even a new HARD DRIVE wouldn't get rid of it

Christian Berger
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Re: So....

Of course not, since the malware is used by people who can simply force the manufacturer to give them the private keys, they can just sign it themselves.

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Christian Berger
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Re: One should note that Secure Boot won't help in this case

"Hacking team customers were small dictatorships operating under embargo or semi-embargo which could not purchase proper products from the big guys."

You mean like Germany and Belgium?

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Christian Berger
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One should note that Secure Boot won't help in this case

"Hacking Teams" customers were governments, and those can simply get any firmware image they want signed by the manufacturer or demand the private key from the manufacturer. Secure Boot may protect you from your random commercial malware, but those rarely go through the effort of trying to be persistent.

Plus with Secure Boot you have no way of changing your own firmware, for example into some much simpler version of Coreboot.

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India ponders home-baked chips for defence and nuke plants

Christian Berger
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This could actually be fairly easy on a country scale

I mean you can divide most tasks into 2 sub tasks. One is the actual work which is important, but usually doesn't take much processing power, the other is the "GUI" or "Media" stuff, which can be either safely encapsulated on a separate computer, or can be accepted as compromised as it neither has access to important data, nor data corruption can achieve anything.

So you probably can have your "work" system running on the equivalent of a 6502 or Z80 made with modern technology, talking via a secure one-way bus to a graphics subsystem displaying state of the art graphics on any random GPU. If you need things like encryption, you can augment your "6502" with a hardware AES module.

If you follow the KISS principle, you can make an actual effort in security, even with small teams. Always remember that Cray had about 2 dozens of employees back when they "mass produced" the Cray-1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtOA1vuoDgQ

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Intel's tablet CPU share to DROP: analyst

Christian Berger
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Re: Wrong direction

Well there's enough space for an alternative for Android on those devices... it's just that Microsoft doesn't provide it.

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Christian Berger
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They could have it so easy

Just promote/build PC-like tablets where you can install any operating system you'd like and you'd have a competitive product. There is no market for x86 Android devices, the advantage of the x86 platform always has been that you can get whatever OS you want. You buy an x86 device and can be sure that, since it's nearly 100% documented, you can install whatever operating system you want for the next 10 years.

Intel did have some interesting tablet experiments, but those had proprietary graphic chips inside... which meant that the only advantage of having a x86 tablet was gone and you were limited to a very narrow band of versions of Windows to run on that device.

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Microsoft again offers free certification exams to failures

Christian Berger
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I'm sorry, but...

... unless you are in a very narrow band of places, isn't having an industry certification, particularly one from Microsoft, proof that you are a failure?

I mean you either understand the basic principles behind a certain technology in order to build up from that to any product in the field in short time, or you specifically do the least amount of work by studying exam question for version Y of product X. Few people take such exams when they already know what they are doing.

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Attention dunderheads: Taxpayers are NOT giving businesses £93bn

Christian Berger
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Wrong first assumption

We all pay taxes, therefore we all are taxpayers therefore our money is taxpayers money. Assuming that there is a fundamental difference between giving companies money directly or via the government is wrong.

Of course you might say that you have less control about government money as you have to pay taxes. However you also have to pay for licenses for software you'll never use when you buy a new computer. Or you need to pay for DRM, even though that's the first thing you'll get rid of.

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Geeksphone closes up shop as founders turn their eyes to wearables

Christian Berger
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You cannot win with more of the same

Just bringing out _yet_another_ touch screen phone with an operating system aimed at stupid people won't get you any buyers.

If you want to have a "geek phone" you should listen to geeks and bring out something that suits their needs.

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Never mind Samsung, GOOGLE will EAVESDROP as you browse on Chrome

Christian Berger
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Logical consequence of overly complex web standards

If web standards were simple, we'd have some actual competition in the web browser field. There would be many free engines and it would be easy to write a browser around them. There wouldn't be the need for a corporation to manage and finance the development. Without such a corporation you'd have true free software which would be developed regardless of the interests of such a corporation. That way we'd have browsers that would value the interests of their users.

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Kobo Glo HD vs Amazon Kindle Paperwhite: Which one's best?

Christian Berger
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Well from my experience

The main problem with my Kobo mini is that the firmware is annoying. It tries to get you to use their store. I don't want a store connected to my device. I want to get files, for example by buying them DRM-free (which I've done several times already despite of problem 2) or getting them from a free source.

Problem 2 is that it's rather small and really bad at pre-formated files like PDF or plain text.

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Mastercard facial recog-ware will unlock your money using SELFIES

Christian Berger
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Essentially they don't care about fraudulent transactions

Every fraudulent transaction that isn't found just means more turnover, and the ones that need to be reversed cost virtually no money.

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Amazon just wrote a TLS crypto library in only 6,000 lines of C code

Christian Berger
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Re: At 1/10 the size of OpenSSL, it should be easier to spot bugs

Yes, though in my experience, people who can write small and readable code are usually experienced and therefore tend to write code with fewer errors.

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Christian Berger
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I hope this sets a trend

We sure could use a lot of simpler alternatives to many far to complex pieces of software.

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Windows 7 and 8.1 market share surge, XP falls behind OS X

Christian Berger
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Well as usually those statistics must be taken with a _lot_ of salt

They represents the market shares of those people who don't block Javascript from non-trustworthy sources. This makes it heavily skewed as people running the Windows they got with the machine are more likely to not have Noscript or something similar installed.

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Rise of the Machines: ROBOT KILLS MAN at Volkswagen plant

Christian Berger
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Re: who wouldn't like to see the footage of that

Actually there was a fictional murder by robot in the obscure movie "Peng! Du bist Tot".

Actually 2, one was by a service robot in what you would call "private Hackerspace" today, the other was in a factory.

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Half of Windows Server 2003 fans will miss July's security cut-off

Christian Berger
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But surely...

Microsoft is such an esteemed and trustworthy big partner which won't let their valued customer partners stand in the rain. They surely will bring out Windows Server 2003.2. Otherwise they'd just be like any other company and you could have chosen some SuSE Linux back then.

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Uber execs charged, will stand trial in France

Christian Berger
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wrong assumption

You seem to assume that Uber is about creating a sustainable business. Uber, like virtually all "Bubble 2.0" company strives to blow up a company as quickly as possible while cashing out wages and perhaps be bought by some big company for 23 phantastillions a bit later.

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Giant FLYING SPACE ROCKS could KILL US ALL, warns Brian May

Christian Berger
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It's not just the doomsday rocks

Look at the Chelyabinsk meteor that went down in Russia. If people knew about it an hour earlier, there could have been warnings. With contingency plans, lots of injuries and damage could have been prevented. Simply opening the windows probably could have prevented them bursting, and walking outside could have allowed thousands of people to watch the spectacle completely unharmed.

A good meteor watch system could turn a big problem into a harmless and fun event.

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VPNs are so insecure you might as well wear a KICK ME sign

Christian Berger
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VPNs are not designed for privacy

VPNs can be used for lots of things, but privacy is not one of them, particularly not with commercial VPN providers which have to answer to inquiries.

If you want privacy, there's TOR. It's been designed for privacy and even in the worst case is _much_ better than any VPN solution could be in the best case.

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Boffins set networking record with marathon 12,000 km fiber data run

Christian Berger
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Re: So....how was it really tested?

Fibres are extremely thin, so you can easily have that amount on simple spools. In the OTDR experiment we had at university we had several kilometres of fibre in a rather small case. So we are talking about a room or so, certainly not portable, but you can easily find some space for it in your lab.

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Christian Berger
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Re: I thought that was already solved...

"The Kerr effect, along with other effects such as Raman Scattering, Stimulated Brillouin Scattering, Phase Mixing, and probably a number of other effects, are what are referred to as non-linear effects and become worse as the launch power increases"

I do understand that, but I thought this would only be relevant in dispersion-less fibres as with dispersion the wave-front constantly changes, thus averaging out all non-linear effects.

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Christian Berger
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I thought that was already solved...

... by not using dispersion less fibres so the wave-fronts will change as it moves through the fibre and then compensating the dispersion by using a calculated length of negative dispersion fibre.

Or is this something different?

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Q: What's black and white and read all over? A: E-reader displays

Christian Berger
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Colour is the least of the problems

I have a Kobo mini which was back then at a great price point (40 Euros). The biggest issues with it are that it tries to force you into some services by the manufacturers and that the screen is not very large. Colour is one of those "nice to have" features you can do without. Actually if I had the choice, I'd rather have a laptop with a decent monochrome display than with a colour one. It would probably double the life time of the battery.

The far bigger problem is that there is currently no good market for ebooks. That's because the publishers insist on DRM which means that the market is rather centralized with Adobe and Amazon being nearly the only players. Luckily, particularly for technical books, there's a large DRM-free market where you pay once and get multiple formats.

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Why OH WHY did Blighty privatise EVERYTHING?

Christian Berger
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"The German government isn't all that good at running Deutsche Bahn"...

You do realize that "Deutsche Bahn" just like "Deutsche Telekom" both are only in part owned by the government and that both companies. Plus since they have been privatised service quality has gone down steadily. Germany used to have one of the most advanced telecommunication networks before the privatisation, now we are trailing behind most eastern European countries.

In Germany both companies are seen as a poster child for privatisation having gone wrong.

Oh and with most German public companies, the only way they still stay competitive is that their competition has declined much more rapidly.

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Who wants a classic ThinkPad with whizzy new hardware? Lenovo would just love to know

Christian Berger
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They should build more used ones

Since the Thinkpad market mostly consists of used devices, they should probably build more used ones, as they are much cheaper at the same level of functionality.

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Christian Berger
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Re: vga

a) It's perfectly functional for resolutions greater than what single-link DVI can do (i.e. 1080p60) Except of course when you are using really bad equipment.

b) You wouldn't be able to use that laptop in 99% of all lecture halls or meeting rooms as those are VGA only.

c) There is no disadvantage to having such a connector. It doesn't take up much space

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Christian Berger
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Appart from what's beeing said

You should also still have a portable series. IBM has shown how to build small yet very good laptops. They had the first laptop which was smaller than the keyboard. 15" and bigger is fine for some uses, but under many circumstances 13" is already rather large.

And nobody f*cking cares about thickness.

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Samsung vows to stop knackering Windows Update on your laptops

Christian Berger
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That's why we need to split up the market into hard- and software

One group must provide the hardware, including full documentation, and another group must provide the software.

As long as hardware vendors are allowed to put their own software onto those devices, we will always have such problems. And the problem _will_ increase with overcomplex systems like UEFI.

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Layoff-happy Capita charges staff to use cutlery in canteens

Christian Berger
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Hmm, the logical consequence is...

... that the first people to do will be the people who are the first to get a job elsewhere... which usually are the people who actually know what to do.

So essentially what Capita is doing is to start a program to lower the quality of their services. This may sound bad, but effectively is what outsourcing is all about anyhow.

BTW we are talking about the sort of call-centre job that can be outsourced. Those typically are just data entry jobs. If web developers would be a bit smarter, there would be simple and secure ways to just make the internal interfaces available to the user so there wouldn't be a need for such people.

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10 things you need to avoid SNAFUs in your data centre

Christian Berger
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At vocational school...

...we had to cable one of the computer rooms at the school (which was rather questionable). Well we pulled in the cable and labelled them in 2 teams, both armed with duct tape. One took a cable and made rings around it. One ring for the first cable they got, two for the second and so on. The other team also took some cables and made little flags on them. One flag for the first cable they got, two for the second and so on.... So you had both ends labelled... just not in a consistent way.

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CIA-funded spy data safe Palantir doubles in value in 18 months

Christian Berger
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Luckily they have problems getting people to work there

Apparently they have to pay even apprentices $7000 per month to work there.

http://www.silicon.de/41595889/us-praktikanten-verdienen-7000-dollar-im-monat/?PageSpeed=noscript

It kinda seems like the company people would spit at you on the bus for working at.

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