* Posts by big_D

2324 posts • joined 27 Nov 2009

Apple sings another iTune following Brexit as prices rise by up to a third

big_D
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Re: When in the us

ISTR Apple used £1==$0.50 at the time...

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CBI: Brexit Britain needs a 'sensible and flexible' immigration programme

big_D
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I hope not, I have some European friends living and working in the UK. Also, what happens to people like me? UK citizens living and working in the EU?

Tit-for-tat? I hope not.

I'm married to a German and I am looking at getting German citizenship, if the worst comes to worst.

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Autocomplete a novel phishing hole for Chrome, Safari crims

big_D
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Re: lastpass-cli: a safe and open-source work-around

Because there is no equivalent to NoScript on Chrome...There are several that block scripts, but they block wholesale - either the whole page can run scripts or not, no choice of allowing certain domains (E.g. main website), but blocking others (E.g. malware slinging ad domains, google-analytics etc.).

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big_D
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Re: lastpass-cli: a safe and open-source work-around

Or just switch off the Autofill in LastPass.

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Microsoft goes retro with Vista, Zune-style Windows Neon makeover

big_D
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@bombastic bob Re: Still not as good as it used to be...

Moi? A millenial? How dare you, Sir!

I started using Windows with version 2.0 and progrmaming Excel Macros. I've used every version, although ME and XP were the worst, I just never got on with the Fisher Price look of XP, there the classic shell was a godsend. Vista was a huge improvement, 7 an improvement over Vista, 8/8.1 was "different", but some of its additons made it worthwhile over 7 and 10 is, for non-touch users, another leap forward over 8.1. For touch users, it is a mixed bag.

And, to be honest, I still remember the arguments about how bad Windows 95 Start Menu was and it was lucky that it still came with the Program Manager for "real" users.

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big_D
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Blur disbanded

No blurring, please!

My eyes are somehow very sensitive to blurring and I just can't cope with looking at blurred images for more than a couple of seconds. My eyes "hurt" as they constantly try and adjust and focus on the blurry image.

I can't watch a lot of reality TV and news reports, where faces, logos etc. are blurred out. It just makes my eyes sore and gives me a headache. (On a side note, why don't they sort out before filming, which logos can be shown or not? "Sorry, you can't wear that T-Shirt, it is not suitable for broadcast / we don't have the rights." With live news it isn't an option, but if you are going to be filming people for a long period of time, get it sorted before you f'ing well start filming, don't do it in post!)

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big_D
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Re: Still not as good as it used to be...

I'm having to use Windows 7 again for the first time since 2012. It feels so "icky". I much prefer the cleaner look of Windows 10.

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MacBook killer? New Lenovo offering sexed up with XPoint booster

big_D
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@AC Re: Hardware's half the story

Exactly, the OS is the small part of the equation, the workflow and the applications are the important bit.

For me, I found I could achieve the same workflow, with the same software on Windows for a fraction of the cost - I looked at a MacBook Pro, but ended up with a Sony Vaio, because it had a better processor, BluRay, the same RAM and disk capacity, for half the price of the "equivalent", if by equivalent you count an inferior processor (at the time Apple didn't put any quad core i7s in their MBPs) and that it only had a DVD and not BluRay.

At the time, OS X didn't offer any advantages over Windows 7 that would justify paying twice as much for inferior hardware.

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big_D
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Re: Hardware's half the story

I switched from Mac to Windows a few years ago. All the software I needed ran on both platforms and most were on dual platform licences - the exception being Office - or open source.

Given that Apple stopped providing security updates for the iMac in 2013, it now runs Ubuntu.

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Christmas Eve ERP migration derailed by silly spreadsheet sort

big_D
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PCock-up

My brother worked for a temp agency and was desperate for qualified PC tinkerers to work between Christmas Day and New Year.

The problem? His client, a German food discounter, had bought a container load of PCs from their German distributor for their UK stores... Only they sent the wrong HGV to England and the PCs sold in the stores were German specification, with German keyboards and German Windows 95 installed... Unfortunately, they only found out after they had sold the complete batch!

As these PCs were mainly going to be given as Christmas presents, the discounter was looking for tech support staff to driver around the country and swap out the keyboards and re-install Windows on those PCs.

The pay offered wasn't bad, but I decided that the wrath of hundreds of unhappy families watching over my shoulder as I reinstalled Windows wasn't worth it.

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Uber's self-driving cars can't handle bike lanes, forcing drivers to kill autonomous mode

big_D
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Is it really a surprise? They have been driving illegally in Germany (with drivers) since the beginning.

(In Germany you cannot drive paying passengers without a professional driving license (this is not the same as a taxi license, the taxi driver also has to have a professional license, before he can apply for a taxi license). Without that, he cannot get commercial insurance for carrying passengers. He cannot drive his vehicle whilst working for Uber without commercial insurance and if he is caught driving for Uber without commercial insurance, he will be fined and banned from driving. Additionally, if the driver is involved in an accident, the insurance is null and void, so all parties involved will be compensated out of the pockets of the Uber driver.

Depsite this being pointed out to them, Uber seem to have refused to ensure their drivers are properly licensed and insured. Therefore they were deemed to be illegal, but they carried on anyway.

That was the last stand that was reported in the press. I don't know if they have now changed their ways, but they were claiming at the time, that it had nothing to do with them, that they were using illegal drivers.)

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Microsoft's Edge to flush Adobe Flash in Windows 10 Creator’s Update

big_D
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Re: Not possible to ban smoking in the office?

Here, if you smoke, you have to clock out when you go outside for a cigarette and clock back in, when you are done. There is an extra electronic terminal for clocking in and out next to the door to the smoking area.

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big_D
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Re: Not possible to ban smoking in the office?

What I find really reprehensible is the practice of people smoking around the main entrance to a business.

It doesn't provide a very good first impression for visitors, when the first thing they experience is a dozen people milling around outside the entrance and they have to walk through a thick cloud of smoke. Then you have all the discarded cigarette butts on the ground outside the entrance.

Where I work, the smokers have a dedicated area outside the back of the building, where they cannot be seen by visitors.

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big_D
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Good riddance

I banned Flash on my machines in January 2015. Since then, the first thing I do with all new installs is remove / disable Flash.

I haven't missed it so far.

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German infosec agency urges security review after Yahoo! flensing

big_D
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German E-Mail

Services like GMX, Web.de. Telekom and a few others have set up their mail servers, so that all mail addressed to German servers stay within the country and, when the recipient is part of the "E-Mail made in Germany" initiative, the email traffic is encrypted from end to end.

Obviously, if you send an email outside of Germany or to a recipient who is using a mail server not in the EmiG initiave, then the email will be sent the "old fashioned" way.

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Oi, you, no flirting, no touching in the back of our rides, sniffs Uber

big_D
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No Sex please, we are Uber

Wasn't there a play about this in the 70s?

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Standards body warned SMS 2FA is insecure and nobody listened

big_D
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Re: SMS messages ... may be ... redirected,

You can have more than one SIM with the same number - my current contract includes 2 free additional SIMs with the same number (for use in tablets or laptops for data, for example) and I can pay for more.

All use the same number and, if you put all 3 SIMs in phones, they would all ring at the same time.

But issuing a # command on a handset, you can tell the provider that this is the "primary" device and SMS should be sent to it - SMS only gets sent to the "primary" device.

So a hacker just needs to get the carrier to issue a secondary card and, once they have received it, they can issue the # command and intercept your SMS..

Given how easily providers give out new SIMs, this isn't hard. Some will even send it to an alternate address, otherwise the hacker just needs to hang around outside your residence and then sign for the mail, when the postie delivers the new card.

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MP Kees Verhoeven wants EU to regulate the Internet of S**t

big_D
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Finally someone in politics talking sense?

But putting in such controls will only improve the lot of consumers in the EU. It probably won't stop cheap devices with vulnerabilities being sold in other countries, outside the EU.

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Amazon's Netflix-gnasher to hit top gear In December

big_D
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Re: Yarrgh

It was released here last week (Germany). Got around to watching at the weekend.

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Google's neural network learns to translate languages it hasn't been trained on

big_D
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Re: Not bad

I can only speak for DE - EN, but it has problems with the actual subject most of the time, let alone the subtext. Something else you have to think about, is that translating from a language to a foreign language and back does not really mean that the foreign translation is of good quality or even accurate, just that the translation engine can understand itself good enough to get there and back again.

A friend of mine's daughter had to hand in her Doctoral thesis in English and he ran it through Google Translate and thought it would be OK. After I stopped laughing, I re-wrote it.

In general, before the introduction of this new AI technology, I would say that Google Translate has about a 30% hit rate for an average piece of text - by that I mean that at most 30% is good enough that it has the right subject matter and that the sentence makes any sense.

It seems to work better, from English to German, when you use abbreviated text, for example "do not" often misses the "not" from the translation, whereas "don't" is generally translated correctly.

I went through a phase of sending corrections to Google, but I usually don't have the time.

Generally, I just keep Leo.org or Linguee open and just translate certain words that stump me - and sometimes it is the easy, everyday words that escape you. You know the word in English and you know the word in German, but somehow your brain doesn't make the connection.

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big_D
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Headmaster

Re: Not bad

That is a move in the right direction. Until now the DE-EN EN-DE translations have been hilarious at best, dangerous at worst.

Google did one safety translation that told me to "open the case, high voltage inside". Not sure if it had something to do with me using a Windows Phone at the time.

I am currently working at a translation office and I can tell you that Google Translate cannot, generally, translate very well. Certainly not enough that it would make me worried about working as a translator.

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Low-end notebook, rocking horse shit or hen's teeth

big_D
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Re: RE: Chromebooks

But if they can sell it for $199 in the USA, why does it cost over 2.5 times as much in Germany, when Windows devices have at worst a $1 = 1€ conversion and are sometimes cheaper (when you remove tax).

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big_D
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Either will work...

My mum came over to visit and said that my Windows was better than her Windows... She ended up taking my 6 year old notebook with SUSE on it back with her!

On the other hand, I cleaned away the Lenovo crud on another machine and use Windows on it. Without the crud it is actually pretty good.

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big_D
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RE: Chromebooks

The problem is, most of the Chromebooks over here (Germany) cost more than a cheap Windows notebook! The $199 Acer ARM based Chromebook was going for around 450€ on Amazon last year! With prices like that, it is little wonder than at its peak (2014), there were no Chromebooks in the top 50 most sold notebooks on Amazon and only 2 in the top 100.

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Bungling ATM thieves blow up bank statement machine

big_D
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Re: Might be Dutch

Gas, not petrol. As in propane.

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big_D
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Headmaster

Re: Alte Wilhelm

Although the correct term is "die Bullen".

But yes, a great translation of the English into German.

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big_D
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They don't use explosives. ;-)

They use propane gas tanks and some tubing.

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big_D
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Re: Might be Dutch

Although Berlin is a way aways.

They usually do it around here (Lower Saxony). They pump gas into the machine and then ignite it, blowing the machine apart, so they can get at the cash.

The banks are now retro fitting the ATMs so that in the event of such an explosion, the money will be sprayed with dye.

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big_D
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Re: It's "Kontoauszugsdrucker"

Yep, the ATMs usually show the balance, but you use the printer to get your bank statement - or you wait a couple of months and they send it to you...

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IPv4 is OVER. Really. So quit relying on it in new protocols, sheesh

big_D
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@Lee D

It depends on what you mean by almost every ISP... Here, in Germany, many ISPs have been offering IPv6 for a few years and, for many customers, any new connection is automatically and exclusively IPv6. If you need IPv4 you need to explicitly state that and often will have to pay for a business connection.

DT has been pushing IPv6 only connections on its new customers since 2012 or 2013. All others are at least dual stack, if they aren't giving customers IPv6 only.

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The big day is here and it's time to decide: Patch Flash, Windows, Office or Android first?

big_D
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Re: Time to decide?

Update not showing up on my Nexus 5X yet.

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Why Apple's adaptive Touch Bar will flop

big_D
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Re: Apples and Lemons?

I need physical keys. I do a lot of translation work, Office, Adobe CS and support an ERP system. They rely heavily on function keys.

Even on PCs, it is annoying that on many newer devices and keyboards, I need to use a "function shift" key + function key to get the key to react "normally".

If I need Shift + Ctrl + F5, on my laptop I need to press Fn + Shift + Ctrl + F5... As they are used so extensively, any keyboard that does away with the function keys is a non-starter for me.

It is possible to hunt through ribbons or menus to find the relevant option, but it is a lot slower and breaks the workflow as you need to take your hands away from the keyboard.

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Apple fans using Chrome on alert for Mac malware

big_D
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Re: Ah, the wonders of Internet advertising

Make the advertising broker responsible for any infection and the costs of cleaning up, then maybe they would actually look at vetting their service instead of blithely letting their ads infect their users.

Here, in Germany, if a website gets infected by malware and that is used to attack other websites, you are liable and must pay damages.

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Google drops a zero-day on Microsoft: Web giant goes public with bug exploited by hackers

big_D
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Re: Google is as much nice with Microsoft...

There is a difference between informing the world that there is a problem being actively exploited by malware and giving full details on how to exploit it... Especially given that they have only given Microsoft a little over a week to study the problem and fix it.

Yes, warn the public that there is new malware out there that can exploit the problem, but don't tell other hackers, who haven't discovered the issue, where to look and what to do.

By the sound of it, the problem is pretty deep in Win32 and it might not be a five minute fix, as the windows handling functions are used by pretty much all software, so any changes will need to be thoroughly tested to ensure that they don't kill other, valid applications.

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No nudes, bloated apps, Android sucks and 497 other complaints about Apple to the FTC

big_D
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Re: @ big_D, et al.

@Shooter, but, even if they sell more phone than the next man (1/3) more, iOS still accounts, according to your wording, less than 50% of the market and cannot therefore be considered a monopoly. They would have to have over 90% to be considered a monopoly.

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big_D
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Apple aren't a dominant player, they are number 2 and depending on the market often has less than 10℅ market share. Globally it has less than 16℅ market share in the mobile devices sector (smartphone and tablet).

That means that they don't fall under monopoly conditions and are subject to more lenient rules. Android on the other hand has over 80℅ market share and Google has, for example, over 95℅ share of the search market in Europe, where they are being investigated for abuse.

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Existing security standards are fine for IoT gizmos in electrical grids

big_D
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The security, per se, isn't the problem. There are enough best practices out there.

The problem is, is that small, cheap devices don't get enough funding to implement the security properly and, if problems are found, they don't get fixed, because there is no money in fixing the problems.

If the devices cost enough, that the security was done properly, and security issues would be addressed and patches sent out in a timely manner, nobody would buy them, because they would be too expensive.

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Is Google using YouTube to put one over on Samsung?

big_D
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Re: Coincidence ?

On the other hand, the videos can be classed as satire and Samsung could only get them down for copyright infringement. As they don't own the copyright on the game or the video and it can be shown that the video falls under satire / fair use, then Samsung can't really get it taken down, without going to court and getting a defamation judgement against the poster. (IANAL, but that would be my first guess)

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Basic income after automation? That’s not how capitalism works

big_D
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Re: Errrm

The biggest problem with, current, capitalism is that everybody is looking to make money NOW! Very few are looking at investing for long term growth, decent quality products that last and make products that are environmentally balanced.

By this I mean things like electronics designed to break just after the warranty runs out, built in failure points, so that after a set number of uses the device will break, so that people will buy a new one. What happened to pride in the work and quality? My parents bought products, they were expensive, but they lasted decades. Today, the products are either cheap and fall apart after a couple of uses or they are expensive and last a few years.

A lot of "improvements" in products aren't there to improve the product, but are changes in design to make it look newer and cooler, so that people will throw out existing, working products to buy new ones.

We are in a consumer death spiral. The amount of waste we produce, because things break or go out of fashion so quickly is not sustainable. Investors are looking for a return on investment for the next quarter or, if they are investing "long term", then the next year or two at most. Nobody is looking to make sure a company is sustainable and will grow steadily, providing good income, for the next 10 or 50 years, let alone looking at the long term. It is all, "I have made my profit from the company and exited, now it can go to hell, for all I care."

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big_D
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@noboard Re: Errrm

Exactly. The example is bad. And having worked in the food industry, where industrialisation of some area eliminates almost all jobs, the example makes even less sense.

One slaughter house I know of automated the targeting of carcases in the coolhouse. Here the system identified each carcass coming in (RFID tag married to the classfication data) and automatically sends it to the most appropriate lane. When the carcasses are needed for processing or for loading onto trucks, the system automatically pulls out the correct carcasses from the relevant lanes.

All of that is controlled by a single person. In the past, the slaughterhouse had to employ 12 people just to push the carcasses to the lanes and to find the relevant ones for shipping. With the automation, not only did they reduce the chance of infection (nobody actually has to touch the carcasses), speed up production (they now slaughter over 600 pigs an hour, instead of 300), but it also reduced headcount by a factor of 12 in that area.

Other slaughterhouses manage even faster speeds (one customer was is producing over 1200 carcasses an hour on an automated production line) through the use of robots, the robots automatically scan the carcasses and cut them open, on these high speed lines, that replaces at least 2 workers on the saws.

With manual cutting and manual sorting, you need a lot of workers, but with the automated lines, you can more than halve the number of workers needed (more if you go for robots) and at the same time you can double or quadruple your production capacity.

Obviously there are areas where such increases in efficiency are not currently possible, but it shows what can be done. So, although they have saved 12 workers in one area, reducing the headcount to one, they have also dramatically increased capacity, meaning in the past they would have needed another dozen workers to achieve the same speed (there are limits to how fast a single person can push a carcass along a conveyor system and switch points to push them into certain lanes. They have also increased accuracy and identify individual carcasses, without ever having to go near the coolhouse itself.

Those 12 workers? Were they used elsewhere in the production? No. There was just no need for them any more.

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Blighty's Home Office database blunders will deprive hundreds of GB driving licences

big_D
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Re: Home office can revoke as much as it likes

The German licensing department told me that I needed to hand over my EU/UK driving license and I was automatically issued a German license to replace it.

The rules might have changed last year, now that different countries can issue fines and points to license holders in different countries (and collect on them). When I came over in 2002, there was no way for German authorities to force foreign drivers to pay fines and there was no way of applying points issued in Germany to foreign licenses.

Therefore, as I was resident in Germany, I had to hand over my UK license and get a German one. If I travel back to the UK for a short period (less than 6 months), then I can use my German license. If I move back to the UK permanently, then I can apply for my UK license to be given back to me, in exchange for my German license.

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big_D
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Re: Home office can revoke as much as it likes

In Germany, if you have an EU or international license, you can use it for up to six months, after that you have to hand it in and get a German license. If you fail to do so and are caught, you can get up to a 1 year driving ban.

I assumed that this would be the same all over Europe...

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Mercedes answers autonomous car moral dilemma: Yeah, we'll just run over pedestrians

big_D
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I owned a 1987 E28 M535i, lovely car, although the tyres were like Bakelite! I also had a 1998 528i.

Both cars were great to drive (and reliable), although I find the newer models uninteresting. They have lost their flare and everything is electronic these days.

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big_D
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Mercedes can't even control their vehicle.

The ADAC (German equivalent of AA) did a test in August of the top cars with automated braking systems. The Mercedes came bottom of the list, it failed to stop completely for pedestrians in daylight, failed to notice a cyclist and failed completely at night.

The winners were Kia, Subaru and VW Passat (the Kia stopping completely for a pedestrian in daylight, nearly stopping for the cyclist and attempting to stop at night, the Subaru nearly stopped in daylight, nearly stopped for the cyclist and stopped completely at night, the BMW failed to stop in all situations, but had managed to drastically reduce speed).

The tests were done on a test track with dummies moving in front of the vehicle at 30mph.

They also have an inflated cushion, which looks like the back end of a VW Touran and is towed behind a car, to test the automated braking at highway speeds. Again, the results were disappointing, with many of the cars running into the back of the obstacle.

Unfortunately only the 2012 test is online and I have thrown out the magazine with the 2016 test report.

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VMS will be ready to run on x86 in 2019!

big_D
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Re: A dinosaur speaks.

Using PHONE to talk to ops in Houston, whilst sitting in rainy East Grinstead in 1981 was one of the reasons I got into computing, I found it fascinating.

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EU turns screws on Android – report

big_D
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Re: It's not quite the MS case.

It is about the operating system, or rather the lack of choice, if you want to sell an official Android phone, you can't also sell your own phones, with your own software.

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big_D
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Re: It's not quite the MS case.

If they ship licensed Android phones, they can't currently ship the open source version (AOSP) with their own services on top, instead of the Google services, it is either or.

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Pokemon NO! Hospital demands ban on virtual creatures after addicts invade private wards

big_D
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There have been a lot of complaints in Germany, with Pokemon being placed on private property and people breaking into gardens to get their kicks.

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Germany calls halt to Facebook’s WhatsApp info slurp

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EU rules say that what Facebook is doing is illegal, but it is up to the respective member states DP organizations, working within the locally implemented laws, to take Facebook to task.

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Moron is late for flight, calls in bomb threat

big_D
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Pint

Re: Only 1 year?

Now that would be a heavy sentence indeed!

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