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Microsoft Suspending "Patch Tuesday" Emails

Andreas Mayer Re:Great! (145 comments)

RSS is how I get my news.
You don't offer a RSS feed? I'm not going to regularly visit your site.

Fortunately, every site I've ever been interested in offers at least one feed.

about a month ago

Germany's Glut of Electricity Causing Prices To Plummet

Andreas Mayer Re:Another misconception bites the dust (365 comments)

Except that Germany mostly uses brown coal in it's coal plants which pollutes the environment the most. It's the dirtiest form of energy production. Lot's of CO2 and Sulphur products.

Plants in Germany are filtered. I don't know of any problems with sulfur. In fact, sulfur in the air is a lot less than in the 1980s.
(According to Wikipedia, modern plants filter out 99.5% of ash and 90% of sulfur dioxide.)

Though you are correct in that they produce more CO2. (Wikipedia says typically 850–1200 g CO2 per kWh compared to 750–1100 g CO2 per kWh for black coal.)

Obviously we need to move away from fossil fuels. Hence wind and solar.

about a month ago

Mass. Supreme Court Says Defendant Can Be Compelled To Decrypt Data

Andreas Mayer Re:Important Caveat (560 comments)

Just doing a little digging into the details of the 5th Amendment in practice, and found this interesting tidbit:

The Court acknowledged that it is well established that a witness, in a single proceeding, may not testify voluntarily about a subject and then invoke the Privilege against Self-Incrimination when questioned about the details.

That could very well apply in this case, so that even if there is additional evidence in the files beyond what he has admitted to, the moment he started admitting to some of it, he effectively waived his self-incrimination right.

So ... what if he said that there's also information on the laptop that is not related to the case - i.e. about something which he didn't talk about - but which might be illegal?
Then giving up the encryption keys would be self-incriminating, no?

about a month ago

Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

Andreas Mayer Re:Inefficient much (461 comments)

In that people are shifting away from electric hot water, cooking, heating, etc with a net effect of moving from potentially clean electric power to co2 etc generating burning stuff.

Electrical heating is absurdly inefficient, so it's not used much since - well, since I can remember.

And I haven't heard of a single person moving from an electric stove to a gas one because of electricity prices.

So I'd guess you are completely and utterly wrong.

about a month ago

Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

Andreas Mayer Re: most of Germany's power not electric ? (461 comments)

Do people have their own household generators running on natural gas or something?

No. That's really rare. I'd guess there are more generators in US homes (percentage wise I mean).

I could understand that power for heating could mostly come from gas, but presumably that is only needed in the winter?

Well, warm water is often supplied by oil or gas.

( Does Germany even have winter? I think Fahrenheit (the guy who invented the temperature scale) was German and he seemed to think that 0F was as cold as you could get, so I guess they don't have a real winter there.)

I guess that depend on what you consider "real winter".

Here are some numbers:

The coldest month for last winter was January 2014 with an average of 2.1 degrees Celsius. 2013 it was February with -0.7 degrees C.

Coldest month since 1761 apparently was December 1788 with an average of -9.8 degrees Celsius followed by Feb. 1929 and Feb. 1959 with -9.6 degrees Celsius for both.

about a month ago

Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

Andreas Mayer Re:bad headline - most of Germany's power not elec (461 comments)

It wasn't nearly half of the POWER used in Germany at that moment. It was, for a moment, about half of the public ELECTRIC grid, in a country where electric is unpopular because it's becoming outrageously expensive.

What the hell are you talking about?!

Yes, electricity is expensive. But 'unpopular'? What? Everyone is connected to the public grid. Of course there are other sources of power. For instance heating is usually provided by gas or oil. But really, it seems to me you are just trying to find a way to downplay the relative success of regenerative energy in Germany.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?

Andreas Mayer Re:Smart-watches are for watch-wearers (427 comments)

I wear a basic timex digital watch, not because it's some sort of fashion statement, but because it's easier to look at my wrist (especially while driving) than it is to pull my phone out, without dropping it or getting it dirty.

Your car dashboard does not have a clock built in?

about a month ago

3-D Printing with Molten Steel (Video)

Andreas Mayer Re:Hey Dice! (104 comments)

It works fine without Flash if your machine pretends to be an iPad.

about a month and a half ago

iOS 8 Strikes an Unexpected Blow Against Location Tracking

Andreas Mayer Re:How about malfunctioning devices? (323 comments)

Lets suppose a malfunctioning device is crashing my enterprise wifi system. Tell me again, how in earth will I block it, and much less detect it?

Not sure what that has to do with the article. Those devices are not malfunctioning. They are just reporting a MAC address different from that burned into the hardware.

If that crashes your network, it's your network that is malfunctioning.

This is so wrong in many levels from the technical point of view...

Absolutely! Oh, wait, you didn't talk about your statement ...

about 1 month ago

iOS 8 Strikes an Unexpected Blow Against Location Tracking

Andreas Mayer Re:They are lying - and what about ARP resolution? (323 comments)

I do not have any empirical data to back up this feeling,

Great. I just hate fact based reasoning anyway.

but considering the cozy and close relationship Apple has demonstrated with our friends in the NSA,

You mean, together with Google, Microsoft and the rest of the US IT industry?

this article strikes me as a dishonest attempt to fool us into thinking they actually care about privacy and security.

They actually do care. Which does not mean they will necessarily be able to protect us from the NSA.

about 1 month ago

iOS 8 Strikes an Unexpected Blow Against Location Tracking

Andreas Mayer Re:Security (323 comments)

Not, crappy security is not better that no security.

So, I guess you don't lock your front door?

Because, you know, that's just crappy security.

about 1 month ago

iOS 8 Strikes an Unexpected Blow Against Location Tracking

Andreas Mayer Re:Apple Actually Cares About Privacy (323 comments)

This is nothing more then PR twisting, by a company that is suspected of willfully working with spying/law enforcement agencies.

To me to have the press sit there an report this without highlighting the companies past and current data collecting activities is misleading the public into thinking they are somehow safe, or just to give people a false sense of security as a way to sell more phones then your competitor.

First, *every* US company is suspected to work together with the NSA. So Apple isn't worse off in that regard.

Second, this feature is not about avoiding the NSA. The spooks can just utilize the cell network to track you. This feature is about *everyone else* trying to track you. Because, you know, not everyone is able to spoof a cell tower. But everyone *is* able to put up a WiFi hotspot.

Third, *of course* this is about selling more devices. And what's wrong with trying to make money by offering something actually useful?

about 1 month ago

iOS 8 Strikes an Unexpected Blow Against Location Tracking

Andreas Mayer Re:Apple Actually Cares About Privacy (323 comments)

Apple's devices (like everybody else's) constantly determine your location, and unless you're very careful about disabling it, transmit it.

Source please. Otherwise this is just FUD.

iOS devices determine your location if you agreed to at least one app using that information. The device also doesn't transmit this information. An app might if you opted in to location tracking. For something like "find my friends" that's kind of the point, you know.

(Of course, *every* active cell phone can be tracked by the cell phone network. But I don't think that's what you were referring to.)

about 1 month ago

iOS 8 Strikes an Unexpected Blow Against Location Tracking

Andreas Mayer Re:This has more to do with Apple lock-in (323 comments)

This is one more step in pushing their own schemes.

Sure, on the face of it there's benefit from being able to avoid being tracked by 3rd parties.

But what do you want to be you'll be unable to change your device's iBeacon ID in the same manner?

What's an iBeacon ID? The iBeacon is the device that is installed in the store. iBeacons send data. iPhones receive that data. Never is anything sent from an iPhone to an iBeacon. And while the app on the phone is able to process the data from the beacon, that is completely opt-in. As in you need to use the app in the first place.

(Sorry for disturbing your completely irrational Apple hate. You may now continue.)

about 1 month ago

Goodbye, Ctrl-S

Andreas Mayer Re:You missed the biggest downside (521 comments)

What if I don't want to save my changes?
"You can use the 'undo' command they say..."
Yes but the undo command isn't persistent between applications, much less a power failure.

On OS X auto save is combined with versioning. So, yes, you can undo changes. Even after reboots.

about 2 months ago

Are Habitable Exoplanets Bad News For Humanity?

Andreas Mayer Re:Or we could just be the first? (608 comments)

Could just be that we are the first (somewhat) intelligent life around.

Of course it could be. It just seems very unlikely.

I've read a bit about the topic before and everything you said has already been considered; there should have been conditions favorable to life billions of years ago.

We could be the first. The question is still: why?

about 3 months ago

Are Habitable Exoplanets Bad News For Humanity?

Andreas Mayer Re:Its likely impossible (608 comments)

I'm starting to become convinced there is simply no way to travel in a meaningful way among the stars. No species has figured out how to do anything like FTL or even slow boating.

That doesn't matter. Even if you don't have FTL you could still build Von Neumann probes which would be able to colonize the galaxy - even with fractions of the speed of light.

"If a probe were capable of travelling at onetenth of the speed of light, every planet in the galaxy could thus be colonized within a couple of million years [...]. If travel speed were limited to 1% of light speed, colonization might take twenty million years instead. The exact numbers do not matter much because they are at any rate very short compared to the astronomical time scales involved in the evolution of intelligent life from scratch (billions of years)."

about 3 months ago


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