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What Isn't There an App For?

Britz Multi Transport Navigation (421 comments)

I am sure there is more than one company working on this right now. The idea is quite simple. I want to get from A to B and would like to see all my options listed and sorted by speed and price. Including rental, flight, taxi, uber, train, car sharing, bus, own car, bike, walking, hovercraft, skateboard, and so on. And any combination of the above that would make sense. Optimized by weather forcast (less likely to bike, motorbike or walk), recorded walking speed, recorded bike speed, and options I can put in. For example a dislike for rental cars, lack of drivers licence and other.

This is simply a logical conclusion of Google Maps, navigational software and the modern smartphone. If I want to travel to point X, why doesn't it show me everything, how fast and how much it will cost me? Why do I have to manually check train and bus schedules (which are machine readable on the internet) and see if I want to walk to a different public transport station than the one nearest to me, if it offers a much better connecting and I am a fast walker. Or own a bike.

about three weeks ago

Is Chernobyl Still Dangerous? Was 60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda?

Britz Nuclear dangers (409 comments)

I am from Germany. Over here I spoke to someone working in the field of nuclear safety (obviously also job dependent on nuclear energy, so ...). He said that he thinks we take more than enough precaution with dangerous material in connection with nuclear energy. Especially compared to other chemicals and materials in other fields, which can also be quite hazardous, but are regulated and therefore handled with a lot less care. And thus tend to harm human health and the environment much more.

about 2 months ago

Ukraine May Have To Rearm With Nuclear Weapons Says Ukrainian MP

Britz Lot's of generals are watching (498 comments)

I think a lot of nations are watching very closely. We have the conflict in the Mideast, where Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran are often cited to be nuclear hopefuls. Israel is/was expected to give up their bomb if/when a proper security structure is in place.

Then there is the potential conflict in the South China Sea, where China just unveiled a military budget that it's neighbors can't even hope to match conventionally some day. So we have Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and possibly Indonesia eyeing "other alternatives".

And we have the standoff between India and Pakistan, both of which were hopefuls for a nuclear disarmarment, should a peace deal be reached at some point. I don't need to mention that China, just like Russia, being nuclear capable and having had a war with India and still some territorial disputes, will make it impossible for India to give up it's nukes. Especially when treaties like the Budapest Memorandum are not worth the paper they are written on.

We also have some very old rivalries in South America. Brazil is expected to have enough material and the scientific resources to make a bomb. There are also rumours. Putting regional rivals such as Argentina and Venezuela on edge. And even though Venezuela is nowhere near nuclear capability, the mere chance is probabely making the Colombians uneasy.

Have I missed anything?

about a year ago

Firefox OS Will Become the Mobile OS To Beat

Britz The mobile war is over, Andorid has won (205 comments)

It's over. Android has won. The iPhone will stay around with a significant market share. But current high specs for phones will be the low end in three years. 2GB Ram and a 1.5 Ghz Quad Core CPU with be in entry level Android devices in 2017. Enough to run Android any way you like.

Android already runs on so many phones. It already is ubiquitous. Microsoft might have a chance in a niche. Same as Firefox, if it comes down to it. The mobile phone market is a billion device market. Why not a couple thousand Windows or Firefox or Jolla or Tizen devices? Or Ubuntu for that matter.

Android already runs on low spec cheap entry level devices. Granted, it doesn't run them very well, but neither does Firefox atm.

about a year ago

Many Lasers Become One In Lockheed Martin's 30 kW Laser Weapon

Britz Shark-Mount (202 comments)

Wake me up when they are shark mountable.

about a year ago

Phil Zimmerman Launching Secure "Blackphone"

Britz Re:Almost. there. (156 comments)

That is the one feature that would set it apart from any phone running an open source mod (Android Replicant comes to mind) with a couple privacy apps on top. Like a sip client with encryption on. And therefore pretty much the only good selling point.

I wonder if it will only be a firewall, or if someone finally manages to really open source the baseband. Though I doubt it. As far as I understand even the OpenMoko stuff has closed source binary blobs for the baseband, though they have sufficient barriers between the main processor and the baseband stuff.

1 year,13 days

F-Secure's Mikko Hypponen Cancels RSA Talk In Protest

Britz Other countries would do the same (248 comments)

I hate to be *that guy*, but everyone needs to understand two significant points:

1. After a couple month of watching the PRISM scandal unforld I now believe this is a "Hiroshima moment". Never before in human history was it possible to spy on everyone. To have a file on everyone. The secret services (the bad as well as the good) always had to focus on a select few. No more. We are living in 1984.

2. I firmly believe the main reason why other spy agencies are not doing what the NSA is doing is because of their limited capabilities. Both in less money and resources, but also in reach. Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft are US based. Many important internet exchanges as well. This point is especially important, because of the US tradition of transparency and whistleblowing. As American as the NSA may be, Snowden is even more so. I can't imagine a Chinese Snowden. And even if he existed, would they have a broad discussion on that subject in China? How about Russia? Or even the UK? GHCQ has been as bad as the NSA, yet do we see a broad and honest discussion about it in London?

I hate the constant and ubiquitous surveillance, but the technology advances were the ones that brought them here. The NSA were only the first and foremost ones that took advantage of the new tools. They become cheap fast. Soon every spy agency will have them. This is a very useful and helpful discussion we are having right now. Because we either need to encrypt everything and move everyone onto Tor, or get used to having a file on everyone. There is no "gentlemen's agreement" (no-spy-agreement, UN accord, whatever), because there is no way to enforce it.

about a year ago

Healthcare.gov Official Resigns, Website Still a Disaster

Britz Re:Bureaucrats != engineers (559 comments)

That may very well be, but once you get off your high horse and try to compare an obviously crazy guy wanting to have his weekly schedule rendered with a dtp application to a government project with a deadline, you might realize what it is: A deadline. So there is a law about something people can sign up for. So it is rather important that the website needs to be up for the deadline. You can bungle this project time and technology wise in many ways.

I don't know how much time they actually had between the passing of the ACA and the deadline. But don't you think 12 month should be enough for any website project if you have fairly large resources and absolutely need to be finished on time? Don't you think that kind of project should be possible? Or did the ACA not pass before October 2012?

Yes, the project was obviously bundgled in some way. But not because they didn't have enough time from the start.

about a year ago

IAB Urges People To Stop "Mozilla From Hijacking the Internet"

Britz Not a big deal (499 comments)

They will simply need to use browser fingerprinting via web bugs. In combination with flash cookies, stored content and java cookies. It will just get a little more technically complicated. But not much.

I don't even know why he makes such a big fuss. When the task gets more complicated, web advertising companies will have to use more technical expertise making the market harder to penetrate. Which benefits existing companies. So his customers are safer from new competition.

about a year and a half ago

More From Canonical Employee On: "Why Mir?"

Britz Canonical lately (337 comments)

Canonical is behaving very "weird" lately.

This is an interview with Jonathan Riddell, the lead on Kubuntu [1].


"I only had contact with the Linux Mint developer recently when Canonical claimed that they needed a licence to use the compiled packages from Ubuntu. This is a dangerous misunderstanding of copyright licencing from a company which should understand it. I advised Linux Mint to say some rude things to Canonical but I think they're too polite for that."

"Canonical has the trademark of Kubuntu so they had to get a trademark licence from Canonical which took many months of long and slow negotiations. It was very frustracting to have Canonical be the blocker for part of the Ubuntu community since Canonical should be an enabler for the Ubuntu community (at least when we don't compete directly). So we did look at changing the name of Kubuntu but were told by Mark we'd be kicked out the project if we did that which would be a worst case scenario for everyone."

"Since then Canonical has started asking for donations when downloading Ubuntu and one option is to give "Better support for flavours like Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu Slider thumb". Kubuntu has never received any of these funds or seen any better support, so this is a disappointing case of fraud."

[1] http://www.muktware.com/5369/how-will-changes-ubuntu-affect-kubuntu-exclusive-interview-jonathan-riddell

about 2 years ago

Congressman Introduces Bill To Ban Minting of Trillion-Dollar Coin

Britz Re:Can't America get its acts together ? (1059 comments)

First of all who says debt is a problem? There is much debate on this. A nation does not work like a business or a household. Actually quite the opposite. Debt can be good. And right now a lot of people really, really want to give their money to the US government for safekeeping, because they think the best and safest investment is the US government. Therefore interest rates for borrowing are very low. There are other reasons why debt might not be such a huge issue. As I said, this is really up to debate.

Personally I believe that the rate is borrowing is, in fact, a little high right now.

But this is not about borrowing, but about spending. A lot of people in Congress want to spend money on different things. And they don't want to raise more income. So they have to borrow. The problem, if you are concerned about debt, is not the debt ceiling, but the spending and income.

The debt ceiling is mainly about bullying the president. It's a bargaining chip. It's only about politics.

But no one wants to talk about which programs to cut exactly and which taxes to raise, because this is unpopular. This applies to all players.

The ironic part is that the Republicans are making a huge deal out of the debt (I said at the beginning that debt doesn't have to be bad), while they are being responsible for it through defense spending and tax cutting during the Bush years. And they never had a problem back then.

about 2 years ago

OS X Notifier App Growl Goes Closed Source

Britz Re:Key word is "in the app store". (270 comments)

That makes a lot of sense. Apple probabely also has a gag clause in their app store contracts that forbids them to talk about said contract. So they can't explain why the went closed source.

more than 3 years ago

Linus Thinks Virtualization Is 'Evil'

Britz Isn't that the difference between KVM and XEN? (330 comments)

I thought that was exactly the difference between XEN and KVM. KVM uses the Linux kernel as ring 0, whereas XEN creates it's own 'sort of' kernel as ring 0.

And, I don't think this approach is the best, because Linux and Unix still outperform any other approach by a long shot and have a lot of stability. So I prefer OpenVZ, Linux-Vserver.org and, since it is now the officially sanctioned solution: LXC. On the server side everything is Linux anyways. So why should I virtualize hardware, when I can use the perfectly good Linux kernel, which is very fast and very stable and just virtualize the userland? I get more perfomance AND more stability.

more than 3 years ago

Amazon App Store 'Rotten To the Core,' Says Dev

Britz It DID hurt them! (346 comments)

> This hasn't been a financial success, but it's not hurt them that badly either.

Actually it did hurt them bad. They sold something like 2 copies (at 2 bucks) a day afterward, but had to buy freakin *new* servers (at what? $1000 bucks) just to support all the new people.

more than 3 years ago

Windows XP Market Share Finally Falls Below 50%

Britz No ui upgrade since Win95 (425 comments)

Partially for monopoly reasons the computer has not seen any major ui revision since Win95. XP brought the stability to that ui. Maybe because of competition from OO.org (I dunno), the Office division of MS was able to push through a minor overhaul. The ribbon interface for Office 2007. Which finally made a change from Office 95. Now it's 2011 and we are still waiting to see anything on the ui front.

Though I do believe Microsoft will do something minor in Windows 8, because they want to make it tablet friendly.

Note that I didn't comment wether or not the ribbon interface is better. Personally I certainly think so, but I didn't want to get into that discussion.

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Easiest Linux Distro For a Newbie

Britz Re:Ubuntu + VMWare Player (622 comments)

What Win7 image are you using? I seriously didn't know Win7 came with an official option to put it on a usb stick for install. Also: How big does the stick have to be?

Now when you install Linux, you arrive at a machine ready to go. With office and internet applications already installed. When I install any version of Windows I will still need to install drivers and applications afterwards. If you don't have a fresh install, but a new machine and/or a restore to factory you can't start installing, but rather need to start removing crapware, some of which (like anti Virus) will ask you for reboots.

> I don't know why I still consider this a technical forum.

It's not really, but this discussion is clearly going OVER your head, not under.

> but I assume it's better now so I won't condem the entire Linux platform on my bad experience (ancient history now

> That doesn't make Windows a less viable platform or me ignorant on the available options.

It actually does if you don't have any recent experience on Linux.

more than 3 years ago

9 Features We May See In Ubuntu 11.10

Britz Re:Let's hope for another radical GUI change! (281 comments)

I personally use Debian for servers and my personal desktop and it IS awsome. Though you have to know what you are doing. I am using apt-pinning to get some recent packages. KDE packages in stable have numerous bugs that are fixed in the current KDE for example and I would like to pull in the KDE from experimental and so far have not been able to, because apt pinning sounds better than it sometimes works.

If you want fresh stuff you can always use Kubuntu (KDE), Xubuntu (XFCE) or Lubuntu (LXDE).

That being said, there are numerous tutorials on the web on how to use either Gnome2 or Gnome3 with the default Gnome Shell instead of Unity on Ubuntu Natty. So where is your problem?

If enough people end up liking the default Gnome3 shell they might even create an Ubuntu spin of their own.

more than 3 years ago

Microsoft To Support CentOS Linux In Hyper-V

Britz What about para-virtualization? (291 comments)

OpenVZ (Virtuozzo) and Linux-VServer used to be the big names in virtualization. Now Linux has LXC in the mainline kernel. Virtualization with Xen and KVM are nice. But when you want to run Linux in virtualized guests you get a much better performance with para virtualization.

Xen and KVM are useful is you want to run Windows as a guest. But for Linux guests I really recommend the above.

But why would you buy a commercial Hyper-V? VMware is there. VirtualBox has excellent support for Windows hosts and is free. I don't see how Microsoft could make any headway with all the excellent products with every ninche (commercial, open source, free, expensive) already taken.

more than 3 years ago

Blizzard Unveils Custom StarCraft 2 Game Types, Encourages Map Design

Britz Blizzard s*cks! (83 comments)

I am a pretty big rts fan. Even though I don't play all that much computer games and even though I run Debian on my desktops I actually purchased copies of Warcraft III and Starcaft. I believe those are among the very few games I ever bought. And the only Windows games I bought within the last ten years (I got myself Tribes 2 and Civilization CTP from Loki and UT2004, all for Linux). I was really looking forward to Starcraft 2 and even considered a Windows partition or a purchase of Crossover Games (Wine on steroids for money). Since I don't follow game news I never thought Blizzard would become one of THOSE companies.

I will definitely buy a copy of Starcarft 2 as soon as I can play it whenever and whoever I want. But now? I tell my friends not to buy Blizzard anymore. They are free to pirate that crap.
I thought Blizzard got it, when a recent (within the last two years or so) patch for Warcraft III removed the need to have an original cd in the cd drive bay. I guess I was wrong. Blizzard can kiss my behind.

more than 4 years ago


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