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Microsoft Lobby Denies the State of Chile Access To Free Software

JaredOfEuropa Re:Publicly Funded Governments (66 comments)

There are many reasons why proprietary software is sometimes the better choice. In some cases the TCO will be lower, or the software is easier to use for office workers (like it or not, Windows / Office is pretty much what employees will already be familiar with). It may be easier to find support staff for some proprietary software. And in some cases, the proprietary software will simply be of better quality, more reliable, or a better functional fit. Also, I fail to see why license fees are evil.

With that said, I think governments should use open standards for data, document storage and interfaces where available, and avoid products (proprietary or otherwise) that do not support such standards.

2 hours ago

Solar Plant Sets Birds On Fire As They Fly Overhead

JaredOfEuropa Re:god dammit. (479 comments)

Which bird gets killed? A few cats offing 100 pigeons (essentially flying rats) isn't as bad as this thing zapping one of the last bald eagles.


Solar Plant Sets Birds On Fire As They Fly Overhead

JaredOfEuropa Re:god dammit. (479 comments)

I'm trying to think of the name of the thin, extremely fragile layer of crust on undisturbed desert ground that environmental groups want to shut down land so people won't walk on it.

That's cryptobiotic soil, I think. Worth preserving, but I think we can stand to lose a few square miles of it in exchange for power for 100k+ homes. This isn't random people walking or driving over it for a moment and then leaving, this is permanently putting a piece of desert to useful work.


Phoenix Introduces Draft Ordinance To Criminalize Certain Drone Uses

JaredOfEuropa Re:Redundant laws weaken the system (195 comments)

Our problem is we have a caste that calls themselves "lawmakers" and so all they want to do is make new laws.

Unsurprising, when you are ruled by lawyers. Poking around demographics on Congress, we find about 40% of members with a law degree (over 50% in the Senate). In contrast, only 2% of them are scientists or engineers...

2 days ago

Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

JaredOfEuropa Re:Surprise? (568 comments)

Users will compare the office environment with what they know, which is usually Windows, and usually a version that isn't locked down thus giving a better experience. They will complain, it's inevitable. How they complain about the office setup and whom/what they blame for it depends on the situation:
- Windows at work: "Why can't our crap IT department make this simple stuff work properly, if I can do it at home?"
- Linux at work: "Why are we even using this cockamamie hippie software, instead of Windows which the rest of the world is using?"

There are good reasons for managers to go with MS, SAP, IBM. For the manager, they are safe choices; the decision to select any of these vendors is unlikely to be challenged. The Windows situation will only give him a stick to beat IT with, or at best some leverage to wring a discount or some free consultancy from MS. In case of Linux, it provides an opportunity to attack the decision to go with Linux itself. If the guy happens to be against Linux, or talked to MS about a sweet deal involving a move of their Euro HQ to Munich for example, those user complaints will come in very handy indeed.

2 days ago

Selectable Ethics For Robotic Cars and the Possibility of a Robot Car Bomb

JaredOfEuropa Re:Not really game changing (239 comments)

Modded "flamebait", but you're sort of right. The hard part of blowing something up is getting the cash together, obtaining enough explosives, and finding the right target and opportunity, all that without having some security agency get wind of your plans. Finding some poor deluded soul willing to blow himself up for a crappy cause is actually the easy part, especially if you can draw from a pool of religious nuts. And islam has plenty of those, sad to say.

3 days ago

Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers

JaredOfEuropa Re:us other engineers matter, too (371 comments)

On the face of it, that makes a lot of sense, but in practice it is rarely that simple. If a team sees a 10% increase in productivity, it's often the manager who takes credit, but often enough it's due to that old boy engineer or that senior business analyst helping out the rest of the team and making things more efficient. Unsurprisingly, to make engineers work better you often need an engineer, not a generic manager. This is the difference between managers and leaders, and it's also why I think training (*real* training) and coaching are so important (and, like the engineer, they are undervalued by management). If you're a manager and you think that your staff comes fully equipped for the job, with up to date skills and knowledge of standards, best practices and procedures, think again.

4 days ago

Gartner: Internet of Things Has Reached Hype Peak

JaredOfEuropa Re:Gartner cynic here - enlighten me (98 comments)

I'm a cynic as well, though I do read their reports from time to time (our company has access to them).

The value of these reports is not insighful conclusions, but in the research that "proofs" those conclusions. Let's face it, everybody knows that cloud-based computing has gone mainstream: it's been around for a while now, there are various stable, standardized and cheap services available for it, and many large companies already have good experience in using cloud resources, even though they have some issues from time to time. What Gartner does is put some numbers to those common insights: how many services, how have cost and competition evolved, what standards have emerged, how many companies actually use it and for what % of their business, anyone using it for business critical stuff, what kind of issues have they experienced, etc.

You're not going to learn anything amazing from Gartner reports, but there is a reason that even smart managers look at these reports to judge market readiness or trends: they provide evidence to support what you probably already knew, and it's a lot better evidence than what Google punters can come up with.

about a week ago

Patents That Kill

JaredOfEuropa Re:And this is the same for copyrights. (239 comments)

It's silly to punish authors who have a big hit when they are young, by cutting short the copyright on their works, solely because there may be other writers who become successful only late in their life. A life+ copyright doesn't punish late bloomers, only their heirs. And the purpose of copyright is not to ensure an income for writers' offspring, in fact I think the system should be life, not life+. The heirs are welcome to whatever fortune a writer is able to amass, but not to the IP.

about two weeks ago

Microsoft Surface Drowning?

JaredOfEuropa Re:It's a still a nice PC. (337 comments)

I agree, this is a nice device and I am considering getting one as well to replace my aging laptop. I've had my hands on a model 2 which got me interested... for work-related stuff on the go, I still prefer Windows over OSX, Linux, iOS or Android, despite a few flaws.

The only thing that comes to mind after seeing those outdoor pictures in the article: please give us a model with a matte display. I dislike glossy screens in general, but on tablets that will probably be used outside in the sun they are positively horrible. In the photos you can hardly see the screen for all the glare.

about two weeks ago

Silent Circle's Blackphone Exploited at Def Con

JaredOfEuropa Re:Direct user consent? (46 comments)

The only factors are how long it's out of your possession and how many obstacles are in the way of compromising it.

Exactly. So in order to secure your phone, you want to throw as many obstacles in the path of the thief as possible.
PIN lock? Good.
PIN lock w/ 3 attempts and automatic wipe after? Better.
Automatic wipe if the phone has not been unlocked in a certain period of time? Even better.
Allowing unlock after a certain amount of time only if the phone can contact a certain server (so it can receive and a remote wipe command if one was issued)? Better still.
Data-at-rest is encrypted? It better be.

To get past security measures like these, you need a fair amount of skill and sophisticated tools. Casual thieves, law enforcement and probably many intelligence agencies will have a pretty hard time getting at this data. The NSA, who knows. But if there's a root exploit that only relies on the ability to hook up your phone to a PC, all of the above is pointless, and any punk off the street will be able to get at your stuff.

about two weeks ago

Silent Circle's Blackphone Exploited at Def Con

JaredOfEuropa Direct user consent? (46 comments)

I read somewhere else that the remaining vulnerability involved "plugging the phone into a PC". A modified charger might exploit the vulnerability equally well, and it already sounds a lot worse than requiring my direct consent.

For some people (upper management, dissidents and the like), secure communication is not sufficient, they also need the phone to remain secure if it is lost or stolen. If having posession of the phone is the only thing that stands in the way of rooting it using this exploit, it is a serious flaw indeed.

about two weeks ago

Lionsgate Sues Limetorrents,, and Others Over Expendables 3 Leak

JaredOfEuropa Re:The DHS Is On The Case (207 comments)

Italian Fascism had very little to do with rounding up and slaughtering of millions. I think you're confusing fascist Italy with nazi Germany.

With that said, the USA is a far cry from a totalitarian fascist state; they certainly have not taken the underlying ideology to heart. However, there certainly are some aspects that are creeping in the practice if not the ideals of US government, it seems. That was GPs point, I believe.

about three weeks ago

Linus Torvalds: "GCC 4.9.0 Seems To Be Terminally Broken"

JaredOfEuropa Re:I know you're trying to be funny, but... (739 comments)

Your job (most jobs anyway) includes working with others. Yes, fucking up too often will ultimately get you fired, but if you think a sterling reputation as a coder will let you get away with being an a-hole, think again. Abrasive personalities and prima-donna attitudes can ruin a team just as badly as a poor coder, and if you regularly rip into other developers in public for making mistakes, you will likely be the one being called in for a serious conversation with your manager.

In case of Linux kernel development, Linus doesn't have one of course, he pretty much is the CEO on that endeavor.

about three weeks ago

Linus Torvalds: "GCC 4.9.0 Seems To Be Terminally Broken"

JaredOfEuropa Re:I know you're trying to be funny, but... (739 comments)

This has nothing to do with political correctness; this has to do with being polite and professional. A useful attitude when dealing with other people, and that goes double when you are a public figure whose word carries a lot of weight. You and he may think being abusive is fine and gets results, well, more power to you. But it also means people will simply start avoiding you and your projects.

6 years ago I set myself a goal that I have reached since: to never work for any asshole again, and to set myself up so that I can comfortably walk away from any job. Now I know I can walk away, and it makes a world of difference in the way I approach my work. My managers also know it, and it makes a difference there too, and in my view I enjoy an altogether healthier working relationship with them. The world needs Linus more than it needs most of us, but that doesn't mean any of us have to stand there and take his abuse while kowtowing to him. The guy needs a good dose of humility.

about three weeks ago

Siberian Discovery Suggests Almost All Dinosaurs Were Feathered

JaredOfEuropa Re:Dang... (139 comments)

Not to mention the modifications we have to make to the creationist parks.

about a month ago

How a Solar Storm Two Years Ago Nearly Caused a Catastrophe On Earth

JaredOfEuropa Re:Hardened electronics (212 comments)

From what I understand of the effects of solar flare, there's no point in hardening electronics against them as the effects caused in short conductor runs are minimal. It affects power grids because of the length of conductors involved. Regular surge protection will protect plugged-in electronics against secondary effects on the grid.

about a month ago

"Magic Helmet" For F-35 Ready For Delivery

JaredOfEuropa Re:Outstanding... (184 comments)

What I mean is that the plane isn't even in service yet.

That's the problem. My country decided to buy these things and participate in the development as a level 2 partner. That has some advantages, and at the time was cheaper than buying off the shelf, plus we got a good deal of offset orders for our own aerospace industry. However, the projected cost per plane has already increased by 45%, and it's still not clear how much the final sticker price will be, or how the plane will perform.

The one big advantage of buying off the shelf is: you know what you're getting and at what price. However I also know how the Dutch military likes to buy stuff: off the shelf is never good enough, and every design needs "to be peed on", as the expression goes, meaning everyone must be allowed to give input as if marking their territory.

about a month ago

Will Your Next Car Be Covered In Morphing Dimples?

JaredOfEuropa Re:I guess the dimples are ok (138 comments)

I read "morphine dimples" at first. Then I got disappointed.

about a month ago

"Magic Helmet" For F-35 Ready For Delivery

JaredOfEuropa Outstanding... (184 comments)

Now all we need is a functional aircraft...

about a month ago


JaredOfEuropa hasn't submitted any stories.



Packaging, the scourge of the 21st century

JaredOfEuropa JaredOfEuropa writes  |  more than 5 years ago Packaging, in the broadest sense of the word, is starting to really piss me off.

Let's start with physical packaging. Whatever happened to the days when a fish would be packaged in yesterday's paper, small parts (screws and bolts) came in a little cardboard box or paper bag, and some stuff wouldn't be packaged at all? These days, some packaging (most notably the so called blister packaging) can be deathly dangerous to open. I'd like to propose one single, simple rule for packaging: one should be able to open it by hand. I'll make two exceptions: stuff that is notoriously easy to steal can go into blister packs, and it's acceptable to require a knife, key or any old sharp implement to cut packing tape.

Then there's labelling and pricing. Another simple rule: either provide a label or price tag that comes off clean, or don't label at all. When I buy a present for someone, a book, a DVD, a bit of wood that I intend to finish properly, a glass ornament, whatever, I would very much like the object in question to look nice. So why is it that shops insist on using labels that will tear when removed, and will leave a nasty gooey residy that won't come off no matter what? I can kind of understand putting such labels on packaging or on paperbacks... but not on expensive gifts.

And finally, there's the matter of "packaging" software. Some more rules:
- I DO NOT WANT software that I run only "on demand" to install some resident "helper" software to check for updates or whatever. You can check for updates when I start your program. Are you listening, Apple?
- I DO NOT WANT to answer the same questions over and over again whenever I install an update of your software. An update should be just that: replace the software that is already there with no questions asked; do not treat it as a more or less fresh reinstall. Are you listening, Zone Labs / Checkpoint?

Major issues to be sure... Come to think of it, if this is what I worry about, I suppose I have a pretty good life.


Cat pictures!

JaredOfEuropa JaredOfEuropa writes  |  more than 10 years ago *sigh* No words of wisdom or idle banter to write in the journal today. Nevertheless, the question on my last journal entry has been answered, so time to push it off the top.

Today, I offer the bored reader who aimlessly wandered into here: cat pictures of Dolly and Mickey

These two little furballs are my cats. Enjoy!


Hmm, stupidity

JaredOfEuropa JaredOfEuropa writes  |  more than 10 years ago "Against stupidity the very gods themselves contend in vain". If only I could remember who uttered this particular wisdom.


Suspicious white dot in Slashdot

JaredOfEuropa JaredOfEuropa writes  |  more than 11 years ago So... what is this funny little white dot that appears on the slashdot pages just under the banner ad? *pokes the dot* I don't trust you.


JaredOfEuropa JaredOfEuropa writes  |  more than 11 years ago As someone pointed out, it should be

find ~your -name '*base*' | xargs chown us

instead of

chown -R us ~your/*base*
as my sig currently reads. I'll change it later, I suppose...


Redundant posts...

JaredOfEuropa JaredOfEuropa writes  |  more than 11 years ago From now on, these will automatically be metamoderated 'unfair'. Don't waste your moderator points on insightful posts that happen to be dupes. Mod some other insightfull stuff up, or mod the fluff down. That is all


Most hated words and terms

JaredOfEuropa JaredOfEuropa writes  |  more than 11 years ago Boredom sets in once again, work is slow today. Anyways... There's a few annoying words that have wriggled their way into everyday idiom, at least in some circles. My personal top 3 of most hated ones.

3) Cracker. The rest of the world calls such a person a hacker, and will continue to use this word, no matter how much you try and drill the hacker/cracker distinction into them. Give it up already.

2) Wardriving. A term that fails in so many ways to convey what it actually means, and makes most people think of something having to do with Osama bin Laden.

1) Blog. An odd way to abbreviate the word 'weblog', and one that sounds like sicking up at that. Blog. Blogging. Yeck. Someone please come up with a better and nicer-sounding word.


Slashdot oddities...

JaredOfEuropa JaredOfEuropa writes  |  more than 11 years ago Who the hell is Saskboy (id 600063) and what is he doing on my "preferences" page?

Also... one begins to wonder where my moderator points are after over a year of being at this place. What gives? (and yes, I did check the "want to moderate" box).

Oh well, time for another bottle of wine

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