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Comments

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F-Secure: Xiaomi Smartphones Do Secretly Steal Your Data

ThePhilips Re:So a non-denial denial (164 comments)

Mi Cloud is turned off, [...]

Oops! (Though I'm still doubtful, frankly.)

Your Android handset certainly does not do this,

Well, actually, it does. Because Android to be useable requires Google account. And when you create a Google account, Google conveniently activate the "Sync", IOW, sending your contacts, appointments, messages, etc - for archive purposed - to the Google servers.

and not without permission and it is *not* acceptable.

Buried in the EULA is not the same as giving an explicit permission. Having a crippled brick instead of the phone serves is a good incentive to "give the permission" to be spied on.

As others have said: do not put any sensitive information on the phone. IMO, with the current business around private information, masquerading as the "social" networking, I wouldn't even put the encrypted files on the smartphones.

about two weeks ago
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F-Secure: Xiaomi Smartphones Do Secretly Steal Your Data

ThePhilips Re:So a non-denial denial (164 comments)

"We saw that on startup, the phone sent the telco name to the server api.account.xiaomi.com. It also sent IMEI and phone number to the same server," F-Secure said.

When my Android phone starts, I'm pretty sure it sends the same shit to api.account.google.com or some such. And probably to api.account.samsung.com. Because I have Google and Samsung accounts and I'm logged in by default.

Has the F-Secure tried to, as article mentions, disable the Mi Cloud account? Probably not. Because it wouldn't have been in the news then.

When news comes from "security" consultancies, I frankly often side with the manufacturers. The ensuing hype only promotes the "consultancies" - and does nothing positive for the manufacturers. Why would they (manufacturers) add something to the phone to help promote the "consultancies"?!

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Life Beyond the WRT54G Series?

ThePhilips Re:The canonical best household router is (427 comments)

When asking around for my WRT54G, not once I got advise that the only router matching the stability is the Apple AirPort.

Then you need to change the people you are asking or at least enlarge it to people beyond those who's biggest joy is hacking access points.

I had to exclude this category of people, because to many of them router reboots is a daily routine.

Just like that I had almost purchased the brand new Asus AC66U(?). A person on forums praised every feature, general performance and stability. But in later comments just casually dropped that if you use wi-fi for longer than two hours continuously, wireless dies and router autoreboots. But that's totally OK, because he uses it for movie streaming and a rare movie is two hours long! Bonus: the router is freshly started!! (No, I'm not making it up.)

When all is equal, I'd rather pick the device that Just Works(tm) than the one I can tweak to no end, but it fails periodically.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Life Beyond the WRT54G Series?

ThePhilips Re:DD-WRT's information (427 comments)

That's only half of it. And lesser at that.

WRT54G is well known for its stability and reliability.

I bet half of the routers on the "supported devices" lists wouldn't even manage the wi-fi ping test: simply ping the router for several hours. The junk hardware would overheat and reboot. The "better" would only reset the wireless, killing other connections in the process.

Only few devices actually manage to survive pretty normal traffic pattern of power users: whole day of streaming movies and music over wireless plus some P2P traffic over wired, some of it potentially wrapped up in some VPN. The quest is to find the devices, which are (1) proven to work and (2) still sold.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Life Beyond the WRT54G Series?

ThePhilips Re:The canonical best household router is (427 comments)

Doesn't sound like it.

When asking around for my WRT54G, not once I got advise that the only router matching the stability is the Apple AirPort. They are more expensive, comparatively limited in function - but whatever traffic you throw at it, however long, just like the WRT54G, it simply handles it without outages.

I was also looking at the Asus RT-N66 series, the second top rated advise I got, but they still have stability problems if you overload them. And not all devices/revisions are compatible to tomato/open-wrt/etc too.

Otherwise, most routers are still suspect to the overhead + auto-reboot cycles. Not mentions the long-term Wi-Fi transfer problems. Pretty sad state of the affairs, really.

about two weeks ago
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Comparison: Linux Text Editors

ThePhilips Re: You're welcome to them. (402 comments)

This is probably the most unjustified complain you throw. The tags support in VIM is very good - if you bothered to RTFM. Literally every book and tutorial describe these highly sophisticated and inexplicable 3 steps involved: install the exuberant ctags, put into the .vimrc the line ":set tags=tags;/", and finally run "ctags -R ." in the root of the project.

Problem is not VIM, it is the ctags. Ctags just doesn't work - good enough for me. I have used it, and it just goes berserk with #defines, files which are not .h or .c (xml rules or binary blobs, etc.).

Yes. But this is more of the problem with the programming language itself. Or better: practices, the project uses.

For example, in my current project, ctags and Eclipse both do excellent job of indexing the 100% C code base. Because there are actually strict guidelines relating the preprocessor and code formatting. In my previous project, a C++ one, the hacks had used macro definition (and redefinitions) not only for the class names, but also for the namespaces, including the "using" clause. No indexer could ever parse it and some classes and functions were never visible in the index.

In the end, I found that for as long as I can read and understand the code on first look, so can the indexer. If one writes a quirky hairy mess, then indexer probably is not even the biggest issue.

about three weeks ago
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Lionsgate Sues Limetorrents, Played.to, and Others Over Expendables 3 Leak

ThePhilips Re:There's a "Has-Bens 3"? (207 comments)

That's probably why they have leaked it.

Now they use the court case to both play innocent and maintain presence in the news.

It's a win-win for them.

about three weeks ago
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Comparison: Linux Text Editors

ThePhilips Re: You're welcome to them. (402 comments)

The problem with Vim (and Emacs) is that they do not support anything modern, not even ctrl-z/x/c/v.

VIM has the "VIM Easy" mode, which when used on MSWindows would do Ctrl-Z/X/C/V out of box. And even select text when holding Shift and moving around with cursor keys.

Shortcut to VIM Easy is preinstalled. If you complain about it, then you probably never really used the VIM. Or are you complaining about the *NIX "vi"?

For programming Eclipse or NetBeans or Visual Studio is just miles away what of vi/emacs can do, especially out of the box.

The problem for the professionals is not what the IDE can do out of box, but what can it be made to do. Eclipse or NetBeans or Visual Studio - all suck horribly at everything for what there is no button premade. And when there is a button for everything - they suck at finding this right button.

But I'm not planning to contest the point that VIM is not IDE. No, it is not "VIM is bad IDE" - it is "VIM is not IDE". (This is different for Emacs, though: it is an IDE and then some more. One needs to learn it. And lack of good in-depth tutorials is actually what turned me off from the Emacs.)

The thing about VIM is that it integrates nicely with the system, instead of reinventing it. And it also provides great automation facilities with macros, mappings or scripts. They are fairly simple and can be learned in 1-2 weeks, which is a small price to pay for the ability to control 100% of your text editor. That is the capability no other editor offers.

To get vi/emacs to work nearly as good as good IDE is just too big a job.

(Please do not say "vi" when you really mean "VIM".)

In the project Neovim the work going on to make the Lua the built-in scripting language and improve VIM's plug-in framework. All that to specifically allow to create IDE based the VIM. (Though in my opinion, the direction of the Neovim effort is misguided. They should have went in direction of allowing VIM to be easily embeddable into other applications.)

So in the future, there might be an IDE based on VIM. But not right now.

For example NetBeans ctrl-b (go to declaration). Sure, you can install ctags, configure it, run it, tinker with it, tinker some more, add custom rules, search net, rinse-and-repeat and eventually you'll get something resembling ctrl-b, but not quite the same.

This is probably the most unjustified complain you throw. The tags support in VIM is very good - if you bothered to RTFM. Literally every book and tutorial describe these highly sophisticated and inexplicable 3 steps involved: install the exuberant ctags, put into the .vimrc the line ":set tags=tags;/", and finally run "ctags -R ." in the root of the project.

If you use plugins like YouCompleteMe, they would do it for you automagically.

In the end, if you can't bother to read the VIM's help (which is by far the best help for a text editor there is out there) then VIM is definitely not for you.

about three weeks ago
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Comparison: Linux Text Editors

ThePhilips Interactivity? (402 comments)

They should have tested interactivity of the editors. Though in synthetic test environment that would have been probably an impossible task.

I'm still using the VIM (terminal version, occasionally the GUI gvim-athena) because this is the only combination which doesn't have the delays.

Few years back I have tried the Kate/Kdevelop, Gedit and Eclipse, and they still had the same thing in common: occasionally GUI would freeze for couple hundred milliseconds, typed text at first goes nowhere and then suddenly pops in the editor window.(*)

It's probably not a big deal for a mouse person. But for a keyboard person (or a touch-typist), when there is no visible indication of something happening, the delays are simply too irritating.

VIM (in xterm) still remain my champion of text editing. Yes, xterm, because the "modern" terminals, especially with tabs open, not only prone to the same GUI delays, but they also prone to losing the focus (like in: you switch back to the terminal, start typing but nothing happens, click with the mouse inside the terminal window and start typing again - and lo and behold it finally works).

(*) Disabling the "composing" window managers helps greatly, but doesn't eliminate the delays completely.

about three weeks ago
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Vint Cerf on Why Programmers Don't Join the ACM

ThePhilips Re:what? (213 comments)

What the hell is ACM and why would it benefit me to join them?

If you were a halfway competent software developer, you'd already know, and if you were an elite software developer, you'd already have joined...

I'm no elite, but as a competent software developer, all I know about ACM is that they are a paywalled website.

Why would I chose to spend time investigating one particular paywalled site over the dozen others? They all look the same to me.

Most of computer science research is published publicly on Internet anyway. On several occasions, when my friends from universities were getting paywalled articles printed for me, I was finding out that I have seen the article already freely before on the internet.

Usefull/non-useful ratio on the paywalled articles IME isn't sufficiently different from the plain web search to justify the price. I still have to waste my time grepping through all the junk.

I might pay for somebody to actually select the founding and important articles. But I'm yet to hear about an organization which offers such service. (And the academia where being published still bears the highly exaggerated value, and 90% of articles are nothing but the quoting of the quoted, almost guarantees that the service wouldn't be affordable.)

about three weeks ago
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Amazon's eBook Math

ThePhilips Re:Disengenous (306 comments)

Amazon 30% is taking the piss

When Amazon takes 30%, everybody's up in arms.

When publishers take 95% or more, it's fine, the business is as usual.

We probably should start calling that "American logic". Because even "women logic" is above the level.

about three weeks ago
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Which Is Better, Adblock Or Adblock Plus?

ThePhilips Re:None of them. (436 comments)

How about the fact that Chrome has an up to date implementation of Flash that continues to get security updates... And don't tell me I don't need flash, you'll be just moving the goalposts with your argument.

That is somewhat ironic, since I find video quality of Google's own YouTube to be the worst with the Google's own Chrome. Either way - HTML5 or Flash - in Chrome sometimes HD videos are shown highly pixelated. Works fine - everyt time - in Fx and IE.

Anyway, FlashBlock (which can also be simulated with the AdBlock), side-steps most of the Flash-related security problems.

about three weeks ago
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Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

ThePhilips Lots of people... (544 comments)

Lots of people want physical home/back buttons.

Lots of people also want non-glossy screen.

Lots of people *need* resistive touch-screen, because capacitive ones can't be used in gloves.

But all that doesn't mean that it is going to happen. Production/etc moved to Asia - distance between customer and manufacturer is as great as it ever was.

I personally do not expect thing to get better.

about a month ago
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Math, Programming, and Language Learning

ThePhilips Re:I, in turn, disagree (241 comments)

Man, I haven't even mentioned the numerical computing. It is an exception, because that's where programming serves the math, not the other way around.

In numerical computing, ironically, there is very little overlap between the math methods used in the development and math methods used for the goal of the development. Programs there often look more like a math formula. Developers simply skip the "computer science" as a whole and use the computers (with help of specialized libraries) as almost pure calculators.

As an exception, it is simply obscures the subject of the discussion.

The talk here is about what precisely from the math is used in general software development. (IOW, math serves the programming.) My personal experience, having majored in the applied math 15 years ago, is that by studying math one learns the methods to approach the real world problems. "Learns" is a weak word. The methods are implanted, grafted (or even brandmarked) onto the brain. Normal person's brain go into freeze when faced with thousands pages of specification. Person with math background, already switched into "divide and conquer" mode, and probably has already dismissed the >90% of it as trivial, incremental and derivative. (Some people learn it one their own. But studying math is definitely a nice shortcut to get there faster and earlier.) But the math in itself, either discrete/algebra or analysis or numerical, is very very rarely needed.

about a month ago
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Math, Programming, and Language Learning

ThePhilips Re:I disagree (241 comments)

discrete math

Algebra?

Then it is fine. I would expect programmers to struggle with classical math geared toward physics. That's perfectly logical: it is easier for people who come from physics because they understand the applications. And vice versa: physicists have huge problems with discrete math, where you can't round or generalize everything to hell.

Otherwise, it was repeated many times before. The math in itself is not as useful as studying math is. Math doesn't relate to software development directly - but mathematical methods and approaches translate often one to one.

Studying math is fitness for the brains and method to the fitness.

P.S. But it doesn't mean that people who are good at math are good at programming too. Theoretical math != applied math. I have seen profs who could invent a new proof for theorem on a whim (forgotten notes), but struggled to implement something as trivial as a quick sort.

about a month ago
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Google Reader: One Year Later

ThePhilips Re:I miss it. (132 comments)

InoReader did the trick for me. Using it for over the year now. So far - no problems whatsoever.

about a month and a half ago
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Meet Carla Shroder's New Favorite GUI-Textmode Hybrid Shell, Xiki

ThePhilips Re:Next Big Thing! (176 comments)

I've used emacs for that (editing 'uneditable' things in the buffer and then re-executing). See my post above - handy link here

OK. You completely miss the point.

Emacs' shell wrapper is just that: shell wrapper. Typing anywhere but at command prompt makes no sense. Command goes at the bottom. Output after it. Command at the bottom. Output. Rinse and repeat. You can't have (a) commands/outputs out of order, (b) non-shell commands or (c) re-execute in-place part of output as command.

Probably you simply never met with such problems so it is hard for you to even realize where from I'm (and apparently authors of xiki are) coming.

about 2 months ago
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Meet Carla Shroder's New Favorite GUI-Textmode Hybrid Shell, Xiki

ThePhilips Re:Next Big Thing! (176 comments)

I dunno about the rest, but for filesystem browsing you can use vim :e on a directory which vim will then let you navigate

Well, you really have to try it first to understand the difference.

Browsing a directory in VIM - ':E' - shows you the content of directory in a buffer. What xiki demo shows is more of ^X^F (because you edit the path right in the editor window, with the rest of your text) but allowing you to actually dynamically run ^X^F on different parts of the dir/file name, changing content of the window accordingly. IOW, while ':E' is a dedicated browser, xiki does something like ^X^F to allow to edit/browse/etc inline, right in the middle of the text file, at any time when you need it.

And that's where the "innovation" comes. The tools to do all the things exist. But they all have different (and typically graphical) user interfaces. Xiki/etc try to combine the tools by putting them into an text editor, and making their output interactive and/or ready to be fed to the another tool. Because despite all the chrome, the basic nature of the content of the editor's window doesn't change: it is plain text. Commands are just text lines. Output are just text lines. It all becomes alive when special macro is run, which looks at the current line and tries to decide what to do with it.

Another way to look at it, and the way I often use my VIM hack, is that the same text file serves dual purpose: it is at the same time the script and the output of the script. The script and its output are interleaved. (That for example allows a very nice minor perk: rerun any command, flip between undo/redo and see the differences between then and now.)

about 2 months ago
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Meet Carla Shroder's New Favorite GUI-Textmode Hybrid Shell, Xiki

ThePhilips Re:Next Big Thing! (176 comments)

Can you describe something that Xiki can do that cannot be done with `:r!`?

I can't. Because I do not use Xiki. I use something much simpler coded in VIM.

But the paradigm as I use it, in VIM terms: the command and the output are kept in the same editor window. You can apply exiting VIM functions to both - commands and output. You can save and load both at the same time - since in the essence it is an ordinary text file. With a special ':g//' I can rerun all the statements in file at once. Or I can selectively rerun only particular ones by the mask. I can ':w' and it is all made persistent. (My small creation was born first as a text file to keep the shell pipelines I use often. But with a VIM macro I have integrated also the output of the commands into the file. And then I given names to the commands. And then I allowed in pipes to refer to other pipes by the given names. After adding folding, it is still mostly looks like a text file with shell pipelines. Replaced bunch of terminals I used to keep open to run small monitoring/diagnostic commands. And a calculator, which I use most often (iow, a text file full of formulas, which I can copy/paste/modify and recalculate).)

Xiki, being a cross of Ruby and a text editor, apparently does more: it recognizes and presents as interactive not only the shell commands, but also the file system hierarchy, the Ruby code, the SQL statements, the CSS, the HTML, and probably more.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

ThePhilips (752041) writes "Interesting C|Net piece How GPL fits in with the future of antitrust regulation about case which wanted to challenge GPL on anti-trust grounds. Quotes:

The plaintiff in the case, Daniel Wallace, has wanted to compete with Linux by offering a derivative work or by writing an operating system from the ground up. He argued that he has been barred from doing so, while Linux and its derivatives can be obtained at no charge. He asserted that IBM, Red Hat and Novell have conspired to eliminate competition in the operating-system market by making Linux available at an "unbeatable" price: free.

The court found Wallace's theory to be "faulty substantively." The decision pointed out that "the goal of antitrust law is to use rivalry to keep prices low for consumers' benefit." Here, the court concluded that Wallace sought to employ "antitrust law to drive prices up," which would "turn (antitrust law) on its head."

Common sense prevailed.

"
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ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

ThePhilips (752041) writes "OpenDocument Fellowship has done some interoperability testing. Sadly, no ODF suit/application has as of yet received "5 out of 5 stars" conformance/interoperability mark.

KOffice and OO.o are noted as having problems with each other documents - specifically images. Or to put it bluntly, goal of interoperability is more than just far away. But at moment it is clear that price is major driving force behind the office suits so interoperability apparently had been lowered to second priority.

I wonder how would OASIS.org handle interoperability of ODF suits in future. Apparently interoperability with M$Office is still higher in list of OO.o priorities - compared to fellow ODF suits / standalone applications.

P.S.

Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop
No scoops, just botherdom of real world."
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ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

ThePhilips (752041) writes "I recently tried to make simple QuickRef document for GNU/Arch. QuickRef in theory is simple document which encompass list of often used commands of specific tool. I wanted to create such one in ODT using OpenOffice.org 2.0 under (sorry) Windows.

It's all started Okay. But after typing few lines, I got tired of OO.o2 bug: one-two minute freezE when opening fonts dialog (It happens sometime when you have several documents open in OO.o for long period of time.)

I bravely decided that KOffice 1.5 would do better job, so I fired up VMware Player (we are not allowed to have Linux in office - free VMware is Ok) with Debian. First problem appeared - fonts. Windows and Linux do not have same fonts. Document with Times New Roman and Courier New looked ugly, until I replaced M$Windows fonts with native Linux ones - Bitstream Serif/Sans/Mono.

Then second problem surfaced: KOffice 1.5 apparently doesn't support character styles, but only paragraph styles. I used such style in comments intermixed in meta-code I were adding to QuickRef.

Okay. KOffice is really more pleasant to work with, compared to OO.o1/2. And bit later job was done. Now I was going to enjoy the results. "Print" > "Print to PDF" ... Oops. That looks ugly. Apparently GhostScript didn't like fonts I have used and all labels in PDFed QuickRef were misrendered: readable, but ugly. Nevermind - let's try another fonts. No luck: the same ugly result.

Okay. Nevermind. Let's bring my QuickRef back to Windows and OO.o2 - if it's inconvenient to edit document, printing/exporting framework of OO.o is definitely more stable compared to KOffice one.

FTP, copy document, fire up OO.o2 ... Holy crap. Fonts - OO.o seems used some randomization algorithm picking font substitution. Font sizes - some paragraphs or parts of them displayed with font size two times (or so) smaller than standard (and no apparent problem is visible in paragraph style dialog - all sizes globally set to 11pt, reapplying style didn't help). Italic I have used for comments got partially removed... Needless to say that next-to-perfect PDF export function of OO.o have produced exact replica of the ugly mess I have had on screen.

No matter how raw and unstable KOffice 1.x, OO.o2 dumbly breaks on document created in alternative application. The only way I have come up to fix the observed in OO.o weirdnesses - reimport thru plain text file (select all, copy to notepad, reselect in notepad and then back from notepad into OO.o) what is bogus. Does anybody ever tested OO.o with ODF generated by other tools, me wonders.

I wonder if I am only one who is trying interoperability of ODF suits. Have anybody else tryed to move ODF documents around between ODF capable suits (OO.o and KOffice are the only I know and have) with positive results? Moving documents from Windows to Linux and back?

"

Journals

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Debian as a "working" model for democracy

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Fun to watch "democracy" at work at Debian. Now 2+ years old social bug Please decide on Python interpreter packages maintainership opened by Python DDs, complaining about poor communication skills of the Python maintainer and request for his replacement, is still open. After two years, lots of emotions, personal involvement of the DPL and total silence from the actual Python maintainer being discussed, the CTTE seems to be reaching consensus that maintainer shouldn't be changed: because situation somewhat eased over the two years, but mostly because he is good guy, esp when talking to important Debian people, e.g. CTTE members. And he's also maintainer of many other important packages in Debian so pissing him off is quite dangerous. The most ironic part, is the last message (last as of writing) mentioning that the Python maintainer is again at it.

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More choice is less? PC market, I'm looking at you!

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Interview with Barry Schwartz on Colbert Report, where he "explains why people are paralyzed with indecision when they're offered too many choices."

In a way, an eye opener. I started scratching my back trying to recall when/why that happened to me. Because I had immediately the feeling that it had been happening to me more than often. And then I have recalled.

Buying the computers and PC parts.

Why I bought an Apple MacBook? Because I spent too much time trying to configure a perfect notebook for myself from HP and Lenovo. Way too many choices. Impossible to pick one. Went to the online Apple store: two product lines (plain v. pro) further differentiated by a screen size. Input screen size, input amount of money one's ready to spend - and you get the deal.

Building a desktop was similar experience. Went with cheapest (of recently released) dual-core AMD because figuring out best deal on more expensive Intel CPUs started slowly driving me nuts.

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EULAs reaches new low

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 5 years ago

As was posted on BoingBoing (originally on BoingBoing Gadgets by John Brownlee):

[...] watching Sleeping Beauty on Blu-Ray requires that you accede to over 120 pages of legal garbage in various EULAs before you can start the movie.

And Cory Doctorow has a bit more to add on other EULA abuses from Disney:

Disney has a sickness when it comes to abusive EULAs and contracts. I once had to cancel a speech at Imagineering because the legal department wanted me to sign something saying that I'd never use the word "Disney" in print again without permission. The Laugh Factory attraction at Disney World's Tomorrowland had a ridiculous EULA on a sign (you agreed to the terms by passing under the sign) (!) in which you promised that any jokes you suggested were your own and that you would indemnify Disney from any copyright suits arising from the telling of the jokes (the sign was not a joke). As though eight year olds can form contracts (they can't), by standing under signs (they can't), and as though most jokes people tell are original (they aren't).

What's next? Jokes with EULAs requiring you to laugh? And hearing the joke means that you agreed to EULA automatically?

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Six Nations "Just Say No" to ISO/IEC

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Fresh very informative entry ConsortiumInfo.org blog:

The latest blowback from the OOXML adoption process emerged last Friday in Brasilia, Brazil. This newest challenge to the continued relevance of ISO and IEC was thrown when major IT agencies of six nations - Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Paraguay, South Africa and Venezuela - signed a declaration that deploring the refusal of ISO and IEC to further review the appeals submitted by the National Bodies of four nations.

Seems, the saga isn't yet over. Andy also linked to the new initiatives Civil ICT Rights and The Hague Declaration aimed to protect privacy and free speech rights in digital age.

Main question is: might ISO be an organization governments can trust on sensitive standards? Or new body, vendor neutral, dedicated to IT standards, should be established?

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Are Linux File Systems poor performers?

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Found fancy article which is lambasting Linux File Systems as being unsuitable for servers and big loads. It is even hard to debunk article which starts like:

And what was Linux's initial target market? A Microsoft desktop replacement, of course.

and then goes into some theoretical technical problems - theoretical because no real world task is given as an example of what is affected by the problems. Since article is presented as being written by "industry consultant with 27 years experience in high-performance computing and storage" and contains unproven load of facts, it is pretty hard to swallow. Especially after many I/O intensive tasks I have accomplished on Linux. What will be /. judgment of the article?

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The 2007 International Privacy Ranking

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 6 years ago Fresh report from Privacy International is in. From key findings:

The 2007 rankings indicate an overall worsening of privacy protection across the world, reflecting an increase in surveillance and a declining performance o privacy safeguards. Surveillance initiatives initiated by Brussels have caused a substantial decline in privacy across Europe, eroding protections even in those countries that have shown a traditionally high regard for privacy. The lowest ranking countries in the survey continue to be Malaysia, Russia and China. The highest-ranking countries in 2007 are Greece, Romania and Canada. The 2006 leader, Germany, slipped significantly in the 2007 rankings, dropping from 1st to 7th place behind Portugal and Slovenia. The worst ranking EU country is the United Kingdom, which again fell into the "black" category along with Russia and Singapore. However for the first time Scotland has been given its own ranking score and performed significantly better than England & Wales. Despite political shifts in the US Congress, surveillance initiatives in the US continue to expand, affecting visitors and citizens alike.

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10 illegal job interview questions

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Interesting (and rather old story) on Tech Republic: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/10things/?p=229:

Although HR departments should be aware of questions that are illegal to ask prospective employees, some hiring managers aren't so savvy. Many illegal questions are easy for just about anyone with elementary social graces to avoid, but others might surprise you. In general, you should not ask interviewees about their age, race, national origin, marital or parental status, or disabilities.

List of innocent questions and small talk stuff is in the article. Enlightening read.

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Open source video editing still has a long way to go

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Here is Roblimo's take on Linux video editing state of affairs:

Kino captures video (although not high-definition video) competently through a FireWire port, and Cinelerra can do most video editing tasks if you are willing to spend three to ten times as long doing them as you would with Vegas or Final Cut.

I do not have a high opinion of Cinelerra. If you are accustomed to Sony Vegas, Final Cut, Avid or other high-end video editing packages, you will find Cinelerra painfully clunky. Of course, once you've gotten used to really good video editing software, you won't like most proprietary consumer-level video editing products, either, not even MainActor (for Linux or Windows), which costs more than three times as much as the much more capable Magix Movie Edit Pro (for Windows only).

I have had no luck using Jahshaka, and although I have downloaded GStreamer-based PiTiVi from the Ubuntu archives, so far I have not gotten it to start up successfully, let along do anything useful with it.

Bugs. Crashes. Clunkiness and over complication. We've seen it before.

"It's OK to spend money to make money":

I did my first "video" edits with film and razor blades, so I am often amazed at how easy it has gotten -- with high-level proprietary software -- to turn out professional-quality video work, and I am especially amazed that it now can be done on an inexpensive desktop computer instead of requiring a special, high-powered workstation. Beyond those miracles, asking for my video editing software to be free (in either sense) almost seems like too much.

Linux's state of muiltimedia support seems to be always on catch up - with three-four years lag compared to Mac/Windows solutions. Now authoring became a hot topic - and Linux development community again is seen as bunch of amateurs. What is kind of true in the context.

RTFA worth reading - if like to know that you are not alone with your video editing problems under Linux.

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eBay security conspiracy catches on with readers

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Interesting RTFA - in comments from readers section - posted on ElReg.

One of the quotes:

It looks like the hacker gained VPN access to the internal eBay network. That, along with the fact that they don't stored hashed passwords but plain text ones is a very likely explanation of what is happening. So it's just plain old fashioned hacking which leads to disastrous results because eBay's bad security design.

Seems like eBay got itself compromised. I doubt that so much of eBayer computers' got 0wned. And the fact that crackers started immediately posting scam/auctions seem to point into direction of organized criminals who penetrate eBay's intranet or buy client accounts from its employees - to sell fitting account information to scammers. Original ElReg's story here is also worth reading. Quote:

A month later, Auction Guild was back, this time with evidence that a Romanian hacker going by the name Vladuz had developed and was circulating a sophisticated tool that reads confidential information residing on eBay's internal network, allowing attackers free reign of virtually any account and a trove of information that could be used in phishing attacks.

In short: stay away from such lucrative scam target as eBay.

P.S. Screen shots of the aforementioned tool from Vladuz.

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Korea: EA "started giving away the game" FIFA Online

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Interesting report on IHT:

"FIFA 07," a video game for soccer fans, costs around 50 in Europe. In South Korea, five million players have downloaded the online version free -- yet Electronic Arts, the publisher, is cheering them on.

Realizing that it was impossible to sell "FIFA Online" in a country where piracy is rampant, Electronic Arts started giving away the game last spring. Once the players were hooked, the company offered for sale ways to gain an edge on opponents; extending the career of a star player, for instance, costs less than $1. Since May, Electronic Arts has sold 700,000 of these enhancements.

Not that EA can helps its margins with such numbers, but yet the practice - of competitive pricing - still seems more plausible one than misguided anti-piracy onslaughts. (*) I know that similar practice was used by several publishers to sell games in Russia: games were officially priced at 2-3 times what they cost on black market: $5-8 against fixed rate of $2.5 for CD/DVD of black market. It's stupid to expect people to pay they monthly income for a mere computer game.

(*) Misguided, because most of the "pirates" - consumers buying games on black market in 3rd world - are largely not affected by the anti-piracy measures: sellers are stripping them before pressing bootleg copies. It's only customers - honest ones - in main markets like US/EU/Japan struggle through the all copy-protection bumps.

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EMI is in trouble

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Funny article on Bloomberg: EMI Ousts Top Music Executives, Forecasts Lower Sales. Quote:

EMI Group Plc, the U.K. record company that signed the Beatles, ousted its two top music executives and forecast lower revenue after disappointing holiday sales.

Alain Levy will leave after five years as chief executive officer of the recorded music division. David Munns, the unit's vice chairman, will also step down.

Key quote:

EMI's revenue has declined as downloads failed to make up for business lost to piracy.

Not that we beleived the crap before. But what's interesting - is the timing. The anouncement comes as follow up to another article discussed on Slashdot recently.

P.S.

Downloads accounted for 8.5 percent of EMI's revenue in the fiscal first half, up from 5.4 percent in the previous year. That wasn't enough to make up for losses to piracy.

Notice they quote percents - not raw money numbers. Nearly 60% rise of sales, what is not that bad. $0.70 from each song sold isn't making up for $10+ they made on every CD before. Does that surprise anyone?

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Re: MySQL Quietly Drops Support For Debian Linux

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

From MySQL Quietly Drops Support For Debian Linux:

MySQL now supports only two Linux distributions -- Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

Read between lines: MySQL had given up on vanilla Linux kernel and all its pesky VM bugs.

Well, at least that was my experience of MySQL on vanilla kernel: trying to rebuild index for table of size several times bigger than RAM brings system completely down. Though miraculously it did worked ok when booted into RH shipped kernel. Go figure.

Edit1. Well Okay they clarified the issue. There is no problems of supporting MySQL on other Linux system. Mea culpa for not waiting for official news.

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Case GPL v. anti-trust regulations concluded.

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Interesting C|Net piece How GPL fits in with the future of antitrust regulation about case which wanted to challenge GPL on anti-trust grounds. Quotes:

The plaintiff in the case, Daniel Wallace, has wanted to compete with Linux by offering a derivative work or by writing an operating system from the ground up. He argued that he has been barred from doing so, while Linux and its derivatives can be obtained at no charge. He asserted that IBM, Red Hat and Novell have conspired to eliminate competition in the operating-system market by making Linux available at an "unbeatable" price: free.

The court found Wallace's theory to be "faulty substantively." The decision pointed out that "the goal of antitrust law is to use rivalry to keep prices low for consumers' benefit." Here, the court concluded that Wallace sought to employ "antitrust law to drive prices up," which would "turn (antitrust law) on its head."

Common sense prevailed.

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ODF Interoperability

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

OpenDocument Fellowship has done some interoperability testing. Sadly, no ODF suit/application has as of yet received "5 out of 5 stars" conformance/interoperability mark.

KOffice and OO.o are noted as having problems with each other documents - specifically images. Or to put it bluntly, goal of interoperability is more than just far away. But at moment it is clear that price is major driving force behind the office suits so interoperability apparently had been lowered to second priority.

I wonder how would OASIS.org handle interoperability of ODF suits in future. Apparently interoperability with M$Office is still higher in list of OO.o priorities - compared to fellow ODF suits / standalone applications.

P.S.

Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

No scoops, just botherdom of real world.

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OpenDocument Format - How portable it is?

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

I recently tried to make simple QuickRef document for GNU/Arch. QuickRef in theory is simple document which encompass list of often used commands of specific tool. I wanted to create such one in ODT using OpenOffice.org 2.0 under (sorry) Windows.

It's all started Okay. But after typing few lines, I got tired of OO.o2 bug: one-two minute freezE when opening fonts dialog (It happens sometime when you have several documents open in OO.o for long period of time.)

I bravely decided that KOffice 1.5 would do better job, so I fired up VMware Player (we are not allowed to have Linux in office - free VMware is Ok) with Debian. First problem appeared - fonts. Windows and Linux do not have same fonts. Document with Times New Roman and Courier New looked ugly, until I replaced M$Windows fonts with native Linux ones - Bitstream Serif/Sans/Mono.

Then second problem surfaced: KOffice 1.5 apparently doesn't support character styles, but only paragraph styles. I used such style in comments intermixed in meta-code I were adding to QuickRef.

Okay. KOffice is really more pleasant to work with, compared to OO.o1/2. And bit later job was done. Now I was going to enjoy the results. "Print" > "Print to PDF" ... Oops. That looks ugly. Apparently GhostScript didn't like fonts I have used and all labels in PDFed QuickRef were misrendered: readable, but ugly. Nevermind - let's try another fonts. No luck: the same ugly result.

Okay. Nevermind. Let's bring my QuickRef back to Windows and OO.o2 - if it's inconvenient to edit document, printing/exporting framework of OO.o is definitely more stable compared to KOffice one.

FTP, copy document, fire up OO.o2 ... Holy crap. Fonts - OO.o seems used some randomization algorithm picking font substitution. Font sizes - some paragraphs or parts of them displayed with font size two times (or so) smaller than standard (and no apparent problem is visible in paragraph style dialog - all sizes globally set to 11pt, reapplying style didn't help). Italic I have used for comments got partially removed... Needless to say that next-to-perfect PDF export function of OO.o have produced exact replica of the ugly mess I have had on screen.

No matter how raw and unstable KOffice 1.x, OO.o2 dumbly breaks on document created in alternative application. The only way I have come up to fix the observed in OO.o weirdnesses - reimport thru plain text file (select all, copy to notepad, reselect in notepad and then back from notepad into OO.o) what is bogus. Does anybody ever tested OO.o with ODF generated by other tools, me wonders.

I wonder if I am only one who is trying interoperability of ODF suits. Have anybody else tryed to move ODF documents around between ODF capable suits (OO.o and KOffice are the only I know and have) with positive results? Moving documents from Windows to Linux and back?

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Nintendo DS Lite

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Recently bought Nintendo DS Lite - just for fun and distraction from my usual heavy duty Unix programming. Two games we purchased: Tetris DS and Mario Carts DS.

I spent about 0.00 hours installing/updating Windows. I spent less than 0.00 hours installing fresh nVidia drivers. DS doesn't support (nor requires for proper functioning) apt-get, what was bit disappointing. ;)

And guess what? Regardless device is working great: plug cartridge, press 'A' key and here you go. I wish someday PeeCee software would reach that level of usability.

Games are fun. Tetris is real official Tetris (since that [bad guy] Pajitnov sold the Tetris game invented by his colleague to Nintendo) and well made. Carts are fun too: all tracks are made so that most of the races are about 3 minutes long - precisely time I need to make a break hacking sockets and pipes.

Overall, I'm impressed. It was hard to imagine that the appliance (which sadly doesn't run Linux) could be that well made and provide only good experience.

I think Nintendo might have sold much more of them, be they priced here in Europe more sanely. 140€ for DS Lite and 20-40€ per game is bit too much for something targeted at kids. Many games are rated "3+" - but I wonder how much parents would even think about spending that much for toy for their 3+ kids.

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Good quotes on West

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Acceptance without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western religion, rejection without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western science.

-- Gary Zukav

P.S.

Reporter: What do you think of western civilization?
Mahatma Gandhi: I think it would be a good idea.

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