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Comments

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'Microsoft Lumia' Will Replace the Nokia Brand

hweimer Re:Not a very exciting name (150 comments)

There is marketing research that shows that people remember words with hard consonants better. So a word like "Nokia" or "Kodak", is in some ways a measurably better brand than a word like "Lumia".

If you only care about people rembering your brand name (and not about the associations that come with it), then "Ebola" would be even better.

4 days ago
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If Your Cloud Vendor Goes Out of Business, Are You Ready?

hweimer Re:AWS losing $2 billion a year? (150 comments)

Given the new information, then it doesn't matter. AWS is running at some sort of loss, but the question is why are they running at a loss.

Everyone is running cloud services at a huge loss because prices have been driven down so much that it is simply impossible to run a profitable cloud service. Of course, the companies are doing that to drive their competitors out of the market and profit afterwards by using a combination of price hikes and vendor lock-in effects.

about two weeks ago
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Apple Fixes Shellshock In OS X

hweimer Re:I have an idea (174 comments)

I just tried and successfully passed the variable "_BASH_FUNC_thingy" with the value "my_attack" through my apache web server to a CGI script using a url entered into a browser.

No, you get something like QUERY_STRING="_BASH_FUNC_thingy=my_attack", which is harmless because function definitions inside QUERY_STRING are not being evaluated after the last update.

about three weeks ago
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Apple Fixes Shellshock In OS X

hweimer Re:I have an idea (174 comments)

Unless of course the malefactors know this and stick BASH_FUNC_ in front of their exploit strings.

This won't work because an attacker will only be able to manipulate the content of some environment variable, but not its name. And being able to manipulate arbitrary environment variables has always been equivalent to being able to execute arbitrary code. Think LD_PRELOAD or IFS, for example.

about three weeks ago
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Apple Fixes Shellshock In OS X

hweimer Re:I have an idea (174 comments)

How about releasing a version of bash that has function passing disabled.

People are using this feature and taking it away will break stuff. The latest update (not sure whether Apple already ships it) stores all function definitions with a prefix of BASH_FUNC_, and function definitions are disabled for all variables not starting with the prefix. This allows to retain the feature, but prevents the execution of malicious code at the same time.

about three weeks ago
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It's Banned Books Week; I recommend ...

hweimer Re:Why is 1984 in this poll? (410 comments)

I love 1984, but I'm tired of hearing how it's banned. I've never seen it banned.

Well, then you apparently don't have a Kindle.

about a month ago
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Anonymous Peer-review Comments May Spark Legal Battle

hweimer Re:Anonymous public peer review (167 comments)

As I am not a user of the PubPeer platform, I cannot judge if comments meant to attack the reputation of an other due to private disputes commonly occur. Furthermore, such attacks with other motive as pure improvement of scientific publication quality are difficult to spot, because this is what anonymous commenting enables to do.

If somebody presents evidence for image manipulations, then why would you care whether this was posted because someone has an axe to grind?

about a month ago
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Anonymous Peer-review Comments May Spark Legal Battle

hweimer Re:Anonymous public peer review (167 comments)

Anonymous review is usual in the peer-review processes of most journals, but these comments are in general non-public or at least reviewed by an editor before publication. Some reviewers choose to do their peer-review work without the cover of anonymity and I encourage this. If you have constructive criticism on the work of an other and can this criticism is well founded, you can very well do it openly.

No, you can't. Most active scientists do not have tenure and therefore openly criticizing the work of a bigwig in the field would be extremely dangerous, even when perfectly justified.

Something like PubPeer is extremely tricky. It's an open door to abuse and for commenter to wash their dirty linen in public.

Can you provide an example of someone using a service like PubPeer to wash dirty linen? I have a hard time to imagine how this could be done, especially if you want others to take your allegations seriously.

about a month ago
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When Scientists Give Up

hweimer Re:Easy solution (348 comments)

I wouldn't be surprised to see countries such as BRIC members, EU members, or other countries start trying to woo the best and brightest for economic gains.

I think this focus on the "best and brightest" is actually a part of the problem. Sure, you'll need certain skills to run a research group, but these skills are found in many people and not just in the top of the batch. Beyond a certain point, the individual abilities of a researcher tend to be only weakly correlated with the actual research outcomes. There are many examples of people doing amazing science even though they are generally not considered to be top-notch scientists, even including Nobel laureates.

Science is an inherently risky business, with most scientists not finding out anything really exciting during their entire career and only very few ones will hit something that turns out to be really big. But you cannot possibly know in advance what this next big thing is going to be and who will find it, otherwise this wouldn't be science at all. In such an environment, the best investment strategy is to allocate your funds evenly across as many scientists as possible (I think it was Taleb who showed that). Of course, you have to make sure that each scientist gets enough money to run his or her group, but this optimal strategy is exactly the opposite of the current trend towards mega-chairs involving multiple labs and dozens of grad students and postdocs.

about a month and a half ago
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Tox, a Skype Replacement Built On 'Privacy First'

hweimer Re:Mandatory linux 4.3 upgrade (174 comments)

Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't pulse running at the user level only allow ONE user and system-wide utilization is vehemently discouraged by the developers for SECURITY reasons?

No, it's the other way round: Running PulseAudio as a system daemon (as opposed to the default way of per-user sessions) has security implications.

about 2 months ago
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Researcher Finds Hidden Data-Dumping Services In iOS

hweimer Re:DON'T PANIC (98 comments)

So, please, tell us, how are Android, Windows or BlackBerry phones any better?

Many Android vendors have well-documented procedures how to unlock the bootloader of the device and install a custom ROM, which can be mostly built from source (the remaining proprietary blobs come from non-US companies and/or are unlikely to contain backdoors because of the greatly reduced codebase). None of the other major players allow this.

about 3 months ago
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TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

hweimer Re:Incoming international flights (702 comments)

Where have you ever been re-screened after boarding the first flight.

Just a few examples off the top of my head:

  • FRA always has re-screening when you change from non-Schengen to Schengen
  • MUC usually has re-screening right before the gate for US-bound flights
  • IIRC, SIN has re-screening at every gate
  • When you change between carriers that operate out of different terminals, you usually have re-screening because most airports do not have a connected security area.
  • Or, of course, if you have to change airports within a city, like the infamous LHR-LGW run

about 4 months ago
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IeSF Wants International Game Tournaments Segregated By Sex [Updated]

hweimer Re:interesting times... (221 comments)

so a lot of people think that there should be no gender seperation in shooting sport competitions, and I tend to agree. but for some reason, the top females can never quite break into the top levels with the top males.

This is simply not true. Margeret Murdock won a silver medal at the 1976 Olympics (she lost the battle for gold under very controversial circumstances) and set four individual world records. In the eighties, most shooting sports became gender-segregated, the only exceptions being skeet and trap, which became gender-segregated right after a woman (Zhang Shan) had won the gold medal in the skeet competition in 1992. There are other examples as well.

So, if today's women are no longer competitive with men, then that's certainly a consequence of gender segregation and not an argument for it.

about 4 months ago
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Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

hweimer Re:Thanks for pointing out the "briefly" part. (461 comments)

If newer plants were that much safer, you could buy insurance for them. The fact that you can't makes it very obvious that even these newer plants are inherently unsafe.

about 4 months ago
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Mayday Anti-PAC On Its Second Round of Funding

hweimer Re:How does it work? (247 comments)

From what I understand, their goal as a SuperPAC is to pour money into congressional races to help reform candidates win, with the ultimate goal of having them pass campaign finance laws that limit the influence of SuperPACs.

So, the winning move for any candidate is to support reform until elected and then make a reversal and enjoy the windfall from the status quo. How are they going to prevent that?

about 4 months ago
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First Browser-Based Quantum Computer Simulator Released

hweimer Re:Neat! (61 comments)

Isn't it ironic that a consumer graphics card can simulate more qubits than most actual quantum computers have right now?

No. If it were the other way around then quantum computing wouldn't be an open research problem but a multi-billion dollar industry.

about 5 months ago
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Linux Sucks (Video)

hweimer Re:Linux really does have serious issues (293 comments)

Your issues have quite simple fixes:

Applications: Typical GNU/Linux distributions provide at least 10,000 packages. It's ridiculous to claim that "there is nothing on the OS that does what they want to do". Applications might be somewhat different from their Windows equivalents, but time spent on getting familiar with them is a better investment than fiddling around with Wine.

Hardware: Only buy stuff that has been certified to work with Linux. Easy.

Unity/Gnome 3: Well, if you don't like it, then don't use it. There are plenty of other distributions supporting alternative desktop environments.

about 5 months ago
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Hacker Holds Key To Free Flights

hweimer Re:Bullshit (144 comments)

Now if you could free ticket i would be downright impressed.

Free ticket is easy. Just buy a ticket online and use someone else's bank account data (which should work in most of Europe via SEPA direct debit). Bank account data is widely availabe on the web, as this is generally not thought to be highly sensitive information. If you do it shortly before the flight, the account holder will most likely not notice what's going on to have the ticket cancelled in time.

For bonus points, you can get the ticket issued under a pseudonym and alter the boarding pass to match your real name, so whenever you get asked for ID you won't get into trouble. The only thing where this won't work is when you want to check luggage (or, when flying to the U.S.), as there people will match your ID against what is actually stored in the airline's database.

Of course, if you do this without the bank account holder's consent, this is plain old direct debit fraud. So kids, don't do this at home.

about 7 months ago
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The 3D Economy — What Happens When Everyone Prints Their Own Shoes?

hweimer Re:Beta Sucks (400 comments)

We live in an economy of mass computing, because it is way, way cheaper to perform a calculation on a mainframe than a microcomputer on your desk.

In areas where there really is mass computing (i.e., heavy number crunching), this statement is actually true.

Most of the arguments against 3D printers are essentially the same as though used against early microcomputers. Yes, those early microcomputers were never going to change the world, but their descendants sure have.

Microcomputers slaughtered mainframes in the marketplace because there was not widespread network for information transfer that mainframes could benefit from. Now we have this network and people are moving towards centralized computing facilities (the "cloud"). For physical goods, such distribution networks have been in place even longer so there's no economic benefit from switching to hyperlocal manufacturing.

about 7 months ago

Submissions

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Amputee is German long jump champion

hweimer hweimer writes  |  about 3 months ago

hweimer (709734) writes "German long jumper Markus Rehm has written sports history yesterday, becoming the first disabled athlete to win a national able-bodied championship. His jump to 8.24 meters put him on the 9th place of the current season rankings and make him egligible to compete in the upcoming European championships, further sparking the debate whether his prosthetic leg provides him with an unfair advantage."
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Distributed File System for Debian-based Road Warriors?

hweimer hweimer writes  |  about a year and a half ago

hweimer (709734) writes "I manage a small network which includes some clients that are regularly deployed in locations where there is no or only poor internet access. Currently, local copies of data for these clients are created and merged back more or less manually, which naturally creates all sorts of problems. So I'm looking now for a distributed file system so that each client has always access to a local copy, which is automatically re-synced once it comes back online. Storage space is not critical, nor is obscene read/write performance. An additional requirement is that it has to be included in Debian, at least in the upcoming "wheezy" release. Any recommendations?"
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130,000 Scientists Warn Against EU Research Budget Cuts

hweimer hweimer writes  |  about 2 years ago

hweimer writes "In leading up to the European Union summit deciding on its future budget, 130,000 scientists (including 44 Nobel laureates) are warning against cuts on the research budget. In 2006, EU research funding was already slashed by 30%, much more than cuts to sectors such as agriculture or infrastructure development. If you are a scientist, there is still time to join the open letter to the EU member states governments."
Link to Original Source
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Tablet with root access by default?

hweimer hweimer writes  |  more than 2 years ago

hweimer writes "I am looking for a small (7") tablet that comes with root access out of the box. I know, I could get one of the usual suspects and root it myself, but I don't want to waste my time in the process and end up voiding my warranty. Basically, I'd like to use it for web browsing, reading PDFs and accessing my e-mails via SSH (extra bonus for X11 forwarding). Any good suggestions, or should I wait for Tizen devices to hit the market?"
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All French nuclear reactors deemed unsafe

hweimer hweimer writes  |  more than 2 years ago

hweimer writes "A new study by a French government agency, commissioned in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, found that all French nuclear power plants do not offer adequate safety when it comes to flooding, earthquakes, power outages, failure of the cooling systems and operational management of accidents. While there is no need for immediate shutdown, the
agency presses for the problems to be fixed quickly. France gets about 80% of its power from nuclear energy and is a major exporter of nuclear technology."

Link to Original Source
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OpenOffice tops 20% market share in Germany

hweimer hweimer writes  |  more than 4 years ago

hweimer (709734) writes "A novel study analyzes the install base of various office packages among German users. While Microsoft Office comes out top (72%), open source rival OpenOffice is already installed on 21.5% of all PCs and growing. The authors use a clever method to determine the installed office suites of millions of web users: they look for the availability of characteristic fonts being shipped with the various suites. What surprised me the most is that they found hardly any difference in the numbers for home and business users."
Link to Original Source
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Microsoft to Get Malware Bailout in Germany

hweimer hweimer writes  |  more than 4 years ago

hweimer (709734) writes "Germany is getting a call center to help Windows users with malware infections. I think this has the effect of being a malware bailout for Microsoft, discouraging them and other software companies from writing better code and giving users little incentives to switch to more secure alternatives. How much government money is needed to run the call center is also not revealed."
Link to Original Source
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Exotic Molecule Observed

hweimer hweimer writes  |  more than 5 years ago

hweimer writes "Researchers at the University of Stuttgart in Germany have observed a molecule based on a completely novel binding mechanism. As reported in Nature (preprint), the binding occurs because one of the two atoms in the molecule has an electron in a Rydberg state, very far from its nucleus. These molecules can only be seen at ultracold temperatures and high atomic densities, and their observation reaffirms fundamental statements of quantum theory."
Link to Original Source
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Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 ("Lenny") released

hweimer hweimer writes  |  more than 5 years ago

hweimer writes "After 22 months of development, Debian GNU/Linux version 5.0 (codenamed "Lenny") has been released. New features include a port to ARM's EABI architecture, a free-as-in-speech Java implementation based on OpenJDK, and lots of updated software packages. The release is dedicated to the memory of Thiemo Seufer, who died in a tragic car accident last December."
Link to Original Source
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Journals Resolve Copyright Conflict over Wikipedia

hweimer hweimer writes  |  about 6 years ago

hweimer writes "The American Physical Society (of Physical Review Letters fame) is one of the most important publishers in physics. Recently, they took some heat when they refused to give permission to authors to create derivative works of their publications for open content sites such as Wikipedia. They have now changed their copyright policy, allowing authors to include up to 50% of the published content in derivative works."
Link to Original Source
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Few Banks Use Extended Validation Certificates

hweimer hweimer writes  |  more than 6 years ago

hweimer writes "The latest thing against phishing are extended validation (EV) certificates. Supported by Firefox 3 and Internet Explorer 7, these certificates promise that the site has gone through a more extensive validation of its owner than ordinary SSL certificates. Being a proponent of EV certificates, I conducted a test on how many banks already use them. The surprising result: only thirty percent."
Link to Original Source
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Liberation Fonts Increase Interoperability

hweimer hweimer writes  |  more than 6 years ago

hweimer writes "Most problems when opening Word documents under GNU/Linux are due to missing fonts. Therefore, Red Hat published a set of fonts metric-compatible with the Windows core fonts last year. However, there were some concerns regarding the licensing that prevented many other distros to ship them. We finally managed to settle these problems, leading to better document interoperability for all GNU/Linux users."
Link to Original Source
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Major PC Vendors Push for Open Source Drivers

hweimer hweimer writes  |  more than 6 years ago

hweimer writes "Remember the heat the Linux Foundation took for allegedly not giving enough attention to Desktop Linux? However, the latest events on the foundation's annual summit draw a different picture. Industry heavyweights like Dell, HP and Lenovo 'announced on stage that they will now include wording in their hardware procurement processes to "strongly encourage" the delivery of open source drivers'. The move specifically targets desktop and mobile products."
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MS launching a Patent Ambush on Free Software?

hweimer hweimer writes  |  more than 6 years ago

hweimer writes "Yesterday, Microsoft and Milan-based Sourcesense announced they collaborate to contribute code to Apache POI, a Java library for manipulating Microsoft Office files. I think this collaboration has two possible consequences: either it will turn POI into the greatest patent laundry of all time, or it will help Microsoft to launch a patent ambush on the project. Feel free to decide which one is more likely."
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Version Control for Scientific Writing?

hweimer hweimer writes  |  more than 6 years ago

hweimer writes "After having written a few papers with several co-authors each I have learned to enjoy the benefits of a version control system. Personally, I prefer Subversion for the job, however there are still annoyances like merging various BibTeX files with incompatible index styles. What are your solutions for making life easier? Do you use any custom code like hook scripts in Subversion?"
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Disney Forces Cancellation of Metal Concerts

hweimer hweimer writes  |  about 7 years ago

hweimer writes "Several heavy metal concerts scheduled to take place in clubs located on Disney park property in Anaheim and Orlando have been cancelled due to pressure from the entertainment giant. With only a few days notice, some concerts could be moved to other venues, while some had to be nixed completely. Maybe someone should have told them that metal isn't just for stupid morons."
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