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Comments

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The Challenges and Threats of Automated Lip Reading

xonen Combined (119 comments)

The most obvious approach is to combine the 2 methods - much like humans do, especially in noisy environments. It might improve the accuracy of current speech recognition which is, too be honest, still sub-standard.

Speech recognition as is now is way too limited. Sure, Siri and the likes may work. And some computerized phone systems use it to nag us instead of using reliable button clicking. But it is still far from transcribing an accurate memo. Let alone automated subtitling or other fancy applications.

So yes, please, develop it, and use it to improve overall speech recognition.

about a week ago
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Idiot Leaves Driver's Seat In Self-Driving Infiniti, On the Highway

xonen Re:Huh? (406 comments)

You are missing the facts that:

* Trees are a wind barrier, making it easier and safer to drive in windy weather

* Trees block sunlight especially when the sun is low, making driving a lot more safer

* Trees reduce noise from the vehicles so people living nearby the road perceive less hinder

There are many good reasons to have trees near the roads. Also, falling leaves is a seasonal effect and falling branches/trees only happens during stormy weather (assuming the trees are well maintained).

Of course situations may differ from place to place, but there are good reasons for the trees to be there and they may actually make the roads safer for the driver. Added bonus for pedestrians and bicylists if they are on a lane seperated by trees from the cars.

The only real exception i can think of when trees block sight on crossroads. But to solve that you certainly not have to remove all trees. [And playing advocate of the devil: some people say this actually makes the crossroad safer as people really have to stop and look carefully]

about a month and a half ago
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Raspberry Pi-Compatible Development Board Released

xonen Real time clock (47 comments)

The board integrates a real time clock. This makes it ideal in remote, disconnected or power-safe configurations. From a wild-life camera to an embedded dishwasher controller. Being compatible, low-cost, running Linux and 'just works an community supported' is a big plus. I'd say, bring more of those clones.

about 1 month ago
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Can the Lix 3D Printing Pen Actually Work?

xonen So many possible answers (90 comments)

* It preheats some element or reservoir for a limited time duty cycle
* It just draws more power from USB ; powerbanks happily support 2A and the '900mA specced USB port' on their macbook might also capable of delivering much more.
* The pen includes a rechargable battery capable of delivering more peak current. The pen could easily hold a 1Ah 3.7V lithion cell.
* They provide an adapter to plug it in 2 USB ports
* *

about 5 months ago
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Review: Make: Raspberry Pi Starter Kit

xonen Re:My experiences (74 comments)

Note about the floating point - before ppl start pointing out - i tried both available debian distrubitions (with hard and soft floating point). While the soft floating point did fix some issues, unfortunately, not all of them (when it came to mono/mysql).

about a year and a half ago
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Review: Make: Raspberry Pi Starter Kit

xonen My experiences (74 comments)

A friend got me a PI recently as little present, which was very welcome.

It's a great little device, though with some very odd design decisions.

For me personally, the graphics chip is simply not needed. Also, onboard is a DSP that's unfortunately undocumented and hence disfunctional.

The I/O pins are hardly protected - so if you want to experiment with electronics, best start by a simple circuit to protect them, with some transistors or an optocoupler. Also, the pens are 3.3V and provide no power more than a 10mA... Not really an issue, but also implies that you cannot drive a relais from it directly.

The biggest issue is in the power. The power supply i had was adequate (1.4A), but, the PI itself is not. Hotplugging the USB with any power hungry device - like a WLAN key, or a webcam, is likely to power-cycle the PI. It is known issue - but can come unexpected. Low power devices like mice and keyboards are likely to be hotplugged but, any sane person only uses those during installation process.

Software - What works, what not works. Firefox runs. This is really impressive, it actually works. Albeit, that even when idle, the FF process alone will take 60-80% of the CPU power.

What not works - mono. Well, mono works. But, there are issues - especially regarding floating points, and it typically shows when accessing databases. 'Conversion error in (system.sql.data.import or some - i'm not that good with mono).

Performance - it is said it 'feels' like a pentium 300. I agree, overal the performance is not very sluggish, and much what you'd expect from such device. However, when running benchmarks, things turn out different. For example stockfish, the chess program. With parameter 'bench' it'll perform a single-core benchmark.
Ubuntu-pc-32: 4900ms
Ubuntu-pc-32 / optimized build: 4500ms
Ubuntu-pc-64: 3300ms
Raspberry pi: 239.000ms
From this benchmark, the PI more runs like a pentium66. This is a cpu and integer intensive benchmark. I'm sure modern memory access will make up for it. However, it is very clear that the ARM instruction set is very very elegant, but also very inefficient.

As far as connectors etc go, i agree with the reviewer. It's soldered, but does not look very bullet proof. Best be handled with care, and unplug power by unplugging adapter from mains might be prefered. That being said, apart some installation quircks i did not have to powercycle it often.

Stability. On idle load, it is very stable. I installed 'motion' - the videocam 'guarding' software, and configured it. However, this software was not stable. I don't know if it's the software, the port, or the PI, but it will not run much longer than a day, when making repeated snapshots (like 1/second).

The basic distro's seem fine. When adding custom software, the debian package may well be present (very very much kudo's to those distro maintainers!). Compiling software yourself on the PI is going fine in most cases, though may take a while. On larger compiles it may suffer from low memory and break - so, if you want to compile a lot for your PI, best set up a crosscompiler. The biggest issue i had was in unforeseen instabilities, either when putting the PI under load, either when using not-too-well-tested software like mono. That being said, it is very impressive that almost anything in a standard debian distro just works.

On occasion, i had a process that could not be killed. Here, it shows the architectural differences between i386 and ARM i guess. On a pc, the kernel should be able to kill any process. On the PI arm, this seems not always to be the case. I'm not enough cpu guru to guess details on this, just i guess it has to do with ARM.

Wifi - i had a nice wifi stick. It works fine. However - again, not perfect stable in my view, it may loose connection. May be my adapter maybe the pi. If you have chance, just use ethernet - it will releive the pi's cpu on the fly, and you may need the cpu power for other things.

What's missing:
Audio-in. This is really a bummer. The pi would have been an excellent noise-free recording device.
A/D in or out - only logical IO. Tristate though for many pins.
Expansion for 2nd SD card - and why use SD and not microSD? They could have fitted like 2 microSD slots on the same place, still saving space.

So, my biggest critisism is in the power circuit. I really wish they had spent a few pennies more on that. I also suspect it being the major cause of instabilities. It is solvable by using a powered USB hub, though - but that kinda defeats the small form factor if you need a second case and second power supply.

* just a few random notes, there's more details but i'd encourage anyone to find out for themselves. overall the PI is great value for money.*

about a year and a half ago
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Moving the Linux Kernel Console To User-Space

xonen Noob me? (311 comments)

Learned something new today - because, until now i was always assuming the console already did run in user space, and was as friendly to print kernel messages.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Typing Advice For a Guinness World Record Attempt?

xonen Re:Dvorak bad (307 comments)

Sais someone who obviously didn't take the time to learn him/herself Dvorak.

The only disadvantage i found - as Dvorak typer - is compatability with games. For any other purpose like typing text and programming, i like it and will never go back to qwerty. I'm not telling anyone they should learn Dvorak, i'm also not saying it's superior - it's a matter of personal taste. And yes, once you learn it you will notice it performs as promised. Also, these days Dvorak is thus widely accepted, that international keyboard layouts are supported on almost any platform. A thing to consider may be your native language, but my native language (dutch) has simular letter frequencies to english.

Having said that, for the sole purpose of breaking a record, it is definitively not worth to learn it. It will take you years to get the same accuracy and speed as you find yourself now using Qwerty. If any, i'd say, set the record, then learn Dvorak, and try again in 8 years. If you want to learn it, personal interest should be your motivation.

about a year and a half ago
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On Daylight Savings Time:

xonen International chaos (475 comments)

The worst thing about DST, apart it being a silly invention, is that the moment clocks change is not internationally the same. Worse, it's not even in the same weekend.

While it's easy to say 'it hardly matters', i didn't expect it yet to me it already did, when we appointed a time to be online. Europe's CET was in wintertime already, america was not, so i was like 3/4 of an hour late. And with online activities gaining in importance, it'll only affect more people in the future.

I still don't understand why DST is needed at all, and find the drawbacks greater than the advantages, but while it's here, at least it ought to be switched internationally at rougly the same moment.

about 2 years ago
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EFF And Others Push For Open Wifi APs Everywhere

xonen I'd love to.. but... (253 comments)

I'd love to do so. I've played with the thought many times. Why not just an open wifi. I have reasons to do so, like friends bringing a smartphone. Like other strangers, just looking for map directions or whatever they do online. Personally i'd love to if other private parties in our city did as well - as currently open wifi is only available near our library (during opening hours) and a single pub.

However. Legal obligations and practice, make me responsible what happens over my internet connection. So, to get a reasonable plausible deniability on that, i'd have to go to real investments like, for example, by sharing a FON spot. If FON was a pure software-based solution, i'd done so already. However, it requires hardware. That i'd have to pay for, admittingly, it's not much. But on the other hand, i do not need 2 wifi stations at my home. Or have a 3rd party in control over my connection.

If there was a _simple_ way of logging. Like, a prefab solution, preferably installable on my wifi dsl modeml/router, i'd do so to. But, to run my own server, surging 200W, just for the sake of providing free wifi services, with all more or less obliged logging just to warrant myself from legal stuff.. That's a bit too far stretched. Not in the last place because of electricity and mainterance costs.

So, i totally agree with the EFF. I'd really love to. I'm also all ears for a wifi 'mesh' network, etc. But the legal practice is that i'm responsible whatever goes over my internet connection. Wether being 'illegal' downloads, illegal porn or illegal messanging, current laws in my current country, and probably laws all over the world, tell me this is a very bad idea. Sooner or later it'll get me into trouble. Which makes generousity having a high price.

Concluding. It's both a legal and a software issue. If there was a reasonable easy software solution that would allow me to do so, i would. I hate telco's and their mobile rates. I totally believe that if i, and everyone, would just open wifi the world would be a nicer online place. But i admit. I'm just a coward.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Transporting Computers By Cargo Ship?

xonen Leave it all behind (249 comments)

Now you have all time in the world, but seriously. When you arrive at your new home, new job, new everything, you have, and want to have, other stuff on your mind than your old computer collection.

All you need, most likely, is one working, in a fashionable way, PC or laptop. Printers are not relevant as they are available in any corner of the world for $50. So is all your old data, if it doesn't fit on an SD card it's rubbish anyways.

Disassembling working hardware is a bad idea too, better leave the computer just as-is, in working order, than to dissassemble. That's only waiting for extra unanticipated problems.

Meanwhile, you are going to sit and wait 8 weeks without your hardware. You will find some replace, and use that.

Imho, the only reason to ship your old hardware is if you think over there where you going is a viable 2nd hand market for it. And even then you should wonder.

When migrating. Bring as little as possible. On bring stuff you have a strong bond with. To me, that would not be a set of computers, that for sure. One, maximum. And better even: just one usb-key with data.

You will have other things on your mind when you get there. Now you have all time of the world bothering this issue, even asking for it on /. In two months, you'll regret giving yourself the extra hassle of re-assembling your computer farm. Chances are it'll keep in boxes for the next year. And that you only unpack you furniture, and other comfortable stuff.

about 2 years ago
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World of Warcraft Character Becomes Campaign Issue

xonen Seriously... (381 comments)

What is that with Americans playing on the person all the time?

In Holland, we have had politicians who were publicly known to visit SM dungeons and black rooms. Are publicly gay. Or just unmarried, like our current prime minister. And no-one, literally no-one, makes a fuzz out of that.

Any debate will be about political issues. The worst accusations regarding personal lifes is about possible activist behaviour in the past. Working for greenpeace for example, like the current leader of the big labour party who has been arrested at least 10 times due to his activist history.

So.. I think this is a good thing. I'm not seeing how a politicians personal life, sexlife, hobbies, children, wife or man, has anything to do with the quality of the person as politician, and the message he or she brings. They are ordinary humans just like you and me with human desires, emotions and errors.

So, why with 'you' it is an issue if a politician plays a rogue in WoW? I wouldn't know, and have no issue with it myself untill she ganks me. If any, it only proves she's just as human as the 2 million other rogues around in this game, and is in for some fun and entertainment at a time, proving she's got a modern youthful mind..

2 cents from over the atlantic.

about 2 years ago
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Richard Stallman Speaks About UEFI

xonen The knife cuts at 2 sides (549 comments)

My latest PC still has a windows on, mostly because the oem license wasn't that expensive (admittingly, if i wouldnt take it i'd had to pay an extra 50 euro assembly fee). But, it made me purchase a windows license just in case. And/or to play a game.

Well, that game runs about equally well under linux. The last time i booted windows was more than a month ago, and only for 15 minutes. Most of that time spent because of the funky updates, which i let it download just to reboot into a sane OS after.

If the next PC would be a 'single boot', no way i need a windows license. It'll run any of my favo distro's, but no Windows, because that'll require secure boot. -Yes, i plan to use my current PC quite a few years to come-

Lot of friends of mine are seriously interested in running linux, i help them where i can. When time comes, they'll also be rightfully pissed when they notice their hardware is crippled. Or maybe got permanent *n*x fans before that.

MS may think the market for linux is small, they also may underestimate the need. And the 20% geeks that actually want to -at least- dual boot.

So go ahead. Do it. I'll happily pay 50 euro extra for my next mobo to have an 'alternate' bios. If any, it only drives me away from using NT. I don't need it for any task expect for trying that casual game that found a new way to bug wine, anyways.

Conclusion: if MS wants to sell me a license, they'd better offer dual boot option. Else no sale for them. Not that they really bother, but just in case, let them take their pig. I'm quite sure the soup will be aten less hot then it's served atm, even if i think it's a quite troublesome development and indeed has more to do with vendor-lock in, drm, crippling hardware and limiting users, than it has with security.

more than 2 years ago
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I most recently switched ISPs ...

xonen Just a boring story (250 comments)

After cable, i went for DSL because, at the time (around 2002) that was just more reliable. Then the soap started. Within 1 1/2 year, this relative small provider was bought by another, and again, and again, untill i ended at tiscali - a large one that had aten all smaller fish. So my contract stayed the same, but the name of the dsl provider kept changing and occasionally i got another new and free modem.

While i didn't complain, after all i had an affordable connection at decent speeds, the last one in the chain -and biggest- was utmost lame. Technical failures, but what was worse, administrational failures. Transferring back the monthly fee, then send a reminder, quickly followed by termination, and a 20 euro fee to reconnect. After this happenend for the 3rd time, and i'd been unrightfully cut of my internet for many days a few times, i got fed up and transfered to a reliable ISP.

And this current ISP, while always regarded as being the most reliable and helpful, has started a 'marketing campaign', effectively pushing me away.

It seems the same as with electricity companies these days: you get the best deals when switching frequently. If you are a 'sleeper' you'll get exploited, instead being viewed as valued customer.

So my answer to the poll is '1-3 years, but i should switch more often'. Got to love 'free market forces', meanwhile the -still working- dsl modems stack up here, it's getting a nice collection.

more than 2 years ago
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Samsung TVs Can Be Hacked Into Endless Restart Loop

xonen Re:Anybody pine for that golden age (187 comments)

after the plane lands, and you're already in baggage claim before you can finally check your voicemail.

That was a good laugh for me.. It's only 10 years ago that you'd had to find a phonecell to call. If you had small change. Which was in europe even more fun - exchange notes, get small change, and only then call. Makes me smile that you find a phone in your pocket taking 3 minutes to get you connected to 3G (and only because you installed too many apps on it) is a serious concern...

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Give IT Presentations That Aren't Boring?

xonen Don't even try.. (291 comments)

In my opinion, don't even try to 'brighten up' boring information. I so hate that, and i'm sure many others.

If the information is dull, best you can do is to organize it as good as you can, hand them out on paper if you want, so people can review them for their own, and keep your verbal notes on it as brief as possible.

Look. The main reason you'r giving that talk is to give that information. Not to try to be funny. If your audience wanted to be entertained, they'd hired a stand-up comedian. They didn't, they asked you. To give that information.

So, you just do exactly that. Give the information. As brief as possible. Don't go into dull but supposedly funny anecdotes, as they will not have the effect you expect. Also, don't expect that all of the sudden you are as funny as this-brilliant-TED-speaker, as you won't.

The best way of entertaining is if you can keep your talk in less than the 30 minutes that are given you (and for sure not a minute longer), and by being as informative as you can in that time, so that your audience doesn't feel their time is wasted. Just. be. informative. No more, no less. And yes, this post is the exact opposite of a good example as i'm repeating the same over and over again.

more than 2 years ago
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MINIX 3.2 Released With Some Major Changes

xonen Re:Real world microkernels? (120 comments)

commercial Unix-like real-time operating system, aimed primarily at the embedded systems market

That's exactly what i ment.. Commercial, not open-source, and secondly, aimed at embedded systems.

And indeed, most current kernels will be some hybrid between monolithic and micro. That's what makes Hurd and Minix so interesting: pure userland drivers/servers/ or whatever you call it; sshfs and fuse just faints by it. From a programmer stance of view, it narrows the gap between database (in the broad sense) / filesystem / IO, allowing way more efficient approaches of dealing with data and information services.

more than 2 years ago
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MINIX 3.2 Released With Some Major Changes

xonen Real world microkernels? (120 comments)

I wonder, how is real-world useability state of microkernels? As i know of only 3 serious open source projects developing an actual useable microkernel for pc-ish hardware (namely: minix, hurd and -shoot me- reactos), how does minix compare to hurd. Which of those 2 projects would be likely to be a serious (`production`-ready) alternative for linux?

On first sight, it seems Hurd is a few steps further - debian delivers an experimental distro around a Hurd kernel (comparable to the debian/freebsd project) for a few years now, whereas minix just implemented netBSD's userland with this release. On the other hand, news on Hurd has been steadily stale for a decade or 2.

If our future would be easy selectable kernels (linux/hurd/minix) and userland (gnu/*bsd), in any combination of our liking and/or most suited for the goals, then i'd welcome it, but i'm quite sure this is an oversimplification of current reality, and probably future, especially seen current *bsd vs linux development (partly caused by licensing issues). Maybe some expert on the matter could enlighten us with enduser-understandable technical details, and a comparison on those projects, please.

more than 2 years ago
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Setting the various household clocks ...

xonen It sais 'took' (344 comments)

The poll sais 'took' but a better wording would be 'will take', as i still have not done it.

Last year i did it in time. The year before i let some clocks just run on summertime for half a year, saving me the effort of adjusting, and on the fly introducing a little mental challenge every time i wanted to observe it.

Next year i plan to adjust the clocks pro-active. When wintertime arrives i'll adjust them for summertime, and vice versa. That'll save me a lot of time.

more than 2 years ago
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The best computer upgrade I've ever done was:

xonen A better monitor (522 comments)

I replaced any part on any computer i possesed, occasionaly (=once) i replaced the entire pc but mostly my pc just 'evolved', but that was not the question. The poll is asking for 'Best Upgrade', and without doubt the best was to replace my CRT with a LCD. Before that, the best one was to replace the mouse with an optical version. 3rd best must be the G15 i purchased, because that's the only USB keyboard that survives and still types properly. The rest of the PC is not relevant, of course i like my gigaherzes and a new video card and more memory but what use has it when working at a remote shell, typing emails or /. posts.. To me, investing in proper human interface devices proven most valuable to me in the long run, if only i had realized it earlier...

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Unity 3D now targets Linux

xonen xonen writes  |  about 2 years ago

xonen (774419) writes "It is now official — with the release of Unity3D version 4, Linux is an official target platform.

"Unity 4 Pro delivers the efficient and flexible workflow, graphical polish and power, smooth performance, fine tuned animations and creative control you need to make, ship and sell professional games."

The little catch here, is that Linux is not yet supported as host platform — you will still need a Windows or OSX computer to develop your games. However, we can expect a great deal of existing and new games to be released as Linux version too soon, especially since both the indie ('free') and pro versions of Unity3D support building for Linux target."

Link to Original Source
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EU investigating Motorola FRAND licensing after Microsoft and Apple complaints

xonen xonen writes  |  more than 2 years ago

xonen (774419) writes "EU antitrust regulators may open an investigation into a patent dispute between Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc (MMI.N) to ensure patent holders do not thwart rivals, the EU's antitrust chief said on Friday.

Last month Microsoft took its case to the European Commission, saying Motorola Mobility was charging too much for use of its patents in Microsoft products.

Motorola Mobility said Apple had also complained to the EU watchdog about its patents.

Google Inc (GOOG.O), which is in the process of buying Motorola Mobility, has said it will offer Motorola patents on fair and reasonable terms once the deal is completed.

The EU watchdog, which is also investigating whether legal tactics used by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) against Apple breach EU antitrust rules, may open a second patent case into the sector, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said.

"I am considering whether we need to investigate these complaints formally to help bring more clarity into this area of competition control," Almunia said in the text of a speech to be delivered at a conference in Washington.

"The holders of standard-essential patents have considerable market power. This market power can be used to harm competition ... I don't need to tell you that this is unacceptable, and I am determined to use antitrust enforcement to prevent such hold-up by patent holders," he said.

The Commission, which can fine companies up to 10 percent of their global turnover, has levied billions of euros in penalties against Microsoft, Intel (INTC.O) and others for breaching EU rules."

Link to Original Source
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Motorola asks judge to remove Windows from german market

xonen xonen writes  |  more than 2 years ago

xonen (774419) writes "

Microsoft could lose its rights to distribute in Germany products that use the H.264 video standard and the 802.11 WiFi standard, pending a court ruling on April 17. According to Motorola, those products infringe on its patents.

If the court rules that Microsoft indeed infringes on Motorola's intellectual property in its use of these standardized technologies, this could exclude Microsoft from the German market and cause irreparable harm to Microsoft and the public, Microsoft claimed in court documents filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington on Wednesday. The software company asked the U.S. court for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction preventing Motorola from enforcing any legal victory in its case being heard in Mannheim, Germany, until a U.S. lawsuit between both companies is decided.

Microsoft said it had to resort to filing for a preliminary injunction in the United States because Motorola was not willing to accept an offer of a $300 million in bond to postpone any enforcement of the possible German verdict until the U.S. case was settled.

Popcorn anyone?"
Link to Original Source

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Dutch DoJ admits breaking the law

xonen xonen writes  |  more than 2 years ago

xonen (774419) writes "A spokesman for the dutch police, Mr. Lodewijk van Zwieten — national officer for cyber-crime and interception — admitted that the dutch police violates the law by breaking into foreign computers on a frequent base.

He claims the law does not cover current times when it comes to 'the online hunt for pedophiles and other criminals' — as the digital world is border-less but most jurisdiction isn't.

"While we have to ask our foreign colleagues for permission, criminals can access the whole world with a press of the button", van Zwieten sais. As examples are mentioned a recent kp case, and the 'Bredolab' botnet. "When cyber criminals infected 30 million computers worldwide with a hostile virus, the dutch recherche hacked foreign computers".

They plead for laws that 'can catch up with the current speed of developments, because else detectives are always a step behind'.

According to Van Zwieten "internationally, investigation bodies are all having the same problem, and 'have to learn to look at the existing rules with new glasses"

Apparently, laws do not apply to the police, and international criminal activities did not exist before internet, outdating any existing law, giving a free ticket to break them — as long as Justitia is your employer.

--With my humble excuses for the primitive translation."

Link to Original Source
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European Central Bank pushes 500B high-risk loans

xonen xonen writes  |  more than 2 years ago

xonen (774419) writes "Various sources report that the European Central Bank invested over 500 billion euro into short-term low-interest loans to over 800 european banks. The ECB also urges the banks to be 'more flexible in loaning money' The ECB’s loans are intended to relieve liquidity strains and grease the flow of credit to households and businesses, boosting growth.

This raises the obvious questions. If our current crisis was cause by irresponsible loans, how will lending more irresponsible money help solving it? That prompted German council member Jens Weidmann to warn that the central bank mustn’t “lose sight of its mandate” to control inflation by taking on “excessive risks.”

Must money roll after all?"

Link to Original Source
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The end of dutch uncensored internet marks a black

xonen xonen writes  |  more than 2 years ago

xonen (774419) writes "Two dutch internet providers are summoned by the court to block DNS entries and IP addresses of the pirate bay.
This list is allowed to be updated by a private organization, 'BREIN', which represent the media industries.
Despite several errors, false assumptions and other inconsistensies in the ruling, those 2 ISP's are ordered to disallow access within 2 weeks. Other ISP's are expected to follow soon (or not, depending whom you ask). It is likely that the two ISP's involved will seek a higher court ruling.

The part of the ruling that causes most pain, is not as much as that a site gets blocked — which is bad enough by itself — but that a private organisation is granted full control on the list of dns entries and IP's that is to be blocked — opening the door to arbitrary censorship."

Link to Original Source
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Internet Explorer story was bogus

xonen xonen writes  |  more than 3 years ago

xonen (774419) writes "A story which suggested that users of Internet Explorer have a lower IQ than people who chose other browsers appears to have been an elaborate hoax.

A number of media organisations, including the BBC, reported on the research, put out by Canadian firm ApTiquant.

It later emerged that the company's website was only recently set up and staff images were copied from a legitimate business in Paris.

It is unclear who was behind the stunt."

Link to Original Source
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A simple social experiment

xonen xonen writes  |  more than 3 years ago

xonen (774419) writes "A VL friend of me and me run into a phylosophic question, one was the 'makeability' of life. The theory is, you can shape life at it's will. No clue how and why we came to the experiment, but one was to prove that nowadays it's easy to provide 1,000 hits to a random link like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_7y0ZhQxlA . It proves that thoughs, and even artistic concepts, are carried way beyond any intentions of any artistic creator, simply by multiplying it.

Now, this is all bull. just click the link will you, or not. As to prove or reject our theory."

Link to Original Source
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Dutch providers do not have to block TPB

xonen xonen writes  |  more than 4 years ago

xonen (774419) writes "In a preliminary decision, the dutch judge ruled that 'a total block was disproportional as it was not likely the majority of the Ziggo (the isp) customers violated copyright law. Instead BREIN (the instute representing media industries) should go after individual users. Ziggo has agreed that in principle it could hand over personal details.
The procedure continous for a final ruling. A little more detailed story is here, as well as the court ruling

Please use your prefered translation tool to read the sources."

Link to Original Source
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Facebook files charges to digital suicide service

xonen xonen writes  |  more than 4 years ago

xonen (774419) writes "Last week, a dutch artist collective opened a new webservice, the 'suicide machine'. Their service automates the deletion of your accounts, and account related information like friends, for a variety of services including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Their aim is to 'help you get rid of those energy consuming social networks'.

Facebook now filed charges against the website, claiming they violate their terms and conditions, and are illegaly requesting account information from their users, and applying automated access to the facebook website.

In a reaction, Moddr, the owner of the website, responded: "We are not violating their terms, if any, the users are because they are the ones providing us their account information". Also, they plan not to comply to facebook's C&D letter "Facebook is the only one that has contacted us. So far we didn't hear nothing from twitter and linkedin". Instead of complying, they plan to have a workaround ready as soon as monday to 'circumvent the blockade that facebook put on our servers". They seek aid of a lawyer nevertheless.

Excuses for my bad english."

Link to Original Source
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Privacy of 3 million dutch voters taunted by crash

xonen xonen writes  |  more than 4 years ago

xonen (774419) writes "The privacy of 3 million dutch voters cannot be guaranteed, according to a report investigating the procedures around the 2008 elections for the dutch water council. Citizans had to vote by a paper / mail system, and all votes were marked with a unique number. This number was guarantueed not possible to be linked to personal information, as the encryption key was stored in a safe. This argument was also used as defense in a court case regarding the matter. It appears now, that this safe has been opened. Because of a software crash, the systems had to reboot. In order to allow reboots, said safe needed to be opened.

Here is a translation of the original article [as translated by google]. For links, please see the original article.

-------

Published: Monday, November 30, 2009
Author: Brenno de Winter

During the water board election of 2008 is the voice software crashed, verification of the electoral process and removed the safe open with cryptographic keys.

According to a report of the conduct of the vote counting. This document is provided to all polling stations of the water boards, but now revealed through wob-request (Act on the public administration). Wob which is made by the foundation "We Do not Trust Voting Computers". The report draws a picture of a chaotic process.

Panic after performance issues
Despite the fact that only 24 percent of voters cast a vote, was the central system of counting the votes that can not. Performance problems quickly arose. There were even machines locking up. To be addressed, since the Union of Water Boards at all costs wanted to avoid any delay would be on bringing the election.

Therefore it was soon decided in an additional processor, the backup computer. That machine had after running tests serve as an operational machine. Thus there was no computer more if failure occurred. So we also ordered a new computer. Delivery for this proved too long and therefore there is no new backup machine in operation.

Customizing during cast
Furthermore, no performance issues not resolved by the bijschakelen of processors. So we decided the election code of the software to adapt. A check on the correct block of votes was evicted, "The second search was for correct functionality is not necessary and is facilitated", states the report revealed today.

The election of the portal software is also altered half point, it now appears: "Because calculations in queries were performed twice lasted 1.5 hours, requiring them much CPU power of the Portal. Then decided to do the calculations once. "

Furthermore, the technical experts made adjustments in database software for the calculation of provisional results. "During the whole process has SURFnet behavior of the monitored servers and processing on the SQL database software has finally adjusted to the (preliminary calculation results) to be able to" make the authors report.

Deposit secret vote
These were not the only problems during the counting of the votes. Thus proved two machines locking up and the helpdesk system functioned properly. To restart the servers had to be opened a sealed vault. It not only are the servers, but also the secret encryption key used by the present.

The result is that someone with access to the voting stock of voters can decipher the information therein. This is to find out what someone agrees. Precisely that scenario was impossible because the water boards, according to the encryption. This, they claimed to defend a lawsuit brought by the Foundation Trust We Vote computers. The safe with encryption keys would not open.

This is still done and the keys even on a test system installed outside the vault. It is currently unclear whether they have the secret ballot of three million voters effectively been broken.

It is clear that the guarantee of the partitioning of the information is breached. There were three people present when opening the safe. Besides an employee of the ICT company of the water boards, were that a notary and a security guard from Securitas.

When it appeared that the technical problems to resolve were the vault is closed, with a new seal on the door. Ultimately there is a remote development computer software installed to do the calculations but the results of a timely conclusion.

Jam software
Another problem that raises questions, stalling the operation of the system. During the reading process because the file was fixed. The resumption of a turn out the required audit report and the system apparently functioned again. The guarantee was then upload each individually notified to the progress of the monitoring process.

Overall, the printouts of such report three times needed. The report writer does not explain the cause of the crash or why running a report function allows the system spontaneously.

Ailing run
There had already been strong criticism of the functioning of the portal software used by the water boards. The Voice Foundation We distrust Computers Not all proved that the software was as leaky as a sieve. The security was also savaged in a report written by IT Fox IT company commissioned by responsible State Secretary Tineke Huizinga.

The accumulation of problems in elections last year has led to so many disturbances. The software is updated three times during the elections, accounting failures have been fixed by the printouts of reports, and the safe was opened with the encryption keys.

The question now is whether the vote counting is correct, or whether the secret ballot is guaranteed. The vote is secret from last year's sensitive, because then crossed over to vote for political parties rather than on "non-party" people."

Link to Original Source

Journals

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My privacy online

xonen xonen writes  |  more than 2 years ago

I decided recently to put some more effort in securing my online privacy, by using some standard tactics, like automagic clearing of cookies except for a whitelist, and by logging out from the big spysites like Facebook and Google. I also try to obfuscate my surfing even further by using different browsers, and even got more headroom if i'd install Opera or Safari as well, in an effort to sabotage browser fingerprinting.

The practical implications are more severe than i expected though. For example, when not logged on to a Google account, their search results seem a lot more irrelevant, up to the point i'd call it a 'shitty search engine', littering the top-10 results with rubbish. And before you say 'duh, of course personalized search results are better' - the same applies to subjects i'd normally never search for. Of course this is a subjective impression. Just as subjective as that certain sites seem to remember your history without being logged on anywhere. Clearing cookies largely helps, it seems. It's stunning though how visiting a single page easily leaves no less than 30 cookies on occasion - and that's with an ad blocker enabled. My conclusion here is that using an ad blocker might indeed block ads from displaying, it is in no way an effective means of getting tracked less.

All my effort seem in vein though, when i read the numbers on police queries. According to http://webwereld.nl/nieuws/109521/-politie-schendt-wet-met-bevragingen-ciot-database-.html , the dutch police queried personal data (name, address) belonging to a certain IP address, no less than 2.3 million times in 2011.

The most basic math would reveal that about 15% of the dutch population (around 16.6M) was queried. However, if you start counting the number of households (around 7M), or better: the account of households with broadband internet connection (around 5M), that number approaches 50%.

If you'd also factor in my internet usage which is surely a lot larger than the average (16/24 x 7/7, visiting a lot of websites, leaving comments left and right, likely on more delicate subjects), then it's almost a statistical certainty, with a sigma that the CERN would be proud of, that my IP address was queried at least once in 2011.

There's no privacy. If it's not an secured connection, it's even likely that all data is tapped. Not only the obliged info that's tapped for everyone (you know, emails, tcp connections) as by EU law, but also a full tap as in phone tap - holland tops the numbers there too.

To make matters worse. It can also not be excluded that even a secured connection is insecure. Apparently almost any certificate distributor is flawed, stamping thousands of fake certificates. There are even certificates that work on the 'top level domain'. Worse, there's no reason to believe they were not only used in Iran or so, as is officially claimed. Man-in-the-middle attacks are not only a theoretical concern.

There's only one conclusion: there's no privacy online. What the big companies do is only children's play compared to how the dutch gov operates. It's logged, filed and analyzed. Likely even this very message. I'm a suspect. A potentional rebel, hacker or terrorist. Just like 2.3 more dutch citizens.

So, next time you come to holland, better think twice before visiting our country filled with criminals. But rest assured you're watched, for the safety of us all. Because we all want a safe internet, don't we.

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First week without digital contrabande

xonen xonen writes  |  more than 2 years ago

It's the 10th day now, of the dutch censurship. A foreign website is blocked, by both DNS and IP. And despite earlier discussions that mostly revolved to 'easy to avoid', i can only come to the conclusion that it still s*cks. Big time.

I'm not such of a downloader. Occasionaly, when i hear something, on some radio stream, i might check out. Youtube first, probably. But sometimes, or quite often, it's simply not there. Too obscure, or whatever it is. So the next choice would be to find some copy - that's where file sharing comes in.

It's also still legal in our country. Downloading, for personal use, is legal. But one of the means to do so conveniently, is blocked.

I joked in advance 'Using TOR will give me that bit of holiday feeling - like i'm in China'. Unfortunately, it's true. Not that i feel in China. But i feel the hot breath of an almost fascist regime breathing in my neck. This regime feeling has nothing to do with file sharing though, more with the other means of control. Holland excels in telephone tapping, for example. Anything is trapped, analyzed. Every bit i send over the internet is weighted, scanned, duplicated and stored. The blocking is just a solid reminder on that.

I had a daydream, or more nightmare, vision, today. Of risking getting shot at street by a drone, because you said something wrong on the internet.

The pain is not in a technical filesharing thingy working no longer as intended. Well, that's a bit of pain too. It's not only the site that's down, it are important trackers that are down too. Even with the torrent, stuff seems to run a lot less smooth. But that's all irrelevant. By the feeling that i live in a regime, not a democracy.

I apologize to all out there in egypt, or syria, or whereever. Where i know the situation is really bad. Risking your lives is nothing compared to a spoiled file sharer. Therefore, i think, no-one really dares to complain. Because then we are spoiled.

Yet.. another step, to our big brother, big cyber brother, controlling us. Now, let me fill in facebook what i all did today else intelligence service will start to worry what i'm doing, i can't risk that.

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What's wrong with the moderator points

xonen xonen writes  |  more than 2 years ago

For years, i'v been getting mod points for, well, maybe once a year. Not that i ever really bothered - but all of the sudden (and my ./ browsing habits did not really change) - i get modpoints time after time.
Today, i hardly spend my last modpoint and bam - i got 5 new modpoints again. For the 5th time in 2 weeks time. What's wrong with it - is it horribly bugged, or are the odds of 'random' just teasing me?

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Are we over the the tipping point of technological growth

xonen xonen writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Are we over the the tipping point of technological growth

While numbers like Mooreâ(TM)s Law have kept amazing us for the past decades, and the number of scientific articles published each year almost exponentially explodes, my question is: are we really getting that most smarter? Is technology really growing that fast?

The 20th century, and the ones before, have been amazing. Cultural revolution in the 16, industrial revolution thereafter, and high-tech evolving with the coming of electricity in the 20th. However, sometimes we tend to over-estimate the latest inventions. No, the iPod is not the highest product that we could possible produce, itâ(TM)s more in the natural line of technology, such product with such specifications was expected to happen, sooner or later. Ask Moore. Well, there are other factors, battery industry, for example. But in general, the amateur engineers among us could predict such evolvements reasonable well for, say, a 10-15 year timescale period.

Our real technologies are a lot more fundamental to that. Take concrete and steel production. Concrete sure has been improved, but the concept of steel-inforced concrete is maybe one of the best inventions of modern architecture. And speaking of steel. The skills of hardening steel are even a lot older. Heating. Cooling. Re-heating, basically. Itâ(TM)s one of the fundamental technologies that we rely on daily.

Most modern alloys. Were already invented around the 1950â(TM)s. Same for most other technologies like atom craft, and semiconductors. The principals were quickly laid, and despite recent and future improvements the basics technology goes way back.

Itâ(TM)s quite obvious that the 20th centory has brought a lot of discoveries. But, to me, it appears we are loosing speed. We get more involved in political aspects, often rightfully, than that really new things are discovered. Optics? Yes, theyâ(TM)ll get improved. Quantum computers? The principal around a 100 years old by now, waiting for someone to make it just-works. Of course thereâ(TM)s a lot of theoretical research going on. Like at the LHC, the Large Hedron Collider. Yet, the principal of colliders is over 50 years old already, too. Itâ(TM)s just another evolving technology, like steel.

Astronomy, you might counter. Space expeditions. DNA research. Molecular biological research, whatever. Yes, sure itâ(TM)s steadily improving and thereâ(TM)s a lot of fundamental knowledge coming out of it. But, once, a popular saying among scientist was: âan answer raises more questions than it answersâ(TM). We seem to be beyond that point, we are directed looking for answers, within an context we already know or assume to know. Sudden new stuff still pops up, for sure, and will always be. Yet, the more we understand the less there is to discover.

But with all this knowledge. Did our engineers manage to make our life quality much improved. It more seems that economy did, not engineering in itself. Economy hired the engineers. And very interesting things were produced.

But in an ideal world. Weâ(TM)d not worry about pollution, cause we didnâ(TM)t make any. No plastic waste in oceans. No CO2 pollution. Better treatment for the elder. No continents with starvation issues. Good food for everyone. Etc. Itâ(TM)s all technologically perfectly feasible, yet we donâ(TM)t do it. Engineering canâ(TM)t solve everything thatâ(TM)s for sure true, itâ(TM)s society that need to solve it. Society, politics, industry.

If we look at the raw numbers, it is ridiculous that we have a food problem in certain countries. Scientist predict the earth is, with current technology, capable of maintaining about 35 billion people. Yet, we are only we 7 billion as we speak, so there is really no technological reason at all we shouldnâ(TM)t be able to produce enough food. Political situations like civilian wars taken out, thereâ(TM)s no reason at all why we shouldnâ(TM)t have excellent food production at _any_ place. We got the money, plenty of, even. Got any technology needed. Got the knowledge to scale up or down, you donâ(TM)t have to industrialize Africa instantly, you can grow the efforts with society. Really, seen from an engineering point of view there would be no problem at all.

We see political influence on technical issues grow everywhere. Internet being the most recent example. But also taxes like electricity tax. Or simply car speed limits. Of course politics need to draw the outer lines of what is acceptable, and must adapt to technological progress.

Iâ(TM)m sorry to lost topic a bit into politics, as i was really talking about science itself, mostly. My gut feel sais, our rate of improvement is slowly decaying. We manage to make more, of everything. but not necessarily better. We ignore fundamental problems like waste, pollution, or general wellbeing like traffic or sound hindrance, recreating, at the cost of âeconomyâ(TM) which basically involves a big marionette involving suits and ties and fuel-consuming smell engines. Eventually most office and social work nowadays is done behind the pc, so it shouldn't really matter where that pc is. Except for social purposes, technologically there is no need to go to office 9 to 5 on a daily basis per se, so thereâ(TM)s hardly any need for forensic car usage either.

Weâ(TM)r heading into a new middle age. We found our new witches, too. Terrorists. Extremists. We are scared of a terrorist killing 100 people. Yet our modern society sacrifices thousands of lifes daily. But we lost our vision. Cause we have no other goals. Thereâ(TM)s no renewed goal now âthat we got it allâ(TM). There is no higher goal to reach in current society, there is just âfearâ(TM) and âsurvivalâ(TM) which are both, practically, totally displaced emotions.

Our goal should be to reach this higher society. This Utopia we spoke about so long. Not debating about the last pennies for whatever, there really should be no need for nibbling on all such details, itâ(TM)s a decadent behavior. Decadent, yes. We float in luxury. All our problems are close to virtual. We make them to have one. Again, from an engineering point of view there is really no reason why we cannot live perfect lives. Have perfect health care. Etc.

Internet makes it possible i can write this and distribute this. Thatâ(TM)s why i like the internet. Please keep up the good ideas and let us all define some higher goals society should strive after. Cause despite extremists, i believe most people have just âcommon senseâ(TM) and like almost agrees on best possible solutions. Itâ(TM)s not the agreement thatâ(TM)s missing. Itâ(TM)s the flow of new fresh ideas. Idealists. Modern Voltaireâ(TM)s. Einsteins. We are more people than ever. So, where are they... Where are our thinkers.

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Why Paint.net sux

xonen xonen writes  |  more than 3 years ago

What started as a nice project a few years ago, has now become a pain.inthewherethesundontshine. The sheer arrogance of the developers combined with the fact that it is closed source, proves once again why open source is so important and here to stay.
    I'm ready to believe the developer had, and has, best intends. I'm also ready to accept his time is limited and that he can not comply to every wish by every user.
    Why the hassle you'll ask. Well, after - finally - being the proud owner of a pen tablet, you know, not those i/pat thingies, but the tablets you can use to draw, as digital pencil, i was happily playing with it using the various software i already posses. The Gimp, of course. Does excellent job but my second monitor broke down, so screen layout is a bit messy and intrusive. Paint.net then, the 'friendly light-weight but flexible editor'. Guess what, my pen wasn't working as intended. It was simulating a mouse, no more, no less and no sign of pressure sensivity. A quick google made me think i missed an option somewhere, as paint.net is actually recommended for tablet use. A consequent google learned the answer: pressure sensivity was removed (!) in 3.5. Without any reason in particular, it was just removed.
    Before barking at the forum, i figured to see what others already have barked against that tree, and indeed, i'm not alone. One wants to create a petition to get tablet support back in, the other asks for an older version please (any 3.5 has support for tablets, and are about as feature rich). The developer simply states it 'disappeared, won't come back, except maybe in the form of a plugin'.
So, summorizing facts:
* The support was removed in a mature version. 3 major version points have supported it, 3.5 and up no longer (will) support it.
* There are (intentionally) no older versions available (via the official channel)
* People that complain about this issue are accused of ranting, and told to (summarized) stfu
* There is currently no plugin for it
* Forum threads regarding the issue are closed.
* The installer will remove any existing installation of paint.net so there is no option to run or install 2 distinct versions simultaniously.

My conclusion is: 1. The development team is: A. Retarded. B. Arrogant C. shortsighted D. not interested in supporting other input devices E. not seriously interested into graphics at all. F. ignoring a large % of their user base. G. Giving Freeware a bad reputation.

This post is dedicated to the poor fellows before me already accused of ranting because of this very issue. I'm happy to waste a few more bytes to add another rant.

Keep up the good work. Vive La Gimp. Vive open source. Vive Liberte.

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