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Comment: Re:Sure you can. (Score 1) 482

by Erikderzweite (#46894419) Attached to: Really, Why Are Smartphones Still Tied To Contracts?

You may want to consider OSMAnd -- openstreetmap for android. It has support for offline navigation and you can pre-download entire countries. Offline wikipedia is a nice touch as well: major tourist attractions are mentioned there so you have a handy offline travel guide. Very useful abroad where I usually don't have data roaming.

Comment: Re:Seriously? (Score 1) 482

by Erikderzweite (#46891547) Attached to: Really, Why Are Smartphones Still Tied To Contracts?

Hence the summary should read "Why is the US so backwards?". To which the answer is: "because people pay more this way".

Two-year contracts become less and less popular In Germany. There are people, of course, who want a new phone every two years and are ready to basically lease the hardware, but the prepaid options are getting more and more lucrative with an added bonus of being able to cancel the service at will.

If you want you can buy a dumbphone for 20 euros, get a prepaid card for free (some vendors even offer initial bonus) and give it a go.

Same with smartphones, I got my Nexus 4 directly from google and use prepaid with it. There is a vendor now who offers advertisement-paid mobile flatrate: you have to agree to receive an advertisement a day via SMS and the speed is cut to EDGE-level after the first 100Mb, but for me it is an ideal offer as I seldom call or send an SMS but use online messaging from time to time.

Comment: Re:Three interesting things (Score 2) 90

by Erikderzweite (#46673235) Attached to: More On the "Cuban Twitter" Scam

Please... I lived it. But the situation is a bit different here: radio free Europe, Voice of America, BBC etc. were mass media, they claimed higher ground and freedom from government censorship, but they still had owners, countries of origin and so on.

Social networks are controlled differently, the agents there pose as common people, changing and influencing the opinion of those who read but doesn't post (i.e. the majority of users). Often post from social networks are used in the western media to form an opinion about the situation in a country. And information is a very powerful weapon, see Iraq. And the best thing about it: zero credibility. Remember Amina Arraf? The Syrian lesbian blogger who was arrested by the government. Real name: Tom MacMaster, US citizen. For quite some time Arraf was a widely cited symbol of the Syrian rebellion against tyranny. The facts from the Syrian government that such person does not exist were ignored by the media. And that was the doing of a single person. Now imagine the organization behind it, say, NED. Zero credibility, free to invent facts and even a discovery of a hoax will not reverse the already formed opinion: a brief admission at worst: the media don't like admitting own mistakes.

Comment: Re:Sneaky. (Score 3, Interesting) 90

by Erikderzweite (#46672303) Attached to: More On the "Cuban Twitter" Scam

Reminds me of a map about the Maidan tweets here:

One may wonder, how many of those UK and US tweets were from Ukrainians living in these countries (US has a rather large Ukrainian diaspora, the UK doesn't) and how many were associated with intelligence agencies. Interesting are the blips on the map from Bahrain at the crucial moments.

Comment: Re:Three interesting things (Score 2, Interesting) 90

by Erikderzweite (#46672205) Attached to: More On the "Cuban Twitter" Scam

The real question is, to what extent was the US involved in other countries? Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine? Different counties, same scenario. Social media play a major role at the beginning and during each uprising.

Which also raises the question whether blocking social media is an act of censorship or an attempt to neutralize foreign involvement in internal affairs.

Comment: Re:And the US could turn Russia into vapor (Score 1) 878

As said, the resources were burned quickly, while many German machines managed to work throughout the war.
Keep in mind that the bulk of Lend Lease shipments happened after 1943, the Western Front opened 1944, well after Stalingrad and Kursk. The USSR was already winning back then, it was all about who gets the control over Western Europe.

Comment: Re:And the US could turn Russia into vapor (Score 1) 878

Resources are indeed the key. Napoleon took Moscow, but Alexander had enough country to retreat and gather supplies. So Napoleon had to retreat, had to take the same road his army has already ransacked. And without provisions, without precious calories his army froze to death in a relatively mild weather.

Stalin had successfully managed first to trade technologies for resources with Germany and then, after the war begun, to move the war production behind the Urals. While Germany was quickly running out of resources, the USSR was producing more and more supplies fro their troops each day. In the end, even the united European war production was not enough to keep up. It is questionable though how close Hitler was to actually winning that war given that the war production was moved in advance.

As for the nuclear war: I don't see how any side could emerge victorious from such an ordeal. Economy, not nukes is the weapon of choice. The troops are merely following to finish a weakened country.

Comment: Re:The Day After (Score 1) 878

You do realize that missile defence cannot even make a dent in a massive first strike. It is only effective if your country attacks first as an attempt to block the retaliation strike.

So, in effect, a missile defence is making the hawks in your country feel saver and be more aggressive while making hawks on the other side more nervous so both sides now want to strike first. Which makes a full-scaled conflict more, and not less, possible.

Comment: Re:Allow Russians to vote with their feet (Score 3, Insightful) 878

It's not as simple as that: most Ukrainian people, especially the elderly are very likely to have voted in Russia's favour. Not only because they were living side by side with Russians and are nostalgic for the good ol' times, but also because of the pensions which are about four times higher in Russia. The right-wing radicals that are very vocal among the Ukrainian government gave a strong trump to Russia as well.

As for Tatars: Tatarstan's president (federal Republic in Russian Federation) was in Crimea promoting tolerance to Russians. He is well respected among the Tatar community and was busy explaining that Tatars and Russians can indeed live peacefully together. Plus the above-mentioned economic factor. Of all groups, the Tatars are, of course, most opposed to the Russians, but you won't feed your family with politics alone.

Comment: Re:Interfering West Again (Score 2) 878

Oh, it's far from perfect. But nonetheless the only country with a functioning manned space flight program.

EU and US did support the coup, the acting Ukrainian president doesn't even want to hide that he is sponsored by NATO, NED and State Department:

So the Russia supports a coup of their own.

Luck, that's when preparation and opportunity meet. -- P.E. Trudeau