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Comment: Microsoft is adapting to a new role (Score 3, Interesting) 421

by MtHuurne (#48644189) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is an Open Source<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET Up To the Job?

I think Microsoft is adapting to being one of several vendors instead of being a dominant force. They have to play better with others because they don't have the market power they had 10 years ago.

As for .Net, I used it briefly some years ago and wasn't impressed. Compared to Java, they decided that exceptions don't need to be declared, so you have to look up in the documentation which exceptions you have to handle. However, the documentation doesn't list all exceptions that can be thrown. So I have no idea how one would do proper error handling in .Net.

Another thing that bothered me is that the documentation consists mostly of examples. However, if I read documentation I don't want a code fragment to copy-paste, I want to read the specification for a particular method. In particular, how it handles edge cases. That information was usually missing. Of course you can test the behavior, but there is no guarantee the next release will have the same behavior if the behavior was never documented. All in all, it didn't feel like a good platform for writing reliable applications.

Comment: Re:Political nonsense (Score 1) 395

by MtHuurne (#48481903) Attached to: France Wants To Get Rid of Diesel Fuel

I'm all for electric and the end of burning fuel to drive around but you have to ask the question of WHERE that electricity is coming from to charge up your car?
Is the problem just being shifted?

In France, a lot of electricity comes from nuclear power plants, so in terms of CO2 reduction switching to electric driving would help. But that transition is going to take a while; it's unrealistic to expect everyone who now drives a diesel to buy an electric as their next car.

As far as I know, and this seems to be supported by your links, modern diesels don't pollute more than modern petrol cars. So if this would be about reducing pollution, they should crack down on old and poorly maintained diesels.

I don't know about France, but in the Netherlands students get free (but limited) public transport use, so very few students drive a car. That keeps a lot of old and poorly maintained cars off the road.

Comment: Incorrect statement about Dutch health care system (Score 1) 231

by MtHuurne (#48408313) Attached to: The Dutch Village Where Everyone Has Dementia

In Holland, everyone pays into the state health care system during their working years, with the money then disbursed to pay for later-in-life expenses

The Dutch health care system never worked like that. They might be confused with the pension system, where people save for their generation's retirement. While heavily regulated, the pension system is not run by the state.

The Dutch health care system is actually a lot like Obamacare, with private insurance companies which are not allowed to turn down people who apply. The system was redesigned in 2006: before that, people with low to moderate salaries were insured via their employer, while now all people pick and pay their own insurer. The increased competition in the new system hasn't stopped medical costs from rising though.

Comment: Cheap way to score political points (Score 1) 489

by MtHuurne (#48183061) Attached to: In UK, Internet Trolls Could Face Two Years In Jail

Asking for heavier penalties is a simple way for a politician to make it appear they're doing something about an issue without actually solving it. In terms of deterrence, I think a 6-month sentence should be enough: online harassers are not thinking "it's only 6 months," they're thinking "I'm anonymous, they'll never catch me."

Comment: Re:PETA won't be happy until all animals are extin (Score 4, Informative) 367

In the particular case of dogs, I'd argue that having contact with humans is their natural way of living. Over ten thousand years of contact with humans has shaped the species. There is no way you can consider any dog to be not exposed to humans: it's in their genes.

Comment: Re:NPAPI plugins won't work at all in Chrome anywa (Score 1) 129

by MtHuurne (#47904705) Attached to: Chrome For Mac Drops 32-bit Build

As far as I know, NPAPI plugins can't be sandboxed effectively. So they are indeed security risks. You could argue whether it is Google or the end user that should decide what risks to take with plugins, but given how easily people click "Yes" without even reading the question, I don't really blame them for not leaving this to the end user.

As for an open web, what did plugins ever do to open the web? The most popular plug-in is Flash, which is proprietary. Silverlight is proprietary; it has an open source clone that never actually worked when I tried. Java is open source but Java Applets are pretty much obsolete today.

I do share the concern that Chrome is becoming too dominant. Moving to PPAPI plugins would not be a step forward, but phasing out plugins altogether would be.

Comment: Re:Key exchange (Score 2) 174

by MtHuurne (#47803425) Attached to: Tox, a Skype Replacement Built On 'Privacy First'

It could be handled like SSH: when you get an invite to connect to someone, their key fingerprint is displayed. If you are paranoid, you can verify the fingerprint via alternative channels. Otherwise, you blindly accept it. In either case, you are protected against man in the middle attacks after that first connection is made. Also, if you did accept a fake key, any time you try to talk to that person over a network where the man in the middle is not present will trigger a key mismatch, revealing that an attack took place on the initial connect.

Comment: Re:"Net neutrality", my ass. (Score 4, Insightful) 91

It's a buzzword for demanding federal control of the internet, to remedy the government-caused problem of last mile providers who are protected from competition by local cable monopoly privileges.

What kind of additional control would net neutrality give the government over the internet besides the enforcing net neutrality itself?

Besides, I doubt any possible negative side effects of net neutrality would come close to the problem of ongoing massive warrantless spying, so if you're worried about government control over the internet, this seems like the wrong battle to pick.

All we need to solve the problem of the Comcasts and the Time-warners of the world is to expose them to competition.

That may not be easy... The big telcos lobby for laws protecting them from municipal broadband, but as far as I know they are not protected from commercial rivals, yet few are challenging them.

Here in the Netherlands when it comes to broadband competition, on ADSL there is a lot of competition because the government forced the leading telco (KPN, the former state telco) to share their telephone lines with other ISPs, since those lines were laid with public money. On cable, for some reason such a line sharing wasn't enforced, so two big companies (UPC and Ziggo) bought all the local cable networks and are now trying to merge, meaning there will be one giant cable company for the entire country (*). On fiber, there used to be a lot of different ISPs, but KPN bought most of them and a few other failed (probably because of mismanagement), so there is very little competition left there as well.

(*) I do agree with the cable companies' reasoning that they are not competing against each other anyway, since they don't operate in the same areas: every house has at most one cable connection. But in my opinion the line sharing should have been enforced for cable too, since those networks were also built with public money. But they were owned by local governments and sold for a lot of money during the dot-com boom (unlike KPN, which was owned by the state and then privatized), so I guess it would be unfair to change the conditions for network use after selling them.

My point is that mergers and acquisitions will reduce competition, even in situations where there are no corrupt laws blocking healthy competition. So I think it's wishful thinking that if you allow competition it will automatically come into existence, regardless of properties of the specific market.

There is also a practical aspect: it is inefficient to have to run several cables to each house. In my opinion, ideally each house would be connected to a single fiber optic cable, over which an unlimited number of ISPs could offer their services. The last mile is not a good place to look for competition; the rest of the service is.

Comment: Re:Prevailing winds? (Score 2) 212

by MtHuurne (#47801903) Attached to: Radioactive Wild Boars Still Roaming the Forests of Germany

I don't think the prevailing winds matter all that much: it is the winds in the first days after the accident that matter, since during that time the radioactive particles were still in the air. I know that here in the Netherlands (west of Germany) in the months after the accident some types of crops were destroyed because they were considered unsafe for consumption.

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