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Comment: Re:Impossible (Score 4, Interesting) 93 93

No matter how hard you try, you cannot "get into the mind" of anyone*.

*ftfy. - I think it is what they call the qualia problem.

However it still might be useful in a similar sense as lenses that hamper your eyesight to resemble a cataract. It gives the researcher an idea how senses of such an individual are altering his/her perception of the world.

Comment: Re:Lousy translation as usual (Score 1) 71 71

But for some reason, German nearly always comes out as laughable borderline gibberish. Part of it could just be that I'm mostly reading product reviews from "real people" which use everyday language and idioms more frequently, but even official copy from companies comes out at best hilarious and barely intelligible. Any clue why that is? I always thought of German as being incredibly close to English (relative to most other languages) but as you pointed out, the state of English/German computer translation is quite sad.

In German you can easily construct sentences which become gramatically very complex in comparison to English. Also, the syntax, i.e. order of words, is often more flexible and also plays a big part in the meaning of a sentence. I actually found a pretty neat example when I just googled the topic (link below):

Sources: Briefträger beißen Hunde selten. (Mind you, writing "Hunde beißen Briefträger selten." does not change the meaning.)
Translation 1: Dogs seldom bite postmen.
Translation 2: Postmen seldom bite dogs.

Both translations are correct, it is up to the reader to interpret the ambigious sentence by context and common sense, thus identifying whether the source is in Subject-Verb-Object or in Object-Verb-Subject word order. I just tested it and as expected, Google Translate and Bing Translator both are suggesting variant 2 as "Mailman rarely bite dogs", probably because Subject-Verb-Object is predominant in common speech. As you can see, they also fail to recognize "Briefträger" is plural. So I changed it to "Postmänner" and, tada: "Post men often biting dogs." - Now it's complete messed up.

Another oft quoted thing with German is that you can build arbitrarily long words of different nouns. (Infamous example: "Donaudampfschifffahrtskapitänsdienstmütze" meaning "hat of the captain of a steam ship on the Danube river which he is wearing on his duty")

So as you see, the way Google Translate and Bing Translator are designed, utilizing look up tables of man-made translations, will not work well in many cases and also give you some seriously flawed results.

As to why the combination of English and German is so bad in particular, I don't know - I am not an expert in machine translation, just your everyday user. But from my experience, there are other languages which also show how lacking these tools can be (thinking of Russian).

Link: http://static.lingenio.de/Engl...

Comment: Lousy translation as usual (Score 2) 71 71

Well, I can only judge the quality of the automated translation with regards to the second screenshot in TFA (EnglishGerman) and I have to say that it's just as miserable, and also hardly intelligible, as I had expected. It is even worse than what you would get with Google Translate. Obviously neither of the two involved speak a word of German, otherwise they had never used this for their article.

Example:

Source: "oh ok, nevermind about that call I got it"
My translation: "oh ok, schon gut wegen des Anrufs, habe verstanden"
Skype translation: "über diesen Anruf habe ich es"
Actual meaning of Skype's translation: "over this call I have it"

I suspect that without some proficiency in the source language, you will hardly ever be able to comprehend what the meaning of the translated sentences is.

It is the same problem with all current-gen computer assisted translation that there is so much ambiguity in human language. Another very good example for that can also be seen in that screenshot where "second" was translated as "zweite" which is one possible translation but actually "Sekunde" would be correct.

Until this is resolved, I would not exactly call it technology like from an episode of Star Trek.

Comment: Re:Messaging? (Score 1) 199 199

Yes you can uninstall. But I wrote unregister - thus unsubscribe from the service and disappear from everyone's contact list. Last times I unregistered, I still was available as a contact. For others it appeared as if I just never read the message when in fact it was lost. Even after registering again, the messages sent during my absence were not delivered.

As said, they want to keep it simple. They won't provide a desktop client and you can't use one account on multiple devices either. No hopes that will ever change.

Comment: Re:Messaging? (Score 5, Informative) 199 199

No, it's more than yet another SMS replacement.

It can do cross-mobile-platform IM, group chats, file sharing (video and audio mostly) and as of recent push to talk communication. Also, the phone number is your user account - everyone of your phone contacts will show up in your WA contact list if they use it. Many agree it is the tidies and simplest messenger for mobile platforms around.

On the downside there is their shitty data protection and blatant security faults in the past. On Android, you can't switch off presence and reading confirmations which is quite unfortunate if your boss or knows your phone number - they will always be able to check when you were last on.

As much as I'd love to dispose WhatsApp, I have given up any attempt to do so. Once you registered, you can't unregister (or rather, the function does nothing) and people will continue to send you things. I resigned and tell everyone to not send any sensible information over this service and I use a modded Android app (WhatsApp+ ... you can find the project page on Google+) which allows me to hide my online status.

Comment: Re:What about all the other worlds? (Score 1) 465 465

Those are some interesting thoughts. However probable or improbable each interpretation of timetravel appears to me, I cannot help the thought that our perception of time itself is nothing but a mere illusion and that everything that has happened and will happen coexist as we progress at our subjectively experienced pace.

Travelling to the past would then mean to "unlive" your life and undo all actions completely, with the first thing you forget being that you just triggered a time travel.

Comment: Re:"an helicopter"!? (Score 1) 239 239

Well, I have two excuses for this 'idiocy':

1) English is not my first language
2) I was writing that text in the middle of the night (local time for me)

Same goes for "A government spokesm_E_n[..]". Blame it on my lack of concentration.

So take this as 'an humble' excuse. I didn't want to cause such a stir amongst the 4-digit IDs - like with you and post #44805843. :-)

+ - German Federal Police helicopter circles US consolute-> 1 1

mwissel writes: The German Federal Police ("Bundespolizei") had sent out an helicopter in late August to fly over the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt and take photos from only 60 meters height — reportedly to search for spy antennae and other espionage related equipment on the building rooftops. A government spokesmen more or less confirmed the purpose of the flight and it is said, that Merkel’s chief of staff Ronald Pofalla himself had been giving the order. This is remarkable, because Pofalla so far stood out with a very US-friendly attitude in the debate around NSA surveillance programs. There was, of course, no word about any findings. It also remains unclear whether this was just plain provocation or a PR-stunt for the upcoming federal elections in Germany on September 22nd.
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Why another? (Score 1) 223 223

Thanks for the hint. I didn't know that.

Personally, I don't use Iron - I have vanilla Chromium and rekonq on my machines. But I do recommend Iron from time to time for non tech-savvy people. For them, even after what I read now, it might still be the better choice because they would never fiddle with config values inside Chrome.

Full ACK - what that guy states there leaves a certain aftertaste. Hmpf.

Comment: Why another? (Score 5, Interesting) 223 223

Sounds a lot like SRWare Iron* to me - that's a long existing Chromium-based fork altered for enhanced privacy.

At a first glance, I cannot make out any advantages of Epic over Iron. Aside from the removal of all user tracking which Chrome brings, they only provide a 1-click-proxy functionality. Which, if I used it, would leave me and my privacy at the mercy of an India based startup. Instead, I'd also rather suggest JAP** which is also long and well established.

So what am I missing that makes Epic Browser worth a Slashdot post?

[1] https://www.srware.net/en/software_srware_iron.php
[2] http://anon.inf.tu-dresden.de/

Comment: Re:What if they are predators? (Score 1) 196 196

Enough with those laughable concerns already.

This transmission goes to a star 18 light years away from us. Assuming for a second that "they" - if there were any - needed no preparation time and could travel at almost light speed, it would take them at least half a century to show up (you have to accelerate and decelerate near start and destination). Look at the technological advancements humanity made during that last timespan. It might be more a threat to them to come here than they would be for us.

Let alone the ridiculous amount of energy needed to travel such a distance. All that to "feed" upon us or mine some resources? Fairly arrogant self perception there. When have you ever seen a lion running all the way from South Africa to Sweden to feed off an elk?

And for your side note, what was the last thing YOU have done to support 3rd world? Oh, you haven't? Thought so.

Comment: I used to be Linux enthusiast (Score 1) 1215 1215

I used to have a dual boot setup for ages, finally switching over to Linux as my main OS with a Gentoo 1.4 RC.

Back then, still being a cheapskate student, I really became a Linux enthusiast, one of those fanatics who literally spent hours in forums after having the gcc manuals for perusal every night to squeeze out the last percent of performance with custom linespanning make arguments. On the GUI side I had KDE (3.x was a real charm at the time!) and Fluxbox and used what seemed the better fit for the day. At that time with my Gentoo stage1 build set up and other fun things like my OpenBSD-powered home router on an old Pentium PC, you would have never convinced me I would ever churn from FOSS. It was also then I gained the invaluable knowledge that helped me great deal to get my first job. Good times.

Fast forward a few years. I'm sitting most of my daytime in front of computers now, in my office and in the afternoon. Tweaking configs and waiting for builds to complete was not the exciting pastime anymore, it became simply hassle. So I went from Gentoo to Kubuntu. I never liked *buntu-based Distros as much as Gentoo, so M$ had me in a weak moment.

Windows 7 with its 30-day-trial was too tempting, and it simply worked. It was sleek. It brought great improvements. And I went to the store and bought it. (Fun fact: the /. quote of the day below my input box right now is "We are Microsoft. Unix is irrelevant. Openness is futile. Prepare to be assimilated.")

Today I'm still sticking with Windows 7 as my only OS on both my desktop and laptop. Linux distros only reside hibernating inside VMs for me to tinker around with sometimes.

Sometimes I ponder whether I should go back, as I'm afraid I'm narrowing down my own IT skills with the way I use computers nowadays. But, to summarize my excessive storrytelling, you have to want to invest time and effort into Linux. And after some life advances I just don't want to invest the time. Windows is as easy to use as ever and it got rid of the better part of its design flaws and downsides.

However, there's still that Debian powered server running ownCloud and some other stuff keeping me attached to Linux. And, of course and without much notice, my Android powered phones.

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