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Comment: Re:Who gives a shit? (Score 1) 593

The problem with this idea is that if your competitor doesn't have a quota system, and they *do* just hire whoever is best, then statistically speaking they are likely to be hiring slightly better people than you and out innovate and out compete you.

Interesting aspect, that did not even occur to me. Thanks for pointing this out, I do not think I ever read this argument in a discussion on this issue.

The even larger problem, as I see it, is that being hired because of a quota is the ultimate stigma: "Look at her, she only got this job because of her tits." No-one takes the quota employee seriously - even when they actually are the best.

Comment: Re:The difference with the USA (Score 2) 80

...is that Germany is much closer to being a true and functioning democracy. [...] as soon as a left-leaning government comes into power.

That is, I am afraid, a very naive view. Our social democrats, the SPD, - I assume that is what you meant with left-leaning - have earned themselves the nickname "Verräterpartei" ("traitors' party") amongst those who care about civil rights for the strong discrepancy between their election pledges and their actual voting in parliament. The party's functionaries usually state afterwards that they agreed to rights-infringing laws "mit Bauchschmerzen" ("with bellyache"); that phrase has become a meme over here. A lot of the draconian post-9/11 legislation was rushed through parliament under a social democrat government by then-minister for the interior Otto Schily, which is why the laws are known as the "Otto-Katalog" ("Otto catalogue" obviously, which is a play on German mail-order company Otto).

The actual left-leaning party, the LINKE or Linkspartei, unfortunately is lingering somewhere between 5 and 10% in elections and is politically isolated from all major parties including the SPD. They along with the German Pirate Party are amongst the very few parties over here that actually care about civil rights, but they still do not reach a critical mass of voters. So we Germans have to look to the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe for protecting us from an ever-growing "security" complex.

Comment: Re:did you checked the video? (Score 3, Insightful) 688

by silanea (#46872977) Attached to: Firefox 29: Redesign

[...] With all respect, it didn't really have other uses anymore, except [...] Some extensions would display things there [...]

Well, thank you very much for spelling out the very reason this change is a disaster. My browser toolbar is becoming more crowded by the week, and my extensions have lost the ability to display any text in the UI but are limited to one or a handful of icons. NoScript has been significantly impaired by this.

I am all for sleek sexy interfaces and killing old cruft and clutter. But "UX" has become a term non grata around the office of late thanks to all the morons who use it as an excuse for taking away control from the user.

Comment: Re:Obamacare exists because... (Score 4, Interesting) 288

by silanea (#46803819) Attached to: $42,000 Prosthetic Hand Outperformed By $50 3D Printed Hand

Could you define "not uncommon" please? Daily? Monthly? She saw this herself, or 'heard about it'? And the ambulance crews just waved them onboard, like wide-eyed innocents who could be duped that way? [...]

Some input from a medic from Munich, southern Germany. Depending on which part of town you get assigned to you the number of frequent flyers varies considerably. From experience - no statistics to back that up, sorry - our gold card members are most frequent

  1. in the poorest quarters where half the calls turn out to be drunks, junkies (who usually did not intend to see us) and socially isolated, but not necessarily homeless people looking for someone to talk to, and
  2. in the older, still not so fully urbanized incorporated villages where elderly people of modest wealth abound who cannot properly care for themselves anymore, whose children have moved too far away to provide constant care but who are too proud to move into a dedicated care facility.

What keeps amazing me is that in spite of my - and other medics' - prediction after the banking crisis and the ensuing wave of unemployment the number of FFs type a seems to be more or less constant but type b has been climbing steadily. So this is only partly an issue of poverty. It has more to do with social isolation, with the increasing difficulty of maintaining a robust social network (not Facebook, the family-and-friends variety) that can catch people when they face difficult phases in their life so that they do not hit rock bottom.

Medical care has long transitioned into social care that along the way can also give you a pill or sew up a cut.

And as to whether the medics are duped: Someone wants to see a doctor, you take them to a doctor. That is what the law says. That is what our job description says. We try to avoid it, believe me. We sweet-talk, we bribe, we threaten. But if the patient is adamant, there is no way we are going to assume the legal risk of refusing transportation. The ER staff is not naive, they know their devoted customers. They will make them go through hell, put them through every annoying and time-consuming test they can think of. But guess what: Because of this practice with increasing regularity they actually find a legitimate medical issue that had gone undiagnosed by doctors who just saw the addict or the annoying elderly or the lonesome hypochondriac and treated that instead of the complaints and symptoms.

In medicine there is no easy answer, no magical solution.

Comment: Issue? (Score 5, Insightful) 188

by silanea (#46786839) Attached to: Heartbleed Sparks 'Responsible' Disclosure Debate

What exactly is the issue here? Maybe I misread TFS and the linked articles, but as I understand the chief complaint - apart from Google's delay in reporting to OpenSSL - is that some large commercial entities did not receive a notification before public disclosure. I did not dig all too deep into the whole issue, but as far as I can tell OpenSSL issued their advisory in lieu with a patched version. What more do they expect? And why should "Cisco[,] Juniper[,] Amazon Web Services, Twitter, Yahoo, Tumblr and GoDaddy" get a heads-up on the public disclosure? I did not get a heads-up either. Neither did the dozens or so websites not named above that I use. Neither did the governmental agency I serve with. Nor the bank whose online-banking portal I use. Are we all second-class citizens? Does our security matter less simply because we provide services to fewer people, or bring lower or no value to the exchange?

A bug was reported, a fix was issued, recommendations for threat mitigation were published. There will need to be consequences for the FLOSS development model to reduce the risk for future issues of the sort, but beyond that I do not quite understand the fuss. Can someone enlighten me please?

Comment: Re:Complete access and indefinite support for free (Score 1) 650

by silanea (#46682277) Attached to: Should Microsoft Be Required To Extend Support For Windows XP?

Supporting consumer grade software that is sold for ~$100 a time indefinitely, including providing full internal technical details to arbitrary additional parties, is a "pretty easy barrier"?

It is the other way around: Once a company deems a product uneconomical - subject to mandatory or voluntary warranty that is priced into the product anyways - to support they could simply release their internal documentation, source code, diagrams etc. to the public and be free of any further liability regarding bugs, future incompatibilities etc. That would be a fair compromise considering that IT is one of the very few industries that get away with delivering faulty, unstable and insecure products as the accepted norm. If houses or clothes or refrigerators were produced like software...

Comment: Regional Court (Score 4, Informative) 261

by silanea (#46208573) Attached to: German Court Forbids Resale of Valve Games

This is a decision by a regional court. They universally suck at rulings regarding any technology invented after 1900. A state court recently held a domain registrar responsible for copyright infringement. And nevermind the treasure trove of truly grotesque copyright-related rulings coming out of the city-state of Hamburg - they are legendary here in Germany, similar to patent cases in Texas.

This is bound to be appealed, and our higher courts usually fare better when it comes to dealing with Das Internet.

Comment: Re:Sure, Netflix is safe, what about the rest? (Score 1) 213

by silanea (#46208445) Attached to: Reason To Hope Carriers Won't Win the War On Netflix

Considering that they are doing their best to kill fixed lines and go all IP I do not see that happening. They might very well be tempted to somehow degrade experience for any VoIP service but their own, but then we are back at the Netflix situation.

But I am sure you could fix all that, end world hunger and save the whales with a custom hosts file...

Google

Kansas To Nix Expansion of Google Fiber and Municipal Broadband 430

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-in-my-state dept.
symbolset writes: "Consumerist, among others, is reporting on a Kansas bill to restrict municipal support of broadband expansion. Purportedly to ensure a 'level playing field' to encourage commercial expansion in this area, these bills are usually referred to as oligopoly protection acts. Everywhere they have been implemented expansion of new broadband technology stops. In this specific case no municipal entity in Kansas will be able to enter the same sort of agreements that enabled Google Fiber. From the bill:
Except with regard to unserved areas, a municipality may not, directly or indirectly:
(1) Offer to provide to one or more subscribers, video, telecommunications or broadband service; or
(2) purchase, lease, construct, maintain or operate any facility for the purpose of enabling a private business or entity to offer, provide, carry, or deliver video, telecommunications or broadband service to one or more subscribers."
DRM

German Court: Open Source Project Liable For 3rd Party DRM-Busting Coding 178

Posted by samzenpus
from the damned-by-association dept.
Diamonddavej writes "TorrentFreak reports a potentially troubling court decision in Germany. The company Appwork has been threatened with a 250,000 Euro fine for functionality committed to its open-source downloader (JDownloader2) repository by a volunteer coder without Appwork's knowledge. The infringing code enables downloading of RTMPE video streams (an encrypted streaming video format developed by Adobe). Since the code decrypted the video streams, the Hamburg Regional Court decided it represented circumvention of an 'effective technological measure' under Section 95a of Germany's Copyright Act and it threatened Appwork with a fine for 'production, distribution and possession' of an 'illegal' piece of software."
Transportation

EU Proposes To Fit Cars With Speed Limiters 732

Posted by samzenpus
from the slow-down dept.
schwit1 points out a new EU road safety measure to fit cars with devices that would stop them going over 70mph. "Under the proposals new cars would be fitted with cameras that could read road speed limit signs and automatically apply the brakes when this is exceeded. Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, is said to be opposed to the plans, which could also mean existing cars are sent to garages to be fitted with the speed limiters, preventing them from going over 70mph. The new measures have been announced by the European Commission's Mobility and Transport Department as a measure to reduce the 30,000 people who die on the roads in Europe every year. A Government source told the Mail on Sunday Mr McLoughlin had instructed officials to block the move because they 'violated' motorists' freedom. They said: 'This has Big Brother written all over it and is exactly the sort of thing that gets people's backs up about Brussels.'"

Comment: Re:U.S., cough, international pressure much? (Score 2) 166

The subtle point of the Initiative that seems to be lost on you is that there exists a whole spectrum of possible implementations of copyright law in between the quasi-Hitlerian approach taken by Hollywood and the rest of the high-volume industry and the free-for-all approach envisioned by fourteen year olds in the comment section on TPB. Making sure artists are compensated for their work is one thing. Very few people seriously argue against that. But allowing the monopolisation of culture for the lifetime of several generations? Bankrupting or imprisoning people for sharing a few songs or films? We treat arsonists, drunk drivers and drug dealers less harshly than the punishments some of the high-profile filesharing cases resulted in.

Transportation

Container Ship Breaks In Two, Sinks 361

Posted by Soulskill
from the how-not-to-ocean dept.
Cliff Stoll writes "Along with 7000 containers, ship MOL Comfort broke in half in high seas in the Indian Ocean. The aft section floated for a week, then sank on June 27th. The forward section was towed most of the way to port, but burned and sank on July 10th. This post-panamax ship was 316 meters long and only 5 years old. With a typical value of $40,000 per container (PDF), this amounts to a quarter billion dollar loss. The cause is unknown, but may be structural or perhaps due to overfilled containers that are declared as underweight. Of course, the software used to calculate ship stability relies upon these incorrect physical parameters."

If money can't buy happiness, I guess you'll just have to rent it.

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