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Comment Re:They can be tried again, I think? (Score 1) 139

Well, no. German beer is different, not worse. They have their own traditions which they follow, often with religious fervour. While this limits the diversity in beer types, it does not diminish the quality. There are many good beers to be had in Germany which you'll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.

Comment Re:Wait, what? (Score 1) 305

Why not have a command line on a phone? I use it quite often - on Android, as walled gardens are not my thing - and it enables me to do things on the go which otherwise would require access to a bigger, much less portable device. Yes, the screen is small (3.7", Motorola Defy) but I have good eyes. Yes, the keyboard is not as handy as a full-size keyboard, but this being Android I get to choose an alternative which fits my needs (Hacker's Keyboard. Now that iOS8 allows some limited customization options, this might become possible for that market segment as well.

Maybe your question about 'who would really want a command line on their *phone*' is not that relevant as it only reflects your idea about what your phone should have? Other people have different wants and needs which are just as valid as yours. Some people use their phone as a small, ultra-portable computer. Other people use it as a fashion statement. Yet more use it to play games to bide time.

Comment Re:Because... (Score 1) 253

Counterpoint: I bought a Motorola Defy in January 2011. It came with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). Motorola never went beyond Gingerbread on this device. Fortunately, some people - me amongst them but that is beside the point - ported newer versions of Android to this phone. It currently runs the latest available version (Android 4.4.4), it remains to be seen whether it'll be possible to get 'Android L' up and running. I bought the device for about $200 (in Europe, it'd have been cheaper in the US).

While it would have been nice if Motorola had put a bit more energy in producing updates, less in trying to thwart others doing the same, this end up being a non-issue because of the open source nature of Android.

No, you don't need Google to run Android. It runs fine without Google apps. You don't need the play store, there are many alternatives. You don't need Google Mail, Google Maps, Google location services, Google Backup, Google anything. The phone runs fine with one of the many alternatives.

The result? Four of these phones here in the house, all running a late version of Android - between 4.3 and 4.4.4 - and all working fine with whatever software the user wants. One of them runs Google Apps, the others do without.

Is Android the final answer to all your mobile questions? Certainly not, it can be improved in many ways. The good thing is that it is possible to change what you don't like, keep what you like without being tied down by manufacturers plans of forced obsolescence. As long as the hardware is capable of running the most recent release, an enterprising individual or group thereof should be able to get it to run. This only needs to be done *once*, as the results can be distributed without licensing problems. This means that any reasonably popular device will eventually get an update, whether the manufacturer likes it or not.

Comment Re:No good for older iPhones (Score 1) 216

Find me an Android from 2010 that can run KitKat.

I'm using one right now!

It currently runs Android 4.4.4, it remains to be seen whether it'll survive to the next ('Android L') release. Some manufacturers claim this won't be possible because of lack of support for the OMAP3 in that release but time will tell whether we'll manage on getting it to run decently anyway.

Comment Re:no wonder apple dropped 16GB machines (Score 1) 216

No, they're not that complex, nor is the perceived complexity the reason for Google to 'clamp down' on external storage. SD cards in Android phones - and most other phones - may be removable, but in practice they just stay put and are used to extend - or replace - the internal storage in the device.

Google 'clamps down' on external storage because they want you to use 'cloud storage' instead. Apple overcharges for flash storage because they can. Simple as that, really, no need to start looking for 'technical excuses'.

Comment Re:News for nerds ... (Score 1) 205

And he is doing a noble thing too â" a rare thing among Russians lately, I must add.

No rarer, nor more common than in other times. There are more than 143.000.000 Russians living in Russia after all...

I don't know what forces lie behind the current push towards portraying Russia - the country - as enemy of the 'West' again and the similar push to portray 'the West' and NATO as enemies to Russia but I can only hope that, intelligent as those who frequent this site are supposed to be, you don't give in to this pressure. While the course currently taken by the Russian leadership shows a clear lack of historical insight and will eventually lead to their downfall (with great risk of lives to many, both actively engaged in the pipe-dream of Novorossiya as well as those who just happened to be in the wrong spot at the wrong time) this does not mean they have the moral support of all of those 143.000.000+ Russians. Just like bad decisions by other governments don't turn their subjects into boogeymen.

It is a strange game, the only way to win is not to play.

Comment Hmmm, lemme see... (Score 1) 635

I live on a 17th century farm which is heated using a wood-burning stove and a wood-burning cooker. I go out into the forest every year to cut wood, with an axe - and a motorsaw. The axe sees use on difficult trees, for limbing (removing branches) and to set wedges. Once home, the wood is cut to size and split using a splitting maul (a big axe). All the cookware is cast iron. I bake bread in a wood-fired oven. Need I go on? Old technology survived for a reason: it fits its purpose. It isn't broken, it does not need fixing. It might not fit that well in a use-once-and-throw-away consumer society but that is my gain, their loss.

Comment Re:Welcome to the world of the Cloud... (Score 1) 45

Post-PC is debatable, some people really don't use a 'traditional' personal computer (as in a laptop or desktop running a 'traditional' desktop operating system) any more. Instead, they use a mixed bag of mobile gadgets, slimmed-down laptops running something like ChromeOS, etc.

But... that does not mean the 'P' in 'PC' can be tossed with the garbage. Far from it, now more than ever that P is the most important letter in the acronym soup. It just means you might want to change the acronym to 'Personal Cloud' if you want to stay in the fashionable terminology, or use a more sensible 'PS' as in 'Personal Server' to say what you really mean. That personal server should be somewhere under your own control, not running on a virtual machine in some server room far away. You should be able to pull the plug, literally. You should be able to wipe (or demolish) the storage, again literally.

In other words, just stick a box under the stairs running a free unix of choice, install those services you intend to use, either in the traditional way or using some fancy 'cloud' software like owncloud and use that in combination with your mobile gadgets. Personal Cloud. Personal Server.


Comment Re:But what IS the point they're making? (Score 2) 342

As someone who studied forestry at the agricultural university in the Netherlands (yes, there is forest in the Netherlands...) I claim there is no need to forego on wood as a construction material. The only thing that needs to go is the clearcut method of forestry with its accompanying monoculture and age-based rotation. Something like the German 'Dauerwald' ( can be used instead. These forestry methods don't destroy the habitat while still giving a steady stream of timber. They are suitable for small-scale as well as large-scale forestry. As an added bonus the forest becomes less sensitive to storm damage (always a bonus with the increasing amount of energy in the atmosphere), insect damage (due to the larger variety of trees as well as the richer habitat) and diseases.

Comment Re:DON'T PANIC (Score 1) 98

Android: you have the source. Not the source of the binary blobs so the device can still be compromised through those, but the rest is 'up to you'. Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry... no source.

Is Android the bees knees of mobile software? No, far from it. It is up to par with the competition, though. And it is free software (most of it). The non-free bits can be replaced, mostly. The non-replaceable bits... need to be replaceable. In other words, as it stands now Android is a local optimum.

Comment Re:Bjarne Stroustrup (Score 1) 636

Another important 'advantage' for Apple is that anything written in this language is locked to their platform, at least for now. The same goes for anything written to the new 'Metal' graphics api. Seen in that light, Swift-the-language and Metal-the-api are comparable to C#-the-language and Direct3D-the-api.

A bit like that quote Jobs 'stole' from a well-known artist: Good Artists Copy; Great Artists Steal.

Comment Re:Wait... (Score 1) 255

One of the reasons why veterinarians score so high on the suicide front is that they've made an industry of the 'humane termination' of their subjects. For a vet, the act of ending life is often weekly, if not daily business. It does tend to take the drama out of ending a life by injecting pentobarbital. Combine this with the readily available means of 'termination' and the often stressful work environment and you get the noticed over-representation.

Source: my wife is a horse vet.

On the matter of gender over/under-representation I'd advise everyone to give it a rest already. I studied forestry at the agricultural university in the Netherlands. There were some girls there, maybe 5%? We just organised parties together with the nutrition department which had the opposite gender imbalance - problem solved :-).

Comment Re: Eight years? Might work if... (Score 1) 81

I don't have a car (I ride motorbikes instead) but my wife does. I maintain her car, always have.

Oil change? What for? Because they say so? Because the warranty... wait a minute, warranty... that is for new cars, right? We don't buy new cars as that is a waste of money. We buy cars when they're about 4-5 years old, having done about 100.000 km. We get rid of them when they've done about 350.000 km, usually some 6-7 years later. The only time I change the oil is when she's run the thing into some piece of rock again, causing it to piss out the oil somewhere (this happened three times thus far...). Otherwise the oil stays where it is, topped up regularly but otherwise left alone.

We live in Sweden, where cars undergo mandatory inspection every year. This inspection includes an analysis of the exhaust gases for pollutants (hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide). No car I've maintained has ever failed these (stringent) tests, usually the values are at the low edge of what the equipment can detect.

Of course this is all anecdotal evidence, and there are many reports to the contrary, but I claim that the whole oil changing ritual is no more than that - a ritual which once had value but has lost it due to the quality of modern oil and filters (which I *do* change) and the cleaner-burning engines and fuels. It also helps that we run most vehicles on a mixture of ethanol and petrol, with up to 85% ethanol (E85) in some. Yes, there are reports about all sorts of bad things which ethanol will do to your engine and oil. Strangely enough I have not noticed anything of this sort, but that is - again - just anecdotal...

The biggest engine-related repair I've had to do on one of her cars was the swap of a water pump on her current car. This was caused by a design defect (VAG engine, plastic impeller cracks, rotates freely around shaft).

I'm all for electric cars but modern ICE-equipped cars are rather trouble-free, at least the ones I've worked on.

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