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Comment Anything that swaps thousand/decimal separators (Score 1) 514

I moved to Germany for my now wife. I've learned to speak fluent but grammatically poor German. My colleagues are all German. The biggest difference I've noticed, is dealing with the pain-in-the ass , . separator issues. English speaking developers who have their computers configured for English-language separators have NO IDEA how much hassle it is for the rest of the world. The single most useful thing you could do, is run your computer in another language, including different thousand/decimal separators. You'll find a whole pile of bugs, it'll be a build nightmare at first, but the code WILL make less assumptions about how people use their numbers. We even found third party software where the XML we were using to control it changes, based on your current language settings. APART from one of it's features, that's always in English, whatever your language settings. The firm that wrote it hadn't realised, because all of their developers used German. Ugly, ugly ugly.

Comment I've done this! (Score 1) 1359

I left the UK and moved to Germany, about 18 months ago. I barely spoke a word of German when I arrived. Admittedly the main reason was that my fiancee is German, but I'd been uncomfortable about the same issues you mention regarding the UK and the direction it's heading. It's the best thing I ever did.

I learned German for 4 months, then started looking for work. I had an MSc in IT, but no IT experience. I got a job within 1 month of looking, the firm speaks German, but most of the developers speak good English. At first I only spoke English at work, but now I speak German where I can, English the rest of the time

I have to say that Germany is FAR better than the UK on most of these issues. Whilst they do have ID cards here, they're not electronic and probably only exist as a hangover from being an occupied state after WWII (the allies required it).

My advice would be take the plunge! Don't worry about language too much within the EU if you're going for IT jobs (maybe apart from France, but that could be just reputation).

Comment ITER (Score 2, Interesting) 599

ITER is the world's best chance of obtaining almost infinite amounts of clean energy. Most of the recent press about the National Ignition Facility has ignored one key fact - the NIF is about creating fusion explosions to model bombs. Sure, it can also be used for fusion power research, but that's not the primary reason it received it's funding. ITER is about developing commercial fusion using a tokamak.

Also, the way the US cancelled all funding for ITER for 2008 was pretty disgusting. If a country becomes a partner in such large science projects, they need to stick with it, rather than screwing everyone around

Comment Rushed submission (Score 1) 1

Sorry, I didn't think enough about what else to write: The plot is drawn from the appendixes of the book, it's about Gandalf and Aragorn's hunt for Gollum, which takes place between the hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. There are two stunning trailers available. The film will be released on Sunday, 3rd March at 16:00 GMT.

Comment Re:What, no atomic decomposition? (Score 1) 534

Atomic decomposition is not the most accurate known means of keeping time. AFAIR Quasars are. At the least, they're more accurate than atomic clocks - when someone first tried measuring how accurate quasars are by comparing them to an atomic clock, they found that ALL quasars were drifting at the same amount relative to the atomic clock - the drift was the clock, not the quasars. Unfortunately, individualy they skip the occasional tick, but that can be evened out.

Submission + - Office 2003SP3: Old file formats, now unavailable! 3

time961 writes: "In Service Pack 3 for Office 2003, Microsoft has disabled support for many older file formats, so if you have old Word, Excel, 1-2-3, Quattro, or Corel Draw documents, watch out! They did this because the old formats are "less secure", which actually makes some sense, but only if you got the files from some untrustworthy source.

Naturally, they did this by default, and then documented a mind-bogglingly complex workaround (KB 938810) rather than providing a user interface for adjusting it, or even a set of awkward "Do you really want to do this?" dialog boxes to click through. And, of course, because these are, after all, old file formats, many users will encounter the problem only months or years after the software change, while groping around in dusty and now-inaccessible archives.

One of the better aspects of Office is its extensive compatibility mechanisms for old file formats. At least the support isn't completely gone—it's just really hard to use. Security is important, but there are better ways to fulfill this goal.

This was also covered by the Windows Secrets newsletter, although I can't find a story URL for it."

Submission + - Convincing the Military to Embrace Open Source (

drewmoney writes: Misconceptions about open source software have made many U.S. Defense Department sectors reluctant to employ this technology. Although a 2003 department policy allows its use, many still believe that open source software poses an increased security risk to networks and that it is not supported as well as commercial products.

Submission + - Canada's Thought Police in Action (

Ginn writes: "Noted author Mark Steyn has been ordered to appear before two Canadian judge's panels to defend his number one Canadian bestseller, "America Alone." "Steyn, who won the 2006 Eric Breindel Journalism Award (co-sponsored by The Post and its parent, News Corp), writes for dozens of publications on several continents. After the Canadian general-interest magazine Maclean's reprinted a chapter from the book, five Muslim law-school students, acting through the auspices of the Canadian Islamic Congress, demanded that the magazine be punished for spreading "hatred and contempt" for Muslims. The plaintiffs allege that Maclean's advocated, among other things, the notion that Islamic culture is incompatible with Canada's liberalized, Western civilization. They insist such a notion is untrue and, in effect, want opinions like that banned from publication." This lawsuit by the students, if successful, means anyone who "disagrees" with what you've written can sue you, drag you into court, where a court can force you to omit your opinion, your book, or eventually, material on the web. So, in essence, this ruling could eventually effect such sites as Slashdot."

Submission + - Fox stealing photo content off the blogs.

rasjani writes: Remember that company that tried to sue youtube for having some of their content online ? Remember that tv network who airs copyright warnings about every 5 minutes on NFL game ? Yep, its called FOX. And to show how they really feel about copyright laws an d "re-using" other peoples content, i'll let Tracey to describe how she felt when she spotted her dog on FOX.

Earlier this afternoon I was in our kitchen doing dishes, minding my own business. Jamie was in the living room, watching some NFL football.
It was quiet.
Too quiet.
Suddenly, Jamie called to me from the other room, claiming I had to come see something. When I entered the room, he unpaused the broadcast he had been watching (thanks, TiVo!), and immediately I saw the image of an adorable pug, dressed in festive Santa gear, pop up at the bottom of the screen beside FOX's Happy Holiday's ticker. I vaguely remember Jamie saying something to me to the effect of, "Gee, that dog looks a lot like Truman, doesn't it?"


Submission + - Writers Guild of America and the Open Source Model (

stevedcc writes: "The Guardian is running an article about seven groups of writers creating their own ventures to deliver content over the internet, bypassing the movie studios. There is a mention of one particular project involving A-list talent that will be released in 50 or so daily segments. From the article:

"It's a whole new model to bring content directly to the masses," said screenwriter Aaron Mendelsohn. "We're gathering together a team of A-list TV and film writers, along with their A-list equivalent from Silicon Valley."
Are consumers finally going to see the internet used to distribute movie content in a sensible way?"

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