* Posts by Alexander Rogge

19 posts • joined 24 May 2010

At last! Apple admits its MacBook Pro butterfly keyboards utterly suck, offers free replacements

Alexander Rogge

Re: Took me a minute...

The keyboard for an Apple laptop was once a removable board that was attached to the motherboard with a cable. Now the keyboards are built into the case and can't be lifted out, increasing repair costs or making it impossible to repair. Unfortunately, Apple also didn't design the keyboard keys to last, so we get problems like with this butterfly keyboard. I like being able to type on my laptop keyboard while water is pouring down over it, and the keys are usable even while wearing gloves. For the price Apple charges, the company should be able to put that sort of quality into its products instead of trying to aesthetically-improve technology that didn't need fixing and at the expense of functionality. I miss Steve.

We tried using Windows 10 for real work and ... oh, the horror

Alexander Rogge

How about just making an operating system that executes applications and stays out of the way? This is how Windows used to be, and now I'm seeing Windows and MacOS both falling into this trap of catering to entertainment-happy consumers instead of keeping things simple. If you want to add stuff for entertainment, you can add it yourself, the way we used to do with third-party applications. One problem I've had recently is related to animated windows that attempt to redraw themselves many times when being minimized and maximized. This adds nothing to productivity, and when the system resources aren't available to handle the unnecessary graphics cost, the entire windowing system freezes. Programmers are increasingly assuming that everyone is willing to commit huge amounts of system resources on useless "features" because they have nothing else to do with the hardware that they bought, and the result is an increasing amount of conflicts, freezes, and unnecessary consumption of system resources.

‘Pre-bionic’ eye implanted in blind patient

Alexander Rogge

I want the upgrade

I want an eye that has extended wavelength reception, geometric enhancement, zoom, and recording capability with real-time playback. It's all about the bus speed between the bionic component and the brain. Curing blindness and other vision ailments with bionic components would be a great achievement.

US military access cards cracked by Chinese hackers

Alexander Rogge

Risks of central electronic security

Smart cards are wide open to attack, and unlike a metal key and a guard, an attack on the card control system can affect all cards. You can change people, but it's a lot more expensive to figure out where the electronic crack is and how to undo it. Smart cards also make it easy to frame people because the card is being silently accepted as a physical presence. That's harder to do with a key or keypad passcode and a desk guard, because the authentication at the door is verified by another person, not a networked computer. Once the system is compromised, none of the cards can be trusted, and it's back to basics. Meanwhile, innocent people could be made to look like criminals because the system says that they were somewhere or doing something that they weren't.

What should a sci-fi spaceship REALLY look like?

Alexander Rogge


The Star Trek designs are some of the most beautiful and inspiring examples of futuristic spacecraft platforms. There actually is an Up in free space, which is aligned to the galactic plane. That plane is what provides the coordinate system relative to the numerical vectors that are so often referred to during vessel manœuvres.

DARPA shells out $21m for IBM cat brain chip

Alexander Rogge

Time for a Laser Cat

With progression like this, our financial problems may soon be over, as we will all be slaves to the machines. I hope to buy a Laser Cat soon, so that I can defend against the invasion of the killing machines of the future.

MacBook batteries susceptible to hack attacks

Alexander Rogge

Airport security trouble

Wait until airport security finds out about this. We've seen the Dell batteries catching fire, and now we find out that laptop batteries can be hijacked remotely and set to explode. No more laptops on planes, and this after the MacBook Air just got the Transportation Security Administration's approval for carry-on luggage without suspicion.

Legal expert: Letters can be evidence, so can Facebook

Alexander Rogge

Fake messages abound

I've seen a lot of messages on Facebook that go something like:

"My name is... and I left my Facebook open for my friend to send messages as me, again."

There are also the worms that hijack user profiles and send explicit or fraudulent message content to Friends or random users on Facebook. There's simply no way to prove that an electronic message was actually sent intentionally by any individual without a witness or some way to connect the information contained in the suspected message with actual observations of the suspect.

NASA's Glory climate-data sat crashes into Pacific on launch

Alexander Rogge

Rocket overhaul

We need better rockets - better, faster, not chemical burning, and more reliable!

Facebook facing fall-down issues

Alexander Rogge

New Facebook changes again

Facebook recently started changing the appearance of everyone's profile pages, and the service seemed to start acting up on the same day that the changes started. Facebook always seems to cause problems whenever it tries to change something.

WikiLeaks re-taunts feds with US Amazon mirrors

Alexander Rogge

If you have nothing to hide...

I seem to remember a phrase that is often repeated: "If you have nothing to hide, you don't have anything to worry about." Well, these leaks should do one thing for us, and that is to suppress the many insane claims of conspiracies while revealing whatever conspiracies and incompetences that really exist. Perhaps with all this Daylight shining into the boxes of secret documents, we can break down the wall of secrecy that stands between the People and the government that is supposed to serve the People. Then when the government says that it needs the People to do something, the People will respond with full faith and trust in that decision to commit resources and lives to a cause that may be half a world away.

BA slams stupid security checks

Alexander Rogge

Security is an illusion

All the money spent on technology will not stop the most basic dangers being brought onto passenger aircraft. There are holes everywhere, a lot of them human and others related to technological implementation. The nod for a security passover that I got on my last public flight in the U.S. is about the same as what everyone else gets, if not more so. I didn't take off my shoes, nor open my briefcase, nor tell anyone what was in the plastic bottle that I was carrying, nor did I have to verbally explain why I set off the metal detector. One look and I was on my way, and that's the way it used to be for everyone. People used to be able to walk out to the waiting plane, put their luggage on, and take their seats without delay.

Shoe checks, liquid checks, and beeping scanners are mostly useless and a waste of time, adding many distractions to what the security should be looking for. Weapons on the plane and explosives under the plane are not the problem. The problem is bad people or stupid people doing things that can cause the plane to crash, and that includes disrupting communications. The damage that a determined attacker could do to the air transportation system is unbelievable. You can throw all the money you want at security, but until there is a way to separate the people like me from the people who want to ignite their underpants for Christmas, the chances of finding someone with criminal intent is extremely unlikely. There is far too much noise, both beeping and voices, to be able to notice anyone but the dumbest criminals. Even then, if something doesn't go Beep, someone could walk something very hazardous onto a plane and convey it to the intended target without being detected until days after the event. That's what keeps me awake at night. We must do better at detecting and stopping criminals before they are able to plan and attack.

Skeletal scanner would ID terrorists from 50 meters

Alexander Rogge

Definitely an idea from Total Recall

This device plan sounds like it was ripped out of the pages of Total Recall. If only we would place more emphasis in copying the parts about travelling to Mars, instead of trying to make people look naked in public, we would probably have a better world for it.

Facebook bug spills name and pic for all 500 million users

Alexander Rogge

Best privacy policy

The best privacy policy is to assume that anything that you publish on Facebook is public. Get rid of the "privacy" settings and control your own information. None of these companies can be trusted to keep information hidden, so why try? I got a Facebook account to be more public. That was the whole point of social networking. If you want to keep information semi-private, while still risking information theft, get your own Website that you can control.

Plane crash kills 'series of tubes' Senator Ted Stevens

Alexander Rogge

The good news about the crash

I'm glad that O'Keefe and his son survived. That's the name that I heard most prominently on the radio report about the plane crash.

Opposition to can Aus $1.3bn school laptops program

Alexander Rogge

Technology in the Classroom

The plans to have technology in the classroom have really gotten out of hand. More and more schools are trying to force the use of laptop computers to do tasks that could be done faster and cheaper with a pencil and paper. Teachers don't know what to do with the laptops, students don't have a good use for them, and eventually breakage and disuse make the plans for classroom technology a total waste of money.

Mobile phones cause tinnitus, says study

Alexander Rogge

More silly Studies

It's another "study" that basically doesn't tell you anything substantial and suggests that more "studies" are needed, at large expense, of course. I wonder if the ubiquitous wireless networks can cause medical problems too. I certainly seemed to be having problems with wireless crosstalk interfering with my wireless devices. It was so bad that I changed most everything back to hard- wired devices.

New story after the news break... "Does the constant exposure to 802.11 wireless transmitters cause cancer? Some say yes, and some say no, while others say that it's only a problem if you sleep or work too close to the transmitter. We'll show you what some people are doing to block wireless signals, while others make fun of the people wearing tinfoil hats."

Blog service shut down by order of US law enforcement

Alexander Rogge

Problem of centralized services

This is another example of the problem of using centralised services for communication and news reporting. One bureaucrat can come in and make threats, and the service provider may decide that it's easiest to "cooperate" blindly instead of fighting for their rights and the rights of their customers. The world really does work like the one in the FOX television series Prison Break. If you don't stand up for your rights, and you don't think through the problems that you face, you can end up with a situation in which the people on both sides of the conspiracy lose everything and themselves expose the very secrets that they were trying to hide.

You can't trust anybody to protect the right to free speech anymore. The excuse is often related to online services being private property, and so the customers have no rights over what happens to their privacy and ability to send and receive information. You have to agree to all the oppressive terms on the server side of the agreement, but you don't get any rights in return. These service agreements basically say that the service provider can do whatever it wants, change its policies without notification or public posting, and delete your data and your account for any reason.

I doubt very much that any security has been gained by preventing those 70,000 bloggers from communicating. If any real investigation was going on, the bureaucrats just blew it up, because now everybody knows that the security of the service has been compromised. Now there won't be any more sharing of information, and no way to trace the suspects without their knowledge. This could be yet another botched investigation, leading to an intelligence failure, and all because a bureaucrat got in the way of the people who were doing the job of gathering information.

Flaw lets hackers delete Facebook friends

Alexander Rogge

Blame the reporter?

With Facebook's attitude towards customers having become like the draconian treatment of students in some public schools that I know, Steven and other reporters of this problem will probably be blamed for causing the problem. If you happen to work for some of the technology companies and have a reported software bug, you might also be required to fix the problem in your spare time, and you won't get a budget for it. Either that, or the company simply won't fix the bug before selling the product to the customers, and the management will blame you for finding it.


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