* Posts by elgarak1

200 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Oct 2017


Microsoft doc formats are the bane of office suites on Linux, SoftMaker's Office 2021 beta may have a solution


Re: MS core fonts?

Well, yes.

Those fonts exist.

Now LibreOffice or whatever just needs to properly select the correct replacement font out of the box...

Or not even a 'correct' one. Just one that does not have completely different metrics.

Microsoft decrees that all high-school IT teachers were wrong: Double spaces now flagged as typos in Word


Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

"I went for dinner, with Dick, Jane and my parents."

Boeing 787s must be turned off and on every 51 days to prevent 'misleading data' being shown to pilots


The 787 has far more problems. They left metal shavings (from drill holes and tightening bolts) inside where they well. Which may be inside of cable conduits, where they erode away the insulation...

Normal rules require such debris to me removed, but it was foregone at this one facility for keeping deadlines and cost requirements. There was a quality inspection executive who tried to report it up, and subsequently became whistleblower. He considered it bad enough to advice his family to never fly in one.

Official: Office 365 Personal, Home axed next month... and replaced by Microsoft 365 cloud subscriptions


Re: Aduntgeddit

Standard Operating Procedure. Every once in a while, confuse your victims.

Plus, they shuffle the subscription plans, which means that a lot of victims will end up in a higher priced one.

US Homeland Security mistakenly seizes British ad agency's website in prostitution probe gone wrong


Re: Why?

The US constitution does not recognize citizenship. It applies to all people. (In theory, of course.)

The Curse of macOS Catalina strikes again as AccountEdge stays 32-bit


Re: How can it take MULTIPLE YEARS to go 64 bit?

Why should I become a customer of a company that is doing that for a production relevant software (my production, running my business)?

They do not maintain their product properly. They do not announce on time that they're not going forward, leaving me with time to spare to find an alternative. Why should I be, or continue to be, their customer? It seems that there are alternatives.

5G signals won't make men infertile, sighs UK ad watchdog as it bans bonkers scary poster


There was also a science show on one of the lesser public-financed TV stations about dowsing rods. Actually more about the people that use and believe in them. The reporter asked one dowser to inspect his hotel room. The dowser commented about the bad radiation at the left side of the bed. On the left nightstand, the reporter had left a phone, visible on top. Except it was a dummy – not even a real phone, just a plastic box that looks like one. His real phone was powered on in the RIGHT nightstand, hidden from sight.


There was this story where a company here in Germany erected a cellphone tower in a small village. Promptly people complained about headaches, sleep problems, stiff necks etc. When asked about it, one of the executives of the company exclaimed: "Oh my goodness! How horrible! How bad will it be when we hook it up and power it next month?"

(The exclamation of the officer of the company is not true. What is true that there were health complaints when the tower was erected, and before it was hooked up and powered. Cell phone antennas hidden from sight, say, within church towers [installed during a 'necessary' renovation of the roof, whereby also the tiles are exchanged for radio-transparent ones], trigger significantly less complaints due to health problems.)

LibreOffice 6.4 nearly done as open-source office software project prepares for 10th anniversary


Re: I think you underestimate it...

"(It's not like they couldn't keep one copy of Word to convert from MS formats to something sensible.)"

In fact, that is what's done in the scientific world. The editorial office of a science journal is quite often simply the office of a renowned professor in the field (legally, it's his private company). What they do is hiring a student (sometimes unpaid intern), plonk them in front of a PC, and they would copy and paste (by hand) the submissions from Word to ... whatever. Mostly Adobe InDesign (or other DTP software), or LaTeX (for a handful of Math and Physics journals).


Re: Different use cases.

I do not think book publishers use it because of the "excellent change tracking". They use it because they slid into it being "the standard" (like the rest of industries), alternatives kept vanishing (and, for a while, were non-existent), it is cost prohibitive to switch "the standard", and, most importantly, they do not know if their finely-tuned production process will accept an alternative (or for how much, and how long, a switch will disrupt said process.)

Das Reboot: Uni forces 38,000 students, staff to queue, show their papers for password reset following 'cyber attack'


Re: End of term

Yes. Demo experiments. Fireworks, things lighting up, chemicals going boom. Has been getting less interesting the last, oh, three decades or so since safety regulations do not allow to do the more impressive stuff. ;)

(The same in physics. They do not allow you to shoot arcs of lightning across the whole stage anymore, dammit! ;) )


Re: ID IS Routine

As a student, the uni issues a student ID, nowadays with photo and maybe some machine capability like a magnetic tape or chip. I should think that for resetting the password only this uni issued ID is required (you should carry this one. It's mostly a general public transportation ticket).


Re: ID IS Routine

Having an ID is mandated by law for every German over 18. It is a misdemeanor not keeping an up-to-date ID. As a German, you're not required to carry it with you at all times, though, although it saves time if you get stopped by police or do something that requires to identify you (like using public transportation without a ticket).


Re: End of term

In most German universities, there are two terms ("Semester") per year, winter running from Oct 1st to March 31st, summer from April 1st to Sept 30th. The lectures are held typically beginning two weeks after the start date (the first two weeks for bureaucracy and orientation), and end some time in February resp. July. The lecture free time is often used for lab classes and such – there's a lot of free time there, but frequently students still need to attend something.


Re: End of term

No, it's not. In Germany, it's actually the middle of the term (Wintersemester). Traditionally, there are lectures up to Christmas Eve. I have also taken written exams in the last week before Christmas. There is a Christmas break starting with Christmas Eve till January 6th (holiday celebrating the [three] biblical magi).

That said, the last week before Christmas is more festive, with administration and research winding down, and the Christmas lectures are a lot more showy (Physics does a chock full of demo experiments, Chemistry shows all the things blowing up etc.), so it's actually a good point in the term to do such a thing.

Join us on our new journey, says Wunderlist – as it vanishes down the Microsoft plughole


Re: The Age of the Customer is over

It's not new. That's how Microsoft always operated. Look up "Embrace and Extend".

Back in the 90's, there was a series of trade shows where many start-ups (the moniker didn't exist yet, but that's what they were) would present some amazing new software. By the end of the trade show, one of two things happened: 1) Microsoft announced that they were working on their own version which would work with Office (meaning, the announced start-up would NOT); 2) the start-up (or at least their software) was bought up by Microsoft. Later iterations of this would have start-ups banking on (2) to make money.

Invariably, the software either vanished, or came to public a few months later as a pale zombie shadow of the original presentation that never worked very well. Many hopeful and amazing advances in technology, in particular for word processing and writing, were killed or set back for DECADES by this, and came only to users when the Microsoft monopoly was broken by mobile devices.

Teachers: Make your pupils' parents buy them an iPad to use at school. Oh and did you pack sunglasses for the Apple-funded jolly?


Re: Where have I seen this before?

How big do you think the market is, of professionals who would go out and buy a well designed calculator? I'm one of those people (but I treat this as a hobby and collecting), but I estimate it's not very many people.

I mean, even if you're offline for security reasons, you can still use a calculator app on your tablet or phone. I have a bunch of emulated HP apps that blow many actual (physical) calculators clean off. They're often based on the original code. You can often switch between the original (with all the bugs that were there back then) and the upgraded bug-fixed code (re. trust, reliability, and reproducibility. If you want, you get the exact same wrong calculation the HP-41 made back in the day because of a bug).

So yes, some people do work where calculators would be nice and useful. I do, too – I actually use the HP-15C revival that HP released a while ago, though it's becoming a collector's item by now. But I don't NEED to use or buy such a physical tool.


Re: Where have I seen this before?

Not entirely wrong.

One should note that back then...

1) There was no internet and no online shopping, and you're sitting in semi-rural Germany with only a handful of stores where you could buy calculators with knowledgeable sales personnel.

2) There were tons of different scientific calculators.

3) There were tons of different (but mostly identical) calculators *from the same company*, some of which were specially made for schools, and/or for *German schools*. From the teacher, you wouldn't get just a TI-30, you would get the TI-31 EDU DE (that's paraphrased, not a real model number, but you should get the gist). Functionally identical to a TI-30, except for one function disabled (that Germans educational boards wouldn't want kids to have), and one button labeled with the German expression instead of English. Except that in stores you wouldn't find the TI-30 anyway, but only the TI-32 DE Special Edition...

What should a parent do who do not want to do work for the kid's school supplies, didn't know anything about calculators, didn't WANT to know about calculators (they all look the same anyway) , much less do work for MATHS CLASS that everyone hated anyway? Just pay the protection money and collect bonus points from the teacher...


Re: Where have I seen this before?

Note that the goal for the racket was different back then. Back then, the idea was that students would get to buy TIs when they got a job, much like educational discounts on software nowadays.

However, nowadays NO ONE NEEDS to use a stand-alone calculator anymore professionally. Once you get a job, you can use apps and proper computers. For calculator manufacturers, there's only one market left, and that is education (and a handful of geeks like me, but they even lost me because the current calculators are crappy tools for their prime function – calculating – and crappy teaching tools. Speaking as a physicist who had to teach the less mathematically inclined at some point.)


Re: Where have I seen this before?

This video starts history too late. The TI school calculator racket started way earlier than this video claims, when there were only scientific calculators.

I finished school (High School equivalent) here in Germany in 1988. At some point (must've been 1982 or '83) we had to get a scientific calculator. The non-graphing kind, they weren't quite there yet. We either could get a TI-30 FROM THE TEACHER, or an approved equivalent from somewhere else. I was/am a science/math geek, so I already had a Casio that luckily was approved.

At some point I learned that the teacher would get a cut from each calculator deal they made. TI already had taken over the school market when other manufacturers started to release graphing calculators with these cartel deals.

I cannae do it, captain, I'm giving it all she's got, but she just cannae take another dose of bullsh!t


Re: Upvote but...

No, lead-lined gloves you do not need. The bigger problem is that you need to push the spectrometer right into your food to get a reading of it, otherwise the air absorbs all you wanna read (mostly electrons coming of the sample)... makes cleaning, sterilising, contamination and transfer a bitch. Even so, you do not get a reading from much deeper inside.

Not LibreOffice too? Beloved open-source suite latest to fall victim to the curse of Catalina


Re: Testing?

It's not open source software per se. There's lots of open source software that just works. Even for and on the Mac.

But then there's a few open source packages which believe they found a better way to do things, and insist to do their way everywhere, regardless if it clashes with the behavior of the OS, or all the other software on that OS, or make things troublesome for users who just want to get their work done and get frustrated if there's this one thing that does not work as they expect.


Re: Testing?

Have you actually used the Mac specific GIMP or LibreOffice versions?

They're not very nice. There are MUCH better alternatives out there – albeit not open source, but far from very expensive either. Heck, GIMP was using X11 until Apple gave that the boot, and X11-GIMP was pretty unusable on modest (low-end) Macs.

I do not like to use them, though I have them (because I like the concept of open source generally). But their devs do not like to submit to the rules of macOS (LOOOOOONG before there was Catalina...), and prefer to give us crappy apps instead.


Re: SECURITY!!!1!!


I, too, have a ton of software installed. I still have a lot of 32-bit apps that I can probably throw out now, and I could have thrown them out before because I rarely use them.

But I did not see such a wall of notifications, because, well, I do not run everything all the time. I just clicked the dialogs when I actually launched the apps.

There's very little I actually set to launch at startup, and all those few things I checked and updated before I installed Catalina, so it was smooth sailing. (There's a reason that I never used a lot of auto-launch things. They never worked reliably and interfered a lot with other things.)

There are very few hiccups I have seen with the switch to Catalina. Actually only one: I needed to do-over all the backups (Time Machine and Carbon Copy Cloner) since they now all switched fully to APFS.

(There's the thing that I cannot properly choose between language versions of TV series to buy with the new TV.app here in Germany, but that's hardly the end of the world.)


Re: Testing?

Besides: LibreOffice belongs to a bunch of those open source programs that refuse to follow the rules of the hosting system on principle "because of their way or the highway" just as much or more than Apple. It has lots of quirks because of this attitude (I rarely can open a text document with correct fonts DESPITE BOTH PROGRAMS I exchange the document with run on the same machine with the same set of installed fonts*) that I actually avoid to use it if I can.

*Seriously. I have tons of word processing apps, and I can exchange freely between almost all of them within the limits of their philosophies, but only LibreOffice throws such things in my way all the time. Even frackin' WORD works currently better im-/exporting. Which is ironic since I got LibreOffice to avoid using WORD in the first place!


Re: Testing?

And LibreOffice themselves offer specifically BOTH 6.3.x and 6.2.x to download, with the specific notes that 6.3.x is for "technology enthusiast, early adopter or power user" while 6.2.x is "slightly older and does not have the latest features, but it has been tested for longer."

Meaning: if you need it to work, get 6.2.x, and don't expect 6.3.x to work flawlessly.

Now, I don't think Apple did everything right – from what I see, their "registered developer check" system is a tad overzealous – but LibreOffice devs are hardly innocent in this kerfuffle.

Welcome to the World Of Tomorrow, where fridges suffer certificate errors. Just like everything else


Re: A good TV would be one that doesn't want to connect itself to the internet.

(Maybe not so) Surprisingly, I've seen a lot of 1080p monitors being more expensive than 1080p TVs.

We use a set-top-box/DVR to get TV programming these days, and the TV hooked up to it is just a glorious monitor. I've tried to find a suitable replacement monitor with sufficient size (1080p resolution (don't need more, the box just puts out that much); larger size than the TV (hey, the worst thing about the TV is that it was originally just a small bedroom TV), and built-in speakers.

I couldn't find one that was cheap enough. It would always have been a better deal to buy another TV.

How bad is Catalina? It's almost Apple Maps bad: MacOS 10.15 pushes Cupertino's low bar for code quality lower still


Ehhh, no.

As I'm residing in Germany, I currently cannot buy English language TV shows with Catalina's TV.app, but I can buy them with iTunes (on an appropriate macOS version.)

(TV shows are split into separate, extra to buy and separate to download, versions of only English and only German. They are not, like most movies, one buy and one downloaded file with multiple language tracks. TV.app does not show you those separate language versions, only the German one. Unless you haven't bought the English language version, that is, which you cannot do using TV.app. Perfect bureaucratic roundabout.)

So far, Apple iTunes support doesn't believe me. Go figure.

macOS? More like mac-woe-ess: Google Chrome slip-up trips up SIP-less Apple Macs


Re: Audio and Video Software Users...

I've never use such specialised hard- or software... but I can imagine crappily written software to run some special hardware that trigger SIP every time it is run. Mostly because there's lazy developers who cannot adjust to a stricter security regimen. There's quite a bit of such software for Macs.



If it's a developer machine ... well, that's always a risk if you test software.

But video/audio work? Why would you even hook this up to the web if it's your livelihood depending on this machine running? Now, maybe you need a web connection to get source material in. Fair enough. But even so, the software on there should be secure and not auto-update. Never change a running system. It may be better to do the web thing on another machine, and use physical means to carry over the video and audio files with checks. In the lab I was working the PC running our main science machine was islanded, and we (I as the de-facto lab manager) vetted the USB sticks used to get the data out. The students weren't allowed to use their own...


Re: Audio and Video Software Users...

It's not the video and audio editors per se. It's mostly drivers to allow special hardware to work, like graphic cards and I/O devices (the latter needed to get the video/audio into the production stream.)


Re: Why?

"IMHO, because of this, Chrome should be banned from the appStore until they behave properly."

Chrome is not on the Mac AppStore. One has to download it from the web.

Can you download it to me – in an envelope with a stamp?


Re: Moved to France

Even here in Germany some last-mile-people are getting bad. I remember having ordered something from Mr. Bezo's outfit, due to be delivered by one of lesser known delivery services. Nothing important, so I forgot about it until I sifted through my email, and found the confirmation that it should have been delivered ten days ago. Going over to the delivery service's web page, I found its whole tracking history, including three failed attempts to deliver to me, so it went back to sender. I looked at the dates and times of the supposed delivery attempts. i KNOW I've been there. I have a very regular day schedule, I ate my lunch at those times, and there's just one door to the street where the guy must have been knocking or ringing, with me sitting three meters away! There never was a knock or ring. (I left rather angry complaints everywhere. Don't know if it helped – so far, I never happened again.)

Call Windows 10 anything you like – Microsoft seems to


"The result is that Slow Ring users are on 18362 while lucky Release Preview people might now see 18363. Oh, but that Release Preview build of 19H2 doesn't contain everything in the Slow Ring."

How long until the rings become forks?

Home Office told to stop telling EU visa porkies


Kurtzmann: [on Buttle] You see? The population census has got him down as "dormanted." Uh, the Central Collective Storehouse computer has got him down as "deleted."

Sam Lowry: Hang on.

[goes to a computer terminal]

Kurtzmann: Information Retrieval has got him down as "inoperative." And there's another one - security has got him down as "excised." Administration has got him down as "completed."

Sam Lowry: He's dead.

Kurtzmann: Dead? That's awful. We'll never get rid of the bloody thing [the error in their computer] now!

--- Brazil, written by Terry Gilliam, Tom Stoppard, and Charles McKeown

Bit of a time-saver: LibreOffice emits 6.3 with new features, loading and UI boosts


I still cannot exchange (text)files with LibreOffice Writer without having problems with font naming and related font substitutions, sometimes catastrophically. Trying to repair the issues via its stylesheet system is extremely work intensive, and confusing (there are at least two separate style sets attached to a unit of text, with different sets of priorities which one gets applied depending on the workflow you use.)

On top of that it is ugly in multiple ways, can easily be set to a theme that renders parts of it illegible, and frequently slows down to a crawl. I shudder very time I have to use it. It's worse than Microsoft's beasties.

So for me, when using text files across different file formats, it is far better to use Nisus Writer. It uses the LibreOffice im-/exporting system, but does not have these problems.

WTF is Boeing on? Not just customer databases lying around on the web. 787 jetliner code, too, security bugs and all


"[..] the manufacturer verified in the lab and then on an actual 787 that it was not possible to seize control of a $150-million-ish jetliner via the holes Santamarta discovered."

Says the manufacturer who self-certified the MCAS with a single sensor on the 737 MAX that could not possibly lead to any problems whatsoever.

But what else can you expect from a manufacturer that claims fantasies like "hardware filters that only allow data to flow between networks rather than instructions or commands." I want to have those filters. Should be awesome. ;)

Backdoors won't weaken your encryption, wails FBI boss. And he's right. They won't – they'll fscking torpedo it


Re: Who, exactly, is a 'good guy'

Are you saying we shouldn't speak up and just let it happen?

No can do. I live in a country that was fascist 80 years ago. Another half of my country was a police surveillance state up ~30 years ago. I do not want it to happen here again, and I will speak up; it's about to happen across the Atlantic right now.


I said it before, I say it again, albeit much more direct: Anyone who asks for backdoors is either an idiot or a fascist.

Airbus A350 software bug forces airlines to turn planes off and on every 149 hours


Why is this a 'news' story?

1) As mentioned, 149 hours is more than 6 days. Since there are no possible flights that long (even with all the possible delays factored in), it should be easy to work in a turn off/on cycle, albeit with some more ground time and financial loss.

2) As mentioned, the problem has been identified and fixed, but we are currently in the period where operators get some leeway to work the update into their maintenance schedules.

In short, there's nothing to see here, move along, folks. The only reason it gets newsworthy is to say "Boeing's baaaaaad, but look here, Airbus isn't that much better, either!", even though the criticalness of Boeing's fault massively overshadows the mentioned fault of Airbus.

Low Barr: Don't give me that crap about security, just put the backdoors in the encryption, roars US Attorney General


Any government official – politician, law enforcement, justice etc. – wanting what Barr wants must be characterized with two options:

1) This person is stupid. This doesn't work for the claimed purpose – fight crime and/or terrorism – as we all know, but we cannot exclude the fact that this person does not understand this.

2) This person is not stupid. Which means they knows it does not work for the stated purpose. Which means this person has another, unstated, purpose in mind for wanting this. Now, I cannot think of any purpose that this person can have in mind that goes against the principles of a free, democratic, open society. Can you?

Office 365 verboten in Hessen schools: German state bans cloudy Microsoft suite on privacy grounds


In fact, reading the press release the article is based on again, it seems that the not-anymore-offered "Office 365 Deutschland" service was legally secure enough against US intelligence snooping to allow Hessian schools to use. Legally, not technically. In the opinion of the regulator.

The normal "Office 365" service are not, and neither are Apple's and Google's cloud services. Legally secure enough for schools to be used, that is. Mostly because the companies do not sufficiently explain to the regulator how the services work, though it seems that no one (in the Hessian school related administration) has asked Apple or Google due to lack of interest.


Re: Has the PATRIOT Act been repealed ?

Note: The press release that the article is based on is a LEGAL and POLITICAL statement, not a technical one. The question is whether Hessian schools are within German and European law to use the services of Office 365 – and yes, the location of the servers is a legal requirement for German and European law.

As I said, Microsoft did offer "Office 365 Deutschland" from 2015 (i think, but don't nail me on that) until 2018 which fulfilled, on paper, all the legal requirements for Hessian schools to use.

Microsoft has stopped offering that service in 2018.

The current, and future, status of fulfilling the legal requirements of Office 365 is unclear since Microsoft is not answering information requests in a qualified manner (according to the official penning the press release). Hence, schools cannot currently make use of the product legally under German and European law.

The Patriot act makes it legal for US intelligence to gather the data under US law. That has nothing to do with schools in Germany fulfilling German/EU law.

Neither does it matter how technically easy it is to get the data, legally or not.


Re: "Office 365 [is] not compliant with the EU's General Data Protection Regulations"

The way I see it: There's a specific German version because German entities (companies, organization, state officials) actually asked Microsoft, and threatened to choose alternatives. If other countries did not get that, it's because no one there bothered.

Maybe it's really because Germans are more aware of privacy issues because of the history – in particular being split into two countries, with one half being a surveillance state, and the other half aware of that and actively trying not to be. And before that, being a surveillance state where the surveillance led to atrocities.


Note: For me, it is still not entirely clear what they sell. Some time ago, there was a separate store page for "Office 365 Deutschland", with prices (different from the normal Office 365 prices), promised German data centres and servers, and everything. This is gone. Instead, there's a purely informational page about the planned change of using German data centres by the end of 2019. There's a link to buy Office 365, but the prices and info are in line with the 'normal', i.e. not specifically German, version of Office 365.

It is not at all clear, on these pages, if you can currently buy any Office 365 specifically to German data centres.

(Whether these German data centres and servers are secure against sharing data with non-German authorities is another question.)

I don't have to save my work, it's in The Cloud. But Microsoft really must fix this files issue


I have those, too.

But I also had ones that stopped working just using them. No washing machine required.

White House mulls just banning strong end-to-end crypto. Plus: More bad stuff in infosec land


Re: Governments don't like to think of themselves as repressive

"Surprisingly"? There's nothing surprising about it. Give some random guys a badge, and let them go unchecked. It's not that we (humanity) haven't had done THAT experiment often enough. As mentioned, Hitler 1933 is the prime source for that.

Large Redmond Collider: CERN reveals plan to shift from Microsoft to open-source code after tenfold license fee hike


Re: Document formats

PDF WAS designed with editable in mind. That was always an option.

The point is that it was an option. It became useful because it had an option of "not editable fixed formatting" which no one else offered at the time. That then became the default.

But even with this default "not editable fixed formatting" it was always editable, except that most users (in particular on Windows) needed to buy Adobe software to do it.

(Theoretically, you can package almost anything in PDF. The problem that it is quite messy behind the scenes to do so, so that it is not guaranteed that the recipient can see all of it.)

Germany mulls giving end-to-end chat app encryption das boot: Law requiring decrypted plain-text is in the works


These comments were done just before the EU parliament elections. As such, I tentatively consider them to be campaigning slogans, in particular an attempt to schmooze right-wing voters.

Given that the ruling coalition is one of the losers of this election, the right-wing AfD only a slight percentage gainer (but given the voter turn-out, only got about the same number of votes as in last general election), and the big winners are the Greens (who are infinitely more knowledgeable about such things and won't do it), I hold my breath that such a law ever would come to pass.


(Another thing: The statements came from Horst Seehofer, currently Federal Minister of Interior, formerly head of state of Bavaria [rather conservative; in US terms, if you think Texas=Bavaria, you're not far off the mark]. His special talent – how should I say politely? – is to say nothing in a way that the listener hears what he wants to hear. His public statements often have not much in common with actual policy.)

Never let something so flimsy as a locked door to the computer room stand in the way of an auditor on the warpath


Re: Wouldn't Happen Here

I'd assume the British term is "Sellotape" (also a brand name.) Hence the Harry Potter magic sticky tape called "Spellotape".

The German word to use is "Tesafilm" or just "Tesa", from the brand name of tape of Scotch's big German competitor, Beiersdorf. (Sellotape is owned by the German company Henkel.)