Good comparison between JAXB and Simple XML

11. May, 2011

Here is a good comparison between JAXB and Simple – XML SerializationHow Does JAXB Compare to Simple?


31 Great Tutorials for Inkscape

10. May, 2011

If you like Inkscape, visit 31 Great Tutorials for Inkscape


When JIRA Hates You

10. May, 2011

Ever had the problem that JIRA would not allow you in? Every time, it would say “wrong user name and/or password”?

Using my crystal ball, I can see that you’re using Firefox.

You’ve been hit by the extra space bug. It’s open since October 2009.

I’ve opened an issue against JIRA: JSP-79797Password mail contains space after password

Let’s see who moves faster.


When Laziness Gets Expensive

9. May, 2011

According to heise online (German, video in English), Professor Dr. Eugene Spafford estimates the costs Sony‘s EPIC FAIL to secure their PSN servers to be 21 billion dollars.

Wow. 21 … fucking … BILLION … dollars. That’s 70’000’000 PS3s. 70 million PS3s. 36 million iPhone 4s. 700’000 cars at $30’000/each. They must be doing pretty well to be able to afford such a loss.

And it’s not that they didn’t see it coming. Sony knew for months that their servers were outdated and missing crucial security patches. Well, someone decided that it wasn’t worth to fix that. So: EPIC FAIL. Again. And again. Will they ever learn?

That feels like the same arrogance which led to the lawsuit against geohot and graf_chokolo.  Which probably made someone on the Internet so angry that they decided to give Sony this wedgy. Message to Sony: It’s not smart to be arrogant in the face of overwhelming odds.

You have, say, 1’000 people working to protect your assets. The world has a population of 7 billion (and you just lost 3 dollars to every and each of them) and the probability that one of them can kick you where it really hurts is about 1. At least.

Of course, the company is now using all its power to hunt down the little bastard. Sony, if you read this: Don’t be surprised if a 13-year old kid outwitted your whole security team.

Or rather the manager, who told the team not to fix those servers. But no, managers are never wrong. So the team must be punished. Fire them! All of them! Without supper! Serves them right! And don’t forget to sue the kid! Sue him to hell! Make sure he is not allowed to touch an electronic device ever again. EVER! It’s not your fault what happened! Try to create more DMCA-like laws! So you can sue more people! Get your engineering team to build a time traveling device so you can sue in advance! Force parents to divorce so they can’t breed anything threatening your revenue! Show the world who’s boss! Dictatorships never worked before but that should not stop you! It should rather encourage you! Grow by setting challenging goals!

See where the leads and why you can never win?

Making the world-wide security community hate you even more is your best bet! Trust me, I know at least as well as the guy who created this mess. And you trusted him, didn’t you?


Paid By Stupidity

8. May, 2011

Someone once said: “My knowledge is for free, my time is expensive. If you understand quickly, I’m cheap. If you’re dumb, I’m expensive.”

I think this is true for a lot of professions. We’re paid for the time we spend on something.

But there is an exception: Art. Artists aren’t paid for the time they spend on a work of art but by the greed of the people who want to own it.

This means that a director can spend three years on a movie and get anything between a huge dept and several hundreds of millions of dollars. A painter can die from starvation when his paintings make millions (after his death).

Artists are paid by greed.

Does that make sense? Does it make sense today, when greedy lawyers, publishers, vendors, try to push the limits of their salary envelope? All for the sake of the artist, of course. But wouldn’t it be better that artists are paid by the hour, just like anyone else?

The argument against is laziness: Why pay an artists if they take years to produce a painting when someone else could create a similar painting in a couple of days?

So what?

Art isn’t about productivity. We have to pay these people anyway. In a modern society, you can’t simply allow the unemployed to starve to death anymore. So when we have to pay them, what’s the urge to push them towards being more productive? If they were, why would they be unemployed to begin with? If you’re productive and you want a job, what would be your reason to stay unemployed?

If you’re unemployed, that either means you don’t want to work or that you don’t really fit into todays most(-ly) productive society. The simple solution would be to say “your fault”. But that just makes the speaker sleep more easily, it doesn’t solve anything. Also note that a lot of people become unemployed because factories get more productive. If you raise productivity by 7% each year, that either means you created 7% more output at the same price (= with the same people and by not giving them a raise) or 7% of the costs were cut, for example by reducing the staffing. Whose fault is that? And is the blame the solution?

So we have to pay for all the unemployed. As I argued elsewhere, artists don’t decide to do art; the piece of art beats us into submission. It bothers us until we materialize it for others. There is little in the way of “I wanted”; it’s more “it wanted”. It’s a bit like the scene in the first Alien movie where the disgusting little critter eats its way out: The host has little choice. Curiosity got us, too. And greed.

In the recent discussion in Germany, the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) argued that all art should be free (as in freedom) and that society should pay for what society wants to enjoy. There will be a little addition to the monthly Internet access fee that goes into a big pot, anyone can download anything from the Internet without paying twice and artists get their share from that money. So I thought: “If unemployed artists get paid anyway … why not take the money out of this pot and pay them by the hour?”

So artists A needs ten days for a painting. When the ten days are paid for, the painting goes into the public domain (which isn’t worse than today since artists already have to sell their artwork). The artist gets his/her money and the society gets new art without paying twice. There is also an incentive for the artists: He/she still gets the fame plus the money. A lot more people get to see the art. With the current, greedy model, art is stowed away until someone with enough money accidentally stumbles over it. More people can participate in the art. If someone writes a book, someone else can create an audio book from it or a movie, after the artwork has become public domain.

Artists B is a lazy slob and needs two years for a painting. Same deal. “Are you nuts?”, I hear you cry. Why? We’re paying this guy anyway. So if he has only one painting in himself for two years, what’s the difference? If he has art in himself, he can’t keep it in. The art wants to get out. The feeling you feel is pure greed. Ignore it. It’s not helping.

Artist C wants to live in a huge house with swimming pool, and diamond-laced roof. He doesn’t believe in the paid-by-the-hour model. Not sure that’s realistic but that’s not the point of a mind game. So he does all the usual things: Get some advertising, produces one great painting every day, sells them over any available channel. He might succeed and get insanely rich or he might fail and end up unemployed, forced to live on the model outlined above.

Anything we could lose by trying this approach? Oh, yes, the greedy lawyers, publishers, vendors.

Well, as they always say: Can’t make everyone happy 🙂


Handling FAIL

5. May, 2011

Sony way

Amazon way.

Amazon downtime: Between two and four days.

Sony downtime: Still counting.

Which one do you prefer?


Missing Icons in Buttons (Firefox, Ubuntu Natty)

5. May, 2011

If your firefox has forgotten about all the nice icons for button in the UI (i.e. if there is a back button but it has no label or icon and all the “close tab” buttons are just tiny little invisible buttons), this bug is for you: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/ia32-libs/+bug/641056

If you start Firefox from the console, you’ll see errors like this one:

(firefox-bin:30535): Gtk-WARNING **: Error loading icon: Unable to load image-loading module: /usr/lib/gdk-pixbuf-2.0/2.10.0/loaders/libpixbufloader-png.so: /usr/lib/gdk-pixbuf-2.0/2.10.0/loaders/libpixbufloader-png.so: wrong ELF class: ELFCLASS64


The “Minority Report” User Interface

5. May, 2011

Do you know the famous MovieOS? If not, follow the link.

If so, and you’ve seen “Minority Report“, you probably guessed that the fancy manipulations Tom Cruise was doing at the start of the movie was “Movie OS 2.0”.

It’s not. It’s real. You can buy that and have it installed. Visit g-speak.


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