Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

The Google StreetView incident

October 27th, 2010 makii Comments off

As almost everybody knows by now, Google has recorded data from unprotected WIFI networks everywhere (Frankfurter Rundschau, Reuters). They wanted to record some stuff to get additional accuracy when determining the location of mobile devices in cities. This is pretty useful in large cities where only a few GPS satellites are visible to the device. They claim to have recorded some data by accident, due to a software error. This data includes emails, passwords and lots of other personal data. This is a bad thing, I suppose.

The press writes a lot about this topic, and especially here in germany this release quite a storm of outrage about the evil internet company which wants to know everything about us. Even the german minister of consumer protection, Ilse Aigner (german), got involved. She already has a colorful history with Mark Zuckerberg about privacy issues concerning where she threatened the world she will delete here profile there if nothing happens.

My opinion to all this stuff is: If you leave your network visible, or don’t use encryption, it’s your own fault! EVERYBODY could walk down the street with a laptop and record traffic of unencrypted networks. So why harass Google about it if people are simply too lazy to even care about their information? Sure, a scan for SSIDs in the vicinity should have been enough, but so what. Same goes for the insurgence about photographs of the houses for Street View itself. If you don’t want your house to be seen from the street, build a wall around it, or grow a hedge. I might come by with my 12 megapixel camera and take a photo. Hell, I might even put that photo on the internet!!

Categories: Technology, Web Tags: ,

Real or Fake?

May 21st, 2009 makii Comments off

Bohemian Rhapsody from Queen covered on Computer "Junk".

Looks quite real… is it?

The LEGO Turing Machine

March 4th, 2009 makii Comments off

Funny Turing machine, which seems to work. Thanks, Manuel!

Categories: Common Tags: , ,

Web 2.0 Banking?

June 13th, 2008 makii Comments off

Being incorporated in a bank (again), I just wonder how all this web development stuff around me continues to evolve. Working for a financial information website, being taken over by a bank was pretty hard to avoid eventually, but of course might benefit both parties involved.

The more I’m eager to see what kind of web applications the new guys want to do with their web-banking and -trading applications now they have aquired an internet company. Now with the first wave of integration of the two web sites passed pretty smoothly, and the rebranding and accomodating redesign of the two websites rolled out, we’re ready for furthermore tasks to accomplish. Let’s see what comes next.

Interesting in this context is a article by finextra I stubled over at cometdaily. The article tells about X topics I want to comment A survey by WorkLight which questioned 1000 facebook users,

  • whether or not they’d want or use Web 2.0 widgets or applications for their day-to-day online banking in Facebook or other launchpads
  • whether they would consider switching to another bank to get such features.

The main message is

New research has found that around half of Facebook users would use Web 2.0 applications for online banking, while a quarter would even consider switching banks to obtain Web 2.0 services.

The switching part is the one my boss would be especially interested in I guess.

The article goes on:

Commenting on the survey findings, David Lavenda, VP, marketing and product strategy, Worklight, says: “To lose a quarter of your customers to competitors who have provided secure Web 2.0 banking would bear a significant impact on existing business. This is particularly true at a time when financial services companies are struggling to retain and acquire customers in a market that saturated with new competitors and countless new offerings.”

That’s true. In my experience numbers of new customer are much more interesting to management than the figures of the current customers’ activity. As you gain new customers, a certain percentage will have a fair amount of activity in trading and other products, another just won’t. These shares, once established, are rather stable. Clearly, the more new ones you get, the more active customers will be there.

Well, despite I like fancy Web 2.0 applications like Google Mail, and I clearly can see the point in gaining a customer base by offering nifty tools, but integrating my account statement and credit card bills into a portal like Facebook… Are they insane? Especially facebook is a nice platform for staying in contact with your friends, and doing froody Web 2.0 community stuff, whatever it is. But sharing financial spendings like that in a community, especially in this one sounds like a red rag, doesn’t it?

But surely there seems to be a market for this. We only have to take a look at Pages like wesabe or mint. Users can sync up somehow their account statements, credit card data and other stuff, get in analyzed, charted and stuff. The feature set sounds really nice, knowing one and for all where all the hard-earned money goes til the end of the month. Tagging spendings at certain locations, getting recommendations where to get this type of commodity cheaper or better elsewhere and discussing financial decisions with peers in the same situation.

Someone should do something like that here in Europe or Germany. It’ll be hard though, as for one, here in the old world it’s not so common to buy your take-away coffee or a pack of chewing gum with your credit card, so it’ll be hard for us to get the kind of complete and detailled listings like shown in the wesabe merry-go-round. On the other hand sharing financial data on this level with people I don’t know … I don’t know if there are a lot people here which will accept that easily. On the other hand we share every kind of information on the net: What music do I listen to? Where did I go party last weekend? What’s the best indian restaurant in town? Why not anticipate where I spend my money from my bills and compare them to the ones of other people?

What do you think?

Categories: Technology, Web, Work Tags: ,

Review of Neil Gafters’ talk

March 24th, 2008 makii Comments off

Yes, it’s a little late, but so what?

About two weeks I visited a quite interesting talk by Dr. Neil Gafter, developer of Google Calendar, whom, in his spare time, proposes new language features for the Java Programming Language and Sun’s javac-Java compiler. The latest proposes BGGA closures, in conjunction with other nice features like control abstraction, function types and lots of other pretty useful things,is under heavy discussion.

At first I was unsure what to think about closures, lots of people compained about the syntax, and that noone ever will understand the code when here are some function types in it. But, honestly, can it get any more confusing than with generics? NEVER!!. During the talk I recognized the pattern, which clearly is derived from the code blocks I used to love in Smalltalk. Clearly there are some slight differences taking into account that Java is, contrary to Smalltalk, a strongly typed language.

Further than that, it gets really nice when using closures in conjunction with control abstraction: Often used example, which actually doesn’t make sense, as Java5 has a foreach loop built in, but let’s just say someone wants to implement a method like foreach, taking as parameter any type of Collection<T>, as well as a block of code, which itself takes as parameter one item of T. This method then can be imported statically by any class which has need of this particular foreach loop. This abstract functionality is, right now, hard-wired in the java compiler to the Java Collections framework from the runtime environment. *hick* Yes, exactly the way around it should NOT be.

Closures in conjunction with control abstraction have the power to enable APIs to implement their own control statements like, for example, a foreach-loop for Collections or Maps, performance logging, cleanup work, whatever you can imagine. Despite my reservations in the beginning, I can’t wait to see the BGGA proposal into Java7 or Java8. Hopefully we will see it!

Categories: Java, Technology Tags: , ,

Curiousities in sci-fi series

March 20th, 2008 makii Comments off

Blogging about curiosities in sci-fi series, I’ve discovered another one. Everybody might now what Star Trek is. And everybody admires the neat looking, glossy touch controls on these cute space ships. They just touch these changing, screens to start a sensor sweep, fire the phasers or eject the warp core. At least that’s what it looks like. Underneath all this advanced technology using gel packs, power conduits and whatever there is still simple, probably serial pointing device, manifesting in a mouse cursor :-)

Pointing Device?!?!?!?