Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Appreciating ASUS

ASUS Zenfone 3 Base Model

Whilst this posting might make Marcus appear to be a ASUS fanboy pushover I can assure you it is not the case.

ASUS is of course not the perfect vendor, but they do consistently deliver innovation at a very economical price.

I do like their tag line

Luxury on your own terms

Not all of us follow ASUS closely, not all of us are subscribed to their YouTube channel.  In fact you may have missed their 1 hour plus Computex 2016  announcement that I present here:

ASUS Press Event

Saving ASUS or Apple from the sinking Ship
If I had the chance to save ASUS or Apple from the conceptual sinking ship I'd go for ASUS every time

- ASUS consistently produces innovation, so does Apple of course
- Comparable phones which conservatively have 80% plus of the function of a comparable Apple product are selling below 50% or Apple Retail.  That is some feat of Engineering and Business acumen
- They are delivering a real value proposition to their customers
- The Zenfone 3 looks on paper  (both base and delux) models to be another solid performer.  Though I reserve judgement for actual recommendations for at least 2 months (so don't buy now) until detailed testing has been made
 Zenfone 3 models: base (ZE552KL), the premium Zenfone 3 Deluxe (ZS570KL) and the media-consumption focused Zenfone 3 Ultra (ZU680KL).- Engadget's good Zenfone 3 summary page is here

If you have the Time

- I recommend watch the entire ASUS presentation above (1 hour +) or for the three minute summary it is here

- Also check back for Computex 2016 coverage , last day is June 4th 2016, so after that the major tech dailies will present their summaries

Right now this Windows Central page is Computex summary reading

Monday, May 30, 2016

Rallye du Chablais, Montreux stop

Renault Parking

As part, and surely the last part of Marcus' birthday celebration treats organised by Agata,  I find myself reporting from Montreux and the Rallye du Chablais

There is not much to say, except that Marcus stood by to watch the cars checkin, the drivers get out, and presumably go for a snack, and then the cars begin to check out.

The Rallye has various different categories but I note they included

a) Vintage Cars
b) Modern Post 2000 cars
c) Teeny modern cars in a Junior category.

A lot of photographs to follow
All,and many more, are available at full resolution at the Google Photos Link

Cars leaving


Sunday, May 29, 2016

You see what you want to see

Just think about it.

I thought about this text as some acquaintances were about to celebrate or as I would call it indoctrinate their child into a religious practise that I believe is both outmoded and will be regarded in the child's lifetime as harmful.

I have had many religious friends who have taken this step with their children as well as a few, and I regard quite distastefully dishonest secular parents who push their children into a Religiously founded upbringing.  In these cases, parents who for decades have never been religious, suddenly as parents start attending church, though not modifying any kind of behaviour or outlook so far as I can tell, and then push/ advise child of their Religious faith when they are at an early age, say 5. All because they think it is 'traditional' or  'may help them integrate into society'

For Marcus the principled and non Hypocritical behaviour would be to raise a child in the same Religious or Secular belief system as the family, but give the child the opportunity to change their affiliation when they are old enough to reason, and support the child in their choice however painful  (e.g. they change from your belief system to one alien to you).

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Journee Lausannoise du Velo 2016

Here is Marcus, Agata and Sandra's report of our participation in the JLV Journee Lausannoise du Velo 2016

The Courses

 There are several Mountain Bike (VTT) and Road courses and those suitable for children.   We are planning on the 150Km road route.

 The Plan
The ideal plan was that we three would do the 150Km bicycle route and arrive back at the finish just in time for the prizes draw at 15.30.

Sandra who is just getting used to road cycling, decided on doing the 100Km route, probably a wise choice in view of her experience, nevetheless the plan was to meet at the Start, in Chalet a Gobet forest at 07.45

Failed Preparation

Ironically Marcus verified that Sandra had checked her bicycle the night before and I thought I had checked mine too.  All screws tight and parts adjusted.  However after actually cycling out of the garage at 07.00 I found to my horror my Red bicycle - UNcyclable.

Gears kept skipping, and we cycled home and found that the chain had developed a stiff link, and that it would not 'unstiff'.

So I am now back to the Green bicycle, as shown above which has a very low gear totally unsuitable for any hilly course.  Remind me, is Lausanne Velo, hilly?  Yes, unfortunately, frequent long ascents and descents.    Hmm this going to be interesting

Oh, and the Rain

Rainy 8am start to our 150 Km cycle tour

As fair-weather cyclists (!!) we have been studying the weather hard for the last week.   Saturday should be a little rainy at 8am but by 9am apparently its going to be dry and then even sunny .....

So at 8am it was raining continuously and it had done so all night previous making the roads saturated wet.

Some Objectives

- Convince Sandra to take the 150 and not 100 Km route.  There is a route split at about 50Km where she has to make a choice

- Don't go too fast!

- Have fun, which also is related to taking full advantage of the comprehensive food stops

- Arrive back for the Raffle prizes at 15.30 and hope for a big prize!


 Eventually our Dossards were mounted to our backs, and Marcus and Agata started their Garmin timers and music players and other gadgetry.  We took some photos and then when we could not find any more timewasting we set off in moderate rain.

 First StopKm 40
As usual a huge food tent is available distributing tea, coffee, Gruyere cheese, plain and milk chocolate.   It's all included in the entry to the race price.

This year Marcus and Agata planned to eat only provided food and drink from our USN race fluid in our Water bottles.

Marcus started with a huge portion of Gruyere cheese.  Supporting the local economy you know!

Km 60
The route always goes past this house on 'Paradise Street' and this year I stopped for a photo.   Actually its on a flat section between 2 steep ascents.

On my Green race bicycle, totally unsuitable for hills, any incline up has to be sprinted, else with its low gearing your legs just grind to a halt.  So here I stopped for a momentary rest before the sprint, part 2.

Break2: Mount Vully

Mount Vully Stop

Earlier Sandra split from us to continue the 100Km route.  I think this was the right choice in view of her training.  This left Marcus and Agata for the Mount Vully climb.  Boy it is steep at the end.

Is that an enormous block of Gruyere cheese I see in front of me?

Stop 3, KM 141

Even more cheese Marcus

I know, 9Km from the end of the race and we stopped!  Well Agata was out of fluids and I was greedy, waiting for more Gruyere Cheese.

More Greyere Cheese grommit!

And an infinity of Chocolate.  Yummy.

Advertising the local Cheese manufacturer

We Finished

We collected our Defi Points.

We waited patiently for our big prize from the raffle.  Unfortunately this was won by somebody else, (I know, shocking!!) and all the smaller prizes went to kids, so I suspect I had not red the prize categories correctly.

Anyway every signed participant gets a small gift which this year is a handlebar mounted smartphone case.  We can't use it, so it's free to the first friend reading this who wants it!  (X2)

Lausanne Volunteering was there

Lausanne Police attended and they have their own Motorhome :-)

Despite a dodgy start in terms of weather and Marcus' bike preparation we went on to have a fantastic time.  The last half of the race was in the dry, with generous food stops and the beautiful Vaud countryside to cycle through.

Agata Marcus and Sandra all made it to the finish without accidents, trauma, just with broad Smiles, and for Marcus a belly full of delicious Gruyere cheese.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Do Google API declarations violate an Oracle Copyright

More completely:
Do “declarations of the API [application programming interface] elements in the Android class library source code and object code that implements the 37 [Java] API packages” violate a copyright held by Oracle?

An Initial Bias
In the Database (DB) world I grew up with Oracle.  Whereas my first proper database was really Informix,  Oracle was the familiar  DB where I always felt at home.   Even when later I was supposed to be fawning over the capabilities of IBM's DB2,  I always hankered back to Oracle.  20 years ago I  always unfairly gave Oracle the benefit of the doubt.

But over the years the behavior of the Oracle CEO, of course Larry Ellison 
has had me cringing until  in 2010  Oracle went for the big disgrace.  To quote Wikipedia


On August 12, 2010, Oracle sued Google over claimed infringement of copyrights and patents related to the Java programming language.[293] Oracle originally sought damages up to $6.1 billion,[294] but this valuation was rejected by a United States federal judge who asked Oracle to revise the estimate.[295] In response, Google submitted multiple lines of defense, counterclaiming that Android did not infringe on Oracle's patents or copyright, that Oracle's patents were invalid, and several other defenses. They said that Android is based on Apache Harmony, a clean room implementation of the Java class libraries, and an independently developed virtual machine called Dalvik.[296] In May 2012, the jury in this case found that Google did not infringe on Oracle's patents, and the trial judge ruled that the structure of the Java APIs used by Google was not copyrightable.[297][298] The parties agreed to zero dollars in statutory damages for a small amount of copied code.[299] On May 9, 2014, the Federal Circuit partially reversed the district court ruling, ruling in Oracle's favor on the copyrightability issue, and remanding the issue of fair use to the district court.[300][301]

In December 2015, Google announced that the next major release of Android would switch to OpenJDK, which is the official open-source implementation of the Java platform, instead of using the now-discontinued Apache Harmony project as its runtime. Code reflecting this change was also posted to the AOSP source repository.[143] In its announcement, Google claimed this was part of an effort to create a "common code base" between Java on Android and other platforms.[144] Google later admitted in a court filing that this was part of an effort to address the disputes with Oracle, as its use of OpenJDK code is governed under the GNU General Public License(GPL) with a linking exception, and that "any damages claim associated with the new versions expressly licensed by Oracle under OpenJDK would require a separate analysis of damages from earlier releases".[143]

May 26th 2016 Verdict
From arstechnica:  Following a two-week trial, a jury has found that Google's Android operating system does not infringe Oracle-owned copyrights because its re-implementation of 37 Java APIs is protected by "fair use." The verdict was reached after three days of deliberation.

Other Examples

How far would Linux Development have got, if the owners of UNIX had said, sorry you can't copy any of our System calls or API's?

Ditto for Minix and any other UNIX like Operating System.

How far would GNU have got if UNIX developers had said: Sorry our UNIX utilities and command flags are not to be copied?

How far would Microsoft DOS have developed had it not adopted the API structure from Digital Research CP/M and CPM/86?


Yes but: The Appeal

I am pretty sure the tossers [that is Oracle of course] are going to argue the toss.  They have the money and will; based on previous performance, appeal and whine and moan, dragging out the case to its last gasp.

Where do I stand Now?

- No matter the technical qualities of Java,  I think I'd rather code in Assembler than have to promote any kind of code owned by Oracle
- And whilst I might have grown up with Oracle,  I think the company has sufficiently showed me its true colours, so if I could instead use another database,  (well very easily in SAP by the way) then I would if I could.
- Given that Android is free  (see Android AOSP),  Oracle's trying to extract between 6 and 9 Billion Dollars from Google  (depending on who you consult) for this API violation is just a total disgrace.
- And don't even get me started about Oracle licensing!!

I can sum it up succinctly

Don't be evil

Dear Oracle: your behaviour broke my heart .....

ABC: Poison Arrow

ArsTechnica briefing
Quartz Coverage
Realtime Web Coverage

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Japan Classic at Bleinbach

I know, friends are asking Marcus, just how many Birthday 2016 celebrations did you actually have?  I have to admit that Agata outdid herself and arranged for us to attend the Japanese Classic car show in Bleinbach Switzerland.

Some Photos

And Also
The vintage car scene simply draws owners of whatever marque to an event.  So not on formal display, but mostly parked in the Open Air Car Park we also came across ...

Marcus had a wonderful time informing Agata about the choice details of the many cars that he oh so nearly bought in the years when the Japanese made the hottest cars in town.

The full album of photographs at original resolution is uploaded and available in Google Photos here