Dutch dictionary Van Dale is considering a bunch of English words as well as translated English words to be included into the Dutch language. The words are often slang that goes mainstream and IT-related words.
Selfie – Same meaning and spelling as in English, taking a picture of yourself with a mobile phone.
Shishapen – In English ‘shisha pen’, an electric cigarette, shisha being of Egyptian origin.
Sukkelseks – Dutch for low-quality sex, although I thought it meant ‘pity sex’.
Gamechanger – ‘Game changer’, used by politicians and business people.
Factchecken – ‘Fact checking’, since the Dutch already use ‘checken’ (‘to check’) because it is more to the point than a Dutch construction.
3D-printer – Again the Dutch use ‘printer’, so this is a logical extension.
In May of this year, words like ‘religiestress’ (‘religion stress’, stress caused by religious beliefs) and ‘chillaxen’ (‘to chillax’, a slang word that combines ‘chill and relax’) were added to the online version of the Van Dale.
And finally words that are actually Dutch: ‘vingerpistool’ (‘finger pistol’, a gesture that indicates you’re shooting at someone) and ‘roeptoeteren’ (roughly pronounced ROOP-too-tee-ren), to give your opinion in a really loud and poorly considered manner.
(Links: www.nieuws.nl, www.rtlnieuws.nl)
Tags: dictionary, Van Dale
While big European countries like France (0.78%, population 63 million), Germany (1%, population 81 million) and the UK (7%, population 63 million over four countries) host very few porno sites, the Netherlands comes in second place of the world’s Top 10 porn hosting countries, with a whopping 26% of all pages in the world. The Netherlands is only second to the United States where 60% of all pornography is hosted, a country that produces some 66% of all porn in the world, made mostly in California.
1. The US (60%)
2. The Netherlands (26%)
3. The UK (7%)
4. Germany (1%)
5. France (0.78%)
6. and 7. Australia and Canada (0.3%)
8. Japan (0.27%)
9. and 10. British Virgins Islands and Czech Republic (0.21%)
The Netherlands is also way in front of other European countries when counting the number of adult-only domain names registrations, with nearly two million domains for porn. The AMSIX, the Amsterdam Internet Exchange, is the world’s largest data transport hub in the world, accounting for some 10% of the world’s Internet traffic. That, and the proven cliché of the Dutch being all liberal with sex, probably makes for an acceptable explanation of its porn-pushing status.
(Links: www.emerce.nl/, www.ibtimes.co.uk, Photo by Mephisto, some rights reserved, based on a photo by Daniel Mayara)
Tags: porn, pornography
A British judge has imposed a ban in favour of car manufacturer Volkswagen who claims that the publication of research on car-starting codes for luxury cars would be detrimental to their business. Roel Verdult and Baris Ege of the Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen together with Flavio Garcia of the University of Birmingham wrote the publication ‘Dismantling Megamos Crypto: Wirelessly Lockpicking a Vehicle Immobiliser. Since Volkswagen and other car manufacturers don’t want all those codes out in the open, they went to court in the UK and won. Oddly enough, much of the information has apparently already been floating around the Internet since 2009 but nobody really noticed until now.
The Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen is not taking it lying down and is going to court to fight the ban. The university claims that the researchers’ aim was to improve security for everyone, not to give criminals a helping hand at hacking into high-end cars. They argued that “the public have a right to see weaknesses in security on which they rely exposed”. Otherwise, the “industry and criminals know security is weak but the public do not”.
It seems to me that basing a security algorithm on secrecy rather than complexity is asking for problems once someone cracks the code, and assuming that that will never happen is not smart. The researchers didn’t do anything illegal yet they got a gag order. Why not comprise with a ban for like 6 months to let the car manufacturers get their act together? And do the researchers really need to publish damaging details to make their point that the security is weak? Stay tuned.
(Links: www.theguardian.com, www.bright.nl, Photo: guusterbeek.nl)
Tags: hackers, hacking, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
In May last year an appeals court in Arnhem has upheld a murder verdict on the basis of the contents of the suspect’s browser history.
The court noted (PDF) that the suspect had been searching the Internet, mainly using Google, for amongst others ‘revolver’, ‘pistol’, ‘corpse delivery’ and ‘definition shot in the neck’.
In order to determine under Dutch law whether something is murder or manslaughter, the court must decided if the suspect acted with premeditation. “Following a plan that leads to the death of the victim”, the court writes, “counts as such. The court believes that lawful and convincing evidence exists that this is what the suspect did. He acquired a fire arm, found out how to use it, has looked for ways to make a corpse disappear, has searched on the internet for words like ‘death’ and ‘bullet through the head’ and has contacted the victim shortly before the latter disappeared.”
The suspect was convicted to 18 years imprisonment.
Webwereld reports that its sister publication Computerwereld and two scientists of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam have made an inventory of the cases in which the browser history of the suspect made the difference between a murder and a manslaughter verdict. They found at least five such cases. According to Webwereld, this difference can lead to 8 years more gaol time. Suspects searched for phrases like ‘murder without evidence’ and ‘getting away with murder’—oh, the irony.
(Photo by Flickr user nathanmac87, some rights reserved)
Tags: browser history, manslaughter, murder, search engines, Vrije Universiteit
Only 1 in 20 Dutch secondary school students choose to take a computer science course, Webwereld reports.
On average Dutch high schools have one computer science teacher who received their last training ten years ago.
I remember when computer science was introduced at my grammar school in the mid-1980s, the instructors were our regular maths teachers who often did not know what they were doing. The booklet that came with the course was flimsy—I had finished reading it before the semester started and spent the rest of my time programming games. What was worse was that the course was aimed at the few who were interested in programming, even though learning how to use a word processor and a spreadsheet would have been more useful to the majority of the pupils.
Tags: computer science, education, high school
Here is some free advice for our government. If you want the difference between gigabit and gigabyte to be clear, do not abbreviate those words!
A small printing error has made it so that multinational record companies can pump even more of our tax money out of the country, at least in theory. In October last year the Ministry of Justice published a table of copyright levies in Staatsblad, the official government newspaper in which laws and decisions must be printed to become legal. Where the ministry wanted to write ‘gigabyte’, it wrote ‘Gb’, an abbreviation meaning gigabit. When talking about storage a byte typically contains 8 bits.
This means that legally speaking people who for example buy a smartphone with 2 gigabytes of storage would have to pay a higher price.
In practice this will likely not occur. Jochem Donker, a legal consultant working for Stichting Thuiskopie, the organisation that will collect the levies, told Webwereld: “We agreed upon gigabytes, so I find it hard to imagine that parliament suddenly changed its mind. This is probably a capslock error. I expect we will not abuse this.” Several lawyers called the use of ‘gigabit’ “an apparent mistake” (kennelijke verschrijving).
The ministry has decided that it will not correct the text until the levies are up for revision in 2014. “If we had meant gigabit, we would have written Gbps.” Fail! Gbps means ‘gigabit per second’. Later the spokesperson admitted that the ministry had made a mistake. “But it is evident that we meant ‘gigabyte’. The reports of the lower house also say ‘gigabyte’.”
Here is more free advice. If you desperately do want to use abbreviations, for instance because you are printing a table and the columns aren’t very wide, explain your abbreviations in a legend.
Tags: copyright, copyright levies, fail, government, laws, levies, Stichting Thuiskopie
A museum dedicated to the computers of US manufacturer Apple has opened its doors in the town of Ureterp, just East of Drachten in Friesland.
The Apple Museum Nederland is run by volunteers and focuses on keeping Apple computers up and running so that visitors can experience first hand how these machines used to work. The museum is housed at the top floor of a Mac repair shop and is not affiliated with Apple.
On 22 December the museum opened its doors for the first time and it will also be open on 29 December and 5 January. The official opening will be on 16 March, Bright reports.
Macfreak says this is the third Apple museum in the world. The name Ureterp stems from Urathorp and means ‘Upper Village’, as in upstream from the river Boorne.
(Photo: Google Street View)
Tags: Apple, Friesland, museums
Venus, a yacht designed by the late Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple, together with French product designer Philippe Starck and put to water in Aalsmeer, North Holland has been impounded in Amsterdam. Starck claims that Jobs only paid him € 6 million out of the € 9 million fee he was owed by the Jobs family.
“The entire cost of building the yacht was reportedly about $130 million. The yacht itself is between 230 and 260 feet (80 metres) long.”
According to DutchNews.nl, the boat is literally chained to the dock.
UPDATE: As of 24 December Jobs’ heirs reached an agreement and the yacht has been unchained.
(Link: mashable.com, Photo of Steve Jobs by acaben, some rights reserved)
Tags: Aalsmeer, Amsterdam, Apple, Steve Jobs, yacht
In 2011 Dutch web certificate company DigiNotar was compromised completely by an Iranian hacker, and a report released this week details how it was done.
The report, written by security auditors Fox-IT and published by the state last Monday, shows that the hacker managed to get access to Diginotar’s public website, which had already been hacked in 2009. In fact, the defacements from that year were still online when the hack was discovered in August 2011, security.nl reported at the time.
According to Webwereld, Fox-IT’s report reads like a how-to for pwning a badly secured system. The hacker installed a shell on the web server, which must have been easy to do, as the still online defacements showed the way. DigiNotar had a firewall between its public network (which it called the Demilitarised Zone) and its segmented internal network, but it also had a long list of exceptions in the firewall. The certificate servers were also attached to the office network of DigiNotar, so that the hacker could use the standard MS Windows Remote Desktop tool to create false certificates.
Just another day at the office for an experienced black hat hacker.
Techworld reports that the DigiNotar hack was mainly used to attack Gmail users in Iran. DigiNotar declared bankruptcy in September 2011. The company’s certificates were heavily relied upon by the Dutch government, but also by Google.
Web certificates are a means to tell your browser that the website you are visiting real is the website it claims to be. This is useful for online banking and so on.
Tags: certificates, DigiNotar, Dutch government, hackers, hacking, security, web sites
On 28 October, one year after the death of Apple’s mastermind Steve Jobs, a yacht he designed together with French product designer Philippe Starck has been put to water in Aalsmeer at the docks of royal shipbuilder De Vries. It apparently took six years to design.
The yacht is called Venus, it’s almost 80 metres long, the outside is made of lightweight aluminium with three-metre-high windows and is powered by seven iMacs. Other features include a Jacuzzi, a huge sun deck and a bridge full of mac screens.
The Jobs family had planned to sail around the world with it, but now the yacht will be shipped to the United States.
(Link: www.automatiseringgids.nl, Photo of Steve Jobs by acaben, some rights reserved)
Tags: Aalsmeer, Apple, Steve Jobs, yacht