Andrey Shilov at WordPress

The notes of a journalist working in Europe for Russian TV

Archive for April 2009

«10 easy steps to writing the scariest cyberwarfare article ever»

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“Begin the story in Estonia, with a reference to its 2007 attacks; make sure to play up the “E-stonia” tune and how the entire country was under online siege for a month (never mention that rioting in the Estonian streets was much more devastating and that the actual online siege lasted for twenty minutes at best). Setting the story in Estonia would also help to play up the Soviet threat that never really left the country. Blame NATO’s impotence, praise Skype’s genius, quote non-existent local Web entrepreneurs who lost all their savings in the 2007 cyber-attacks”.

What a hilarious text! Evgeny Morozov from Foreign Policy indeed knows the nature of journalism. He writes about contemporary threats in the Internet but in fact it is about eternal problems of media: hysterics and incompetence.

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Written by andreyshilov

April 13, 2009 at 12:39 pm

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Will the crisis correct them?

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Buying railway ticket online? Of course!

 

I tried it twice in Germany – both times with a problem, with a scandal, loosing money. Unbelievable!

 

Last time I chose the train and time, wrote my bank card number, got a confirmation by email. Is it the end? It’s the beginning!

 

Then one has to click a link in the email, write login and password, see the word “e-ticket” – and print it? Wrong answer!

 

-It is not a ticket, – I was told in the train on my way from Berlin to Munich.

-Why not a ticket? It is written here – “e-ticket”. Here is my name, destination, my seat number…

-It is not a ticket. You had to print out the ticket.

 

I had to pay second time, with cash, right in the train.

 

Later I learnt that one more step should have been made. You get the email, click the link, write your login and passwod, get the page with “e-ticket” and all other info – and click one more time. Then print it out.

 

Triple protection!

 

Today’s story.

My friends came to Berlin from Russia. Well I am experienced guy! I found the site, wrote passenger’s name, paid with my bank card, got confirmation by email, clicked the link, wrote login and password, and clicked, and clicked one more time. And printed out.

 

I just got a call from my friends from the train: “It’s not working!”

According to the rules of “Deutsche Bahn”, passenger must pay for his ticket himself.

-Why? – I was shouting on the phone. – It is unconvenient! It is inhuman! What’s the difference for you?

-It is the rule and I have to follow it. Your friends refused to pay and will be taken out from the train.

 

So that’s how I heard about rules in Germany for the first time.

But this story is not about Germans. Russians see unconvenience and dullness in their country often enough, too.

 

I have been flying with German “Air Berlin” for about three years and I never had any problems with paying, registering, showing documents etc. You write your bank card number – that’s all. No clicking, no passwords, no printing. You paid it. All the rest is the company’s business.

 

Sometimes it is so plain simple:

there is private business caring about customers,

and there are state behemoths who don’t give a spit about clients. They follow their own rules. The other day the head of “Deutsche Bahn” resigned with a scandal but it won’t change anything: there are no other companies one can use when travelling from Berlin to Hannover.

 

The rules of market and monopolies are the same everywhere.

Written by andreyshilov

April 4, 2009 at 11:55 am

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Lada. Da-da!

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Lada was a dream for Eastern Germans. Indeed, one would dream even about a Soviet car when there are just cardboard Trabants around you. When the Wall fell normal cars from the West arrived and Volkswagen even built a plant in former GDR.

 

But I noticed an interesting thing while making a report about today’s sales of Lada in Germany.

lada 

Right after the reunification Eastern Germans despised Lada: a communist car, from the USSR… But demand reappeared after some time. Nowadays 60% of all German sales are in the former West Germany and 40% in the former East one – approximately equal to the territory ratio.

 

So the Soviet shade disappeared during the 20 years. The image has been reinvented, so to say. Now it is just an inexpensive car standing close to Suzukis and Kias in car sales centres. It is far not a leader on the market: just 2400 Ladas were bought in Germany last year while its population is 82 mln. But still people buy it: ”A car for the youth”, “low price”, “a second or a third car for your family”.

 

Dark legacy of the past disappears during just one generation time. At least on the market.

Written by andreyshilov

April 3, 2009 at 10:11 pm

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