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* Posts by Charlie Clark

2576 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Google could be a great partner for Iliad in its quest for T-Mobile

Charlie Clark
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What a load of crap

its potential to support Wi-Fi-first and Wi-Fi-only models that reduce the importance of cellular networks and spectrum

The reason for spectrum is because you need to be able to manage it in order to provide any kind of reliable service. While you can use WiFi in isolated areas, it's impossible to do so anywhere with reasonable population density as you need to do in order provide QoS on phone calls. This is why companies still pay as much as they do for spectrum. Iliad may indeed make extensive use of WiFi but the main key to its success has been the rigorous unbundling of connections in France, something that isn't on the cards for the US.

And how you do manage the WiFi networks? Cellular networks are as much about managing users as they are about spectrum. Obviously not a problem for Faultline which has already mapped out how this can be done…

It's certainly possible that Google might, very much like Softbank in the past, get into the network business. Not sure if it would bother with a single national carrier, though. Buying the mobile part of Deutsche Telekom might be more interesting. It could certainly afford to do so. There might be regulation national security concerns but the biggest issue would probably having to do deal with lots of employees.

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Too slow with that iPhone refresh, Apple: Android is GOBBLING up US mobile market

Charlie Clark
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Re: Italy?

First of all you have to take Kantar's figures with a large bucket of salt: the numbers comparison allows you to compare over time and between countries. Worth giving the numbers a spin as market share often moves 1 % a month in either direction. IIRC this is because Kantar isn't actually assessing market share but customer preferences at any one time. This is probably why the numbers differ so strongly from those of IDC.

That said: Nokia did some hard work to get their phones onto some networks such as Orange in France and the UK and presumably TIM in Italy.

The numbers are still not credible for Germany where I reckon IOS has > 20 % share (based on anecdotal observation in public transport) and Windows is a rounding error: I can still count on the fingers of one hand the Lumias I've seen here in the wild.

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Charlie Clark
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Holmes

There is plenty of competition, some of it pretty cut-throat, between vendors of Android phones. That's what keeps driving the prices down and the specs up.

Android is open source so we're also reasonably well-insulated from anything happening to Google. Yes, most manufacturers pay to have access to the Google apps but there are drop-in replacements for nearly all of them. I think Maps and Hangouts and, of course, the Play Store, are the only ones I use.

The biggest risk to consumers is the age-old problem of a monoculture. If it goes too far this can stifle innovation. It can also magnify any security risks. Having the OS open source does go some way to mitigating this as the source code is available for research. But as the OpenSSL debacle demonstrated there's no guarantee of that.

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Ofcom will not probe lesbian lizard snog in new Dr Who series

Charlie Clark
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Re: @Charlie

all male eyes were drawn to Nicola Bryant's cleavage floating just over his head at the time

I think she appealed only to the younger or more lecherous men (of which I was one :-)) to be honest. She wasn't as good as Tegan but the Calamity Jane stuff worked quite well at times with Peter Davison. The costumes and the slightly too blatant sexing it up was an attempt to disguise shit stories and ever wobblier sets. And that was long before Satan's spawn, Greg Dyke, got to the beeb.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: @Charlie

@Peter

What "New Series" are you talking about? If it's Series 8 of the New Era, then that's not surprising, it was the first episode.

I mean all of the New Era - if it's available here in Germany then it's dubbed and I don't do well with that. I've seen a couple of the Eccleston's and a couple of the Tenant's. I appreciate the vastly improved production values (mainly the sets and effects). Dr Who was always a bit hammy and I was never the greatest fan. I guess it could only take the pseudo-science seriously for so long but when I always preferred the thought-provoking episodes over the action ones. The older doctors perhaps had it easier playing the boffin.

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Charlie Clark
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I've seen very little of the series since it was restarted but it seems to me that eye-candy has almost always been there albeit in different forms: from the earnest but still nubile assistants to the more explicitly erotic. Something for everybody's fantasy.

The episodes I have seen have singularly failed to capture the sense of reaching for the stars that seemed to drive the original series: yes, it was science fiction but it also attempted at times to explain the science of the time. Maybe because you can't keep that up forever and because it gets cheesy at times.

I guess the real challenge will come when the Doctor returns as a woman. Could be interesting.

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Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch

Charlie Clark
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Battery life

which is pretty measly considering that real watches last months

Yes, but how many of them have screens and radios? In that case 2 days is pretty damn good assuming the screen is always on. Might be nice to have one that supports motion-based charging (like my Seiko does) but you probably need some serious wrist action for enough charge!

Down the road I can see solar cells embedded in the screen being used to boost battery life.

Of all of the watches like this I've seen so far this looks by far the best. Still don't think I'll be getting one, though.

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Rejoice, Windows fans: Stable 64-bit Chromium drops for Win 7 and 8

Charlie Clark
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They've then topped it off by responding to any complaints about the issues by saying that they (now!) follow the spec, and all those libraries written and tested against how chrome worked for years don't, so people must bitch at those other developers to 'fix' their bugs and not the chromium team.

It's always best (and easiest to maintain) to implement the spec and add workarounds for variants. Libraries that don't do this should be considered buggy. Chromium's release system allows plenty of scope for testing.

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Dropbox cuts cloud storage prices $10 per terabyte, matching Google and Microsoft

Charlie Clark
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Re: Don't shoot the messenger!

I get it, it doesn't suit you, fair enough.

You obviously don't get it: the two propositions are not comparable and I listed some of the reasons why.

FWIW I've been using VoIP for getting on twenty years and have always preferred using a phone over cabling myself to my computer. Call quality on Skype and its ilk has always been less than perfect. Customer has a Lync setup that is unusable through the VPN so we always use the phone then as well.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Don't shoot the messenger!

OneDrive is also very easy to use. With no added benefits I see no reason to use Drop Box.

Does it work offline? Can you mount it as a file system and, therefore, encrypt it yourself?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Don't shoot the messenger!

The comparison is heavily flawed. Dropbox's model is different: files are inherently available offline; there is less lock-in and cross-selling.

Of course, an annual subscription works out cheaper but what if you want to change after 6 months?

Dropbox prices also apply for business, Microsoft's doesn't

I don't want Skype since Microsoft broke it, and already have the bits of Office or their equivalents that I want. Nearly all my international (EU + US) calls are already covered in my phone plan.

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Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws

Charlie Clark
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Just don't do it

Without an additional thing like hardware encryption just don't do banking with your phone. Even if the code is good, and this is unlikely, the device and the communication channels are too easily compromised.

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Comcast-Time Warner merger: CloudFlare's fare flare fair warning

Charlie Clark
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It's a CDN so whether it hosts or not is a bit moot, especially as it's using other companies servers to host its caching infrastructure. I'm not surprised you get a knockback from the abuse team. What particular problem do you want them to solve?

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Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome

Charlie Clark
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Google or Apple?

was out of the ordinary for Cupertino

Google is normally referred to as being from Mountain View while Cupertino is reserved for Apple…

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Google kicks PowerPoint in the fondleslab

Charlie Clark
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Re: It's less about utility...

…round trip fidelity …

Given the complexity of the MS Office formats it's almost impossible to get real fidelity but you can usually get close enough. There's no doubt that for the next couple of years Microsoft has got the corporate market for the reasons you give. But long term I think ODF might just win out as a file format. Microsoft still has a chance because a lot of people like its products, but it will have to work hard to compete as the playing field levels.

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GitHub.io killed the distro star: Why are people so bored with the top Linux makers?

Charlie Clark
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Holmes

The web is the new hotness

Young programmers prefer to tinker with the phones or develop for the web. That's where their interest and the money is. Nothing really to do with Github at all.

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IT blokes: would you say that LEWD comment to a man? Then don't say it to a woman

Charlie Clark
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could result in some sort of HR violation…

Sexual harassment is a criminal offence. Sod the HR department: get down to the cops with the name and address – I assume the fuckers are only to happy to provide them.

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The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal

Charlie Clark
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Re: the devil is in the detail

Other courts have already decided that streaming is not distributing.

But this isn't about the law but shameful PR of the met. It is a fundamental principle of the British legal system that the police don't get to interpret the law and, thus, decide what is legal and what is illegal.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Obscene publications

What would be worse? The blood? How about film of the wounded or dead? What about staging a similar scene in a film? It's damn difficult to define these things legally.

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Charlie Clark
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Obscene publications

Don't need terrorist legislation to go after the consumption of images/videos/text. Existing legislation, such as that used in child porn cases, criminalises the download (damn difficult to prove someone was actually watching something) of whatever is deemed to be offensive (historically and culturally specific). Pornography can, and in some countries is, defined as including violence as well as sex. We've seen elsewhere how much the police would like to be able to define what is unacceptable.

Course that makes for slightly confusing headlines. And, if were any cases brought, might lead to a change in the law if the judges decided the police were overstepping their bounds and swamping the courts with trivial misdemeanours. I also reckon you'd have a damn hard-time proving the beheading was more obscene that now routine pictures of drone strikes and bombs we get to see.

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ARM64 gets better GPU support in CUDA release

Charlie Clark
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Re: Yet Another Ridiculous Comparison on the way

There's no comparison: the Pi has a very weak ARM CPU and relies on the Broadcom media + graphics chip to do the heavy lifting.

The 64-bit ARMs from AMD will be very different beasts. But there will be comparisons between them and nVidia's 64-bit ARMs. For HPC the attraction of both will be the ability to tune the hardware if required. Support for such hardware extensions in CUDA and OpenCL will make them even more attractive.

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Need a green traffic light all the way home? Easy with insecure street signals, say researchers

Charlie Clark
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Re: Why the different standards?

What we're seeing here is the expectation that electronics be held to a higher standard than what it is replacing.

Actually we've yet to see that anywhere. Think of all the recall actions of cars due to defective tyres, etc. and then point out something comparable in the software industry.

The US has the concept of unlimited liability which is now coffee containers warn you that hot liquids are dangerous and kitchen knives come with safety warnings. So far the software industry has been able to weasel its way out of similar cases by releasing updates that fix whatever problems. But, unless the law is changed to prevent unlimited liability, that state of grace is bound to end sometime.

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Stand clear! Will HTC's One act as a defibrillator for Windows Phone?

Charlie Clark
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Re: Not sure I agree with the author

but the overwhelming majority of users will be content with what's on the market

You may very well be right but consumers don't seem to agree with you. Other companies have folded after spending as much on failing to get market share as Microsoft has done with Nokia. At some point shareholders, other than Mr Ballmer, will get impatient and require Microsoft to get out of the hardware game.

Glossing over the bugs in 8.1 is a mistake. Mr Orlowski wrote several glowing reviews of Windows Phone and of devices running it. His criticism of 8.1 is indicative of his disappointment of Microsoft's failure to correct bugs and quickly and judiciously add new features. Yes, Android users bitch about the lack of speed with which their particular device gets an update but that's only because Google keeps on pushing out new releases for vanilla Android devices.

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Charlie Clark
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As long as Microsoft is paying…

This is quite obviously something which Microsoft is paying for – both HTC and Verizon and I'm sure both are happy as long as Microsoft pays them to do stuff. The biggest problem will be when reviews of the device with Windows goes up against the same device with Android. Verizon better have a good returns / boot-to-Android policy as this device is just begging to be sold as an Android flagship (the sales reps neglecting to inform users that it's actually got Windows phone) only for angry customers to return it when they can't get whatever apps they consider to be essential for it.

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Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls

Charlie Clark
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Re: I'll miss him.... and Steve

You've obviously missed the guy at T-Mobile USA then? Corporate America is currently too awash in cash to actually worry about anything more than their golf handicap.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: P.S.

Don't know anything about the Trailblazers. Who does own them? I am a fan of the Portland Thinkers…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: @AC: (was: 2 billion US dollars?)

Gut feeling is that Steve could pour another 3 billion into the franchise (staff, new arena, advertising, etc.), and still not make a profit. On a vanity project.

Even if he does have to put another USD 3 bn in he can still afford it. The key word is vanity: some people buy islands, other sports teams. Though I think that those that manage to stick around over time do end up making more than cost and with a good accountant it is an excellent tax sink.

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Charlie Clark
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The one good thing here is that Satya Nadella will not have Ballmer looking over his shoulder all the time

Are you sure? As the largest individual shareholder whatever he says will carry weight whether he's on the board or not and he can have himself put on the board whenever he wants.

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Charlie Clark
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The "hardware gross margins" worries me. Maybe he never bothered to speak to Sony, Dell, etc. about the pitiful margins on their products. Margins like Apple's are very much the exception rather than the rule in consumer electronics. For Microsoft the margins on selling software like Office are likely to remain crucial for the future. SaaS sounds so good until customers find ways to migrate to alternative providers.

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Look, no client! Not quite: the long road to a webbified Vim

Charlie Clark
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Re: Perl ... that actually is the sourcecode

it always did give you more than enough rope to hang yourself with in the readability stakes.

I always understood Perl to be write-only? ;-)

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Charlie Clark
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Opera Unite

Was probably the first server embedded in the browser. Was pretty interesting but there are all kinds of problems with putting a server in the browser.

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Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE

Charlie Clark
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Windows

70s pop star?

Well, technically true I suppose but not really the era one associates with Kate Bush. She's long argued against the alienation through technology – there's a pretty cheesy text on The Sensual World to that effect.

Taking the odd picture as a memento at a concert is almost unavoidable but trying to record the whole event really does defeat the purpose. The recording quality of the devices is going up all the time but even the one of the little selfie-tripods you're still not going to get close to the quality of a good bootleg and you will be distracting yourself and others. But when has that ever bothered anyone?

Where's the grumpy old man icon?

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Intel's Raspberry Pi rival Galileo can now run Windows

Charlie Clark
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Re: Its no Rasberry Pi

3. It comes with hardware support for a lot of codecs. Without this the Pi wouldn't be so interesting for so many. Of course, it's still tiny and dirt cheap and useful for all kinds of stuff but the codecs make it universal.

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e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt

Charlie Clark
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Re: Must be nice to fail to deliver and then sue to get paid.

You'd hope so but that isn't the way it works. The taxpayer always pays. Only once if we're lucky.

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Charlie Clark
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It's vague but you have to take the original order for £750m into account. The £100m is an estimate as to what it would have cost to get the stuff that was done until 2010 to actually do what it was supposed to do. By a long way not what was originally ordered. And largely preventing work on whatever other system they then decided they wanted (the priority now seems to be try and keep benefit seekers out). Omnishambles whichever way you look at it but given the size of overspend on previous disastrous (never finished, never working, etc.) projects maybe the right move in this case.

It would be nice if the NAO did get more power over future contracts but somehow I don't see that happening. I agree with others that a good civil service should be trained in the drawing up and oversight of these vast contracts with the politicians providing direction but not the detail. Accountability on all sides needs increasing and ministers should get trained in how not to get sucked into feature creep traps by vendors.

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Charlie Clark
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Cheap?

Imagine what the total bill might have been had the project continued with the usual feature creep and delays…

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Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!

Charlie Clark
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Re: 1800 jobs

When Microsoft moves to Munich, they will get the tax

As if Microsoft is stupid enough to let its revenue in Germany actually be taxed there…

There is office capacity in Munich and techies prefer to work in the city rather than in the suburbs.

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Charlie Clark
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Integrating a calendar with email is so obvious

That it was done long before Outlook… in Lotus Notes for example.

There's not much of a market for an open source clone. Unlike browsers, which get financed by searches via Google, there's no easy money so the choices are: paid only, or freemium. It's a big piece of software so you're going to need a hefty initial investment until you have something that people might pay for. All the time you'll be competing against entirely free products and the online solutions which are getting better all the time.

But there's nothing to stop Munich council commissioning some open source software development. The KDE platform is now sophisticated enough to allow development of a worthy product.

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Charlie Clark
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I have no idea what the Mozilla people have done to Thunderbird

Mozilla has publicly stated that Thunderbird isn't a priority. It gets bugfixes and updates of the HTML components in line with Firefox. The rest is upto the community.

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The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?

Charlie Clark
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Patch early and patch often is the advice of security professionals when it comes to software updates.

I certainly hope not: a variant on the old "measure twice, cut once" should be applied: "backup and test twice, patch once". I regularly get random failures with Microsoft's patches – but I'm lucky enough to be using them in a virtual machine. Not had a blue screen from the most recent round.

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Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7

Charlie Clark
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Re: Multi-core

Allow me to introduce you to my friends

Although the programs sound nice I'm not sure they were a suitable answer to the original post which was about encryption not compression.

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Google's ANDROID CRUSHING smartphone rivals underfoot

Charlie Clark
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Re: And yet...

Speak for yourself. I don't feel like a second-class citizen because I have some Android devices. Given the size of the Android market, the premium segment is now big enough to sell to. Developers that don't think about the Android market are primarily punishing themselves.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: No one believes IDC

No one believes IDC's figures.

I wouldn't go that far. They, along with all the other research companies, are often guilty of showing bias to those companies who pay for or even commission their reports – in the past IDC has done a lot of business with Microsoft. To find out more about how they collate the numbers you'll have to buy the report. However, in this field, the IDC numbers correlate more with what I see around me than, say, those of Kantar.

Getting real sales figures from companies isn't that easy as, apart from Apple, they don't control the chain from factory to store shelf.

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Charlie Clark
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It would possibly be less of a concern had Android been more open so that it would be as easy to create custom versions of android …

The source is open and Amazon's version living proof that custom versions can be made. Then there are all the mods out there.

Given that Google's own hardware has such a small market share I think it's difficult to talk of a monopoly. All the manufacturers have the chance and most seem to make use of it to customise the OS and the applications supplied with it. We might profit from regulation regarding the ability to remove software and control privacy settings without rooting devices (and thus potentially invalidating the warranty). But this might occur anyway through market pressure.

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What's in your toolbox? Why the browser wars are so last decade

Charlie Clark
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Aggressive caching when told not to cache and not obeying the W3C standard padding box model by default

Don't forget that the original specification for the box-model was the way IE did it. Nevertheless, I'm with you on counting the days till corporates stop clinging to IE 8.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: IE

Allegedly a lot of mobile web developers are using WebKit only (i.e. non-standard) meta tags

It's not really the meta-tags but prefixes in CSS. Prefixes were never really a good idea (because using them was laborious and error prone) though the idea behind was: provide working implementations of stuff under discussion. Prefixes are being replaced by allowing developers to switch support for experimental features on or off.

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One in 12 Tweeps are bots

Charlie Clark
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Re: A plague of bots

Anything wrong with RSS for anonymous subscriptions?

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Charlie Clark
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Unhappy

Sigh

I'd like to say I'm getting sick of stories about Twitter but I've always found them depressing. It's sort of proof of our decadence. That the media love it just confirms the sense of "dogs around vomit".

However, I do think that there is something in the underlying restriction on the length of messages. A great many people it seems have the need to spurt inanities, or to "emote" and Twitter makes this pretty easy. Still don't really see the business model beyond fairly spurious demographic information. Maybe if they raised the bar slightly they'd get more reliable information for marketeers.

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XBOX One will learn to play media from USB and DLNA sources

Charlie Clark
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Re: Genius!

I use DNLA every day on my telly (Philips). Only problem has been the shitty WiFi.

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Charlie Clark
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Genius!

This'll certainly help Microsoft knock the Raspberry Pi off its perch!

How come it didn't come with DNLA built-in? File formats aside that seems like a glaring omission from something that only works when connected to the telly.

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