* Posts by Charlie Clark

2866 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Profit-shy Instagram adds 5 new filters for hipster-photo types

Charlie Clark
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Re: New keyboard needed

I wouldn't know: I always kept my eyes shut!

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If 4G isn’t working, why stick to the same approach for 5G?

Charlie Clark
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Marketing, marketing, marketing

LTE had one aim: improve data performance by moving to an IP-based stack. Speed improvements were largely achieved using 3G technology.

5G has started as a marketing term: we've got WCDMA and TCDMA and multibeam. So far, no one has come up with a new way to squeeze more data bandwidth (there's a reason for the name) into constant physical bandwidth in the same time and with the same power at the same distance. I think I've got all the constraints but I'm not a radio engineer so please correct me if I'm wrong.

The LTE business model is no better than the 3G one: free WiFi acts as a break on price expectations and open the door for OTT. If the networks hadn't wanted to charge $$$ for video or international calls but had just made it available, OTT would never have stood a chance. The US was able to charge a premium for LTE because the market is dysfunctional but Verizon's noises are a sign of a long-overdue correction.

There is money to be made from mobile networks, not least by concentrating on the basics: providing reliable voice calls anywhere.

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Ofcom mulls selling UK govt's IPv4 cache amid IPv6 rollout flak

Charlie Clark
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Trying to avoid IPv6 is very much a head-in-the sand moment. It's coming (not least because we will need those addresses) and the best thing to do is learn how to handle it as soon as possible and start making suggestions on how it should be improved.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: As the pool of available IPv4 addresses runs dry.....

I think that if CGNAT wasn't so widespread in Asia we probably would already have run out of addresses even if they could be easily transferred from one region to another (they can't).

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Charlie Clark
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Beyond the router it hardly matters as long as the router or ISP has 6to4 solution. Most smart TVs are Linux-based so IPv6 isn't a problem; all the ones running Android (an increasing number) definitely do support IPv6.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Does anyone actually use IPv6

Yep, in use here.

Use within companies is another aspect entirely: as long as they have enough private IPv4 addresses and the 10 blocks are pretty generous, there is little incentive but the more sensors and devices they have the urge to switch internal networks to IPv6 will grow. Another drive will be once they start routing more traffic in VPNs on public networks.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Selling IPs?

Ownership is fuzzy, viz. the sale of Lucent's to Microsoft and others. Some of the original blocks were, it seems, entirely allocated to individual entities including companies.

But it's dangerous precedent to set for the state to try and sell them and, thus, effectively legitimate the trade. The consequences of open trade in ip addresses (in real time, why not) could be disastrous: it would be akin to reallocate road names and numbers in real time!

In any case while the 30 million might seem like a lot, they could be gone in a trice with IoT in any government department.

And, should it ever come to selling the damn things, their value well decline even further as it becomes cheaper to adopt IPv6 with 4to6. In the meantime the UK's tech sector is losing out by not gaining experience with IPv6, especially in the area of security. Maybe they're waiting for GCHQ to signal that they know how to snoop IPv6 traffic?

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Amazon workers in Germany stage CHRISTMAS STRIKE

Charlie Clark
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Re: logistics? @ratfox

Late and Sunday opening depends on where you live. The supermarkets near me are open till 22:00 or midnight and we also have the kiosks or petrol stations who exploited loopholes in existing legislation to supply after closing. Late opening is largely a function of the ability to employ people part-time in underfinanced mini-jobs: the missing contributions to health and unemployment insurance, and pensions will have to be made up by the taxpayer in the future. I try and avoid going to the shops after 20:00 as there is almost always time during the day. It was different when I first came to Germany where the idea was very much that only housewives did the shopping.

The city-state of Berlin has let the ban on Sunday trading fall entirely.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Frequently-revolting staff stomp off for three days

See my other post: the state is hardly involved in this at all, which makes a nice change. In fact, if the state had bothered to do its work properly (namely apply the Entsendegesetz to sectors with wages blatantly below regional averages) there wouldn't even be the need for a national minimum wage because the deals between unions and employers would apply.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Frequently-revolting staff stomp off for three days

Mail-order companies are traditionally treated as retail in Germany.

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Charlie Clark
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Due to the Briefmonopol laws.

No, not least because the monopoly on delivering letters fell several years ago.

In Germany there is something called Tarifautonomie which means that unions and employers are responsible for negotiating wages and politics is kept out. Unions and employers collectively decide what branches there are and terms and conditions are negotiated for entire branches on a state-by-state basis. Agreements usually contain opt-out clauses for individual companies as long as their works council's agree. The system has worked very well for years because it is efficient: individual companies do not have to devote resources to negotiating conditions and strike days are kept to a minimum. As a result German companies can afford to pay workers more than in other countries due to the increased productivity, as in the case from approx. 2000-2012, agree on pay increases below inflation to regain competitivity.

There are outliers with employers refusing to play by the rules using several techniques: cherry-picking or even setting up a compliant union with which to negotiate; sub-contracting to foreign companies who are exempt from the rules unless the federal government says otherwise (building work is not exempt, abattoirs are); or deciding that they belong to a different branch. Non-German companies often adopt confrontational positions until they understand how much easier and more profitable it is if they follow the rules.

We've also got a couple of smaller unions pulling an ASLEF: bringing a whole company to a halt even though they only represent a small section of employees. The German equivalent of ASLEF the GDL seems to be copying their militant tactics with Klaus Weselski every bit as militant as Bob Crow or Arthur Scargill. The pilots are doing the same. The end result, I fear, maybe a weakening or all employees' rights as well as bringing forward fully automated trains and planes.

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El Reg's mighty rocket spaceplane Vulture 2 arrives in US of A

Charlie Clark
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Pint

Fantastic!

Carefully crafted American micro-brewery pints all round. Except to the FAA until they pull their fingers out and authorise this historic mission.

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Watch out, Samsung! 3 of top 5 smartphone makers are now Chinese

Charlie Clark
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Bragging rights

Significantly, however, Xiaomi's entry into the list means that three of the top five smartphone makers are now Chinese firms.

Seeing as Apple's phones are made under contract in China by Foxconn that would make four out of the top five are Chinese.

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Pirate Bay towed to oldpiratebay.org

Charlie Clark
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Re: NO.

But you sure as hell won't get Guardians of the Galaxy if everyone can just take their non-DRMed copy and share it with the whole planet.

Is that a promise? ;-)

DRM is expensive to develop and enforce and, as many examples have shown, pretty easy to break; most notably in large markets like Russia and China where it's largely unenforceable anyway. Result is that we have to pay not just for content but for lawyers and developers. I suspect DRM will be kept around as a fig leaf for another couple of years (it's already largely disappeared from music).

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Charlie Clark
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The real problem remains tho: Region locking. Remove that and you'll see your sales go up.

It's more than just region locking – it's the attempt to maximise profits by selling licences to different countries at different prices. I have a copy of Wag The Dog that forces me to watch it with German subtitles if I watch it in English! This is anti-competitive and precisely the kind of limitation that the internet is designed to work around. Long-term it's bound to fail but companies chasing quarterly profits and don't care about the long-term.

It will be interesting to see if the EU does follow up on threats to break down national borders for content. It'll be a hard fight if they do but it's such a glaring breach of the rules over the trade of products and services within the single market.

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BT to gobble EE for £12.5bn – BTEE phone home

Charlie Clark
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Re: Too big?

What's anti-competitive about it?

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Charlie Clark
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Same situation as in many countries. LLU is the important thing.

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Sony to media: stop publishing our stolen stuff or we'll get nasty

Charlie Clark
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Black Helicopters

Re: Journalistic Truth

Coicidentally watched the excellent Hacks again at the weekend. Fantastic and given it's blatant piss-take of Murdoch and co. I was surprised it ever got broadcast. Can't find it on 4oD at the moment, is that merely a coincidence?

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Google vows: Earth will VANISH in 2015

Charlie Clark
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Re: Pot and kettle...

Your anit-Google rants are all well and good but so often off the mark.

In the case of Google Earth the API is far less important than the data that is made freely available, which as far as I can tell, will continue to be the case.

Any developer who makes their livelihood dependent upon a company continuing to provide a free service deserves to go bust. The whole point of the free APIs and data is to see what services are possible and popular and, thus, suitable for either for charging or running ads. Google is publicly traded company with a duty to its shareholders to make money. Shock, horror, I know. I don't remember Microsoft ever providing the same amount of services.

As the article points out this particular API now looks pretty outdated and I suspect, though I don't know, that its use is limited. We'll have to see whether a replacement (WebGL, Canvas, PPAPI or whatever) is forthcoming. Some of the of the other APIs to have been retired have been granted both extensions and replacements: Google Charts was due to be phased out this year and has been superseded by Google Visualisation.

None of this means that I particularly like Google (I don't use Chrome and run Cyanogenmod) but I do have a more than grudging admiration for the company's engagement in open source. We'll have to see how much of that remains if the various tax loopholes are ever closed or the EU is able to enforce rigorous data protection and privacy standards from 2016 (when the new law is due to take effect).

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Bong Ventures LLC: We've been cyberhacked

Charlie Clark
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Re: Pandora's box

sticks fingers in ears and shouts "lalalala"

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Charlie Clark
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Pandora's box

The Transformation Lady - a biopic of Martha Lane Fox, Baroness Fox of Soho

Please God, may this never happen! I'll pay money not to have the film developed.

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Thin plot, great CGI effects

Charlie Clark
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Pretty meh on this myself. A trip to the flix with my mates over Christmas is something to look forward to but the Hobbit has not enthused me anything like as much as LOTR. It's a different story with a very different narration and turning it into a prequel for LOTR doesn't do it justice.

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QEMU, FFMPEG guru unleashes JPEG-slaying graphics compressor

Charlie Clark
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Re: Prety cool demo

Cheers for the link. Don't agree with the statement that BPG blows away WebP: they're pretty close at the moment with one being better in one situation and another better in the other. At the moment BPG is definitely better for people, which is what will matter to most.

It seems WebP is still based on On8 (the equivalent of H264 so the predecessor to H265). Anyone know if a move to On9 is planned?

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Charlie Clark
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Webp already does this (it's based on the OnVideo technology that Google bought and put into WebM) in much the same way (video compression has continue to develop while bitmap compression is stuck in the 1990s) but has the advantage of several years in the real world and browser support in Photoshop, Photoline, Chrome and Opera but strangely not Firefox although it supports the parent video format, and mod_pagespeed for http servers to optimise on the fly for browsers. Given their underlying similarities I wouldn't expect much difference between WebP and BPG in the quality/file size stakes.

The interesting thing will be how the MPEG-LA patent cartel deals with this and whether anyone picks it up for hardware acceleration. Personally, I think Google's approach on the technology with a rapid release schedule for encoders is the way to go on this but if Bellard can keep the licence liberal (the MPEG-LA might want to have a word about that) then it should be a win-win.

The Firefox library is nice enough but JPEG images always look worse than WebP at the same compression ratio.

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El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

Charlie Clark
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Print button?

Never fucking used one. That's what print stylesheets are for which you seem to have overlooked. :-(

Re. the general redesign: contrast is too stark. I've no problem with whitespace but the proportions aren't right.

HTML is better but still not making use of nice HTML5 sematics such as the nav tag. Embrace it, it will make things a lot easier.

Don't mind the fixed navigation, makes sense on long pages, but it's one of the first things to get lost in this black and white mix.

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Euro consumers have TOO MUCH choice – telco operators

Charlie Clark
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QotW

Consolidation can boost investment in next generation mobile infrastructure and delivery of mobile broadband to rural areas.

I think that originally read:

Consolidation can boost our margins executive share options while continuing not to deliver mobile broadband to rural areas.

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Charlie Clark
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Another one you mean? After the first one demonstrated price-fixing over roaming…

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Euro phone, broadband giants are the 1% – yes, single-digit growth. Wow

Charlie Clark
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Smells like

According to the study, the EU is lagging behind the US in terms of investment…

I think that tells us a lot. Given the parlous state of US telecoms (years of cosy monopoly depressed investment and innovation) that's hardly surprising even if it's also pretty misleading. The unbundling of the local loop in Europe spurred a heap load of investment and innovation that the US is yet to experience (and with the proposed merger of TWC and ComCast is even less likely to get).

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Spanish scraper scrapped: Google axes Google News

Charlie Clark
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Axel Springer

I won't read theie newspapers if you paid me. Competes with Murdoch et al. to misinform and titillate.

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The Great Unwatched: BBC hails glorious digital future for Three

Charlie Clark
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Re: Digital toss

"the explainers" is a new rubric they've put on the news website along with "the reporters". It's like something out of a school newspaper, just not as good.

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Charlie Clark
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Digital toss

The current series of The Newsroom has a thoughtful, head-on take on how making everything digital is akin to wanking into your tea. The BBC's news website, which used to be top of its game, has been dumbed down an astonishing degree. Okay, might be an idea for the Beeb to get out of online journalism (in which case there is an off-switch) but the news programming has gone much the same way: "reporters" and (this one makes me physically ill) "explainers".

Is "digital" going to be the polite euphemism for "shite"? It's got nothing to do with being middle class and everything to with mediocrity.

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Microsoft: Hey, don’t forget Visual Basic! Open source and new features coming

Charlie Clark
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As long as you're developing in something like VisualStudio where autocomplete can prevent most of your typos, case sensitivity shouldn't be a problem for the user but it makes a big difference for the compiler.

In general, any project team will likely have a coding style that handles case to make sure that code is compatible between team members. Case sensitivity is a bonus there.

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Charlie Clark
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When do they do the decent thing with VBA?

And take it out the back and shoot it? Horrible language designed for shooting yourself in the foot.

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The Pirate Bay SUNK: It vanishes after Swedish data center raid

Charlie Clark
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Torrent site and online copyright infringement poster child…

The Pirate Bay doesn't infringe copyright so please stop peddling this myth. Only the uploading copyrighted material is breach of copyright, the rest is made up by those desiring a police state. They should do some more research because the police states of Russia and China notoriously turn a blind eye to copyright infringement, seeing it as a useful tactic in their war against freedom of expression.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Disappointing

The database itself is resilient but there is always a single point of failure regarding the domain name.

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It's nearly 2015 – and your Windows PC can still be owned by a Visual Basic script

Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

Re: Accountability

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

That, I'm afraid, is just a fig-leaf: courts not vendors decide liability. The software industry has been allowed by the courts to resolve flaws through new releases of their software.

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A first look at Google’s Android Studio 1.0: Climbing out of the Eclipse kitchen sink

Charlie Clark
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Eclipse seems to suffer from the usual designed by committee problems: nice ideas but no ruthless weeding out of the bad stuff. I never got into it and have preferred simple text editors and the shell for most things.

At a recent sprint we gave up on it because we couldn't figure out how to use Tidy on some XML (there are some plugins out there, somewhere over the rainbow apparently) and switched to IDEA. While it also comes with far too many options for a new user, it also gets the basics right from the start.

I'm sure there a great many people happy with Eclipse and the relevant plugins for their requirements. Editors and IDEs are very personal things: choose one, learn how it works and be happy.

FWIW I do most of my Python development in WingIDE (which has no Tidy support FWIW) but gets the introspection just right.

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Zombie POODLE wanders in, cocks leg on TLS

Charlie Clark
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What protocols are safe?

That's easy: none.

The question should be: What protocols are not known to have been broken yet?

The IETF is probably best placed to manage this assuming sufficient funding is around. We also need to improve the funding for public security research and the development (and intelligent review) of open source stacks. What a pity that the spooks don't realise that this makes things safer for everyone: a smidgen of the NSA's or GCHQ's budget would do wonders.

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Portland lobs fair-trade gluten-free artisan SUEBALL at Uber

Charlie Clark
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Re: Uber : the new 4 letter word

The blanket ban in Germany, which is likely to come through the courts, will probably be the deathknell but I guess investors are hoping to have IPO'd (sell the shares to unsuspecting schmucks directly or through their savings accounts) before then.

The innovation of most of these OTT services is using location technology to improve efficiency. Unfortunately for them this can be replicated easily so they add casual, unlicensed labour to it to improve margins. This would be financial suicide if the business model was anything than an inverted pass the parcel: no one wants to be left holding the shares when the business fails.

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Google pushes 'go' on Android Studio

Charlie Clark
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Re: Eh?

I think you missed the attempt at irony in the piece.

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Sacre block! French publishers to sue Adblock maker – report

Charlie Clark
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Security

It's not just Flash that's insecure: the whole practice of allowing third party scripting to be injected into a website is insecure. Not least because it exposes users to third-party trackers without their explicit consent.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Money speaks, as usual

I use Ghostery. It too deals with the ad brokers by selling them anonymised data of where ads are being blocked. Anyone developing software like this is going to need to pay some full-time developers. Let's see how things develop.

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Why, hello there, Foxy... BYE GOOGLE! Mozilla's browser is a video star

Charlie Clark
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Re: "Sadly, WebM never really caught on"

... because of patents?

Not really, because of the lack of hardware support: H264 was already supported in most hardware configurations so there was no battle to fight. Google has indemnified all users and paid the MPEG patent pool what they wanted.

WebM did play a role in keeping H264 free (as in beer) and Google is able to mandate hardware support for it for the next generations (On9 has already been released) for Android. For most of us free to use (both to create and play) is all that really matters but there are also some benefits in competing technologies: H265 and On9 do do some things differently.

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Misty-eyed Ray Ozzie celebrates 25th birthday of Lotus Notes by tweeting about it ...

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

thanks for nothing

If you want proof of how pointless tweets are this article is it. An illegible selection of inanities and links does not make an article. If it did my twitterbot is going to have a great career.

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Meet Jack and Jill: Google’s new Android compilers

Charlie Clark
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Re: Perhaps if Android used native binaries rather than a VM...

They are native binaries but that's not quite the same as what you might get with entirely native code – it depends on how good the ART compiler is – this is the sort of thing that Intel has to deal with for apps that won't run on Android x86.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: "bypassing Oracle’s compiler"

That's be the case for a while. There's a tombstone with "ART STANTON" written on it.

Wouldn't it be funny if Google now embraced .NET as well!

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An alleged 27GB Sony Pictures data dump. 65 PlayStation web servers. One baffling mystery

Charlie Clark
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Re: Legal

In most countries downloading is legal but uploading isn't.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Which bittorrent client are the pictures from?

It looks very much like Transmission on Mac OS

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Sick of the 'criminal' lies about pie? Lobby the government HERE

Charlie Clark
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Re: What about the debt

Fuck off, Worstall

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One year on, Windows 8.1 hits milestone, nudges past XP

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: So much hate???

Wow. I can't believe there are so many tech people hating Win 8, while loving Win 7.

Newsflash: little things matter. I'm returning this very fast Alfafa Romero car because I can only get into it with a coat hanger…

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