* Posts by Charlie Clark

3339 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Trumped up lobby group tries to get EU data protection watered down

Charlie Clark
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By unilaterally assuming universal jurisdiction, the regulation would put European companies in an unsolvable dilemma and would be in conflict with the concept of interoperability that, while recognising different privacy concepts, is necessary in international data flows.

Actually, the EU directive is designed specifically to avoid the inconsistency and ambiguity of different jurisdictions. It will make doing the right thing™ a whole lot easier. Turnkey systems will be come available and legal processes will be standardised.

Data can be processed abroad but companies will have to contract to the EU data protection standards. This might stop personal data leaking out of outsourcing companies as is currently only too often the case.

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Rosetta probe spots Comet 67P being buzzed by boulder

Charlie Clark
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Get arf my land!

NFT

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German spies sold out citizens to the NSA in exchange for super-snoop-ware XKeyscore

Charlie Clark
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Re: Sehr geehrte Frau Bundeskanzlerin

Plus, wasn't Frau Bundeskanzlerin all up in arms a year or so ago when it was disclosed that her cell phone was being listened on? What was that whole show all about?

It made her look concerned that the dear allies were spying on Germany and it seems to have worked quite well.

Since then, apart from getting a new phone, she has taken no action whatsoever to prevent further spying. Indeed the dropping of the criminal investigation and the current shenanigans about parliament's right to oversee the spies, are indicative of obstruction.

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First pics of flagship Lumias for 18 months released … or maybe not

Charlie Clark
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Re: That android on Windows strategy

Yep, a coherent presentation on the why, what and how. I suspect there might even be some financial incentives in switching from higher % to out and out sweeteners.

I think it's probably only the first part of an out and out services strategy because, as Intel have found out, lots of Android apps run native code. Still, it's a start.

It also looks like MS thinks Oracle's case against dead in the water as this is a ringing endorsement of Dalvik. Or maybe they hope to provide a runtime that isn't subject to legal action?

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Why Nobody Should Ever Search The Ashley Madison Data

Charlie Clark
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Re: Bah!

Sorry, hackers. This time you fucked up.

Every time personal data is made public is a fuckup. Whether it's a bank, a shop or an internet dating site doesn't matter.

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Charlie Clark
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Holmes

Re: The real reason not to look

Yeah, the whole hyperbole around the hack leaves me somewhat bemused: people commit adultery. I thought the stats on adultery in the general population were pretty well established.

The whole hand-wringing about how the dump will destroy marriages and lives needs a proper Paedogeddon-style take down. There will be embarrassment and possibly the odd divorce (betraying someone's trust does tend to have consequences) but life will go on.

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GitHub wobbles under DDOS attack

Charlie Clark
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Bitbucket suffered a bit as well

The website wobbled for about 15 minutes late yesterday afternoon.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Can someone explain...

There are some pretty big projects on GitHub. I know some open source projects on there that are pretty valuable to some people. I think people attack because they can and, well, it's rails so it will fail.

The value of DVCS is that even if the canonical repo like GitHub goes down, it's pretty painless to setup a new one based on a local repo. Project data like the bug reports are less resilient.

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Using SQL techniques in NoSQL is OK, right? WRONG

Charlie Clark
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Pick any two: fast, reliable or quick

There are good reasons NoSQL is so fast (and distributable), mainly that these engines have done away with table joins

What have joins got to do with (implied) write speeds? Write speeds will be held back by data checking and transactional security. You can get speed by switching those off or by using a queue.

Joins are only relevant in queries and are related to the projections that the relational model gives you, which has nothing to do with SQL. If data is properly normalised, and your DB has a good query optimiser then the flexibility imposes a minimal cost. There should be very few situations where a projection is slow. In exceptional cases you can denormalise for reporting purposes.

NoSQL is there for inflexible data where projections will never be required. This is the exception.

In summary: use Postgres and with BSON you can have your cake and eat it.

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That thing we do in the UK? Should be ILLEGAL in the US, moans ex-State monopoly BT

Charlie Clark
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Re: Openreach...

I think the general argument is that infrastructure should be nationalised or communalised. There are examples of how this can work in Scandinavia.

This would decouple something like Openreach from being required to invest a lot of money now and having to earn a large profit every quarter. This can indeed work: pension funds might even be happy to finance it but at the same time you have to accept inevitable degree of political control it entails. You also need to balance social and political aims with (broadband to everyone, including those in the countryside) with the role of competition in spurring innovation: how do you get cost-effective solutions when FTTH either isn't technically possible or hideously expensive.

The UK's problem seems to me is that it has kept the monopoly going too long. Unbundling seems to have been both more effective in other countries in reducing prices and in encouraging investment in infrastructure.

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Charlie Clark
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Evidently you don't remember what an execrable mess the railways were under state ownership.

I think you missed the sarcasm. Railtrack/Network Rail is an omnishambles whichever way you look at it.

Anyway, let's not forget why the railways were nationalised in the first place (they were bankrupt) and that the privatised rail companies have trousered more in subsidies than British Rail did.

FWIW I'm not a fan of Corbyn at all but I don't think that has anything to do with this.

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Intel's Compute Sticks stick it to Windows To Go, Chromecast

Charlie Clark
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Performance

The CPU is surprisingly decent, despite its Atom name - it didn't miss a beat playing 1080p videos locally. This changed when testing over Wi-Fi - 720p videos played fine running from a SMB share; but 1080p was completely unplayable.

Video playback should have little or nothing to do with the CPU. And Wi-Fi is perfectly okay for 1080p: my RasPi is on Wi-Fi connection and manages 1080p very well.

This device only makes sense for people who need a minimal Windows install.

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The Ashley Madison files – are people really this stupid?

Charlie Clark
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Re: Blocking dating sites has too much fallout

Why the fuck should IT departments be running filters? A sensible "fair use" policy lets people police themselves and be disciplined if they do spend all their time looking at dating / sport / porn / cat animations, because even in Germany it's perfectly legal to track employee internet use if there are grounds for suspicion of abuse of a company resource, ie. like expense fiddling.

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OpenOffice project 'all but dead upstream' argues prominent user

Charlie Clark
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The licence a typical side issue. Oracle's handling of OpenOffice and Hudson was more than ham-fisted and it's not surprising that people thought that "bad things" might happen to the projects. Changing the licence of LibreOffice was not the solution and has probably lent to a permanent fork: many companies will not permit their employees to contribute to (L)GPL projects.

LibreOffice has indeed added lots in features but I've always found it less stable than OpenOffice and OpenOffice got the UX right.

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Linux Foundation wants open source projects to show you their steenking badges

Charlie Clark
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Re: GPL == security?

Compare that to a BSD license for example where two companies may be running the same software but one has access to patches the other does not.

This might work occasionally but it actually makes more work for the "cheater" because they have to work harder to keep their patched version in sync with an upstream source. This is why open source is valuable in and of itself and doesn't need any pseudo-philosophical justification. I think Google's record of kicking back changes on the various projects it uses is a good example for this, but other companies understand it equally well.

Where a company does have some secret sauce that does provide some significant commercial advantage over the open source variant, then obviously they have to weigh up the costs of integration against the revenues generated by the commercial advantage.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: re: 1980s_coder

But the whole point is, if your sources are easily available, bugs and vulns have a higher chance of being spotted.

The openssl fiasco would suggest that this isn't the case. The code was there for years and still nobody found the bugs.

Open source is at best an invitation to peer review but this itself is a damn good start. Back to the original poster – the GPL does just muddy the issue.

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Charlie Clark
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Not sure about propaganda, to me looks it like corporate red tape

Indeed, have another thumbs up.

The Linux Foundation reminds me of a Swiss admiral, you the one that never sails. We don't need badges but funding for CI setups and good static code analysis. A project with a dashboard detailing test coverage and what analyses have been run might actually be worth something.

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Parallels Desktop 11 brings Windows 10 and Cortana to Mac

Charlie Clark
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Re: Ransomware

You can always just use VirtualBox. Works great but lacks some of the comfort of Parallels. Keeps Parallels on their toes

I don't think Parallels is expensive considering the integration between the OSes it facilitates. I do grate at the yearly update notices and normally skip them and the speed promises piss me off: I remember running two Windows XP VMs next to each other on a MacBook with only 2GB of RAM, something I wouldn't dream of trying today. In the last ten years I've used Parallels, VM Ware and went back to Parallels – VM Ware was much worse when it came to updates. They're already trailing that a new version will be needed for El Capitan, but I will be able to upgrade with the version I already have. Don't know whether this is them just milking the market or down to Apple changing the API.

I can see the Pro version being very popular if it makes working with Docker, et al. easy.

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Raspberry Pi gains new FreeBSD distribution

Charlie Clark
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FreeBSD has also been able to run on the RasPi for a while but was far from simple to install. I guess the news is that it's now much easier to install and supports everything not just the CPU.

Much as I dislike Debian I suspect it'll be a while before I replace it with FreeBSD on my Pi.

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Trend publishes analysis of yet another Android media handling bug

Charlie Clark
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What, you mean with a patch for the bug released within two months of submission? Don't remember any of those for Windows 98. Don't remember any kind of OS level isolation between apps either.

The problem isn't really with AOSP but with the way this is adapted (or fucked around with) by manufacturers and carriers before they put it in on phones which makes integrating upstream patches unnecessarily difficult and putting devices at risk.

The increased scrutiny that Android is receiving should be welcomed, and is indicative of its importance as the most used operating system in the world. That said few of the bugs can be exploited remotely and so are largely dependent upon side-loading or nefarious agencies (criminals and secret services) getting them into official stores and onto devices.

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Android apps are flooding on to jailbroken Win10 phones

Charlie Clark
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Could be good

This means that Microsoft doesn't have to concentrate on chasing the game with also ran apps. Maybe it'll even include some Android apps in its own store. This would remove hurdle for some corporate customers, and these are the only ones Microsoft stands to make any money from on mobile, from buying into some putative Microsoft Office & Exchange based eco-system.

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Another root hole in OS X. We know it, you know it, the bad people know it – and no patch exists

Charlie Clark
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Re: Problem? really?

I, too, very much enjoy working on MacOS. I don't, however, see why this means Apple can somehow afford to be so lax when it comes to patching software. This is why I don't trust them with the Posix stuff.

This is the list that MacPorts presented me with this morning. I just wish that Apple did this for me.

---> Updating the ports tree

The following installed ports are outdated:

freetds 0.91.103_0 < 0.91.103_1

gettext 0.19.5_0 < 0.19.5_1

lame 3.99.5_0 < 3.99.5_1

libedit 20140620-3.1_0 < 20140620-3.1_1

llvm-3.5 3.5.2_4 < 3.5.2_5

lzip 1.16_0 < 1.17_0

nano 2.4.2_0 < 2.4.2_1

ncurses 5.9_2 < 6.0_0

python26 2.6.9_2 < 2.6.9_3

python27 2.7.10_2 < 2.7.10_3

python32 3.2.6_1 < 3.2.6_2

python33 3.3.6_4 < 3.3.6_5

python34 3.4.3_4 < 3.4.3_5

python35 3.5.0rc1_0 < 3.5.0rc1_1

readline 6.3.003_0 < 6.3.003_1

texinfo 6.0_0 < 6.0_1

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Using page zero...

But not to denigrate Apple or anyone else, when you have millions of lines of code and a rushed development schedule…

Let's extrapolate from your argument and substitute Boeing or Toyota for Apple and "thousands of rivets" for "lines of code". Do you think the argument still holds up? When the batteries in the 787 started to catch fire did Boeing say it was the pressure of time? Did Toyota say it "could have happened to anyone" when a fault in a pedal was discovered?

It's not as if there aren't tools that can help find this kind of error. Sure, you can't expect to pick up every bug but what about the backports? This has been fixed in the beta, so it is known about, but the fix has not been backported.

Liability in the software industry needs to get stricter. If something buggy gets released because some manager decided that testing could be skipped then the manager needs to be held accountable.

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Charlie Clark
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upgrading to El Capitan is not an appropriate security patching approach

Especially as it's still in beta, ie. explicitly not designed for general use and with appropriate disclaimers.

If someone can come up with a remote code exploit then I think there are good grounds for legal action as this sort of bug should have been caught by static code analysis. Has Apple got something like Coverity in use? I suspect it won't come to much: people still seem to be more than happy to hand their money over to Apple for the latest shiny, shiny.

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Charlie Clark
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Where not to publish exploits

From GitHub's T&Cs

You shall defend GitHub against any claim, demand, suit or proceeding made or brought against GitHub by a third-party alleging that Your Content, or Your use of the Service in violation of this Agreement, infringes or misappropriates the intellectual property rights of a third-party or violates applicable law…

While this is a glaring exploit that Apple should fix as quickly as possible, publishing the source on GitHub is not the wisest action as GitHub will work hand-in-hand with "third-parties". Not sure if the exploit is covered by DMCA but I'm sure Apple's lawyers are sure to be able to find something and then you get to pay not only their costs but GitHub's as well.

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LaCie to shutter Wuala cloud storage service, data deleted Nov 15

Charlie Clark
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Re: Hardware company non-core service

Also, the lack of integration in the file system added an additional hurdle to adoption. Using Java for the client also meant lots of updates.

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Testing times as NASA rattles Mississippi with mighty motor burn

Charlie Clark
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Megaphone

In the meantime…

The ESA last week signed the contracts for the Ariane62 and Ariane64 next generation launchers intended to be competitive with SpaceX and China. Coverage on El Reg? No, because it offer much of an opportunity to bash the EU.

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Charlie Clark
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Actually, I think larger launchers are more cost-effective. For every launch you are paying to launch both vehicle and payload so the economics of scale apply.

This doesn't preclude assembling stuff in space but, as the ISS is testament to, this is far from easy: gravity and radiation shields in the form of an atmosphere have their advantages. I suspect this is why the moon is so attractive as a half-way house: possible to build large facilities reasonably easy and low enough gravity to make really large launches possible.

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Samsung phablet phrenzy brings mobile payments into the age of WIRELESS TAPE

Charlie Clark
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Re: No removable battery, no SD-memory ...

What Samsung designers seem to have forgotten…

No, I think they've seen just how little it matters to a lot of customers and Apple's success is the proof.

I'm with you: I think all these devices should accept additional storage and have replaceable batteries. But that's the point of the market.

The sales numbers of the S6 Edge haven't been that bad, all things considered.

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Charlie Clark
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In the rest of the civilised world, magnetic swipe transactions were phased out about 10 years ago, and everyone uses chip&pin, except for a few pay-by-bonk transactions. In France, it was phased out about 20 years ago.

"If only it were true…" or more accurately, that simple. Yes, chips were introduced in Europe (initially in France about 15 years ago to combat skimming) but the magnetic stripes are still there and still very much in use. The banks in Germany even had to go back to using them briefly on cash machine due a to SNAFU a couple of years ago.

The US has never really cared much about card fraud: lucrative insurance schemes were the preferred solution.

Now the banks are pushing NFC "girogo" terminals and services to merchants.

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Two weeks of Windows 10: Just how is Microsoft doing?

Charlie Clark
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Also known as damning by faint praise!

I think the initial target group is those who got tricked into Windows 8. Windows 7 users will want to wait for the first service pack equivalent. My corporate clients currently have no plans to upgrade but they are a cautious bunch anyway: IE 11 is still under evaluation to replace IE 8. Seeing as IE 8 may still be required for some intranet stuff which IE 11 can't handle, Windows 10 isn't an option anyway. Pity Edge hasn't been backported to Windows 7. I wonder if you can get it for a large envelope of cash? Otherwise only Mozilla seems to have understood the need of bug fixes only with Firefox ESR.

Nevertheless, I do wish Microsoft well with this release because it really is them putting their money where their mouth is in the post-Ballmer era. Let's hope they sort out the teething problems so that moaning about Windows 10 doesn't dominate conversation for the rest of the year.

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Cloudflare hiccup nudges Stack Overflow and others offline

Charlie Clark
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Cloudflare is really well

I've not used it yet myself but Cloudflare looks pretty nice. Not surprising to see it nearly trebling in size* in the last year

* in terms of the number of the Top 500,000 websites according to Alexa.

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W is for WTF: Google CEO quits, new biz Alphabet takes over

Charlie Clark
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Re: Wonder why they waited this long

I think the whole point is simply to take the skunkworks out of the ad farm stuff which makes the accounting clearer. Google's been under pressure over this recently. It's clear that Page and Brin want to continue to invest heavily in things that might eventually bring big returns (cars, health, whatever) but investors want their money now so they can spunk it on the The Next Big Thing™.

Data protection legislation is pretty clear on use between associate companies. But I don't see the relevance here.

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Germany formally drops ‘treason’ case against Netzpolitik journos

Charlie Clark
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Re: Geheimer?

What do they call the 'Secret State Police ' nowadays?

There isn't one. The BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst) is literally Signals Intelligence but with a relatively small remit. The post-war powers heavily neutered the German state, whilst ensuring themselves special powers, which is one of the reasons why Germany cannot effectively investigate the NSA.

Recently, however, along with secret services everywhere, the various agencies are using the vague threat of terrorism to get their remits and budgets massively expanded: reds jihadists under the bed.

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Charlie Clark
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Stop

The German justice ministry has formally announced the end of a treason investigation aimed at two journalists.

Nope, it wasn't ministry but the Office of the Attorney General based on research done by the ministry.

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Charlie Clark
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Yes, it is an explicitly political office related to how the Nazis were able to seize power because the mainstream didn't do enough to stop them.

You get a better gist of the meaning with something like "Office for the Defence of the Realm".

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Opera Software asks fat lady to stay shtum for a bit, but keep humming

Charlie Clark
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Re: says

@moiety

You can actually use extensions. Currently you have to download them (for me on MacOS from the Opera store), unzip and import them. Unfortunately, I haven't managed to have them survive browser sessions for some reason but it's a while since I tried it.

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Charlie Clark
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Don't customers come first?

Sure, but who were the customers? All those people using the browser for free? For a while Opera seemed to have cornered the embedded and mobile (low memory, low bandwidth) market. But in the meantime with things like AndroidTV, Chromecast and UC Browser have come to the market.

Along with the technical difficulties of playing catch-up with Presto, Opera wasn't making a lot of money from the browser. There were differences of opinion in the board as to the best way to run the company and as a result Jon von Tzetchner left (he's now with Vivaldi).

I, too, think they through the baby out with the bathwater with Opera 15. Using it for the first time felt very much like a slap in the face. The mobile version continues to do well, though I ditched it because I couldn't use an ad-blocker. On the desktop it's definitely lost differentiating features.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: figures

Opera makes money from selling its embedded browser and proxy solutions to OEMs.

Presto was killed because Opera couldn't keep up with the pace of development. As a long-time user of Opera I wasn't happy with the decision but I could understand it. Given the small size of the company it's making a reasonable profit, though how much of that is from software sales and how much is from search engine referrals is unknown.

What I couldn't understand was some of the decisions taken when they launched the Blink-based browser: no bookmark manager and lots of fluff like "Discover". It's still my main browser and I'm dependent upon the mail client but I'm closely following Vivaldi which is being developed in the spirit of the old Opera. It's far from perfect – somehow keeps forgetting the extensions I install – but the intention is clear: create a browser for power users. The intended market for the blink-based Opera is still unclear, to me at least.

More recently: Opera closed all development in Oslo. Some ex-Opera developers are now working on Vivaldi which bodes well for it, I hope.

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Big, ugly, heavy laptops are surprise PC sales sweet spot

Charlie Clark
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Re: High spec Luggables are still too expensive

They can do, but the spec is then massively past any Apple laptop.

I don't really think the article has anything to do with the Apple at all: it's just clickbait. I don't know anyone going from an MacBook Pro to an HP or a Thinkpad but I do know a few going the other way (mainly down to the poor quality of the Linux drivers).

While there is no doubt about a market for MBP's which can take say 64GB of RAM, most people are happy enough with 16GB and a big SSD. That will let you run a heap of VMs and some form of CI for web or app work. Not necessarily suitable for modelling the weather or crunching wind tunnel data.

As you say, there are other areas where the cost of the hardware pales in comparison with the cost of the software and developer time.

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Testing Motorola's Moto G third-gen mobe: Is it still king of the hill?

Charlie Clark
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Re: Inflation

The pound has risen quite a bit since then though.

The dollar has risen more in the same time.

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German prosecutor given Das Boot over Netzpolitik treason charge

Charlie Clark
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The official status of the investigation is still not clear.

It's officially on hold pending review. This has been a bit of an omnishambles. The secret service reports to the interior ministry and named the journalists in the initial request for investigation. The Chief Prosecutor didn't really have much choice but to do some kind of preliminary investigation, though he should have dropped it quickly due to the special protection that journalists enjoy in these cases, and also because of the fact that he was so obviously being set up. Getting fired was the best way for a quick exit (at 67 he's past retirement anyway).

The justice ministry was also in a bind as direct political interference "drop the case" would call the independence of the judiciary into question. But it did express scepticism that the case was unwarranted and the cabinet office was quick to support the view.

The case is very much one of wheels within wheels with the secret service more than a little pissed off at having its right to spy curtailed by pesky journalists and do-gooders. Range's previous decision not to pursue espionage against the Chancellor and the contortions the NSA committee is having to go through to get information are indicative of what is going on behind the scenes.

This looks like a goal for the justice ministry but only once we know how the new Chief Prosecutor behaves, will really be able to call this one.

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Intel doubles its bounty for women and ethnic minorities

Charlie Clark
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Re: Don't believe the hype.

Fine. Targets then. Same shit, just technically one is non-binding policy and the other is. Doesn't matter.

It makes a huge difference. One is fluffy PR that doesn't cost much but keeps the company in the headlines for the right reasons. The other is an official policy with potentially very expensive consequences and could soon have the company in the headline for the wrong reasons.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Reverse Discrimination

The left perpetuates the myth that without quotas no one has an opportunity to work as a minority.

Apart from this, and I hate to admit it, I agree with you whole-heartedly. ;-)

America's two-party system does not really produce a "left" and a "right" but different coalitions of vested interests. For a European the union's demands for a "closed shop" (everyone must join the union) is as incomprehensible as the "right to work" states (unions are not welcome). Rinse and repeat for most other bits of legislation.

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Charlie Clark
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It's perfectly legal to provide additional incentives for head-hunters to try and get more of whichever group to apply for jobs. Discrimination only occurs when handing out the contracts.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Questions

meet their quotas

What quotas? Quotas would be illegal.

Anyway, when you see the sums in relation to turnover, it's obvious that these are PR exercises. Want more female black latino engineers? Get them to study engineering at university: Intel could fund some endowments. You can only employ what the market provides.

Or looked at another way: how much of the USD 1 bn that Microsoft is reportedly stumping up for a crumb of Uber is going towards increasing diversity there and how much is being trousered according to some clever post-JOBS act accounting?

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Mac fans! Don't run any old guff from the web: Malware spotted exploiting OS X root bug

Charlie Clark
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Re: I miss Steve

Apple still released buggy products while Steve was at the helm. In fact every release since Snow Leopard has had some howlers. Yosemite is relatively stable by comparison.

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Want to avoid a hangover? DRINK MORE, say boffins

Charlie Clark
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Re: Peachy juice

Fruit juice will usually help you get over a night's overindulgence. Helps the body replace vitamins and minerals leeched by the alcohol.

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Charlie Clark
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Pint

Re: No.

Sadly? doesn't work for me. But I wholeheartedly support your grant application!

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OFFICIAL SCIENCE: Men are freezing women out of the workplace

Charlie Clark
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Re: Temp difference also matters

Below 20°C is going to be too cold for office work for most people. It's the typical kind of arrangement where the needs of the equipment are considered more important than those operating them.

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