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* Posts by Charlie Clark

2720 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

No longer Square: Pear-shaped payments biz seeks buyer - report

Charlie Clark
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Move along, please. Nothing to see here.

Still no chip and pin? Even in the US the writing is on the wall for swiping: end of 2015.

Almost everywhere in the US already has terminals for reading credit cards (high transaction costs) and the debit card terminals in Europe have much lower transaction fees. The only market for Square was niche and ad hoc (conferences, concerts and the like). It now has to compete with the Bitcoin hype for the hipsters' attention

The comparison with Paypal is flawed because Paypal could exploit the lack of countrywide banking services in the US which have hampered the kind of EFT (electronic funds transfers) that are standard elsewhere. Paypal makes little or no financial sense in Europe, especially since SEPA except for those markets that don't understand how much easier it is just to use standard banking services for money transfer and international trades of where the SWIFT charges are higher than Paypal's.

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Apple's strong iPhone sales crush Wall Street moneymen's tepid expectations

Charlie Clark
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The iPhone and especially the iPad remain excellent products at the top end of the market. I think they don't really have an edge in phones any more except in marketing, but the iPad is just so slick.

If that's the case, then why are I-Phone sales so strong and I-Pad ones weakening?

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Charlie Clark
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Re. Microsoft and Disney

For the sake of avoiding disruption they have clung to the OOXML file format, which utilises highly normalised data…

WTF? I can assure that OOXML is not particularly highly normalised but the file format is not really relevant when you are working within the application. Microsoft rushed the format out and because it got ECMA stamped on it, is kind of stuck with it. It's a shit format in most cases but not because of it's NF which basically bizarre: viz. SharedStrings allows duplication and embedded styling.

Disney has, like many companies, crises. The fact that it's still going is down to no small part to Pixar and buying Marvel: it spent a good while actively discouraging innovation within Disney and Eisner was an idiot.

Retroactively justifying Apple's successes is dangerous because it is selective and ignores the failures. Under Steve Jobs Apple managed the difficult transition of OSes and expanded extremely successfully into consumer electronics. The ship hasn't sunk under Cook: sales and profits are up and the devices are available around the world but where are the new products? Why is the I-Pad losing market share where the competition is still so weak?

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Charlie Clark
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Silly article

Rather than crowing about how the analysts got it wrong the article could have spent more time on the drop in sales of the I-Pad. As Don Jefe points out, the I-Phone is a cash cow with great margins selling in more countries. But what's gone wrong the with I-Pad?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Returning money to shareholders

No, share buybacks are more tax efficient in many countries than dividends.

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Huawei exec: 'Word of mouth' will beat Apple and Samsung in Europe

Charlie Clark
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Good luck with that, then

Consumers need wooing by advertising. It's almost part of the definition. Samsung didn't the sales by word of mouth but by years of sponsoring and more recently advertising. Can't be long before we see some sports team or competition emblazoned with Huawei's logo.

…Windows Phone’s rapid rise (in Europe) perhaps supports that case…

Sales-based numbers please. Kantar is still boosting Windows phone at 7.5 %, comScore however puts it at less than 5% and from what I've seen I think even that's a bit high.

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Got Windows 8.1 Update yet? Get ready for YET ANOTHER ONE – rumor

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: please, not the start menu

@h4m0ny

The other is the pinning of Metro apps to the taskbar. I don't like this because it blurs the boundaries between two separate contexts that shouldn't mix.

Nail, on head, hit. I think you've pointed out the biggest problem with Windows 8: it seems constantly to mix the Metro and Windows 7 aesthetics and feels disturbingly schizophrenic as a result. Oh, you were trying to use this to justify Windows 8? Massive fail.

I also don't buy your pro-choice arguments. There are plenty of UI choices out there with the phones providing more choice than we've had on MS desktops for years.

Better stick to networking code! ;-)

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Charlie Clark
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Re: please, not the start menu

@h4rm0ny

the screen certainly looks like a fake. This doesn't alter the fact that the Start Screen is entirely inappropriate for desktop computers and one of Microsoft's bigger mistakes.

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EU: Let's cost financial traders $400m a day, because EVIL BANKERS. Right?

Charlie Clark
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Re: Utter crap

One of the major reasons that the industrial revolution happened in Britain, was because we had well-developed markets to allocate capital to innovation…

Yes, the bubbles and crashes (from the tulip bubble onwards) have been so much fun.

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Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Usual crap from Worstall

HFT just appears to increase liquidity. Whenever there is a real demand for funds it dries up just like all the other instruments of "financial engineering" have done in the past. And it isn't really about bits of code but about being able to sting trades by acting faster than the trades can. This has as much to with laying optical cables in straight lines between exchanges than anything else.

Banning it would only encourage workarounds, taxing it into uselessness makes more sense.

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OpenBSD founder wants to bin buggy OpenSSL library, launches fork

Charlie Clark
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Re: Right, so ...

Forking is perfectly legitimate especially if you want to change large parts of the code as seems to be the case. OpenBSD itself started life as a fork of FreeBSD and the two continue to profit from each other's different focus.

Taking the existing code as a functional specification and removing as much code as possible will allow the developers to make a reference implementation that will hopefully be a more secure. Like OpenSSH (from OpenBSD) it should then be pretty straightforward for others to use the library and I suspect other developers will be happy to join in.

Meanwhile the existing code will continue to "work" and can even benefit from backporting any changes.

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Fixing OpenSSL's Heartbleed flaw will take MONTHS, warns Secunia

Charlie Clark
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Solutionism

Bitcoin and co. are examples of "solutionism": where technological solutions to non-technological problems are posed. Unsurprisingly, this is really popular with the tech invest lobby. Equally unsurprisingly, the solutions rarely solve the problems they are supposed to.

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AMD's 'Seattle' 64-bit ARM server chips now sampling, set to launch in late 2014

Charlie Clark
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re. Specint2006

ARM has done well despite miserable Specint performance partly because the chips are small, cheap and have tiny power requirements (not least because of they're poorer performance); and partly because Specint performance doesn't reflect typical workload.

The problem with the x86 architecture is that excels in certain general purpose computing areas, for which the Specint provides a good proxy, but is much less good in other areas (encryption, parallel processing, etc.). This is why, while x86 is better at parsing and manipulating the DOM of a website there is a move to displaying it using hardware (non-x86) hardware. ARM can come with hardware acceleration for encryption, etc.) and now AMD can is offering GPUs for parallel processing. With the right compilers and schedulers this may make some workloads magnitudes more efficient on such chips. If it doesn't it may succeed by making the market competitive again.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: "The industry's first at 28nm"

Looks like a typo to me both ARM and x86 have been <= 28nm for a while now.

However, more impressive than the geometry is AMD's ability to integrate x86, ARM and GPU cores. If this works well then they will have very desirable products.

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Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update

Charlie Clark
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I'm confused

I thought 8.1 was going to be installed on the new phones that will be available this month. Will this also be the Preview Release?

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Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco

Charlie Clark
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Mushroom

Hanging's too good for 'em!

NFT

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Oracle's NoSQL nightmare MongoDB goes to version 2.6

Charlie Clark
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Scoffing

Why either or? Postgres has recently merged support for binary JSON which means you can have all the flexibility you want with the added goodness, speed and reliability of indices based on relational algebra.

Can we have less coverage of industry PR and more DBA meat, please?

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Reg slips claws across Nokia's sexy sixties handsets, fondles flagship too

Charlie Clark
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Re: Remarks

@big_D don't know whereabouts in Germany you are but I can't remember the last time I saw one of the new Nokias on the tram or S-Bahn.

I agree that more and more people are on pre-paid with bundles with ARPU <= € 20. As I get a free SIM with 500MB a month from Unitymedia I'm helping to keep the ARPU down. Pity the idiots still haven't worked out how to port numbers yet.

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Charlie Clark
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Remarks

Numbers - I thought the IDC report had scotched the notion that Nokia was anywhere near 10 % in Europe. Apparently not. To recap: the 10 % comes from Kantar's survey of people on the streets, IDC counts real shipments/sails.

There is no doubt that Nokia is still producing some fantastic hardware but you've hit the nail on the head about the "app gap". A colleague is a proud owner of the "one with the good camera" - I can never remember Nokia's numbering schemes - but even she is disappointed by the lack of apps. And to add insult to injury the power socket is broken. Getting away from the anecdote - it's difficult to see how any kind of universal API makes Windows Phone more attractive as Windows Phone. In fact, it makes me thinks: what would things look like if Nokia stuck Android on the high-end phones? That certainly would give Samsung food for thought.

Regarding pricing: does anyone in Europe who doesn't have Apple's latest and greatest pay £ 40 a month for a phone + services? Due to the lack of effective competition things are different stateside but Nokia has never really been an established brand there. Not even in its heyday.

Meanwhile the trend worldwide is towards ever cheaper phones with ever thinner margins: Wiko, ZTE, et al. are moving in. As you note Android 4.4 offers better performance than previous versions, but as hardware continues to improve, that point is possibly moot.

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Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed

Charlie Clark
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El Reg's continues to fail to corroborate sources…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Lots of last-minuters out there.

I suspect you're not alone but what will people be upgrading to?

You can still get Windows 7 for "professional" machines - HP is selling them. Large companies are mainly already on 7 or are getting extended support for XP. Consumers, I think, are likely to continue replacing their PCs and notebooks with the media consumption devices they've always wanted.

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Samsung's thumb-achingly ENORMO Galaxy Note Pro 12.2

Charlie Clark
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Happy

Re: re. use in portrait orientation

Buying a windows tablet with one note built in would be half the price. (Never thought I'd be saying something like that, I need a shower.)

You can't get a Windows tablet that size for that price. In any case, Samsung's devotion to the high-end has created its own niche: people know what to expect from the Pro / Note devices whereas Windows 8 has just created confusion. The magazine UI is more than a tip of the hat to Microsoft but it is application specific rather than being force-fed it for everything.

Devices like this, especially if they get docking stations, are going to sell well. I personally like a smaller 8"-9" which is very good to go.

Well done Samsung and others for working hard at usable form factors and thoughtful additions. This is how competition is supposed to work.

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Microsoft spells out new rules for exiling .EXEs

Charlie Clark
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Re: Translation: Coming soon, no side-loading.

Yes, the certification stuff is supposed to make people play nice.

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Windows Phone 8.1: Like WinPho 8, but BETTER

Charlie Clark
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Coffee/keyboard

Enterprise

It's astonishing that Windows Phone has made the strides it has in enterprise …

What strides are those exactly? All I can hear on that front are the crickets chirping. Microsoft has a huge advantage here given the number of companies who've chained themselves to Exchange and Office.

Some of the GUI changes sound like they could soon be the subject of litigation. We know what Apple thinks of the sincerest form of flattery but some of the Android cribs could give Google some interesting ammo should they choose to follow that path.

Not charging for licences is an old strategy for Microsoft trying to break into new markets. While relevant, the support for more diverse hardware (Qualcomm, Samsung, Mediatek, TI, etc.) is probably more important to manufacturers. Did you hear anything on that front? Or just the crickets again?

Manufacturers of Android handsets routinely get lambasted for the slowness with which they rollout updates, even when it often really doesn't make a great deal of difference (my tablet is 4.1, one of my phones 4.2). Yet with Windows Phone where Microsoft has dictated the hardware from the start, you're still looking at 3 month plus update times. How come Apple manages it so much faster?

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Tamil Nadu's XP migration plan: Go Linux like a BOSS

Charlie Clark
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Joke

Re: I should think

Speaking English they can hardly understand because of the strong Hindi accent! ;-)

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Charlie Clark
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Re: They already do for ELA customers.

A couple of million is still cheaper than new machines or a migration.

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Microsoft in OPEN-SOURCE .Net love-in with new foundation

Charlie Clark
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Meh

Call me cynical but…

… doesn't this smell a bit like Microsoft looking to dispose of code it no longer wants to maintain itself? Happy to be proved wrong on this.

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Charlie Clark
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Move on, nothing to see

Stallman hasn't been relevant for years except to small group who think software is politics.

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'Hello, is that the space station? NASA here. Can you put us through to Moscow?'

Charlie Clark
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Re: Political Posturing

The cooperation with Roscosmos has historically been about keeping some excellent rocket engineers in a job. It's always been more political than scientific.

There has been no conflict in Crimea but whether its low key or not may depend upon your geography and history. The annexation is certainly a dangerous political precedent. Europe is only more cautious because it trades more with Russia and has a land border with it: any fallout is likely to fall on both sides.

If you want an example of politics interfering with science: the recent Swiss referendum on quotas for foreigners is freezing Switzerland out of the next round of EU research projects.

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Nokia: ALL our Windows Phone 8 Lumias will get a cool 8.1 boost

Charlie Clark
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Re: $599

To be honest I think that HTC's stance on SD cards has been their biggest hindrance. It has always seemed to me a big omission in their One series. Yes, I know lots of builtin is better but it's still a real tickbox. We'll see how they fare now they've embraced it.

Android users are almost by definition a fickle bunch where being able to switch easily to a different handset but keep the apps, etc. is important and a real hurdle for another OS. Nokia's X strategy is a not very convincing attempt to address this because it's focussed on the low end.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: $599

To be fair, the price is comparable with similar hardware running other OS.

It's nice hardware. Would it sell better running Android? That is the $ 10 billion question.

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What took you so long Apple? 26 remote exec bugs die in OS X Safari

Charlie Clark
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Re: Yet no updates for many working apples

It was announced a long time ago that support for PPC was being dropped.

Not supporting Snow Leopard and Lion on Intel, especially as Lion is the end of the line for many MacMinis because Apple can't be bothered recompiling the graphics driver, is more alarming.

OTOH Safari users obviously don't need to worry about security. Presumably because they're too cool? Can't remember the last time I fired Safari up.

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Is this photo PROOF a Windows 7 Start Menu is coming back?

Charlie Clark
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Re: LOL

They need to drop the price of Win 8.x Home to $50 USD or less, I'd personally say $35-$40 USD. this would get more users to try it, might even get some of those later XP machines to switch, but all they are doing by keeping the price high is getting those people whose XP is about to go EOL a reason to be looking at Chrometops and Android tablets, dumb move MSFT.

It's true that the migration path from XP seems unnecessarily complicated and expensive.

I think that upgrade licences for Vista, 7 and 8 have to bought. Obviously, there's not a lot of hardware running XP that will actually run Windows 8 but still a single upgrade licence (and software that would actually upgrade inplace) would be an encouragement.

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Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini tech specs REVEALED

Charlie Clark
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Works for me

It's a similar strategy to Apple's: the latest and greatest (and biggest); the scaled down (in features and size) version; the outdoor; and the camera version. I like the "second" device strategy this encourages, whether it's the outdoor one for the "action" holiday or the smaller one for the less technologically obsessed partner. It's classic marketing, nicely done.

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How Microsoft can keep Win XP alive – and WHY: A real-world example

Charlie Clark
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Re: So does OSX and Linux...

Also, the upgrade process for any mainstream distro isn't hard, or breaking. It's a single command, or a few clicks.

I remember chatting at conference last year with a hardcore developer (his day job is helping OEMs port Android to their ever-changing hardware). He's used Ubuntu for years but had swapped it for MacOS because the updates continually broke stuff. It's not that he couldn't patch it or even fix it himself but that he couldn't stand the time it was taking him to do this all the time.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: WHY because Why waste that old Hardware, its bad for Planet Earth.

@frank ly - that will be assessed - would allow Linux to have a Windows XP for the couple of programs that are needed - Basecamp for a Garmin GPS, or even Windows 7, which I think is a fine OS even if I prefer Mac OS. It's currently dog slow because of swapping stuff in and out of memory. It's not my machine so it won't be my decision.

In any case, forcing Windows 8 down people's throats is the best opportunity that Microsoft's competitors have had for years. But rather than a surge in Linux users (thanks to volume licensing most computers will have a paid for Windows 8 licence so MS won't really care what OS they run), I suspect it's just driving consumers towards (non-MS) tablets.

This somehow has a Android (x86) notebook with Windows VM opportunity written all over it.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: WHY because Why waste that old Hardware, its bad for Planet Earth.

Its the worlds most popular free OS

I think that would actually be Android… (Linux kernel I know).

I think people will try some of the Linuxes simply because Windows 8 is such a change that they might as well try something completely different. Going to help a friend evaluate at the weekend: 6 year old laptop with XP and only 256 MB. Bankix + browser + mailer + OpenOffice might be sufficient.

But you still get downvoted for spouting.

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Samsung unveils fourth-generation Galaxy Tabs

Charlie Clark
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Re: Underwhelming

Hold your horses, these are just the baseline (free with contract…) tablets getting their annual updates.

AMOLED updates for the TabPro versions (8.4" and 10.5") are apparently in the works (source http://sammobile.com)

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Charlie Clark
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@Lusty - yes, two actually: Tab Pro and Notes.

In practice 1280 x 800 is fine for most things - I use my 3-year old Tab 8.9 (closer to the Pro spec) with it on a daily basis. Waiting for a comparable one with an OLED screen.

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Don't look at Maria's SQL, look at MY SQL, pleads Oracle

Charlie Clark
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Re: Cheap swipe

@Mark #255 - it took me a while to get used to. It's not as good for schema management as the old one but for queries it's much better and a lot more stable. But it has taken a while to get there.

Unfortunately, somethings require an update to the server (using EXPLAIN for example). MySQL still provides little real information about the query plan but you do get pretty pictures! ;-)

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Cheap swipe

@Sir Allen: http://www.postgresql.org/message-id/20140401134036.GC32171@fetter.org but don't forget the hint about yesterday.

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Charlie Clark
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Happy

Cheap swipe

It's easy to improve the performance over the last version based on fixing bugs introduced in the last version!

But on the whole I think Oracle is doing a reasonable job with MySQL: making InnoDB standard storage engine and promoting proper ACID practices; the workbench is a huge improvement over previous tools.

But I'm sticking with Postgres as my RDBMS of choice. Especially after yesterday's announcement about Postgres 10:

This release includes built-in, tradeoff-free multi-master replication, full integration with all other data stores, and a broad choice of SQL query dialects including Cassandra, Hadoop, Oracle, MS-SQL Server, MySQL, and mSQL.

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'iPhone 6' with '4.7-inch' display 'coming soon', but '5.5-incher' 'delayed'

Charlie Clark
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Sounds like an April Fools to me

Apart from the fact that Apple is reasonably (and cleverly) immune to form factor discussions IOS doesn't really have the mechanics to deal with varying pixel densities and sizes. Hence, the head-scratching still going on about how to deal with the I-Pad Mini which by simply shrinking the pixels breaks Apple's own UI guidelines on the physical size of UI controls.

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HTC One M8: Reg man takes spin in Alfa Romeo of smartphone world

Charlie Clark
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Thumb Up

SD card? Finally

That (and for me personally using LCD instead of OLED screens) has been the biggest problem with their phones.

I also like the trend towards smarter screens - these phone with their huge screens need protecting but in a way that minimises the impact on usability. There's a way to go on this but it's nice to see work is being done: differentiation is possible.

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OkCupid falls out of love with 'anti-gay' Firefox, tells people to see other browsers

Charlie Clark
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Check the date

Is "activism" the latest form of PR? The only way to get heard in cacophonie of social media? Are they doing this only as an April 1st stunt to get headlines and clicks?

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BT Tower to be replaced by 3D printed BT Tower

Charlie Clark
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Nevertheless, Prime Minister Cameron hailed the 3D printed BT Tower as a symbol of "the second industrial revolution, in which the UK is proudly leading the way".

That probably isn't even made up! Except it's missing the bit about the printers being used weren't developed in Britain!

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Newsnight goes sour on Tech City miracle

Charlie Clark
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Re: Silicon Valley just IS...

Hollywood is a good comparison: the initial reason to move from New York to there was the cheap land (and lax labour and heath and safety regulations). Of course, the area soon proved to offer other advantages.

In a sense it's an even more globalised industry than electronics but at least the money is still very much focussed in Hollywood, despite the billions in subsidies (Louisiana currently leads the list, I believe) available around the world - and just like the many wannabe Silicon Valleys, very little of the money stays in the area providing the subsidies.

Bollywood and the Lagos film industry are perhaps testimony both to the success of model (critical mass of talent and money) and to the need for differentiation in order to be able to compete.

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Charlie Clark
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The emperor's new offices?

So, it looks like the world has discovered that Tech City doesn't work. I most recently read about this in a Guardian piece which pointed out some of the flaws in the model, especially the role of ever-increasing rents play in destroying the informal "economies" (for want of a better term) that post-industrial creative destruction seems to require.

Silicon Valley is waved as the poster-child for start-up creation when it is, in fact, a difficult to repeat combination of lots and lots of venture capital and a flexible and highly educated labour pool.

Urban regeneration (in East London) seems to be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Viz. this rather prescient, pre-Nathan Barley article about Hoxton from 2000.

PS. quibble: is the lady called Burbridge or Burbank

PPS. posting something on Twitter and thinking it won't get made public? tsk ;-)

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Facebook Oculus VR buyout: IT WANTS your EYEBALLS

Charlie Clark
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Integration

This commentary complete ignores the idea of integrating Oculus with the rest of the stuff. The other purchases extend Facebook's offering. If I was an investor in Facebook I'd want a more convincing justification for the purchase than that offered so far. The deal might work or it might just be another AQuantive.

In any case, I wonder when Facebook is going to get around to writing down (let's be charitable) these investments.

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ECCENTRIC, PINK DWARF dubbed 'Biden' by saucy astronomers

Charlie Clark
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WTF?

Re: Fahrenheit .... in space?

I thought it was some oblique reference to a hitherto unknown sequel to Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451".

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