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* Posts by Charlie Clark

2636 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Anonymous means NO identifying element left behind – EU handbook

Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

Re: "Data are anonymised ..."

Data is / data are - both are in common use and, therefore, okay and in the dictionary. Personally, I much prefer "data is" with a partial noun "bits of data" when I want to be specific as this fits the pattern of other "uncountables": milk, spaghetti.

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HELLO LENOVO. Do you really, really want to make smartphones?

Charlie Clark
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Re: Stock Android

Having used both I actually prefer the Samsung UI to stock Android

With you on that. The Samsung camera app is pretty impressive. Been running CyanogenMod for a couple of weeks on one my phones but will go back to a Samsung build, not least because of better battery life. But the device will stay rooted so I can get rid of the bundled stuff I don't want and that normal users are not allowed to remove.

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What can Microsoft learn from 'discontinued operations' at Nokia?

Charlie Clark
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Stats

Nokia has clawed its way back to 10 per cent or more in some markets largely thanks to the Lumia 520

I thought that Nokia's figures pretty much disproved this claim.

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Language-mangling Germans fling open Handygate to selfie-snapping whistleblowers

Charlie Clark
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Re: "Handy" - WTF

Well, I smiled.

But I guess the rest of the world needs to know that the Jormans have been taught to pronounce "a" as "e" so it's "hendy" which is even weirder. Other strange things "u" gets pronounced as "a" and "g" as "k". So, in the local news they're often talking about "blocking about the apdates to WatsEpp on the hendy".

Even though I've lived here for years it's still the linguistic equivalent of fingernails being scraped on the blackboard.

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Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

Good job you got the spelling wrong on that one!

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UK picks Open Document Format for all government files

Charlie Clark
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Re: Important change

The _current_ OOXML is actually very nice.

Speaking as someone who actually works on a library that tries to read and write OOXML I can tell you that OOXML still is not very nice: it is overly verbose and inconsistent.

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Ditch IE7 and we'll give you a FREE COMPUTER, says incautious US firm

Charlie Clark
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To be fair, and I dislike IE < 9 pretty intensely, IE 6, 7, 8 were in their own way standards compliant. Unfortunately, they supported a standard box model that was subsequently changed. This is the biggest problem when working with them but it's a biggie because of the way we do sites in a post-table-layout, pre-flexbox world. Add to that the real bugs they do have and supporting them does become a real problem. And, then there is Microsoft's intransigence in welding the browser to the OS.

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ARM lays down law to end Wild West of chip design: New standard for server SoCs touted

Charlie Clark
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Re: Color me unconvinced

Well, apart from being "new" architectures the two are very different: IA64 was completely new, ARM isn't new - lots of the software already exists for ARM-32 and moving it to ARM-64 won't be difficult; IA64 was only ever going to come from Intel meaning they could dictate prices and roadmap, ARM for servers is going to come from at least 4 (AMD, nVidia, Samsung and Qualcomm); price, competition and the small size of the chips (meaning higher yields from wafers) will keep prices at a fraction of those of Intel. Together these are a very different value proposition. Whereas going IA64 or, before that Alpha, was such a daunting prospect that HP effectively had to strong arm customers (and software vendors) into adoption and even then it remained a niche market. ARM boxes will fit neatly into existing infrastructure and, depending on the workload, and allow a gradual migration as older boxes come up for retirement.

The market is different: IA64 was left targeting large servers with custom installs, ARM is commodity targeting IAAS data centres rather than telcos and banks. The big problem is going to be: are the margins sufficient for vendors to make it worth their while? Though, given the ubiquity of the architecture and, therefore, the ease of getting into the market, they may not have a choice as customers will buy boxes that cost a tenth or less of equivalent Intel ones.

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Charlie Clark
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Time to short Intel

If this actually gets out the door then it will be an enormous boost for ARM servers. They'll be cheap as chips, tiny so you can put loads of them into units and have low power draw.

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Facebook's dying? HA! Get ready for another DECADE of us – Zuck

Charlie Clark
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Re: Yahoo!

The history of American companies suggests that only one of those companies will still be in business in 10 years.

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AMD tries to kickstart ARM-for-servers ecosystem

Charlie Clark
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Re: Software

Yes, but Christian's point about low-level stuff, ie. booting and drivers is still a challenge for ARM stuff.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: They'd first need to sort out the common platform problem

Don't you think that AMD is in a good position to do just that? Unlike, say Calxeda, it has all the necessary resources for the full-stack.

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Home-grown server kit saves Facebook 'a BEELLION dollars'

Charlie Clark
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And the taxbreaks?

They're surely pretty important, too. Otherwise why build data centres where they do?

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Android holds steady as iOS and Windows Phone slip in Kantar reports

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

With the usual pinch of salt

Nokia reports dismal sales which is why it dumped the handset business.

Kantar on the other hand, reports "stable" market share for Windows phone with numbers, at least in Germany, that do not in any way reflect casual observations - such observations are about as valid as Kantar's survey-based numbers.

The weird thing is that comTech, the parent company of Kantar, has access to pretty reasonable browser stats. Wonder when Mr Sunnebo is going to have to get a new job.

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US megalocorp AT&T: We're NOT swallowing Blighty's Vodafone

Charlie Clark
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Correction

and found itself out-manoeuvred in 1999 when Vodafone slurped Mannesmann itself along with Orange…

It wasn't really outmanoeuvred as outspent by a massive, unsanctioned rights issue. Clever shareholders cashed in (some making tenfold profits in a year) and left dupes (and taxpayers) to suffer the writedown of goodwill.

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Nokia waves goodbye to device biz as phone sales continue to spiral

Charlie Clark
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What does Kantar say

So, Nokia reports smartphone sales down on the last quarter although Kantar was recently gushing with Nokia's impressive growth everywhere. hm, who should we believe?

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Windows 8.1 update 'screenshots' leak: Metro apps popped into classic desktop taskbar

Charlie Clark
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Metro -> Retro?

That screenshot (colours, typography) reminds me eerily of OS/2 Warp's design.

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Walking while texting can – OUCH! – end badly, say boffins

Charlie Clark
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Re: No shit, sherlock!

Yes, it is from the department of the bleeding obvious but you do need the research if, for example, you're going to draw up rules on the use of devices while operating machinery.

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German frau reports for liver transplant clutching bottle of vodka

Charlie Clark
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puns'r'us

Deutscheinfraubetrunkenluder

The "i" is incorrect, you don't need both "Frau" (woman) and "Luder" (bitch, always female).

"Lebe(r) wohl!" which translates handily as "Live(r) well!"

I'm sure you can do something with "vod" as a German pronunciation of "what" as well.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: With that habit, the hospital could have arranged for her a special

The threat of not being allowed to have the organ…

You are wrong on two counts: firstly, it is against medical ethics to threaten sanctions on patients; alcoholics are addicts and rarely able to control their behaviour.

George Best infamously continued to drink after a liver transplant. Of course, he died in the end but he got a few more years of life. Smokers and morbidly obese people get treatment for illnesses directly related to their habits. But the same is true for many sports injuries. In the case of smokers and drinkers this is in theory partially funded by the duty collected. In a similar way that policeman cannot become judges, doctors cannot become the arbiters of treatment.

The scandal in Germany has led to a dramatic drop in the numbers of people prepared to be organ donors in an opt-in system. But something positive might come out of this yet: a bit like the ban on embryonic stem cell research, it may spur more research into therapeutic cloning. Transplants undoubtedly save lives but they are fiendishly tricky, expensive and often require patients to take immunosuppressants to prevent rejection. It will be better for all concerned if we can just use "one we prepared earlier".

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VCs drop cash on DropBox, bestow $10 BEELLLION valuation

Charlie Clark
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you rely on them to have appropriate security arrangements…

You don't, you can create your own on a folder-by-folder basis and just them to store the encrypted data.

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Charlie Clark
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Storage is commodity. What Dropbox offers is convenience and incredible flexibility. I was in early because they made an offer at PyCon (lots of Python used internally) and have not looked back and gained a few GB here and since including > 40 GB from Samsung. Strong encryption is missing but, because you can mount file systems locally, you can add that yourself. Photo-synching is very convenient but not very granular - no albums and public but obscured by default. I miss more intelligent synching on Android but DropSync fills the gap pretty nicely. It's chuffing great for backing up private repositories.

The key for businesses is the lack of lock-in to any eco-system. Setting up an (encrypted) file-server is invitingly simple and allows companies to continue working as they always have done but scale down their own hardware assets.

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Probe of Hollywood-Euro Pay TV contracts: What happens next?

Charlie Clark
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Re: How big is your pie?

@AC IIRC, and as the article hints, the ECJ favoured exactly what you suggest for the rights of the football itself but allowed a loophole re. title music or graphics or something like that, which can be more tightly controlled by the owner.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: How big is your pie?

You are entirely missing the point: the European Commission is not interested in individual markets. It merely wants to facilitate the single market so that, for example, a broadcaster in the Netherlands with the rights to Game of Thrones can make that content available in other countries.

Your polemic against the BBC is pretty inaccurate. Firstly, publicly funded services can be effective market participants. Secondly, advertising is not the only other form of fund-raising open to broadcasters. Thirdly, repeats are as much a response to shifting viewing habits (driven in turn by technological change) as anything else: more channels due to changes in distribution; 24 hour TV driven by user demand. "More of the same" is always a risk in such an environment. Fourthly, it is precisely the lack of effective competition in the pay-TV market which is causing quality to suffer: rivals have to spend inordinate amounts to compete to buy rights for sports and have little left for original programming. Fifthly, the BBC has at least as much oversight as the commercial broadcasters. This could be probably improved but not by giving the politicians more control. The challenge is very much to get the BBC to reverse most of the Greg-Dyke nonsense but it remains popular because it does, by and large, produce reasonable quality programmes that people want. Sixthly, you seem to forget that Channel 4 is probably even better protected by royal charter but also an example of a different approach to competition.

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Dart 1.1 bullseyes JavaScript performance in latest benchmarks

Charlie Clark
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Not really for servers

Ladd said there is growing interest in using Dart for server-side applications…

Not sure if that's really got legs. Sure, people are bound to want to try language X on both client and server (node.js being the most prominent example) but the environments often have different and even contradictory requirements.

Having looked briefly at Dart's syntax I've decided I'm more interested in how Go propagates from systems work to applications. Yes, I know that's a non-sequitur but Go just seems more innovative as a language and has a less antiquated syntax.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: javascript isn't that bad

Static typing is not the same as strong typing.

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FreeBSD 10.0 lands, targets VMs and laptops

Charlie Clark
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I, for one, welcome our daemon overlords

because this is, surely, the year of FreeBSD on the desktop. Not.);

PC-BSD is a pretty good attempt at a user-friendly version. If I didn't have a Mac it's probably what I'd be using.

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Intel treads water despite drowning PC biz clinging to Chipzilla's legs

Charlie Clark
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Yes, it's interesting how its customers are taking a hammering while its profits remain stable. This is indicative of the market not functioning correctly. It can only be a matter of time before Dell, etc. either migrate en masse to AMD or pour enough into Android on ARM (offers more potential for differentiation outside the consumer electronics segment) to make it an attractive prospect: being able to cut out Intel chips and Windows licences would allow them to cut prices and have a chance of making a profit.

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Let Google's tentacles fondle your mobile's web downloads and Chrome will put the data on a diet

Charlie Clark
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Re: <cough>Copycats</cough>

Yes, and it made the Opera Turbo service available in Opera Mobile as the default.

However, this isn't quite the same. Google is effectively running mod_pagespeed on the proxy so compression is not quite as high as with Opera Turbo. It's a nice ad for both mod_pagespeed (make pages and media smaller) and SPDY (allow persistent, bundled HTTP-requests to stop the number of requests being the bottleneck).

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Google stabs Wikipedia in the front

Charlie Clark
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Codswallop

The moral is: if you're a contributor to an "open" web resource, then beware: the hippy ethos simply marks you out as a mug. Unless you protect and license your work, you will be exploited by a powerful corporation.

I normally find Andrew's analysis at least thought-provoking but this article is more than just excuse to beat the exploitation drum, it is extremely patronising.

If I put something in the public domain then I am making a conscious decision to do so. If someone can make money by adding value and presenting it (unlikely for the shit I come up with) to a market, then I'm happy for them as long as they respect my inalienable copyright.

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Intel and Asus put the dual boot in, offer 2-in-1 lapslab WinDroid

Charlie Clark
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Re: The mighty have fallen half way

A few years ago, Microsoft would not have tolerated dual boot from a major manufacturer…

Now they'll take what they can get?

Intel using Windows compatibility as an argument to sell these devices and get itself established on Android. Personally, I can't really see the point and as soon as Android effectively supports the notebook form factor (keyboard and mouse) I suspect I'll buy one. And a licence for Windows on it, if I need it and the architecture is supported.

In the meantime I suspect I'll stick to the hodgepodge of machines for the job I have.

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Why 2014 might just be the year of the Google Chromebook

Charlie Clark
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It was Intel wot did it

Lots of posts about why the netbook never thrived. The main cause was Intel because they limited memory and screen size which could be used with their low margin Atom chips and thus prevented the spread to other form factors beyond the extremely unergonomic 10.6" one. Microsoft's expensive licensing didn't help but it was really Intel who did for the category.

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Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

Should be disqualified

“I think Chromebooks can be very impactful in the market really quickly.”

Impactful? Seriously, even with an appreciation for inevitable changes in language I can't accept that one.

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T-Mobile US: AT&T's mobe buyout deal is so 'desperate', we'll do it too

Charlie Clark
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Re: Competition

AT&T … promising to lower costs too

And it would have. For them. While there is some irony in T-Mobile US using some of the money it got from AT&T when the deal went through to go after them, long-term further consolidation of the industry will take place.

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Justice minister tries to further delay snoop silo laws in Germany

Charlie Clark
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Re: Invalid laws?

No, but not therefore yes.

The Advocate General says that the Directive conflicts with the Human Rights Charter and should be amended. However, he also said there was no fundamental conflict and that sufficient time should be given to change the Directive rather than withdraw it immediately because the aims of the Directive are not fundamentally in conflict with the Human Rights Charter. The Directive is implemented in national law separately by each member state so each member state will need to enact any revised Directive in national law within the usual timeframe (2 to 3 years after European Council and Parliament have ratified the Directive).

We can expect more horse-trading en route to any revised legislation. On the one hand we have the snoopers who think that more surveillance means more security and on the other the defenders of civil liberty and privacy. But we've now also got around 10 years of data for cost/benefit analyses such as that done in Denmark which seems to come down against long-term blanket surveillance because it is expensive and has, so far, provided little evidence to support its basic premise.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: did I get it right?

No, you don't have it right. The German government did enact the EU directive in national law but the law was struck down by the Constitutional Court. The previous government failed to draft a new law that would comply with the constitution, basically because the Justice Minister had enough backbone to face down the Interior Ministry who would have liked nothing more than being able to spy on German citizens. The Interior Minister has since been demoted to the Minister of Agriculture.

The new coalition has agreed to implement the Directive but not on a timetable and in the expectation that the EUCJ will require the Directive be amended. The EU Commission is required to enforce EU law by bringing countries to court that do not enforce EU law within specified timeframes.

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Low power WON'T bag ARM the server crown. So here's how to upset Intel

Charlie Clark
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Nothing new here

Many of us have been saying for a while that it is ARM's customisation and low-cost - you get chips that are customised to your workload and they are cheap - that make it attractive. Getting stuff done directly in silicon rather than software automatically reduces the power draw. Intel has done great things getting power draw down in the Atom range but the chips are still significantly more expensive than comparable ARMs which are now becoming available and you can't get custom builds of the Atoms. To compete Intel will have to change its business model.

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Samsung: Ta-da! We made $7.8bn. What do you mean you expected another BILLION?

Charlie Clark
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Re: The problem they've got...

Lastly as a developer with android you have to make a choice as to which handset format you will develop for…

You clearly haven't done any kind of development. Android has the most effective way of targeting multiple form factors.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Wall Street's tealeaf readers' pronouncements fail to happen

Until they release results you don't know if the company has under performed, over performed or matched expectations, but the market trades as if the consensus was correct.

Rational market theory has been disproven, discuss…

All of the estimates are from people who have interest in the result.

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Samsung whips out 12.2-inch 'Professional' iPad killers

Charlie Clark
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Re: I want one

I'd need a bit more from Android to be tempted but I will be definitely tempted by the 8.4 as a replacement to my Galaxy Tab 8.9 - great compromise between size and weight.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Sounds like a fringe use case?

When working with any kind of document (spread sheets in particular), screen real-estate is king

With you all the way on that. I'm still distraught that the PlasticLogic Que never made it to market as that, too, targeted the document market. This device is big enough to warrant a proper-sized keyboard as an additional, optional input device / docking station and is obviously, at least in my view, the next step to Android notebooks. Not sure who should be really worried: Apple or Microsoft. If Samsung can get spec, UI, software and price right (yes, that's a big ask) then these devices will be after Microsoft's nice but expensive Pro tablets.

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AT&T takes aim at T-Mobile with $450 cashback lure

Charlie Clark
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I like $30/mo PAYG for 5GB…

I think you'll like $15 for 5 GB even more, which is probably closer to many European PAYG prices. And properly unlimited for around $ 25.

However, can you hear the rush of lawyers to the FTC / ITC / FCC to to do something about these pesky upstarts?

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Google gearing up for 4K video frenzy at CES

Charlie Clark
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Looking forward to it

Firstly, it's wrong to say VP8 / WebM hasn't been successful. While it has failed to dominate, its existence probably played a large part in keeping h264 royalty free. That alone, given the sheer volume of videos on YouTube, may have justified the purchase price, legal team and continued development. It was a sea change in the industry and we have since seen companies like Cisco pledging to keep codecs free. I don't know what codecs Google uses for the native YouTube apps or Hangouts / WebRTC but it wouldn't surprise me if VP8 figures prominently there.

VP8 came to the market too late to dominate - h264 was already supported by most hardware. The playing field is much more open for 4k, so if Google can get it into hardware early enough, then they have every chance of making it one of the standards. To be really successful they'll need not just the hardware but also the content so YouTube exclusives of 4k content may also be required. That might actually be the next real battle with Apple: assuming 4k content (and playback devices) come on stream quick enough, people may well buy the first devices available. Amazon is already trialling exclusive 4k content in the US.

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Ten classic electronic calculators from the 1970s and 1980s

Charlie Clark
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Re: Still working

While still at school I upgraded from an FX81, which had taken quite a bashing, to an 180p which could just about be programmed to solve quadratic equations, which is indeed what I used for at O level. That was probably my first ever functional test! It wasn't cheating as marks were awarded for demonstrating how the result was achieved.

It's still going strong and is what I use any time I need to tot some numbers or double check some mental arithmetic.

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Pinterest who? EU rules social network CAN'T trademark its own name

Charlie Clark
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Re: Shakedown time

Sure, it's how many American companies expect to do business.

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Charlie Clark
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Mushroom

Examples?

Gmail is a notable example where Google didn't get its own way. Member states may line up to bend over for Uncle Sam but that is most definitely not the case at EU level.

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Picture this: Data-wrangling boffins say they have made JPEGs OBSOLETE

Charlie Clark
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Re: Browser support (JPEG2000)

Yes, but JPEG2000 is required for PDF 1.5…

The patent trolls like free-to-read, pay-to-write specs: GIF, JPEG2000, MPEG-2, h.264, etc. The free-to-read model encourages adoption by consumers but actually restricts the market by using licence fees to restrict new entrants to the market. However, the WWW is one of the best examples of allowing a market to thrive by keeping specifications open and free. Yes, it's not been without its problems, with the industry packing committees either to push their interests or prevent innovation from others.

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Fanbois, prepare to lose your sh*t as BRUSSELS KILLS IPHONE dock

Charlie Clark
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Re: Updating Standards

To follow your argument to its logical conclusion: there is no need for standards of any kind. So no standard petrol caps: you can fill up at say either Shell or BP but not both, or maybe only Ford.

Or, for phones: no need for GSM/UMTS/LTE, let's go back to CDMA, iDEN, etc.

Saying that regulation is late is not an argument against it.

I'm not convinced that micro-USB is mechanically the best connection, but the voluntary agreement by phone manufacturers within the EU can be considered a success.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I Don't Get It

I can't remember the last time I bought a home appliance that did not have the cable factory-fitted with a moulded plug on the other end. Toaster, kettle, TV, washing machine, dishwasher... all with fitted leads.

FWIW most radios use a mini-euro connector, computer power supplies also a use a normed connector. Another area the EC has looked at is notebook power supplies which have the same kind of barriers to entry as mobile phone chargers.

My most recent phone came with a cable and without a charger. Happy with that.

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Charlie Clark
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Shameless baiting

Although the EU is well known for its diversity policies, it has been planning to homogenise phone chargers for some time...

The EU is not well-know for its diversity policies: it (actually the European Commission) has taken countries to court over positive discrimination, the US has far wider-reaching and less effective policies. The EC enforces open markets both of the employment and of the gadget kind. It has even started to look at the UK's dysfunctional power distribution market.

As for the UK in 2017 - unlikely that a referendum on membership can be held before then and even then the UK will be bound by most EU norms as are other countries in the EEA / EFTA.

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