* Posts by Charlie Clark

4278 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Microsoft to add a touch of Chrome to Edge

Charlie Clark
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Re: Firefox Chrome-a-like

Good luck with that.

XUL, et al are so 2000 and have always suffered from the NiH syndrome. The Chrome extension API is simpler and promotes interoperability.

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Charlie Clark
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They ARE standards though. Chrome is just the only player with the resources to implement them quickly. Firefox always gets them eventually, and the losers never do.

Firefox is pretty good at implementing standards and participating in their development.

As for the new IE 6, well that has to be Safari.

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Charlie Clark
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Edge will be missing so many APIs you won't be able to support it however hard you struggle.

That's not true as http://caniuse.com will illustrate: IE 12 (aka Edge) has pretty decent HTML 5 support.

The problem for Microsoft is that take up of Edge by users is very, very poor. Stats I have access to illustrate this quite clearly: IE total down from 25% to 18% YoY. IE 11 squeezing out versions 8,9,10 and Edge failing to gain noticeable traction. Once people have switched to Google, or Firefox ESR for companies, why should they go back to Internet Explorer?

Other than that supporting Chrome-style extensions makes a lot of sense for both developers and sys admins.

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FBI backs down against Apple: Feds may be able to crack killer's iPhone without iGiant's help

Charlie Clark
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Re: precedent

Great thanks to you the grammar police from a dyslexic without the time to have a second person read all my posts ahead of time. Ride that high horse!

In other words: make the Mexicans spell and make them pay for it

Any dyslexic worth their salt knows how important it is to take the time and to use the relevant tools to reduce errors. The problem with your incomprehensible gibberish was not that it was poorly spelt but that it was incomprehensible: no combination of lose/loose lose/loose could ever make sense in the context.

Trying to pass off your ignorance as a medical condition is shameful.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: precedent

Perhaps if there had remained a single, dominant English-speaking country, in the same way as there has been with French or German, say, then there would have been an opportunity to rationalise the language.

Given the omnishambles that was the German spelling reform and the current storm in France over the dropping of the circumflex, I am more than a little sceptical that this would work.

The fact is that most attempts to prescribe language use fail miserably and its absence possibly one of the reasons for English's success.

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Apple Macs, iPhones, iPads, Watches, TVs can be hijacked by evil Wi-Fi, PDFs – update now

Charlie Clark
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Re: What a toxic hellstew

Yes, you do. OS updates that work across a wide range of devices. Unlike – ahem – certain devices where there's barely a 2% uptake rate of the most recent software fixes.

Apple's record of incorporating fixes for known bugs in upstream POSIX stuff (libXML2, openssl, etc.) is shameful. Pointing out the problems with Android does not detract from this.

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Charlie Clark
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Apple continues to depress

Just cherrypicking:

A shedload of bug fixes in libxml2: Processing maliciously crafted XML may lead to unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution.

I suspect anyone seriously using XML will have their own up to date install of libXML2 via MacPorts or Homebrew. The same goes for the rest of the POSIX stuff: this should all be managed outside the OS so that it can easily be kept up to date with upstream security fixes.

Get with it Apple!

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Yahoo! kills! more! passwords! with! push! notification! app!

Charlie Clark
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Actually, using the phone as a replacement for an RSA or similar is quite a nice idea.

Research shows that we all struggle with passwords. Of the various attempts to get rid of them while not reducing security this one seems quite reasonable. Sure: if you lose your phone you might struggle but I think struggling to access Yahoo mail is then probably the least of your worries.

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Oracle fights Russian software policy with Postgres smear

Charlie Clark
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Re: "baseline Postgres without any extras"

Is a truly poor offering.

Horse shit. Out of the box Postgres is a capable RDBMS that gets a lot of things right: if you start developing on a Postgres box then you'll almost certainly be able to scale and move to another system should that become necessary.

For more advanced features there are add-ons, some of which are commercial and some of which are free. And thank god that commercial support from different vendors is available. There are plenty of situations where it isn't the best tool for the job and I have less of an issue with paying for high-end features in Oracle, et al. than I do with their extremely repressive, almost Soviet, licensing policies.

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Microsoft's equality and diversity: Skimpy schoolgirls dancing for nerds at an Xbox party

Charlie Clark
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Inverser nowtrage

What about all the vegetarians and vegans offended by the meat served? Or the tea-totalers by all the beer? I bet Kamina is writing offended letters to the local papers in a couple of years.

Sounds like just another tawdry corporate event to me. They're either naff, boring or both and you know that before you go. Why do you go? Because of the free food and booze.

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Twitter at ten: The social network designed for 2006 struggles into a second decade

Charlie Clark
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Flame

Re: Another pump and dump share price flotation scam

Another profitless unicorn bubble goes pop.

AKA that's what happened to my pension, because the fund manager's took Goldman's advice, and I didn't even get a t-shirt!

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Charlie Clark
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Still the best vox populi source around?

Twitter is most certainly not vox populi. It, and most of the social networks, are echo chambers largely full of banal and inane drivel. There may be the odd island of coherence but I've never had the patience to search. Especially after I set up my own bot to add join the conversation add to the noise.

The brevity suggests spontaneity and encourages speed and quantity over quality. Much as if you were listening to a slanging match at your child's playground.

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HERE: We're still, er... HERE

Charlie Clark
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I don't think that's the issue.

Each OS needs a dedicated team of developers and QA. The "free" Android and IOS versions are interesting because of the data they can help provide. There just aren't enough Windows Mobile users to justify continued development. And MS already has Bing Maps.

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Google tries to run from flailing robotics arm

Charlie Clark
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Re: Bad Ideas All Around

Sergey & Larry are Google Alphabet's biggest shareholders and will continue to bet money on moonshots. But the new corporate structure insulates the ad biz a bit from them.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Genuinely impressed

Well, they are continuing to fund robotics research just not of this kind. Not winning the DARPA contract was obviously disappointing as once you get one of those, you've basically got it made.

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Glasgow boiler firm in hot water for cold calls, cops £180K fine

Charlie Clark
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Re: Glasgow boiler firm in hot water for cold calls, cops £180K fine

Why don't the directors pick up the fine when a company has behaved unlawfully.

I guess it depends upon your definition of "unlawful". They can be held personally accountable for criminal actions, ie. those that lead to criminal proceedings. But, guess what, the ICO is a regulator and not a court.

In any case to go after these chumps you're best going after the telcos that provide the services and threaten them with access to the telephone system as an encouragement for them to police themselves.

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HTTPS is not enough: Boffins fingerprint user environments without cracking crypto

Charlie Clark
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Re: No Brainer … ?

I guess the advantage here is the passive nature of an attack. Sitting on a public wifi network, get some data before launching a targeted attack against platform X. But MitM attacks are probably even easier.

Maybe it's just another argument against using open wifi networks?

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Swedish publishers plan summer ‘Block Party’ to thwart ad blockers

Charlie Clark
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Re: Blocking the blockers is trivial

Or do you actually think they would trust website owners to tell them how many times the advert was viewed?!

The relevant lines from the logfiles can easily be provided for verification.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Good Luck

It's time for a "payments API".

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I dumped AdBlock

Yeah, in the arms race of blockers vs. blocker blockers (sounds like some kind of challenge from "The Double Deckers") I know who I'd put my money on.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Blocking the blockers is trivial

But adverts for yourself on your own site don't pay well. Most websites want to use advert networks - which require externally hosted content...

They still can: the ads get served async from the server from the content server. Gives the content-owner more power and takes the tracking problems out of the equation. This is the real value of the ad networks: they know that I also visit the website of the over-80's nude leapfrog team… Though because they only run collaborative filtering this actually adds little value: you book a holiday and subsequently see lots of ads for holidays.

No, the real threat is the move towards the private internet of Facebook's "instant articles" et al. :-(

Good article about this on The Awl.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Playing Devil's advocate...

Why should the publishers care about losing page visits from users who aren't "paying" by viewing ads?

Because they still need to have lots of visitors to be interesting for advertisers.

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'Just give me any old date and I'll make it work' ... said the VB script to the coder

Charlie Clark
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Re: Every tried to write a free text to date converter?

I'm just a hobbyist coder (which I suspect will be obvious), but not finding what I wanted from the commercial options, I wrote my wife's law firm's client management program back in 2000 using vbscript and ASP. I eventually saw the light and rewrote it in PHP under LAMP in 2007

So much not to like. The best way for generic conversion of text forms of dates and times always uses regexes: use some heuristics to detect the pattern use and apply it. The relevant patterns exist for almost every language.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Dates are a bitch

For example, much as I love Python, I find it quite galling that you have to jump through hoops to json-ize a simple datetime. That's one big thing javascript got right, having a native date type.

Python has had a native date type for a long time now. OTOH the JSON module in the standard library is both slow and cumbersome to extend.

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Charlie Clark
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WTF?

Re: People Love to hate VBA

Do you really mean VBA or VB?

I can think of some nice things to say about VB, or more basically BASIC, as it was the first language I ever came across.

But VBA is an unmitigated disaster.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Finding dates and times in text

Many of the announcements are in a narrative posting - so a function is needed to identify and extract the possible future date/time from a mass of text.

Well, the

<time />
element was supposed to help there but seeing as it does not require the browser to render the value in the user's locale, it was basically just another abortive microformat: worked required by users but only for the benefit of computers.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: DD-MON-YYYY - make your minds up!

I said exactly the same and massive downvoting

Nope you said: yyyy/mm/dd

YYYY-MM-DD is ISO 8601 which is why it gets all the votes. Have another downvote.

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LG builds a DAB+ digital radio radio into a smartmobe

Charlie Clark
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Re: DAB would have some great potential if you get propper equipment

I mean audio takes rather little data, so how about building a radio that just records everything that's on?

Well, that's basically up to the software. I think there are plenty of DAB receivers that do allow the stream to be recorded but the UI quickly becomes the problem.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Not everyeone has Spotify

I mainly listen to the news on the radio.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: DAB, DAB+ and Digital Radio Mondial

The only radio station I listen to in Germany (Deutschlandfunk) has terrible reception on FM. I had to get a DAB radio in order to be able to listen to it.

DAB does use more power than FM but it still uses a lot less than any form of streaming. It handles frequency changes when travelling much better than FM and can do without an external antenna.

So, on the whole: well done LG.

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Steve Ballmer: Get the Facts. I 'love' SQL Server on Linux

Charlie Clark
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Re: Let's be honest!

Balmer is a bigger embarrassment than Microsoft Bob

I'm not Ballmer fan, but look at dividend and stock price growth during his tenure. He did a great job for shareholders, of which he remains the largest.

Yes, he bought AQuantive, Skype and Nokia all of which subsequently saw massive write downs. Yes he was responsible for Windows 8 (but also Windows 7, which is standard for enterprises) and he also poured resources into enterprise products that we seldom hear about but which are healthy business units. He also made resources available for Azure and got out of the hot seat once he realised that he was making more bad decisions than good ones. The board and thus the shareholders never asked him to leave. That they took so long to find a replacement says a lot about how unprepared they were.

Yes, MS is losing market share to mobile devices but it's still making a tidy profit and exploring new ways of making money.

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How a Brexit could stop UK biz and Europe swapping personal data

Charlie Clark
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This referendum will be decided by soundbite politics and racism.

How true!

Add to that: hair cuts, smart suits and Theresa May's footwear.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Nice that someone else realized it

I'm not coming back! I'll be staying in Germany. Luckily married to a German woman and have been here long enough to apply for citizenship.

You can have both: I do.

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Charlie Clark
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If there's an out vote in England, I think there is a case for Scotland (plus whatever other peripheral nations/regions) to remain as a successor state.

Outside the SNP's reality distortion field there isn't such a case. The treaties are with the United Kingdom as a whole. The referendum, stupid idea in the first place, is for the whole of the UK. That's the deal that the government of the UK did with the rest of the EU and that the parliament of the UK, where Scotland is more than adequately represented, will produce a bill for a referendum.

A low-oil Scotland would face a tough choice should it decide to leave the UK (main trading partner) and subsequently apply for EU membership. Schengen is now a condition for new members so that would mean border controls between England and Scotland.

British, Bavarian, Catalan, Flemish and probably a whole load of others politicians don't half talk some shit when they get the chance.

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Stop whining, America: Your LTE makes Europe look slow

Charlie Clark
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Re: There are two Americas

I think you're saying that the _average_ population density in the US is much lower than it is in western Europe, which is self-evident.

Well, yes. Except poor coverage in the US starts a lot closer to the built-up areas than in Europe. Even in Silicon Valley, coverage is very poor once you get away from the main centres of population and the motorways.

Absent government subsidies (as were given in ages past for rural free mail delivery), there is no economic incentive for the telecoms to build out in the great empty.

Whereas it was a requirement of the licences awarded in Europe that at least 90% of the population / area (varies from country to country) are covered. Part of the cost of providing this more or less universal coverage is also holding back the buildout of LTE.

Then again, the stubborn refusal of us European to pay US prices – doesn't matter whether it's telephone, internet or pay TV – has led to a more competitive and more advanced business model with more and more specialisation and joint ventures with the equipment makers.

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Charlie Clark
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but the lack of quality LTE must be hurting our economy as its not a good networking environment for innovation.

That sounds like a plea for a handout!

I like the idea of being able to submit Yelp reviews as a litmus test for the digital economy. How much data do you actually need on the move? Assuming you have some local storage for maps and media I think you'll find that you'll be fine with the occasional hotspot.

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Charlie Clark
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There are two Americas

In the big cities coverage is indeed excellent and there is competition. Outside the cities and it can be a very different story: shitty mobile coverage and ISPs with monopoly coverage.

For most people the 3G+ speeds that you can get in most of Europe are adequate for most tasks. This is why "pay more for LTE" failed to get any takers, unlike stateside where it was LTE or EDGE.

LTE was designed for gradual rollout.

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Don't fear PC-pocalypse, Chromebooks, two-in-ones 'will save us'

Charlie Clark
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Errr... isn't there a build of W10 for the Raspberry PI?

Yes, and I agree with you that it shows MS is starting to take ARM seriously. Something they didn't do first time round.

The RPi2 is okay for desktop use (processor speed is less of an issue than I/O). The RPi3 is more than adequate, albeit with the same provisos. Single-thread performance is still poor in comparison with x86 but more cores can generally make up for this as long as you're not repeatedly parsing a large DOM.

However, I wouldn't expect MS to lead here as it still does not have a very convincing strategy for multi-arch binaries: you cannot run x64 binaries on a 32-bit version of Windows.

Based on what I've seen of the ARM64 I can imagine Apple going ARM with the MacBook this year or next: it provides most of the software that will run on it and has a long-established toolchain for cross-compiling for x86 and ARM. What the ARM cores don't provide in straight CPU oomph can be added in custom hardware (encryption) and the GPUs can be made to do more. If they can do this and knock a bit off what they would otherwise pay Intel I can see this happening. I can also see them releasing hardware that will not run x86 code. The target market for the shiny gold MacBook probably doesn't have oodles of legacy software it wants to run.

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European commish considers probing Android, again

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

My main complaint is that MS and its backers appear to get preferential treatment from the EU commission

That's nonsense. It took a long time but the EC was the only body to impose real sanctions on Microsoft and enforce compliance. This went a long way to keeping the media market open on Windows devices.

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Mozilla burns Firefox on old Androids

Charlie Clark
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Honeycomb was a tablet only release

NFT

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Charlie Clark
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Re: old android

All the modern browsers are irrelevance on older devices because of memory use (needed to go moar faster with modern websites). Opera Mini is a great choice for such devices and is well-maintained by Opera precisely for this market.

OTOH I suspect the numbers of users in developing countries on older versions (< 4.x) of Android is very small. They skipped it initially because hardware was too expensive. Once handsets became available for less than $ 100 they came with Android > 4 on them.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Pity

Ruari Odegård (ex-Opera dev) touted this particular feature yesterday when promoting the most recent version of Vivaldi

I don't use Vivaldi for everything but it does seem to have much the same kind of spirit of Opera of old.

Elsewhere Opere devs tout native ad-blocking as if 2003 had never happened. At least I think it was 2003 when Opera introduced ad-blocking. Before there were even extensions for other browsers.

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Google emits Android N developer preview early to smoke out bugs

Charlie Clark
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Re: N = "Not For You"

Sounds like you need to get in touch with Motorola.

At this point, given the near complete lack of any sort of updates, I'm assuming it's roughly as secure as my Windows XP box.

Nope, it's certainly not invulnerable but Android definitely is a lot more secure than XP ever was.

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Charlie Clark
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Good move

Early access for developers should prove a boon for the conference. It also suggests that Google might be starting to open the development process up a bit.

It's also good PR for Android as it will mean more articles about what's coming next.

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Java evangelist leaves Oracle to save Java

Charlie Clark
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Re: Please just let Java die...Please!

The main purpose is to stop stupid programming errors by requiring programmers to explicitly say what a variable *is*, so the compiler can check and enforce how it's *used*.

There are enough examples of where static typing doesn't help here. The compiler can certainly help pick up some errors that would otherwise require specific unit tests, but it's far from infallible.

Type hints in Python are explicitly flagged as being there for "the tooling", ie. machine processing and optimisation of the code.

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Sexism isn't getting better in Silicon Valley, it's getting worse

Charlie Clark
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Re: Can we stop this nonsense

It is indeed. However it is possible to do more than one thing at once, so I'm sure you'll agree that racism is not the only inequality which needs to be addressed now.

I do agree and obviously didn't make myself clear. On the other hand, it looks like I'm heading for my own personal best in downvotes, which is nice.

I highlighted the incarceration rate of black Americans because it remains high even after decades of affirmative action.

I'm even more sceptical that any of the tokenisms such as IWD and the various feel-good about diversity boondoggles which ever be good for anyone other than the organisers.

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Charlie Clark
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I find a lot of these agendas are pushed by feminists and they don't actually want gender equality.

Not so sure about that. Depends upon your definition of feminist, I guess.

However, there is no doubt in my mind that there is now an industry of "victim culture". It's not actually interested solutions just in talking shops and junkets for its members.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Can we stop this nonsense

Indeed. Would be nice to see if America could do something about the incarceration rate of black men: 25 - 33% (sorry, no current stats to hand) of black men spend some time in jail. To my mind that's a far bigger disgrace than any of the "quota" issues. All kinds of policies have failed to have a significant impact on this.

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Charlie Clark
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Dr Sue Black

"Our society is vaguely misogynistic…" WTF is that supposed to mean? Sounds like something from The Day Today. Then again Sue Black would organise <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G07sWzYObnk>excellent jam festivals</a>, I think.

I was at a corporate client's HQ yesterday. Roses were being handed out to women at the canteen because it was international women's day. Can someone help explain how this helps break down stereotypes because I fucking can't. Just more bloody tokenism. And ironic when you consider where, and under what conditions, roses are grown so they can be handed out in early March in Europe.

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'Microsoft Office has been the bane of my life, while simultaneously keeping me employed'

Charlie Clark
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Why bother?

Just use xlwings (works also on MacOS). Though for this particular task I'd be tempted to do it all in Python, with my-developer-of-a-Python-Excel-library hat on, as the overhead of communicating with Excel severely limits any parallelism.

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