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* Posts by Charlie Clark

2258 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Nokia, Microsoft put on brave face as Lumia 925s parachute into Blighty

Charlie Clark
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Looks good, sounds great but…

does it have Öffi, The Economist, Podcatcher, Fritz!Fon, etc. for it? (feel free to add to the list). No? Then I'm not interested, Mr Microsoft.

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AMD announces 'world's first commercially available 5GHz CPU'

Charlie Clark
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Just wait until they start to "synergise" after "touching base".

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Def

Post for Mr Bates - from Syrup & Figs, London

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Magpie Apple plunders the competition for cosmetics, as egos run wild

Charlie Clark
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Oh my eyes!

I can see the teenies going for this bubblegum shit but as for the rest of humanity… well, I for one would rather wield a Motorola Indecipherable from the late 90s than one of these.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Copying

Yes, but who goes around sueing everyone else for their flattery?

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Apple at WWDC: Sleek new iOS, death of the big cats, pint-sized Mac Pro

Charlie Clark
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Re: @Charlie, Innovation?

@Kristian - thanks very much for the additional background information. I haven't looked at the new stuff in any detail but from my first impressions and what you're saying, it sounds like there is a deliberate element of fashion being introduced into the UI - you can imagine cases and themes automatically adjusting. A usability nightmare but I can see the fashionistas lapping it up.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Innovation?

No, you're not alone in that. Though I wouldn't say it's all Windows Phone. The new home screen looks to me like a combination of the late Symbian style and Android. The photos and especially the subscription screen on the other hand do owe more than a little to Metro. This is fine as Metro's pared back design has a lot going for it in the right environment and with the right controls. The overall effect is much more Nokia than Apple, I predict new I-Phones in different coloured cases.

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Cold, dead hands of Steve Jobs slip from iPhones: The Cult of Ive is upon us

Charlie Clark
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Re: Not quite as pointless as I thought.

Good points. Of course, Apple is now playing catch up. By autumn the next version of Android will be out, multiuser support, especially on tablets will be the next multi-tasking. Innovation is something Apple used to do quite well.

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Apache devs: 'We'll ship no OpenOffice before its time'

Charlie Clark
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Re: I just want ONE feature introduced..

On MacOS I use both LibreOffice and I even recently bought Office 2011 for Mac, mainly for testing openpyxl but it's actually much nicer to use on Mac than on Windows. NeoOffice isn't going anywhere fast I reckon.

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Charlie Clark
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Initially I stuck with OpenOffice as LibreOffice did a lot of political flag-waving but they seem to have got their act together now and are concentrating on the code. But I recently switched to LibreOffice after reading one of the OO's devs? comments about not supporting .xlsx. LibreOffice isn't everything but it is out there and being worked on.

Time-based releasing has a lot going for it as long as there is sufficient test coverage.

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Airbus imagines suitcases that find themselves

Charlie Clark
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Re: They would still lose it.

Carry on luggage is definitely something that "budget" airlines are looking to get rid of. The aim is to get everybody used to paying for checking every bag.

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Comcast expands public Wi-Fi net using customers' modems

Charlie Clark
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Yes, but this is a problem with WiFi which had security backfitted. The biggest problem is on things like trains where M-i-M is standard.

But you can see where this is going: Comcast is going to get into the mobile business where it can use something like a SIM to provide reasonable security and this would be a good thing.

I've just been reconfiguring my WiFi - there are 26 other WiFi networks around on 2.4 GHz including two probable honeypots. :-/

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Google boasts of app tuning prowess on 'warehouse scale clusters'

Charlie Clark
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Interesting

But can we please avoid meaningless superlatives such as hyperscale web application. I'm happy for something from the Register Standards bureau explaining how many (flip-)FLOPS this means. Ideas?

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Review: Acer Aspire P3 Windows 8 slate

Charlie Clark
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Advert for a MacBook Air?

a lower resolution can be an advantage when it comes to tapping: small full HD screens can be imprecise, making small checkboxes almost impossible to prod

Seriously? Have Microsoft still not got this sorted out: higher pixel density does not have to mean smaller objects. Even though Apple still haven't got this sorted, as the I-Pad Mini demonstrates, they have at least understood how to handle normal / retina displays for apps by only offering one or the other.

Non-adjustable angle of the screen when using they keyboard? Colour me unimpressed.

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Albert Einstein brings cheese and clean pyjamas to space station

Charlie Clark
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Re: Payload...

Thanks. Together with the other numbers it sounds like it's reasonably cost-effective.

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Charlie Clark
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Payload

ATV-4 is carrying a record payload of 2480 kg dry cargo

Anyone know how this compares with the Dragon , both in terms of capacity and cost per mission?

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Never mind WinRT: Tiny Win8 slabs will ship with free Office, too

Charlie Clark
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Just what the market doesn't need

More confusion about what Microsoft is selling. I'm not even sure if the distinction between "business" and "home" use would hold up much before a court. Maybe Microsoft isn't either as it can't seriously be planning to check up, but it is bound to piss people off seeing something for free on the cheaper version that has to be paid for on the premium.

Clearly, one thing Microsoft is doing is simply to clear inventory of Surface. Bundling Office and a keyboard cover should certainly help there, though they might still have to do a BlackBerry and half the price to get people interested. And then there is the high chance that they'll do a Windows Phone with RT and not provide updates to the next version whether it's 8.1 or whatever.

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Intel unzips new Atom phone chip: Low power, fast - is that right, ARM?

Charlie Clark
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Re: Intel is more open then ARM

The source code tree of the Linux kernel.

Open source != Linux and openness is most certainly something completely different. See Charles Manning's post for a thorough explanation.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: No signs of competition yet

I have had 7 flagship androids in the past three years, certainly not out of need, and I badly want Intel Inside and will absolutely without question be buying a merrifield handset.

Okay, I think we get it - you love buying the latest and greatest whatever. Not sure this is the best qualification when talking about industrial policy, though it seems to be fine for a lot of pundits.

How have you got on with the Motorola Razr X, intel-powered and a good phone by all reports?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: What a bunch of drivvel

+lots

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Charlie Clark
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Re: what better CPU power peformance gives, LTE takes away

Yes, but it has to be sold in bite-size bits to inexpert journalists.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: No signs of competition yet

Intel means little or nothing to consumers. The business of consumer electronics is significantly different to that of the (rapidly declining PC market. Lenovo is big in CHINA but this has an awful lot to do restrictive practices (it's has a monopoly in some areas) and it hasn't really done much in the CE business in getting market share from rivals like ZTE and Huawei.

The head-to-head comparison of the Atom with ARM shows that Intel has indeed caught up in performance per Watt but, and this is more important for consumers: the multicore ARM devices are more responsive and they still have more software. Intel is obviously prepared to invest lots of money to stay at the table and, as long as this increases customer choice, this is exactly as it should be: Intel is setting hardware and process manufacturing benchmarks and ARM is dropping the price.

It would also be wrong to think that either South Korea or China are going to give up the idea of owning the full technology stack including chip design and production.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Intel is more open then ARM

Sorry, although you provide technical details it remains difficult to discern what actual your point it. What tree or code are you referring to? What does that have to do with "openness"?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Intel is more open then ARM

The thing ARM aren't compeating on is openness. They're certainly not competing on spelling! ;-)

Inasmuch as ARM provides detailed design specifications to all and sundry they certainly are open. For manufacturers openness is less of a problem than those who write the OS. I remember a commenter a while back pointing how difficult it is not having a standard bootloader across all ARM platforms. Maybe you're referring to that? Or the "closed" source components from ARM-makers such as Broadcom.?

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Charlie Clark
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How much?

Is what manufacturers will ask themselves when looking at this. As long as Intel chips are still significantly more expensive than those from nVidia, Qualcomm, TI, Samsung, MediaTek, et al. it's going to be a very hard sell.

Then there are all the additional costs of adding stuff that isn't on the chip. Customisation is bread and butter for the ARM-makers but not something Intel does a lot of.

Intel is still ahead in the manufacturing process but the last time I checked the lead wasn't so great anymore. Intel now has 22nm, ARM is moving to 28nm and moving to 22nm next year with costs spread across huge volumes.

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Intel's plan for Haswell, Silvermont, Bay Trail: WORLD DOMINATION

Charlie Clark
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Yes, yes it's all very nice but…

… the prices and margins of these devices continue to fall and Intel's prices will as well.

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Steelie Neelie wants roaming charges gone by Easter 2014

Charlie Clark
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Re: I'd rather see

That is certainly not the case in Germany. Anyway, termination fees are determined by national regulators.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Great

To do so would be to engage in price-fixing… which is illegal but the responsibility of national regulators.

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Charlie Clark
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Holmes

Roaming charges are an example of gouging. When licences were bid for, roaming profits were excluded from the calculations. All monies earned, presumably moved around by the multinational operators for the most tax-efficient treatment, are not used to keep national charges low but to increase profits.

The reason why landlines are not quite the same is down to termination fees, though within Europe they are approaching the same for most users. This has, of course, been helped by the Commission forcing through the wholesale telco market, something which it is trying to introduce to mobile.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Countless, Needless, Artificial Obstacles

Prepare to be corrected - the European Commission has a tiny budget in comparison to the bureaucracies of nation states. It is an easy target for populist media but very few of the allegations made about it ever hold water. Increased competition, common minimal standards (which would have prevented BSE if Britain hadn't weaseled) and legal redress across borders, obviously nobody wants these things.

As part of ensuring there is a single market the Commission was instrumental in mandating a single standard for mobile communications which is why roaming is even possible.

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Google nuke thyself: Mountain View's H.264 righteous flame-out

Charlie Clark
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Re: Blah, blah, blah

As you say, H264 in hardware was what tipped the scales then.

As the resolution of phones continues to increase the need for more efficient codecs increases as well. As long as H265 isn't widely available in hardware there is a chance for alternative. What succeeds will be down to the availability of silicon and licensing terms. It's perfectly possible that Google will continue to use VP9 to ensure favourable licensing conditions rather than say providing a reference implementation via Motorola: going head to head against Broadcom might not worry them too much but Qualcomm would be a different matter.

As YouTube's business model depends on the fastest performance possible I think we can expect Google to try everything that works. It already has an excellent basis for delivering the optimum performance to each device and has started flexing its muscles against Microsoft in how YouTube's content can be consumed.

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Charlie Clark
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Blah, blah, blah

Google's action kept free to use so job well done to stop Microsoft and Apple using MPEG LA to keep out the competition.

And seeing as how Google is working on VP9 it hardly looks like they've given up. H264 may have won this round but where is H265? Google now has both YouTube and Android to encourage the adoption of VP9.

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Google gives vendors seven-day bug disclosure deadline

Charlie Clark
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Comparison

+1

Just imagine they were talking about machines that were in use: withholding information about known glitches could easily be considering as obstructing the course of justice. Too many vendors still do not take software security seriously enough.

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Microsoft's Windows 8.1 secrets REVEALED ... sort of

Charlie Clark
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Re: IE11 - The only browser built for touch?

If you are trying to touch a link that is small and near other links, Chrome will automatically enlarge that screen section so you can accurately touch the link you want.

FWIW Opera Mini and Mobile have always done this.

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Ruby on Fails: Zombie SERVER army built thanks to Rails bug

Charlie Clark
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I don't think it matters much. Don't put too much faith in server admins knowing security that well.

Webservers are simply easier to find and, therefore, attack than home computers. Once compromised they probably have access to lots more bandwidth. On the other hand good ISPs will probably have monitoring in the data centre which should notice traffic spikes or the installation of certain types of exploits and may proactively shutdown compromised resources.

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Charlie Clark
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Progamming style

From the CVE it's clear that the vulnerability is due to RoR trying to do parameter quoting itself rather than enforcing prepared statement and relying on the database driver to quote. This is common in convenience frameworks.

So, it's the difference between the following Python-style pseudo-code.

connection.execute("SELECT * FROM table WHERE x = ?", (paras)) <- as safe as the DB can make it

and

connection.execute("SELECT * FROM table WHERE x = …") <- only as good as you can make it.

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Living with a 41-megapixel 808 PureView: Symbian's heroic last stand

Charlie Clark
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Re: Theory why it's Symbian only

He said that Windows Phone simply couldn't handle the huge data throughput to the processor.

Shortly after the first I-Phone was released I was chatting to a friend who worked for Nokia in Finland. While I personally was not very impressed with the I-Phone at the time (remember it only had widgets) he rightly tipped it to be a real threat for Nokia. He also said that Nokia were struggling to get their camera functions to be as fast as Sony Ericsson. This would have been about 2008 which would coincide with the timeframe. You almost definitely want to avoid passing media through the CPU because it will be the bottleneck. You must be able to offload the work to a GPU and you need the OS' support to do that. This is presumably what Samsung has managed with the S4 which can merge the video from both cameras in real time.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Theory why it's Symbian only

How easy do you think it is porting the stuff from Symbian to Windows Phone? What you suggest would only make sense if Nokia had more control of the OS which is where you need some of the tweaks to make this work. Is Microsoft about to embrace QT for the GUI like Symbian has?

The market continues to accept products with impressive value propositions despite eventual shortcomings. By failing either to continue to provide Symbian phones or Windows phones with comparable functionality Nokia has traded a very hard-won technological advantage for the hope of market share which has yet to materialise. Its rivals have jumped in which is why Samsung is trading on the Galaxy phone brand with cameras.

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Apple says 'zai jian' to Foxconn, taps Pegatron for new iPhones

Charlie Clark
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Re: racism with the morning coffee

the expected influx of cheap labour from Romania and Bulgaria

What expected influx? The UK doesn't have the kind of manufacturing industry that would benefit from such an influx which, therefore, unlikely to happen. Romania already has a reasonably well-established outsourcing sector for car and garment makers. There is still demand for low-paid, low-skilled workers in agriculture and the service industry but there have been reports that EU migrants are starting to avoid Britain because pay is too low.

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Windows Phone piques CIO interest says analyst

Charlie Clark
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Re: Hidden parameter

Not sure if it's discounts which you only get for licences as much as simple face-saving about the decision to wed themselves to a Microsoft-only strategy. It's not as if Microsoft actually gives a shit about its large customers in the way IBM (used to) with the banks.

I wouldn't be surprised if we don't see some high profile CIO exits and strategy revisions over the next year or so as support costs fail to go down and employees continue to compare company mandated hardware and software unfavourably with their own devices.

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Charlie Clark
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One of my customers seems quite keen on pursuing a Microsoft only strategy which I suspect might include replacing BlackBerries with Windows Phone at some point though not because of a corporate app store - they already have at least two. However, if they go ahead I think it will be as much to save face as any real value proposition. Microsoft still seems to be falling even further behind in the mobile and browser world but I wouldn't mind swapping my Thinkpad + docking station for a tablet + docking station, though I'd be happier still with a simple VM image. We'll have to see how things pan out when the next hardware replacement wave starts next year.

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Microsoft links Skype to Lync

Charlie Clark
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Not the whole story

The integration only works if you have a Microsoft account and use the awful new Skype clients. AFAIK users with pre-Microsoft accounts still use the classic Skype infrastructure, which Microsoft is obviously keen to drop.

I have Lync for one of my customers and it's not a patch on my > 10 year old Skype client for ease of use. VoIP doesn't work even on the same network, though this probably an issue with the VPN not being able to handle audio packets very well - video seems to be fine.

As the future of Skype classic is in doubt I'm still looking for a replacement. Google's chat has the better interface (because less cluttered) on my tablet. For IM I'm hoping that Wickr will at some point actually make it to other platforms.

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Tim Cook: Wearable tech's nice, but Google Glass will NEVER BE COOL

Charlie Clark
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Don't forget to add "that Flash memory isn't suitable for portable music players" to the list of uncool things.

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AMD takes on Atom S server chips with 'Kyoto' Opteron Xs

Charlie Clark
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Re: sad

The server market is moving down market with only IBM and Sun still producing chips and servers with real oomph and everyone else fighting for volume as margins fall. There is little or no room for low volume specialist server designs which is why Cray, SGI et al went to the wall.

Compilers and OSes are supposed to pick up the slack so that you can buy a "cheap" box crammed full of chips and it will deliver the power you need. Well, that's the theory and why the comparison with Nvidia's Kepler.

AMD know that ARM is coming and has already licensed it. Being able to offer x86, ARM (presumably merged) and GPU on a single die might yet prove a very smart move.

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Opera debuts Chromium-luvvin' desktop browser Next 15

Charlie Clark
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Turbo / Offroad

Among the changes in Next 15 is Opera's "Off-Road mode", which now sucks on Google's SPDY

Opera has supported SPDY for a while now. Seeing as Turbo already bundles all content into a single stream I'm not sure how much additional oompf that will bring. SPDY is still only in use on a small number of sites (Google, obviously, but also Twitter)

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Impressions so far.

Feeds are in the separately available <a href="http://snapshot.opera.com/opera-mail/first_1.0-1033/Opera-Mail-1.0-1033.i386.exe>Mail client</a>. Always loved having mail and rss integrated in Opera. We'll have to see if separating allows for independent release cycles. This could work in M2's favour as it has traditionally been held back by the browser side's release schedule. But it could also be an orphaning off of the client like Mozilla has effectively done with Thunderbird.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Yeah, well, cheerio

Good luck with writing your own browser! I know a couple of people who've been doing it for many years.

I, too, am a long-time user of Opera and while I'm still "wait-and-see" about what moving to Blink will bring long term I can understand all the arguments for it. The new version has separate processes for each tab, plugin and hardware rendering, something which Opera's engineers have been struggling with for a while. They've also had to struggle with sites simply not working properly with Opera.

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We gave SQL Server 2012 one year to prove itself: What happened?

Charlie Clark
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TCO in comparison with which systems specifically? and for what workloads?

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Charlie Clark
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The Redmond software giant understood that the simple storage of transactions was a given and that the era of analysis was about to start…

If only that (storing transactions is simple) were true! And also "dive through the SQL … provide an abstraction" SQL is an abstraction, though there is nothing forcing software clients to use it.

This article purports to be about a database but is actually about the subset of database work called Business Intelligence.

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The Tomorrow People jaunt back to the airwaves

Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

'twas the season of…

six-season seventies run

What, it ran from spring 1974 to autumn 1975? 'Course, I only watch the box set.

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