* Posts by Charlie Clark

4099 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Boozing is unsafe at ‘any level’, thunders chief UK.gov quack

Charlie Clark
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Pint

Reminds me of Woody Allen

Repeated studies have shown that alcohol in moderation prolongs life: it reduces the risk of heart disease and strokes. In fact the benefits of alcohol in preventing strokes and heart disease are far clearer than the negatives of drinking.

See the film "Sleeper" talking about smoking and eating hamburgers.

I have a lot of time for Sally Hawkins and would side with her on the statement: "there is no safe level". But I think you can do this without being puritanical. Alcohol has strong physiological effects on pretty much all of our major systems and is known to be addictive and mood-changing: some of the worst damage is caused indirectly through injuries and alcohol-fuelled violence.

I also can't recall any studies that suggested that the chemical alcohol was in any way healthy. There are various benefits attributed to some of the byproducts of some of our tipples (red wine for hearts, pseudo-oestrogen for bones, etc.) but I don't think we'll ever see dispensaries of surgical alcohol.

But banning something rarely makes it go away. Health education is the key to helping people make more informed decisions. There is much in our lifestyle that increases the risk to health but as the Dutch say "geniet, maar met mate" – "all things in moderation". I'll drink to that.

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Was Android moving to OpenJDK really a Google gift to devs?

Charlie Clark
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Great comment. The article is largely FUD.

Anyway, isn't Google moving more and more away from Java to native code? It can easily afford to sit out the court case with Oracle, pay any damages in the unlikely result that is found against it, and carry on regardless. Oracle needs people wanting to work with Java more than Google needs any particular programming language.

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Say oops, UPSERT your head: PostgreSQL version 9.5 has landed

Charlie Clark
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Three cheers!

Postgres really has been coming along the last few years (i've been using it since version 7.1). I think UPSERT will really help it make new friends but some of the other tweaks may even lead to monkey dances: will the BRIN index makes Postgres suitable for time series work?

Still some things are never finished. What features are we missing from Postgres?

Personally, having recently being bitten by it, I'd love to see support for loose index scans be built into the optimiser.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Is it bad design

I don't think that's relevant. UPSERT is great because it allows you to replace possibly multiple queries (insert of new values, update of existing ones) with corresponding correlated subqueries with a declarative one: INSERT ON CONFLICT IGNORE; or, INSERT ON CONFLICT UPDATE which will respect existing constraints. UPSERT, by definition, is irrelevant for tables without unique constraints such as primary keys.

This is much, much easier for both man and machine to understand and has added the advantage of putting giving responsibility for optimising the correlated subqueries to the query optimiser.

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ANN-IE-LATION: Microsoft to axe support for older Internet Explorer next week

Charlie Clark
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Re: for whatever reason are still running Windows Vista...

May I recommend Xubuntu?

YMMV but I don't think that will work for most people. I haven't come across a single desktop Linux distro that hasn't fucked up.something major at some point.

If people only need e-mail and a browser then a tablet is probably the best thing to get them and bin the PC. A girlfriend of mine is now providing technical support on that to her own mother. But I still get to fix all the PC problems! ;-)

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Nice thoughts from them.. NOT.

IE 11 gets regular bug fixes. Not my favourite browser but everything > 9 is generally okay, if you discount the vestigial ActiveX support that so many enterprises still need.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: for whatever reason are still running Windows Vista...

one reason would be that it is the only supported version for which no Windows 10 nagware is force-installed.

Pretty poor reason considering all the rest of the nastiness in Vista.

However, I still don't understand why MS hasn't done the work to release IE 11 for Windows. Having IE 9 around for only one OS (let's ignore the servers at the moment) suits no one.

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Longing to bin Photoshop? Rock-solid GIMP a major leap forward

Charlie Clark
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Re: My (grumpy) prediction for 2016

It's a shame, because GIMP could be a flagship 'product' for FOSS on the desktop.

It couldn't because it is the GTK (Gimp Tool Kit) that hates the user: it's an abomination.

Anyway users will never really care about FOSS. They will care about free (as in beer) and they will care about the ability to get the job done. People who profess to care about FOSS aren't really users.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Tough Sell

There are now lots of very good Photoshop alternatives for around $50. Personally I use Photoline (excellent PSD support) but Serif's Affinity Photo has been getting a lot of fans.

Much as I support open source software, for many things like image editing it's worth paying a bit for convenience. A good UI that supports your workflow will quickly repay itself. This is why Adobe is still able to charge so much for something like Illustrator.

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BT and EE, O2 and Three: Are we in for a year of Euro telco mega-mergers?

Charlie Clark
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However, John Strand, a telecoms analyst, opposes this view. "There's no academic evidence to support the idea that greater competition leads to more investment," he says.

What the fuck is that guy smoking? Oh, he's on a retainer for one of the vested interests.

Competition is a key driver of innovation and investment. It was the combination of industry standards (GSMA) and regulated competition that drove the European telecoms market back at the turn of the millennium. Without it it's highly unlikely that 3G would ever have been deployed. The US has really only been playing catch up and network quality drops a lot as soon as you get outside the larger cities.

The rules for competition for all industries in Europe are pretty clear. Indeed it is these very rules which are facilitating the development of true cross-border services. The European Commission can intervene in national markets but only within clearly defined limits. But, let's face it, it will do a far better job of regulating telecoms in the UK than Ofcom has managed so far. Wholesale pricing and the phasing out of roaming charges will do more to strengthen competition than the number of national operators.

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Rumor mill in overdrive as Dell pumps up Perot price, Atos offers $4.3bn

Charlie Clark
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Nail: on head, hit

Dell needs to look like the kind of company that does a good deal, since the EMC merger is still subject to shareholder approval. A break-even sale of Perot Systems six years after purchasing it does not look great.

Especially with so much freshly printed money still sloshing around. If price is compared with the debt-fuelled premium that Dell paid for EMC then it looks even worse. Of course, this week's stockmarket jitters won't make it any easier to get the $ 5 bn, even though Atos should have no problems raising the cash (thanks Mario for offering to buy up any kind of shit).

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We're all really excited about new smartphones, laptops, tablets – said no one ever

Charlie Clark
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Re: Small poll but interesting

I clearly dont fit into your demographic of an average Apple user

You clearly do.

my 2013 i-Mac is fine for the foreseeable.... I will revisit this when I hit the upgrade wall which has just happened on my partners Macbook pro which is about 8 years old now, my iPhone 6+ is fine, I will look at the next release to see if there is anything compelling introduced, and then decide if I really need it... chances are I wont.

Stop kidding yourself. You obviously have enough cash to stay on the Apple bandwagon and Apple's marketing will do its damnedest this autumn to convince you that the IPhone is compelling.

FWIW I have a second-hand MacBook Pro from 2010 and a 2006 MacMini, which has been artificially cut off from updates because Apple can't be arsed to recompile the video drivers for 64-bit.

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Ten years in, ultra-high-def gets a standard

Charlie Clark
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Re: What we really need

Don't get me wrong 4K will be great for pron

Are you sure? Won't the new colour depth highlight the false tans that all the actors have?

Mine's the mac with the heavily thumbed magazine in the pocket, thanks.

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Thinking of buying a Surface? Try a modular OLED Thinkpad first

Charlie Clark
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Re: At last!

Need to know Lenovo haven't put any suspicious hard to remove malware on it

You can almost bet on that :-(. Format and install the OS of choice, assuming you can get hold of the right drivers. Though I suspect if you go through the right vendor you can get an enterprise Windows 7 without the crap.

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Charlie Clark
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At last!

Looks like some amazing kit! OLED notebook: WANT

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Charlie Clark
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Re: nice highlighting of sales speak dross in the review

But I could be wrong, maybe they've invented a new isotope.

Going to be difficult to make it notably lighter as a result!

Presumably they've tinkered with the alloy a bit.

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Got a Nexus? Google has five critical Android security fixes for you

Charlie Clark
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Just another example of why anyone who chooses to use an Android phone is bonkers

Actually, it's just an example of product liability legislation not being properly applied. Companies like Samsung would certainly up the game if they had a few legal cases to deal with. Of course, you're out of luck with your Note II (long out of warranty) but you should be able to stick CM on it without too many problems: a friend of mine keeps his Galaxy II alive with it. Still, if you've got the cash to splurge on an IPhone 6s, then good for you.

Apple does have a justly good reputation for providing updates for all its handsets at once. But this isn't to say that it doesn't leave them exposed to flaws for long periods of time (the IOS 9 release notes indicated some glaring holes) and anecdotal evidence suggests that IOS updates are also used to encourage hardware updates.

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Firefox will support non-standard CSS for WebKit compatibility

Charlie Clark
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Move along nothing to see

As Peter-Paul Koch pointed out a while back: vendor prefixes are a solution looking for a problem. Working with them without some magic CSS automation which knew when to use which prefixes, added considerably to the overhead for the developer with little obvious benefit: testing them is also a real pain.

The idea behind prefixes was sound enough: allow development in practice rather than in committee but the implementation sucked. A simple switch in the browser "support experimental features" would have sufficed. This would have encouraged gradual enhancement and prevented developers targeting experimental features. Fortunately, Google and Opera decided to stop creating new prefixes for Blink in 2013 and this approach is gradually being adopted by the other browser makers. Except Apple.

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Apple had more CVEs than any single MS product in 2015, but it doesn't really matter

Charlie Clark
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Re: As a Mac user I often wish Apple could do better.

TimeMachine has creative ideas about backup robustness.

I find it pretty robust but it has recently developed a habit of chewing cycles and trying to use all the memory. Fortunately stopping and restarting seems to solve this.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: As a Mac user I often wish Apple could do better.

I really would like to believe that Tim Cook is serious about quality product.

So would I. Except the sales numbers are probably telling him that he doesn't have to be.

I think the release management is now back on track but, considering the lack of innovation, the number of bugs and the time it takes to fix them (compare Safari with Chromium), it's all a bit depressing.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Useless Stats

Apple (and we love to hate them here) are actually pretty good at publishing their bugs a CVE's.

When they finally get round to fixing them. IMO Apple is still encouraging a cult of silence and sitting on too many bugs for too long.

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BBC News website takes New Year's Eve break

Charlie Clark
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Actually, I blame Drupal.

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Cat fight: Watch out YouTube, here comes Facebook

Charlie Clark
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Re: Difference

Most YouTube users are now logged in either in Chrome or via the mobile apps.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: strange article

Where's the pinch of salt icon?

This is just another of Matt Asay's bits of fluff either for the company he's currently with or for one of his friends: high on opinion, low on fact.

Most YouTube content is shit but for some time now people have been making real money on it. With the move to mobile it also provides much more data about users than when it was just on the web: most users are now logged in and actively engaged. An increasing number of people do use YouTube to consume content like they used to watch TV and this is bringing content and advertisers to the platform. But YouTube also excels at the technology: the technology needed to do all that transcoding, hosting and delivery is simply staggering and one of the reasons why so many media companies rely on YouTube to host trailers in increasingly high resolution. YouTube might well continue to build on those partnerships in, albeit uneasy, exclusive one-offs, particularly of live events.

But a more fundamental critique of the article: just as Facebook doesn't need to make money with video, neither does Alphabet. Page and Brin have made it abundantly clear that they're not interested in quick profits and they control the company. Besides the running costs of the platforms pale in comparison with some of the acquisitions: just think how much Facebook has spunked on WhatsApp, Oculus and Instagram. Alphabet has at least been buying physical product.

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New HTTP error code 451 to signal censorship

Charlie Clark
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Re: Can we also have error 551 to indicate 'Censorship needed'

You'll miss the internet when it's gone.

What? You mean apart from the porn? ;-)

Just imagine going back to getting things done!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Already in use?

Fuckwits shouldn't be adding their own codes in IETF space.

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The ball's in your court, Bezos: Falcon 9 lands after launching satellites

Charlie Clark
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Re: but how much re-use can you get?

I guess you don't know until you try.

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No £160m for you: BT to receive termination notice from Cornwall before Christmas

Charlie Clark
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Re: Getting out from under.

That wouldn't apply here as this a clear breach of contract.

The kind of case that TTIP wants mediated in smoke-filled rooms are when councils or government decide something is a public resource. Examples of this would be the various "recommunalisations" of utilities going on in Germany, especially those around deals with juicy fixed profits like in Berlin.

An equivalent for the UK would be the contract for the new nuclear plant: under TTIP this piece of crap would be extremely expensive to repeal. Or any of the "heads I win, tails you lose" public-private partnerships. I'm not averse to getting private money directly involved in public projects as opposed to bond financing but the final risk should be equally shared.

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Free Wi-Fi for the NHS, promises health secretary Jeremy Hunt

Charlie Clark
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Re: What a bunch of tw@ts

It's not about filtering: it's about the waste of resources trying to set up and manage public wifi networks. If you do set them up, worrying about content filtering is probably the least of your worries.

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Charlie Clark
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Mushroom

Hunt the Cunt

Yes, I know it's cheap but if the cap fits… and it does so obviously here

Everyone using the NHS expects it to be a world leader in digital healthcare

I think that should be something like

Everyone using the NHS expects it to be a world leader in digital healthcare

Patient care and total quality approaches such as those practised at the Queen Elizabeth in Birmingham are so much more important than public wifi. Hospitals need to have their own IT running properly and safely first.

Safe, large-scale wireless networks are a total bugger to setup properly. A friend of mine who does work on hospital IT recently spent a whole week on a training course at Cisco on how to set up hospital wifi that wasn't going to be hacked the second it went live. You simply can't do this with the commodity gear that the cheapo companies tend to use.

And, at the end of the day, competition and technology are continuing to drive down costs so that people should be able to use their own data connections in most parts of the hostiple. This also nicely solves any possible problems of liability Put Faraday cages up in all the sensitive bits: do this in open areas so that you can charge a premium for sub-standard services (like American hotels have been doing) and you can expect similar law suits.

And if anyone is unfortunate enough to come close to the current Wanker of Health then give hime a smack from me. And that silly moo MLF!

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Brazil gets a WTF WhatsApp moment

Charlie Clark
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I would argue that that such a service should be difficult if not impossible for a single agent to close otherwise, it demonstrates their vulnerability to less official interference.

Who would you argue it to? It's a key part of national sovereignty to be able close services as deemed fit by the courts. WhatsApp is not a utility like water or electricity.

With the internet this is technically extremely difficult without full control of all the cables and radios but it is still well within the remit of the courts to try to do so. China and other countries do it all the time and America is moving that way.

And people should wake up to some of their dependencies. I don't care whether WhatsApp isn't available because of a court injunction or because the company goes bankrupt. I should have a plan B. As Kieren notes, there's a lesson in there about the "network effects" that are trumpeted by the unicorns and their backers.

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Mozilla looses Firefox 43, including Windows 64-bit variant

Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

Your right. I red it as "Mozilla Loses Firefox For Free"

ahem, while we're on the subject of correct spelling… ;-)

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Charlie Clark
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Add-on compatibility

Just upgraded and discovered that several plugins including PageSpeed no longer work. Not such a problem for me at the moment but worth checking before upgrading.

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Kids' TV show Rainbow in homosexual agenda shocker

Charlie Clark
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Rainbow was camp

Don't know if it was really camp. Charmingly naff in the most part rescued by Zippy's childish nastiness.

The soundtrack was just 1970s naff – the flute is this giveaway – virtually all the music for seventies telly was hideous, like the fashion. Maybe there was a law about it? Whatever, some great TV was made and anyone looking for hidden meanings should get out more.

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Microsoft extends Internet Explorer 8 desktop lifeline to upgrade laggards

Charlie Clark
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Re: I know what we'll be doing shortly after the Christmas break then...

"This time will be different".

At least from where I'm standing there's a chance: IE 8 has dropped from 4 % in October to just over 1 % on the sites I can see which have a reasonably large corporate audience.

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Charlie Clark
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Totally agree. There's no irony there. IE 8 added some extra CSS and JS support but was basically the same browser as IE 6.

If there is irony, it's in thinking that by switching to browser + Active X they were avoiding some kind of legacy lock in. Instead they created substandard UX with just the same kind of lock-in as if they'd stuck with a Windows-native client.

At the time Microsoft, ably aided and abetted by software manufacturers around the world, landed a fantastic marketing coup. And it guaranteed them over 50% market share until about 2010. Unfortunately, the fucking stupid idea of letting the browser run privileged code came back to bite them with a vengeance.

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Microsoft to OneDrive users: We're sorry, click the magic link to keep your free storage

Charlie Clark
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Re: Cloud - Isn't it such a lovely, comfy place to put stuff...

Meanwhile over at the Chocolate Factory…

I was helping set up a tablet for a friend's mum at the weekend and Google was offering a "free" 100 GB for Google Drive. Hard to see people sticking with even Microsoft's paid service with such competition.

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Still running IE10? Not for long, says Microsoft

Charlie Clark
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Re: Edge is hardly an alternative

We're both here, so it worked. Not much point in complaining about it, when you knew in advance what to expect?

I skip the article and go straight to the comments and get rewarded: the schizophrenic policy of dropping support for IE 10 and IE 9 on Windows but maintaining it for Vista. This is increasingly the case for most of El Reg. The article could have had some value if it at least included data from El Reg's own website statistics, but as we know they never do.

The question recently came up in discussions about a customer site: recommendation is to drop support for IE 9 and blame Microsoft.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Edge is hardly an alternative

Indeed. This is just yet another poorly written piece of clickbait.

Basically anything that El Reg covers regarding browsers is only worth reading for the comments as some of us tend to know a thing or too.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: MS stopping support for IE10

Based on the stats I can see IE 10's market share is already minimal (2% for most of the year). Most systems on which it could be installed on have already been updated to IE 11 or people are using another browser.

IE 9 is a bit more of a problem because of Vista but again, market share is low (around 4% and falling slowly). Internally it's the largely the same engine as 10 and 11 so there shouldn't be too many problems. The odd glitch maybe. Still, MS should really do what it takes get IE 11 to run on Vista,

What all of us in developer land are really happy about is that people really are stopping using IE 8. Market share has now dropped off a cliff from around 4-5% all year to just over 1% now.

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Google tries to spread the SQL cloud love

Charlie Clark
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Missing from the article

Is that it's MySQL only. I could be interested in this is if it was with a real RDBMS.

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Facebook one-ups Google with open hardware release

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

What a crap article, rehashed PR is not news

All of this will make uncomfortable reading for the AI boffins at Google.

It's an easily maintainable server box. Big fucking deal. I'm sure that has the chaps and chapesses at Google quaking in their boots!

Server density, memory speed, network interconnects, total power draw, etc. are probably what keep the engineers in Mountain View awake at night.

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Think you're all done patching? Not if you have any Apple gear

Charlie Clark
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And the app store is broken again

I can't update any applications that require logging in, like XCode. Happened before and only took two months to resolve – it never got fixed.

Apple's QA is going to hell.

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Kill Flash Now: 78 bugs patched in latest update

Charlie Clark
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Re: HTML5 more secure?

flash bugs + browser bugs + web bugs > browser bugs + web bugs

Jury's out on that. Fact is all the browsers are more robust than they used to be and the plugin architecture is on the way out. But the same multimedia that provides such a rich vein of attack vectors for Flash may also turn out to be useful for anything accelerated API that is more than likely being given privileged access to hardware (codecs, openGL, etc.). Quicktime and Windows Media Player in the past have had their own share of bugs and they are still providing part of the services for the new browsers.

My guess is that the new attack toolkits just aren't as sophisticated yet as they are for Flash, et al. True the new browsers have been hardened in a way that Macromedia could never have thought of when it was adding the bells and whistles, but who knows if that'll be enough? The browsers have one thing going for them in that they don't publish implementation APIs so that are freer to replace an implementation if it turns out to be a turkey. This comes at on overhead of having to agree the API with other interested parties and then make it work. Flash is a victim of backwards compatibility. Back in the day that meant it could add features quickly and keep developers happy and it effectively ended the "install a plugin to what this video" malarkey we had for much of the first decade of this millennium.

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Everyone wants a piece of software maker Atlassian's ass

Charlie Clark
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Wish them luck

Atlassian's business model is based entirely around the service it provides unlike, say GitHub's, which looks like another massive data grab.

So, as a user of BitBucket for a number of projects I hope that they can continue to provide great service even to us freebooters!

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Apple finally publishes El Capitan Darwin source

Charlie Clark
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Re: “Finally,” WTF?

I think you need to ignore the clickbait.

Darwin has always been open source but Apple's release of the source is notoriously haphazard. Yes, people do care about it and Apple gets free peer review: everyone's a winner.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Apple has been involved with 300+ Open Source Projects Since OS X

Maybe but it's contributions back then paled in comparison with others such as IBM and HP.

It curates WebKit and CUPS. However, since establishing the ITunes walled garden, the company's enthusiasm for interoperability in all things web has become remarkably tepid. Leaving mainly CUPS as an example of a company that takes open source seriously. Though I suspect we may see some contributions to LibreSSL, assuming this has been adopted as the replacement for OpenSSL in El Capitan.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Job's the marconi of his day!!

The GPL may not be closed but it certainly is restrictive. BSD licence is attribution and caveat emptor only.

YMMV

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Like a version? JDK 9 will point out its own flaws the very first time

Charlie Clark
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Re: Why?

Does anyone else do version numbering like this?

Yes, it's also known as semantic versioning. You also see it with lots of open source stuff including Firefox and Chrome

With y as the variable:

x.x.y updates should be drop in for existing systems

x.y.x may include new features but shouldn't break compatibility

y.x.x can be expected to include API changes

In reality you'll often find overlap between the latter two as "minor" changes develop feature creep. Switching to time-based releases is the best antidote there.

You also occasionally see suffixes to the patch version: _1 on MacPorts for the change to a port where nothing upstream has changed. You will also see x.x.x.a stuff à la openssl but that is generally frowned about as semantically vague.

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Donald Trump wants Bill Gates to 'close the Internet', Jeff Bezos to pay tax

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Quoting Twitter does not an article make

Has El Reg cut a deal with (f)ailing social media company Twitter?

Bolding the tweets and giving and aligning them in the centre does not do much for readability. Not that that really matters that much given their content. It reminds of junior school reporting in front the teacher: "but he said, but she said…"

Trump is spouting some fairly stupid stuff to keep himself in the news. That there may be method in the madness is worth considering. See Scott Adams light-hearted articles.

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