* Posts by Charlie Clark

4584 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

90 days of Android sales almost beat 9 months' worth for all flavours of Win 10

Charlie Clark
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Re: sometimes I'm easily pleased

I'm still on Windows phone, but boy am i sorry about my choice in mobile platforms. I loved my Lumia 900 and i loved my 1020 even more, but since getting a 950, it's been a complete nightmare.

That sounds the tale of someone soundly punished for their loyalty!

Sounds like getting your screen fixed would be a good investment Remember when we used to keep phones for more than six months? Even though the latest and greatest devices are generally fantastic, something from a couple of years ago generally does the job just as well.

But It's a real pity. Although I'm a staunch critic of Microsoft, there is no doubt that they did provide Nokia with the basis for some excellent phones and I might have bought one if I could have got CyanogenMod on it. However, with a market share of less than 10% this was never going to fly, which is why Nokia got out of the business. Still a mystery as to why Microsoft bought it only to sideline and then trash it. Maybe that was just one of the many things that Ballmer started that Nadella didn't think was such a good idea. Got to give him credit for acting accordingly.

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Apple: Another bug fix. Er, thanks, GCHQ

Charlie Clark
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Re: Or it's the fresh paint on a trojan horse

OTOH, friends who bit the El Capitan apple are reporting a lot of USB non-function, so maybe it does enhance security

Was really bad at the start but seemed to have been fixed in 10.11.4

10.11.5 does indeed seem to contain some major changes relating to the handling of images and particularly videos. As for the Easter Egg: you reboot and get invited to provide Apple with system telemetry…

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Pointless features add to browser bloat and insecurity

Charlie Clark
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Re: Would it be feasible to make a modular browser?

Well, that's sort of how JQuery is supposed to work. But anything that uses remote code is inherently less secure than local code.

But proxy solutions like Opera Mini / Opera Turbo show how much work can be saved using this approach: web pages are parsed and largely rendered on the server so that all the browser has to do is display the stuff. As for secure: depends on the security of the proxies.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: What we need

Interesting fact about HTML5 sites that I see these days. They take up so much more resource, so much more screen space than those 'authentic 1990s' sites.

Maybe, but this not down to HTML5 itself. Take the BBC website: first of all it runs a script to send you to "right" domain, so I get bbc.com shoved down my throat. Then, the news page at least spits out a mobile page pretty quickly but immediately fucks things up by adding to it (manipulation of the DOM is always a killer. The actual layout itself using media queries and Flexbox is a lot simpler which is why the browser can actually parse and start to paint faster than the old table-based layout (the newer page is 32 KB and is parsed in 600 ms, the older one 45 KB and takes a second to parse). Well, that would be the case if all the shit was removed. The BBC website would also load a lot faster without all the hooks for the irrelevant crap below the fold: BBC Magazine, BBC Trending (I do hope this is getting binned in the current review), etc. As for the images: the larger images in the content make sense on a modern machine.

Commercial websites recently have let their agenda be driven by the advertising industry. They're realising too late that this is not what the users want (buy it's the advertisers who pay).

So as usual, it's a bad workman who blames his tools.

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Charlie Clark
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Dubious

I'm dubious about some of the numbers here.

SVG, for example, has a problem however you look at it: on one hand more than 15 per cent of the sites use it, on the other hand, nearly 87 per cent of blockers block it, but it's had 14 security warnings

SVG is simply an XML dialect for images so can't really be vulnerable. Implementations can. But it is a very useful for the web: it can replace heaps of co-opted technologies such as Flash, sprites and icon fonts in a more accessible and bandwidth-friendly web. SVG and Canvas (both are used for things like interactive charts) are more likely to be targeted because of possible hardware acceleration.

What does 87 % of blockers mean? I run a pretty tight ship and have blocked ads for years and have never seen SVG blocked.

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Salesforce slaps UK Enterprise customers with 40% price hike

Charlie Clark
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It could also just be related to the exchange rate: Sterling is down against many currencies this year.

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Your next server will be a box full of connected stuff, not a server

Charlie Clark
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ARM's 'server' market share is too insignificant to be visible to Gartner.

It is but it could still be in the hype cycle in the post-Calxeda "trough of disappointment". Maybe they're just waiting for someone to sponsor a report…

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Charlie Clark
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Why not ARM powered servers?

Because ARM didn't sponsor the report or shindig?

GFLOPs/Watt is now pretty close for most CPU designs. Intel is ahead in the process area and has better single-threaded numbers. Where ARM may yet shine will be in custom hardware extensions (encryption) and high-density, low-load areas.

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Facebook's turbo-charged Instant Articles: Another brick in the wall

Charlie Clark
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Google AMP, though - in true Google fashion - AMP eschews existing standards like RSS or JSON in favor of re-inventing the wheel

Well, to be fair RSS is extremely limited and the extensions, such as the Yahoo media ones, are verbose because XML is verbose. JSON is poorly suited to rich media and would require transformation in any case. AMP is a subset of HTML which makes embedding in existing pages, such as a news preview, a doddle.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: But who's going to use it?

The walled garden offers more money. Once people get used to consuming content on these platforms then they will start getting ads that can't be blocked easily and publishers will get some money.

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Cock fight? Not half. Microsoft beats down Apple in Q1

Charlie Clark
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Numbers basis?

How do they compile numbers for the I-Pad Pro when Apple sells so many of them directly? Or did Apple release them in such detail.

I think that the numbers are pretty impressive for Apple. The Surface Pro is a very nice piece of kit but it is also a drop-in replacement for a PC, which the I-Pad very much isn't. While I would have though that the majority of I-Pad Pros sold would be to hipsters and existing well-heeled I-Pad owners, if there is any migration from desktop to I-Pad then Apple will be very happy.

Device management is now sorted but for many workplaces there major headache is related to the software. Some stuff can go in the browser, some stuff might work well in a Citrix session, but other stuff will need to be "appified" (I think I'll have to give myself ten lashes for that). So, is the tie-up with SAP more than hot air?

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Airbus to build plane that's even uglier than the A380

Charlie Clark
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Re: The A380 isn't ugly

Toulouse is the place to go to see Beluga's, always a couple of them around when you land.

It's also where I saw my first A380 and I must agree with you it really is quite spectacular to see them take off or land: enormous but graceful.

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Charlie Clark
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The A380 isn't ugly

NFT

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60 per cent of Androids exposed by new attack on mediaserver

Charlie Clark
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Stop

That's it

This

is the last

time I read

one of Mr Pauli's

articles.

Poorly researched and poorly written with a one sentence per paragraph style that makes it even harder to find any content, if there is any.

FWIW enterprise Android usually means locked down with an app whitelist. Or, increasingly, their own "app stores".

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Chrome OS to get Android apps via the magic of containers

Charlie Clark
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Re: I hope this gets open sourced

vendors dropping support (for whatever reason) for Linux

hm, let's see: tiny market that expects everything for free? more GUI frameworks than you can count? weird licence restrictions?

Android in a container / VM has been possible for a while.

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Google Chrome deletes Backspace

Charlie Clark
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Well, ain't you the clever one? I've suffered a lot with this. On a page with a form the behaviour of the backspace key is dependent upon where the focus is. Did you want to delete a letter or go back a page? It's such a slight difference…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Long overdue

I'm surprised that Google, of all people, were the ones to make this usability blunder in the first place.

They weren't: browsers have been doing it for years but it did seem to affect their form handling more than most.

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World goes SIM-free, leaving Sony and HTC trailing behind

Charlie Clark
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Re: I just bought a £45 phone...

Meanwhile, the quoted repair cost for my Sony Z3 Compact remains £85. It's like when my mate's Hitachi disc cutter died and rather than pay £80 to fix it he bought one from Lidl or £50 with a 3-year guarantee.

Welcome to the world of builtin obsolescence: something not working, sir? Landfill it and buy a new one. You can't make the production lines for repairs as efficient/cheap the ones for making new ones. And throwing things away currently costs nothing.

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Charlie Clark
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IPhone fatigue?

Apple may not be rising to Mawston’s challenge with a Nathan Barley phone… Let's fucking hope not. It would presumably be more 5c's and the like.

I'm not a huge fan of Apple's business practices but they haven't been successful because they spend millions of dollars down at the strategy boutiques but because they have top notch industrial design and product execution. The I-Phone fills need for many people because it takes away lots of tricky decisions. Wrapping everything up in a pretty package is important but only a part of what they do.

God, some of these analysts need to join a dole queue and get a life. I do hope Apple continues not to listen to them. And I've never owned an I-Phone in my life.

Kudos for the Nathan Barley reference. We need more of these as life sadly continues to imitate satire.

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Dell seeks $20bn to buy EMC

Charlie Clark
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If it looks like a junk bond and smells like a junk bond then…

Those rates are unfeasible for the company so that looks very much like a promise for redemption (financed by more debt) or renegotiation in a couple of years. Assuming, of course, the company doesn't go bust first. That's the definition of a junk bond.

Be interesting to see the credit rating for them (paid for by Dell, of course).

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Girls outpace boys in US IT and engineering test

Charlie Clark
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Re: Ahh

we also have people who are racist, homophobic, listen to Justin Beiber(sic)

Justin Bieber is for racist homophobes? You learn something new every day.

The "safe space" bollocks is the best way to radicalise people against live and let live.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Ahh

there was an article on this site a couple of years ago about a female IT person who was expected to keep up appearances, even at IT events, when she would have preferred to dress the same way as men would as she was more comfortable.

Be careful when extrapolating from individual instances.

You'll get that in any industry all the time. Viz. the current bizarre case in the UK about a women being dismissed by a female boss for refusing to wear high heeled shoes for work. I hope she wins the case at the tribunal and gets a good settlement. But it has fuck all to do with IT. There are far more aggressive places for women to work than IT.

Blokes, in a group, can be real arseholes. Then again, so can women. I've got several female friends who say they much prefer working with in a predominantly male environment.

I've got nothing against women in tech, engineering or wherever. But I prefer to let them speak for themselves than try to speak for them.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Ahh

I've never been to an IT industry do…

So what gives you the right to generalise about them? Most industry and corporate shindigs are boring. But sex sells which is why sponsored prostitution is not unusual at them (used to be very common for sales conferences and one of the reasons why Las Vegas is such a popular destination). Nothing to do with IT though when the insurance, car or real estate guys are getting their rocks off at a lap dance club.

As for appearances: the fiercest critics of women I ever encounter are other women who care much more about "making an effort" than men. Most men are generally interested in primary and secondary sexual indicators. It's a bit simple but that's biology for you.

You can't simply ordain more women in tech and it shouldn't really even be a goal in itself. Equal opportunity does not mean everyone is the same and wants to do the same thing. Most countries have pretty good laws against discrimination and harassment but enforcing them can be a problem. Find out why women don't want to work in tech and start there: a lot of them simply don't like computers very much, but are pretty happy working in biology.

And have an extra downvote for using an adjective as a noun.

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Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Enterprise salute EU flag, blast Brexiteers

Charlie Clark
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Re: The resources the government

And if you're going to throw insults, make em good ones

Your sister turned you down again, has she? Maybe if you could wipe the spittle away from your mouth every now and then you'd have more luck.

Again: what does the ECHR have to do with the EU? And why shouldn't it change its remit? I can remember when rape within marriage was not considered a crime by at least one high court judge. But times have changed, fortunately in my opinion, since then. But, of course, things were better back in the 19th century! Bring back the poor law and the workhouses! And the empire!

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The Windows 10 future: Imagine a boot stamping on an upgrade treadmill forever

Charlie Clark
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WTF?

Re: Old Skool thinking

In fairness to the OP Selenium would be adequate (and appropriate) if they are simply testing the client side of a web-app.

So, again: WTF would this have to do with changes in Windows components which is what this article is about.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: So...

How does all this time and effort and expense compare to migrating to Linux?

Apples and moon rocks in many cases: many companies are, more or less, happily wedded to Windows stacks.

In any case the main migration that Microsoft is worried about is desktop to mobile (IOS or Android).

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Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: Old Skool thinking

Our strategy is automated regression testing with Selenium

Selenium is a browser testing framework. How does this fit in with changes to Windows APIs?

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Kill Flash now? Chrome may be about to do just that

Charlie Clark
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Re: Why has Flash been so bad?

ColdFusion to give another example of historically vulnerable software were created by Macromedia.

Nah, ColdFusion was developed by Allaire and subsequently bought by Macromedia. A lot of people were really sad that Adobe canned Freehand which many thought was better than Ilustrator.

With Flash I think it's worth remembering that it and Shockwave were originally developed as authoring tools for CD and DVDs. They were fine at this and adapting the runtimes to become browser plugins wasn't too hard. Of course, the internet has since become a much nastier place.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: "exempt the top 10 domains"??

On the one I use the most (S20-30 netbook), the html5 version keeps the CPU at a "happy" 40-50% load, compared to 15-20% for the flash version.

Sounds like Flash is able to use hardware acceleration and your browser isn't. Hardware acceleration is very dependent upon browser and OS.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Google catches up to Apple, while Microsoft trails the pack

I will take the obsolete and unlikely to be targeted Windows 98 box over a modern Windows box running Flash

Really? Win 98 is just DOS which has absolutely no protection against permission escalation because it doesn't have permissions: find any exploit and get pwned.

I think Flash suffered from feature creep. Remove the video stuff and you could probably tighten it up. In the meantime "press to play" and the improved plugin architecture do significantly reduce the attack area. Better still just deactivate it and hassle any websites that tell you Flash is required. Anything that depends on ads or subscription will switch pretty quickly.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Google catches up to Apple, while Microsoft trails the pack

So the Almighty Jobs killed Flash on mobile back in 2011

Only because, by then, enough had been done that Apple could get people to move from the Adobe walled garden to their own. This was pretty much also the time when Apple stopped contributing significantly to WebKit. And, wasn't there a note recently about Apple not giving a shit about the holes in Quicktime?

If it was YouTube that helped Flash to dominance, it was Google that really pushed for HTML5 video being both free to use and free to create. Otherwise content providers would be paying both Adobe and MPEG licences to encode.

The important thing will be to fail on feature detection so that the <video> tag gets precedence and offer "press to play" functions where this isn't possible.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: "exempt the top 10 domains"??

YouTube quite happily serves HTML5 video where Flash isn't installed, has done for a good while now.

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EU commish: We smacked down O2/Three but we didn't take it 'lightly'

Charlie Clark
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Is four some magic number that protects consumers then?

The research does seem to indicate this: three's company, four's a crowd. Prices in markets with only three competitors are higher than in markets with four.

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Germans set to make schnitzel out of controversial Wi-Fi law

Charlie Clark
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There are loads of public hotspots: in cities, in cafés, airports, piggy-backing on DSL/Cable connections. Soon to be available on trains.

I generally avoid hotel wifi as they are often poorly setup and suffer from the "tragedy of the commons" because some fool will be streaming video and the hotel only has a 16 MB connection. In such situations it can make sense to pay for the connection if you need a reliable one. But PAYG data is around € 5 for a GB so that's usually the best choice.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: The Law of Unintended Consequences

Makes about as much sense as holding the owner of a motel criminally responsible because a room renter decides to brew up a batch of crack cocaine in the bathroom.

It's not. It's more like having no lock on a chemical laboratory or the gun cupboard…

I have a certain understanding for the principles behind the law but it's being dropped largely for being unworkable.

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Charlie Clark
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GIven that there is currently pretty much zero open internet available

That is utter nonsense. Nearly all German hotels have had free wifi for years – largely because mobile data charges are so low that it is impossible to charge for basic access. Most airports have some kind of free wifi and there are lots of public wifi spots in cities (Cologne) or provided by networks (Unitymedia).

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The fork? Node.js: Code showdown re-opens Open Source wounds

Charlie Clark
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Re: FSF

I did then I asked myself: "what's the point of this?"

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Charlie Clark
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Re: "Then what?"

Github isn't necessarily popular because it's such a great repository hoster but because of the toolchain and ecosystem around it. Moving the repo is easy but what about Travis, Coveralls, etc?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: FSF

What a typical bit of FSF nonsense: short list favouring its own offerings and focusing on the licence of the site's JS. The T&C's are far more important.

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Charlie Clark
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Without open source there would be no Slack, no Medium, no Github. Nor would there be Google, Facebook, or much of anything else.

When you put it like that… Might not be such a bad thing!

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Adobe...sigh...issues critical patch...sigh...for Flash Player zero day

Charlie Clark
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Re: Amazing

There is nothing out there that is even close to providing what it can do. It's a shame that a technology is aggressively retired when there is no viable alternative.

I'm no so sure about that any more. It was maybe the case a few years ago but the modern browser runtimes no leave very little to be desired. What maybe missing are the relevant authoring tools.

Flash should be recognised for two things: a cross-platform graphical runtime for browsers when the only other alternative were Java applets; and ending the video player wars (remember RealPlayer vs. Quicktime vs. Windows Media Player?) Unfortunately, as the internet grew in importance, the problems inherent in the platform became more obvious.

Flash is now only kept around for sites wanting to use it for DRM which is why it's down to around 14 % of sites. More and more browsers, including all the mobile ones, don't have Flash so now only around 50 % of any sites visitors can actually see the Flash content. Most media sites are already piloting HTML5 video. I expect by the end of the year less than 10 % of sites will be using Flash and a majority of users won't have it installed.

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Opera claims 50 per cent power savings with browser update

Charlie Clark
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Re: Its a start

Gif "animation" doesn't use much power and already doesn't affect non-visible windows.

Read the article (and some of the older ones) for more information on what Opera found to be chewing cycles.

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Charlie Clark
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I think much more than that and my Firefox would explode.

It probably wouldn't but it's pretty inefficient. Firstly, cognitively you can't keep 200 items in the stack. I think the magic number is 10 to 13. (I'm with you on the total number of tabs I have open across browsers) Secondly, it's probably quicker to use bookmarks to load the pages than switch between tabs – many of which may be swapped to disk. Still, it seems a lot of people like to work like this.

That said, I have seen Firefox get into trouble when using it with Selenium for crawling. I have to spawn a new instance every 100 sites or so.

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First successful Hyperloop test module hits 100mph in four seconds

Charlie Clark
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Re: Meanwhile, in the real world.....

You'll also get massive cost overrun because it's never been done before. Yes, putting rockets into space is rocket science and space is a notoriously harsh environment, but at least it doesn't have weather.

A near vacuum tube between LA and SF is going to have to put up with a lot of shit and on projects like this it's often the little things that over time cause the most problems. On the Cologne-Frankfurt lines it was problems with toilets and air conditioning that caused the most problems.

I do like the basic idea of Hyperloop – trying to displace as little air as possible – I wonder if there isn't some kind of halfway house using some kind of fairing with a maglev system. As for the proposed line – I'm not sure that LA - SF really is the route to be looked at: how many people really want to travel between downtown LA and downtown SF? Highspeed rail has excelled at shrinking the commute so something that halved the current journey time on Caltrain between Gilroy and SF and the same for LA's dormitories would be transformational. Of course, this requires all kind of ancillary investment to make using the new lines easier.

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Charlie Clark
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Sounds like you're one of the lucky ones. I'm by no means an expert on the situation but freight generally runs happily on single track, passenger doesn't. See http://www.economist.com/node/16636101?zid=302&ah=601e2c69a87aadc0cc0ca4f3fbc1d354

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Charlie Clark
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Freight trains are indeed coming along like, er, freight trains. Energy recovery when breaking, lower noise.

Biggest problem is that it is almost impossible for passenger and freight trains to share track. This is the biggest problem in the US and the most difficult to resolve because new track means more land and land is always expensive.

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Charlie Clark
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They're are trains and trains. On the whole they teeter on direct profitability because they tend towards universal service with hop-on, hop-off access. Commuter services are designed to reduce traffic so pricing is often political: it needs to be low enough to deter car journeys.

Some of the highspeed rail services can be highly profitable: Cologne-Frankfurt, for example but I think also parts of the French network such as Paris-Lyon.

Freight doesn't need speed; it needs faster transfer between modes.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Freight is toughter than you think

Speed isn't important for freight, cost is. Freight is all about bulk and weight which is why such much of it is done over water. Containers are not built for minimal wind resistance!

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Free tool aims to make it easier to find vulns in open source code

Charlie Clark
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Re: DevOps approach to Security

Static code analysis is no magic bullet but it is complementary and is particularly good at doing the stuff that bores people: it's more eyes but eyes that don't glaze over.

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