* Posts by Charlie Clark

4205 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Google licks its lips at sight of Qualcomm's 64-bit server ARM chips

Charlie Clark
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Re: memory architecture

That's where AMD has the advantage.

Of course, Qualcomm's chip designers are no mugs and presumably Google will be able to give them targets and real performance data.

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Charlie Clark
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Unfortunately, the A72 occupies the same living space as the A57

Apart from "a bird in the hand being worth two in the bush" the point about ARM chips not being beefy is not just about their power drawer what else they bring to the party. The AMD Seattle is not just a 64-bit chip but something designed explicitly for the data centre with excellent network and memory performance.

Just because we haven't heard anything doesn't mean that Google isn't already sampling the AMD chips. With the volumes its buying it can easily afford to have different chips for web servers, database servers, caches, etc. This also suits the Compute Engine model where Google manages the scalability completely.

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German Chancellor fires hydrogen plasma with the push of a button

Charlie Clark
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Re: re.Mutti

It's a bit of both: "mother knows best" and "mother hen" come to mind when thinking of her consensus-driven style of politics.

Her premiership has been characterised by her reassuring Germans that they were doing well while everywhere else was going to hell. Until recently she has studiously avoided adopting a position on any issue until the prevailing opinion in the country became clear. She has also demonstrated considerable skill in removing opponents, particularly putative alpha-males, within her own party and out-flanking the others by shamelessly adopting their positions and reversing policy if necessary. For this she has been rewarded by a population worried by change.

The wheels have started to come off recently ever since she surprisingly adopted a position on refugees and proceeded to break EU law (Dublin II). This initially suited the "mother hen" image and was wildly popular for a couple of months.

As for her record on nuclear power: once, when referring to nuclear accidents she made a comparison with baking noting that when you bake a cake not everything stays in the bowl… Of course, this was long before Fukushima…

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It killed Safe Harbor. Will Europe's highest court now kill off hyperlinks?

Charlie Clark
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Well, I suspect the angle will be whether the website can be seen to be aiding and abetting the abuse of copyright. There are already plenty of instances of links being taken down for all kinds of reasons, with DMCA abuse probably being the most common.

However, the ECJ can only really rule on a point of law and not really on the case in point. Freedom of speech is enshrined in the EU treaties, which the ECJ is required to uphold, so I can't see any judgement that would restrict this. Most likely is clarification of what's at stake and a referral back to the Dutch courts: can a case be made that Geenstijl was complicit in the repeated publication of copyright material? This, of course, needs to be balanced against the defence of free speech in cases like Snowden.

There is precedent in cases like the repeated publication of pictures of Kate Middleton's breasts where the courts had no problem coming down hard on publishers.

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Uber rebrands to the sound of whalesong confusion

Charlie Clark
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Pint

I'm beginning to wonder if Twitter is actually for this kind of clickbait.

Anyway, a pint for Lester for calling out this pathetic trend!

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Google ninjas go public with security holes in Malwarebytes antivirus

Charlie Clark
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Testing can't be rushed, particularly given the radical changes it sounds like they've been forced to make.

Testing should be part of the development process. If it was it might have helped pick up these failures: no package hash, no secure distribution channel a lot earlier.

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Europe wants end to anonymous Bitcoin transactions

Charlie Clark
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Why is it always terrorism?

Anonymous transfers are used for money laundering by organised crime. That alone should be sufficient justification.

The EC should also be after the ECB to phase out the € 500 note for much the same reason.

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Ofcom's head is dead against Three and O2's merger

Charlie Clark
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Re: All very well talking tough

I'm not sure where Ofcom actually sit in all of this and whether or when they may be asked to present to the EU investigation.

Neither do I. Then again, I don't really know what they do anyway. This sounds like an attempt to be relevant.

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Rooting your Android phone? Google’s rumbled you again

Charlie Clark
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Re: It's a tradeoff, just like with IOS

I don't watch anything on a small screen except the occasional youtube clip.

Neither do I but my phones does MHL so it's easy to connect to a large screen.

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Charlie Clark
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The idea of rooting, installing Cyanogenmod, and then choosing Google as a payments service seems to be totally implausible

Not to me. I root because I want to dump the crapware installed on my phones and to get security fixes faster and for longer.

As for the service provider: I'll use whoever I think offers the best service in a free market.

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Sorry slacktivists: The Man is shredding your robo responses

Charlie Clark
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Re: Meanwhile back in the UK

We should not be afraid of that; we should welcome it, even if it means replying to 300 or 400 e-mails at a time.

Until you do a time and motion study of replying to e-mails.

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Charlie Clark
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I'm with Morozov

Slacktivists use technology to assuage their technology-addled and coddled consciences. They play into the hands of the PR brigades who can identify which topics need some well-meaning massaging while the general fuckery is unabated. As long as people are twittering about transgender toilets for sheep, they're not protesting in the streets about the price of food, schools or hospitals.

Taking slackivists seriously is a waste of time and resources. This was cleverly satirised in The News Room which took on the "Occupy Wall Street" protests.

And if you do take slacktivists seriously they won't thank you for it because their goldfish minds will have moved on to the next thing they don't really care about.

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Two-thirds of Android users vulnerable to web history sniff ransomware

Charlie Clark
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Re: Glad i've not got an Android device

You've left me speechless, time for the pub now I think....

Indeed, here's one to get you started.

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Investors furious that Amazon only made $482m last quarter

Charlie Clark
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Re: The man Wall Street loves to hate

Many of them still don't "get it".

Sigh. I bet you also believe that "this time it's different"?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Looking at it another way

iAmazon is in an industry that is ever changing.

Which is industry would that be? And the industry that Apple is in isn't always changing?

Both companies have traditionally fobbed off investors demands for money by pointing at the share price instead of the dividend. This has largely been self-fulfilling. However, at some point the P/E ratio becomes so high that people don't want to play any more and demand cash either as dividends or share buybacks. Amazon is still cheap enough for an activist to get on the board.

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Charlie Clark
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I've been arguing for years that the digital services are far more valuable than the no-margin warehousing and delivery shit. The sooner it's split the better.

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You've seen things people wouldn't believe – so tell us your programming horrors

Charlie Clark
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WTF?

Will the madness never end?

Are we allowed to include database schemas in this?

httparchive.org is a great resource but I disagreed so fundamentally with nearly all the coding and db decisions that I forked it. One that sticks in the mind is adding an extra column with the hash of a URL instead of adding an index! Dates are also all stored as strings and nothing is normalised.

When people write crap like this is it any wonder they run straight into the arms of snake oil (big data) vendors promising to solve their problems?

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Charlie Clark
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Coat

I'd be tempted to say that about all PHP code…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: The risks of cut&paste...

Have a BOFH award!

(Don't understand the downvotes)

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Can't upgrade, won't upgrade: Windows Mobile's user problem

Charlie Clark
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Numbers

Windows Phone’s market share peaked at 12 per cent in August 2013, a month before Microsoft’s acquisition of the phones unit was announced.

That 12 % is cherry-picked from sales in particular markets. Worldwide and Windows Phone has never been above 5 %, which is why Nokia thew the towel in.

The numbers quoted about the most popular Lumias would appear to back this up: people are either sticking with what they've got or are moving to Android or IOS. You might expect the typical two-year contract and phone renewal to work in Microsoft's favour: switch to new phone with new OS (Windows 10). But it obviously isn't. Here the lack of compelling new phones, no doubt due to pink slips and lack of investment since the takeover, is going to cause problems.

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Former tech PR Jeremy Hunt MP ordered by judge to delete tweet

Charlie Clark
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Re: Jeremy Hunt

Well, we've always known he was a cunt. Now we have proof that he's also a twat.

This is so close to contempt of court that he should actually resign.

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Come on kids, let's go play in the abandoned nuclear power station

Charlie Clark
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Re: Fàilte gu na Dúnrath etc

It's in Caithness which, along with Sutherland, was for a long time part of Norway. That's why the local dialect sounds more like Scandiwegian than Scots.

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Uber driver 'pulls handgun' on passenger

Charlie Clark
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Re: Interesting

Redneck logic – you've got to love it. Or run from it!

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Safe Harbor 2.0: US-Europe talks on privacy go down to the wire

Charlie Clark
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Re: posturing aside

After all, if Cletus J Shitkicker the 3rd can't have those rights why would they give them to any dodgy foreigners?

You forget: the US does give extra rights to US citizens which makes spying on them technically illegal and is one of the main reasons why GCHQ is so damned big: it is effectively outsourced spying.

Foreigners (let's not bother to call them citizens because in US law they don't have any rights) are fair game all the time.

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Charlie Clark
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Well, what will happen when the deadline is reached and no new agreement has been made?

It's likely the floodgates for civil suits will open because precedent has been established. The ECJ has declared the agreement void and the DPAs will have little choice but to enforce it. Otherwise, as Schrems has demonstrated, the courts can be used to enforce it.

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Charlie Clark
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It won't happen on time

Any new agreement will have to be ratified by every member state and that certainly can't happen in time.

So any noises from the negotiators are just PR showing us how hard they are working. Until the fundamental problem is resolve – the EU requires judicial oversight, which the US rejects – then this is going nowhere.

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Twitter boss ‘personally’ grateful as five Twitter execs walk

Charlie Clark
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Re: Flawed Business Model

However if you can get something trending it might force a company to do something rather than endure the negative publicity.

So, you're stuck at airport-in-the-middle-of-nowhere venting your spleen about the delay on the interwebs. And this helps how exactly? The vague hope that company X, for reasons of PR, will notice and try and placate you by giving the local staff a kick up the backside? Dream on. Me, I prefer to speak softly to local representatives with the firm threat of legal action if statutory obligations are not fulfilled.

As long as customer service can be considered optional, companies will try to avoid it.

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Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: Flawed Business Model @charlie Clark

The public nature of social media along with the ratings and medals awarded by the platforms for speed of response make it something companies endevour to act on more quickly than something like email.

When my flight is delayed I don't give a flying fuck about ratings and medals on <insert-platform-here/>, I want to be looked after properly at the airport. It's a fundamental error to confuse PR on social media with customer service.

Thank god we have obligatory minimum standards for delayed flights in Europe!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Flawed Business Model

Twitter has its uses. Once when my flight was delayed it was the fastest and easiest way to get a hold of customer services.

Doesn't that read like an indictment of the airlines customer services? What about those who hadn't shared their flight details with Twitter or didn't have a data connection or even a phone?

Twitter gets lots of praise for its scalability but it's really quite pathetic when put up against what the Telco's SMS-Cs pump 24/7.

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Charlie Clark
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I wonder what the severance terms were? Don't normal employees just get a damp handshake and asked to clear their desks? But I'm sure it's a bit more if you make it to exec. Suggestions, please.

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How El Reg predicted Google's sweetheart tax deal ... in 2013

Charlie Clark
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Very partial piece

If I understand the logic correctly, the argument is that there should be no tax on corporates because it acts as a drag on investment, payroll taxes should be enough. And Amazon is held up as a shining example?

So, let's look at Amazon: up to every legal trick in the book to its tax exposure. It's also up to every trick in the book to squeeze suppliers and employees. Minimum wage, we've heard of it. How does this encourage investment exactly. And then there is the not inconsiderable issue of preferential treatment of capital gains over income (share buybacks over dividends).

Now, I'm actually a big fan of Bezos' digital stuff but that does not mean I endorse his business practices.

Different forms of tax exist because no one form is particularly efficient.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Anyone actually heralding this a "success"?

And there are those that suggest it undermines the OECD's attempt to sort out international tax arrangements.

It's just not trying very hard, is it? ;-)

Deals like this, which are driven as much by the US FATCA legislation, as anything else will probably help establish any OECD policy.

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MariaDB hires new CEO with code daddy Monty in as CTO

Charlie Clark
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I have no love for Oracle but they have managed to get red of many of the bugs that have festered in MySQL for years.

Sure, they want an upgrade path from MySQL cheapskates to juicy Oracle customers ready to be milked but that's business.

In the meantime Monty and his friends can continue to make a shitty database worse. I don't think they even figure on Oracle's radar any more.

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Which tech stocks are suffering and – crucially – why?

Charlie Clark
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Re: The VC's will never learn

Au contraire: all of the companies are post-IPO so the VCs have already trousered enormous profits, even on Square which didn't quite make its 4 bn valuation on IPO.

As long as these companies can stop themselves from becoming penny stocks then they should be okay. The companies who really need to worry are those who are looking for more funding or were planning to IPO any time soon.

But the VCs have learned from 2000 and very few of them will feel any pain. If <insert-dorky-name-of-dodgy-service-here/> doesn't look like it's going to make much on IPO then it will either be sold to a) the competition; b) a tech behemoth still looking for a digital strategy like Microsoft, for example c) a clueless pension fund (and, trust me, there are enough of those around). The only ones who need to worry are employees who took stock options instead of pay. The VCs will be laughing all the way to their Porsche dealers!

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Waving Microsoft's Windows 10 stick won't help Intel's Gen 6 core

Charlie Clark
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Red Herring

Microsoft hasn’t exactly helped by giving Windows 10 away for free to download

We keep reading this without any numbers to back it up, Windows 10 is free because Microsoft is desperate to be able to drop support for legacy IE and the nightmares of ActiveX. It's free because Windows 8 annoyed people even more than Vista did (and that took some work) and it's free because Microsoft knows that people aren't going to buy new hardware just to run it.

Meanwhile Android and IOS continue to eat more and more of the shrinking IT budget. And Intel still isn't get much of that pie (sorry for the mixed metaphor). Hint for Intel: license ARM and release machines that will happily run x86 and ARM code in whichever way the user wants.

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Charlie Clark
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Yep, just been through one. It will depend upon the accounting but in some places once the hardware has been written off it costs more to keep it than replace it.

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Twitter goes titsup

Charlie Clark
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Mushroom

PIty it won't be permanent!

NFT

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Devs complain GitHub's become slow to fix bugs, is easily gamed

Charlie Clark
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I sometimes wonder what goes on in the heads of people using VC-funded services. Where does the sense of entitlement come from?

Github is currently making a very successful land grab (and gathering lots of valuable personal data at the same time). It will continue to do so as long as there is no real pushback with people prepared to switch to alternative vendors. It's not as if they're aren't alternatives.

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Nude tribute to Manet's Olympia ends in cuffing

Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

Re: Les Toits de Paris...

Where's the icon for dodgy puns? Normally I'd want to put you on the naughty step for the but in this case…

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Microsoft herds biz users to Windows 10 by denying support for Win 7 and 8 on new CPUs

Charlie Clark
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MS trying to boost PC sales?

That's certainly how I read this. Windows 10 was supposed to boost PC sales. But we all know how well that has worked.

So maybe introducing hardware incompatibilities is a way of helping both MS and the makers? Can't see enterprise customers being terribly keen on this and home users are switching in droves to cheap but perfectly functional tablets.

I wonder whether we'll start to see companies moving to Citrix on Android for legacy stuff? Again, MS is shooting itself in the foot by not making the Edge browser available for Windows 7 and 8. Windows 11 is pretty good but, with development now frozen, companies have even more reasons to install a second browser such as Firefox ESR.

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What do we do about a problem like Uber? Tom Slee speaks his brains

Charlie Clark
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Hit the nail on the head

Most of their innovation is in the way they deal with regulation, rather than technology advances.Uber can only be successful in places where regulation is failing. The reason for taxis and private hire vehicles being regulated separately in the UK is historical and no longer really relevant. There's no such distinction here in Germany and the taxi companies already have their own app: MyTaxi. As a result Uber isn't really interesting to passengers.

Using geolocation to improve efficiency and registration to facilitate payment is a win-win for passenger and driver.

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Huffing and puffing Intel needs new diet of chips if it's to stay in shape

Charlie Clark
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Re: IoT

What IoT systems do you know have passwords longer than 8 characters? ;-)

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Charlie Clark
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Gartner gets it right?

Milk the data centre market for all its worth until the IoT market somehow develops just as Intel needs it? Even for Gartner that's a bit simplistic.

Sure the data centre market has higher margins but is it going to continue the way it has for the next five years? Will there really be no serious competition?

"Next year will be the year of ARM servers" may have been the call for a while now but the 64-bit chips are finally starting to appear and, even if Intel now has silicon for some of the low-grunt tasks that ARM is particularly suited to, it will still have to compete there on price. Something it doesn't have to do as much in the x86 area. Sure, recompiling for ARM does add a bit of a hurdle for some systems but, outside the GUI world, there is little software that can't be compiled on ARM.

As for IoT, well ARM is already pretty well-established in many manufacturers so Intel has a lot of work to convince people that it's worth paying more for their silicon. OTOH there might be more value in providing a reliable eco-system for developers.

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The Day Netflix Blocked My VPN is the world's new most-hated show

Charlie Clark
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Re: Whelp...

Isn't this something the EU have said they want to stop though, so people don't have to put up with Geo-blocking?

Yes, but that will be for the EU only.

Netflix is being pushed to this by the rights holders. It just has to come up with something that looks to be doing a good enough job. But to be honest trying to play whack-a-mole with commercial VPN proxy services, who have a financial incentive to stay one step ahead, looks pretty unwinnable. Digital content is eminently fungible and the internet has been well designed to work around blocks. At some point this is going to put an end to exclusive licences.

However, my biggest gripe with all the new streaming services is: why do I have to register to be able to see the catalogue?

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Aircraft now so automated pilots have forgotten how to fly

Charlie Clark
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Re: Pilots?

Works for me. I'm happy to fly in a plane completely controlled by the computer. Or even the dog!

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Microsoft wants you, yes you, to write bits of Windows 10. For free

Charlie Clark
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The Reg imagines a great many open source enthusiasts would balk at the idea of contributing code that might end up in Windows, no matter Microsoft's radical attitude adjustment in recent years.

Which just goes to show how little you know.

Open source is about peer-review and thus, at least ideally, a two-way street. MS is making the source available – you can use it in your own projects if you so wish – very much in this spirit. I suspect that this will be welcomed by many in the .NET arena. But less so outside of it.

As soon as open source (any encumbrance on the licence) becomes about politics then it's no longer about the code.

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Charlie Clark
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It was never borrowed: it was used as intended.

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Server retired after 18 years and ten months – beat that, readers!

Charlie Clark
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Devil

Re: The drive's a Seagate...

Yep, SCSI drives were built to much higher standards than consumer IDE drives.

As for running 20 years without stopping. Well, that does sound like par for the course for FreeBSD: devil icon because there's no daemon!

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Learn you Func Prog on five minute quick!

Charlie Clark
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I'm sorry, but no CPU on the planet works internally with abstract objects, methods, or any other cobblers you want to invent. All OO did was to help revive the textbook printing industry, since everything you needed to know about procedural programming had already been written by the end of the 1980s.

So we should convert our abstractions of the world into machine code?

First of all there is no dichotomy between OO and procedural programming. OO is merely a different way to express the procedures. Functional programming shouldn't be excluded either. It's just another tool in the box.

Secondly, what's wrong with letting a compiler convert whatever high-level code into machine code? For a while now it's been known that compilers can produce better machine code than people can. They can also do it a lot faster, too. And CPU cycles are cheaper than people, too.

Sure, there are situations, especially where memory is extremely limited where you need to program as close to the machine as possible. But you know what's even better than writing machine code? Creating hardware that's optimised for your code. All hail FPGAs and hardware acceleration.

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2015's horror PC market dropped nine per cent

Charlie Clark
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Neither Gartner nor IDC could tablets as PCs. But let's have some fun and see what would happen if they did.

No, let's not. How about fixing up the data table instead? And while you're at it: create some nice table styling for El Reg.

It's unusual for me to agree with Gartner and IDC but I do on this. While tablets are increasingly replacing PCs and notebooks for web/e-mail/video it's still a separate market. Apple's still making a lot of money from it but not as much as it might: for the majority a 10" for £200 is more than enough. And I'm also seeing a dramatic fall in IPad web traffic from 2014 to 2015.

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