* Posts by Charlie Clark

4584 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Intel takes aim at Arduino with US$15 breadboard

Charlie Clark
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Microbit?

Free and can run off a watch battery.

As Intel knows only too well: it won't really be the chip or the board that decides this but the surrounding eco-system of devices. Like the Rapsberry Pi, the Arduino profits from being the first to the market in significant volumes.

As for cost: Intel cannot afford to undercut the cheapest Chinese ARM chips, which keep getting better and better.

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'Bring back xHamster', North Carolina smut watchers grumble

Charlie Clark
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Go

Re: I expect...

I think they probably couldn't give a shit about North Carolina but just love the free publicity worldwide. I think that's what most of the other companies are interested in as well.

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Bundling ZFS and Linux is impossible says Richard Stallman

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: I'm with Stallman on this.

GPL is a damn sight more liberal than any proprietary licenses that I have ever seen.

But ZFS isn't under a proprietary licence…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I'm with Stallman on this.

In what way are you with him?

  • That ZFS can't be distributed with Linux as Ubuntu proposes?
  • Oracle should change the ZFS license to suit Stallman?

For the first: well, surely that's a matter for the courts. For the second: why the hell should they? It was the FSF that started the incompatibility game with licences and the subsequent feeding frenzy for lawyers. Thank fuck that the GPL is rarely used on new projects.

Solution: want ZFS? Use BSD or Solaris. Problem solved.

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Ofcom wants you to thank it for resurrecting the spectre of BT's 1980s monopoly

Charlie Clark
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This is all a bit weird

IANAL but my understanding is that there is nothing preventing either OFCOM or the Monopolies Commission from adding riders to any telco merger, as long as they don't contravene EU competition rules: basically no state aid.

Still, it's always nice to have someone else to blame.

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Shareholder rage freezes Salesforce boss Marc Benioff's package

Charlie Clark
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Unhappy

Nice work if you can get it…

Especially while Salesforce continues to lose money.

Still when it is bought (probably by Oracle if current rumours are anything to go by) then it'll speedball's around and time for the accountants in Delaware to earn their tax-free dollars by cooking up a leveraged deal with plenty of debt to offset any nasty capital gains.

And then there'll be even more celebrations as the synergistic pink slips get sent.

I wish I was joking. Where's the Morozov icon?

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The future of Firefox is … Chrome

Charlie Clark
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FUD

Personally, I think it's interesting that the blog is no longer on a Mozilla webserver but on medium.com. That aside the article is worth reading:

For example, the prototype we’re feeling good about right now is built with Electron and React, not Gecko and XUL (our go-to technologies for building browsers). For a small team starting out pursuing a new product concept it’s a great choice — Electron is a wonderful tool for us to do prototyping with…

This sounds very much like the approach adopted by the Vivaldi team and has some merit: XUL is probably at the end of its life as a GUI framework. With the release of Positron this presumably means that they can go back to running Gecko as the renderer if they want.

I guess what everyone is worried about is why the need for a rapid-prototyping environment for the browser's chrome? Well, apart from the "who moved my cheese argument" for some of the "improvements" to the desktop browser, the big argument will be the continuing rise of mobile use and wanting to have the same codebase for the various versions and using the principles of responsive design to manage part of this. Seems reasonable to me.

But Mozilla does have to worry about focus and feature creep. It has, in my opinion, done the right thing and dropped side projects such as Thunderbird – nobody at Mozilla wanted to work on it – it should now work hard at avoiding picking up new side projects.

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UK competition watchdog gripes to Brussels about Three-O2 merger

Charlie Clark
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Re: BT+EE

The last two have been merging since 2004

That sounds a bit previous. Maybe you mean 2014? In any case the merger has now been approved. So now in Germany all three can offer at least 2-play services. There is also an extensive MVNO market.

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Dear Windows, OS X folks: Update Flash now. Or kill it. Killing it works

Charlie Clark
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Re: Genuine query

However I still use chromium for the odd website & was wondering if pepper flash is as susceptible

Yes, but an the update should be automatic.

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Panama Papers hack: Unpatched WordPress, Drupal bugs to blame?

Charlie Clark
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Re: If you care about security

Best thing is to look at some of the exploits that have happened in the past: it's always an eye-opener.

Do you allow uploads? Along with the DB code, the handling of files was/is always a popular vector. Best let the http server manage this whenever possible and make sure permissions are tighter than a fly's, er, wallet. ;-)

Do you allow upgrades / installs through the admin interface? If so you must assume that your admin will be hacked so you must make sure that you have CSRF tools in place (may now be standard) but also rate limiting. Best disabling it altogether and installing stuff only via SSH – less convenient and that's the point.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: If you care about security

I think Wordpress is pretty good...

Means: "it works for you". Wordpress was in there early with and easy to install and use blog system. But to do this it made significant compromises in security because in the battle for the market convenience usually wins.

Admittedly it's been a while since I looked at the code, but things like the plugin architecture are basically vulnerabilities waiting to be exploited. IMO you should treat all Wordpress installs open to exploitation and make sure sensitive information is not on the system.

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Vivaldi Jon: Mobile – yes. Feeds and an ad blocker… probably not

Charlie Clark
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I still find the UI sluggish on MacOS: there is about a 1 second delay between clicking on anything and things starting to happen.

I can live with that as long as the other stuff gets added.

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Charlie Clark
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The most powerful mobile phones today are about on par with a 2007-era Core 2 Quad desktop.

They're quite a bit beyond that except for single-threaded stuff: or since when could Core 2 Quad's encode 4k video in real time? (Yes, I know it's the video chip doing it but the point still stands).

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Charlie Clark
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What's your beef with the engine they use?

Writing HTML engines to deal with the real world is hard™. It really does make sense to collaborate on this. Maybe, once Firefox is compatible with Chromium extensions you'll be able to choose different renderers.

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Charlie Clark
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All the popular blockers work fine in Vivaldi: I've been using Ghostery without problems for months. Given scarce development resources I think that's fine. It also keeps the company out of the legal firing line because users have to choose to install a blocker.

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London to Dover 'smart' road could help make driverless cars mainstream – expert

Charlie Clark
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Re: 50 years later than German towns

Most cities in the world have similar systems on their main roads. However, it doesn't really seem to do much to reduce traffic and can cause problems where main roads cross.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: computer aided burglary.

You seem remarkably naive. Crime will always adapt to the environment and criminals are often early adopters of technology. If straight theft seems less rewarding then try ransoming people or their stuff.

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Cash-strapped Sprint to raise $2.2bn by flogging off its network hardware

Charlie Clark
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Re: Pardon?

How the hell is Sprint not minting money?

While cashflow might be positive, Sprint is heavily in debt due to: the NextTel buy; betting on WiMAX and subsequent retooling for LTE; being bought by Softbank. Betting on the wrong technology also means that Sprint has to offer better deals, with lower margins, to gain marketshare.

Some debts are coming to maturity and there isn't enough cash to repay them. In this situation sell-and-leaseback looks like the best option because Softbank's own highly leveraged position makes bonds unattractive to investors.

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Windows 10 with Ubuntu now in public preview

Charlie Clark
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Facepalm

Re: It is like a dog's walking on its hind legs.

I think it's positive: more people exposed to Linux, but without making their managers nervous by leaving Windows (yet).

That's just wishful thinking. Lots of people are happy with Windows but doing stuff on the command line can be a challenge.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: It is like a dog's walking on its hind legs.

The support for things like gcc are great. Anyone who wants to development work often struggles if what they're working on has dependencies that may need compiling (lxml in Python springs to mind but I'm sure there are many others). It means maintaining separate instructions and possibly even packages for the windows world. The sub-system support means that the docs for installing and running command line stuff are pretty much the same whatever platform. This a big deal for a lot of people both those using Windows, for whatever reason, and library developers.

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Taking an artsy selfie in Stockholm? You might need to pay royalities

Charlie Clark
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Re: The council is the people

How many people that walk by the installation everyday see the work for free? Where is the difference when seeing it online? It is still seen for free in the public space, by the public.

Big difference: first of all definitions of non-commercial are specific to each country. Wikimedia is a US not-for-profit but this definition applies solely within the US.

A better example would be a lot simpler: something appears on television or in a newspaper article. Journalists normally have an exemption from royalties. Otherwise, you can expect to pay.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: "You might need to pay royalities"...

If I then published them (e.g. Image host sites such as Flickr…

Which is why their T&Cs always contain indemnity clauses explicitly allowing for redress.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: no

I think in these cases local authorities restrict permission for commercial filming (realistically because they can charge for it, and to protect the city's image)

No, at least in the UK, they are acting "for the public": they are they default copyright holders. Other countries see this differently.

but non-commercial filming is a free-for-all, more or less. Or is every one of the selfies in front of the Eiffel Tower on Facebook a copyright infringement?

The photographers probably aren't but the society that protects the rights of the Eiffel Tower is notorious for searching for and charging for images of the Tower and I would expect any such photo that gained notoriety to be followed by a demand for royalties. It's happened before.

Not sure what happens to all the pictures out of copyright in the various museums and art galleries but I think there are similar rules.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: It gets worse

I successfully applied to have my house removed from StreetView. In fact, in Germany, Google received so many takedown requests that they abandoned the service.

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Charlie Clark
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Copyright was assigned to the council when the statue was sold. Commercial images of such objects do you usually require payment to the council, or at least their permission. Rules for this will vary from country to country.

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Charlie Clark
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What absolute insanity. If you place something in a public space, it is public.

Nonsense. This is the same kind of tautology that turns "something the public is interested in" into "the public interest".

When photographing people in public you have to consider both their moral right to their own image as well as any potential copyright issues. Similar considerations apply to objects which is why in most countries photoshoots or filming require permission from the local authorities: the Eiffel Tower is perhaps the most famous example.

Personally, on the rare occasion that I have photographed any street performers I've always given them money and I'm a skinflint.

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Google, Facebook's CAPTCHAs vanquished by security researchers

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Subheadline

Another middle class job gone as CAPTCHA-crackers beaten

FFS El Reg how did this nonsense slip through? Is this just a very poor attempt at irony?

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Bezos defends Amazon culture in letter to shareholders

Charlie Clark
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While there's no doubt that Amazon is a successful company in terms of revenue and profit

Revenue, yes. Profit less so.

Investors have stuck with Amazon for years because of the (self-fulfilling) high stock price and jam tomorrow. At some point they might start demanding margins > 1%: sell the tat bazaar and focus on the digital stuff.

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Feature-rich Vivaldi rolls out, offering power users a choice

Charlie Clark
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Re: Been using for a bit

I still use the standalone Opera Mail client and can't wait to have something like it in Vivaldi. Automatic recognition of mailing lists, incredibly fast text search. Definitely the best mail client I've ever worked with.

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PayPal freezes 400-job expansion in North Carolina over bonkers religious freedom law

Charlie Clark
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No doubt, after sufficient time has passed and some tax incentives or more "right to work" (ie. no unions here) legislation is passed they'll come back having "reevaluated" the situation.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Non Issue

But if they have been sharing toilets in Europe for 50 odd years with no problems, is there really an issue?

Not in the countries that do this. But what does that have to do with legislation in North Carolina?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: States rights & hypocrisy

"States rights" is code for "let us discriminate and don't tell us we can't"

At least, that's how it seems lately

Possibly. It's certainly being used as a shield for people pushing particular agendas. But, the same is also true to a lesser extent for the left that attempts to use legislation to push its own agendas.

Whatever we may think of any particular agenda, there is legal grounds for debate which is why we see so much hee-hawing in the decisions of the supreme court. Now that the SCOTUS can be split we may see a raft of legislation by states knowing that it cannot be overturned by a split SCOTUS.

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Charlie Clark
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Stop

Re: "male perverts"

… my body produced the incorrect hormones while I was in the womb

It didn't you know: biology is notoriously unvalued.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: America

BTW, "transgenders" represent less than .001% of the population, whereas young girls in bathrooms are about 10%. Sounds like a target-rich environment for those very rare perverts who now find themselves the darlings of the Left.

FWIW I don't agree with Big John on pretty much any issue, and I don't think cross-dressers or transgender are perverts, but it's worth highlighting how and why some of the Left's more strident campaigns lead to legislation like this and alienation of part of the population – these laws are often popular in the states where they are passed.

The situation won't be resolved by name-calling or finger-pointing.

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Charlie Clark
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That's how the battle over apartheid was won in South Africa, not by violence or protests from within the country.

Nope, there is no evidence that it was the boycotts that led to change.

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Charlie Clark
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States rights & hypocrisy

There are two things here to consider:

1) The fundamental issue behind laws like this is the unresolved issue of "states rights" – the one that led to the civil war. This will continue until there is a concerted political attempt to resolve it. Whether we like it or not, these laws are passed legislatures that, by any standard, are democratically elected. Conversely, I think many of these campaigns spring from a sense of impotence faced with the inability to impose post-enlightenment policies throughout the US.

2) The hypocrisy of companies. It's politically cool on the West coast to pay lip service to the "diversity industry" and the costs for companies like PayPal not to set up an office in North Carolina are minimal. It's not as if it's ceasing to offer its services there. And when it comes to the moral highground: I don't remember any memo from Paypal on not wanting to do business with China, Saudi Arabia, etc.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Puzzling legislation.

I know we're all nuts here in the States, but tying in a minimum wage lock into this bill defies logic

Actually, it's one of the less egregious examples of earmarks. I think there's a website that lists some of the really great ones.

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AWS to crack $10bn annual sales this year says Jeff Bezos

Charlie Clark
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Re: hmmm

Last I know is that Amazon the shop was bringing all the profit

What profit? Margins on the sale of physical goods have always been razor thin.

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WhatsApp straps on full end-to-end crypto for 1bn peeps

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: Your move, FBI

Which encryption?

It's linked to in the article: open source and peer-reviewed.

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Charlie Clark
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Signal authenticates devices initially through two-factor authentication tied to the the phone number. This makes subsequent key exchange reliable because both parties have been authenticated.

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Twitter spends $10m on rights to cover Thursday-night NFL games

Charlie Clark
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Re: Can I hope we've reached "Peak protocol"?

I still to this day cannot see how Twitter is a valuable thing.

I think the business model is: people like gossip, let's make gossiping easy and then start charging for it. After all, this is what drove SMS from being a free add-on to a paid-for service.

While Twitter remains the media's darling, because pithy quotes can help gloss over the total absence of any research, the chattering classes have moved over to messaging apps.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: They've lost the place...

If only there was a sport today, where the players played the entire game (plus substitutions), played both offence and defence, and, as an added bonus, used their feet to play the game. I'll bet that would be fun to watch.

I reckon you'd love Australian Rules football (basically no holds barred), or good old rugby league, which has the added bonus of a hooter to signal the end of a half.

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Charlie Clark
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Spot on

…the decision to spend $10m on restreaming video on a service that deals with short text messages is just one more sign that Twitter's management team has no coherent strategic direction for the company.

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Windows 7's grip on the enterprise desktop is loosening

Charlie Clark
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Re: Does everyone need Windows at work?

iPP cheaper? - sorry to break it to you but you can buy a modern transformable laptop with far more functionality

You're not telling me anything new but the point is that an IPad Pro isn't a transformable laptop and people may be buying it for just that reason. I think Apple may be testing the water to see what the demand is like and to test MacOS / IOS crossover.

I also still fully expect them to release ARM-based notebooks at some point. Again, the single-port MacBook may have been a toe in the water. Will the next one come with a touchscreen and be transformable?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Does everyone need Windows at work?

I remember speaking to a corporate IT at a bank a few years ago. He told me that Windows 7 was the last they expected to provide and support with a shift to BYOD by 2018. Starting to look eerily prescient.

You can't do everything via Citrix or the cloud. Mutlicore ARM v8 chips are now pretty beefy and SSD storage cheap enough. We've already seen Apple make its first steps in marketing the IPad-Pro as a notebook replacement – certainly not cheap – but cheaper and lighter than the Intel-based alternatives. I reckon we'll see more and more such attempts along with the Chromebook approach. However, I suspect we won't see a massive shift to a single new platform, just a crumbling of the Wintel one.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: is this bit a leftover from earlier draft

And how does that affect the enterprise desktop?

It doesn't. But it affects the total market size, the enterprise size isn't quoted.

In any case, MS is really worried about BYOD with Android and IOS eventually making inroads into the enterprise market. Hence, the focus on cloud and MS apps for the dominant mobile platforms.

You shouldn't include a fact unless you are going to do something with it to inform the reader how it is related to the subject.

None of these regular articles on stats bear much scrutiny. For example, the variation in Win 10 market share between NetMarketShare and StatCounter is greater than the margin of error.

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Android gets larger-than-usual patch bundle as researchers get to work

Charlie Clark
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Re: Android gets larger-than-usual patch bundle

Money speaks far more than toothless regulators.

If it can be convincingly argued that security bugs are defects then manufacturers have a statutory obligation to provide improvements. Not to do so would be lead them open to both civil and criminal suits. The test case in the Netherlands is the one to watch.

In the meantime just root and mod the damn thing: Samsung makes this pretty easy.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Android gets larger-than-usual patch bundle

Take the matter to your local consumer protection or trading standards body. Manufacturers will only get serious about patching if customers and/or regulators force them to.

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FreeBSD 10.3 lands

Charlie Clark
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I know it's meant as a joke, but I think that's probably more true for Debian/Suse/Fedora than it is for BSD & Linux, because BSD and Linux do reflect different philosophies, not least in their licensing.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

It is more than a little irritating that the BSDs have successfully used ifconfig for configuring every type of interface for years, whilst Linux distributions use a variety of different commands.

Have an extra upvote for that. It is admittedly a while back but I remember helping a Linux user (I think the system was Fedora) setup their wifi which the GUI was failing to do. Turned out that the GUI was simply wrapping round the BSD setup… which obviously didn't work on a system with different paths, etc.

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