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* Posts by Charlie Clark

2493 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Albert Einstein brings cheese and clean pyjamas to space station

Charlie Clark
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Payload

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

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

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

Charlie Clark
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Just what the market doesn't need

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

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

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

Charlie Clark
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Re: Intel is more open then ARM

The source code tree of the Linux kernel.

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

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Charlie Clark
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Re: No signs of competition yet

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

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

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

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Charlie Clark
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Re: What a bunch of drivvel

+lots

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

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

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Charlie Clark
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Re: No signs of competition yet

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

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

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

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Intel is more open then ARM

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

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Intel is more open then ARM

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

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

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Charlie Clark
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How much?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Steelie Neelie wants roaming charges gone by Easter 2014

Charlie Clark
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Re: I'd rather see

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

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Great

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

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Charlie Clark
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Holmes

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

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

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Countless, Needless, Artificial Obstacles

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

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

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

Charlie Clark
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Re: Blah, blah, blah

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

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

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

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Charlie Clark
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Blah, blah, blah

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

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

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Google gives vendors seven-day bug disclosure deadline

Charlie Clark
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Comparison

+1

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

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

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

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

FWIW Opera Mini and Mobile have always done this.

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

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

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

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Charlie Clark
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Progamming style

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

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

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

and

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

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

Charlie Clark
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Re: Theory why it's Symbian only

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

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

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Theory why it's Symbian only

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

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

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

Charlie Clark
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Re: racism with the morning coffee

the expected influx of cheap labour from Romania and Bulgaria

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

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Windows Phone piques CIO interest says analyst

Charlie Clark
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Re: Hidden parameter

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

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

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

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Microsoft links Skype to Lync

Charlie Clark
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Not the whole story

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charlie Clark
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Re: sad

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

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

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

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Opera debuts Chromium-luvvin' desktop browser Next 15

Charlie Clark
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Turbo / Offroad

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

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

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Impressions so far.

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

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Yeah, well, cheerio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Tomorrow People jaunt back to the airwaves

Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

'twas the season of…

six-season seventies run

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

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Better Place electric car outfit goes titsup

Charlie Clark
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Re: Doomed idea

Plus: long journeys are not the target market for electric cars. The vast majority of potential customers in Europe will manage fine with current batteries for their daily commute.

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Apple cored: Samsung sells 10 million Galaxy S4 in a month

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: not sure i see what Apple has to 'fear'

indeed. Taking into account the massive amounts of different handsets that Samsung offer, I would expect them to be doing at least a little bit better, than their (closest?) competitor, who has 1 'current' handset on the market.

Please be logically consistent. "Indeed" indicates agreement with the previous comments: firstly, that Apple something to fear (lower growth and lower margins) and that the 37 million sales include a lot of 4's and 4S'. If so, you cannot stand by what you said.

None of this means that things are about to start looking bleak for Apple. It still creams most of the profits out of all sales because it provides a compelling offer of hardware and software and, with the I-pod has demonstrated it came remain competitive even in a cut-throat market. It may just be coming down to earth and really ought to do something about new models.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: not sure i see what Apple has to 'fear'

Apple has slower growth and declining margins to fear which is why it mentioned them in its last quarterly report. Take all Samsung's Galaxy phones into consideration and the trend definitely favours Samsung.

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Charlie Clark
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The HTC One seems to please reviewers with its design and IPS screen. As Alun Taylor noted, Samsung have styled the S4 to look like an updated S3, and while they won't win awards for the design of either, this is pretty much what Apple does. The S3 has been the leading non-I-Phone for the last few months and is well-recognised. The "updates" in the S4 have been well publicised and I think that a great many punters prefer the sheer intensity of the colours on OLED screens. Many have argues that the I-Phone 5 didn't offer a lot to really encourage upgrade sales and total sales since launch give some credence to that argument: sales are still very strong but not perhaps as strong as they might have been.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: iPhone no longer compelling

When Ferrari bring out a stunning new model, Lamborghini don't go bankrupt.

Ahem, Lamborghini did go bankrupt back in the 1970s. Now it's part of Volkswagen which has deep enough pockets to steer through any troubles and, more importantly, access to modern technology to stay competitive. This would make it similar to the phone division within Samsung and suggest further parallels about the market such as the advantages of having access to inhouse technology.

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FLABBER-JASTED: It's 'jif', NOT '.gif', says man who should know

Charlie Clark
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Re: Does anybody use jif's any more?

PNGs can't be animated. Jifs can.

er, yes, they can But support amongst browsers is sporadic.

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Yahoo 'won't screw Tumblr'? Then Tumblr will screw its balance sheet

Charlie Clark
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Meh

Confused

That’s a formula for disaster if you want to reap the benefits of a web company…

There is nothing special about web companies. You actually mean companies with a distinctive brand which have to be handled carefully, a good example might be how IBM handled the purchase and integration of Lotus which it kept as a separate division for over ten years and only recently dropped the brand. Oracle's design to fold Sun in quickly was equally as successful in disposing of loss-making sectors and improving the profitability of the rest and providing a coherent product line for customers.

For all its blurb Microsoft has hardly kept its mitts off Skype which is why the client's are increasingly welded to other Microsoft services and increasingly unwieldy as a result. Do we have any figures from Microsoft as to how well Skype is doing? Is it still operating at a loss?

What does seem to be different for web companies is the size of goodwill and potential write-offs. If Facebook can pay $1 bn for Instagram, why shouldn't Tumblr be worth the same notional figure? The justification is usually about the eyeballs for advertising but this is as much about shutting down the competition as anything else. This is less about market share than outright domination: IBM got out of the PC business when it realised the margins were terminally thin; Akamai bought Cotendo to shut them down. And if things don't work out, well the charges can be offset against any tax meaning that other taxpayers will actually take the hit.

Given that current monetary policy is making any of these purchases extremely cheap, we can expect more of them and that is probably one of the aims of QE and its ilk: raising valuations supposedly makes us all feel wealthier and we thus go out and spend more.

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If you've bought DRM'd film files from Acetrax, here's the bad news

Charlie Clark
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Re: I tried to use Acetrax once...

Worked fine for me on the telly but I didn't sign up for more…

Here in Germany, MaxDome is the platform of choice, sadly crippled by no intelligent way of checking for whether the films have an English soundtrack: my German is fine but I hate the way they dub films here. Oh, and they send newsletters without usable text/plain parts which mean I never find out what's new…

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Opera rewrite comes to Android

Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

Not for tablets

Opera Mobile, ie. the full version, has never been very popular on mobile devices. This is in contrast to Opera Mini which according to Akamai has been losing market share over the last few weeks. It's wrong to lump the two together and StatCounter appears to be doing, but if that is the case then the move to "Blink" is probably the way to go. Phones have got powerful enough to be able to render websites where there used to benefit from server-side processing for Mini. This is now a handicap because of the inability to handle Javascript locally. Opera Mobile on the other hand retains the ability to use the Turbo proxy to reduce the volume of data transferred whilst being able to execute any scripts.

Be interesting to see how this plays out. At the moment I can't test the new build with my Galaxy 8.9 because it is "not compatible". I assume this is a form factor issue.

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COLD FUSION is BACK with 'anomalous heat' claim

Charlie Clark
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Coat

Basic premise

I just love the idea that somehow turning nickel into copper releases power slowly enough to plug in a kettle to make a pot of tea. Maybe the "patented waveform" somehow puts the the nuclei to sleep using "sleepons"? Why isn't building a Massive Hadron Lullaby?

Not to discount the possibility of strange things happening at the quantum level but the strong nuclear force is called strong for a reason and even some kind of "nuclear transistor" where quarks would tunnel from nucleus to another would still release a fuck of a lot energy. So, paint me sceptical. But I do like the idea of a "nuclear transistor" - just imagine being able to use something along those lines to control the gain of future fusion reactions!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: This sort of shit

is making homoeopathy look good.

And there's billions to be made from that as well. What, as an investor, is not to like? ;-)

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IBM puts supercomputer Watson to work in ROBOT CALL CENTRE

Charlie Clark
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Life imitating fiction?

From "Small Soldiers"

Can I speak to a computer, please?

The scripts of many call centres are better suited to mechanical rather than human processing so this does make sense. The cost is probably currently prohibitive at the moment but, if Watson works as well as current systems, should come down quite quickly. This could well lead to a better experience for customers and the remaining workers - the ones who get to answer questions the system can't . Time to work out what jobs the others can do. Next stop legal advice?

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Soylent Corporation prepares to DEFEAT FOOD

Charlie Clark
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Licence

Both the original book and the film are still in copyright so the product will need to be licensed to be able to use the name "Soylent". Presumably that's why he's raising the money although I don't think it'll be enough to cover it.

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Syrian hacktivists hijack Telegraph's Facebook, Twitter accounts

Charlie Clark
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Re: The only problem is…

That would be churlish of me. Besides, it's only "opinion" and those are protected by the constitution. Or, this at least the position of the ratings agencies, who were canonised in a similar fashion by the SEC allowing any financial product to be sold that "had a rating". And we know how well that worked: no one wilfully abused the freedom in speech in declaring things like colateralised debt obligations including sub-prime mortgages as being of the highest creditworthiness, did they now?

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Charlie Clark
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The only problem is…

that the SEC recently authorised companies to publish relevant information via Twitter and co. You could say accident waiting to happen.

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