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* Posts by Charlie Clark

2493 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

A backdoor into Skype for the Feds? You're joking...

Charlie Clark
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Re: Time for open source peer-to-peer

You might want to give Bitmessage a look.

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MYSTERY Nokia Lumia with gazillion-pixel camera 'spotted'

Charlie Clark
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Re: Symbian

Nokia's "innovation" in the 1990s was as much about fashion as anything else along with the Communicator came replaceable cases and image SMS. Indeed Mr O infamously trounced Nokia for being late to the colour screen and cameraphone party.

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It! Started! With! A! GIF!... Yahoo! Actually! Buys! Tumblr! for! $1bn!

Charlie Clark
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Re: Lame! Yahoo! Headlines!

Yahoo! Started! It!

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Schmidt: Don't like our tiny tax bills? Google this... 'Change the law'

Charlie Clark
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Re: It's Ireland who get on my tits.

The level of Corporation Tax is only part of the problem; there are more than enough loopholes in the British tax system.

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US boffin builds 32-way Raspberry Pi cluster

Charlie Clark
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Re: wasting money

For $2000 he could have just bought direct…

This is a custom build with lots of unnecessary duplication for a particular requirement.

I imagine any systems builder would be able to provide a rack-based system using a similar configuration for a fraction of the cost. Of course, they'd want to increase chip & core density to make it commercial. But being able to build systems at this price makes it a lot easier to try things out.

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I said ‘no’ to a million-pound Tech City empire

Charlie Clark
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Be a self-facilitating media node

With the British government offering to guarantee higher risk property loans up to £130 billion (no wonder the national debt keeps going up) plus some shared equity scams you should be able to get the money if you can reasonably convincingly show that you are a first time shoebox-buyer, which probably all you can get for 50k in London. Do it properly and you don't even have to think about ever paying it back and.

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Hey, Teflon Ballmer. Look, isn't it time? You know, time to quit?

Charlie Clark
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1 % isn't a "minnow"

Get a couple of percent of a public company and you are close to a seat on the board. Plenty of scope to short MS stock with a view to getting the necessary stock cheaply.

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Tablet? Laptop? HP does the splits with Tegra-based SlateBook x2

Charlie Clark
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What's the weight?

The 13" sounds great to me assuming it can pump higher resolution via HDMI/DisplayPort. Notebook ergonomics are bad enough but unbearable on small screens. Roll on Android notebooks.

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That $1,000 the lad in Lagos needed? Just email it with Google Wallet

Charlie Clark
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Re: If you must use this...

If you must use this...

Surely nobody must? I use HBCI for my online stuff. Kills h4xx0rs. Dead.

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Hunt: I'll barcode sick Brits and rip up NHS's paper prescriptions

Charlie Clark
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Re: What a Stupid Hunt.

The old ones are the best ones!

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Mobile tech destroys the case for the HS2 £multi-beellion train set

Charlie Clark
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Re: Past and future

@Chris Miller

Private companies are desperate to get their hands on government bonds which finance exactly this kind of project. In fact, pension and sovereign wealth funds are becoming increasingly interested in financing infrastructure projects directly because: firstly, the timescales suit them; and, secondly, the risk-adjusted yields are likely to better than those from government bonds.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Sensible hat on - a better use of £12bn

The two (HS2 and network improvements) are not mutually exclusive and should both be going ahead and could at least be partially financed by cutting back the subsidies to the train operators.

BTW. for comparison Cologne to Frankfurt cost € 6 bn for 180 km (Wikipedia). It's not without its problems but was transformational for travel. As part of its response to the 2008 financial crisis the German government made lots of cash available for railway improvements. This was both politically expedient - a few years disinvestment had started to cause problems with more and more failures in rolling stock - and economically savvy as doing up stations, track and signals tends to use lots of local workers and keeps them trained. Time lost to delays has decreased noticeably since. There are numbers attached to that sort of thing but they should be taken with a pinch of salt from the bucket you need to read Worstall's diatribes.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Tim Worstall = HS2 NIMBY ?

No, it's worse. He's "a retired to South Kent (the sunshine) after making pots of money Torygraph reader" who always knows best and doesn't think the government should spend money on anything but his pension and pet projects: Northerners don't need good rail connections, poor people don't need schools or hospitals, etc.

Britain's rail infrastructure has suffered from decades of under investment. Bringing it into line with other countries who have been investing in their rail networks was always going to be tremendously expensive but anyone who has travelled on the successful (yes, there are failures) high-speed rail connections such as Cologne-Frankfurt or Madrid-Barcelona will testify, they are running at near capacity and replacing journeys that would either be taken by road, adding to already heavily congested roads, or not at all. Furthermore, as Berkshire Hathaway's investment has shown: new track for passenger trains means more capacity for profitable freight and fewer (or at least a lower rate of increase in their numbers) of those ruinously heavy lorries on the road.

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Acorn founder: SIXTH WAVE of tech will wash away Apple, Intel

Charlie Clark
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Re: Eadon's theory of Techie "Waves" - TWO types

I see no spelling mistakes… I must have been reading it wrong: the "minis" must refer to Austin Rover' car, certainly a milestone in the development of computing. And, who could deny the importance of John Newman's "Feel The Love" to generations of programmers?

Eadon is just a misunderstood genius.

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Charlie Clark
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Black Helicopters

The Violent Unknown Event

What will be the the other consequences of the event? What mutations will people suffer? What new languages will people be speaking? Fortunately, it seems that a documentary film detailing some of the consequences fell back through time to 1980.

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Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

Re: Eadon's theory of Techie "Waves" - TWO types

Congratulations on the number of spelling mistakes.

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All aboard the patch wagon! Next stop: Microsoft, Adobe, Mozilla

Charlie Clark
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Re: Reminds me of someone...

I know Firefox 3.2.28 is safe because I ran a contest on an IT forum earlier this year,

Wow, I like your style!

Alternatively you could check the release notes for subsequent versions and write some test cases.

Can we have a King Canute icon?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Reminds me of someone...

Pretty much all the browsers often need security fixes but Firefox 21 is a feature release. Chrome gets silent updates an IE gets patched because someone made it essential for core parts of the OS without putting it in a sandbox.

I can understand people wanting to avoid feature releases which is why there are the LTS builds which only get security updates. 17.0.6 is current.

3.2.x might be faster depending on available memory but how do you know if it's safe? It's not supported by anyone.

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Intel Centerton server-class Atoms: How low can you go?

Charlie Clark
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Re: Like for like comparison required

If and when a 64-bit Afom falls into my lap...

Why do you need 64-bit for a webserver or a router? Oh, and how much does the thing cost?

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Charlie Clark
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Like for like comparison required

As you note the performance isn't stellar - room in the market for both AMD and nVidia. You really need to draw up some application configurations and load tests for when ARM hardware becomes available to test. The Raspberry Pi comparison is irrelevant as it most certainly isn't supposed to be a server, personal media server is a misnomer in that context.

TPM has been touting some very datacentre-friendly, high-density ARM-based designs which will presumably do CPU-bound virtualisation at less than R-Pi power per virtual server. Can't remember whether they have GPUs for parallel grunt, if not there will soon be Teslas for the job. You can imagine Google licking its lips at being able to use them for transcoding for Youtube.

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Android is a mess and needs sprucing up, admits chief

Charlie Clark
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Poor

I guess it's fashionable for people to bash Android using the "fragmentation" straw man. I just don't think it bears up to closer inspection. I don't know anyone who complains about either their version of Android or about the pre-installed apps. The move from Android 2 to 4 on phones seems to following the 2-year contracts that a great many people have but there isn't much difference in practical terms because the API hasn't changed that much in the last couple of years. Sure, some apps don't look as good at some resolutions or on some devices as they do on others but this is largely limited to phone apps running on tablets and I suspect that will start to change as sales of Android tablets continue to rise and developers look to exploit the growing market.

Studies such as that quoted by Yankee are not worth very much. There seem to be a lot of predictions about the decline of Android in the US but some data does not seem to support that. Now that Akamai is publishing worldwide figures the trends are pretty <a href="http://www.akamai.com/html/io/io_dataset.html#stat=mobile_browser&top=10&type=line&start=20130412&end=20130512&net=m>obvious:</a>Android is over driving over 40 % of browsing on mobile networks; Windows Phone is stuck at 0.6 % far behind Blackberry and even DoCoMo's own hardware. Banging on about the "slickness" of the Windows phone device is getting to sound more and more about banging on about Betamax being better than VHS: it might well be better but not enough to matter.

The UX versus UI debate reminds me of other interesting discussions by the author of how Nokia got lost spending too much time with focus groups and UX experiments. If it was wrong for Nokia then why is it right Microsoft now? Of course UX is important but I fail to see the huge wins for Windows 8 when you, apparently, still cannot have different volume settings for the ring tone and the speaker. Those who want walled gardens are free buy a Kindle Fire, the rest of us seem to manage fine.

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UK superfast broadband crew: EC competition bods are holding us up

Charlie Clark
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Re: So *thirty* years after "privatization" BT still has an effective infrastructure monopoly.

Wholesale rates were set low to encourage new entrants, but also had the effect of pushing new telcos toward just reselling BT stuff instead of building their own networks out.

Wholesale prices in Britain are not, AFAIK, significantly different to those in other countries. Specifically France has benefited from cheap rates and rigorous unbundling: France Telecom still owns the vast majority of the infrastructure, is required to invest in its upgrading and provide full access to competitors.

In Germany private utility companies were early investors in capacity which meant a lot more backhaul capacity was available along with access to the home. But it is also true that cable capacity was initially (ill-advisedly using coax and not fibre) built out by the government before privatisation. Deutsche Telekom struck some kind of deal for higher wholesale pricing on the fibre network it is now building out.

So, if other countries with similar wholesale pricing can still encourage investment, why isn't it happening in Britain? If BT thinks it is being paid too little for wholesale connections then it hasn't made its case properly.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: So *thirty* years after "privatization" BT still has an effective infrastructure monopoly.

Pretty much spot on but I have to take issue with.

cash flow -> Fat pay rises to executives (doing the same job) + dividends to share holders (mainly pension funds, like every other major company in the UK)

Pension funds are interested in long term returns, hence the current trend towards getting them to fund long term infrastructure projects. Short-term returns such as higher dividends don't suit that. If the pension funds really are in control then you would expect more investment to encourage future returns.

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Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: What has the EU do do with it anyway?

The only problem the EU has is with the work not being put out to competitive tender as all government contracts in the EU have to. It's not a market if there is no competition.

Britain, despite being a pioneer in privatising telecommunications, has consistently failed to create a competitive market. There are parallels with the power generation market which has also failed to attract investment. Customers, including businesses, are the ones who lose out over time by paying more for poorer services (than their European competitors).

It doesn't have to be like that. My cable provider wrote last week to tell me that they have recently upgraded the local loop to fibre. No subsidy involved although I think they will have used the holes dug by the council for the new underground (paid for by the state so put out to tender) to install the cable. Apparently speeds of up to 150 Mb/s are possible. Which is nice, though I'm more than happy with my puny 50 Mb/s.

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Not now, Apple: We've got the Pi-Phone, the smallest mobe network

Charlie Clark
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Joke

Look! A Windows Phone

Mr Orlowski will pleased to see the other one in use!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Cost of 'spinning up a commercial version'

Probably the desire to have more of the work such as encryption done in hardware and you might want to put restrictions on the OS - stop someone hacking into the system simply be putting in a different SD-card.

I suspect that existing femto cells are very like this already. ARM's ubiquity already puts a lid on chip prices but other things like SDKs could be quite another matter. This might encourage chipmakers to make sure their chips can also work in the environment.

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Nokia's debuts new 'Fastlane' UI in $99 flagship Asha 501

Charlie Clark
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Re: Nokia competing against Android

Not really. You can't make generalisations across the entire world like that. WP could be a surpise hit in the low-price sector.

You hope. After previously noting that the new phone competes head-to-head with the Lumia 520. AFAIK the Ashas are still outselling the Lumias by quite a margin and with phones like this, presumably with Facebook doing an Amazon and financing the data, are not likely to change that very much.

Meanwhile the cheap Android phones will continue to benefit from platform (hardware and software) improvements and continue to flood the market. Support for apps and services like Mpesa in key markets could be far more important than OS, battery life and Facebook.

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The Metro experiment is dead: Time to unleash Windows Phone+

Charlie Clark
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Re: The problem...

Interesting post. I'd like to hear more about how Metro is supposed to work with keyboard and mouse.

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Charlie Clark
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Too litte too late

Going from phone (yes, we know Andrew and the other couple of users like it) to tablets is still going to mean straddling the ARM/x86 divide that Microsoft have yet to demonstrate that they've mastered.

One should never say never but Apple and Android now have established ecosystems of users, manufacturers and software developers in the mobile space and, by the looks of it, better toolchains for cross-architecture development.

There is still a huge market for really lightweight Windows Pro tablets as notebook replacements: give us the chance to avoid Metro and we'll snap up 1 kg devices in droves. That market will go to the first manufacturers who realise that the x86 notebook is a dying breed.

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Deep inside Intel's new ARM killer: Silvermont

Charlie Clark
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Re: Power consumption of the system?

The Intel-based Motorola has similar power/performance figures to ARM-based phones. It has better single-threaded performance, worse graphics and worse task switching but would feel as good to a user: on a phone screen and radio use are also big power draws.

Intel still has three problems: it is still playing catch up in the lower power game so while Silvermont has been announced, the S4 already has big.Little on the shelves; ARM manufacturers are catching up in process technology which is driven by volumes; Intel still wants to charge a lot more for chips than competition-constrained ARM vendors. It will obviously offer sweeteners such as marketing subsidies to any manufacturers to effectively lower the price per chip. But, as the continuing dearth of volume Atom-based phones would seem to indicate, it has yet to achieve volume.

I think that beefing up the architecture may be a gamble now that the phone market seems lost. This could easily hit revenues if computer and server manufacturers reckon they can do the same work with Atoms that they have been thinking about doing with ARMs because it will cannibalise sales of even beefier but much higher margin chips. There may also be reasonably large market in Windows Pro tablets, now that RT is effectively dead and the Start button is coming back, as drop in replacements for notebooks which are now standard business issue.

I'm not a pundit but I think we can expect the next earnings call to factor in lower margins, in a similar way that the lower margin sales of the I-Pad Mini have hit Apple's business.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Price - are Intel willing to compete?

Atom has always had a hefty margin to maintain Intels bottom line

I don't think that's true. I think Atom has considerably lower margins than the "Core" chips and the "Xeons" which is one of the reasons why increased sales depressed profits last quarter. Atom's have been kept castrated to stop them eating the higher margin business. If the new chips are getting the same features as the more expensive ones then we can hope for significantly cheaper ($50 - $100) Atom-based notebooks but the chips will still be too expensive for phones.

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Good news: Debian 7 is rock solid. Bad news: It's called Wheezy

Charlie Clark
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Re: @Eadon (was: Bleeding Edge)

@jake Did you know that continuously trying the same thing, and always getting the same result whilst expecting a different result, is a sign of insanity?

He obviously doesn't as he continues to post the same crap over and over again. Where's the straitjacket icon when you need it?

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Microsoft: All RIGHT, you can have your Start button back

Charlie Clark
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Re: We told you it was shit

Yeah I've come to feel MS were right and we were all wrong on the Ribbon front... cue downvotes...

Two years in and I still don't really understand it. Up until then I'd managed GUIs from various DOS shells through all Windows reincarnations, Mac OS, KDE, Gnome and countless phones. I guess it's just me.

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Apple's next OS X said to be targeted at 'power users'

Charlie Clark
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Re: KDE 4

If you think that KDE is Linux then maybe you should give Eadon a call.

"Spaces" have been around for a while on Mac OS. I used to use them a lot on BeOS over ten years ago but with the size of modern desktops find that I don't need them. Mac OS also has a lot of truly object-oriented desktop features that it inherited from NextStep but these are often buried in things like the service menu.

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Charlie Clark
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Fix the disk performance

This was great until Snow Leopard and has been shitty ever since - not necessarily throughput but the ability for several applications at once to use the disk.

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The Chromebooks are coming! New models due late 2013

Charlie Clark
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There are probably two reasons for being x86: firstly, it's an easier target to compile for than ARM so Google can just ship the binaries. Manufacturers would otherwise have to maintain their own build processes for their particular ARM flavour. Secondly, all the chassis and components for netbooks can be reused.

That logic will, of course, be turned on its head if anyone seriously starts to produce Android-based gear. But that needs Google to adapt Android to keyboard and mouse inputs first. The arguments against ARM would still apply but would have to be weighed up against binary compatibility with existing apps.

I agree with you that there isn't much of a market for chromebooks outside the hacker crowd looking for cheap but usable hardware. Though I'm sure they'd be just as happy with ARM if the device drivers are there.

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British biz walking around with 'Hack Me' sign taped to its back

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

The world was given a vivid insight into the potential costs of a well executed cyber attack last week when the Syrian Electronic Army hacked into the Associated Press Twitter account and sent a false message saying a bomb at the White House had injured President Obama.

If hacking into someone's Twitter account is what you consider to be a cyber attack then I think you need to go back to school.

Twitter has always been full of unverifiable and spurious bullshit. It is, in a sense, its own remarkable piece of social engineering in getting people to take anything carried on, what is essentially a gossip network, it seriously. Clever use of it would be nice pump and dump scheme, or in the instance you cite, naked shortselling to make fat profits.

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Canadian TV station wails: NFC bonking... it's not SAFE

Charlie Clark
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Theft is easy

But finding merchants that can launder them for you can be a bit harder, especially now everything is electronic.

One of the reasons why credit card companies charge merchant such hefty fees is that they serve as vetters of customers. They have, and do use, considerable resources to track down and punish abuse of their payment processing cartel. Anyone laundering cards faces the risk of paying for any products paid for with them, plus any criminal charges and possible loss of banking access.

The industry talks up the sums involved when it wants more power, higher rates or protection from competition but in reality even in the fraudsters' paradise of America the costs are not that high. They are other, safer ways of defrauding people. Just as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, et al.!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: No Chip and Pin in America?

Historically because banks have made more by selling fraud insurance than they lose due to fraud.

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Pirate Party wins seats in Icelandic election

Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

Re: What exactly do they think they are going to change?

Remember, when the Icelandic banks failed, they wee bailed out predominantly by Britain and a few others.

er, no the banks weren't bailed out by the Brits. What the Brits and the Dutch did was to bail out the savers of the undercapitalised subsidiaries (Icesave, et al.) which they had licensed with the usual light touch and then try and use anti-terrorism legislation to make Iceland pay for the regulatory failure by seizing assets. As such it shouldn't have needed a referendum to refuse demands that were not only contrary to international law but against British law.

The bailout was led by the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_history_of_Iceland#Icelandic_financial_crisis>IMF</a> and did not directly include Britain which was too busy shovelling money into its own collapsed banks. It is still a financial basket case with a non-tradeable currency for whom some kind of arrangement with the EU is probably inevitable.

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Review: Nokia Lumia 520

Charlie Clark
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Nokia is only cannibalising Nokia

The comparison with cheap Androids is not really relevant, I suspect. This phone maybe a calculated risk for those already on the Windows Phone train to kit out their kids but at what cost? Won't people just start looking at the Nokia range and going for the cheapest? And if they think that a phone is somehow light on features then they'll go Android. Personally, I think leaving off the flash on a cameraphone will deter punters. Point, click and "share" being one of the main reasons for buying a phone nowadays.

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Apple loses again in Chinese App Store copyright case

Charlie Clark
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The biter bit

Got to appreciate the irony:

1) Apple accuses the Chinese of copyright violations

2) The fees imposed by the monopoly App store are supposed to include quality assurance.

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Reg hack to starve on £1 a day for science

Charlie Clark
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Tokenism

How about going for 5 days without 't internet?

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SkySQL nabs Monty Program to form MariaDB powerhouse

Charlie Clark
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Tumbleweed

MySQL's licensing has always been an "open core" mess. It's arguable that Oracle's more overtly commercial exploitation just makes this more explicit but MySQL was always dual GPL/commerical licensed.

I'm no fan of Oracle but under their stewardship MySQL has indeed started to grow up, with absolutely necessary improvements finally making it into the server. Too long has MySQL waved pathetic excuses for cryptic error messages, data corruption and downright stupid implementation. Sure, plenty of customers have found Oracle's pricing reason enough to leave and many have gone on to use other databases including Postgres - the open source db without any licensing issues.

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Got a Windows XP end-of-life plan? Neither does anyone else

Charlie Clark
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Advice on software from a banker?

'Nuff said really.

Is it just me or does very little of this article make sense? And how much of it is relevant to XP installations?

What are the use cases? ie. a doctor's practice with 4 machines, proprietary software and printers currently running machines bought in 2009. Should migration from XP only be considered necessary for machines with internet access. Will Win 7 or Win 8 run on the hardware? If not, what will new hardware cost? Will the proprietary software run (in an XP VM if necessary)? Are there drivers for the printers and other devices?

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Free French app app booted by Apple, triggers 1m-strong petition

Charlie Clark
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What to do?

“This behaviour is not worthy of a company of this size"

Well, apart from getting a proper portfolio (minister for the digital economy FFS), the sensible thing to do would be to refer it to the competition authorities: should be an an open and shut case. Not this app but Apple's insistence on a monopoly position at the very least in handling payments - apps and subscriptions only available through the store. Just waiting for someone with the balls and energy to refer it. Given the current trend towards vertical integration the sooner the better.

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Apple beats revenue estimates but margins are falling

Charlie Clark
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Re: Must stop commenting on Apple articles

Buffett notwithstanding, companies have a history of terrible timing when it comes to share buybacks. They are currently fashionable as a way of propping up share prices in a market where growth is sluggish but they are also expensive. Buybacks can make sense to companies with large cashpiles as yields on cash are so low: this is one of the reasons for Dell wanting to use its cash to go private. Apple is currently relatively cheap when compared with other tech stocks using the P/E metric but $ 400 a share is still a lot of money and we're still waiting to see those new, high-margin products. Of course, it's also worth thinking about how buybacks may benefit Apple staff with shares vesting.

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Nvidia Tesla bigwig: Why you REALLY won't need x86 chips soon

Charlie Clark
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Re: Negative marketing wont work

As a rough idea, Tom's Hardware compared task-for-task x86 vs Arm as best they could using Win8 RT - which is available for both architectures.

IIRC the Atoms are made with more advanced process (3D FET) than the ARMs. Similar tests have been carried out on Android with the Motorola Razr i (x86) doing very well generally and particularly single-threaded applications but poorer at task-switching in comparison with ARM based phones (CT Magazin 03/13 and 22/12 both in German and pay-per-view. Such comparisons, however, are full of caveats. For real computing comparisons you have to use the Spec benchmarks and read the footnotes carefully.

It's probably also worth noting that the Atoms are the only x86-chips close to the ARM power envelopes and compare unfavourably against more standard x86-fare like i5 and i7, but they use a lot more juice of course.

To support my own claim that ARM is developing faster it would be nice to see comparisons of performance improvements of the ARMs (Exynos) say in the Samsung Galaaxy S series with Intel's Atoms over time.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Negative marketing wont work

ARM is actually less efficient (performance per watt).

That, or the converse claim that ARM is more efficient have to be qualified: what geometries? what OPS? single or multithreaded? The last comparison I saw still had ARM more efficient at low level Ops but then the x86 instruction set is more significantly more powerful in single-threaded environments or for specific operations such, which is where the GPUs come in and why many HPC environments already run x86 with GPUs.

ARMs advantages are plain (price, die size) for many to see which is why so much work is being poured into making ARM-based servers. The development of ARMs over the last few years has been significantly faster than in x86. Intel may still be ahead on manufacturing process but 16nm 64-bit ARMs are now in development with 14nm planned (TSMC).

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Review: Nokia Lumia 720

Charlie Clark
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It's a poor rhetorical device used by Mr Orlowski who obviously likes Windows Phone and elides his personal opinion into a general one. I'm not sure if he's aping Jane Austen's ironic style or classical realism.

I've not come across any such reviews in the press I read but I guess there might be a case to be made for the apparently service-centric Windows Phone approach. However, I also suspect that a "fast and functional smartphone OS" is probably an oxymoron. Feature phones with real buttons are functional.

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