* Posts by Charlie Clark

3021 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Get off Twitter – and onto Google if you want to find TWITS and tweets

Charlie Clark
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Re: ehhh

It's not just "is it down". It's "what happened". Site owners will take to Twitter to explain downtime.

Only when it doesn't matter.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: get instant reactions to live events

@sabroni - that's known as PR and will use whatever medium is currently available. Once the media fall out of love with Twitter we'll see things like What's App being used for the same thing.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: ehhh

Knock it if you want, but real time tweets are a pretty good or at least a possible way to gauge public opinion, get instant reactions to live events, see if/when websites have stopped working etc.

Nope, self-selection rules that out.

As for server monitoring. Did that with SMS (much more reliable) over 10 years ago.

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RIP Windows RT: Microsoft murders ARM Surface, Nokia tablets

Charlie Clark
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Re: hmm

If Windows on ARM fails (again) it won't be down to Windows itself but the handling of existing x86-based applications. This is perfectly doable in software but hardware support would make it better. When Apple made the change it had Intel's support. Unfortunately, Microsoft has made it even more complex with the different 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

Even with Apple's aggressive support of x86 it took years before developers switched to cross-compiling their applications (almost always new versions). The Windows environment is even more diverse.

The Windows on ARM initiative, however, may end up bypassing the tricky world of end-user software entirely and focus on the enterprise market where new kit with new applications is more plausible. The new ARM chips are going to be perfect quite a lot of workloads, even on Windows.

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Silicene takes on graphene as next transistor wonder-stuff

Charlie Clark
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This is not my field at all, but…

I'm not sure how that "buckled honeycomb lattice" will work on in practical applications in case the form is ever relevant for the properties.

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LOOK OUT - it's a GOOBER! Google's über-Uber robo apptaxi ploy

Charlie Clark
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Re: I'd be more shocked

And planes - pilots are expensive and unreliable.

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Twin Adam Sandlers shake El Reg's movie unwatchablathon team

Charlie Clark
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Stop

in defense of Jack and Jill

Stop right there! There can be no defence of the indefensible! It was obvious from the trailer that the film would be utter garbage. Mind you I can't remember finding anything with Adam Sandler in it good.

As you can remember trivia about this film I suggest you seek professional help!

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Microsoft blunts hooks of nasty Internet Explorer phishing flaw

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German 700MHz auction signals start of Euro spectrum flogoffs

Charlie Clark
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Germany phased out broadcast analogue TV later and much faster than the UK. I think the switchover was 5 years max and people were forced to buy new TVs or set-top boxes. You might expect some of the windfall from the spectrum auction to go to those who were forced to buy extra equipment to be able to exercise their constitutional rights…

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Germany's BND muscles in on metadata mass surveillance

Charlie Clark
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Re: Great so its kinda like we'll scratch your Back if you scratch ours?

FWIW the proletariat rarely seems to care as long as there is food and drink on the table and "Dschungelcamp" on the telly.

All this data slurping doesn't make anyone safer (as tools like Bosbach will admit). While it might be useful in a subsequent investigation (great help to any victims) there's rarely nothing that in it that the authorities can't get with a court order obtained after routine police work. Data centres are expensive to build and run and require skilled employees who can't be do anything more useful while they're spying on teenage text messaging.

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Watt the CHIP!? ARM pops out THE most powerful 64-bit Cortex for mobes'n'slabs

Charlie Clark
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Re: The difference

ARM is the British tech success version of Apple

Hardly when you consider both the collaboration based business practices and the money earned.

Still great to see the good ideas still coming. Chips based on this design really could give Intel something to worry about in its still disgustingly profitable server sector.

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Samsung gets KINKY with new Galaxy in 50 SHADES OF GREY

Charlie Clark
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You're obviously wasted on this site. El Reg speculating on unfounded rumours? Who'd thunk it?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: It looks like a fork

Introducing Galaxy Cutlery – collect the set

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Trouble comes in threes: Yet ANOTHER Flash 0-day vuln patch looming

Charlie Clark
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Re: bbc.co.uk

It's not so much iPlayer, it's all of the videos on their website. They all seem to "require" flash for some very annoying reason.

And that reason is called DRM and is required by the licence holders. For many things it's that or no video.

For some platforms there is something called the BBC Media Player which presumably handles the DRM instead of Flash or Silverlight.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: @Charlie Clark

That must be why the iPhone wasn't one of the first to support HTML5 video.

It's arguable that the Apple's products still don't properly support HTML5 as they only support one codec and container format. When writing the HTML you have to take Apple's idiosyncrasies into account and put its favoured formats first otherwise it won't work. The support in the browser was a side-effect of the implementation in I-Tunes. I'm not saying that browsers aren't better off without plugins like Flash, and I'm pretty glad Apple used its muscle to encourage others to change, but their motivation was mainly anti-competitive.

Remember the trailer for some product launch or other a couple of years ago that Apple implemented as a series of JPEGs controlled by Javascript? And have you seen how few other HTML5 bits have been adopted by Apple? Especially since Google forked WebKit? Now that it has its walled garden* Apple is no longer interested in developing the web.

* Something that millions are people are happy with.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Flash be gone!

Jobs used security as excuse. The ban was all about making sure people would only rent videos from the app store using Apple's DRM system.

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Google, Amazon 'n' pals fork out for AdBlock Plus 'unblock' – report

Charlie Clark
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Re: My Windows/Linux hosts files

Why do those with presumed integrity eventually sell out?

You were wrong to presume the integrity in the first place, this has always been the model of the company.

I'm currently using Ghostery because its runs in all my browsers (don't count IE as one as I only use it for testing) on all my devices. They, apparently, have a different business model which tells ad-firms where there products are failing. Time will tell if this is sustainable. If a site has to close because it runs too many invasive ads that annoy too many people then it closes because it has been trying to sell users to the wrong ad companies.

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AWS Go-ing Google's way

Charlie Clark
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Re: Context please

Yep, the fact that Go compiles to machine code is certainly an advantage but the people I've spoken with say the built in parallelism is what makes it particularly attractive. Although I'm a Python fan I've got to say "Go Go!" here.

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PEAK WINDOWS 7 may well be behind us

Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

Netmarketshare also has Windows XP at 13.57 per cent, then 18.26 percent before a rise to 18.93 per cent, a step up for which your correspondent can't make a convincing argument.

Well, the easiest answer is probably correct: it's shit data. A slightly more nuanced data would be that some of the sites where Netmarketshare is used are seeing visitors move from desktop to mobile. This will lead to a shift in market share in the desktop that cannot be explained by looking at those numbers alone. Incomplete data is, of course, shit data.

As El Reg never controls the reports with its own data these articles only benefit is letting us commentards point out the elementary errors in them.

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Turbocharged quad-core Raspberry Pi 2 unleashed, global geekgasm likely

Charlie Clark
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Re: Video playback

Will what be okay? The 2π? Or some Atom-based mini-PC with Windows? Video will be great on a system with the right video hardware. My π manages 1080p MKV without a hitch. Intel's more recent hardware does as well.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Some performance figures

re. downvotes: welcome to the internet!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Damn

It's actually just clever marketing: they're offering a risk-free entry into nerddom. Any of us who have ever thought about any kind of computer-based project reckon that we can now do this with one of these ridiculously cheap devices as opposed to possibly repurposing existing hardware. Selling it as a barebones kit is just as clever: you still need a power supply, SD-Card, screen, keyboard and mouse to use it but you think you can just use existing equipment for this. This is pretty much the same as "low-cost" airlines. I'm not saying this to have a go at the Raspberry Pi, just trying to explain why we find them so irresistible. And why, while some people go on to make amazing projects with them, others have them lingering around along with foreign language courses or gym memberships.

So, of course, I've got one (running XBMC/Kodi and not entirely without problems). To get an idea of the power of the device I also ran some CI testing of some software on the device and was surprised to see it running 10% as fast as my 2009 MacBook Pro, which is impressive at the price. Configured correctly, a couple 2πs could make local CI a reality for me.

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Ugly, incomplete, buggy: Windows 10 faces a sprint to the finish

Charlie Clark
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Good review

Covered a range of topics, asked good questions and didn't pretend to know all the answers. I agree that Windows 10 is a gamble that MS has to get at least mainly right.

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SamSUNK! Korean giant's electronics biz takes punch to the smartphone profits

Charlie Clark
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Re: Didn't learn from HTC

The S3 was the last non Note device that was actually different, great little phone.

I really like my S4 Mini (with CM12 battery life is noticeably improved). The S2 and S3 were Samsung's boom devices. I think many people are happy to stick with them and go PAYG so they have more cash to spend on other things: lots of people are now spending more in a month on their phone than I do in a year.

Wouldn't surprise me to see people sticking with Samsung on but stretching the replacement cycle.

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Spartan on Windows 7? Microsoft is 'watching demand'

Charlie Clark
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There was no word on whether Spartan would back-track to work with ActiveX controls, thereby bringing in support for legions of legacy applications. Microsoft has said there will be no ActiveX support in Spartan.

They never will: it's been going nowhere as a technology for years and is one of the biggest attack vectors in IE.

Unfortunately, even keeping it around in IE 11 doesn't even solve all the legacy (read crap) applications that enterprises have lying around. One place I know reckons that around 10 % of such apps won't run in anything more modern than IE 8. Virtual machines spinning up to run IE 8 are probably the best solution in such situations.

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Five years of Sun software under Oracle: Were the critics right?

Charlie Clark
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Re: Yes. The critics were right

I disagree on the MySQL bit. I don't like it much as a database but I have one project which is dependent upon it and there's no doubt in my mind that Oracle's stewardship of MySQL is better by far than MySQL's own where being fast seemed to trump being reliable.

Of course, the big winner out of the takeover has been Postgres with companies like EnterpriseDB picking up lucrative contracts from those fleeing Big Red.

Picking a fight with Google over Java was stupid. Android finally gave Java the mass market of developers it had been craving. And now that market will go wherever Google leads it.

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Opera Jon weaves a brand new browser

Charlie Clark
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Re: Tab handling makes it almost unusable

On MacOS that seems to work with CMD + click. Anyone know how the keyboard shortcuts for speed dial? This and bookmark management is what I miss most from the new Opera.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: It's Opera

And what's wrong with that? The reasons for Opera switching to the Blink engine were solid, the rest of the crap they did with Opera 15 was stupid.

I love the rss/mail client and bookmark management.

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Wall St wolves tear chunk off Microsoft: There goes $30bn!

Charlie Clark
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Re: Invest more?

@DougS I get we both get to mark this day in our diary: I'm entirely in agreement with you. Microsoft has a long history of pissing R&D money up the wall chasing rainbows. Apple has had a much more effective product and, therefore, research strategy (as for that matter has Google), though I'd argue it's started to flounder recently.

Microsoft has been making a phone OS for over ten years and is now losing market share; Windows 8 is the kind of stain that even Jobs at his best would have difficulty spinning (Scott Forstall's maps was nothing in comparison); Office 365 numbers are touted like a big red ink start-up in a funding round; there is now Windows on ARM strategy for the data centre. The list goes on.

The saving grace for the board at Microsoft is that margins are still fantastic and the shareholder structure favours them.

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What's that, Microsoft? Yep, a Lumia and Surface SALES BOOM

Charlie Clark
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Re: Bizzarrely..

Well, done. Now, see if you can work out the profit on the device for MS and Intel.

This is why MS is reporting the number of phones shipped rather than any profit accruing. I'm not dissing the Surface Pros as I think they might be good notebook replacements, but that does sort of make a farce of them as tablets. Pretty much any of the cheaper devices are better for field work.

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Some Androids can be HOSED by WiFi Direct vuln

Charlie Clark
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Whereas I've been in a situation with an Android handset where the manufacturer were now selling it on a later version, but there was no update ever offered for the ones they'd already sold on the previous one.

Depending on the timescale that's where your statutory rights come into play. In the EU, for example, all devices have a 2-year warranty which certainly covers software updates for known vulnerabilities. In such cases it's not uncommon for companies simply to swap devices. But sometimes they may need a little, er, encouragement to do so. However, nothing to do with Google.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Not sure why that was downvoted

@DougS

If it was only the default browser then it would be a piece of piss to replace it and nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, it's in the WebKitView which is used by lots of applications on affected devices. Similar things have happened in Windows: the browser was updated but the MSHTML component in, say Outlook, wasn't and thus remained vulnerable.

Google is only liable where it directly provided the OS to a user, or is contractually obliged by a manufacturer or network operator. This is legally a big difference. As there is a solution: upgrade the OS or simply swap out the components I think Google is pretty safe. But it might be worth having a few test cases.

Of course, one of the ironies resulting from the parlous state of Android updates (though no doubt much better than several years ago) is that Google is becoming more and more like Apple and Microsoft by exercising more and more control of the OS through PlayStore Services and licensing terms.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: It would be quite annoying...

@big_D I see you've been here so long you've adopted the German spelling of my name… :-D

If only transferring the data to the printer is the problem then this really isn't anything to worry about: it fails a couple of times so the report can be provided electronically or printed later. I'm sure you know that physical access to devices is a bigger problem so strong, hardware encryption of data on the device is more important.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: It would be quite annoying...

@big_D apart from the fact that you may be speaking from experience, the example is hardly an every day occurrence. But you're only speculating that the audit could be corrupted (unusably as opposed to manipulated) and I'm sure there are other methods out there which could reliably achieve the same effect: the right kind of EMP, for example.

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Microsoft brings SUNSHINE – but it's a CLOUDY DAY

Charlie Clark
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Re: Isn't it a good thing...

They could then squeeze their corporate customers until their pips squeak, and really rake in the cash, to all be paid out in dividends.

Nah, currently it's still far more tax-efficient to load-up on debt and do a share buyback. But I think you're generally right: the pressure do some kind of spin-off will increase. However, MS shareholder structure is unusual with Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and others still holding huge numbers of shares making it a lot harder for the activists. There are other companies out there that are easier to bully.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: On a positive note...

The XBox outsold the Sony PS

Numbers and source, please.

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Nexus 6 would have had a fingerprint reader, but Apple RUINED IT ALL

Charlie Clark
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Re: If they felt AuthenTec was clearly superior

Why shouldn't the technology available via licence? This, after all, is the founding principle of the patent system. Bullies that buy companies to shut down their licensing are stifling innovation.

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Google splashes $80k on Chrome 40 bug splatting

Charlie Clark
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Re: Google doesn't respect its own 90 days deadline!

I didn't find the release date of the CVE anywhere. Contrary to your insinuation I don't think Google is wonderful. There's a lot to criticise about the company. But they're handsomely winning the PR war about security. And I think they understand better than most, that you can only keep the most severe exploits under wraps and even then only a for a very short time (OpenBSD is the model here).

I haven't done a look at the commits but I can't imagine they put something in stable without first having it in the beta version. A hotfix for all versions would be the exception here. I suppose that checking this would prove which of us is right about this.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Google doesn't respect its own 90 days deadline!

The press release doesn't make it clear when the CVE was made public. As the bugfix has just gone into the stable version of the browser, it will have been fixed in beta and canary channels earlier and presumably available as a hotfix if required.

Not that Google might not get caught out by its 90 day rule at some point but at the moment it has the PR on its side.

From the security page:

One of the quickest ways to get involved is finding and reporting security bugs. It will get prompt attention from a security sheriff, be kept private until we coordinate disclosure, and possibly qualify for a cash reward through our Vulnerability Rewards Program. We occasionally run security contests outside of our regular reward program (e.g. Pwnium2, Pwnium3) too.

Oh, and the code is all open source so that miscreants have a head start finding bugs. Except, of course, that automated scans are better than code review for detecting exploits.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Disclosure

Google quickly discovered that it was excellent PR to run bounty schemes, and much cheaper and more effective than trying to prevent disclosure.

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Landlines: The tech that just won't die

Charlie Clark
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Clawback is a customer right when direct debit is used, though you usually have to sign it off so that the banks can't be made liable if you are using the clawback to default on legitimate charges. If you do, you'll also be hit by the bank with pretty hefty charges.

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Charlie Clark
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What is this rant actually about?

Are you complaining about the fact that there are still landlines? You might consider them legacy, but they are also a part of the universal service obligation from Land's End beyond John O'Groats to Orkney and Shetland. Personally, this is something I think is important.

I would expect that a huge proportion of Reg readers have taken advantage of Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) to get their broadband service from someone other than BT, but how many of you have done the same with your phone service?

Why do those who stick with the incumbent expect things to change for better for them?

Despite the fact that telecommunications were privatised much later in Germany than in the UK the system seems to be working better. LLU was introduced shortly before 2000 and I immediately took advantage of it and haven't looked back. There are many accounts that LLU, introduced even later, in France and has been a success, even prompting the notoriously slow and surly France Telecom to up its game.

I think that what you're really describing is a failure of regulation both to encourage competition and to maintain standards. From the very start privatisation of the phone service (and later other utilities) in the UK was flawed. Cable & Wireless (itself a product of privatisation) was not allowed to compete with British Telecom for the same services and so mainly concentrated on companies. The carve up led years of record profits and combined with underinvestment. When LLU was introduced it didn't come with enough incentives for other companies to invest either. This is why the situation in the UK is the way it is.

Some other points:

paying by direct debit

This is pretty much every contract even though it actually costs the providers money – banks often charge to hold the money in escrow because it can be clawed back by an account holder. If it can't be excluded by the contract, then the provider will seek to make alternatives as expensive as legally possible. The costs associated with potential non-payment are simply too high. An alternative, of course, might be to introduce PAYG for landline. Remember when they did that for the leccy?

caller id

This really is up to the regulator to enforce as part of the service (it's in the spec) to prevent the Ryanair prices you describe. Companies wanting to avoid showing direct lines should should show the number of the switchboard.

nuisance calls

Again, this is really down to the regulator. I've only ever had a few in Germany but have always complained (caller id helps here) but since the fines were significantly increased a couple of years ago, I believe that particular problem has largely disappeared. When it has happened, I never got angry I just told the caller I would be lodging a complaint and noted the number. It probably helps that the provider of connectivity for the nuisance caller can be held responsible, so that even if the number is withheld the phone company can track them down using their logs.

broadband only

has been available here for years, but as others have pointed out, it's not really any cheaper to run

When it comes to switching providers, price should never be the only reason, though it may be the most important one. Other factors such as minimum length of contract and quality of service matter as well. VoIP is cheaper than POTS, Since I made the switch in 2006 I've had more than enough dropped calls or calls with too much interference to gloss over the problems and a VoIP connection requires an individual power supply. The agreed service level in the contract is only 99 % which is one of the reasons why it's cheaper. Nevertheless, network-based VoIP for all new contracts is now standard in Germany.

The costs should also be given some historical context. I'll bitch as much as the next man about the telcos but costs both in nominal and real terms have come down significantly since the 1990s. I used to pay around DM 0.80 a minute for calls back to the UK. A flatrate for calls within Germany has been standard here since about 2005 and I've had a flatrate for calls (to landlines) for Europe and North America for about the same period.

Officially I've still got ISDN, though it's run through the FritzBox and doesn't get everything right, notably forwarding the number of a caller when I redirect a call to my mobile. I guess I should start investigating how I can replace the setup (hardware and config) with straight VoIP.

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Then there were 3: Another UK mobile network borged ...

Charlie Clark
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Re: cool phone number Implanted

No, because Swapshop was shit.

Tiswas was so good it didn't need a telephone number!

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Microsoft: We bought Skype. We make mobiles.. Oh, HANG ON!

Charlie Clark
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WTF?

It killed both international calls and video-conferencing markets.

Competition is such a bit, eh? International calls were a pure profit market kept up by the lack of competition. The carriers managed to keep the illusion going while all the same adopting the same VoIP technology they decried. Costs over a network have almost nothing to do with distance, so why should charges? Since the early 2000s multimedia traffic over the network has dwarfed voice traffic so it was only a matter of time for charging to catch up.

There has never been a video-conferencing market: since the first phones from the early 1970s it's always promised to be the next great thing and never happened.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Time to rationalize

You've obviously never worked with Microsoft's offerings then!

The multiple product streams were the result of a bloated and dysfunctional product management which created the mess in the first place.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Bad idea.

Actually there are lots of other reasons why Lync is better than Skype

Actually, there are lots of reasons why Skype <strikethrough>was</strikethrough> better than Lync. I know Skype is a disaster for admins but it was successful because it was much better for users. I hate pretty much every aspect of Lync which I have to use for customers.

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Free Windows 10 could mean the END for Microsoft and the PC biz

Charlie Clark
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Re: WTF.....

@Big_Ted, we're sceptical because Microsoft has given us cause to in the past and that the time-limiting seems kind of pointless, unless a subscription model is waiting in the wings.

However, I'm happy to wait and see what the terms are as and when the product is released.

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Cheer up UK mobile grumblers. It's about to get even pricier

Charlie Clark
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Re: Other way round, I think,

but I don't think what we got - regulatory price fixing - was the right way for things to change

I agree but it happened because the networks were too stupid and greedy to prevent it. The lobbying post 2003 essentially kept revenues high for a few years in return for regulation later, which for most CEOs and shareholders would then be somebody else's problem. This can be compared to the way banks avoided regulation of Euro area bank charges.

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Charlie Clark
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Puff piece

PAYG in Germany is cheaper and offers more than the UK. The market is only just starting to consolidate from four operators to three and there is a very healthy MVNO market. Free internet on trains for all is on its way (already the case in the Netherlands). And yet I never read sob stories like this about how hard done by the networks are.

The only thing the UK suffers from is lack of investment when the going was good.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Other way round, I think,

FWIW the European Commission was forced to act because they discovered evidence of illegal collusion between operators over roaming. The initial suggestion was drafted by Viviane Reding with Kroes just involved in crossing some t's and dotting some i's.

The Commission has little say over mergers within countries but transnational operators are considered an expression of the single market. If only the EU had been as successful in energy markets.

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