* Posts by Charlie Clark

4395 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Is China dumping smartphones on world+dog?

Charlie Clark
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Re: Rightwards Ho

Quite right. Clickbait with a headline about how cheap Chinese phones are sweeping the planet and use it as a lever to talk unscientifically and simplistically about the collapse of the steel industry. As if it hasn't been collapsing since the 1980s.

I live in Germany and know damn well what I pay for electricity (€ 0.25 per kWh). I don't even mind paying more, well the extra we're going to pay to keep the Bavarians happy is annoying, but nevertheless I'm in general agreement with the policy. I also know that this is much more than what any of the many industrial factories pay for their power. I also realise that power in the US is even cheaper, though that particular advantage is somewhat by the current artificial exchange rates.

Steel isn't that fungible but with the current stupidly engineered oversupply some producers are desperate to get rid of it. I think WTO talks about US claims of dumping by the EU have only recently been resolved.

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Ireland moves to scrap 1 and 2 cent coins

Charlie Clark
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Re: EUROBYL: The catastrophe that just. keeps. on. giving.

The rounding has nothing to do with the tom-foolery and financial repression of money printing.

It is a reaction to the financial drag imposed by the highly effective "barrier pricing" of 0.99 or 0.49. Effective because research indicates that most people think that 0.99 is significantly less than 1.00 and, therefore, people buy something for *.99 because they think it is a big discount over *+1.99. This behaviour leads to sums at the checkout requiring the expensive to process small change. Outside of Germany, where it was studied and found that people do care (and this is largely why there are 1 and 2 cent pieces), it turns out that most people are more than happy with a round-up/round-down approach.

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You know when you spill your drink but keep on dancing anyway? That's totally Intel right now

Charlie Clark
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Re: Being strong is not enough

Also, that should the ARM architecture start making serious inroads, then it'll be Intel fabbing the best of them.

Maybe, but the prices and margins on ARM are much, much lower. As Intel has already found out in the tablet space.

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BLABBERGEDDON BEGINS! Twitter lays off 8% of its workforce

Charlie Clark
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Re: 4000 employees?

Fleecing venture capitalists?

No, they made their money back when it went public.

I can imagine some money being spent to get the feed by some media companies thinking it constitutes public opinion (it is opinion that is public but that is not the same thing) but that wouldn't be more than a couple of million a quarter.

But who the fuck is paying for sponsored tweets?

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Google's .bro file format changed to .br after gender bother

Charlie Clark
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WTF?

Video format?

I thought Brotli was mainly about improving compression over the network? Sure, as an alternative to deflate you can use it for files but why bother? There are other formats that crunch better (xz springs to mind) at the expense of being slower. For video all the magic is in the codec which notoriously doesn't compress much further.

As for the sexist bollocks - just seems like clickbait and most people seem to have swallowed it.

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BBC bypasses Linux kernel to make streaming videos flow

Charlie Clark
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Re: Didn't microsoft try that?

Moving video drivers out of the NT kernel and into user-space to speed things up?

IIRC it went the other way because of the speed of context switching on x86 chips and Microsoft needed a fast system to impress customers. Security? Well they already had the C2 (or whatever it was) certificate. Not that people really cared anyway.

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Top boffin Freeman Dyson on climate change, interstellar travel, fusion, and more

Charlie Clark
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Re: "China may in fact be able to develop shale gas on a big scale..."

Or both. The price for Russian gas goes down every day a pipeline to China doesn't exist. Pollution from coal is a huge problem in China but so is the amount of energy produced from coal. Hence current plans to increase generation from every other source: gas, renewable and nuclear.

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Smartmobe brain maker Qualcomm teases 64-bit ARM server chip secrets

Charlie Clark
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Emulators just aren't fast enough. But then again, the Windows data centre market is relatively small.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: What held back ARM so far...

Mellanox and FPGA and at ARM prices? You can see all kinds of engineering shops falling over themselves to get hold of some of these. It's an HPC wet dream!

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Charlie Clark
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Qualcomm traditionally has extremely good connections to the military so it's more than possible that they will kickstart the business with a huge data centre order that we'll never hear of but that will help them get the volume to get other business.

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Samsung forgets Galaxy worries, surprises analysts with big numbers

Charlie Clark
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Especially when it's not entirely true. I haven't seen any recent breakdowns but the summer numbers showed that the Edge was selling better than expected, so much so that supply couldn't meet demand, and the S6 less and this is was led to disappointing numbers.

There's no doubt that Apple is still taking the lion's share of the profits but the S6 Edge seems to be doing a good job in establishing Samsung as not just an "also ran".

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Surface Book: Microsoft to turn unsuccessful tab into unsuccessful laptop

Charlie Clark
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The screen/tablet alone weighs 1.6lb, while the whole unit is a very portable 3.34lb, or 3.48lb with the extra GPU option.

Then the comparisons with a MacBook Air are way off the mark: people don't buy them because they're fast – though they're usually fast enough – but because they're extremely light and can last a working day without a charge. Storage is more of an issue which is why Apple knows to charge a premium for it.

This machine may be powerful but it's also heavy and you're paying a lot for a tablet part you might not use so much. Colour me sceptical but I don't see the demand for these devices coming close to that for Apple's fare.

Be interesting to see how good the sales for Apple's even lighter (and more crippled) MacBook have been.

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Silicon Valley now 'illegal' in Europe: Why Schrems vs Facebook is such a biggie

Charlie Clark
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Re: Missing the point

Well, Facebook will be the first test case. The ECJ has referred the matter back to the IPC in Ireland to check that it is satisfied with the handling of data.

The Microsoft test case is probably more important at the moment: can the US DoJ enforce extra-territoriality? If the US thinks it can then this would put a complete stop to transatlantic data processing for American companies because this would definitely contravene the ECJ's decision. Might see a boom in weird subsidiary and shell company set ups to try and work around this.

The US spooks should be careful what they wish for. They already have unparalleled access to personal data all over the place and they can normally get the rest with a formal court order. But if they continue to force the issue then they will be driving the data underground.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Simple solution..

Does FB have, as they claim, the right to use my image without my approval?

Depends on the law of the land: in some countries, such as Germany, there is a concept of "the right to one's own image". However, to know whether they're in breach or not you'll have to log on… Any initial defence will probably rest on an indemnification from your friend that no rights were being infringed.

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US tries one last time to sway EU court on data-slurping deal

Charlie Clark
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Re: Fair play to Max Schrems

The SWIFT agreement (no Feds, you can't read everyone's financial transactions all the time) is a precedent that says this will go against the US.

Most interesting will be whether the agreement is declared null and void immediately or what the grace period will be for a new agreement, presumably based on fast-track court orders.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: OT, (but hopefully of interest)

In this case, the US explaining to the EU that the EU understanding of EU law is flawed ?

That's just petitioning and fine in a court, though not much use in the ECJ.

The US position is flawed because any court approval would have to be by an EU court as in such matters a US court has no jurisdiction. This is similar to the SWIFT discussion about payments (and the current one about airplane passenger data) which led to a separate data centre being set up in Europe to which the Feds don't have automatic access. It's not as if they're aren't plenty of pliant governments and courts in the EU only to happy to give them access but such access could subsequently be challenged.

Getting court orders for this kind of stuff, Italy is a good example, is often ridiculously easy but it riles with American dreams of extra-territoriality.

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Charlie Clark
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We have no Microsoft, Google, Apple, Oracle…

They've all been busy building data centres in the EU and Microsoft is currently in a battle with the US authorities about whether access to the data can still be granted.

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Charlie Clark
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I dunno, there will be some fairly innocuous stuff caught as well: website analytics generally falls under the category.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: India

With all countries including India it works like this: either there is an fig-leaf agreement such as Safe Harbour or the data protections rules of the originating country apply. In practice getting bilateral agreements is hard work so companies usually agree to be bound by the law of the originating country.

So you can't use data protection arguments to prevent outsourcing for financial reasons. But the outsourcing company can be held liable in the originating country for breaches by subcontractors. And, indeed some of the SNAFUs have forced some companies to reconsider their practices. I think it took one of the larger breaches to realise how fucking stupid it is too outsource all their customer data.

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Boeing builds British Airways 787 Dreamliner in 4 minutes

Charlie Clark
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Re: If you are quick off the ball

As for flying through US Hub airports.... What are you silly?

Yes, the experience, especially for a foreigner, of transferring at a US airport is dreadful. There's the pointless but demeaning TSA stuff but even worse is having to take your luggage through customs again. So when flying from Europe, change there first.

We might slag off BA but IMHO they do a pretty good job especially when compared with pretty well all US Carriers andthe likes of Air France

Well, while changing at CDG is never pleasant, I've found service on Air France to be pretty good. Unfortunately, the domestic services are marred by a stupid surcharge for checked luggage which just seems to encourage passengers to bring far too much hand luggage.

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Apple fixes iOS 9.0.2 passcode loophole, kills 101 OS X security bugs

Charlie Clark
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I'm not tech support, but it sounds to me that you have been fiddling with the dials a bit much and created some dud associations.

Good job you aren't tech support as I haven't been "fiddling with any dials".

Curiouser and curiouser: the bug only seems to affect bookmarks (all set by Apple) in the News folder.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: App Store is broken for me

You'll love the new Safari then

I'll never notice because I never use it. Just tried it and every time I tried to open a bookmark it asked me if I wanted to add the link to "sent links" and refused to open the site unless I do. It then fired up Thunderbird, which isn't my main mail client. What is going on?

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Charlie Clark
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App Store is broken for me

For a couple of weeks now: can't install upgrades for anything that requires a login including XCode and any free or paid apps. :-(

Spent about two hours on the phone with Apple Support last week including providing a system trace. No fix yet in sight.

Still Safari was able to update: woot! I feel so empowered!

As for El Capitan: it almost always pays to wait for the first patch release with anything Apple. And ITunes is like Apple's Internet Explorer: every new version of the OS seems to come with a worse version of it. Please Apple: learn from Microsoft's mistakes on this and stop trying to cram services into this overblown WebView toy.

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Microsoft and Google ink SECRET TREATY to end all their patent wars

Charlie Clark
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Re: VFAT extortion still alive?

Shouldn't that have been expired by now? The European patent info for EP0618540 B1 says

Thanks for the lookup. It may indeed have already expired in Europe, though enforceability of software patents here is doubtful

But MS has launched most of its actions in the US because not only do the courts look more favourably on ludicrous patents, but they can also be used effectively to hinder entrance to the global market. But even there the clock is ticking and, outside of East Texas, opinion about frivolous patents is changing.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Dear Microsoft

I will consider that you and Google have fully kissed and made up when you openly withdraw your allegations on the patents.

Can't see that happening because it would mean writing them down in the books which might piss off shareholders. Better to take some undisclosed amount of cash and or goodwill now and let the useless patents expire quietly.

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Charlie Clark
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It's even been said that Microsoft earns more money from Android than it does its own Windows Mobile operating system

No need to suggest it: Microsoft stopped charging for the licences leaving it with the costs of development, documentation and distribution and no revenue.

My guess is that any of the relevant patents, FAT springs to mind, only have a few years of life left and Google easily has enough cash to run things through all the courts, so continuing the battle promises diminishing returns. Nadella seems to have understood that if you can't beat 'em, you should join 'em and it's easier to get Office installed on phones when you're not trying to sue the manufacturers.

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BBC joins war against Flash, launches beta HTML5 iPlayer

Charlie Clark
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Re: About time...

I'll be very happy when I can use the BBC's websites using something other than a security hole propagation system.

And what makes you think that the various media players used by the browsers aren't full of different holes? Any good player will try and offload the decoding to the GPU and this means that privilege escalation is always possible.

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Herbie Goes Under Investigation: German prosecutors probe ex-VW CEO Winterkorn

Charlie Clark
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Re: After working with people on chipset driver software

Over 6 years and no fine tuning, they just build engines and the magic software reduces the contamination? Don't buy it.

Please don't take a look at any of the embedded software in any industrial devices as it is almost always entirely shit: cargo cult of the worst sort with no QA because it all "just has to work".

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Anonymous complaints

Don't forget Detroit: General Motors and Chrysler having been having a great time recently.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: he was unaware of the "defeat device"

He is the CEO, and ultimately the buck stops with him

Which is why he resigned. Too early in my opinion as, unless he was personally involved in a cover up, he'd be well-placed to lead an investigation. Playing musical chairs like they just have, doesn't really help.

However, legally I'm pretty certain that he is in the clear.

Seeing as other manufacturers have remarkably similar results I suspect it may only be a matter of time before similar discoveries are made elsewhere. Helluva a way to deflect criticism from General Motors recent failings.

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Axed-ya Nadella swings blade through the forest of Microsoft again

Charlie Clark
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Re: Technology Transfer in plain sight, must be obscured.

Keep your racism to yourself.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: More Personal Computing segment

Is this where MS products go to die?

Certainly looks like it.

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EU data protection chief: Snaffling all air traveller data goes too far

Charlie Clark
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Re: Compare and contrast

Banks have a vested interest in preventing fraud or money laundering: they can be held liable if they don't take "reasonable steps" to prevent. But they can do this without infringing on privacy – they are essentially checking financial transactions – until they have "reasonable grounds for suspicion" at which point the authorities can be informed and warrants issued if necessary.

The degree of surveillance and the conditions under which the authorities are informed are probably debatable but in no way comparable to the wholesale transfer of all data to them This turns everyone into a suspect, in the legal sense, which violates habeas corpus.

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Google's new squeeze: Brotli compression open-sourced

Charlie Clark
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Meh?

In tests … claimed Brotli running at 3.381:1 compression ratio could compress at 98.3 MB/s

Deflate could run at … 2.913:1 compression ratio was 93.5 MB/s.

Is it just me or do those numbers seem underwhelming to others, considering that compatibility is broken? Compression ratio goes up a respectable 30% and speed around 6%. I Would have thought dedicated silicon might deliver better results without changing the format.

The static dictionary sounds an interesting idea though I shudder to think what's in it!

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Alcatel Idol 3: Holding its own with a pretty decent 5.5 inches

Charlie Clark
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Re: Stick your 5.5"..

I think the sales numbers indicate otherwise. I'm no fan of "bigger is better" for its own sake but, depending on what you're doing, there can be advantages in making your pockets bulge.

Personally, although I've got small hands and fingers, I find that while a smaller screen fits them well, there are a lot of things which I find too fiddly: using any of the keyboards has to be number one. I don't use maps a lot but when I do I tend to find that you can't have enough screen. Battery life also seems better on the larger devices.

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Microsoft Office 2016 for Windows: The spirit of Clippy lives on

Charlie Clark
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Re: A few things are needed to make Office great again

(1) It needs to be faster. Why does every version take longer and longer to load? That is unacceptable.

I've not worked with Office 2013 but that certainly seems to be the case in comparison with Office 2010 for Windows and Office 2011 for Mac. However, memory use seems to be better. I have some huge Excel files which cause the older files considerable trouble, whereas Office 2016 seems okay once it's loaded.

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Adobe patches Flash dirty dozen, ignores 155 in Shockwave shocker

Charlie Clark
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Re: Removed.

Yes, because there obviously won't be any exploitable bugs in the browsers' media players…

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Microsoft starts to fix Start Menu in new Windows 10 preview

Charlie Clark
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Re: MS seems to be staning on the Poop Deck

Disingenuous of MS to say the start menu has a fix tile limit, because it's a fixed entry limit which means it affects TIFKAM apps and Win32 exes. There was a limit of 512 entries in the start menu and now there's a limit of 2048, which is still too close for comfort if you have an IDE or two installed along with Office.

Is it a global limit? If so that seriously is fucked up. Not sure why it should be a table at all apart from the Win9x disease of trying to Access for everything.

The worst thing is the silent failure. This obviously wasn't thought about very much and further evidence of a rush to release Windows 10. Then again maybe without a deadline it never would have been released and with all the problems it sounds like a step-up for Windows 8.x users.

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We are the Knights who code Ni!

Charlie Clark
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Re: The Ministry of Silly Languages

At least it makes a change from yet another fecking javascript framework!

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Charlie Clark
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Ain't he bold!

Go on then, let's have a varda at it.

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Shedload of security bugs squashed in iOS 9 – what the hell went wrong with iOS 8?

Charlie Clark
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Re: How is this any different than anyone else's OS?

Here's a question to ponder (I don't have the answer) Is a lengthy list of security fixes a good thing

Wrong question. They should be aiming to keep the list as short as possible but should be completely honest and open about it: errors happen and we're doing everything we can to reduce them.

Let's face it: with NextStep and MacOS they have a pretty good, tried and tested basis for the OS. Consequently, the number of low-level bugs is small compared to some of the stuff that crops up in Microsoft's list (because Internet Explorer is so tightly welded to the OS). But some of these errors are, a bit like some of the shit Google has done with Android, frankly alarming that they are not being picked up before release.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: straight question

The reason for the larger number could be that the fixes were more involved so they wanted to wait for 9.0…

Ever the apologist! Waiting means leaving paying customers potentially vulnerable to some pretty severe exploits. But you obviously seem happy both as a customer and, as you frequently remind us, as an investor. Ergo Apple must doing it right.

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Asus ZenBook UX305: With Windows 10, it suddenly makes perfect sense

Charlie Clark
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Re: "fit a microSD card slot and be done with it."

SD card in adapter for camera, straight into slot for computer.

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Uber is killing off iconic black cabs, warns Zac Goldsmith

Charlie Clark
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Re: Speed of hiring

Yes, it's the synthetic distinction between cabs and mini-cabs that's the real problem. Level the playing field for everyone so that people can get cabs more easily, and parasites like Uber can piss off until they come up with some real added value.

Given how much tax avoidance runs through the London institutions I would be careful about complaining about its use: glasshouses, stones and what not.

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IPv6 is great, says Facebook. For us. And for you a bit, too

Charlie Clark
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Re: Nat as a security measure

NAT may have the side effect of providing a little more privacy in some situations, but within any particular session (and these can be pretty long-lasting) each browser probably provides more than enough information for tracking even if you have an ad-blocker installed.

For Facebook this is irrelevant as you're logged in anyway.

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Charlie Clark
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Go

Moar performance

I suspect that Facebook is seeing high latency particularly in Asia where multi-layered NAT is common and use on mobile devices, where latency matters more, is predominant. Switching to IPv6 should be a no-brainer.

The real win, however, will be with HTTP/2 over IPv6.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: It seems faster

How do you get on El Reg then?

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World finally ready for USB-bootable OS/2

Charlie Clark
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That's almost certainly hardware failure. At a rough guess the machine would be around 20 years old, maybe slightly newer if it had a colour screen.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: What problem will it solve ?

It's normally just a matter of money. Like Windows XP, but also earlier versions of Windows NT, you'll find that companies have signed long term support contracts. I seem to recall that Deutsche Bank for one was more than happy to shove a couple of million a year to IBM for support. There was, and may still be, a huge market for OS/2 embedded (POS, cash machines, courier (UPS at least) terminals, etc.) because OS/2 was the only OS reliable enough that ran in constrained memory: get rid of the UI and it's memory use is very modest.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: What problem will it solve ?

The OS/2 subsystem does some things that many other OSes have been able to. It also comes with a slew of excellent terminal emulations.

Admittedly, you probably won't need much of this but there are still a few companies with an extensive OS/2 landscape, who've saved tons of money by sticking with it.

I think that if I wasn't using MacOS I'd probably have a machine that could boot into OS/2 as I don't know how long it would before I hosed whichever unix I installed. The WPS really is quite funky.

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