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* Posts by Charlie Clark

2502 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Wireless performance will collapse, prices rise: Deloitte

Charlie Clark
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Re: Full of crap

Yes, the report does smell like the usual industry-funded piece of crap designed to justify either price hikes or cuts in the quality of service or, most likely, both.

LTE has never really been about more bandwidth for users but more efficiency for operators who can drop the pesky need to provided expensive connection-based services for voice. However, if UMTS has taught them anything it should be that the market will accept only a certain degree of gouging before looking for alternatives.

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Microsoft's ARM blunder: 7 reasons why Windows RT was DOA

Charlie Clark
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Re: Too high priced?

And the Nexus 10 costs even less and offers arguably even more…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Interesting view

The anecdotal trap: just because it works for you doesn't mean that the criticisms of the article aren't wrong. It sounds like you have bought an expensive remote control for your desktop.

Sales of 1 million in a quarter including Christmas are just plain dismal: the market has rejected Microsoft's value proposition and this despite huge advertising and marketing campaigns. Apple already has the walled garden and through the volume of its sales has convinced by developers and corporates to let it into their space. For the masses cheap Android tablets are proving increasingly attractive media consumption devices that are extremely portable, significantly more so than the Surface and the reason why Apple has developed the I-Pad mini. Where is the Surface mini? And why has Samsung so noisily abandoned the market?

You are right to point out that more and more apps will be developed for Metro, though how many will be compiled for ARM remains to be seen. Windows RT might just be a stop gap for Microsoft while Intel and manufacturers work on Surface Pro tablets which might well prove popular, albeit by cannibalising notebook sales but only in significant volumes if they are cheap enough.

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Why no one wants to Joyn GSMA's Skype-killing expedition

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Move along, please. Nothing to see

Software vendor complains of poor sales to industry. In other news: earth still orbiting the sun.

Where is all this OTT revenue that the article talks about? How do Skype's worldwide profits stack up against world mobile telephone profits? Or even just against the pre-VoIP calling-card business of least-cost-call-back routing?

Operators have a terrible record of implementing compatible services. They have to do telephony because it's in the licence but it took third parties to discover the potential of SMS. Industry-led MMS has been a debacle. Not that the solution are vertically integrated silos: FaceTime, GoogleTalk, Skype. No, internet-based, ie. truly cross-platform and cross-networks tools are the only solutions.

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Google's JavaScript assassin: Web languages are harder than VMs

Charlie Clark
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Twice as fast?

Speed obviously isn't the selling point for this: twice as fast means about one generation of mobile phones and that in a small part of user experience. Offloading stuff to hardware via, say WebGL or CSS, brings a lot more. It's far from perfect but the slow and steady development and adoption of HTML 5 (including CSS and JS) is gradually moving things along.

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What ereader decline? Kobo pumps up the volumes despite grim forecasts

Charlie Clark
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Re: I'm one of that 12mil

Can't comment on the Android App but I think the article is mainly about the Kobo hardware. I think it's only exists to demonstrate that you can use the books you buy on any of your devices which is an important factor for many. On my Samsung Tab I have Aldiko for books and have not had any problems with it.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Just a consumer.

@ Joe

I understand where you're coming from with reference to large PDFs. The Sony's do a damn good job at reflowing PDFs to fit but at the end of the day there are times when you need the format which is why I was prepared to sell a kidney when PlasticLogic announced the Que. Unfortunately, they never delivered but they have demonstrated the potential of this kind of display technology.

Now, back to books. One of the reasons for me to have an e-reader and/or tablet is access to technical documentation when on the road. Fortunately, an increasing number of my stuff exists as Epub as, Sphinx be thanked, pretty usable on whichever device. When it comes to books, I've never read a Mills & Boon but I guess they're no worse that what I do like to read, and having a degree in the subject I like to fancy that I know what I'm talking about.

It doesn't really matter what you read. What does matter is how you read and the Kobo's are remarkably good - I used to have a Sony and I know a few people with Kindles so I can compare. All the new devices are remarkably similar when it comes to the hardware: hi-res, hi-contrast e-ink pearl screens, diffused lighting, size and weight. The new screens are very crisp, not that 800 x 600 was ever bad really but I now get approximately equivalent line lengths as you find in Penguin paperbacks. The lighting makes a huge difference even indoors as just switching it on a bit increases contrast and legibility. Page refreshing is now pleasantly fast. I was used to the hardware buttons for page for and back on the Sony and thought I'd miss them on the Kobo but as you just need to nudge the screen it's not proving to be a problem and means little or now smudging, or as in the case of swiping, scratching.

But the software also matters. Sony is the dogs bollocks when it comes to PDFs, no arguments there. But Kobo lets you adjust line height which is very important when it comes to readability. The built-in shops all feel a bit weird and constraining but the Kobo shop is not geographically restricted - important to me as an ex-pat as I know a few Jormans who've had to register with US addresses just so they could buy books and keep them on their devices. With the Kobo you just change languages and get more books offered in that language. Sync seems to work okay though side-loading books seems to need a one-time authorisation by Adobe. The Glo is pretty light and will fit in a jacket pocket, which is good in summer when I'm feeling a bit Bohemian as Proust and Joyce certainly don't fit!

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Wanna really insult someone? Log off and yell it in the street - gov

Charlie Clark
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Re: the tin foil hat wearer in me is deeply troubled

@Mike Browne

Think of the benefits that the revolutionairies you mentioned would have found from having facebook.

I suggest you look up "samizdat".

Of course, one interesting conclusion that could be drawn from your suggestion is that revolutions are more likely now that the Nathan Barley's of the world have access to such great technologies. Should we all now flock to the Sugar Ape banner? What are our demands? Smoked salmon lattes? Geek pie hair cuts for all? Easy to see the powers that be tremble before massed ranks of people playing muff, cock, bumhole!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: the tin foil hat wearer in me is deeply troubled

Its much harder to organise a revelotion (sic) when forced to use word of mouth

You reckon? Robespierre, Washington, Lenin et al. wouldn't have succeeded without Twitter and Facebook?

Effective revolutions always need their own independent channels of communication.

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Charlie Clark
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Though I like what you did there, the proposed change seems perfectly reasonable to me. I assume the offence of "common abuse" still exists but there is still a huge difference between calling someone a huge dickwad in a moment of high emotion and publishing it in whatever form.

I've no time for the Tories but Mrs May was one of the first to put her finger in the wound of the "nasty party" only to have her speech as party chairman oveshadowed in press reports by the shoes she was wearing. This change okay, some of the other stuff her department is cooking up certainly isn't.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: It leaves the definition of "grossly offensive" up to police officers (and judges)

Yes, that sentence is a load of bollocks, isn't it? Fortunately, the police do not have the power to interpret the law but judges quite sensibly do.

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Top Brit Penguins spurn London Stock Exchange for NYSE

Charlie Clark
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Holmes

Re: Penguins?

@Miek, yes we know that. We just don't see the connection with Alfresco's CMS. Is it, for example, a Linux distro?

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Lynch mob of bankers say they'll stump up cash to take Dell private

Charlie Clark
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Re: What about QE??

Spot on! This, and similar schemes, are a direct consequence of the cheap money policies pursued by central banks over the last couple of years. It's supposed to lead to more responsible lending except that it isn't: small companies are being frozen out by the banks. Given that Dell has around $ 2 bn in cash there's a 10 % instant return just begging to be had.

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Live blog: Facebook's 'screw you' to Google revealed at last

Charlie Clark
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Holmes

Re: Unlike...

It is all a bit surreal, isn't it. Kind of hard to remember that this not in Zuck's dad's garage but in the offices of a company that went public for $ 100 bn. And, as I know that both your banks and mine sunk money into that IPO I'm not feeling particularly superior.

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Charlie Clark
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Red or blue ones?

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Sheffield ISP: You don't need a whole IPv4 address to yourself, right?

Charlie Clark
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Re: I dont really understand

Is yours the donkey jacket? Close the door on the way out, ta.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Volunteering for the unknown

Makes you wonder doesn't it? Here my ISP already takes care of the IPv4 / IPv6 handling and servers are also increasingly ambidextrous:

$ host h-online.com

h-online.com has address 193.99.144.80

h-online.com has IPv6 address 2a02:2e0:3fe:100::8

h-online.com mail is handled by 10 relay.heise.de

Meanwhile in steam-powered old England:

$ host theregister.co.uk

theregister.co.uk has address 92.52.96.89

theregister.co.uk mail is handled by 10 aspmx2.googlemail.com.

theregister.co.uk mail is handled by 10 aspmx4.googlemail.com.

theregister.co.uk mail is handled by 1 aspmx.l.google.com.

theregister.co.uk mail is handled by 10 aspmx5.googlemail.com.

theregister.co.uk mail is handled by 5 alt2.aspmx.l.google.com.

theregister.co.uk mail is handled by 10 aspmx3.googlemail.com.

theregister.co.uk mail is handled by 5 alt1.aspmx.l.google.com.

Given the apparent cluelessness of ISPs and technical publications is it time we thought of jumping ship?

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Hooking offshore wind farms into UK grid will HIKE bills, MPs warn

Charlie Clark
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Re: Let the madness begin!!!

FWIW, while I agree with the sentiment, this is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Infrastructure has infamously long payback times which is why it is traditionally built and paid for by the state with all the attendant risks and problems that brings with it (Berlin's airport is the current poster child cockup). So, to encourage investment in long term projects governments have hit upon guaranteeing rates of return. There is likely to be more of this for two reasons: the state can't afford to pay for new projects directly; fiscal repression and money printing have driven down returns on government bonds so much that investors, particularly insurance and pension companies, are looking for alternative long-term investments with similarly guaranteed yields. Handled properly such schemes can work out quite well: pension funds are keener on stable cashflow in the future than unrealistic yields; the surcharge of involving the private sector can be offset against the cost of funding to the taxpayer.

That's the theory. Financing energy, especially renewables, in the UK remains extremely badly thought out which is deterring the necessary investment and likely to lead to ever more hair-brained schemes to get the private sector involved the prospect of a real shortfall of generating capacity gets closer.

Here in Germany we've got similar pressures. Leccy is up to € 0.25 / kWh which is quite a bit more than the UK, I believe. The price is increasingly driven by the surcharge for funding the ever-expanding renewables - this is politically driven but also popular, unfortunately exacerbated by exemptions awarded to industry. The power companies have also successfully lobbied for the costs of connecting the offshore parks to the grid to be underwritten by the state. This, only a couple of years after signing contracts to do same without guarantees. This is somewhat understandable as some of the costs are unknown unknowns - it's never been done before. Still, it is never good for governments to guarantee the absolute profits on such endeavours.

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Satnav blunder sends Belgian granny 1,450km to Croatia

Charlie Clark
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Obligatory slight of Belgium

Driving tests weren't made compulsory until some point in the 1970s so it's quite likely the driver never had to take one to get her licence.

Also, having been to Brussel Noord I can understand her desire to avoid it. Not at bad as Brussel Zuid but certainly up there on the list of "100 Train Stations You Don't Want to Visit"!

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Microsoft flings out emergency patch for Iatest gaping IE hole

Charlie Clark
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Re: Neatly attacks the corporate/government assets

To be fair I think that most corporates have already migrated or are in the process of migrating to Windows 7 but depending on when they got the system images this still means IE 8 in many cases. Moving to IE 9 is as much trouble as installing Firefox LTS which is why an increasing number of corporates are doing the latter. Individuals seem to be going for Chrome.

I'd be interested to know how your 24 % breaks down. My 30 % is about evenly split between IE 8 and IE 9 with IE 7, 6 and 10 fighting it out for the wooden spoon. As IE 10 is still Windows 8 only this is hardly surprising but yet another obstacle that MS has unnecessarily put in its path.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Yet another Microsoft Security FAIL.

All browsers have vulnerabilities and all vulnerabilities can be used to compromise systems. However, at least other browsers can be reliably uninstalled from a machine.

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Charlie Clark
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And that is becoming Microsoft's albatross. Even people I know who like Internet Explorer are getting annoyed that their perfectly usable XP machines are vulnerable like this.

Corporate policy is currently an absolute ban on Internet Explorer for internet surfing (lots of intranet stuff is, of course, IE only). Microsoft is going to continue to haemorrhage market share as a result of this and encourage suits to use their I-Pads even more: IE dropped around 20 % last year and Safari gained 10 %. Getting those users back is going to be difficult.

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IBM tops chart for churning out patents for the 20TH TIME

Charlie Clark
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Qualifier

One of the reasons for such high-growth by some of the companies mentioned was the sale or Nortel's patent collection.

I like the double irony "patenting the idea of better processing of patent applications". Doubly impressive coming from a yank, a race infamous for its innate irony defect!

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Hellish XML demon exorcised from Windows, IE bug stays

Charlie Clark
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Re: Why did my XP Pro box crash 5 TIMES.....

@dogged

Why not use it? It's still officially supported my Microsoft until next year.

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'Leccy-starved Reg hack: 'How I survive on 1.5kW'

Charlie Clark
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Pity you're not in France

EDF has finally started installing huge solar arrays and shiny new connection box free for all and sundry as long as you sign up to giving them the power for say twenty years. I would have thought that the Spanish companies would have started something similar as they have even more incentive to change both generation and usage: electricity is still heavily subsidised and struggles to meet the rising peak demands in summer. Nice way of boosting rural economies with all the manual labour involved.

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Nuisance calls DOUBLE, Ofcom vows to hunt down offenders

Charlie Clark
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Re: Whats good for the goose..

@Frank

Both the US and the UK are pursuing Swiss banks with a fair degree of success over assisting tax evaders. It's perfectly easy to apply sanctions to non-domiciled companies via their agents such as banks or credit card companies - viz. fines on HSBC for money-laundering for the Mexican mafia.

While VoIP may make tracking the individual perpetrators a bit more difficult, it is perfectly possible to threaten providers with loss of peering rights (the ability to pass calls into a network) if it takes no action against abusers on its network. This is the same principle when dealing with spam floods - servers, data centres or even whole networks can get blacklisted.

OfCom does need to act faster and impose bigger fines to deter offenders. In Germany, the number of nuisance calls more than halved after fines were significantly increased. But this requires OfCom to act in the interest of consumers which, as others have pointed out, it rarely does.

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FAVI smacks your dumb TV with £30 Android SmartStick

Charlie Clark
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I think I'm going to have to go with something similar (to homeplug) for my Philips TV because cabling the things is a nightmare. I wanted to use WiFi for streaming but unfortunately Philips provided pants drivers for their own WiFi dongle so the connection breaks reliably after about 20 minutes watching films or a couple of hours listening to music. Philips say it's the access point but the same dongle connected to a Philips Blu-Ray player doesn't have any problems. Several firmware updates have failed to solve the problem but removed useful features like the ability to delete channels, because this is apparently "patented". It's failures like this which prevent TV makers from moving up the value chain.

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Security bods rip off Microsoft's 'sticking plaster' IE bug fix

Charlie Clark
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Re: IE truly sucks

@JDX - it's not the man hours or money spent but Microsoft's thoroughly flawed approach to welding particular versions of a browser to particular versions of its operating system.

Windows XP is supported until 2014 and ssers have a right to expect MS to provide the promised support which they have already paid for. Plenty of people are still using it, partly because their hardware cannot run a more recent version - there are plenty of machines out there with only 512 MB. Fortunately, most such users know someone who has installed a more recent browser than IE 8, which is as good as it gets on Windows XP. They are screwed, however, when they come across the many sites that insist on Internet Explorer, which still happens on many sites in many countries.

But, it's not just "sitck in the mud" home users, some of the worst offenders are big corporates with fat MS licences. One of my customers is currently not intending to move from IE 8 on Windows 7 until IE 10 becomes available, presumed to be at some point in 2014. The most recent problems with IE - the main company website didn't work properly due to restrictions imposed by the last major flaw - have forced a more aggressive rollout of Firefox now that LTS versions are available.

And I know from a friend of mine who's machine was hacked last month in a drive-by from a website using the stipulated browser (IE 8) of his international company. He was forced to use FF on his wife's machine while the IT department tried to fix his.

MS still offers companies something with the degree of control of centralised settings management but the lead over other browsers, Firefox in Europe, Chrome in the US and Safari everywhere is evaporating: down from approx. 40 % in Q2 2012 to less than 30 % by the end of Q4.

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Mega-res telly demand to boom, say ball-gazers

Charlie Clark
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Re: are these...

Having done all the work of putting the extra pixels for 1080p in 3D, changing the screens for 4k isn't too much of a challenge and Blu-Ray upscales reasonably well.

I don't see a new media format being used for this - it looks like an excellent opportunity for premium broadband for the usual suspects: cable operators and content providers (Utlraviolet), as people get used to streaming as opposed to physical media.

Need to do some back of the envelope calculations but a lot of people probably already have sufficient bandwidth for receiving, thought you'd probably want to have a fairly generous buffer to be sure. Serving the stuff might be another matter but content providers have a considerable interest in recovering business already lost to Netflix/Lovefilm etc.

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Ofcom looks at contract opt-outs as users rage over price hikes

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: New customers have choice

The trouble is that the networks have very little pricing power with respect to new customers, because there is a lot of competition and a customer can almost always get a cheaper deal somewhere else.

That is known as a market and they still have a great deal of pricing power as the various infrastructure deals, etc. have illustrated. Any company that offers a contract that will lose it money over time deserves to go out of business. As Mr Orlowski pointed out several years ago, companies that continue to emphasis selling phones over services are giving away much of their bargaining power. MVNOs with little or no shop-space selling phones should actually be in a very strong position for discerning customers.

although a network is free to increase the price for customers who are out of contract

er, you have a contract as long as you are still paying. Almost all such contracts have an automatic renewal clause that is triggered unless either party cancels the contract before a specified date.

So, no sympathy for operators unable to do their sums.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Inflation red herring

Indeed! A remarkably sloppy piece from Mr Ray who normally is bang on the money on the telcos. Obviously a bit to close to his sources on this.

Inflation - in whatever measure RPI, CPI, etc. - is only relevant to policy or contracts that stipulate it. They only justification for increasing charges during a contract are costs imposed by statute such as, say an increase in VAT. Otherwise, inflation is a business-specific charge and not a problem for telecommunications. Contract costs come from the amortisation of existing equipment and licences, maintenance of equipment and staff.

In a functioning market competitive pressure should prevent all operators from raising prices together. If operators are free to raise prices but consumers are not free to refuse such increases then the market is not functioning properly and Ofcom as regulator should step in and either reverse the increases or allow customers to leave. As the handsets are the sole property of the phone companies until they are paid off, Ofcom could help by making this clear in contracts so that the loan part of the contract can be maintained.

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Brits are so outraged by Amazon, they voted it TOP for shopping

Charlie Clark
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Bricks and mortar still seem to have some additional flexibility: HMV stores have some nice deals on box sets that I can't find online. That's handy for an ex-pat like me stocking up while I'm over.

Amazon has been very successful in getting itself mentioned as the website for online shopping. The media are just lazy in quoting prices from it as opposed to other services. In Germany I think most consumer electronics bought online come from specialist shops with better service and lower prices.

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Kickstarted mobe charger 'kicked to death by Apple'

Charlie Clark
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Re: Licensing terms

A fundamental principle of the patent system is that patents are granted on the basis that they can be licensed by anyone, ie. non-discriminatory - the inventor gets protection in return for his willingness to share his invention. AFAIK the lightning connector is designed to work with Thunderbolt which is a standard co-developed by Apple and Intel. But this is actually more about customer rights - the right to buy peripherals and services from alternative suppliers. This is essential to prevent the creation of monopolies.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Licensing terms - tried that

Interesting anecdote about how far Apple can now reach into the Chinese market.

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Charlie Clark
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Licensing terms

The iPhone maker is legally free to restrict licensing as it sees fit

I'm not so sure about that. Sounds extremely anti-competitive and similar to the position on I-Tunes music that was struck down in court. Licences should be available to all who can pay the (FRAND?) fee and possibly meet quality standards, a perfectly reasonable condition that can be part of the licence.

This will probably take another ex-territorial manufacturer to develop and release the product and fight Apple in the courts. The developers should probably give someone in Shenzen a call and launch the product.

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What Compsci textbooks don't tell you: Real world code sucks

Charlie Clark
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Poor examples of bad code

IIRC APL made extensive use of mathematical symbols which made a good choice for implementing algebra. This is a niche area and requires excellent maths skills but that does not in itself make it a bad programming language. Database work would benefit significantly from set algebra literals.

Similar with Haskell which, while I don't really like the syntax, is extremely well-suited to certain problem domains and as a purely functional language does this with a lot fewer compromises than trying to do the same in a general purpose language.

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Charlie Clark
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Far better is to write code that is self documenting.

Even better is to write tests for that code.

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Windows Vista woes killed MS Pinball

Charlie Clark
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Re: AAAAAAAHAHAHA@E Haines

They should have done due diligence on any code they buy and ship to customers. If it wasn't properly documented then WTF might have been going on inside it?

What on earth does the legal process of due diligence have to do with assessing the quality of source code? If lawyers were involved then might explain the fiasco as they might have been satisfied by reams of documentation. Documentation of how code works, as opposed to how to use it, is almost inevitably a kind of obfuscation. Tests are much more important and the degree of test coverage can be measured empirically and if you have high test coverage then you can survive architecture changes. I can imagine that MS was not that keen on software tests when they did XP but would have hoped they would picked up by Vista.

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Outlook 2013 spurns your old Word and Excel documents

Charlie Clark
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Re: ReadMe.txt

You can't really be angry from Langley if you bother to actually read something! This is insufferable!Something must be done! It's those… up to their usual tricks, etc.

The article is badly written and does not provide context and examples of what is meant: you cannot import things like contact details from .xls, .doc, etc. That really isn't a big deal: csv, which is a far greater data exchange format than either is still supported for those times when you do need to import a load of addresses, something that I imagine few users have ever done.

I am not a fan on MS Office and personally think the Outlook is a fairly poor mail program - Mr Orlowski gave a thoughtful analysis of the decline in good mail programs a few years ago which is worth searching for - and the awful ribbon interface has been sent to try us but I don't have too many problems with OOXML as it leads to considerably more compact files than what went before. That said I hate XML with a passion and those who defend its openness as somehow magical even more; they should actually read the source of some of these files sometime to realise that without documentation all file formats are abominable. The only saving grace for XML is the number of libraries that facilitate reading and writing it.

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Samsung, LG 'lose confidence' in OLED TV tech

Charlie Clark
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Wait and see

Existing OLED production techniques do not scale very well but, I suspect that it's not just the potential cost that is responsible for any delay - Sony is after all pushing an outrageously expensive screen - but a combination of two things: very high demand for screens for phones, so much so for Samsung that they probably have no spare capacity for anything bigger than the Note II; perfecting Dupont's printing technique. Once they can shift from the not just tricky vacuum-based production to printing then size is no longer an issue.

Regarding OLED vs LCD uHD, this is a red herring as there is little or no uHD content but the fabs can tool up for TVs with similar kit for the very high resolution phone and tablet screens they are producing. Tests conducted by Heise at IFA indicated there is a marked preference for OLED over LCD-uHD which is not surprising when you know a little how the eye works. As people will pay a small premium for uHD it is an interesting differentiator for manufacturers in what is a cuthroat market with the only profits to be found in the higher end and ginormous devices.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Yawn.

That's true for much consumer electronics. Oh, except for the word "consumer".

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GlobalFoundries CEO: Europe must 'wake up' and help industry

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Hey brother, can you spare me a subsidy?

This is Global Foundries that was spun out of AMD because it was losing money, that closed factories in German once the subsidies ran out and is now largely owned by a sovereign wealth fund.

Chips are high volume, low margin products. Not the sort of thing that Europe excels at. We're better at designing the chips or making the machines to make and test them - frickin' lasers. Of course, we could go the way of the Japanese and continue to funnel billions and billions into factories with a lifetime of five years that never turn a profit.

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In a mobile data eating contest, Brits would win - Ofcom

Charlie Clark
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Source?

Could we have the source for this so we can look at the figures in detail as I doubt some of the figures. The last time I compared the UK was not very competitive for either fixed-line or mobile internet.

Here's the view from Germany:

I've got 50 MB/s broadband, TV and flatrate phone for € 35 a month. A mobile contract for phone with 500 MB data is around € 20. Around £ 500 a year. You have to be a mug to pay significantly more than that - LTE would only add around £ 100 to it but you could start looking at dropping the fixed-line services with that. And if they put the prices up I won't be buying, plenty of other things in life I'd rather spend my money on.

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Revealed: The Brit-built GRAVITY-powered light that costs $5

Charlie Clark
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Re: Nice idea but sack the sub-editor

Well, you can make biokerosene, which is what Andrew was driving at.

"Biokerosene"? In the third world? If they have got the process to do that in the wild then they don't need lamps like that. Kerosene from biomass is generally associated with greenwashing/tax efficient strategies from the aviation industry. It's plain and simple paraffin for that lovely, sooty flame.

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Charlie Clark
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Nice idea but sack the sub-editor

could save people relying on biomass fuels such as kerosene, which are bad for one's health

er, since when has kerosene been considered biomass? Anyway, it isn't directly bad for one's health, neither is the dung that is burn for heat and light. The problems start with the soot caused by burning them inefficiently in enclosed spaces.

Solar for lights isn't that expensive and there are several projects which are installing low-cost solar generators, which make a great deal of sense in much of the third world. Given Andrew's generally sceptical views on climate change the article is slightly ironic as people like Amory Lovins have been banging on about giving cheap, reliable and low power renewable technology for the third world for, er, decades.

Still, it's a good project and I hope it does well.

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Another Apple maps desert death trap down under

Charlie Clark
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Obvious solution

Is for all those penpushers in the various Australian state governments to buy something fruity and start fixing things - either by providing detailed and accurate information to Apple who have unfortunately been provided with substandard material by devious and unscrupulous companies, or by relocating towns and geographical features to match maps. Apple is just the victim.

I guess it's lucky (for Apple) that unlimited liability doesn't seem to apply in Australia.

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Linux kernel dumps 386 chip support

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: The joys of open software

@deluded wanker

XP is only still around because companies refused to buy Windows Vista. Neither of them will run on a 386. I can't remember when Microsoft dropped support for the 386 but it could have been as far back as Windows 95. More recently you can pity those poor fools who have bought Windows Mobile or Windows Phone devices only to see support for them dropped after about 12 months, Microsoft's approach to drivers was laughable for years - basically anything was possible and this was a major source of problems for many because buggy hardware would rely on fixes in untested drivers.

There are lots of things to criticise about Linux and its development but this isn't one of them. Anyway if you want to keep your old 386s running up to date unix just switch to NetBSD!

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Intel launches Atom S Series at servers

Charlie Clark
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Re: the customer is always wrong

Price comparisons are going to be interesting and possibly decisive for this. A year from now it might well be possible to get the equivalent of 100 ARMs (in all kinds of SoC and multichip designs) for the price of one of those Atoms and they will each be nearly as good at running Apache/nginx as the Atom and you get a free rain forest with the energy saved on the total system and you can rent the space you save in the data centre to the immigration department.

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Sheryl Sandberg offloads $41.5m in Facebook shares in just 6 weeks

Charlie Clark
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Re: Wait, wut?

If you'd bought at the lowest point you could still have made a mint.

That is always the case with shares. The key being knowing when bottom has been reached. But that isn't applicable Mrs Sandberg and not really to Facebook's IPO which was very close to a "pump and dump" scheme: lots of shares were sold at inflated price.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Get out while the gettings good

It's a tax-efficient divestment. She still holds lots and lots of shares. This allows bonuses to paid in stock rather than income, which given the considerable discrepancy in US tax between capital gains (selling vested stock previously awarded is taxed at a whopping 15%) and income tax makes (could be > 30%) more sense for both company and director.

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