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* Posts by Charlie Clark

2645 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Whatever happened to telepresence? From $2.5m deals to free iPad apps

Charlie Clark
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Robots

I quite like the approach taken by using robots outlined in the most recent Technology Quarterly.

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ICO clamps down on nuisance calls, slaps £90k fine on Glasgow firm

Charlie Clark
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Re: Do they actually pay up?

Full details should be available from OfCom or the ICO. But, in general, it's a fine so the money should go into a pot which might be used to provide compensation for victims. For the fairly obvious reason of avoiding people trying it on you don't get money for reporting alleged abuse. If the regulator determines that abuse has taken place then it might be possible to sue for damages, though one of the reasons for the fine-based approach is to avoid suits attempting to obtain excessive damages. I hate nuisance calls and always report them*, fortunately we don't get many in Germany, but they do not generally impose a significant cost. One of the things they do here if someone is adjudged to have committed abuse is to cut their, and by extension, their provider's access to the telephone system. I suspect this, as much as the higher fines introduced last year, is a good deterrent.

* to do this don't slam the phone down, however tempting, but note the details of the call. If there are a lot of calls then you can get the phone company to add a trace, this costs money which may or may not be claimed back, but will allow them to establish the originating network.

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Nvidia, Continuum team up to sling Python at GPU coprocessors

Charlie Clark
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Re: hate python with a passion

What total retard decided to use invisible whitespace to denote code blocks?

Someone with a better idea of human cognition than you.

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Feedly now home to 500,000 Reader refugees

Charlie Clark
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Meanwhile

It seems that Google has finally got round to providing some of the added value search results that Cuil was trailing a few years ago in a sidebar.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: "culling little-used or unprofitable products"

I suspect 500,000 really is a small number where user accounts are measured in the hundreds of millions. But I suspect that isn't the point. Any such service that Google offers binds resources to maintain and run it. Where is the pay off?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Once bitten...

This is the internet generation which has the memory of a goldfish and the attention span of a kitten.

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Father of Android Andy Rubin steps down for Chrome OS boss

Charlie Clark
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Android into maintenance mode?

Sounds more like Pichai is being pulled off an unimpressive product (Chrome OS). Maybe he's being given the resources to scale Android up for notebooks, maybe they just want to back port the web app code to Android.

Android is more or less "done" so it makes sense to move Rubin onto something new to keep him interested.

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Redmond to skip Patch Tuesday for Windows Store apps

Charlie Clark
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Re: So what, indeed...

Except when they don't

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What's most important? Bandwidth over kilo-miles, or milli-watts?

Charlie Clark
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For distance you have to use fibre because of the invariable ratio of power to distance squared and this limits you to light frequencies, by no means all of which are currently being used.

Radio propagation is well understood and, while, there are still plenty of bands available (the ITU carves up spectrum in not the most efficient way) you have to trade bandwidth for propagation.

The developments are complementary and impressive in their own right. Squeezing more out of an existing underwater cable is cheaper than laying a new one. Reducing power consumption while boosting data transmission will be welcome along the chain: in the server but also in the switches of the various NICs.

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Report: Amazon dominates global cloud spend

Charlie Clark
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With a bucket of salt

Not including the market for Google's paid for mail and office software is a gaping hole. Actually, it's easy to pull the whole thing apart. And, as any fule no: it's not revenue but margins that matter. It wouldn't surprise me to see IBM making more than IBM from what it provides.

Amazon's services are popular and have enabled a raft of services. But it's not suited to every task and gets quite expensive if you use a lot of computing power.

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Google shreds Reader in new round of 'spring cleaning'

Charlie Clark
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Re: a sad day

Is this yours?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Boo!

I use Podcatcher.

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Black Tuesday patchfest: A lot of digits plug security dykes

Charlie Clark
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Irksome

This is irksome because Flash is a prime target for targeted attacks and asking consumers or corporate users to turn it off, like Java in the browser, isn't easy because the technology is so widely used on the web.

I humbly contend that it is not as irksome as having the machines compromised by an exploit. I, for one, welcome Adobe's frequent release: better patched than gaping. Corporates can usually disable plugins by policy.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Standard smug response.

And in Opera I have to click on plug-ins to run them. Doesn't that make me clever? However, how am I going to know in advance whether a particular item is compromised or not?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Err...

It depends on the nature of the exploit as to whether it can fixed quickly or not. Both Chrome and Firefox have extensive automated testing setups so there is no reason why they can't push out patches quickly. For details on what they have patched see the release notes.

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Microsoft preps UPDATE EVERYTHING patch batch

Charlie Clark
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Re: Silverlight

Even Microsoft no longer encourages its use. It is now pretty much limited to providing the DRM for streaming services.

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Pwn2Own: IE10, Firefox, Chrome, Reader, Java hacks land $500k

Charlie Clark
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Re: Prize funding?

HP wanted the bragging rights and MS prefers to pay shills to write on forums that everything is hunky-dory. I think Google has an open policy for Chrome bugs and, of course, has just closed the competition for Chrome OS which had a measly $ 3 million as prize money.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Wrong place

Why not hold it in Vancouver and it's simply naive to think that hackers are only in Russia and China. There are plenty all over including Israel and the US or doesn't the name Stuxnet mean anything to you?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Surface Pro

And? They've still managed a zero-day in only those few months. It's still cherry-picking the figures that suit. I think OpenBSD still has the best record but I don't think you'll find anyone on the security team there thinking they have a truly bullet-proof system.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Surface Pro

It is worth noting that Windows 8 has one of the lowest vulnerability counts versus time of any current OS, as does IE 10

No, it really isn't worth noting. Not been on the market for six months and not getting a great deal of use. Expect the number of known vulnerabilities to rise as more chumps are forced to use it.

All systems have vulnerabilities and an open approach to dealing with them is far more important than cock-crowing about the numbers.

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Carrie Fisher dusts off THAT bikini for Star Wars VII

Charlie Clark
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Re: "Elderly"?

She's gotten fat, so I think we can forget the sexy bikini version of her, unless she REALLY takes up some Hollywood miracle diet

You know I can't help but find that quite sad. I've always found her to be very pretty - she has a beautiful face and eyes and well curves - and is in her mid-fifties so not much older than Harrison Ford back then, if my back of the wank-mag calculations are anything to go by, certainly not past it. I'm sure the Lithium doesn't help with the weight but it doesn't matter that much, surely?

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Samsung grabs Sharp shard, brings pain to Apple supply chain

Charlie Clark
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Maths

If ¥10.4bn is $111m, how come ¥9.9bn is $121m?

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Reg readers brew up the ultimate cuppa

Charlie Clark
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Re: Bunch of pretentious snobs!

Got to have your five-a-day trace elements: arsenic, nickel, cobalt, lead, cadmium…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: No Fanboi war?

The topic is not erudite or libertian enough for Eadon who, of course, only drinks an infusion made from free range penguin droppings.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: To confuse things, masala chai

I believe this is yours.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: It all depends on the water!

True. I have to filter the water here because it has so much bloody chalk in it (Rhine filtration method) that you just get a cup of scum if you don't. PG is my preferred - nice notes of Assam but not as strong as others and I much prefer using a pot for optimal taste. Don't have a fancy pot just steel with a wooden handle that's done about 50 years service. Metal pots don't really need warming but need tea cosies. Avoid "tea lights" at all costs which are the devil's work designed to sour the blessed beverage.

For Lester's test - a good strong cuppa goes great with a bacon sandwich on a cold. You might also want to see what goes well with your favourite biscuit - Rich Tea for me, I won't let Digestives in the house - or cucumber sandwiches if you're expecting company.

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Europe tickles Microsoft with €561m fine for browser choice gaffe

Charlie Clark
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Re: Fine, but......

Where does the money from fines normally go?

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Germans Joyn in the operator-backed rival to Skype

Charlie Clark
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Deutsche Telekom reckons the more-paranoid should stick to encrypted wi-fi networks

These are the norm in Germany because of the risks associated with running open networks - you might be held liable for any misdeeds carried out by someone using your network. Doesn't stop man-in-the-middle attacks on hotspots such as those provided by Deutsche Telekom on the trains.

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Torvalds asks 'Why do PC manufacturers even bother any more?'

Charlie Clark
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Re: Chromebook is doing what Surface was supposed to do...

It's normally only worth checking whether he's taken his medication or not. And maybe to remind him to attend therapy, you never know: there may be hope.

On a related note it seems we're likely to be spared Matt Asay's dribbling. Wondering who El Reg will get to replace him. Personally I'd welcome a return of Ashlee Vance's column. Didn't always agree with him but could usually follow his arguments.

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ZTE to build smartphones with Intel's new 'Clover Trail+' Atom

Charlie Clark
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Intel in China

Although it's highly unlikely that Intel's chips will find their way into phones from those two market leaders, The "design win" with ZTE might help it get some traction in the fast-growing Chinese smartphone market.

Yeah, so a a premium price chip like the Atom is really going to help ZTE take on all-comers in a market defined by price?

Despite the fact that some of the Intel-based phones, particularly the Motorola, seem quite good, Intel is starting to look like quite a slut touting all these co-operations. No doubt they'll be touting their 100 % market share on Mars next.

Intel's silicon is not in doubt, but their licensing terms are: how can manufacturers who adopt Intel and pay the normal rate hope to compete against the legions of the ARMy who chips are, well, cheap as chips?

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First C compiler pops up on Github

Charlie Clark
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PDP-8 any good?

Used to have one in the garage but I think it's now gone to a better (less damp) home.

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WE CAN still be BETTER than Germany on broadband, says Ofcom

Charlie Clark
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Re: Always look on the...

I'm English but I still find it offensive the way you refer to "Gross Germany".

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Charlie Clark
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Investment and deregulation required

In Germany the telco's big bang wasn't until the mid-1990s but it was followed by huge investments in infrastructure around the county with companies keen to compete with Deutsche Telekom on providing full service (telephone, mobile and internet) to customers. This meant not only leasing capacity from Telekom but also putting cables in the ground to the DSLASM at least and occasionally to the kerb of the house so that only the twisted pair cable in a house is still owned by Telekom. Together with fairly extensive cable coverage, at least in metropolitan areas, this has led to a competitive environment which competes on both service and price. So I've gone from a 2 MB/s a connection ten years ago to 50 MB/s today for roughly the same price. Service quality is important and will drive customers away if it is not maintained and as it will be plastered all over the press.

AFAIK the UK has invested less and competes mainly on price and I wouldn't expect that to improve until the investment climate improves. Several El Reg hacks have suggested that there is no money in providing capacity but that doesn't seem to be the case here.

At the end of the day, however, broadband speeds seem to be a rainbow and I'm not sure if the idea that faster broadband will somehow automatically increase productivity and drive growth. I think for most of us having a connection of say > 256 kB/s would be sufficient for the vast majority of what we do and I've yet to OECD or similar figures painting a different picture. Higher speeds seem simply to favour media consumption which leads to a diversion from, say, CD and VHS rentals to streaming.

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Don't believe the IT hype: Ye cannae change the laws of physics

Charlie Clark
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Spatial indices on MySQL?

Must have missed it. PostGIS is the way to go if you want to do this sort of thing with open source. I'm getting increasingly sick of comparisons of MySQL (in whichever flavour) with real RDBMS's. The hacks and kludges are just too painful to endure for anything other than toy projects.

By all means get a support contract and pay for DBAs and programmers who know their shit.

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FoundationDB uncloaks ACID-compliant NoSQL beta

Charlie Clark
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PR replaces journalism

Paraphrasing a PR release is not news but I did note that "ACME releases revolutionary new wheel…"

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Router crash downs CloudFlare services

Charlie Clark
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Commendable

While it is certainly embarrassing for both CloudFlare and Juniper I agree with the article that the best way to handle this kind of SNAFU is to open about it. CDNs are, despite the marketing blurb, a very technical product and with preventing DoS attacks one of their key reasons for existing. You're dealing not only with customers but also other networks and possibly, depending on the size of an attack, with the IETF. While exploits like these that depend on discovering esoteric bugs can be developed silently, fixes need to be public and pushed out across networks as quickly as possible.

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MWC 2013: The Chinese are coming - and you ain't seen nothing yet

Charlie Clark
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Re: Trend and intellectual honesty

Yes, it's simply disingenuous to suggest that Samsung just reacts to customer fashions: OLED screens, CPUs, etc. are all the result of a ten year plan at Samsung. Medical technology is the target of the next ten.

The role of the Communist party and the People's Liberation Army in many of the larger Chinese companies should not be discounted.

As for the "intellectual property giveaway". This is just another strawman to try and shore up the idea of Windows Phone as the pinnacle of innovation. Operating systems were commodified some time ago. Google understands this and the value of selling services just as well as the free-to-play game entrepreneurs throughout Asia.

As for eschewing Western approaches: Huawei in particular has been very busy setting up real R&D labs around Europe. Like Lenvovo, it seems to understand that despite the huge domestic market, really successful companies have to compete globally.

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Euro watchdog bares teeth at Microsoft over browser gaffe

Charlie Clark
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Re: Win8 EULA

If it is as you describe then you don't need to worry as it contravenes EU legislation and can be safely ignored.

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Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

Re: EU lost the plot

People reported Microsoft to the courts

No, they reported the matter to the Competition Commissioner. Anti-trust complaints rarely go straight to the courts and I don't even think it's possible for the whole of the EU.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: "Whoops!"

All we learn is that the two sides are equally incompetent.

Please explain how the European Commission has been incompetent.

Anyway ignorance or incompetence have never been valid defences before the law. Sounds like someone is going to have to do some explaining to the shareholders.

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So much noise on WinMob, but Microsoft's silent on lovely WinPhone

Charlie Clark
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Re: Embarassingly naive

I do remember reading it but I chose the word clusterfuck specifically because of the fallout of the very poor handling of what could have a been a nice update for Windows 7. The phones were collateral damage in the Surface debacle that did nothing to Apple or Android sales but seriously undermined Microsoft's reputation, well, across the board (consumers, manufacturers, enterprises and software developers) really.

The bottom line: Andrew likes his Lumia, I like my Samsung Wave (Bada still sells more than WinPhone) but neither bring enough to the game to change it.

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Charlie Clark
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Embarassingly naive

Andrew, I'm shocked that you are only now waking up to the clusterfuck of the Windows 8 release, or Vista 2.0 as it might be better known as. Fucking up the desktop with pretend tablet integration really damaged the brand: enterprises won't touch and everyone is now worried about losing their investment and inverse lockout- "I have Office, will it work on this device?" The phones got hit in the fallout. You might think it's a wonderful OS but I've read very few other positive reviews.

By all means release Metro as the default GUI for the mobile devices, make it optional and release IE 10 for Windows 7 at the same time as for Windows 8. It's not that hard but it's the difference between Apple and Microsoft. Mac OS is looking more and more like IOS but it isn't IOS. I-Tunes (the IE of the Mac world) is released simultaneously for all platforms, and mobile and desktop product releases are deliberately separate.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: "Nokia wasn't grumbling"

Yeah, playing for better stock options when they get bought.

What chuffing differentiation? WinPhone == Nokia to me and no doubt many others.

Oh my, the camera on the Nokia telephone is so much better than… a good camera on a phone is now taken as a given but if I want a really good camera then I buy a camera. The phone stuff and apps are more important.

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EU web chief: Europe's slow on 4G, but 5G GLORY WILL BE OURS

Charlie Clark
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Re: Smokescreen and mirrors

Classic Tory Trolling:

In the coming months the EU will be much more concerned with ailing car manufacturer

Only inasmuch as it will be limiting the amount of subsidies that national governments are able to make. That'll be the same national governments who because they can't make sensible decisions allow the EU budget to rise simply with inflation. Maybe it would help if Cameron borrowed Maggie's handbag the next time he goes to Brussels?

The EU, and in particular the European Commission, continues to rollback the barriers to competition including incompatible technical standards. It was the EU that mandated the use of GSM for mobile networks to guarantee services working across borders and, thus, lay the foundation for the investment that led to GSM becoming most common standard in the world. We're not even lagging behind on 4G seeing as the SoC's aren't yet available there aren't that many devices available. 4G is supposed to be evolutionary which is exactly how it's being made available: data only first and primarily in regions with poor fixed-line or 3G coverage (yes, I know the cities will grab the headlines but look at the terms of the licences) with interoperability an absolute must (and this means phones supporting a load of different bands of radio standards).

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Microsoft finally ships Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7

Charlie Clark
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He actually provides the stats. IE 10 on Windows 8 is a minnow at the moment so 0.8 % sounds absolutely right. The stats I have access to (international corporate site) have a similar breakdown - Chrome edging ahead of Firefox and Firefox now ahead of IE (combined) for the first time ever. MS really dropped the ball with the IE 10 release strategy. This coupled with the serious vulnerabilities that went for weeks unpatched (September and January) forced corporate IT departments to look for alternatives. FF 10 had been under evaluation from the start of last year, it was pushed out worldwide as standard before the end of December. The decision was taken to skip IE 9 so IE 8 is still on the install disk. My guess is that over the next quarter we'll switch to IE 10 but only if the intranet apps work in it. Other companies I know of that are just starting Windows 7 migrations will be sticking with whatever they have until the migration has been completed but I would expect IE 10 to replace and IE 9 and IE 8 by the end of the year but it'll be the biggest fish in a shrinking pond. Safari mobile is already about 15 % because of the all the managers with I-Pads.

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Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

tsk, tsk

ect ect.

Can't stand that. "et cetera" -> "etc". "ect" is short for some kind of brain scan and they're wasted here! ;-)

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Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: Only Microsoft...

You mean like how IE9/10 run on Windows desktop, phone and tablet which are essentially 3 separate OS?

Yes, how separate are they actually? Didn't Microsoft make a lot of noise about them all now having the same kernel? For a userland application the API, which for Windows >= Vista is defined in .NET should be all that matters. And other browser manufacturers have managed it on those three operating systems and more.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: What’s the point?

The point is two-fold:

* it will allow companies that for whatever reason, are tied into the IE system to upgrade to a more usable browser

* upgrades mean less support for older versions of IE which Microsoft is obliged to supply.

Of course, it's basically too little, too late. I think any website statistic will show a continuing downturn in IE's market share and those users are not coming back, not for Minesweeper and not for Angry Birds. IE 10 should have been released for Windows 7 last summer before Windows 8 puked all over everyone's breakfast. This will be the last major version of Internet Explorer. A collector's item if you will.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Do not track?

When you hear "Do Not Track" just think of Neville Chamberlain waving the signed armistice and proclaimed "peace in our time" at Munich in 1938.

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That Firefox OS mobe: The sorta phone left behind after a mugging

Charlie Clark
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Re: The sorta phone left behind after a mugging

"Dad, what's a Lumia?"

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