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* Posts by Charlie Clark

2502 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Metro's mother to replace defenestrated Windows boss Sinofsky

Charlie Clark
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Re: Ribotro

I'm in total agreement with you about Ribbon - I have to use MS Office with Ribbon for a customer and even after more than a year I am not comfortable with it and I have used MS Word on and off for over 20 years - Word 2 which mixed toolbars and menus was the best I've worked with.

I think Metro has some great ideas which if used sparingly would be part of a great UI but basing everything around it? The tiles are great for pairing back and summarising information. This would be great in a notification centre but plastering the screen with them is counterproductive.

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Apple granted patent for ebook page-turning

Charlie Clark
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Don't know about Silverlight but I think this kind of animation has been around for a while in things like CD-ROMs, remember them?

It's certainly been in use on http://www.20thingsilearned.com/ since long before the patent was applied for so one slap for the submitters and one slap for the USPTO for approval of something for which prior art was a few mouse clicks away.

Apple should be fined % of turnover for this kind of abuse of the patent system.

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Brits swallow Google Nexus 4 supply 'in 30 minutes'

Charlie Clark
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Re: It's called competition

Indeed, though as Samsung is supplying the presumably higher margin Nexus 10 they are unlikely to worry too much. Anyway Samsung has announced the Galaxy Premier as a slightly cut-down version of the SIII.

@ Mr Cox - as desirable as "sold out" notices are for PR, most companies like to be able to keep on selling. Engineering shortages is against the law. The most likely thing is that Google still doesn't really know much about selling physical products: shipping, warehousing, etc. an may well have been genuinely caught out by the demand which does imply what many have been saying for a while: good Android devices are considered to be as good as I-Phones.

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Samsung turns screws on Apple, hikes A6 processor price 20%

Charlie Clark
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Re: I wonder..

Chinese companies will pick this up in the next few years

1) Fabs are getting more and more expensive to build and they were never cheap in the first place. The next generation of equipment is already being cofinanced by the exising fabs.

2) In a few years the Chinese will be going "who's Apple?"

The last couple of 5 year plans have been about developing technologies for the domestic the market and using the economies of scale to subsequently dominate the market worldwide. Admittedly, this didn't work too well with the homegrown version of UMTS but hardware is something they are more suited to.

Unless we get 3d printing really under control the whole idea of getting stuff built cheaply in China and sold in the US or Europe at a huge profit is going to become untenable.

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BBC in secret trial to see if you care about thing you plainly don't

Charlie Clark
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Re: They should clearly axe the obsolete standard

The sheer amount of wastage that would be caused by abandoning FM

What wastage would that be?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: RDS

Never understood why Radio 5 isn't also broadcast on FM

I seem to recall that at the time it was decided that the BBC would not be given any more nationwide FM frequencies so that national commercial radio would have a chance to develop outside.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Then there is Radio 5

I think power of receivers is the only argument against the change.

The switch from analogue to digital TV has gone smoothly and, if my mum is anything to go by, people are generally happy with the result (time-shifting has become easier). The same would be true for radio. Of course, people would complain but then they always do.

AM does propagate further and require less power to receive than FM or DAB. Partly because of that there is more money in FM because it allows for a better carve up of the audience (radio is often very local) but there are limits on the number of stations that can run nationwide for the few stations that don't have identikit programming.

Anyway, FM propagation has its own problems: reception of the German version of Radio 4 varies from dreadful to shitty in my flat; it's not on LW and MW receivers are almost non-existent do DAB really is the only choice. I never listen to any of the other stations but then I never watch any of the hundreds of TV channels that are available either (more of the same old shit just at different times and in different languages).

As a society we have embraced digital broadcasting. DAB, or at least DAB+, is a good solution for radio. I suspect that, er, reception would improve if say mobile phones started supporting it instead of / as well as FM so that we could listen to it on speakerphone without having to plug a headset in.

The alternative, of course, given the popularity of radio of DVB-T might simply to extend that.

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Twitter survives election after Ruby-to-Java move

Charlie Clark
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Pity

I think it was better when there was a built-in bullshit brake!

As for the speed not sure that Java is so relevant. A Java foundation in theory provides a scalable environment because so much money has been spent by Sun, IBM and others on the JVM but no one has ever really claimed Java to be fast and memory efficient (in comparison say with C). Moving to a more functional paradigm probably brings better IO performance with lots and lots of asynchronous clients.

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'iPhone 5 is so easily scratched we just can't get them out the door'

Charlie Clark
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Re: Design goals 101...

You, sir, are a cad! Steam trains is definitely off-limits!

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GPU-powered Chrome lets you watch YouTube longer

Charlie Clark
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Power consumption

It's not necessarily true that GPUs use less power than CPUs but it is generally true that any instructions carried out directly by hardware will use less power because they use fewer cycles. Hardware acceleration does, of course, depend on support in the hardware which for videos means support for the various codecs. Would be interesting to know what's supported just h264 or also webm.

In other news: Opera 12.10 was released.

http://my.opera.com/desktopteam/blog/2012/11/05/12-10-final-released

Support for SPDY and FlexBox are my favourites.

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Mobile operators have another go at killing IM and Skype

Charlie Clark
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Security matters

to me at least. Not that I generally have a lot to say or anything that would be a problem for eavesdroppers but I do believe that people should have the most secure communications possible on any particular channel. E-mail is the glaring exception, of course.

Reviews of Wickr (http://mywickr.com) or Silent Circle (http://silentcircle.com) on El Reg would be nice.

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Apple iPad Mini 8in tablet review

Charlie Clark
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Re: Sheltered Life

I'm actually a mobile developer, and as such I have 4 iphones, a couple of ipods, ipads 2, …And yes, since getting the mini I find that's the first thing I reach for, and the thing I carry around with me

Two things: this puts you very much in the same camp as Mr Dabbs who openly admits his long-standing preference for Apple products; it is a more than tacit admission that Jobs was wrong to have launched the I-Pad only as a 10" device. The relative and steadily increasing popularity of the 7" devices such as the Kindle Fire really have forced Apple's hand here. Though, as usual, they have responded with excellent hardware. I'd tend to agree that for doing much other than just consuming 8" is preferable to 7" but then Samsung was there first with the Samsung Galaxy 7.7 which has GPS and now LTE.

As with other products Apple is probably going to sell a lot of these devices to existing owners who have so far not admitted that the I-Pad is actually a little too big and too heavy to be really mobile. And it will no doubt encourage a few non-owners to buy the "original" over the cheaper competition. However, as with the phones on a like-for-like basis the I-Pad mini really does have little to offer over the well-made droids who are only likely to become both cheaper and better and offer even more content and services on a par with Apple.

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Yahoo! will! ignore! 'Do! Not! Track!' from! IE10!

Charlie Clark
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Isn't this what Microsoft wanted?

What does seem increasingly plain, however, is that Microsoft's stance on DNT has backfired.

DNT is such a braindead approach - it depends entirely on advertisers choosing to play along - and Microsoft is effectively exposing this.

The only effective approach to tracking is that which drove the EU's law on cookies: opt-in only after consumers have been told about the matter and effective sanctions on breaches. Note that the law specifically applies to tracking cookies, session cookies, etc. are generally above suspicion. Personally, I think the law has largely achieved that what it set out to do: shine a light on the extensive abuse of privacy by online advertisers and others.

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APPLE: SCREW YOU, BRITS, everyone else says Samsung copied us

Charlie Clark
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Contempt

If you go to court you are legallybound to accept the decision of the court, within the appeals process of course. So while you can express all kinds of emotions about the judgements ("we are shocked", etc.) you are not allowed to criticise the court's judgement because to do so is to hold the court in contempt. Apple's legal counsel should be shot.

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Facebook's stock rally may be shortlived: Small advertisers enraged

Charlie Clark
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Well done Facebook

… for finally figuring out a business model. Looks like a cross between Google's search words and Groupon. Now we just have to see how well it works or whether it just displaces businesses to equivalent platforms to shout out their ware, Twitter obviously the current favourite. As I don't use the service I don't really care but I do think it is important to see what kind of models actually work now that the hype is receding.

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Why is 4G so expensive? Answer: The Post-Voice Era is coming

Charlie Clark
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Re: In a few short years

The EU only regulates on matters affect the single market and intervenes very rarely in individual countries. So, they are unlikely to regulate here but roaming charges will almost certainly be capped.

However, the implication of steadily rising prices once people have moved to 4G and have no choice to go back sounds like an interesting reworking of the initial 3G contracts. The problem was that WiFi pushed down price expectations and are likely to act as a damper again. This is probably why EE is testing the water with £5 extra charge. Other networks will probably orient their charges around that though I would have though there will still be plenty of voice only tariffs for the majority of us who can't be bothered installing additional software just to make calls.

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Boeing recipe turns cooking oil into jet fuel

Charlie Clark
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Re: "converting the waste cooking oil into sustainable aviation fuel."

Vegetable oils are a perfectly good substitute for diesel and just need some minor adjustments to the engines. Presumably if you crack the oil correctly you could create the kind of fuel that jet engines need. But, as you say, ordinary fuel is cheaper before tax. If it wasn't there would be a huge displacement of food crops by fuel crops everywhere.

I think it would be possible to used cooking oil - cleaning it is less of a problem than knowing exactly what you've got - but burning it in local power plants is probably the best approach.

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New Mac mini: Business in the front, party at the back

Charlie Clark
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Re: Mini movers..

Yep, got one of those self-same Mac Minis here. Cheap and cheerful but also quiet, compact and useful.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: quad-core?

Converting video formats is actually something that graphics cards excel at as they support many of the codecs in hardware they also do parallelism much, much better than x86 CPUs.

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Windows RT OEMs unveil pricing for Surface wannabes

Charlie Clark
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I don't think you'll have to wait that long. By January at the latest these things will be being remaindered if demand does not pick up. Could even be as early as the last week before Christmas for companies desperate to generate revenue. And, if Amazon and Google release cheapish 10" tablets in time for the holidays then that really will put the cat among the pigeons.

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EC: Microsoft didn't honour browser-choice commitment

Charlie Clark
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Statistics, damn lies and statistics

For comparison the stats from Akamai (almost certainly a much larger base though notably US-biased)

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Charlie Clark
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Re: The EU is not perfect, but...

Indeed this is how to regulate effectively. There have been some eye-wateringly high fines over the last 12 months but only when you put them in the context of % of revenue can you see whether they are likely to act as deterrents. The Economist made a comparison a few months ago.

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Apple unsheathes MacBook 13-incher

Charlie Clark
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Re: Is Apple becoming Oracle?

- my money's with the Asian-manufacturers, specifically Samsung and Asus - its only a matter of time before Apple is brought down a peg or two

Yes, whoever is first to market with Android on a lightweight ARM notebook is likely to do some very brisk business.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Is Apple becoming Oracle?

Drives are commodity anyway and probably best left to shops to install. I've a Seagate SSD/magnetic combo which I put in to my existing machine. It's pretty fast but I find that Mac OS parallel read/write performance is dreadful and best not to mention the 5 second waits that a call to my external, firewire backup drive imposes on everything including the UI. Have they got some of the single-threaded OS/2 Presentation Manager in there?

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Charlie Clark
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Is Apple becoming Oracle?

I am currently on my second MacBook having migrated from "Windows" hardware to an x86 MacBook and then up to a Pro when the time came for a new machine. The time for a new machine has come around again but I am not really interested in any of the new offerings and more than a little put off by the jump in pricing and will, therefore, be holding off on the purchase. As Apple is selling more of its notebooks than ever it must be doing something right but I do wonder how many other people feel that Apple is starting to gouge its customers. We don't mind paying a premium for an excellent combination of hardware and software but we do tend put a figure on that premium.

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Gates: Microsoft will merge Phone and Windows platforms

Charlie Clark
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Re: It is obvious

If you listen to what he says it almost entirely an admission that Apple got everything right. Touch is natural but then, suddenly, keyboards and mice.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: But only if...

Active Desktop was actually useful. It was great for things akin to what Windows 7 gadgets are

Some of the ideas behind it might have been okay - nabbed from OpenDoc/Taligent - but the implementation was, as was so much of Windows rushed, botched and buggy.

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Samsung Display: Apple hasn't kicked our LCDs out of its garden

Charlie Clark
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So is this a case of crying about being unable to sell last years technology for this years prices?

Well, it's still all speculation but that is probably the driving force. The higher res screens were suddenly the thing to have once Apple launched the "retina" devices and so whoever could make them could charge a premium. Since then other companies have developed similar techniques and the world has moved on. It's been hard to make money from LCD tellies for a while which is leading to consolidation in that market and it's only to be expected for similar pressures to appear in the market for smaller screens in the absence of additional differentiation (higher intensity, greater efficiency, better colours, lighter, thinner, etc.).

Any company that has invested heavily in capacity will still want to produce and sell as much as possible no matter how low the margins. Suppliers will no doubt be looking both to the putative Windows pad market as well as upscaling the high res screens into 4 and 8k tellies. All the while Samsung will continue to develop AMOLED where the market is still growing, there are fewer competitors and the technology is still maturing.

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Head of Facebook EMEA tentacle to become Tech City UK chief

Charlie Clark
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Re: £115K

For London it is very low which begs the question: did she walk [from Facebook] or was she pushed? Then again, isn't some deadline approaching for selling Facebook shares? and TCIO could be some kind of tax-efficient bouncy castle landing on her way back to Merka.

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TiVo: Cisco and pals could owe us BILLIONS over DVR patents

Charlie Clark
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Re: A bit of info ...

In the 90s it was pretty obvious that you needed a MPEG2 coprocessor to do the heavy lifting as CPUs of the time weren't up to the task.

I seem to remember Intel touting MMX as being important here but from memory another reason for external handling (including Intel's own performance chips) were the bandwidth/interrupt limitations of the x86 and ISA bus: other architectures such as the Amiga were already quite adept at video work because they didn't need to pass all the data to the peripherals via the CPU.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Not that I normally have ANY truck with patent battles...

Be that as it may - where's the "technological innovation" that the article talks of? Doesn't TPB et al. provide even better features through their "distributed archives"?

I was digitising video in the early 1990s - who do I send the cheque to? Surely only a matter of time before retroactive patents are granted. I pity the poor buggers who invented things like the wheel, fire and didn't think about patenting them…

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Craig, Connery or ... Dalton? Vote now for the ultimate James Bond

Charlie Clark
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Re: Moore

I always found the Moore films to be the most enjoyable because they really didn't take themselves seriously and there was room in the films for the other characters (Sheriff Pepper). Was complementary to Connery's action hero in emphasising a suave approach to saving the world and I enjoyed watching them both: it added to the Bond myth.

By the end of 70s the films, like the music were going downhill so while we gained Jaws we also got Moonraker and Bond went into scriptless sequel mode. Pierce Brosnan was destined to be a great Bond in the style of the earlier ones but fashions had changed.

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Microsoft Surface: Designed to win, priced to fail

Charlie Clark
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Re: What's wrong with Pages, Numbers and Keynote?

The Office market wants a full fat Office and is prepared to pay for it that's why they give IOS works such short shrift. Softmaker Office for Android got a very good review but is still not good enough. Office for IOS/Android is potentially a huge market for MS if only they could get their head out of their arse. Be interesting to know how many units they've pencilled in to sell this quarter.

Good analysis of the Surface and the market it's facing.

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Carphone Warehouse lauds Nexus 7 while eagerly eying iPad Mini

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: Never seen

I've never seen anyone use a non-iPad tablet. Literally never, I don't even know anyone who owns one or has thought of owning one.

Thanks for your input on this… This tells us lots about you and nothing about the market.

Google's similarly poor performance in the tablet market.

You mean the advertiser who also sells ads to people using I-pads?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: 7inch Tablet Paah!!

OLED on a screen that big would cost a fortune.

The LTE version of the 7.7 here is € 260. Even € 500 for an OLED 8.9 would be fine for me. As I'm very happy with my 8.9 but currently thinking about replacing my Wave with an SIII mini and a Kobo Glo to replace the Sony I lost, a new tablet can wait till they refresh their lineup. My guess is a scaled-down version of the Note 10.1. If it has OLED then I'll be buying one.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: 7inch Tablet Paah!!

Possibly, but it's also priced completely differently.

Me, I love the form factor of the my Samsung Tab 8.9 but would prefer it to be OLED, of course. Much as I like good all-in-ones I think there is room for phone + e-ink device + tablet.

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Gartner spells out magic behind quadrants

Charlie Clark
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Re: gartner...talking bollox for money

Maybe the monkeys only too happy to pay them to do so?

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NASA's Cassini spacecraft turns 15 while spying on Saturn

Charlie Clark
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Re: Scanned Signatures

Can you clever and responsible kindly leave this forum to us opinionated and ill-informed idiots? ;-)

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Ukraine navy to deploy DOLPHINS WITH GUNS ON THEIR HEADS

Charlie Clark
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Well, it's a start

But without frikkin' lasers this bid to take over the world is doomed!

I wonder if trying to train animals for this kind of job is akin to training children as soldiers?

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Sky support dubs Germany 'Hitler's country'

Charlie Clark
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Re: You'll fit right in

I once mortally offended a German airport official by hanging out too long in the Bakery…

You mean you arrived after the gate had closed? Then they don't have to let you on at all. And being punctual has as much to do with not paying fines on missing start times as it does with keeping business class customers sweet. My guess is that you were lucky being in Hannover which is a small and, therefore, more flexible airport.

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NURSES' natural DESIRES to be SATISFIED, by technology

Charlie Clark
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Technology for technology's sake

Who is it who makes them fill out the forms in the first place? One thing the Tories have consistently managed to do in meddling with the NHS is increase the bureaucracy. While some bureaucracy is essential for quality assurance, most of it has been about making it easier to make pretty charts in Whitehall.

They could put the money into more schemes like at Queen Elizabeth in Birmingham, couldn't they? Of course not! Silly me, where would be the kickbacks there? More digipens and machines that go ping!

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Apple to drop chip-baking partnership with Samsung?

Charlie Clark
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Anecdotal evidence

At least here in Germany the I-Phone 5 seems to be getting a lukewarm reception. In my local shopping centre the Telekom shop was empty while the S3-LTE toting Vodafone was quite busy; in Media Markt interest was reasonably well divided across all kinds of phones with the most important question I picked up - "do you have any other colours?" - this about an HTC One S. Previous releases, including the hardly spectacular 4S, have lead to much brisker business around the Apple products. Time will tell, and I suspect Apple is pushing direct, online sales over channel, but it wouldn't surprise me if I-Phone 5 sales outside America are down on expectations, though they may be up year-on-year as I-Phone 3 owners trade up.

However, QA is obviously a problem. The fanboi in my local fish shop complained about regular crashes on in 4S since the IOS 6 update and that he will be downgraded. He also confirmed that the maps app was much worse than Google maps. If Apple's extraordinarily good customer service acts promptly probably none of this will matter - solving Antennagate by giving people yet another way to customise their phones was a masterstroke that might be hard to repeat - but if they lasting damage may be done to Apple's image, at least in the eyes of their early adopters, the tech-savvy. Again, that might not matter as the vast majority of Apple's current customers are buying a lifestyle or fashion accessory. Expect more colours if that is the case.

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Charlie Clark
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FAIL

re. faster

Fastest phone is the one with the most optimal software, OS and compiler software.

er, not quite. Hardware is still very important and Apple has very good hardware. The CPUs in the I-Phone 5 are pretty much on a par with other phones but it has 3 GPUs which puts it head and shoulders above the rest in graphics benchmarks.

But it also matters what you're testing for: web page rendering needs good single-thread performance which is why Apple again but also x86-based systems come out top.

The compiler is important but to pretend that Apple only use GCC when they have contributed heavily to LLVM, CLANG and OpenCL is worse than disingenuous. In fact being able to shift workloads so effectively onto the GPU is one of the things which makes Apple devices so impressive in the power/battery life comparisons. Microsoft is late to this particular party and Intel doesn't do GPUs that come anywhere close to PowerVR, Mali, nVidia, etc. in power/battery life.

The OS is important but also the amount of native versus managed code that apps are allowed to run. IIRC WinRT is all managed, presumably apart from MS only apps, so like pure Dalvik apps there will be a performance hit due to the VM, though mileage may vary depending on how good the JIT is. Apple does not allow other the browsers that use the Webkit engine to access hardware acceleration (GPU) for scrolling and stuff but javascript benchmarks should be comparable.

I don't own, and don't intend to own, an Apple phone or tablet but I'm prepared to recognise classy hardware for what it is. As it stands the I-Phone 5 is possibly 1 generation ahead of the competition (better GPU performance and power/weight ratio). I don't expect that advantage to last more than six months but that has never really matter to Apple's customers.

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Surprise! Microsoft patches latest IE10 Flash vulns on time

Charlie Clark
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Re: LOL

@JDX, or should we call you "Mr Orelly"?

If they didn't produce as many security holes then they wouldn't have to work so hard fixing them.

Wonder what the liability is on this kind of patch? Browser maker "bakes" plugin into the executable; vulnerability is discovered in the plugin and patched by the plugin maker… how long before browser maker can be held liable for exploits?

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HTC profits lobbed off a cliff by rivals Samsung and Apple

Charlie Clark
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Simples

I would like an HTC with Android 4, an AMOLED screen and removable SD. Oh, they don't do one. It'll have to be a Samsung then.

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10 million iPad minis to 'outshine' their big brother this quarter

Charlie Clark
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Flame

Samsung launch October 11th

Many reckon it's an SIII mini which I think would suit me and many others just fine.

In tablet news the Galaxy 8.9 with LTE is available for € 260. I have the 8.9 HSPA and can confirm that it is pleasantly light. The 16:10 screen is great for media consumption but also perfectly usable for other stuff.

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Assange chums must cough up £93,500 bail over embassy lurk

Charlie Clark
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Re: Hmm

They haven't got away with it, have they? Not paying a court bond is not as trivial as not paying a parking fine.

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Perth porkfest crowned ULTIMATE BACON SARNIE

Charlie Clark
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Mushroom

Heresy

let's all agree that the Church of Bacon is a liberal and accommodating faith, and its doors are always open to those who worship the divine sliced pork, however they choose to indulge their passion.

What including the bagel-munching heretics? Never! Death to them all.

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Not so fast, T-Mobile: Sprint may bid for MetroPCS

Charlie Clark
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Compatibility

As has been widely reported MetroPCS LTE is complementary to T-Mobile's technology: it gives T-Mobile a leg up in LTE in metropolitan areas and the CDMA switch in 2014/15 has already been announced when the spectrum can be repurposed.

Sprint has a large WiMax (also called 4G) user base and WiMax and LTE are less compatible than the various flavours of UMTS based on CDMA and GSM for which SoC already exist. In any case for the network the costs are largely related to upgrading base stations and not handsets as that costs is passed on to the customer. Does anyone know if Sprint still have any of Nextel's completely incompatible iDEN stuff in the network?

T-Mobile's deal is debt free and as the listing will be of MetroPCS lets Deutsche Telekom easily sell equity without losing control. The numbers are clearly on the side of the T-Mobile deal but when has that ever mattered to the telecoms or it-business? Sprint could pursue a bid strategy in an attempt to jack up the price and thus wound a competitor but that would only really benefit the AT&T and Verizon duopoly. If Sprint is looking for a partner it should be looking for one with a nice dowry to help pay down the debt and build out the network. How about tying up with Telmex?

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Social Bikes inks deal with AT&T to stalk pedal-pushers

Charlie Clark
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meh

The ones round here have normal locks and are a pain in the arse because they seem to use most of the available cycle racks. Maintenance (flat tyre, etc.) and redistribution of the bikes is the key not simply finding them.

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