* Posts by Charlie Clark

2871 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Apple says 'zai jian' to Foxconn, taps Pegatron for new iPhones

Charlie Clark
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Re: racism with the morning coffee

the expected influx of cheap labour from Romania and Bulgaria

What expected influx? The UK doesn't have the kind of manufacturing industry that would benefit from such an influx which, therefore, unlikely to happen. Romania already has a reasonably well-established outsourcing sector for car and garment makers. There is still demand for low-paid, low-skilled workers in agriculture and the service industry but there have been reports that EU migrants are starting to avoid Britain because pay is too low.

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Living with a 41-megapixel 808 PureView: Symbian's heroic last stand

Charlie Clark
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Re: Theory why it's Symbian only

How easy do you think it is porting the stuff from Symbian to Windows Phone? What you suggest would only make sense if Nokia had more control of the OS which is where you need some of the tweaks to make this work. Is Microsoft about to embrace QT for the GUI like Symbian has?

The market continues to accept products with impressive value propositions despite eventual shortcomings. By failing either to continue to provide Symbian phones or Windows phones with comparable functionality Nokia has traded a very hard-won technological advantage for the hope of market share which has yet to materialise. Its rivals have jumped in which is why Samsung is trading on the Galaxy phone brand with cameras.

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Windows Phone piques CIO interest says analyst

Charlie Clark
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Re: Hidden parameter

Not sure if it's discounts which you only get for licences as much as simple face-saving about the decision to wed themselves to a Microsoft-only strategy. It's not as if Microsoft actually gives a shit about its large customers in the way IBM (used to) with the banks.

I wouldn't be surprised if we don't see some high profile CIO exits and strategy revisions over the next year or so as support costs fail to go down and employees continue to compare company mandated hardware and software unfavourably with their own devices.

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Charlie Clark
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One of my customers seems quite keen on pursuing a Microsoft only strategy which I suspect might include replacing BlackBerries with Windows Phone at some point though not because of a corporate app store - they already have at least two. However, if they go ahead I think it will be as much to save face as any real value proposition. Microsoft still seems to be falling even further behind in the mobile and browser world but I wouldn't mind swapping my Thinkpad + docking station for a tablet + docking station, though I'd be happier still with a simple VM image. We'll have to see how things pan out when the next hardware replacement wave starts next year.

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Microsoft links Skype to Lync

Charlie Clark
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Not the whole story

The integration only works if you have a Microsoft account and use the awful new Skype clients. AFAIK users with pre-Microsoft accounts still use the classic Skype infrastructure, which Microsoft is obviously keen to drop.

I have Lync for one of my customers and it's not a patch on my > 10 year old Skype client for ease of use. VoIP doesn't work even on the same network, though this probably an issue with the VPN not being able to handle audio packets very well - video seems to be fine.

As the future of Skype classic is in doubt I'm still looking for a replacement. Google's chat has the better interface (because less cluttered) on my tablet. For IM I'm hoping that Wickr will at some point actually make it to other platforms.

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Tim Cook: Wearable tech's nice, but Google Glass will NEVER BE COOL

Charlie Clark
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Don't forget to add "that Flash memory isn't suitable for portable music players" to the list of uncool things.

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AMD takes on Atom S server chips with 'Kyoto' Opteron Xs

Charlie Clark
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Re: sad

The server market is moving down market with only IBM and Sun still producing chips and servers with real oomph and everyone else fighting for volume as margins fall. There is little or no room for low volume specialist server designs which is why Cray, SGI et al went to the wall.

Compilers and OSes are supposed to pick up the slack so that you can buy a "cheap" box crammed full of chips and it will deliver the power you need. Well, that's the theory and why the comparison with Nvidia's Kepler.

AMD know that ARM is coming and has already licensed it. Being able to offer x86, ARM (presumably merged) and GPU on a single die might yet prove a very smart move.

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Opera debuts Chromium-luvvin' desktop browser Next 15

Charlie Clark
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Turbo / Offroad

Among the changes in Next 15 is Opera's "Off-Road mode", which now sucks on Google's SPDY

Opera has supported SPDY for a while now. Seeing as Turbo already bundles all content into a single stream I'm not sure how much additional oompf that will bring. SPDY is still only in use on a small number of sites (Google, obviously, but also Twitter)

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Impressions so far.

Feeds are in the separately available <a href="http://snapshot.opera.com/opera-mail/first_1.0-1033/Opera-Mail-1.0-1033.i386.exe>Mail client</a>. Always loved having mail and rss integrated in Opera. We'll have to see if separating allows for independent release cycles. This could work in M2's favour as it has traditionally been held back by the browser side's release schedule. But it could also be an orphaning off of the client like Mozilla has effectively done with Thunderbird.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Yeah, well, cheerio

Good luck with writing your own browser! I know a couple of people who've been doing it for many years.

I, too, am a long-time user of Opera and while I'm still "wait-and-see" about what moving to Blink will bring long term I can understand all the arguments for it. The new version has separate processes for each tab, plugin and hardware rendering, something which Opera's engineers have been struggling with for a while. They've also had to struggle with sites simply not working properly with Opera.

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We gave SQL Server 2012 one year to prove itself: What happened?

Charlie Clark
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TCO in comparison with which systems specifically? and for what workloads?

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Charlie Clark
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The Redmond software giant understood that the simple storage of transactions was a given and that the era of analysis was about to start…

If only that (storing transactions is simple) were true! And also "dive through the SQL … provide an abstraction" SQL is an abstraction, though there is nothing forcing software clients to use it.

This article purports to be about a database but is actually about the subset of database work called Business Intelligence.

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The Tomorrow People jaunt back to the airwaves

Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

'twas the season of…

six-season seventies run

What, it ran from spring 1974 to autumn 1975? 'Course, I only watch the box set.

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Better Place electric car outfit goes titsup

Charlie Clark
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Re: Doomed idea

Plus: long journeys are not the target market for electric cars. The vast majority of potential customers in Europe will manage fine with current batteries for their daily commute.

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Apple cored: Samsung sells 10 million Galaxy S4 in a month

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: not sure i see what Apple has to 'fear'

indeed. Taking into account the massive amounts of different handsets that Samsung offer, I would expect them to be doing at least a little bit better, than their (closest?) competitor, who has 1 'current' handset on the market.

Please be logically consistent. "Indeed" indicates agreement with the previous comments: firstly, that Apple something to fear (lower growth and lower margins) and that the 37 million sales include a lot of 4's and 4S'. If so, you cannot stand by what you said.

None of this means that things are about to start looking bleak for Apple. It still creams most of the profits out of all sales because it provides a compelling offer of hardware and software and, with the I-pod has demonstrated it came remain competitive even in a cut-throat market. It may just be coming down to earth and really ought to do something about new models.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: not sure i see what Apple has to 'fear'

Apple has slower growth and declining margins to fear which is why it mentioned them in its last quarterly report. Take all Samsung's Galaxy phones into consideration and the trend definitely favours Samsung.

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Charlie Clark
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The HTC One seems to please reviewers with its design and IPS screen. As Alun Taylor noted, Samsung have styled the S4 to look like an updated S3, and while they won't win awards for the design of either, this is pretty much what Apple does. The S3 has been the leading non-I-Phone for the last few months and is well-recognised. The "updates" in the S4 have been well publicised and I think that a great many punters prefer the sheer intensity of the colours on OLED screens. Many have argues that the I-Phone 5 didn't offer a lot to really encourage upgrade sales and total sales since launch give some credence to that argument: sales are still very strong but not perhaps as strong as they might have been.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: iPhone no longer compelling

When Ferrari bring out a stunning new model, Lamborghini don't go bankrupt.

Ahem, Lamborghini did go bankrupt back in the 1970s. Now it's part of Volkswagen which has deep enough pockets to steer through any troubles and, more importantly, access to modern technology to stay competitive. This would make it similar to the phone division within Samsung and suggest further parallels about the market such as the advantages of having access to inhouse technology.

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FLABBER-JASTED: It's 'jif', NOT '.gif', says man who should know

Charlie Clark
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Re: Does anybody use jif's any more?

PNGs can't be animated. Jifs can.

er, yes, they can But support amongst browsers is sporadic.

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Yahoo 'won't screw Tumblr'? Then Tumblr will screw its balance sheet

Charlie Clark
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Meh

Confused

That’s a formula for disaster if you want to reap the benefits of a web company…

There is nothing special about web companies. You actually mean companies with a distinctive brand which have to be handled carefully, a good example might be how IBM handled the purchase and integration of Lotus which it kept as a separate division for over ten years and only recently dropped the brand. Oracle's design to fold Sun in quickly was equally as successful in disposing of loss-making sectors and improving the profitability of the rest and providing a coherent product line for customers.

For all its blurb Microsoft has hardly kept its mitts off Skype which is why the client's are increasingly welded to other Microsoft services and increasingly unwieldy as a result. Do we have any figures from Microsoft as to how well Skype is doing? Is it still operating at a loss?

What does seem to be different for web companies is the size of goodwill and potential write-offs. If Facebook can pay $1 bn for Instagram, why shouldn't Tumblr be worth the same notional figure? The justification is usually about the eyeballs for advertising but this is as much about shutting down the competition as anything else. This is less about market share than outright domination: IBM got out of the PC business when it realised the margins were terminally thin; Akamai bought Cotendo to shut them down. And if things don't work out, well the charges can be offset against any tax meaning that other taxpayers will actually take the hit.

Given that current monetary policy is making any of these purchases extremely cheap, we can expect more of them and that is probably one of the aims of QE and its ilk: raising valuations supposedly makes us all feel wealthier and we thus go out and spend more.

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If you've bought DRM'd film files from Acetrax, here's the bad news

Charlie Clark
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Re: I tried to use Acetrax once...

Worked fine for me on the telly but I didn't sign up for more…

Here in Germany, MaxDome is the platform of choice, sadly crippled by no intelligent way of checking for whether the films have an English soundtrack: my German is fine but I hate the way they dub films here. Oh, and they send newsletters without usable text/plain parts which mean I never find out what's new…

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Opera rewrite comes to Android

Charlie Clark
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Not for tablets

Opera Mobile, ie. the full version, has never been very popular on mobile devices. This is in contrast to Opera Mini which according to Akamai has been losing market share over the last few weeks. It's wrong to lump the two together and StatCounter appears to be doing, but if that is the case then the move to "Blink" is probably the way to go. Phones have got powerful enough to be able to render websites where there used to benefit from server-side processing for Mini. This is now a handicap because of the inability to handle Javascript locally. Opera Mobile on the other hand retains the ability to use the Turbo proxy to reduce the volume of data transferred whilst being able to execute any scripts.

Be interesting to see how this plays out. At the moment I can't test the new build with my Galaxy 8.9 because it is "not compatible". I assume this is a form factor issue.

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COLD FUSION is BACK with 'anomalous heat' claim

Charlie Clark
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Coat

Basic premise

I just love the idea that somehow turning nickel into copper releases power slowly enough to plug in a kettle to make a pot of tea. Maybe the "patented waveform" somehow puts the the nuclei to sleep using "sleepons"? Why isn't building a Massive Hadron Lullaby?

Not to discount the possibility of strange things happening at the quantum level but the strong nuclear force is called strong for a reason and even some kind of "nuclear transistor" where quarks would tunnel from nucleus to another would still release a fuck of a lot energy. So, paint me sceptical. But I do like the idea of a "nuclear transistor" - just imagine being able to use something along those lines to control the gain of future fusion reactions!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: This sort of shit

is making homoeopathy look good.

And there's billions to be made from that as well. What, as an investor, is not to like? ;-)

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IBM puts supercomputer Watson to work in ROBOT CALL CENTRE

Charlie Clark
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Life imitating fiction?

From "Small Soldiers"

Can I speak to a computer, please?

The scripts of many call centres are better suited to mechanical rather than human processing so this does make sense. The cost is probably currently prohibitive at the moment but, if Watson works as well as current systems, should come down quite quickly. This could well lead to a better experience for customers and the remaining workers - the ones who get to answer questions the system can't . Time to work out what jobs the others can do. Next stop legal advice?

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Soylent Corporation prepares to DEFEAT FOOD

Charlie Clark
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Licence

Both the original book and the film are still in copyright so the product will need to be licensed to be able to use the name "Soylent". Presumably that's why he's raising the money although I don't think it'll be enough to cover it.

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Syrian hacktivists hijack Telegraph's Facebook, Twitter accounts

Charlie Clark
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Re: The only problem is…

That would be churlish of me. Besides, it's only "opinion" and those are protected by the constitution. Or, this at least the position of the ratings agencies, who were canonised in a similar fashion by the SEC allowing any financial product to be sold that "had a rating". And we know how well that worked: no one wilfully abused the freedom in speech in declaring things like colateralised debt obligations including sub-prime mortgages as being of the highest creditworthiness, did they now?

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Charlie Clark
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The only problem is…

that the SEC recently authorised companies to publish relevant information via Twitter and co. You could say accident waiting to happen.

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A backdoor into Skype for the Feds? You're joking...

Charlie Clark
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Re: Time for open source peer-to-peer

You might want to give Bitmessage a look.

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MYSTERY Nokia Lumia with gazillion-pixel camera 'spotted'

Charlie Clark
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Re: Symbian

Nokia's "innovation" in the 1990s was as much about fashion as anything else along with the Communicator came replaceable cases and image SMS. Indeed Mr O infamously trounced Nokia for being late to the colour screen and cameraphone party.

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It! Started! With! A! GIF!... Yahoo! Actually! Buys! Tumblr! for! $1bn!

Charlie Clark
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Re: Lame! Yahoo! Headlines!

Yahoo! Started! It!

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Schmidt: Don't like our tiny tax bills? Google this... 'Change the law'

Charlie Clark
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Re: It's Ireland who get on my tits.

The level of Corporation Tax is only part of the problem; there are more than enough loopholes in the British tax system.

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US boffin builds 32-way Raspberry Pi cluster

Charlie Clark
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Re: wasting money

For $2000 he could have just bought direct…

This is a custom build with lots of unnecessary duplication for a particular requirement.

I imagine any systems builder would be able to provide a rack-based system using a similar configuration for a fraction of the cost. Of course, they'd want to increase chip & core density to make it commercial. But being able to build systems at this price makes it a lot easier to try things out.

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I said ‘no’ to a million-pound Tech City empire

Charlie Clark
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Be a self-facilitating media node

With the British government offering to guarantee higher risk property loans up to £130 billion (no wonder the national debt keeps going up) plus some shared equity scams you should be able to get the money if you can reasonably convincingly show that you are a first time shoebox-buyer, which probably all you can get for 50k in London. Do it properly and you don't even have to think about ever paying it back and.

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Hey, Teflon Ballmer. Look, isn't it time? You know, time to quit?

Charlie Clark
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1 % isn't a "minnow"

Get a couple of percent of a public company and you are close to a seat on the board. Plenty of scope to short MS stock with a view to getting the necessary stock cheaply.

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Tablet? Laptop? HP does the splits with Tegra-based SlateBook x2

Charlie Clark
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What's the weight?

The 13" sounds great to me assuming it can pump higher resolution via HDMI/DisplayPort. Notebook ergonomics are bad enough but unbearable on small screens. Roll on Android notebooks.

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That $1,000 the lad in Lagos needed? Just email it with Google Wallet

Charlie Clark
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Re: If you must use this...

If you must use this...

Surely nobody must? I use HBCI for my online stuff. Kills h4xx0rs. Dead.

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Hunt: I'll barcode sick Brits and rip up NHS's paper prescriptions

Charlie Clark
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Re: What a Stupid Hunt.

The old ones are the best ones!

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Mobile tech destroys the case for the HS2 £multi-beellion train set

Charlie Clark
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Re: Past and future

@Chris Miller

Private companies are desperate to get their hands on government bonds which finance exactly this kind of project. In fact, pension and sovereign wealth funds are becoming increasingly interested in financing infrastructure projects directly because: firstly, the timescales suit them; and, secondly, the risk-adjusted yields are likely to better than those from government bonds.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Sensible hat on - a better use of £12bn

The two (HS2 and network improvements) are not mutually exclusive and should both be going ahead and could at least be partially financed by cutting back the subsidies to the train operators.

BTW. for comparison Cologne to Frankfurt cost € 6 bn for 180 km (Wikipedia). It's not without its problems but was transformational for travel. As part of its response to the 2008 financial crisis the German government made lots of cash available for railway improvements. This was both politically expedient - a few years disinvestment had started to cause problems with more and more failures in rolling stock - and economically savvy as doing up stations, track and signals tends to use lots of local workers and keeps them trained. Time lost to delays has decreased noticeably since. There are numbers attached to that sort of thing but they should be taken with a pinch of salt from the bucket you need to read Worstall's diatribes.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Tim Worstall = HS2 NIMBY ?

No, it's worse. He's "a retired to South Kent (the sunshine) after making pots of money Torygraph reader" who always knows best and doesn't think the government should spend money on anything but his pension and pet projects: Northerners don't need good rail connections, poor people don't need schools or hospitals, etc.

Britain's rail infrastructure has suffered from decades of under investment. Bringing it into line with other countries who have been investing in their rail networks was always going to be tremendously expensive but anyone who has travelled on the successful (yes, there are failures) high-speed rail connections such as Cologne-Frankfurt or Madrid-Barcelona will testify, they are running at near capacity and replacing journeys that would either be taken by road, adding to already heavily congested roads, or not at all. Furthermore, as Berkshire Hathaway's investment has shown: new track for passenger trains means more capacity for profitable freight and fewer (or at least a lower rate of increase in their numbers) of those ruinously heavy lorries on the road.

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Acorn founder: SIXTH WAVE of tech will wash away Apple, Intel

Charlie Clark
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Re: Eadon's theory of Techie "Waves" - TWO types

I see no spelling mistakes… I must have been reading it wrong: the "minis" must refer to Austin Rover' car, certainly a milestone in the development of computing. And, who could deny the importance of John Newman's "Feel The Love" to generations of programmers?

Eadon is just a misunderstood genius.

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Charlie Clark
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Black Helicopters

The Violent Unknown Event

What will be the the other consequences of the event? What mutations will people suffer? What new languages will people be speaking? Fortunately, it seems that a documentary film detailing some of the consequences fell back through time to 1980.

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Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

Re: Eadon's theory of Techie "Waves" - TWO types

Congratulations on the number of spelling mistakes.

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All aboard the patch wagon! Next stop: Microsoft, Adobe, Mozilla

Charlie Clark
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Re: Reminds me of someone...

I know Firefox 3.2.28 is safe because I ran a contest on an IT forum earlier this year,

Wow, I like your style!

Alternatively you could check the release notes for subsequent versions and write some test cases.

Can we have a King Canute icon?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Reminds me of someone...

Pretty much all the browsers often need security fixes but Firefox 21 is a feature release. Chrome gets silent updates an IE gets patched because someone made it essential for core parts of the OS without putting it in a sandbox.

I can understand people wanting to avoid feature releases which is why there are the LTS builds which only get security updates. 17.0.6 is current.

3.2.x might be faster depending on available memory but how do you know if it's safe? It's not supported by anyone.

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Intel Centerton server-class Atoms: How low can you go?

Charlie Clark
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Re: Like for like comparison required

If and when a 64-bit Afom falls into my lap...

Why do you need 64-bit for a webserver or a router? Oh, and how much does the thing cost?

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Charlie Clark
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Like for like comparison required

As you note the performance isn't stellar - room in the market for both AMD and nVidia. You really need to draw up some application configurations and load tests for when ARM hardware becomes available to test. The Raspberry Pi comparison is irrelevant as it most certainly isn't supposed to be a server, personal media server is a misnomer in that context.

TPM has been touting some very datacentre-friendly, high-density ARM-based designs which will presumably do CPU-bound virtualisation at less than R-Pi power per virtual server. Can't remember whether they have GPUs for parallel grunt, if not there will soon be Teslas for the job. You can imagine Google licking its lips at being able to use them for transcoding for Youtube.

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Android is a mess and needs sprucing up, admits chief

Charlie Clark
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Poor

I guess it's fashionable for people to bash Android using the "fragmentation" straw man. I just don't think it bears up to closer inspection. I don't know anyone who complains about either their version of Android or about the pre-installed apps. The move from Android 2 to 4 on phones seems to following the 2-year contracts that a great many people have but there isn't much difference in practical terms because the API hasn't changed that much in the last couple of years. Sure, some apps don't look as good at some resolutions or on some devices as they do on others but this is largely limited to phone apps running on tablets and I suspect that will start to change as sales of Android tablets continue to rise and developers look to exploit the growing market.

Studies such as that quoted by Yankee are not worth very much. There seem to be a lot of predictions about the decline of Android in the US but some data does not seem to support that. Now that Akamai is publishing worldwide figures the trends are pretty <a href="http://www.akamai.com/html/io/io_dataset.html#stat=mobile_browser&top=10&type=line&start=20130412&end=20130512&net=m>obvious:</a>Android is over driving over 40 % of browsing on mobile networks; Windows Phone is stuck at 0.6 % far behind Blackberry and even DoCoMo's own hardware. Banging on about the "slickness" of the Windows phone device is getting to sound more and more about banging on about Betamax being better than VHS: it might well be better but not enough to matter.

The UX versus UI debate reminds me of other interesting discussions by the author of how Nokia got lost spending too much time with focus groups and UX experiments. If it was wrong for Nokia then why is it right Microsoft now? Of course UX is important but I fail to see the huge wins for Windows 8 when you, apparently, still cannot have different volume settings for the ring tone and the speaker. Those who want walled gardens are free buy a Kindle Fire, the rest of us seem to manage fine.

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UK superfast broadband crew: EC competition bods are holding us up

Charlie Clark
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Re: So *thirty* years after "privatization" BT still has an effective infrastructure monopoly.

Wholesale rates were set low to encourage new entrants, but also had the effect of pushing new telcos toward just reselling BT stuff instead of building their own networks out.

Wholesale prices in Britain are not, AFAIK, significantly different to those in other countries. Specifically France has benefited from cheap rates and rigorous unbundling: France Telecom still owns the vast majority of the infrastructure, is required to invest in its upgrading and provide full access to competitors.

In Germany private utility companies were early investors in capacity which meant a lot more backhaul capacity was available along with access to the home. But it is also true that cable capacity was initially (ill-advisedly using coax and not fibre) built out by the government before privatisation. Deutsche Telekom struck some kind of deal for higher wholesale pricing on the fibre network it is now building out.

So, if other countries with similar wholesale pricing can still encourage investment, why isn't it happening in Britain? If BT thinks it is being paid too little for wholesale connections then it hasn't made its case properly.

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