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* Posts by Charlie Clark

2607 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Another Apple maps desert death trap down under

Charlie Clark
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Obvious solution

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

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

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Linux kernel dumps 386 chip support

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: The joys of open software

@deluded wanker

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

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

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Intel launches Atom S Series at servers

Charlie Clark
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Re: the customer is always wrong

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

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

Charlie Clark
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Re: Wait, wut?

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

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

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Get out while the gettings good

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

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Apple's iOS 6 maps STILL muddle Mildura

Charlie Clark
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Re: How many RPM

Yes, it's the sort of SNAFU that car manufacturers dread and why the spend millions or even beellions on recall actions when faults turn up. I can't remember what it was for but Audi fucked up big time in America and had to wait over ten years to recover market share and Opel in Germany still hasn't really recovered from the consequences of overly zealous cost-cutting at the cost of quality in the 1990s.

One of the functions of competition is to keep companies on their toes by providing customers with ready alternatives should standards slip. But we all know how Apple stands on competition and letting customers decide for themselves. Still, as it is positioning itself more as a maker of lifestyle accessories Apple, like LVMH is possibly somewhat more insulated from the market in that sense but only as long as it can continue to make shiny-shinies that please the eye.

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Patrick Moore: Lived with cats, accompanied Einstein on the piano

Charlie Clark
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Re: Good job he wasn't a diplomat

Shush Charlie, we all know it's bad taste to suggest the deceased are anything other than perfect!

Yeah, I forgot that I was posting on the Daily Mail forum.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Good job he wasn't a diplomat

His politics were pretty objectionable. I agree that he did an awful lot for astronomy in Britain and was not afraid to send himself up but his politics should have remained private.

Eulogies are better when they are properly critical.

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RIM is really in trouble when even Windows Phone 8 looks great

Charlie Clark
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I smell bias

It appears RIM has a long way to go to turn around the oil tanker - just look how long it’s taken Nokia to get to the bottom of the curve - so let’s hope (for RIM's sake) that BB10 offers some inspiration for the world at large to remain with the BlackBerry brand.

The comparison is flawed: Nokia had two viable OSes which it burned in favour of Microsoft's promises; BlackBerry knew that BB OS needed replacing. By offering full-backwards compatibility BB 10 offers a bridge for customers who have considerable investments in the infrastructure. They still have to deliver but, while it was not commercially successful, the PlayBook was an excellent technology showcase. QNX should provide the underpinnings for a parsimonious but responsive OS, which along with BlackBerry's tradition for well designed and engineered hardware should provide some differentiation.

As others have pointed out, BlackBerry remains remarkably popular around the world, cf. the new Nigerian film "BlackBerry Babes".

WP8 on the other hand still looks like it is going nowhere fast on phones. If companies are prepared to change IT policies then they might as well go with Android or IOS, which managers already have than something Microsoft is vaguely promising to offer in future releases.

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Max Headroom style fake celebrity avatar plan seeks Kickfunding

Charlie Clark
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Love the sound track!

I guess Sang and Milica can be forgiven for their less than perfect non-native English but the drum beat reminds me of my own far from perfect attempts. But maybe it's just a carefully concealed tribute to Dave Brubeck?

This is wasted at targeting just a few thousand dollars. The lads from Lagos do it so much better! Crowdfunding is ripe for scamming.

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I've got the 'fastest growing THINGY ever', boasts Google+ chief

Charlie Clark
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Re: LOL, more misguided crap from idiotic writers

I agree with your criticism of the article not so sure of the rest. I think Google+, or just the Google account's most significant impact is as a gatekeeper function - effectively every one of those 1 million Android activations per day are new Google+ accounts. Even if these users never use the "social" stuff, Google is already winning the mobile game with them every time the browse the Play store. I don't use much of the other Google services such as mail or calendar but I think Google has got data protection largely right - even if the data they collect from my use of the store or Google maps is anonymous it's still very valuable and not just for the dreaded ads - even from the anonymous data they probably already know that I never click on the adverts - but they know more and more about the kinds of services (what, when and where) I use.

Back to the gatekeeper function - because it's at the heart of Android it's pretty seamless so users are blissfully unaware of it: additional features just become available and the more those services resemble things I want to use, the more likely I am to use them or miss them when they are no longer available. It's a long game but I am genuinely impressed by how Google is going about this: I'm being sucked in without being aware of it precisely because so little has Google+ plastered all over it.

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E-reader demand slumps, slapped down by slates

Charlie Clark
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Re: Apples and oranges

I think most people are still analogue but the move to digital is not far. Devices need to be even more transportable and disposable to really catch on. Then I think there will be a fairly abrupt change. The plastic screens and electronic will drive robust, cheap and replaceable devices. Convergence with multimedia devices may or not may happen. We may move to buying "plastic books" which, while thoroughly digital, are designed for limited use and to be passed on.

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Musk's SpaceX gets foot in door of US secret 'black' space program

Charlie Clark
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Poor copy

"SpaceX deeply appreciates and is honoured by the vote of confidence shown by the Air Force in our Falcon launch vehicles," Musk gushed.

Having seen Mr Musk in interviews where he is disarmingly erudite I really doubt that he gushed. But he might think about getting a bodyguard after landing such a contract.

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Adobe's revenge on Steve Jobs: HTML5

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: Doing What Jobs Urged Them To - @Charlie Clark

The iPhone 5 website had some hacked together code to, I believe, bypass this incompatibility issue.

What complete crap! As the video tag happily accepts different sources so it's easy to have h264, webm and Flash fallback, though you have to do it in that order otherwise Safari sulks in a corner.

No, the only reason that Apple could have had for the convoluted and wasteful approach (painting JPEGs onto the Canvas!) was to stop people saving the video. Oh, and perhaps being able to claim that the page was Flash-free.

H.264 is only go to be royalty-free as long as there is reasonable competition and if you've ever paid for a media encoding software you will know that was not always the case. So, even if WebM is only acting as a cap on H,264 royalties it's a win, but more importantly it has spawned the highly impressive WebP bitmap format which is transparently available (little or no work for site owners) via mod_pagespeed to browsers that support it. A cheaper, faster and better looking internet that degrades gracefully. What's not to like? Oh, not enough polo necks. Yeah, I see what you mean.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Doing What Jobs Urged Them To

@Steve Todd - I think you completely misread my post. Check out the following for full details of Apple's perverse approach to openness:

https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1GWTMLjqQsQS45FWwqNG9ztQTdGF48hQYpjQHR_d1WsI

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Doing What Jobs Urged Them To

This would be the same company that, for whatever reason, decided that the video of the I-Phone 5 was best run by Javascript from a collection of still images? Apple's motivation then and now was about more control over and less competition for the user.

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Instagram starts filtering out hipster pics on Twitter

Charlie Clark
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Pint

Re: Instagram

I take issue with the pointlessness. It has at least inspired the new H&M advertising campaign. Wow! Progress not only goes "boink!" but also is also slightly over-exposed. What will they think of next? Watches powered by microelectronics, no doubt.

There's a pint in it for anyone who gets *all* the references,

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Charlie Clark
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Plus ça change…

I saw this the other day "What'sApp is becoming my new social network. Anyone else feel the same?" I suspect moves like this will just increase migration to the next data sucker…

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Record €1.47 BEELLION EC fine for price-fixing display cartels

Charlie Clark
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Re: where's me money then?!

Fines for breach of antitrust regulation never get paid to individuals.

How does the fine benefit you? Firstly, they got caught so they had to stop the price-fixing - more competition and lower prices even outside the EU. Secondly, they're likely to think twice before they try it again. Thirdly, the money collected means less needs to be raised from member states and, therefore, from you.

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Nokia uncloaks Lumia 620: A 'budget' $249 Windows 8 mobe

Charlie Clark
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Nail on head

NFT

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Apple share dive scuppers trader's alleged get-rich-quick fraud scam

Charlie Clark
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Re: Zero sum game?

Who has gained? Nobody.

Wrong the exchange and the trader who facilitated the deal always gain. And who loses? Well, as all the trades are generally for managed investments then it is the customers of those investments, most likely to be ordinary people at the end of the day, who lose by paying for all those transactions and hedges that the transactions create.

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Hero Playmonaut lost at sea as SPEARS ditches in Channel

Charlie Clark
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Angel

RIP

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of this brave and pioneering Playmonaut who has done so much in following the manifest destiny of Plamobil to conquer the sun and the stars, if not, unfortunately the sea.

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LG claims UK Ultra HD TV first

Charlie Clark
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Re: UltraHD?

UHD comes in two flavours: 4k and 8k as featured on El Reg a few months including a video with some bod explaining the difference. SuperHD & UltraHD or similar could have been used but were rejected in favour of the industry tradition of confusing the customer in the hope that will somehow help (HD, HD-Ready, 1080i & 1080p, etc. ad Nauseam)

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Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro gets laptop-level price

Charlie Clark
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Not that bad

Many office workers have notebooks that spend most of the time in docking stations and they cost quite a bit more than this. They're seldom in use when not in their docking station except to check for e-mail or look something up on the interwebs or take notes at a meeting.

Something like this would probably be welcomed by a lot of people though I think the price will have to come down - even if the hardware is comparable to notebooks, tablets have got significantly lower price points.

I have to have one for a customer and I do resent carry > 2 kg around between docking stations. Have to see what the hardware is really like when it's available and, assuming I can get permission to use it on the network, then I might get one.

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Sony tempts 4K Ultra HD TV buyers with free films

Charlie Clark
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Re: The Other Guys and esolving limits

Nigel's right: we often confuse, and manufacturers and broadcaster peddling new things encourage us in this, resolution with other factors. The difference in codecs between SD and HD is probably what most people notice and think it's the resolution whereas it's largely artefacts caused by the codec and reduced detail down to lower sampling rates. But resolution is much more marketable than boring things like that hence the "retina" fad. Me, I'll take higher contrast and colour range over resolution any time, but maybe I'm just weird.

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The Lord of the Rings saga lies hidden deep in your Mac

Charlie Clark
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Re: Not just OS X

Linux distros often have lots of BSD stuff in them including, rather bizarrely, configuration utilities for things like WiFi. I think stuff never gets removed once it lands.

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A tweet too far: UK contempt law reform push begins

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: "English and Welsh citizens"

Well, no. Britain's current libel laws actively invite libel tourism: any publication that can be obtained in England and Wales can be tried in an English courts and this applies as much digitally as it does to anything else.

Other countries tend to have significantly better protection of individual privacy thus the no nonsense approach of the French courts in the case of the Duchess of Cambridge's baps. Yes, we know they're still online but a precedent was set as to who would liable. Because we don't really protect individual privacy with a constitution, libel is often the only way making it a bit of sledgehammer for a wallnut. Issues of liability still need addressing but the willingness of companies like Twitter to hand over users' details to the courts upon request is as much about self-preservation as anything else. By complying they are less likely to be held liable themselves and required to act as gatekeepers in the future.

And people do need to adopt some sense of responsibility for their actions. Earlier this year the premature disclosure of the suspect's identity in a rape case in Germany led to a lynch campaign on Facebook, the effects of which were difficult to reverse even after the suspect was released as innocent and someone else charged and convicted for the offence. Our obsession with titillation seems to encourage us to trivialise this kind of thing until children are involved when we suddenly seem to rediscover the moral highground: it's okay to hack celebrities' mailboxes but not those of dead children!

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Android users: More of them than fanbois, but they don't use the web

Charlie Clark
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Article has at least one elementary flaw

As much as I like the Akamai IO project the effects of the US skew of the data cannot be understated. For example it credits IE (all versions) with around 50 % market share and it significantly increased at the end of June. Comparable worldwide figures including countries like Korea and China with surprisingly high proportions of IE users give it around 30 % market share. The skew for mobile devices will be even greater because of the greater reach of IOS devices in America.

However, on top of this there is gaping flaw in these stats: Apple is a heavy user of Akamai and Google is not so an awful lot of those users with Android are permanently off Akamai's radar. We can add to this the conflation of IOS with phones. Tablets, where Apple still has a commanding lead worldwide, are used far more for browsing than phones including displacement of PCs and notebooks in the home. Displacement is important as it exaggerates the effect of market share. As long as you don't have to do a lot of form filling then a tablet is definitely the most convenient web device which is why Apple is prepared to go to such lengths to try and preserve its lead.

Nevertheless, when it comes to shopping statistics, Luke Wroblewksi, who writes both more intelligently and coherently than Mr Asay quotes IBM (via Techcrunch) for the Thanksgiving period: "The iPhone was the most popular device driving US retail shopping with 10.5% of visits, the iPad accounted for 10.1% of all visits and Android devices were 7.7%." A much narrower gap and that for the US market.

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EnterpriseDB cranks up Postgres database scalability

Charlie Clark
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Re: 350,000 queries per second until...

You might very well be right. And there is nothing stopping you from proposing a fix and submitting a patch. Try that with Oracle.

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P-P-P-Pick up our PENGUIN-POWERED Pi PIPER of Python

Charlie Clark
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I found "Learning Python" an excellent primer. Python is probably closer to Pascal than Basic so forget GOTO just give your subroutines names and call them functions and you'll be away.

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Charlie Clark
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Stop

Re: Welcome on board!

If Bill didn't want any code review he wouldn't have posted his code.

See post lower down for why global variables are generally not required. The keyword is there so you can use it when you need to but it really is something that you very, very rarely need in Python and has extensive side-effects that you generally don't want. Pointing that out has nothing to do with ivory towers.

FWIW I don't think singletons would be needed here - something for which there isn't a keyword because you don't need them. Moving the functions into the controller class would provide mutable instance variables safely isolated from immutable module constants.

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Charlie Clark
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Welcome on board!

Thanks for sharing the code - you might want to put it up on Bitbucket, Github so that we can, er, "fix it", for you.

Code is good for a start - it gets something done - but you'll have to get out of the habit of using "global" variables as that is very much frowned upon. Add in support for dispatching, string-templating and you're almost done. Well, there is more but then there always is!

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Bash Street bytes: Do UK schools really need the Raspberry Pi?

Charlie Clark
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Mushroom

Phorward

You, sir, have just won the coveted Bong! award.

Rory Clellan-Jones trip to coding school was possibly the nadir of an already ignominious career.

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Nokia Lumia 820 WinPho 8 review

Charlie Clark
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Re: Quality? I recommended a colleague buy a Nokia Lumia 710

@JDX

The problem is that such products should be recalled because the problem is known about.

NB. the poster wasn't bitching about the phone just pointing out the less than stellar consumer experience. Not surprisingly this has led to someone jumping ship and while this happens to everyone all the time, it's not the sort of thing that Nokia call really afford.

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Charlie Clark
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Thanks for the review

Looking for a Windows 8 Phone for compatibility testing and despite the nice things Andrew has to say about this, it looks like it won't be a Lumia.

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Why 'slow light' might just save the Internet

Charlie Clark
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WTF?

?

It's arguable that the internet (and it certainly shouldn't be capitalised if it is being used as an "omnibus" term) is displacing other even more energy hungry activities such as physical mail. Be that as it may, growth is now increasingly wireless so it's difficult to see advances in optics making much of a difference there - yes, I know backhaul and data centres are still cable-based, but the article's premise is "growth".

The point about roof-panel solar energy depressing peak electricity prices is spurious: the spot market is irrelevant for data centres. You might want to compare growth in absolute terms of cheap renewable power generation with consumption by data centres and devices, though the increasing fungibility of gas is currently driving prices.

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IBM insider: How I caught my wife while bug-hunting on OS/2

Charlie Clark
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Re: I loved OS/2

Wasn't NT 3.51 the last version that was actually a microkernel and, therefore, uncrashable? But it was slow - this was blamed on context-switching on x86 but OS/2 was managing it fine. NT 4 was was faster but achieved this by putting drivers into the kernel and hence all the BSODs.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I still use ecomstation ...

Your timeline is off. Microsoft started doing the dirty on IBM re. OS/2 towards the end of the 1980s while they were contracted to work on OS/2 v2 & v2.1. Taligent was later and part of OS/2 v3 (Warp) and is the basis for most of our fully object-orientated, widget-based "homescreens". Taligent and OpenDoc promised real productivity ("let me add a spreadsheet to my document…") but most people are happy with widgets.

Hearing you mention MS' version of Unix (Xenix for x86…) makes me feel physically ill. Though, to his credit, Bill Gates was listening to the market. He did employ some great people to work on NT and copied many of the great ideas from OS/2 such as, hardware abstraction, extensible attributes and virtual filesystems. It's just a pity they were doing this a sort of trojan horse while still under contract to work on OS/2. Windows 7 is alarmingly close in many ways to OS/2 3 > service pack 17. And that after only 15 years!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Looking forward to part 2

I agree, great article. OS/2 was/is fantastic - I think UPS handheld terminals are still running it as are numerous other embedded systems and ran in banks and airports for years - which was let down by the less than stellar performance of the PS/2 MCA systems (better than than ISA but in a "malaria is better than typhoid" way). Well, MCA was a major improvement over ISA but didn't bring enough performance and bandwidth to seem worthwhile. So we all got to suffer the abominations of EISA and, shudder, VESA, before MCA's heir PCI was able to triumph. But that was ten lost years. Had MCA succeeded IBM would subsequently have dropped the Neanderthal x86 chips… but they were too busy chasing the hardware monopoly.

A key OS/2 innovation was hardware virtualisation so not only could DOS applications run in complete isolation from each other they also got more memory allocated than they could standalone. Oh, and resources like printers and serial ports could be shared effortlessly across machines. OS/2 also came with a damn good scripting language REXX in which one of the first http servers wasn't written, if memory serves me correctly.

However, there were also downsides: while you couldn't kill the OS, the GUI called somewhat pompously "Presentation Manager" was single-threaded up until v3 service pack 17 (IIRC) which did mean that individual misbehaving apps could ruin everyone's fun. Still crashes came with detailed, numbered errors and stack dumps which I presume trained engineers understood. By far better than NT's BSOD.

Back to Microsoft - I think the article makes a good job of suggesting that the technical wizardry of which IBM was justly proud was, in the 1980s and 1990s matched by a bureaucracy destined to stifle innovation at every turn. The same happened to Apple a few years later.

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Firefox and Opera squish big buffer overflow bugs

Charlie Clark
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Re: Opera and OWA

@Pierre you really haven't a clue - if the site was properly written it would "degrade gracefully" either by UA detection, which takes a lot less than 5 seconds, or by client-side feature detection (in action since HTML >= 3.2). Neither, however, would explain Microsoft singling out a specific browser. And neither has to do with "pushing towards more fragmentation"; done properly then detection provides the best possible experience for all browsers.

Applications like OWA are why the specs need to develop. I'm not sure that I'm in favour of turning browsers into runtimes but I'm also not going to play Canute.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Opera and OWA

And this is Opera's fault because…? Not that it doesn't have issues but website problems in Opera are generally caused by servers sniffing for UAs as opposed to feature detection* and only letting their "friends" into the garden. This is sloppy coding and unfortunately unsurprisingly on the rise again.

* check out the support for feature detection with CSS in Opera. Even if you don't use Opera as your standard browser this feature will make site development easier and Opera offers a head start. To me, that's all good.

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Russians: Decision on diva Sarah Brightman's space trip in early 2013

Charlie Clark
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I do hope…

…that HAL is running mission control on this one.

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Kobo Glo illuminated e-reader review

Charlie Clark
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Got lots of PDFs? Get a Sony

Sony readers come with a special version of Acrobat which is really good at reflowing PDFs to fit the viewport of the device. Head and shoulders above the competition and yet, depending, on the layout of the PDF still often unsatisfying in comparison with a dedicated e-book.

AFAIK the Kobo is one of the few readers that swings both ways and lets you reader both epub and mobi files at the same time. Would have been good to see that covered in the review,

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OMG! Aaaah! Apple TV! Yes! No ... Probably! Sometime!

Charlie Clark
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Re: XBMC not as scalable

I guess you've never heard of DNLA then. Works on my telly, phone, tablet, notebook, etc.

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Charlie Clark
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Load of crap

What kind of network really needs to worry about this? If it hooks into the TV infrastructure then it can be a very asymmetric service. Not that is really a problem. Currently trialling Maxdome here and HD films check for a max of a 6 Mb/s connection with an SD card used for buffering so will work with less. The "app" itself has a few problems but connectivity isn't a problem - my provider will happily provide me with up to 100 Mb/s.

Any bandwidth hungry device will come a notice informing the user that they'd better pay to have sufficient bandwidth or they won't be cool; revenue share of course. Worked wonders for mobile. Actually provisioning the bandwidth shouldn't be a problem for any half-way decent provider who has fibre all the way to the DSLASM / splitter.

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Thought you'd escaped Twitter? Think again as Twits get email button

Charlie Clark
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Barely concealed personal information grab

NFT

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Power to the people - if you can find a spare socket

Charlie Clark
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Praising British trains?

You can tell that Mr Dabbs doesn't travel very much. My god but British Intercities are poky little things with less leg room than a Ryanair Alicante special! Even in first class getting in and out of a seat is best left to contortionists! Treat yourself to a ride on a proper train (ICE 3rd generation say Frankfurt - Amsterdam). Power sockets below the armrests on every chair, intelligent reclining seats to minimise disruption to those behind you, compartments with optimised data connections for those who need them, and quiet compartment for those who don't and prices that don't go sky high just because you want to travel during rush hour.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: That's what building codes are for

It's the same in Europe - sockets no more than 2m apart. But then Britain is famous for observing the law in the breach… difficult to beat us Brits for cheapskating.

Bout time someone mandated high-power usb power point on all sockets.

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Chinese baby war-boffins bust 3Tflops, snatch student LINPACK crown

Charlie Clark
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Moore's law

The question is slightly disingenuous because of the power limit. If that has been constant at 26 amps throughout the history then you need significant changes in architecture for boosts. Might be better to plot FLOPs/Watt over time for a better comparison. If the cap has been in place all the time and the improvements have been gained by the move to GPUs then Intel should start to worry.

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Forklift fondleslab 'fellas flee with vast haul of iPad Minis at JFK

Charlie Clark
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Joke

Extreme measures

Seems like Apple is going to extreme lengths to be able to boost the number of I-pad Minis shipped…

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