* Posts by Charlie Clark

2868 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

63 TRILLION maths ops a second - in 5 inches? Mm, show me

Charlie Clark
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Very flawed comparison

The comparison should compare like-for-like workloads. FLOPS is an interesting base for comparison but is just that: a base. The cost of power of the whole system should be factored in and If you need Peta-FLOPS of computing power then it might become a real-headscratcher as to how you can do that with commodity hardware today.

Long-term actually owning any of this hardware is going to be too expensive for the calculations that "always manage to outgrow the available hardware" but getting a price for say 1000 Peta-FLOPS for 100 days may soon become a reasonable possibility. Isn't this where Google is aiming to be? Could be mucho-millions in it from the scientific community if they, or anyone else, can deliver.

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Under the microscope: The bug that caught PayPal with its pants down

Charlie Clark
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Re: $3000

While I do agree that the sum isn't really commensurate this kind of research shouldn't be done for the money. The kind of research that is done for big bucks is the stuff that you generally don't hear a lot about. The Economist recently ran an interesting article about the sort of professional services that companies are willing to pay handsomely for.

The error is reprehensible for, as has been noted, allowing both SQL injection and excessive permissions. The spirit of openness and at least some kind of peer review should, however, be welcomed. If companies think that this can replace paying for proper reviews then they are likely to learn the hard way.

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Half of US smartphone owners have no idea which mobe to buy next

Charlie Clark
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The best phone is the one you have

I reckon an increasing number of people look at their phone and wonder why they should bother "upgrading" it. Maybe the US will develop sensible phone tariffs which don't punish people for not getting a new phone every contract renewal. 10 - 15 USD ARPU anyone? You know it makes sense.

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Production-ready ZFS offers cosmic-scale storage for Linux

Charlie Clark
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Re: License madness

However I do think it's a real shame that licensing concerns prevent the inclusion of this in the linux kernel.

Why on earth would you want the file system driver in the kernel?

As for wanting to use ZFS: if you really need the features then it's probably worth looking at some of scale features that Solaris/Illumos offer. Best tool for the job, etc.

As for licence madness: the GPL was set up to provoke precisely this kind of conflict and try and force GPL onto other projects. Reap as you sow, done by as you did, etc.

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The UK Energy Crisis in 3 simple awareness-raising pictures

Charlie Clark
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Don't forget that US can't doesn't actually have any terminals that can produce LNG. It has quite a few ones that can accept it rusting on the Gulf Coast with maybe one or two being converted to produce it. However, once they get going then that gas will be sold to the highest bidder and they currently all sit in Asia where the spot price is far higher than in Europe.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Don't Worry

Germany isn't "raping Cyprus for cash". Along with Finland, the Netherlands and others, it is setting strict limits on how much money it will lend to Cyprus. They are bound to do so by treaty.

By the way, the levy on savers proposed by the Cypriot government, contrary to media speculation it was not the German government who suggested breaching the deposit guarantee, would be roughly similar to that which has already been imposed on British savers since 2008. Still, let's not let facts get in the way of some good, old jingoism!

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Charlie Clark
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Nail on head

Of course, the uncertainties of energy policy over the last 20 years haven't really encouraged investment, but what you say is the main problem.

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Charlie Clark
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Russian production is actually stagnant and will be kept that way to maintain prices.

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Charlie Clark
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What gives you that idea? There are still billions of boe of gas available in the southern North Sea gas basin with new fields coming online all the time.

Source?

AFAIK British North Sea gas production has <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_gas#United_Kingdom>already peaked</a>.

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Furious Stephen Fry blasts 'evil' Reg and 'TW*T' Orlowski

Charlie Clark
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Jim Dale does it better…

at least when it comes to reading the Harry Potter books.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: The lady doth protest too much.

Is she still around? Had to live through one of her talks. Who the fuck gave her a degree let alone a PhD?

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Japan's rare earth discovery bad news for China's monopoly plans

Charlie Clark
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er

could crucially give Tokyo the tactical upper hand over China in the on-going cat-and-mouse game between the two over supplies.

This makes for snappier copy but is simplistic and wrong. The market is global and has already reacted with Mongolia positioning itself as the new supplier with projects like "Oyu Tolgoi" dwarfing anything coming out of China. Ultimately the price and the environmental standards are dictated by what consumers like us are prepared to pay for our next piece of shiny, shiny.

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Wind farms make you sick … with worry and envy

Charlie Clark
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Re: Efficiency

Well that one IS sort of reasonable. Theoretical calculations follow, not based on any specific case but a feasible example....

Oh, I agree. It was one of most egregious mistakes of the current government, against the express advice of the then minister, to reverse the previous law on phasing out nuclear power and reverse that decision only two months later after having signed contracts with the power companies. The matter is now with the courts and as property is protected by the constitution I think it has a high chance of succeeding which is why I expect we will have to pay and why the current minister is throwing up smoke bombs about the renewables cross-subsidy.

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Charlie Clark
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Efficiency

Also a leaky nuclear plant wouldn't be very efficient and that wouldn't be very German would it

Oh, I don't know. The nuclear plants here don't have a particularly good record for efficiency just for making money for the owners which they do pretty shortly after being turned on. Or even after being turned off: we're looking at claims from up to € 20 billion from the owners about them being closed early. Against that background it's hardly surprising that the current environment minister is keen to talk absolutely anything else!

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Nvidia and ARM: It's a parallel, parallel, parallel world

Charlie Clark
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Re: Python

I think the point about using in Python is that many of the users of HPC are scientists with no formal training in programming. Python has several libraries like NumPy that have made it popular in diverse scientific domains and the are companies that also serve and support them. I think the combination is what continues to make it a popular language for scientists. CERN has some nice graphics that illustrate the increase in Python code once the code for heavy-lifting (usally in C++ or FORTRAN) has been written. Benedit Hegner covered this in his keynote at the German Python conference last November. An hour long and in German and thoroughly entertaining.

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ARM's new CEO: You'll get no 'glorious new strategy' from me

Charlie Clark
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Talk about apples and moonrocks

ARM confounded analysts during its fourth quarter growing sales by 19 per cent while chip giant Intel saw revenues down 3 per cent compared to a year ago.

Even with a slight drop Intel's profits are still enormous.

And then further down "Intel is throwing Atoms under ARM's wheels". Er, no. While Intel has indeed got Atom's to impressive performance/power levels so that the couple of phones with them compete favourably with ARM based stuff, the chips are still significantly more expensive than ARM chips and depend on Intel's better fabrication techniques.

Of course, ARM faces risks in the future. But so does Intel and, as Intel insists on being a manufacturer those risks are higher - sinking billions into a new fab is considerably riskier than trying out a new chip design. The rewards of success are also higher but those fabs just get more and more expensive to build.

Next to the fabless versus fab is also the difference in business culture. ARM's culture of co-operative competition amongst its customers and occasionally with them (Qualcomm, nVidia, PowerVR) and Intel's attempt to monopolise through instruction set. AMD only exists because IBM insisted that Intel licence a second supplier of x86. ARM's model is more in tune with component suppliers in other industries.

As for servers: there is now very little difference between Intel's CISC and ARM's RISC. Intel went RISCy with the Pentium and everyone has been adding instructions to their chips since MMX. ARM still gets more done with fewer transistors. Servers are likely to profit from exactly the same kind of commodification of components that has benefited Intel over the last 15 years. x86 has remorselessly gained market share from Power, SPARC, MIPS, etc. proving that new chips have a chance. This has meant vastly improved toolchains and compilers in the process from which ARM stands to benefit and the APUs of AMD and nVidia are starting to point the way: yes, a single instruction makes life easier for the compiler but if you can offload number crunching to GPUs then you will just get so much more bang for your buck. If ARM's big.Little architecture can demonstrate this kind of switching in real life then we can expect hybrid servers to really take off. x86 translation can be provided in hardware if necessary as the designs for the necessary silicon (Transmeta) already exist.

But it is also simply naive to put ARM up solely against Intel. Unless Intel goes fabless they are not competitors. Rather Intel is competing increasingly with nVidia, Marvell, Broadcom, Qualcomm, TI, Samsung, et al. and the competition will increase as the PC market fails.

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Syrian hacktivists hijack BBC Weather feed

Charlie Clark
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Re: But, But

Two things - RSS has no push mechanism and polling is resource intensive; but I think the real reason for people staying away from RSS is the inability to forward stuff to the friends with important comments like "OMG!", "LOL!", etc.

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Review: HTC One

Charlie Clark
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Re: No AMOLED

AMOLED is awful, in my opinion

And I prefer the higher contrast, … the point I was making was about the suitability outdoors which is a sine qua non for me. I wear polarised sunglasses which make LCDs compare even worse.

The blue does degrade overtime, but my phone is nearly three years old and still looks fine. Power consumption is typically than LCD higher when looking at items with lots of light colours (whites, yellows, greys, etc.). This is counterintuitive as the same process is being used to create light in both circumstances, LED-backlit LCDs using arguably more. It's to be hoped that the process engineers will continue to chip away at that, thought to have been slated for the S4 but apparently now due to make its debut with the the Note III.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: No SD card??

HTC is segmenting the market with the One X, V and S. They all have pluses and minuses but nothing has them all with the X seeming to fail because it doesn't do SD cards.

I actually think HTC have a point about not offering removable storage because, at the file manager level it might confuse. But for most people using media via apps that shouldn't be too much of a problem.

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Charlie Clark
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No AMOLED

I don't think that AMOLED is a merely matter of choice, the screens are also significantly easier to read in bright sunlight. That SD card, and a dedicated camera button are what are keeping me on my Samsung Wave, which nearly three years in is still giving excellent service although it looks like the (removable) battery should probably be replaced.

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Osborne slashes growth forecast by half in bleak economy statement

Charlie Clark
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It could have been worse

I've voted Liberal all my life, but didn't vote for …

If it's any consolation, if wasn't a coalition it would have been so much worse.

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Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

While I appreciate the sentiment I have to disagree with the statement: they have both a majority in parliament and also an absolute majority of votes cast. In British terms that's an unusually strong mandate as many recent governments have had majorities in parliament with well under 40 % of votes cast.

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

Charlie Clark
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Re: Cisco is the problem, Skype is good enough

I've had lots of problems with video on Skype and wouldn't recommend it for corporate environments where the video certainly isn't good enough to go on a big screen.

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Charlie Clark
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Robots

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

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

Charlie Clark
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Re: Do they actually pay up?

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

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

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Nvidia, Continuum team up to sling Python at GPU coprocessors

Charlie Clark
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Re: hate python with a passion

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

Someone with a better idea of human cognition than you.

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Feedly now home to 500,000 Reader refugees

Charlie Clark
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Meanwhile

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

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

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

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Once bitten...

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

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Father of Android Andy Rubin steps down for Chrome OS boss

Charlie Clark
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Android into maintenance mode?

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

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

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Redmond to skip Patch Tuesday for Windows Store apps

Charlie Clark
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Re: So what, indeed...

Except when they don't

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

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

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

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

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Report: Amazon dominates global cloud spend

Charlie Clark
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With a bucket of salt

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

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

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Google shreds Reader in new round of 'spring cleaning'

Charlie Clark
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Re: a sad day

Is this yours?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Boo!

I use Podcatcher.

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Black Tuesday patchfest: A lot of digits plug security dykes

Charlie Clark
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Stop

Irksome

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

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

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Charlie Clark
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Facepalm

Re: Standard smug response.

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

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Err...

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

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Microsoft preps UPDATE EVERYTHING patch batch

Charlie Clark
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Re: Silverlight

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

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

Charlie Clark
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Re: Prize funding?

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

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Wrong place

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

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Surface Pro

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

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Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: Surface Pro

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

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

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

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Carrie Fisher dusts off THAT bikini for Star Wars VII

Charlie Clark
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Re: "Elderly"?

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

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

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Samsung grabs Sharp shard, brings pain to Apple supply chain

Charlie Clark
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Stop

Maths

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

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Reg readers brew up the ultimate cuppa

Charlie Clark
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Re: Bunch of pretentious snobs!

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

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Charlie Clark
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Re: No Fanboi war?

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

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Charlie Clark
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Re: To confuse things, masala chai

I believe this is yours.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: It all depends on the water!

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

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

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

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

Where does the money from fines normally go?

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