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* Posts by Charlie Clark

2554 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Microsoft's Lumia 930... a real HANDFUL

Charlie Clark
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Is this the review of a camera or a phone?

giving users a chance to do a little more than point, shoot and…

Why and? Point and shoot is what most people do with any camera, especially phones. I know Nokia has some very clever and good technology in the cameras in their phones but most people do just want stuff to work as quickly and simply as possible.

You praise Windows Phone 8.1 but how far does it go to resolve the gripes that people have with the previous version?

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LibreSSL crypto library leaps from OpenBSD to Linux, OS X, more

Charlie Clark
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Re: Two thumbs up to Theo DeRaadt ...

So thumbs up for the effort, but there is a need for an independent review effort…

That is a loaded statement. Code review is always good and should be part of the development process. However, let's think about the suggestion in the context of the OpenSSL debacle:

1. The fork was started after a code review

2. Any good fork should aim to pass at least all existing unit tests

3. There already exists sophisticated penetration testing infrastructure for testing the known weaknesses of OpenSSL and discovering new ones both in it and LibreSSL

4. Code counts - the best way to discover defects is to make the code available

If LibreSSL can pass the existing tests then it is as secure as OpenSSL. Cutting a release will encourage the security experts to scrutinise it and competition here between the two projects can only be good.

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Apple OS X Yosemite 4 TIMES more popular than Mavericks

Charlie Clark
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Mavericks is pretty well loved by owners of older Apple gear.

Not by me it isn't because it won't run on my MacMini because Apple won't do a 64-bit version of the graphics driver.

Most importantly for me: I wish Apple would move to OS + ports release schedule so that all the Posix plumbing can be updated outside OS updates.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: How about some more Mavericks love?

I find Mavericks more stable and responsive than Lion or Mountain Lion and many of the bugs introduced in the move to x86_64 in Snow Leopard still need resolving.

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Bloodied Samsung's profits down 25% as it clings to mobe crown

Charlie Clark
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Re: Being squeezed from both ends

And they had a good year last year. Tablet replacement cycles seem longer than phone ones, something that was also reflected in Apple's most recent report.

Samsung continues to invest in technology and I think may be well placed to benefit from Google's next Android offensive.

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Reg reader fires up Pi-powered anti-cat garden sprinkler system

Charlie Clark
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Re: Do you drink coffee?

Well, yes but… coffee grinds are not neutral for the garden. On the one hand they are full of nutrients, but on the other caffeine can also function as a herbicide.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: water pistol

You mean something like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPgqfnKG_T4 ?

It uses OpenCV for image recognition.

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App permissions? Pah! Rogue Android soft can 'place phone calls at will'

Charlie Clark
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Re: I wonder....

If, as usual, the exploit is only exploitable by side-loaded apps then users are largely on their own as they have to set the phone to allow installs from other sources themselves.

It's a different matter if it can be exploited by apps from the official store but even then it's not really the carriers who need to worry.

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USA to insist on pre-flight mobe power probe

Charlie Clark
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Re: I wonder how they got this information?

You're saying they're not vetted thoroughly before being hired?

Who's they? You mean cleaners and baggage handlers and the security head-the-balls who, at least in America, don't even get paid the minimum wage? Sure, they're subject to thorough vetting and regular checks…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I wonder how they got this information?

And what about the small army of poorly paid cleaners, security and baggage handlers that routinely pass through all checks with impunity?

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Storm-battered Rockall adventurer recalls 'worst experience of my life'

Charlie Clark
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Re: Prevailing winds

It also depends upon whether the weather can be relied upon to come from the same direction for the duration of your stay.

Sure, which is why I'm sceptical: the prevailing winds for Rockall may be from the SW but the north Atlantic does experience significant changes of wind directions as the various system move across.

As you're only strapping the container to a sheer face you're also still not compensating for leverage as you would if you really could dangle between faces so I don't see much difference to pegging it on the ledge: you're at the mercy of the weakest link so aerodynamics are possibly the most import consideration.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Prevailing winds

Dangling from a cliff face might have been the better option at the time, from the sound of it.

Colour me stupid but I fail to see how dangling is going to give more stability. I can imagine some form of suspension on all sides being used to help diffuse the energy from the wind but how would that work here? How would you stop the thing from being smashed against the cliff face?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: So once again ...

Interesting point, upvoted, however stunts are publicity and publicity means awareness and so more donors.

You might expect that (seems to me like a very American position to adopt) but the numbers say not. The experience of many charities is that big, stuntish events tend to raise the take for individual events but lower the annual take. Plus, you keep on having to raise the bar. Little, but often is more effective which is why many charities now employ professional fundraisers and try to get people to subscribe to regular donations.

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THE GERMANS ARE CLOUDING: New AWS cloud region spotted

Charlie Clark
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Yep, and given the number of alternatives already in Germany I don't see this having legs for anything beyond things like CDNs.

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Viv Reding quits justice commish role - heads for EU parliament

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: Thank you!

Non-roaming telephone users are subsidising those who do roam…

More nonsense: roaming incurs little or no costs for operators. Therefore, there is no (cross-)subsidy. If there was, then the European Commission might be obliged to act under the provisions of the Treaty of Luxembourg, aka known as the Single European Act, signed for the UK by dear, darling, dead Dame Thatcher.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Thank you!

but it raises the phone bills of everyone else

Nope, this is not the case: mobile telephony and data charges continue to fall around Europe. The network operators were given plenty of time to adjust to the changes and did so largely by offering bundles and consolidating network infrastructure. I certainly get more value from my UK PAYG SIM than I did 5 years ago.

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Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: European justice commissioner Viviane Reding...

does not represent anybody, has no democratic mandate and can never be voted out of office

As is true for any civil service, which is what the Commission is.

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Charlie Clark
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Tuesday, while Europeans using their smartphones beyond the EU will face much bigger bills as local carriers respond to the expected drop in sales resulting from the ruling by upping prices elsewhere.

While that may have been the case in the past it simply isn't true any more. Sure, calls outside the EU/EFTA are still more expensive but I continue to see prices falling around the world. This is down to: EU policy setting a precedent; customers getting smarter and using local SIMs where possible; technological change.

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'I don't want to go on the cart' ... OpenSSL revived with survival roadmap

Charlie Clark
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Admission of failure

is what the document reads like. Also, while it's nice listing the issues and the objectives it's missing the solution: when are the issues going to be addressed and who will be doing it? LibreSSL makes more and more sense: concentrate on getting the core functionality right first.

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Google kills its successful social network. Yes, we mean Orkut

Charlie Clark
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Why would closing this service be any different to the other services that Google has closed over the last few years? But equally, why should closing yet another marginal service have any affect on the professional, paid-for services such as docs and mail? Users of such services are protected by contracts unlike the users of free services, though I suspect the free versions will stick around in one form or another to entice people to use them. Personally, I don't use many of Google's services apart from the search.

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Conformist Google: Android devices must LOOK, WORK ALIKE

Charlie Clark
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Re: Google - More like Apple every day

And that's the way it will stay for those who can be bothered.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Slow learners?

@paul how about having a look at the "Material Design" docs to see? They're not perfect but the show that it's not a "Metro moment".

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Saddle up for the Tour de Firmware

Charlie Clark
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Re: Grumpy old git

On a race bike there is always a strict tradeoff between technical advantage and weight. Particularly on hills there is a desire to spare every gram possible. It was not unusual for people to file or drill things that they thought they could do without. There are even those who consider something like a computer as too much extra weight.

Recently, however, carbon fibre frames have put a floor under the practical weight of a bike - much lighter and they won't really be ridable. You still won't find most of the gimmicks on a race bike but electronic gearing might be nice on a hill as that's the place that you're likely to have problems changing gears. I can also imagine some of the hard core preferring indicators over hand signals so they don't have to take their hands off the bars.

In real life there is usually more weight to be saved on the rider than on the bike so there is more room for creature comforts. Hub dynamos are down to around 450g and can easily provide enough power to charge a phone - handy if you're planning an extended camping trip.

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Spanish struggle to control spelling of 'WhatsApp'

Charlie Clark
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Re: Why translate?

It isn't translation but transcription or transliteration. Or how else do you think we got the word algebra?

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What a whopper, LG: Feast your eyes on this 77-inch bendy TV

Charlie Clark
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Re: Plasma

Does the upscale to 4K and latest panel negate the "cartoon" look of LCDs versus Plasma screens? I will wait for the professional reviews

OLED has a huge colour gamut and blacks as black, if not blacker, than plasma. But they tend to come poorly calibrated (oversaturated, too high contrast and not enough gamma) from the factory. You're right to wait for the professional reviews but I think you're likely to be surprised as to how good big OLED screens really are.

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BOFH: You can take our lives, but you'll never take OUR MACROS

Charlie Clark
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Re: Not usually the programs fault.

Access has some use like for a single user

No, it doesn't. There's almost always something more suitable around.

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Charlie Clark
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Unhappy

I still sometimes wonder how the muppets got on

They probably went on to found some NoSQL company and are busy at the moment drinking cocktails paid for by our pension funds!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I beg your pardon...

Yeah, I just rely on Google/Apple/etc. to tell me what I've been watching!

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Charlie Clark
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Oh, I don't know. Eternity might be a whole lot closer while they try and figure out how to write queries in Access… Access' version of SQL is somewhat special!

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Black hole three-way: Supermassive trio are 'rippling' space

Charlie Clark
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How do they actually orbit?

My understanding of unified field theory isn't the best but I thought that for forces to work on each other wave/particles ("gravitons in the case of gravity) of force had to be exchanged. Does this mean black holes are not black to gravity? Or does the curvature of space time provide a sufficient explanation?

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SQL fights back against NoSQL's big data cred with SQL/MDA spec

Charlie Clark
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Re: Interesting

No, I'm not talking about abusing arrays to create enums. But when an array is your datatype, all operations on it will be working with the array rather than its component values. Calculating the distance between geospatial coordinates is one example of this, but there are plenty of others in other scientific fields.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Interesting

@BlueGreen - I think the idea would be along the lines of the GIS coordinate model so the fields in your tuple are themselves tuples (or possibly even tuples of tuples) and the calculations that may be associated with them.

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Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Oh, please

SQL could be in line to be moved on from “venerable” tag to “obsolete”…

NoSQL is supposed to be "not only SQL". Why is it that you lot continue misreading SQL for RDBMS and proclaiming the end of the relational database. SQL as a language has many drawbacks and pitfalls but it isn't about to go away: for the majority of large-scale data storage systems it is the only reasonable solution. Key-value and document storage systems may have their place alongside relational ones but any attempt to replace them will require reinventing them.

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DOH! Google’s internet of things vision is powered by… Mac OS

Charlie Clark
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Re: Google switched to Mac

They have their own OS, and they don't use it by default internally?

Which OS would that be exactly? Android, Chrome OS or one of their server versions?

I applaud the undogmatic use of the Mac: the hardware is good to develop on and works well with external AV. One of Google's strengths is its promiscuity - making its services available to all and sundry. In this Android is only a means to an end.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Google switched to Mac

And for presentation work MacOS video drivers are more reliable than Linux ones. I've seen a number of crashes when plugging Linux laptops into projectors.

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I/O NOOOOO!!! We sat through Google's bum numbing 3-hour keynote so you didn't have to

Charlie Clark
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Re: "Google wants battery life to be improved"

The design changes will easily be handled the GPU and shouldn't really affect battery use that much. The main power drain will continue to be the illumination of the screen and any decoding of image or video formats.

Better battery use can be achieved with a runtime that uses less memory and compiles more efficiently. Better compilers are now possible on the newer chips. With the right combination, more apps can be moved in and out of RAM, which requires power, faster.

But based on my devices I'd expect to see better management of the radios. On all my devices, disabling wifi is the single best method of range extension.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: "Material Design?"

Yes, and no. You can certainly see both aspects of Metro and IOS 7 in the new Google stuff and this is as it should be. MS rushed Metro into all versions of Windows 8 and didn't think it through properly: tiles are an excellent approach as is large type and bold colours but they become a problem when you have a lot of them on large screen. MS also didn't invent the "stack and tile" approach.

The paired back icons and areas are definitely a nod to IOS 8 but seem less slavishly puritanical: I particularly like the thought given to (coordinated) transitions. Luke Wroblewski, as ever, wrote a great article on designing for IOS 7 which highlight that good design essentially iterative. This is as true for individual works as it is for frameworks.

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You are ALL Americans now: Europeans offered same rights as US folks in data slurp leaks

Charlie Clark
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Re: Human rights are non-negotiable

@Trevor: shut up, bend over and take it like a good little ally.

The legislation's a start but I can't see Congress passing anything much before the next presidential election. Anything that gives rights to foreigners is bound to be suspicious the Tea Party freaks.

The EU is large enough to have to be listened to in trade deals but I don't think the loss of safe harbour will worry US companies too much.

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MongoDB pops up in Microsoft and Google data centers

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Get it right!

EnterpriseDB offers its own version of PostgreSQL, targeted particularly at Oracle installations. It's not a NoSQL company.

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Mozilla to cram a full web-dev IDE inside Firefox browser

Charlie Clark
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Re: Reinventing the wheel

I remember those days and, while I'm not particularly interested in this IDE, I do recognise the difference: this is built as an extension, i.e. you shouldn't notice it's their if you don't explicitly load it.

This simply wasn't possible back in the day - Javascript wasn't sophisticated enough and the runtime and the machines weren't fast enough.

Nowadays the JS runtimes are approaching the speed of native code. Gary Bernhardt gave an entertaining talk about what possibilities this offers at this year's PyCon.

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ARRRRR. Half world's techies are software PIRATES – survey

Charlie Clark
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Re: The report is without basis

Colour me surprised: lobby makes up numbers in report designed to further its interests.

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David Cameron wants mobe network roaming INSIDE the UK

Charlie Clark
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Re: Missing the point

And how exactly do you expect to be billed for this? It would be possible if you were prepared to pay different prices for each call you made depending on the network. And your SIM is necessarily tied to one network for some modicum of security, you're still going to have some kind of base charge (minimum annual spend).

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Charlie Clark
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Tsk, tsk

The comparison with Netflix is invalid: Netflix is not a network. A better comparison would be local loop unbundling which has been shown to work (improve coverage, competition and investment) in some countries reasonably well. It doesn't solve problems with white space but there are other approaches, usually based on some kind of public service model (see the French one above) for that. Scandinavia also has examples of how to solve the problem.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Nightmare

What are the incentives for improvements (or even maintaining the current standard) if they pool the services?

Certainly, during build out having the ability to plan your own network is a competitive advantage. Long-term centralised network ownership that is independent of the operators is the most likely outcome. Indeed this has already been happening for years as equipment get into the business of supplying the network rather than just the kit. You still need to balance the demands by the networks of lower costs with those of capacity and coverage. The model might be the rail network… the experience of which varies from country to country.

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Charlie Clark
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It was also an essential part of O2's buildout as the fourth network in Germany. It was switched off by O2 presumably because it cost more to keep paying for it (costs no extra to the customer) than build out where it was economically viable and leave white space where not. Establishing the charges - the termination fees could be a model - wouldn't be impossible and if set by Ofcom wouldn't need extra haggling, though you can imagine Ofcom setting floor prices and some operators negotiating volume deals.

White space remains a problem for all operators, which is why licences never stipulate 100 % coverage. In such areas the French solution is reasonable for voice services because these scale predictably: phones need only 2 voice channels at any one time. Data is more of a challenge so you can expect that to be permanently throttled.

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GAME ON: NVIDIA brings GPUs to 64-bit ARM servers

Charlie Clark
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The HPC market is still pretty small. In the data centre Intel still has the advantage of backwards compatibility and fear of the potential costs of recompiling all the relevant software for the relevant ARM chips and vendors going out of business (Calxeda). For the foreseeable future it needn't worry too much but once there is an industry standard for the boot process and drivers on ARM things might start to move quite quickly. Of course, the sales guys will be busy doing nice, long-term deals with server makers.

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Russian gov to dump x86, bake own 64-bit ARM chips - reports

Charlie Clark
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Re: It was just the question of time after the NSA revelations...

I think it's still politically too tricky to go after the NSA: any hint that you're doing anything that might stop "the war on terror" and you're out. Think of the number of investigations about the attack in Benghazi.

I have a hunch that Obama has chosen the route of disclosure and leaks to try to peg the NSA back. It might lead to some kind of civil or even criminal suits and the courts are slightly less prone to pressure than the politicians. Of course, none of the top spooks and loons will really suffer for anything but the budgets might not rise as fast as expected.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: chip-making facilities.

It is worth pointing out the Arm chips were designed not to need high end chip making facilities…

Be that as it may, nowadays there isn't really anything but high-end. 28nm is yesterday's news but how many companies are making the components for the process. And you're still going to need clean rooms and the discipline required. Meanwhile, over the last 10 years Russia's productivity (and life expectancy) has been stagnant at best.

Buoyed by a high oil price, Putin has showered money on the military, though it still pales in comparison to Soviet days (which is why it is buying tech from France, Germany and elsewhere) and some of the cleverer electronics stuff is still done in Ukraine, and pet social projects. This has disguised an increasingly uncompetitive economy - uncompetitive economies are notoriously bad at keeping skilled workers.

But, as has been pointed out elsewhere probably the best argument against the "hardening" up the CPU is that it's probably the least interesting part to hack. I believe the NSA has already been demonstrated to have implemented a backdoor on a network interface. Then again, the leaks of recorded conversations by the KGB/FSB of foreigners indicates that that at least is an area where the Russians are still on the top of their game.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Could the NSA bribe ARM??

You're being a bit naive- if the NSA wants something in the silicon it goes to the manufacturers; if it wants something on your machine it goes to UPS. Seeing as Qualcomm was spun out of the defence industry and is still heavily dependent upon defence contracts I can hardly see them saying no to adding something special or telling the NSA what to look or listen for. The same is likely to be true for many other manufacturers.

As for the integrity of the chip designers - don't place too much faith in that nor their political convictions: they probably have the same lack of sincere political convictions as anyone else. They're more likely to be motivated by going after Intel than anything else. Oh, and it's GCHQ by the way.

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Charlie Clark
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Don't believe everything you read in the papers or on the interwebs

Russia occasionally talks up its microelectronics business but it rarely comes to anything. You need a lot of good people on site to be able to design and manufacture your own chips. Years of neglect of non-essential, non-military tech in Russia has led to an outflow of many of the engineers you need for this kind of venture. Seeing as how dependent Russia is on external expertise in areas like oil and gas exploration, I doubt very much that it is capable of building and maintaining chip-making facilities.

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