* Posts by Charlie Clark

4395 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Labour's Jeremy Corbyn wants high speed broadband for all. Wow, original idea there

Charlie Clark
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Re: 25 billion fits easily into 500 billion

At which point we invoke the The Mundell-Fleming trilemma and the UK will be back begging the IMF for loans, as it did in the 1970s.

The mere prospect of the UK leaving the EU is already making funding the national debt more difficult and it is only going to get harder as the costs (lower tax receipts and more bureaucracy) rise. As a result there is going to be even less money available for investment than there already is (the UK compares poorly with other industrialised countries).

The current manipulation of the debt markets by the central banks disguises the fact that not all central banks have infinite balance sheets. As soon as it looks like any particular central bank is directly monetising government debt, then risk premiums will be applied. In the case of the UK, which is both able to issue debt in its own currency and force investors (insurance companies, pension funds and banks) to buy large amounts of debt, this may seem unlikely. But it's happened before and, as the recent failed auction hints at, it could easily happen again.

But I think that Corbyn and his Luddite Militants might actually be quite happy with rolling back technological change. Whereas I'd be content with just social media disappearing…

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Charlie Clark
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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said the party will not win elections using strategies from the past,

Strange because everything I hear from him reminds me of the 1980s Militant Tendency.

I really don't mind state-sponsored or organised investment in infrastructure. But without the right kind of oversight it tends to resemble an Oxo-powered train. I'm getting my bowl and soup spoon…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Promise everything ....

Please stop talking such utter shit.

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Li-Fi with my little eye … a vulnerability

Charlie Clark
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Re: Reliability & infrastructure - bandwidth and interference

The biggest advantages might come in places like conference centres where the Wi-Fi is often saturated.

Nope, not saturated, just poorly set up. With professional equipment and a little skill you can always setup a wifi network correctly so that contention will not be an issue. But the uplink might: many conference centres have very poor internet connections: 10 MB/s won't cut it for a conference of more than about 20 people.

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Charlie Clark
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Holmes

No shit, Sherlock

This kind of exploit is builtin to li-fi, which was over ever a proof of concept for particular installations. Ie. a typical research project which is unlikely ever to be directly usable, but still worth doing.

In practice: where can't you use either wired or wireless ethernet?

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EU verdict: Apple received €13bn in illegal tax benefits from Ireland

Charlie Clark
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Well, considering that Irish voters were promised time and time again that the EU did not have tax competency

This isn't about tax: Ireland is still (nearly) completely sovereign in the taxes it raises and the rates it sets. This is about a subsidy given to Apple in the form of a tax break. If the same tax break was offered to all companies in Ireland there would be no case to answer.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Of course, Ireland has already protested

So too has America - the EU doesn't have the right to tax American companies

It isn't. The Irish government was giving preferential treatment to two Irish companies, set up by Apple with specific purpose of doing trade in Europe.

A uniform global tax structure is not only a pipe dream but completely illegal or unconstitutional for the majority of countries.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: What about

Yes, but Luxembourg has come up with a new wheeze as a free port…

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Europe to order Apple to cough up 'one beeellion Euros in back taxes'

Charlie Clark
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Re: Barking up the wrong tree?

Apple got a preferential tax rate. This amounts to a subsidy and hence Apple is required to repay the subsidy to the Irish taxpayers.

Sorry to disappoint but no evil EU conspiracy here.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Who are the taxes payable TO?

Sweetheart deals like this are often part of a country's approach to get companies to move to them: "build a factory here and pay x % less tax for ten years". Ireland doesn't want to lose this particular bargaining chip from future negotiations.

But no doubt, together with Big IT's accountants, they'll dream up some other wheeze.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Popcorn time

I doubt this very much. Ireland already has a very low corporate tax rate, which is one of the reasons why so many US companies set up their European operations there. But Apple negotiated an even lower rate. The European Commission quite rightly interprets this as a subsidy which gave preferential treatment to Apple.

I expect Apple to pay in full and tell the US govt to shut up and get on with reforming its own rules corporation, especially the parts pertaining to repatriation of earnings.

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$329 for a MacBook? Well, really a 'HacBook' built on an old HP

Charlie Clark
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Re: How do I buy a license from Apple?

It's definitely a grey area since Apple stopped officially charging for the OS but if you can contain a copy of the OS then, at least in Europe, you are within your rights to install it on whatever you want: the hardware restrictions in the EULA are null and void.

Of course, Apple is also more or less within its rights to add things to the OS that break installs like this in a software "update", presumably by playing with the kernel extensions. And even if the OS still boots and runs, it's unlikely you'll get optimum power management out of it.

You're probably better off picking up a second hand MacBook. Or wait for Apple to finally update their line up.

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Ireland looks like it's outpacing Britain in the superfast broadband rollout stakes

Charlie Clark
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In the not so distant future, much of the world of work will be knowledge based…

Dream on. But if that is the case, then it will be mainly machines doing the work. In case you hadn't noticed: IT tends to concentrate in cities and is accompanied by an increase in travel elsewhere, not least because the business cycle has accelerated.

It's usually wrong to play one thing off against another. HS2 is merely an expression of decades of underinvestment in the UK's rail network: all of it needs a lot of money spent on it. Sometimes this doesn't just mean replacing the track but adding capacity or choosing new routes. Historically the route of some of the train lines (and later the motorways) was chosen mainly for political reasons, of which the West Coast main line is probably the most glaring example.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I don't think it's much different than the UK in totality.

Do you actually think that having 500 channels of crap/reality crap/ and more crap sent to your home is a good thing?

Who cares as long as the TV companies are helping to cover the costs? In reality nobody watches 500 channels (I'd be surprised if anyone watches more than 10 regularly) but people do like niche channels*. So, Jeffy gets to watch the channels about trolls living in the forest. And I get to watch bog-snorkelling and nose-picking championships and everybody is happy.

*Well, this was the theory anyway back when cable companies could sell you 50 channels of stuff you're not interested in just so you can watch Saffers today. Unbundling will make things change a bit but could mean even more niche and fewer endless MoR repeats.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Cu?

it's been suggested before that you could probably pay for the entire operation by selling the copper.

By whom? And what we they smoking at the time?

When the telephone networks were built the cables were very much just laid in the earth or behind the plaster along with the rest of the wiring. This was expensive but okay, because the taxpayer was footing the bill. The switch to fibre came to most places after the telcos had been privatised. Digging up and replacing cables is bloody expensive (could be hundreds per metre on a suburban street) and can never be paid for by the copper recovered (currently around $ 4.50 / kg).

What is supposed to happen with new building areas / renovation is that common cable tunnels are built for the relevant utilities. Maintenance should be a lot easier as well. But someone's still got to do all that expensive digging in the first place.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Why FTTP?

Aren't we all supposed to be going wireless?

No. Next question.

Wireless is good for somethings, bad for others. It uses more power per MB, cannot penetrate buildings effectively and has more problems with contention, which is a problem seeing as there is less bandwidth to go round in the first place. This is why the mobile networks ignore remote populations as much as the fixed line lot do.

Dropping fibre to a village centre is pretty cheap. It's hooking everyone up to the trunk that's expensive. This is where you can indeed make use of wireless technologies to share the love, which is just what several villages have ended up doing.

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Charlie Clark
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France it will be a city-centre apartment block with dozens of homes fed from a single FTTP drop

France has a relatively small urban population with only 4 large cities: Paris, Marseille, Lille and Toulouse. After that you're into what are essentially larger towns of which England alone has for more.

In any case FTTP doesn't make much sense for large apartment blocks because the cabling in the building will also need replacing.

While France was a laggard in broadband ten years ago, at some point the government took the decision both to force France Telecom to buildout the networks and to support unbundling. This has led to much better broadband provision in much of rural France: friends of mine in la France Profonde recently got upgraded to 50 MB/s. I think all the DSLAMS (cabinets) are now connected by fibre but the last mile is still likely to be copper. This obviously isn't the case everywhere, as you prove, but still pretty impressive. Especially in comparison with how little things have improved in the UK over the same time.

However, I think the overall boost to an economy because of broadband can easily be overstated. Good connections to businesses and offices are important, but boosting residential speeds significantly only makes sense for VoD, which is hardly a GDP booster.

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Larry Page snuffs out ‘too expensive’ Google Fiber project

Charlie Clark
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Re: Who in their right mind ...

Do you think the other ISPs don't inspect your traffic just as much?

Google's US ISP play was about jumpstarting the broadband market so that things like YouTube UHD would be more viable. Google needs good infrastructure to sell and serve ads.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Oh well

In comparison they're much cheaper. They're also a pure technology play with a potential massive dividend on selling / licensing the results.

Becoming an ISP requires massive initial capital outlay with the promise of steady cashflow at some point in the future. But it never really fit in with the rest of the business which is OTT. Add to that the retrenchment tactics of the monopolistic incumbents.

Doubtless some of the technological lessons learned from the project will find their ways into other projects, particularly the Nest stuff.

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Facebook, Twitter and Google are to blame for terrorism, say MPs

Charlie Clark
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Re: Just because you haven't seen it doesn't mean its not there

There are numerous reports of reports of very high quality movies being released.

Presumably along the same lines as the "smart" bomb video after the first gulf war. Did wonders for US arms sales in the region.

Reports on Brit kids that have gone to Syria etc often show that they have been groomed through social media contacts.

The social media part is spurious but it's what everyone focuses on. "Terrorists" or plain old criminals have always known who to recruit and how to inculcate the right set of "values" in them. Targets are usually either easily led or looking for leadership.

Recently saw a British Asian comedian tackling the subject and pointing out, that at least for some groups, a stint with IS in Syria is an attractive alternative to a restrictive suburban existence. If this reminds anyone of the age old army recruitment campaigns then it should. The twist, she added, was that the prospect was even sexy for younger women. But maybe this chimes in with our own colonial calls for settlers and missionaries: "isn't life in Glasgow/Newcastle/Liverpool/etc. shit? Wouldn't you like to go somewhere exciting like black Africa where you can meet wonderful new people (with massive dicks and few inhibitions) and do God's work?"

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Isn't "Vaz" some kind of lubricant?

I always grimace at the term "creative industries". Anyone who invents, designs or modifies anything other than a T-shirt logo or a website can just fuck off, because you aren't "creative".

Oh, I don't know. Sounds like an appeal for a generous subsidy. I'll happily organise anti-radicalist jam festivals if I'm being paid to.

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Google 'Solitaire' ... Just do it

Charlie Clark
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Re: TTT.

try Googling a Zerg Rush.

Very cool! As long as Google keeps letting its developers piss around with this kind of thing, there's still hope for them!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: TTT.

Tic-tac-toe is a solved game

And your point is? Doesn't mean it can't be fun, or instructive if playing with those who haven't "solved" it yet.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Not fair

Couldn't ever really get into that. For me it has to be solitaire / free cell. But word games could be the new one. Anyone have any tips? Needs to be be multiplayer and preferably multi-language.

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Corbyn lied, Virgin Trains lied, Harambe died

Charlie Clark
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Stop

There's a big difference between sticking by your principles and leading a party.

Britain is a parliamentary democracy and Corbyn has one of, if not the worst, voting record of his party. He has even voted against party policy since he became leader. How can someone like this ever expect to command the loyalty of other MPs and thus form a government?

If you really want him to lead the party then you should be careful what you wish for.

If, as seems likely, he is re-elected as party leader then it will be champagne over at Conservative Central Office. An early election via a constructive vote of no confidence followed by a Tory landslide is likely to the result. Not only would this give the Tories the majority they currently don't have to repeal the European Communities Act, but it will also let them really get on with dismantling the health service and what's left of the welfare state. Oh, and any thing like the BBC that refuses to toe the government line. I bet Murdoch et al. can't wait for Corbyn to be re-elected.

Until the UK's electoral system is reformed there needs to be a binary choice for the non-partisan electorate. Corbyn and his Militant throwbacks are simply not viable for any of us who remember the lost decade of the 1980s. Much as we might have admired Michael Foot's ideas (he was so much more than Jezza could ever aspire to be) his complete failure to deal with the Militant Tendency is what gave Maggie three landslide elections.

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Charlie Clark
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I can remember what things were like under BR

Yes, but to be fair: after Beeching — the dear man saw no future for rail in the country — British Rail was deliberately hollowed out and there was virtually no investment in track or rolling stock for over 30 years. The APT was supposed to usher in a new era but was quickly abandoned by the Thatcher government.

Public spending on the railways increased massively with privatisation which included generous subsidies to franchise operators. The real risky bit (tracks and signals) did get re-nationalised after the sort of incident that requires crown immunity.

The problem with the current setup is not really one of nationalised or privatised but the way the franchises are awarded as the fiasco with Southern Rail shows. As usual, the British system seems to invite corner cutting and under investment. Countries like Sweden and Switzerland show that things can be done differently. And here in Germany, the local PTEs are only to happy to take on the nationalised incumbent which seems to hate running local commuter services. Though I suspect it'll be a cold day in hell before I get into one of the National Express run services.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Cant see where he lied

It was made clear at the time that there were spaces in 1st class - but Corbyn chose not to upgrade (because most people can't afford to, and the taxpayer is paying for it).

FWIW MPs have allowances precisely to cover things like necessary travel expenses and travel first class if you want to get any work done.

If this was a business trip he, or his office, should have booked in advance. Seemed to me a bit like it was the first time he's actually travelled outside of London.

I can't stand the Tories but I have no time for this relic from the 1970s. He's going to ruin the Labour Party and bring down progressive politics with it.

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Chocolate Factory exudes Nougat as Android 7 begins rollout

Charlie Clark
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Re: Ever increasing hardware demands

Windows has been getting faster since Vista. Wonder how the speed-up compares between W7 and W10 and between Vista (XML-based GUI) and W7, and whether you can actually run W10 on some of the machines you can run W7 on? I've happily run W7 in 512 MB VMs and I can remember a lot of people running W7 on less than the proposed minimum.

Android 5 and 6 were also faster than previous versions if the hardware was supported: changes in the runtime format (better JIT), better memory use, more hardware based rendering.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Ever increasing hardware demands

I think we may be back to hardware support for specific features. Remember in the early days of Android when point releases wouldn't necessarily work on older hardware? This was apparently (I'm not a dev) down to missing features in the SoC's.

I'm guessing the lack of support has less to do with oomph – most phones have had multiple cores and enough RAM for several years now – and more to do with things like hardware encryption. There is also the possibility of the new features requiring particular GPU functions that older chips don't have, which is similar for some games. This is speculation on my behalf, have to read the AOSP release notes for full details.

I think the important thing is that security patches are backported ASAP and this is as much down to the manufacturers as it is to Google. CM13, which runs great on my Samsung S5, recently had a big update chock full of them. As consumers we need to put pressure on manufacturers to do their job properly: cut out the crapware and provide regular and timely security updates. I suspect many would be happy to pay a nominal annual fee for these after the end of the statutory warranty period has passed.

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Fujitsu: Why we chose 64-bit ARM over SPARC for our exascale super

Charlie Clark
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Re: "ARM's larger and healthier software ecosystem?"

The irony here is that, up until a couple of years ago, Linux on ARM was pretty poor. The RPi has certainly helped here to get all the toolchains ported, tested and optimised though I reckon that nVidia has also contributed a lot as will the HPC owners themselves.

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Das ist empörend: Microsoft slams umlaut for email depth charge

Charlie Clark
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Re: Latin

Worked for The Martian!

I'm going out to collect rocks…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Many more...

Yes, and in Swedish ö, ä and å do not have umlauts but are distinct letters on the own, to be found at the end of the dictionary.

UTF8 all the inputs!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Microsoft or Americans?

And while I read/write/speak 3 languages fluently

ahem

…dots as a seperator

Anyway, it sounds like you're moaning about SAP which, let's face it, is just a steaming turd of software. But SAP, like Oracle and MS, know how to sell it and once they've got companies hooked there's way to get off. Ever wondered why there are virtually never anti-trust investigations of SAP?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Is it Outlook or the interaction with a M$ IMAP service?

What's the betting that this just relates to the encoding set for the field storing the password? Spot the flaw in this logic ;-)

What's the % test coverage of Outlook? From this little faux pas I'd reckon less than 80%

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Charlie Clark
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Re: English is wonderful

Expose and exposé are two different words in the English language

What you mean like lead (for walking dogs) and lead (the metal?

English orthography is a mess but this is largely down to its age as a written language and the joyful absence of official intervention that tends to fuck things up whenever it tries to make them better.

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Microsoft’s Continuum: Game changer or novelty?

Charlie Clark
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Re: But..?

They probably already are. nVidia has already released one "proof-of-concept" streaming console based on their ARM platform. The graphics chips in the newer phones are probably capable of most of the work already so some kind of combination is probably possible whether it's a box with the latest and greatest GPU that syncs with the phone or details are rendered "in the cloud" is probably just a matter of bandwidth. The economics would seem to favour streaming over selling discrete units.

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Charlie Clark
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I've actually used it more for entertainment than business though

Colour me unimpressed.

I can already connect my S5 to any HDMI device with a cheap adapter and I recently used Miracast / WiFi share on a friend's TV the other day. Fantastic for entertainment.

Samsung have been experimenting with this kind of thing for years (my Galaxy Tab 8.9 came with a "multimedia" dock) including support for multi-windows and alternative input methods. It wouldn't surprise me if they aren't the first with some kind of phone / TV / Chromebook setup. And we can assume Apple won't be far behind with its own extremely dedicated market.

Microsoft is going to pull something extremely remarkable out of the hat for this get any real traction. Otherwise UWP apps on Android might be the best they can hope for.

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Paper mountain, hidden Brexit: How'd you say immigration control would work?

Charlie Clark
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Re: I still have 'friends' saying...

I saw £1 = 0.95 Euros last week at one exchange.

The official rate is about 0.86 so that's just a shitty exchange happy to scalp its customers. To be fair in 2011 it was near parity so this is within "normal" market movements if you take normal to include massive interference by central banks. The real time to worry is what happens if the BoE has more problems at auctions: the total amount that Carney is prepared to throw on this particularly is about what Draghi spunks on bonds every month.

If there is any form of general tightening of world monetary policy then the BoE may find its options severely limited and if the UK government has to go to functioning markets to borrow then rates will almost certainly have to rise.

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Charlie Clark
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I think it is a real shame that a woman got the job.

It's not as if anyone forced her to apply…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: @Charlie: Simple is best

That's just wrong matey, I may live in the middle of Devon now, but I still have many relatives who still live in Essex.

Well then you know just what a bunch of fuckwits live there… ;-)

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Charlie Clark
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Re: @Charlie @AC 20-23 pages for EU citizens

Apologies for being too subtle.

Yeah, right. Begs the question as to why you voted to leave. Not that it really matters. Some seem to think that the referendum is going to give Britain a better hand at future negotiations along the lines of "we want this, but not that", just like at a restaurant. This completely ignores the fact that the three "freedoms" are indivisible: trade, capital and labour and that none of the remaining 27 member states has any interest in giving the UK anything. Even Norway isn't keen on letting the UK join the EEA. Oh, and the UK will have to apply separately to join the WTO.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: @AC 20-23 pages for EU citizens

Btw I voted to leave, I am fine with the movement of people thing

Yes, because international agreements are like à la carte menus…

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Charlie Clark
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And, as they're the ones tasked with doing the work, the Leave campaigners are going to be the ones who have to tell them.

I think this is Theres May's plan. I don't think she cares ideologically one way or another but she clearly understands the politics quite well. We can probably be expect Article 50 day to be based on some kind of never-never criteria just like Blair did with membership of the Euro (sun shining in Manchester, Newcastle winning the league, Piers Morgan not being a twat, etc.)

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Charlie Clark
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My money is on a land border and the unfortunate return of real™ terrorism from people who actually know how to make bombs: remember the IRA sponsored "Central Manchester Redevelopment Plan" from 1996?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Oh well, better send this article to my girlfriend

Just get the application process for residency and then citizenship started. Should be pretty easy: existing rules will continue to apply until Parliament enacts laws to the contrary.

Let the Home Office grind to a halt processing such applications. We all know what the solution will be: reduce the amount of paperwork and let all EEA & EU citizens without a criminal record pass.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Simple is best

Not sure if turning the UK into East Berlin is the direction anyone* wants to go down.

You may be right but how about just Essex? Gets my vote.

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Little ARMs pump 2,048-bit muscles in training for Fujitsu's Post-K exascale mega-brain

Charlie Clark
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Impressive stuff

Intel is going to have improve its customisation game if it wants to stay in this market. Hardware customisations like this are ARM's ace up its sleeve. We can assume the actual chips that Fujitsu (no mug when it comes to chips as the SPARCs show) will have additional whizz-bang stuff baked into hardware but this kind of compiler optimisation is going to give the HPC crowd wet dreams. Between this and FPGA Intel is going to be increasingly squeezed.

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MacPorts project leaving Apple’s OS Forge

Charlie Clark
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Re: Didn't know they were still around

I much prefer MacPorts because it allows you to replace more of the Posix stuff that Apple ships with each OS version and then largely leaves untouched until the next one.

But Homebrew seems to have gained the mindshare.

Apple's own engagement in the open source stuff has always been at best lukewarm and it looks to me like they're getting ready to close it down entirely.

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Google killing app format used only by The 1%

Charlie Clark
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Re: So they had cross-platform web apps

Google's Chrome team is fully behind the "Progressive Web Apps" of which the packaged apps were a precursor. As PWAs take off, you see a button on a website to install it, there is no need for the additional packaging.

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What next for the F-35 after Turkey's threats to turn its back on NATO?

Charlie Clark
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Re: Turkey

NATO and the EU want Turkey as a strategic ally, a buffer zone for refugees we don't want, don't want her falling into Russian hands, pivoting to the Middle East.

I'm not quite sure what "pivoting to the Middle East" is supposed to mean but the situation in the Middle East is always more complicated than you think.

Erdogan and Putin are currently just posturing. There is a long history of conflict between Russia and Turkey and they're on opposite sides in current conflicts: in Syria where Russia favours Assad and Turkey wants him toppled; in Nagorno Karabakh.

Dictators routinely rub shoulders with each to look strong at home but they rarely form alliances of any substance. Anyone remember the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact?

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