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* Posts by Charlie Clark

2493 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

DANGER MOUSE is back ... and he isn't half a GLASSHOLE

Charlie Clark
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Happy

Re: BBC Radio 4 Extra

Used to walk past the offices every time we went to the swimming baths…

Happy days!

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Samsung peddles tyred Smart Bike concept

Charlie Clark
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Re: My eyes bleed

electric regeneration

Hub dynamos are pretty impressive nowadays. I suppose they could be configured to charge only at speeds above x or on downwards slopes. You don't lose much energy braking on a bike and you can't recover anything from wind resistance - you could put on a windmill I suppose, but really a fairing and letting the dynamo charge is you're best bet.

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Sneak peek: Microsoft's next browser (thanks, IE Developer Channel)

Charlie Clark
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Coat

Suggestions

Let me get this in early: remove Windows and install PC-BSD!

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Supermodel Lily Cole: 'I got a little bit upset by that Register article'

Charlie Clark
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Re: What is the real problem

Andrew, thanks for the clarification. I'm in Germany and I'll admit to not keeping up to date with the shenanigans in Whitehall. As I said, I think focussing too much on Lily Cole detracts from the argument which would be the unaccountability of Nesta. What other bollocks things have they been involved with? More "community service" engagements for the well-to-do?

Not to worry, we have our own share of investment catapults here. And the bureaucrats and politicians dislike FoI provisions just as much as anywhere else.

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Charlie Clark
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What is the real problem

While it's amusing to bash on about the "taxpayer" giving £ 200,000 to this "poor little rich kid" for a useless website, I think it's a bit of a mistake to focus on the money. For a start, if she's got good accountants, she's probably costing the country more through (perfectly legal) tax avoidance schemes. In the subsidy stakes (such as those given in the energy industry) £ 200,000 doesn't even figure as a rounding error.

Let's take Miss Cole out of the equation and focus on the role of Nesta and whether it's doing its job properly - what are the expected tangible (ie. the number of employees) and intangible benefits of the site? How will they be measured? And how will those allocating the money be held accountable (not necessarily sacked)?

As things stand I think it is perfectly reasonable to suggest that the whole thing was a vehicle to benefit Freud Communications - weren't they associated with another waste-of-time, celebrity (political) website? What is the ownership of the website? What is the proposed business model? More digging along those lines, please.

Oh, and good to see the Freedom of Information Act doing its job.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Never...

I agree that the ad hominem attacks are off the mark and detract from the issue: what is NESTA supposed to be doing? and who's overseeing it?

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WORLD CUP SHOCK: England declared winner in 2-1 defeat to Italy

Charlie Clark
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ABE

NFT

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TIME TRAVELLERS needed to secure Windows 7

Charlie Clark
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Unaffacted

I have a Windows 7 VM (with a full-fat licence). However, as I refuse to do the additional licence verification dance (what's up with you licensing Microsoft that it doesn't work properly first time?) I get to miss out on some of the updates, including it appears the browser updates. I don't really care as I only fire the thing up once a week or so to use my scanner or test a website in IE 9. But, judging by website statistics, it seems I'm far from alone: use of IE seems to split fairly neatly between IE8, IE9 and IE11.

Microsoft, it seems, still doesn't know how it feels about its browser: is it a core part of the OS and thus worth protecting? or just one among many of the browsers out there with a sideline in traffic referral?

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'Hashtag' added to the OED – but # isn't a hash, pound, nor number sign

Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

Younguns these days

Everyone knows it's a channel ident on IRC. I'm off to #humbug.

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S is for SMACKDOWN: Samsung takes Galaxy Tab slab war fruit-side

Charlie Clark
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Re: AMOLED screen ?

WANT

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Yawn

Maybe he should switch it on?

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LEAKED: Redmond not allowed to sell 'Nokia' smartphones after 2015

Charlie Clark
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Re: Deep integration of Twaddle

Excuse me, Mr Terry, but could you run an extension cable out to our grill? Thank you very much.

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Soccer Football in SPAAACE! ISS 'naut nails zero-G bicycle kick

Charlie Clark
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Typical

Bet the Americans used the wrong units when putting the ISS together otherwise it would be regulation pitch sized!

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So, what exactly defines a 'boffin'? Speak your brains...

Charlie Clark
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I think Mick Aston, RIP, would qualify as a boffin.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I really, really, hate that word

Do you want to go back to be and try getting up out of the other side?

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Charlie Clark
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Boffin

Re: The socks have it

+1 on the Pyke as the unit of measurement for boffinry.

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Charlie Clark
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Holmes

Element of chance

I think the hallmark of good boffinry is genuine interest in all things scientific and mechanical and the attendant tendency to being easily distracted, genius and a pinch of naivety: surely, nobody would ever want to harm anyone else with my latest invention… Leonard of Quirm.

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IPv4 addresses now EXHAUSTED in Latin America and the Caribbean

Charlie Clark
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Re: 10 years ago?

The problem is, the US has more IPv4 addresses than it know what to do with. Ergo, a shrugging of the shoulders and "I don't know what the fuss is all about" while the Asian ISPs set new world records in nested NATs…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: IPv6 is flawed

If IPv6 wasn't flawed we would all be on it now, with IPv4 left for the ghost net, outlaws/crims and lagards.

Much as I'd like to think that it is technical issues holding back adoption, I somehow doubt that this is really the case. But if anyone knows how to use and abuse the protocol then you can be sure if it's the internet's more nefarious denizens.

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Charlie Clark
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Thinking off the top of my head…

Is there a sensible way of sharing the cost of the necessary infrastructure upgrades around the world that doesn't invite gaming?

The real problem seems that the address shortage has yet to affect large parts of the service providers - the US can probably survive with its IPv4 addresses for another 1000 years (famous last words!). I suspect governments are reluctant to require IPv6 deployments partly out of consideration of the costs (anti-competitive); lack of technical skills (both in companies and regulators) and ignorance and possibly even because IPv6 is far from perfect. Quick fixes with layers of NAT are so much more inviting.

I wonder if, for example, the EU mandated IPv6 capable equipment for (imported) switches, routers, et al. whether that would have a similar effect on the industry that standards power consumption in stand-by or vehicle emissions have had. Once the endpoints can handle dual-stack then network upgrades can be handled with a minimum of disruption.

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Massive news in the micro-world: a hexaquark particle

Charlie Clark
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Re: Neutron decay

Protons and neutrons are not protons and neutrons in nucleii. It's all a bit more complicated than that.

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DOCX disaster recovery: How I rescued my wife from XM-HELL

Charlie Clark
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Re: Simple solution I've always used

document_06092014

Always use ISO (YYYY-MM-DD) if you want anyone else to be able to make sense. Sorts in the right order as well.

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Charlie Clark
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Thumb Down

Re: Which Office product is at fault?

Exactly, what you don't want to do when serialising OOXML is create a DOM as DOM's use a lot of memory and are very slow. So string concatenation of one form of another is the preferred approach. This can still be wrapped in functions to ensure that tags are well-formed but that doesn't really help much, there are still a lot of things that can go wrong, and even more that the consuming application can complain about viz. the different behaviour of Word and LibreOffice to the broken file.

Unfortunately, the OOXML developers forgot to learn the lessons of HTML and include a section on error handling.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: xmllint is pretty good for finding broken xml...

Specifically for the MS files the Office OpenXML SDK Productivity Tool is to be recommended. It can open most archives as long as the [Content_Types].xml - it's fussy about the namespace in this file. It includes validation and comparison tools and will automatically reflow the XML.

Otherwise simply unpack the archive with unzip, run suspect files through tidy and open them in you editor of choice.

unzip -d xml fucked_file.docx

tidy -m -xml xml/word/document.xml

To be fair to the LibreOffice developers, OOXML is a shit format. It's difficult to get right partly because it's so fucking verbose. The specification is thousands of pages long and even then vague. However, the LibreOffice developers also have a history of releasing poor code. I've replaced it with the more conservative OpenOffice because it crashes too much on my Mac.

Mine's the one with the ECMA 476 specification in the pockets, ta.

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Jellybean dominates Play, still seated atop rising KitKat

Charlie Clark
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What's wrong with fragmentation?

While satisfying news for Google and Android fans at a higher level, the numbers demonstrate just how fragmented the Android market really is.

And how much of this is a problem? The Android API has been pretty stable for the last couple of years and I've yet to come across an app that won't run on any of my three devices, the oldest of which is nearly three years old and it's still on Android 4.0. It's true that this wasn't the case initially with the API expanding rapidly and often requiring stuff in hardware that older kit didn't have.

As others have pointed out in the Windows world there is XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 plus the server versions. The vast majority of software runs fine on all those versions. However, you are generally up shit creek without a paddle if you want to straddle the 32-bit / 64-bit worlds easily on Windows. And don't mention ARM. If you want an example of fragmentation look no further than that.

In the IOS world a lot of developers march neatly in lockstep with new releases and quickly require the newest version of IOS. I'll admit I don't have first-hand experience of this but a mate of mine with quite a bit of Apple kit complains about it regularly. One of the reasons why it's done is because it's a nice way to force paid for upgrades. And if it works for people - that Apple punters are happier to part with their money than others - then good luck to them.

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Redmond is patching Windows 8 but NOT Windows 7, say security bods

Charlie Clark
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Re: Premature announcement

Indeed. The proof of the pudding will be in the eating. It may just be a nice way of documenting the function calls but as the forensics improve it might at some point help detect vulnerabilities early.

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Thanks for nothing, OpenSSL, grumbles stonewalled De Raadt

Charlie Clark
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Re: What law/legal requirement

forking a codebase brings with it the requirement (on the forker) to continue monitoring…

Do you think that code to fix known but not yet publicly disclosed bugs goes into the public repository with comments like "fixes something we're not allowed to talk about"?

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FIGHT! Intel disputes ARM's claims of Android superiority

Charlie Clark
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Better windows than windows?

This was the argument that IBM made with OS/2. And it was true. So true in fact that, because companies could use OS/2 to safely run their multiple DOS/Windows programs, they didn't buy OS/2 software.

If binary translation from ARM to x86 is so good that no one notices, no one will bother doing native x86 versions. Developers won't really care if it becomes a push-button option in their IDE.

But Intel's real problem will be convincing manufacturers that it won't jack up prices once it has killed the competition. Currently, Intel is able to sweet talk some manufacturers into using its kit because it is a useful bargaining chip with Qualcomm. But ARM is developing faster and the number of manufacturers is increasing: Qualcomm, Broadcom, Samsung, nVidia, TI, Mediatek, …

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I am so sick of Intel's whining about ARM versus Atom or CISC whatever

ARM is RISC - Intel is CISC

That hasn't been true for years. Intel has been more RISC than CISC since the Pentium (IIRC) and certainly since the P4 debacle.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Intel are good

Imagine what they could do if they let go of x86 and put their talents into making the best ARM out there.

The chips would be fantastic but their margins would suffer. They need the x86 lock-in to preserve those margins and it's what the salesforce knows how to sell.

Actually, since Intel has already started contract manufacturing this might happen sooner than anyone expects.

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'Fan docks' are about to become a thing

Charlie Clark
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Solution in search of a problem?

NFT

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Oh, wow. US Secret Service wants a Twitter sarcasm-spotter

Charlie Clark
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Mushroom

Re: Do terrorists really tweet about their intended acts?

You won't think you're so funny after three years in Guantanamo! Your appeal has been refused because we can't be sure you were being sarcastic until our sarcasm detection software works.

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Charlie Clark
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Would this help?

I've got a generator based on the Twat-o-Tron that will generate nowtrage on demand for Twitter. Based on the number of followers it got, it managed to convince the public / other bots out there.

What the fuck are "influencers"? Online hypnotists?

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Apple: We'll tailor Swift to be a fast new programming language

Charlie Clark
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Re: complexity and obsequiousness

It's much more mathematically (and syntactically) satisfying for that reason.

I suspect it depends very much on what you're programming: whether you're essentially programming mathematical functions or doing something else. Which is why we use brackets sparingly when writing. And even then it remains a personal preference.

Indentation is not more arbitrary for structure as it has to be consistent in order to be machine readable.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Just what the world needs

A few users is not a success. Where is Go in real-world use, something like 0.01% of developers? I bet there are more active Haskell developers

No idea and no idea how anyone can reliably collect such statistics: what about all the shell and embedded stuff that never appears online?

There probably are more people involved with Haskell than Go, though probably has a lot to do with the fact that it's taught at quite a lot of universities. The most recent Go conference managed to garner some 700 participants and I assume some of the sponsors are using it; we know Google and Canonical are.

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Charlie Clark
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I think they'd be stupid not to open source it (the core at least) and get academics paid by someone else to kick the tyres. Would surprise me greatly if they don't do it.

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Charlie Clark
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I don't think there was ever a real chance for that to happen and the fact that the presentation makes no reference to Ruby says a lot.

Much as I like Python as a language I also have to admit that it isn't always the best choice. Google still makes extensive use of it internally but developed Go for the heavy lifting systems work. But having a simpler syntax for app development (assumes the runtime can handles most of the necessary magic) might work quite nicely.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: complexity and obsequiousness

WTH is wrong with brackets?

The standard answer is that the brackets are there for the compiler not the programmer. People tend to prefer other methods for structuring blocks, but if you like them then good luck to you.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Just what the world needs

Go is finding fans all over the place, though mainly in systems, because of its concurrency support. C# is, er, a rehash of Java for the MS runtime.

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Android is a BURNING 'hellstew' of malware, cackles Apple's Cook

Charlie Clark
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Re: Poor performance

Yeah, I liked Federighi in the Mac OS part. I don't have an I-thingy just a Mac so the IOS stuff is less interesting anyway.

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Charlie Clark
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Poor performance

This was the first time I've seen Cook on stage and man was he poor. Okay, the numbers don't lie and Apple is still creaming the money, but the performance was nothing like Jobs. Relying on quote from a ZD hack to attack Android would have been below Jobs, even if the very idea of Android made his blood boil.

Fragmentation? How about properly (the I-Pad Mini is a hack) supporting multiple form factors Apple? Android is running on watches, phone, tablets, notebooks and TVs.

Update - tell us about the 10 % or so who can't update to the latest version or even the version before that because Apple invalidated the hardware. Then again, many of those users may, like the millions of Android users with older versions, be perfectly happy with their hardware.

I switched off after about 5 minutes. Did it get any better?

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YOSEMITE GLAM: Apple unveils gussied up OS X

Charlie Clark
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Re: Question is...

I'm with you in the heterogenous hardware environment: most of this release produces "meh" at most.

But I don't mind yearly updates for the OS as long as these aren't used to arbitrarily exclude older hardware or APIgasms don't break lots of software. Version updates are one of the best ways of making sure everyone installs the security patches.

We'll probably need to wait to find out more about what's going on under the hood (support for MacOS on ARM or similar) but some of the stuff looked to me like intelligent use of the underlying OpenDoc/Taligent stuff in the OS that has been so underused in MacOS.

Also, Federighi is quite a good presenter / salesman. That might become increasingly important if Cook's performance on stage doesn't improve.

See what the summer brings. I won't be installing this on release day: will wait at least until MacPorts has binaries for most of my packages.

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Charlie Clark
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You mean your headset isn't multipoint capable?

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Apple's steamy OS XXX picture leak riddle: Blurry snaps deleted

Charlie Clark
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Re: Oh bollocks

I can understand the reason to flatten on mobile OS's - the requirement to save battery life seemingly overriding style

I'm not sure why you think the IOS 7 aesthetics does anything to improve battery life because it doesn't. It was a necessary move away from skeuomorphism + Sir Jony's need to mark his territory. If you hold a new I-Phone up to your nose you can still smell the piss! ;-)

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I'm having a Windows XP moment here..

10.6 (Snow Leopard) was a bit of a brown bag to be honest with the move to x86_64 pretty hamfisted. Some of the bugs have still not been properly ironed out: my system will pause for a couple of seconds every time Time Machine fires up the external (Firewire) drive. It never did that in Leopard. Lots of drivers were broken and some got broken in the series. Can't remember exactly when but Bluetooth audio got totally fucked and the only solution was to upgrade.

While I understand the basic rationale behind the release cycle (cleaning up the toolchain) and simplifying patch levels, a key part of it is creating obsolescence by somewhat randomly declaring certain hardware no longer supported. So my MacMini (x86_64 capable) can't be updated because Apple and or nVidia won't update the drivers. I assume another generation of hardware will get the chop with 10.10 so that owners can go out and buy some new kit. If they're really lucky they'll have to get new peripherals as well: quite a few manufacturers don't support Mavericks. Fortunately, this is one of things that Windows VMs are good for, so I can still use my Canon scanner the odd times I need to.

The notification centre is okay with most things disabled. Pity you can't disable the fecking Finder messages!

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HP reveals Apple-powered Android 'SlateBook'

Charlie Clark
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Re: You Do Get Something for Your $100

You already get that with tablets. The OS does make it pretty easy to target other form factors.

A bigger challenge is the support of the OS for keyboard and mouse. I'd to get a look at one of these machines re. ergonomics and weight.

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Rich bitch sorority girls actually more likely to put out than low-class 'sluts': Study

Charlie Clark
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Re: @Charlie Clark (was:Duh!)

Controlling STDs is an entirely different kettle of worms.

Not going to dispute that. My main point was about possible motivation for behaviour.

Then again, being rich is generally associated with better medical care and, therefore, lower perceived risks associated with personal choice. I think this has been shown across a range of activities from substance abuse to driving.

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Linux Foundation flings two full-time developers at OpenSSL

Charlie Clark
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Re: It is puzzling!

Tells you a lot about the PR value of joining such an industry group. And that tells you a lot about the real aims of such a group.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: LibreSSL

and it took a major vulnerability…

That attitude in a nutshell is a part of the problem with much of the commercial approach: we won't admit it's broken till it's breached.

The OpenBSD project was born out of an explicit need to make software as secure as possible. This doesn't guarantee security, but by making it an explicit priority they have certainly helped improve the chances of something being secure.

Other than politics I see little reason for this move by the "Linux Foundation". Working with LibreSSL with the perspective of using it in future instead of OpenSSL would be proper infrastructure development. Unless there are licensing or technical issues that I'm not aware of.

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100% driverless Wonka-wagon toy cars? Oh Google, you're having a laugh

Charlie Clark
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Re: Some things over-exaggerated.

And who pays if it's the Google car's fault? Google? Or the passenger for not pressing stop?

That's a big question isn't it? Nobody is going to be allowed to use of these on the road without the insurance question being resolved. But in the event of these cars being run as fleets (great opportunity for better yield) I can see Google quite happily negotiating with the insurance companies. It already has vast amounts of telemetry from the existing trials and one recorded accident, where the human took control and was responsible.

Assuming they can get the telemetry then I would imagine insurance companies will happily offer terms. It's becoming increasingly common to provide telemetry for car insurance. In fact, it's now standard with rental cars.

No, I don't think either insurance or traffic in <insert-hellish-place-to-drive-here> are going to the real problem. It will be working out quite how much redundant kit is required in order to be able to still function reasonably. There is already some information on this for ships, planes, space vehicles, etc. But very few of those are really involved in such dynamic environments as traffic, especially where other people aren't necessarily obeying the rules.

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