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* Posts by Charlie Clark

2785 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Apple iPhone 5 review

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: Huh?

It’s a matter of personal taste whether the 3.5mm headphone jack that’s been moved from the top to the bottom of the phone is good or bad. Me, I’m not mad about it, but it’s not a deal-breaker.

Oh, the irony!

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W3C reveals plan to finish HTML5 and HTML 5.1

Charlie Clark
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W3C in plea for relevancy

WHATWG rules! NFT

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Microsoft issues emergency IE bug patch

Charlie Clark
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Yes, credit to Microsoft for obviously pulling out all the stops to get the patch out so quickly.

This doesn't excuse the initial and repeated failure of welding the browser to the OS. If the experience at one of my customers is anything to go by, where the majority of the company's own websites didn't work properly because Javascript was disabled, is anything to go buy, then Microsoft has suffered massively as a result. I wouldn't mind betting that IE 10 may well be the last version of Microsoft's own browser.

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Apple's brilliant plan to fix iOS Maps: Get YOU to do it

Charlie Clark
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Re: For those whining that Google's Maps app was "better"...

... try living in the Italian countryside sometime

@ Sean

Stop press: Google doesn't take the photos but buys them in from agencies, which is Europe are generally government agencies who control zoom level, degree of detail and explain what cannot be shown. And in most countries those photographs are very up to date as they are basis for all kinds of agreements, bills and even fines (tree-felling). In Italy the images generally come from Cnes/Spot Image, to whom you can now address your complaint.

It would be good if Google were allowed to release an updated version of Google maps so that customers could choose which app they prefer but don't the I-tunes store statutes prohibit just such competition with Apple software?

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Charlie Clark
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Now get out of that...

I agree with you that this is exactly the sort of thing that Jobs abhorred and came down like a ton of bricks on people for. Not that there weren't problems with services under his watch but that was relatively unimportant stuff like @mac or "mobile me".

This is the sort of thing that, if it is allowed to rumble is very bad for a company's image. Be interesting to see how well Apple's PR swings into action to deal with disgruntled customers as well as they did with the antenna problems: bumper or shiny new phone. Will depend largely on the scale of the fuck up.

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Redmond promises emergency IE bug fix on Friday (zero day + 5)

Charlie Clark
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Re: Arghhh

So what you're saying is that a piece of software which has no patches is totally secure and bug free? Or maybe it's not well maintained?

No, I was only countering the assertion that recently there has been a "big rise" in exploits for browsers other than Internet Explorer. All my browsers have been patched as opposed to being updated.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Arghhh

we've seen a big rise in non-IE exploits recently

Source perhaps? We'd probably have to trawl with the release notes of the various patch releases, but as a user of Opera, Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer I'm pretty sure that I've had more patches of IE in the last 12 months than of the others.

All browsers suffer from exploits but the makes deal with them very differently. Google is currently pimping its security credentials by offering bounties for discovered vulnerabilities. More importantly, perhaps, is the system of silent delivery of patches that they have established. Like it or not, it's probably the most effective way to get patches out to the great unwashed masses out there.

But even if exploits are discovered for other browsers, it's a relatively simple and painless operation to replace one browser with another and deinstall if desired. This is not an option with Internet Explorer because it is part of the Windows operating systems. That has always been Microsoft's biggest mistake.

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Microsoft promises two-step IE fix

Charlie Clark
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Re: Just fix it quick please

Thanks for your totally list unqualified list: "best", "ugly"...

For the sake of completeness you left out Safari.

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Inside the guts of a fiendish Internet Explorer 0-day attack

Charlie Clark
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Re: Ouch!

Against fiendishly clever hackers any browser is vulnerable. It's daft to move browser for that reason... at least MS take patching security seriously.

Did you actually read the article? It pointed out that the vulnerability could be exploited by pretty much everybody and not just "fiendishly clever hackers". The intelligence of hackers is routinely overrated.

And it's not daft to move browsers for that reason: if I had a car that was unsafe to drive because of some design error (say putting the windscreen wipers on at 30 mph and then indicating right) the car would be recalled and I would be provided with a safe replacement. Except that this is not really possible in Windows because Internet Explorer is part of the OS, including the file system browser. This just goes to show that we need to divorce these kind of components more from the OS so that they can be replaced or at least disabled if necessary.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Ouch!

While it's true that microsoft takes patching more seriously then say adobe, they're not near the top of the list when it comes to patching browser security holes.

Who says Adobe doesn't take security as seriously as MS? That may have been true a few years ago but Adobe has had a clearly established patching system for Acrobat and Flash for several years now. Notable laggards in the consumer space are Apple and Oracle.

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Charlie Clark
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Ouch!

Guess this is why the German Office of IT Security has <a href="https://www.bsi.bund.de/ContentBSI/Presse/Pressemitteilungen/Presse2012/Internet%20Explorer%20Warnung%2017092012.html>recommended people to stop using Internet Explorer</a>, in German. Of course, Microsoft Germany is playing down the issue.

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Wobbly swipe reader Square gulps down another $200m

Charlie Clark
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Re: Valley Capitalism at its finest

Yep, the lack on EFT infrastructure in America makes this and it's distant, similarly ginger-haired distant cousin, PayPal, immensely appealing there while the rest of the civilised word looks on and wonders what all the fuss is about.

As discussed on <a href="http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2012/08/retail-payments-0>The Economist</a> Square might have some value above and beyond simply facilitating payments. I'm not holding my breath on that, but then I'm not a VC!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Err?

Do the investors not realise that it will be laughed out of any regulator's office in most of the rest of the world

They presumably expect they can be bribed just as usual.

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UK.gov squatting on £1bn IPv4 motherlode

Charlie Clark
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Re: The tip of the iceberg

Tis true: the vast majority of IPv4 addresses were issued to companies and institutions in the USA. Getting them released would make a difference whereas releasing the odd range in Europe is a bit like rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic, to stick with the iceberg metaphor.

Much better to have whichever government department or Quango is responsible for internet agree a timetable for the mandatory phasing in of IPv6 with ISPs. Pretty much all the equipment in all the networks can do IPv6 as can the vast majority of consumer's computers so the marginal cost would be minimal. You have to ask yourself that what, apart from complacency or ineptitude, is holding ISPs back?

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RIPE NCC handing out last European IPv4 addresses

Charlie Clark
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Re: An interesting write up of the issue....

Indeed, although the article seems to draw inspiration from Dilbert's the internet is full.

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Charlie Clark
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Go

Who cares?

Already on IPv6 here. Now, if only sites like The Register would switch to a dual stack service like Heise has done.

host www.theregister.co.uk

www.theregister.co.uk has address 92.52.96.89

host www.heise.de

www.heise.de has address 193.99.144.85

www.heise.de has IPv6 address 2a02:2e0:3fe:100::7

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Manchester is 'PIRATE CAPITAL of the UK'

Charlie Clark
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Joke

Re: Scousers only at number FOUR???

Internet requires some degree of literacy, lar!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Stupid Canal

The Manchester Ship Canal was an amazing feat of engineering...

Well, yes but also almost slave labour to build it and, like most canals, it was pretty much obsolete by the time it was finished in 1894. It's major role has been as part of the city's flood defences, helping to keep the lowest lying places like "Little Ireland" (around Oxfod Road station) from flooding like they regularly did. The scousers' fate was largely sealed by the decline in the slave trade, especially after the loss of the colonies. Manchester's prosperity, which briefly in the middle of the century made it richer than London (though how you define richer is a bit difficult) was based on the services it provided to the industries in and around it. Hence, the importance of the Free Trade movement. Obviously, not having a city charter until late also favoured businesses who didn't want to worry about things like working conditions.

Still, nothing wrong in having a go at the scousers! ;-)

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Google to axe IE 8 support, cuts off Windows XP lifeline

Charlie Clark
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Re: Bad news for companies

Not so sure about that. It's going to be increasingly difficult for IT departments to argue against installing alternative browsers when management pull out their I-pads and say: "look, it works on my pad, why not on my desktop?".

It's taken a while but Mozilla's ESR (Enterprise Service Release) is starting to gain traction in the corporate space and I'm sure Google would be prepared to provide something similar to corporates interested in Google Docs.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Translation

I think you need a new geek-user dictionary!

IE doesn't support SPDY and either SVG or Canvas and has a very slow JS engine.

Google is very interesting in having its websites seem fast as that encourages their use and, therefore, ad sales. Even if most of the support for IE has already been done, being able to drop it for future stuff will make the development and test cycle a lot shorter.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Incorrect conclusion

So, by your logic, if Google drops support for IE...

Even for users of Windows XP the sky doesn't fall in and the world doesn't end.

Google can afford to decide to drop support for whatever it wants. In theory the same is true for any website but due to Google's sheer size and prominence such a decision will make other people sit up.

Supporting IE 8 for a site is nothing like as difficult as supporting IE 7 and IE 6, indeed it will still be supported for a major site I work on after a relaunch. but there are still reasons why you might actively want to discourage site visitors from using it: lack of support for either SVG or Canvas and the very slow Javascript engine. Google has already explained how much faster Google Maps since they swtiched to Canvas as default. I suspect users of Google Mail. Docs and Maps will be most likely to notice any change. Presumably Google will nudge them in the direction of Chrome and Microsoft will only have itself to blame. Although MS might secretly be pleased if Google has succeeded where it has so far failed to dismally.

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Charlie Clark
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Incorrect conclusion

which also means it no longer gives a stuff about Windows XP hold-outs

Er, no that is the case. Google will continue to support XP as long as say Firefox, Opera and Chrome still run on it.

Given that Google's decision to drop support for IE 6 did indeed lead to a decline in its use then it can be hoped that this will also happen with IE 8 and that Google will be more successful at this game than Microsoft. Though by "dropping support" doesn't necessarily mean that Google's sites will no longer work with IE 8.

Well done, Google.

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iPhone 5 tops benchmark chart

Charlie Clark
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An extra 221 points with a new OS? Well, possibly.

Depends very much on the benchmarking but a change in the compiler which turned on bits of hardware could easily do that. This is why Intel is still in the compiler business.

But the comparison is spectacularly underwhelming given the predominance of FPU calculations. What do we use those for on hours (on a daily basis)?

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Why lock your digits to a phone? Telefonica to flog cloudy numbers

Charlie Clark
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False premise

If telcos are going to avoid becoming bit-pipes with razor-thin margins, they desperately need to innovate beyond outbidding each other for scant radio spectrum

The days of the UMTS spectrum auction are long gone as is thus the "outbidding each other". Infrastructure co-operation both between operators and manufacturers has become the norm in Europe in the last few years. And networks are continuing to make profits.

This doesn't mean that they don't have to change their business model. Obviously, LTE makes no distinction between voice and data, which is the big change from UMTS and GSM, so it becomes very hard to prevent OTT like VoIP, although the licence terms are probably the determining factor there. What networks want to be is a customer's preferred (VoIP) provider largely because this allows for the most efficient use of resources from within the network. This can easily be achieved through a different tariff structure that makes calls via the network as attractive as competing VoIP - networks. Messaging is probably more of a challenge because it has been 100% profit all this time, but it's still doable. Using the peering billing structure already in place networks can squeeze out non-networks or encourage them to partner with them for a revenue share. As the advantage of using VoIP / instant messaging instead of network services declines, so does the business model. This has already largely happened in fixed line services with countrywide flatrates, etc.

As it's all IP-based LTE also offers the networks plenty of scope for product differentiation with QoS: sell bandwidth instead of data volume, offer messaging only services, limited call minutes, etc. In fact it's possibly only the regulatory guaranteed revenues that have prevented these kinds offers: networks have been more or less obliged to avoid innovation offer extortionate tariffs to maximise returns for shareholders. Though quoted in the article as an apparently negative example. 3 is a good example of attracting people through its data tariff and still being able to charge them a premium for voice services.

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Dropbox drops JavaScript, brews CoffeeScript

Charlie Clark
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Re: week-long hackathon ?

I guess that depends largely on the quality of the cross-compiler from CoffeeScript to Javascript.

Having looked at the comparison I agree that CoffeeScript is much more readable. It is not unreasonable to hope this leads to fewer typos and better maintainability and possibly even better security, especially if the code is written by occasional JS programmers.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: developers will be developers

Most of the Dropobox infrastructure is written in Python!

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VCs snaffle £200m of UK taxpayer gold ... to bet on high-risk biz

Charlie Clark
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Growing the state

Conservatives traditionally only support state intervention in cases of market failure.

If you only listen to party speeches you might think so but policy decisions would indicate otherwise. Railway privatisation springs to mind as a nice way of spending more money after privatisation than before it.

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New guide: Bake your own Raspberry Pi Lego-crust cluster

Charlie Clark
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Re: The IDEs of March.

I think I-Python (from the SciPy project) has support for MPI and I'm sure other environments do.

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Information is the UI in Windows 8, says design guru

Charlie Clark
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Re: "new interface tactic"

Or simply notifications like Growl, bouncing icons (Mac OS), icons with changing colours (Windows 7). All great as long as there is only one of them at a time and there are not too annoying or last too long.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Polluting software with buttons and icons?

There is current trend in UI design that considers buttons to be a hack I disagree most strongly with this but you can see some of the ideas in and around Metro. Too many icons are as bad as too few.

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Charlie Clark
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Works fine but there are limits to the amount of signs you can take in. Too many and you can't, er, see the wood for the trees. This is why there are some experiments (in the Netherlands) to reduce the number of signs on roads as an attempt to reduce accidents caused by people not able to read all the signs at speeds. And then there are good examples and bad examples. In general, you will not notice good signage, it needs route-planning (the routes you expect people to take) but you will sure as hell notice poor signage. Only yesterday I tripped up over redundant but conflicting language switching features on a intranet: I saw the first and duly pressed it and could not understand why the results of my search did not reflect this decision - the answer was that I had to set my language in the search as well. The film "Brazil" contains numerous examples of well-intended systems getting out of control and turning the user into victim/perpetrator.

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HTML5 still floundering in 'chicken and egg' era, says Intel

Charlie Clark
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Re: 2010

er, what do I see there? 2010? I meant 2014!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: IE benefits from the Windows update cycle

Indeed. Microsoft's brain-dead strategy of coupling browser versions to OS versions is a real roadblock:

Akamai has fairly representative (heavy US bias) figures of browser versions

http://www.akamai.com/html/io/io_dataset.html#stat=browser_ver&top=5&type=line&start=20120811&end=20120910&net=both

IE 8 still at around 20 %. One of my customers where IE 8 is corporate standard is mulling moving straight from IE 8 to IE 10 but not before 2010!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: HTML5 development

HTML 5 is the target to develop for because so many resources are being thrown at supporting it. At least we have better tools for coping with less "sophisticated" browsers than we used to have.

Two observations:

* we have to accept that it's a constantly moving target but also that this is not as bad as it sounds because degradability is built-in. The HTML 5 syntax alone is a huge leap forward.

* abuse such as using unprefixed css declarations for things which are only just in test have always happened and are an inevitable consequence not only of "lazy" or "stupid" developers but the pressure applied to them by customers with unrealistic expectations.

I would like to see a "development mode" switch in browsers which would default to off as a way to let people to try stuff out in the wild without force-feeding everyone with unfinished implementations

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iPhone 5 to boost US GDP says JP Morgan

Charlie Clark
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Logical fallacy

Assuming people have a limited amount of disposable income, then their contribution to GDP is dependent on the proportion of that income that they do not choose to save. Purchases of consumer goods like phones will generally displace other items (phones from other makers) or possibly defer purchasing from one period to another (the biggest argument brought forward recently was about people "waiting" for the I-phone 5). So even a nominal rise in GDP will be limited. More important is what happens to the profits that Apple makes on such sales: is it redistributed within the economy and thus possibly increasing the average disposable income? is it redistributed to shareholders, many of whom are not in the US, in the form of dividends? or does Apple continue to horde the cash (as many businesses have been doing the last few years)?

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Why is the iPhone so successful? 'Cause people love 'em

Charlie Clark
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Surprisingly close

As usual with these kinds of reports the axis has been shortened to emphasise the differences. A different interpretation is that, while Apple is clearly out in front the pack is fairly close together with a standard deviation of less than 10 % from the mean.

That Apple is out in front is to be expected: Apple produces high quality hardware and software and, occasional hiccup aside, has excellent quality assurance. But other manufacturers are close behind which presumably means that people are happy enough with their kit - Samsung has the same satisfaction ratings as the mean which should be expected for the largest market share. Ratings like that indicate that it is unlikely that owners will actively be looking around for a new supplier. Or, for that matter, a new device. Should they be on the lookout for a new device then, while they are unlikely to want a change, unless they discover a new thing they feel they need, if they consult their friends they are likely to feel okay about checking out what the competition has to offer.

Both hardware (battery lifetime, cameras, screens) and software (both the OS and the available Apps) have improved enormously for Android devices in the last couple of years. It would be interesting to see a historical comparison. My hunch would be Apple's lead has been eroded.

I'm sceptic and while I expect Apple to continue to sell devices in large numbers whatever they do or don't show next week, I also expect their growth in phones to slow.

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Amazon unveils new hi-def Kindle iPad-killers

Charlie Clark
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Right size

Nice to see the 9" (8.9 to be precise) in there. In my experience, a very happy owner of a Samsung Galaxy 8.9. that is exactly the right size to combine usability and mobility.

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Kobo revamps e-reader line, intros mini model

Charlie Clark
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Re: The next generation

I agree and this is the market PlasticLogic was/still is going after. Closest thing seems to be the Wexler Flex. Coming from Russia, where PlasticLogic had a factory, but using LG's screen so presumably somekind of fallout.

Heise's CT magazine recently included a nice piece on PlasticLogic: you can punch holes in the printed screens and they still work. Pity no gear using them is on the horizon.

Having recently lost my Sony reader I'm looking for a replacement and saw a Kobo in a local score. Definitely a less reflexive screen than the Sony and, despite (shock, horror) not having an MP3 player, it looks the better tool for the job. Adobe's PDF reader on the Sony is definitely the dog's bollocks when it comes to PDF reflow but fortunately almost all the tech stuff I need is now available as EPUB/MOBI. So a Glo it is for me in October. € 130 here.

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The world's first Windows Phone 8 hands on – what's it like?

Charlie Clark
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Nice review

That suggests that it might be worth looking at these phones when the come out. The imaging stuff sounds nice but not enough to sell a phone: we've been used to crappy pictures in low-light levels for years.

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Android spat loser Oracle ordered to toss Google some change

Charlie Clark
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Mushroom

So...

when is Mr Orlowski going to slam the court on this for not upholding Oracle's rights and innovation?

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Apple hoards LTE patents to deflect Samsung attack

Charlie Clark
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Re: 5%

Surely that should be a standard and not patentable at all??

Lots of standards depend on patents but I guess it's an indication of how much recent court cases have skewed the debate.

Done correctly standards encourage patent owners to pool their resources and, therefore their patents, to ensure interoperability. This is, after all, why patents are supposed to exist: not for hoarding but for sharing. This has worked very well with the GSM shepherded development of mobile phone technology which is has emerged as the dominant standard around the world - other forms were manufacturer-driven and usually limited to individual markets. Interoperability was mandated by the EU as a requirement for mobile phone networks. The standards allowed manufacturers to get a fair return on the work they put into essential parts of the standard, they earn a tiny cut but on every device in a growing market, without pricing other companies completely out of the market.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Mueller is NOT an expert...

@ Alex

The article is troll-bait enough. Given that Mr Mueller has recently had to admit that he gets paid for blogging by Oracle the objection about quoting him unqualified is perfectly valid. Instead of "patent expert" it should have said "paid patent blogger".

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Anyone else wondering what LTE stands for???

"Long Term Evolution" - the shift to IP (internet protocol) based communication for both data and voice communications.

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Broadband minister Hunt LOSES portfolio, takes on national health

Charlie Clark
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Re: Qualifications?

As part of a representative democracy qualifications in the field are not per se a requirement; they would be in a technocrac. Ken Clarke was quite a good Chancellor despite being a lawyer by trade. Admittedly, this was after that utter idiot Lamont so even a Tellytubby would have looked good.

I'd like to say that Hunt can only be better than Lansley who is being given the shove for steaming ahead with and botching a reform that the government wanted. But, as even my mum, who doesn't swear lightly, has to take care when speaking his name, I can't say that with conviction. Well, more conviction than he has. I suspect that precisely nothing will happen in the department of health on his watch, which is probably the aim of the whole thing. He's an arse but he probably won't do much.

Removing Ken Clarke from Justice and so he could do no more damage with his heretical plans to lock fewer people up and replacing him with a slavering "hanging's too good for 'em" from the shires has me more worried.

And who is going to replace the utterly irreplaceable Louise Mensch as Minister for Chick Lit and Won't Somebody Think of the Children?

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Samsung Galaxy Note 2 hands-on review

Charlie Clark
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Re: Great device

re: dorks, saw one at the airport on Sunday taking pics of incoming planes with his pad. The ergonomics of holding something that weighs more than 500g at the end of your arm and using it take pictures are probably why it makes you look like a fool: because you are.

re: screen size. Would love to have something like the Note as my bike-mounted GPS. OSMAND is the dogs bollocks when you're out and about but would want something a little more robust. Something based on PlasticLogic's bendy e-paper or the Russian Wex might be the ticket, but an SIII or a Note would definitely been an option.

re: weather. I seem to remember an early complaint against all capacitative screens was that you can't use them with gloves.

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iPhone 5 wait drives record Samsung smartphone sales

Charlie Clark
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Re: Although i'm not a huge fan of fandroids/androids...

@the-it-slayer

I must admit, this articles smells of poo IMHO

The key word in the article is "shipment". That does not equal sales. I have no idea where all Nokia's phones are in Western Europe but they are certainly not really filling the shelves here in Germany.

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BBC dishes out fanboi-only telly downloads ahead of ITV plans

Charlie Clark
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Obviously never to MediaCity then

watch them on the road, on the tube, on a plane.

You get a tram> to the new HQ!

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Torvalds bellows: 'The GNOME PEOPLE are in TOTAL DENIAL'

Charlie Clark
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What am I missing?

I thought Gnome was environment for xFree86 on un*x systems? It seems to run fine on BSD and I see bits of it running in projects on Mac OS. So, what's all the fuss about? Linux is and always a kernel. Want anything else and you have to do a lot more integration and tight-coupling of the components yourself just like Google has done with Android (and what Next did with BSD) and which is why they have been successful.

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Markets to remain glutted with rapidly-depreciating Facebook shares

Charlie Clark
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Re: Bubble? or Pump-n-dump?

And why do you think that? The IPO was prepared and ran largely, apart from a bit of a slap on NASDAQ's hands, according to the rules; no one sold before their lock-in period expired, etc.. The SEC is going to say: move along now, nothing to see here.

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Patent flame storm: Reg hack biteback in reader-pack sack attack

Charlie Clark
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Re: Richard's basic hypothesis is wrong

Apple has history of screwing over other people's IP: the use of Adobe's technology in Quartz; the ODBC manager supplied with Mac OS. Their open source reputation isn't without it's blemishes either: Snow Leopard came with a borked version of Python that Apple had kept secret about.

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