* Posts by Charlie Clark

3006 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Ofcom mulls selling UK govt's IPv4 cache amid IPv6 rollout flak

Charlie Clark
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Re: Selling IPs?

Ownership is fuzzy, viz. the sale of Lucent's to Microsoft and others. Some of the original blocks were, it seems, entirely allocated to individual entities including companies.

But it's dangerous precedent to set for the state to try and sell them and, thus, effectively legitimate the trade. The consequences of open trade in ip addresses (in real time, why not) could be disastrous: it would be akin to reallocate road names and numbers in real time!

In any case while the 30 million might seem like a lot, they could be gone in a trice with IoT in any government department.

And, should it ever come to selling the damn things, their value well decline even further as it becomes cheaper to adopt IPv6 with 4to6. In the meantime the UK's tech sector is losing out by not gaining experience with IPv6, especially in the area of security. Maybe they're waiting for GCHQ to signal that they know how to snoop IPv6 traffic?

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El Reg's mighty rocket spaceplane Vulture 2 arrives in US of A

Charlie Clark
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Pint

Fantastic!

Carefully crafted American micro-brewery pints all round. Except to the FAA until they pull their fingers out and authorise this historic mission.

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Watch out, Samsung! 3 of top 5 smartphone makers are now Chinese

Charlie Clark
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Bragging rights

Significantly, however, Xiaomi's entry into the list means that three of the top five smartphone makers are now Chinese firms.

Seeing as Apple's phones are made under contract in China by Foxconn that would make four out of the top five are Chinese.

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Pirate Bay towed to oldpiratebay.org

Charlie Clark
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Re: NO.

But you sure as hell won't get Guardians of the Galaxy if everyone can just take their non-DRMed copy and share it with the whole planet.

Is that a promise? ;-)

DRM is expensive to develop and enforce and, as many examples have shown, pretty easy to break; most notably in large markets like Russia and China where it's largely unenforceable anyway. Result is that we have to pay not just for content but for lawyers and developers. I suspect DRM will be kept around as a fig leaf for another couple of years (it's already largely disappeared from music).

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Charlie Clark
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The real problem remains tho: Region locking. Remove that and you'll see your sales go up.

It's more than just region locking – it's the attempt to maximise profits by selling licences to different countries at different prices. I have a copy of Wag The Dog that forces me to watch it with German subtitles if I watch it in English! This is anti-competitive and precisely the kind of limitation that the internet is designed to work around. Long-term it's bound to fail but companies chasing quarterly profits and don't care about the long-term.

It will be interesting to see if the EU does follow up on threats to break down national borders for content. It'll be a hard fight if they do but it's such a glaring breach of the rules over the trade of products and services within the single market.

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BT to gobble EE for £12.5bn – BTEE phone home

Charlie Clark
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Re: Too big?

What's anti-competitive about it?

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Charlie Clark
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Same situation as in many countries. LLU is the important thing.

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Sony to media: stop publishing our stolen stuff or we'll get nasty

Charlie Clark
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Black Helicopters

Re: Journalistic Truth

Coicidentally watched the excellent Hacks again at the weekend. Fantastic and given it's blatant piss-take of Murdoch and co. I was surprised it ever got broadcast. Can't find it on 4oD at the moment, is that merely a coincidence?

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Google vows: Earth will VANISH in 2015

Charlie Clark
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Re: Pot and kettle...

Your anit-Google rants are all well and good but so often off the mark.

In the case of Google Earth the API is far less important than the data that is made freely available, which as far as I can tell, will continue to be the case.

Any developer who makes their livelihood dependent upon a company continuing to provide a free service deserves to go bust. The whole point of the free APIs and data is to see what services are possible and popular and, thus, suitable for either for charging or running ads. Google is publicly traded company with a duty to its shareholders to make money. Shock, horror, I know. I don't remember Microsoft ever providing the same amount of services.

As the article points out this particular API now looks pretty outdated and I suspect, though I don't know, that its use is limited. We'll have to see whether a replacement (WebGL, Canvas, PPAPI or whatever) is forthcoming. Some of the of the other APIs to have been retired have been granted both extensions and replacements: Google Charts was due to be phased out this year and has been superseded by Google Visualisation.

None of this means that I particularly like Google (I don't use Chrome and run Cyanogenmod) but I do have a more than grudging admiration for the company's engagement in open source. We'll have to see how much of that remains if the various tax loopholes are ever closed or the EU is able to enforce rigorous data protection and privacy standards from 2016 (when the new law is due to take effect).

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Bong Ventures LLC: We've been cyberhacked

Charlie Clark
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Re: Pandora's box

sticks fingers in ears and shouts "lalalala"

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Charlie Clark
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Pandora's box

The Transformation Lady - a biopic of Martha Lane Fox, Baroness Fox of Soho

Please God, may this never happen! I'll pay money not to have the film developed.

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Thin plot, great CGI effects

Charlie Clark
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Pretty meh on this myself. A trip to the flix with my mates over Christmas is something to look forward to but the Hobbit has not enthused me anything like as much as LOTR. It's a different story with a very different narration and turning it into a prequel for LOTR doesn't do it justice.

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QEMU, FFMPEG guru unleashes JPEG-slaying graphics compressor

Charlie Clark
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Re: Prety cool demo

Cheers for the link. Don't agree with the statement that BPG blows away WebP: they're pretty close at the moment with one being better in one situation and another better in the other. At the moment BPG is definitely better for people, which is what will matter to most.

It seems WebP is still based on On8 (the equivalent of H264 so the predecessor to H265). Anyone know if a move to On9 is planned?

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Charlie Clark
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Webp already does this (it's based on the OnVideo technology that Google bought and put into WebM) in much the same way (video compression has continue to develop while bitmap compression is stuck in the 1990s) but has the advantage of several years in the real world and browser support in Photoshop, Photoline, Chrome and Opera but strangely not Firefox although it supports the parent video format, and mod_pagespeed for http servers to optimise on the fly for browsers. Given their underlying similarities I wouldn't expect much difference between WebP and BPG in the quality/file size stakes.

The interesting thing will be how the MPEG-LA patent cartel deals with this and whether anyone picks it up for hardware acceleration. Personally, I think Google's approach on the technology with a rapid release schedule for encoders is the way to go on this but if Bellard can keep the licence liberal (the MPEG-LA might want to have a word about that) then it should be a win-win.

The Firefox library is nice enough but JPEG images always look worse than WebP at the same compression ratio.

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El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

Charlie Clark
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Print button?

Never fucking used one. That's what print stylesheets are for which you seem to have overlooked. :-(

Re. the general redesign: contrast is too stark. I've no problem with whitespace but the proportions aren't right.

HTML is better but still not making use of nice HTML5 sematics such as the nav tag. Embrace it, it will make things a lot easier.

Don't mind the fixed navigation, makes sense on long pages, but it's one of the first things to get lost in this black and white mix.

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Euro consumers have TOO MUCH choice – telco operators

Charlie Clark
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QotW

Consolidation can boost investment in next generation mobile infrastructure and delivery of mobile broadband to rural areas.

I think that originally read:

Consolidation can boost our margins executive share options while continuing not to deliver mobile broadband to rural areas.

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Charlie Clark
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Another one you mean? After the first one demonstrated price-fixing over roaming…

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Euro phone, broadband giants are the 1% – yes, single-digit growth. Wow

Charlie Clark
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Smells like

According to the study, the EU is lagging behind the US in terms of investment…

I think that tells us a lot. Given the parlous state of US telecoms (years of cosy monopoly depressed investment and innovation) that's hardly surprising even if it's also pretty misleading. The unbundling of the local loop in Europe spurred a heap load of investment and innovation that the US is yet to experience (and with the proposed merger of TWC and ComCast is even less likely to get).

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Spanish scraper scrapped: Google axes Google News

Charlie Clark
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Axel Springer

I won't read theie newspapers if you paid me. Competes with Murdoch et al. to misinform and titillate.

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The Great Unwatched: BBC hails glorious digital future for Three

Charlie Clark
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Re: Digital toss

"the explainers" is a new rubric they've put on the news website along with "the reporters". It's like something out of a school newspaper, just not as good.

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Charlie Clark
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Digital toss

The current series of The Newsroom has a thoughtful, head-on take on how making everything digital is akin to wanking into your tea. The BBC's news website, which used to be top of its game, has been dumbed down an astonishing degree. Okay, might be an idea for the Beeb to get out of online journalism (in which case there is an off-switch) but the news programming has gone much the same way: "reporters" and (this one makes me physically ill) "explainers".

Is "digital" going to be the polite euphemism for "shite"? It's got nothing to do with being middle class and everything to with mediocrity.

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Microsoft: Hey, don’t forget Visual Basic! Open source and new features coming

Charlie Clark
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As long as you're developing in something like VisualStudio where autocomplete can prevent most of your typos, case sensitivity shouldn't be a problem for the user but it makes a big difference for the compiler.

In general, any project team will likely have a coding style that handles case to make sure that code is compatible between team members. Case sensitivity is a bonus there.

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Charlie Clark
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When do they do the decent thing with VBA?

And take it out the back and shoot it? Horrible language designed for shooting yourself in the foot.

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The Pirate Bay SUNK: It vanishes after Swedish data center raid

Charlie Clark
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Torrent site and online copyright infringement poster child…

The Pirate Bay doesn't infringe copyright so please stop peddling this myth. Only the uploading copyrighted material is breach of copyright, the rest is made up by those desiring a police state. They should do some more research because the police states of Russia and China notoriously turn a blind eye to copyright infringement, seeing it as a useful tactic in their war against freedom of expression.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Disappointing

The database itself is resilient but there is always a single point of failure regarding the domain name.

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It's nearly 2015 – and your Windows PC can still be owned by a Visual Basic script

Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

Re: Accountability

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

That, I'm afraid, is just a fig-leaf: courts not vendors decide liability. The software industry has been allowed by the courts to resolve flaws through new releases of their software.

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A first look at Google’s Android Studio 1.0: Climbing out of the Eclipse kitchen sink

Charlie Clark
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Eclipse seems to suffer from the usual designed by committee problems: nice ideas but no ruthless weeding out of the bad stuff. I never got into it and have preferred simple text editors and the shell for most things.

At a recent sprint we gave up on it because we couldn't figure out how to use Tidy on some XML (there are some plugins out there, somewhere over the rainbow apparently) and switched to IDEA. While it also comes with far too many options for a new user, it also gets the basics right from the start.

I'm sure there a great many people happy with Eclipse and the relevant plugins for their requirements. Editors and IDEs are very personal things: choose one, learn how it works and be happy.

FWIW I do most of my Python development in WingIDE (which has no Tidy support FWIW) but gets the introspection just right.

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Zombie POODLE wanders in, cocks leg on TLS

Charlie Clark
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What protocols are safe?

That's easy: none.

The question should be: What protocols are not known to have been broken yet?

The IETF is probably best placed to manage this assuming sufficient funding is around. We also need to improve the funding for public security research and the development (and intelligent review) of open source stacks. What a pity that the spooks don't realise that this makes things safer for everyone: a smidgen of the NSA's or GCHQ's budget would do wonders.

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Portland lobs fair-trade gluten-free artisan SUEBALL at Uber

Charlie Clark
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Re: Uber : the new 4 letter word

The blanket ban in Germany, which is likely to come through the courts, will probably be the deathknell but I guess investors are hoping to have IPO'd (sell the shares to unsuspecting schmucks directly or through their savings accounts) before then.

The innovation of most of these OTT services is using location technology to improve efficiency. Unfortunately for them this can be replicated easily so they add casual, unlicensed labour to it to improve margins. This would be financial suicide if the business model was anything than an inverted pass the parcel: no one wants to be left holding the shares when the business fails.

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Google pushes 'go' on Android Studio

Charlie Clark
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Re: Eh?

I think you missed the attempt at irony in the piece.

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Sacre block! French publishers to sue Adblock maker – report

Charlie Clark
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Security

It's not just Flash that's insecure: the whole practice of allowing third party scripting to be injected into a website is insecure. Not least because it exposes users to third-party trackers without their explicit consent.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Money speaks, as usual

I use Ghostery. It too deals with the ad brokers by selling them anonymised data of where ads are being blocked. Anyone developing software like this is going to need to pay some full-time developers. Let's see how things develop.

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Why, hello there, Foxy... BYE GOOGLE! Mozilla's browser is a video star

Charlie Clark
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Re: "Sadly, WebM never really caught on"

... because of patents?

Not really, because of the lack of hardware support: H264 was already supported in most hardware configurations so there was no battle to fight. Google has indemnified all users and paid the MPEG patent pool what they wanted.

WebM did play a role in keeping H264 free (as in beer) and Google is able to mandate hardware support for it for the next generations (On9 has already been released) for Android. For most of us free to use (both to create and play) is all that really matters but there are also some benefits in competing technologies: H265 and On9 do do some things differently.

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Misty-eyed Ray Ozzie celebrates 25th birthday of Lotus Notes by tweeting about it ...

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

thanks for nothing

If you want proof of how pointless tweets are this article is it. An illegible selection of inanities and links does not make an article. If it did my twitterbot is going to have a great career.

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Meet Jack and Jill: Google’s new Android compilers

Charlie Clark
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Re: Perhaps if Android used native binaries rather than a VM...

They are native binaries but that's not quite the same as what you might get with entirely native code – it depends on how good the ART compiler is – this is the sort of thing that Intel has to deal with for apps that won't run on Android x86.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: "bypassing Oracle’s compiler"

That's be the case for a while. There's a tombstone with "ART STANTON" written on it.

Wouldn't it be funny if Google now embraced .NET as well!

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An alleged 27GB Sony Pictures data dump. 65 PlayStation web servers. One baffling mystery

Charlie Clark
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Re: Legal

In most countries downloading is legal but uploading isn't.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Which bittorrent client are the pictures from?

It looks very much like Transmission on Mac OS

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Sick of the 'criminal' lies about pie? Lobby the government HERE

Charlie Clark
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Re: What about the debt

Fuck off, Worstall

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Charlie Clark
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Accept no substitute!

A real pie is so much more satisfying. The fake ones are like mogadon next to heroin!

Trainspotting icon?

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One year on, Windows 8.1 hits milestone, nudges past XP

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: So much hate???

Wow. I can't believe there are so many tech people hating Win 8, while loving Win 7.

Newsflash: little things matter. I'm returning this very fast Alfafa Romero car because I can only get into it with a coat hanger…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: XP popular in Asia on ATMs and Cash Registers

XP still rulez (and is supported) on lots of PoS and embedded devices where Win8 might arguable more suited if only the hardware requirements weren't so high.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Real argument backed by some actual facts

know Microsoft despises the GPL and would rather juggle porcupines than release software under that license. They keep telling me that BSD is 'business friendly', so when they release Windows with a BSD license I will take a look at it.

Well, I do write and contribute to open source software and I also despise the GPL but fortunately it looks to have served any usefulness it ever had (if it ever had any) and on the way out.

It was only ever FUD at Microsoft about open source and the retards who fulminated against interoperability and open source seem to have left with Ballmer. The .NET stuff is Apache licensed and could be very interesting and useful. It's certainly bound to annoy that other software cancer: Oracle.

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Charlie Clark
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Facepalm

Re: LOL ... Yet more biased anti M$ bull.

Also, those of you complaining you got a windows install "forced upon you" ... you really aren't that smart are you?

Oh, how we laughed! Thanks to MS volume licensing deals (trade secret so we can't give you the details) you get to pay for the licence anyway… Microsoft has used the same deals to forbid manufacturers from offering anything other than Windows 8 to consumers. That's what I call real market power! Just not in a free market.

Can someone hit this fool with a clue?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: @Andy Prough

All this bullshit about interface is just stupid when you can install Classic Shell on a system in about 1 minute for free to get your start menu back.

It's not bullshit and it's not just the start menu, which I've personally never liked. I've given Windows 8 a spin and swapping between classic and metro is incredibly jarring and disorientating. I've been using GUIs of all types since Windows 2 but I still hate Ribbon and Metro the most.

Given the clusterfuck of Vista and WPF there's plenty to optimise and improve on so I wouldn't be surprised if Windows 8 isn't a bit snappier (the way Windows loads drivers is still fucking retarded though) and more secure, though we do notice those patches being issued for exploits on it all the same. But the real problem is that Microsoft still hasn't decided what the UI toolkit should be and that after XML, Silverlight, etc. is starting to unnerve developers as Tim Anderson recently pointed out.

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UK national mobile roaming: A stupid idea that'll never work

Charlie Clark
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Re: Just popping over to Calais ...

So why exactly hasn't that already happened yet?

Because the operators fought it tooth and nail. It was the Parliament's and Commission's initial proposal back but the national governments successfully fought for the interests of the industry over those of the consumer. You know how it is…

It's all change from 2016 assuming the technology can be made to work (routing, billing, emergency services). But we'll still need a business model that will encourage further investment.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Just popping over to Calais ...

The operators have thought of that. On the SIM-only deals I've looked at there's always some small print to the effect of "if you mainly use this abroad we reserve the right to cancel it:".

They can cancel any contract for any reason as long as they respect duration and return any positive balance. They generally make money when you roam so there's little incentive for them to stop. I've had an Orange PAYG for nearly ten years here which I use for SMS with the folks. Never had any hint of a cancellation and it only gets around £10 a year.

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Charlie Clark
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Personally, I think almost everything should be nationalised again because there's nothing a government can't supply at the same price as these companies are doing so

Not sure about that. In any monopoly situation where there is no competition the incentives for efficiency and innovation are removed and political meddling becomes only too easy (no economic penalty for daft decisions) as does the desire for national standards and champions: for every Mini there was also an Austin Allegro or a Triumph Acclaim.

IMHO the best solutions are often mixed where the government pays for and owns long-term and capital-intensive resources, which might include the cables, mast sites and even masts, but contracts the build and leases the use to private companies. The analogy would be the railways (country owns the track and stations) in any country except the UK: Sweden and Switzerland spring to mind.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Just popping over to Calais ...

Yea, but if they using the same operator or you could make calls to anyone in the EU like it was a national call

FWIW my network (E-Plus in Germany) has been offering this since the spring even on PAYG. Surprise, surprise I now use my phone more when I'm abroad.

Otherwise SIM cards from the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands seem to be the best choice.

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Charlie Clark
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Technical arguments

Given how well roaming works internationally I think it's safe to say that all technical arguments against national roaming are bunk. The article does highlight the two key points: spectrum without conditions; and decommissioning of sites.

The networks and suppliers are moving towards a classic separation of responsibilities with the suppliers taking over more and more of the business of actually building the physical network – the incentive here is scale and knowhow – which they can then rent to the networks in much the same way that wired telephone exchanges are.

But even with the scale of one physical network for all four operators there are still plenty of sites which are unprofitable. Arguably the consolidation has made the situation even more acute because networks are no longer competing through coverage differentiation. The simple solution is to mandate better geographical coverage to encourage build out and discourage decommissioning. Difficult to do once the spectrum has been awarded but still possible through financial incentives: tax breaks might be best here rather than handouts. The costs associated with the additional cells are pretty easy to calculate so a formula can be derived that works for everyone. This could be augmented with community cells for isolated villages that might want more bandwidth or granular coverage than the networks are willing to provide and you might need to grease BT's palm to lay some fibre here and there for the backhaul.

Long term, however, I suspect that national roaming will come in through the backdoor: 2016 will allow separate contracts for roaming and the rollout of wholesale telephony and data roaming which will make OTT services including VoIP accessible to everyone and will put further downward pressure on margins. But it won't improve coverage unless someone legislates for it.

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