* Posts by Charlie Clark

4584 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

EU U-turns on mobile roaming fees: No 90-day cap after all

Charlie Clark
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This is wrong for two reasons: firstly and primarily because it's a typical strawman argument. I wish you luck trying to get that SIM card. Secondly, excessive roaming charges are evidence of market failure. The telcos have know this for around 15 years and have had plenty of time to prepare for it. If you talk to anyone in the business they'll generally admit that they've already priced the change into their business models and they're currently more interested in sharing infrastructure and switching to cheaper all-IP stacks. The biggest costs were those associated with licence auctions and M&A (to reduce competition) but it's okay because these could be offset against tax so never really cost the companies anything.

The most important thing is actually opening up the wholesale market. This will make getting a SIM from another country for use in your home market largely irrelevant: it's classic arbitrage. This is why the European Commission launched the investigation in the first place.

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Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: Lol!

it seems Junker, the politician actually most to blame for Brexit

Really? While I don't think that Juncker is a very good president of the European Commission, I think that the EU referendum in the UK was a wholly avoidable, self-inflicted wound. But you obviously have access to better sources.

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Not enough personality: Google Now becomes Google Not Anymore

Charlie Clark
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Re: Google Now user

Some of the stuff was really good but it was accompanied by a lot of guff. I really like the way they've added the clever stuff into the calendar app. For me, the Android calendar has by far the best UX. Interestingly I hated Apple's dumbing down of the Calendar app so much that I switched to BusyCal.

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Virgin Media costs balloon by MEEELLIONS in wake of Brexit

Charlie Clark
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Re: Note to editors

Thanks for reaching out.

You're welcome. Let's try and touch base over the new incentivisation onboarding proposals…

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Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

Note to editors

Companies have "employees", "personnel", "staff". They do not have "staffers" or "new hires". These are made up words by the same people who brought us "pre-order" for "reserve" or simply "order". KISS.

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Google's Allo chat app hits a downside to AI: Bot must hoard private messages to train itself

Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

One

sentence

per

paragraph

is difficult to read. Please, Miss Quatch, group your sentences by subject into paragraphs.

Thank you.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: No news...

Agreed. I think this kind of data is probably the least interesting for Google. They will be interested in some of the metadata about how successful the bot is, because this will be useful for downstream products it can sell such as chatbots for support.

Anyone who is worried about this had better be sure they're not using GMail, Chrome or YouTube, which aggregate for more valuable data.

For chat I use Signal, Wire and very occasionally Hangouts but I'm quite keen to try Allo out because I'm very interested in the development of "conversational interfaces". In case no one else has noticed: the days of people providing first-level support and horrible, complicated phone menus are well and truly numbered.

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Reg Programming Compo: 22 countries, 137 entries and... wow – loads of Python

Charlie Clark
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Re: Fortran 90 "weird?" I don't think so.

The competition would have been more interesting

The answers might have been more interesting, but not the competition which was trivial.

Where's the link to the answers?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Python dict order

Well, Python 3 will reseed the hash for each process. But really you should never be relying on order for hashes anyway. Had to write a couple of tests in the past that did, the tests ended up being easier to understand! :-)

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Vodafone UK blocks bulk nuisance calls. Hurrah!

Charlie Clark
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Re: Personally, with nuisance calls...

The best attack is actually to waste their time: the calls are free but the "agents" have to paid, in theory. Would be ideal for some kind of bot…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: BT8500 Home Phones

My mum was getting loads of nuisance calls but these have virtually ceased since we got her on TPS. But being able to block on the phone is definitely worthwhile.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Does it work with landlines?

Yes, but in here in Europe unsolicited communications of all forms are illegal. Why should we pay for a service to prevent illegal behaviour?

The UK seems to suffer from poor regulation and implementation. Fines obviously aren't high enough and the regulator doesn't seem to hound the telcos hard enough to clamp down on this kind of thing. In Germany the telco providing access to the POTS can be sanctioned (including being banned) if it does not clamp down on abuse; fines have been significantly increased. Result: I have had no nuisance calls at all in the last five years on the landline and I can't remember ever getting them on my mobile (number unchanged for 15 years).

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Phones exploding in kids' hands, shares tanking – but it's not all good news at Samsung

Charlie Clark
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Re: Still plugging the Galaxy 7 - Edge

Because the S7 is not at all affected by the problem, the company should stop promoting it?

Let's keep our feet on the ground: this is mainly a slow news days story for the media to keep trotting out. Millions of devices sold and still less than 100 incidents reported worldwide, recall in process. But in our modern world it seems that people would rather have an accident and talk about it than take steps to avoid it.

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Kneel before Zod! OpenText claims mighty Documentum from Dell

Charlie Clark
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Re: Genuine question

All of the above but mainly it's a bit of creative accounting.

Dell needs to off-load assets quickly but needs to pretend that the EMC takeover wasn't at a vastly inflated price. Write-downs can be expected once the dust has settled and any paper has been dumped on unsuspecting mugs, aka pension funds desperate for any kind of return in a world of zero interest rates.

So, when you hear the toilet flushing when the inevitable write-down happens, you'll know it's part of your pension you're hearing.

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Charlie Clark
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Facepalm

Heavy lifting for OpenText came courtesy of Barclays Capital who bankrolled the deal to the tune of £1bn credit.

ie. another debt-financed deal that can be written down just as soon as it's financially advantageous.

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The next Bond – Basildon or Bass-Ass? YOU decide

Charlie Clark
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: In the absence of a poll…

Female Bond has already been done in Besson's Nikita. Personally, based on her role in Leon, I'd love to see Natalie Portman reprise the role as an adult.

However, Bond has always had strong female characters, with even a slight role reversal in Spectre for Monica Bellucci.

Shit! Natalie Portman and Monica Bellucci in one post. That's mean done for the day. Where's the kleenex icon, when you need it! I guess this one'll have to do instead! :-)

In any case, the actor matters much less than decent scripts: both Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan were great selections but they were giving fucking awful scripts and even worse directors.

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Just not cricket: Microsoft's big data Googly called No Ball

Charlie Clark
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Coat

Wanting to stress test the architecture?

There's a reason why Google's Deep Mind will happily play Go but probably never tackle cricket.

Getting a computer to take on cricket would be like trying to automate making a good cup of tea…

Don't panic! Mine's the one with a copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" in the pocket.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: The third boot note had me laughing

I see your Shane Warne and Elizabeth Hurley and raise you Jerry Hall and Rupert Murdoch*

Like all cliques celebrities are very susceptible to what is known as "associative mating".

* And I also have Henry Kissinger in the hand.

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HP Ink buys Samsung's printer business for a BILLION dollars

Charlie Clark
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How come?

Looks to me like standard market consolidation (boost margins by eliminating a competitor), though the rider that Samsung will be buying equity is interesting. HP has far more IP in the printing sector than Samsung and those 3D printers would fit well with Samsung's industrial processes.

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No-fly zone suggested for Galaxy Note 7

Charlie Clark
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Re: Ban all Lithium batteries

All recalls are voluntary. And I repeat: all Lithium batteries are potential fire hazards.

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Charlie Clark
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Ban all Lithium batteries

All Lithium batteries are potential risks. Ban them all and let the rest of us fly in peace!

Given that Samsung has recalled all sold Note 7s then this is alarmist nonsense by the FAA.

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Florida Man's prized jeep cremated by exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Charlie Clark
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Better call Saul!

Looks to me like a variation of an insurance scam. Guy needs money so he torches his car and tries to blame the phone because he isn't insured. As I assume any investigation will reveal.

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Filmmaker Werner Herzog interviews Elon Musk for internet doco

Charlie Clark
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Re: Gosh!

I think he plays a character…

Don't we all? But Herzog really is as mad as he comes across: wanting to make more than one film with Klaus Kinski is proof of that!

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Dell swings layoffs axe at 3,000 EMC people

Charlie Clark
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As the deal is entirely funded by debt, which has already led to some massively tax efficient payouts, it could be argued that it is a charity.

Anyway, watch that 2 % become something closer to 20 %.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Out the front door

That may be what they hope to do but that strategy often backfires.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Believe it you like

But I also suspect you're doom-mongering more than is absolutely necessary. This isn't Microsoft! It'll take a good few years before the shine is replaced with grime, and even then, some sparkle may pop up in other products.

It certainly isn't Microsoft: even if it has a terrible track record when it comes to how it integrates acquisitions, at least Microsoft could afford to buy the companies with cash. Dell, which also has a poor track record of acquisitions, has loaded up massively on debt to pay for this including issuing 30 year bonds with 8% yields, which will be paid from those yet be seen profits. This is completely unsustainable so debt and company restructuring is inevitable. The pressure to sell stuff (VMWare) off or close it down (lots of hardware) will be immense.

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Charlie Clark
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Believe it you like

A Bloomberg report claimed Dell will seek out $1.7bn in cost savings in the next eighteen months – but it will seek to beef up sales by several times that amount, minimising the need to thin out more.

Cut $1.7bn and magically make more than from sales? Ain't gonna happen. Sorry for all the people getting the chop but we all knew this was going to happen. Dell took on far more debt than the deal can afford. But, since it got voted through, it's been Crystal Champagne and speedballs all round for the money men who hatched the taxpayer-financed scheme.

My prediction: will seek to beef up layouffs by several times that amount when sales don't meet their impossible targets as customers somehow reject price hikes and start buying straight from the Chinese, or Taiwanese to avoid problems with import restrictions.

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The Rise, Fall and Return of TomTom

Charlie Clark
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Charlie Clark
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Re: TomTom just gets driving more than Google or Apple

True, but Here is also very good. And free. And backed by deep-pocketed owners.

I wish TomTom all the best and will have a look at the stuff they have. 5 day battery life sounds unheard of in this day and age. But I'm sure that, if they try hard enough, they can get it down to just over a day like the rest!

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Apple: Crisis? What innovation crisis? BTW, you like our toothbrush?

Charlie Clark
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Re: Just.... no

We'll believe it when we see it. The new ones come with an adapter. What more do you want?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Will audio quality get better?

The Apple justification of this is simply lies. It's a disgrace and a huge backward step.

It's worse than that: it's a con trick "watch the ball/lady", designed to take your attention off the real issue. See my post above.

For wireless transmission you pretty much need to go digital in order to get error correction and deal with the potential interference in the unlicensed 2.4 GHz band. If this is done right then with a good DAC the quality is a good as good old copper, done poorly and it's fucking awful.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: 1200+ for a ceramic???

Thanks for the link. From the page And the W1 chip manages battery life so well, you can listen for 5 hours on a single charge

That is a massive fail for cordless headphones. 8 hours is the absolute minimum because if you need them on a long journey, you really need them.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Not so Smartwatch

A mate of mine is very happy with the Pebble 2 (he had a Pebble 1 before).

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Charlie Clark
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No, not at all. It's the name of the game in consumer electronics or cars. But it is difficult to maintain sales volumes and, more importantly, margins like this. Apple can maintain margins or increase volumes but with pretty much me-too hardware it's going to struggle to do both.

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Charlie Clark
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Analogue versus digital? FTW!

By abolishing analogue there’s now a clearer digital path to your ear, and the phones get smaller.

When it comes to things like ear buds it really doesn't matter because the most important thing that matter is how the mechanics move the air to make the sound. Focussing on digital vs analogue is a "watch the ball" trick so that the sleight of hand can be performed.

There are so many other problems associated with removing the 3.5 mm plug: if you want to stay wired, the connection is now "at the wrong end" of the phone: should always be at the top of the phone. Personally, I much prefer using Bluetooth to avoid all the cable chaos. My best were some Sennheiser things on a neck cord: easy to use, good battery life and good sound but the controls stopped working at some point. Went with a Jabra dog tag for a while but controls weren't as good, neither was battery life and it was very susceptible to interference.

Despite the poor experience with Jabra I recently bough a Halo Smart for cycling and it does the job brilliantly: excellent battery life (15 hours talk/music) and microphone out of the wind. Controls could be bigger. As for hifi: well I'm on the fucking road and I need to hear any traffic / horns / sirens, so I can just about live without the feeling of being in the Royal Albert Hall!

But there's something missing from this article, as there was indeed in the presentation: what about new Mac hardware? Lots of us have cash we're desperate to give to Apple but not for last year's models.

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Apple killed OS X today and binned its $10,000 BlingWatch too

Charlie Clark
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Re: The Last Symbolic Vestige of neXtstep

Not quite: think of all those class names that start with NS…

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Charlie Clark
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Mac OS X is dead

Mac OS X never existed officially. MacOS was the "classic" OS and OS X was the NextStep based one. I'll stick with MacOS meaning the OS that comes with Apple's PC hardware and provide a full version number if required. Journalists who copy companies' writing styles such as macOS aren't journalists. macOS™ is merely a trademark.

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Inside our three-month effort to attend Apple's iPhone 7 launch party

Charlie Clark
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Re: Interesting

@Kieren

Like I said, I'm not a journalist so I don't know what you have to do to get on with companies. I'm usually pretty abrasive myself, but it still strikes me as odd that you think you'll get anywhere by essentially insulting them. Doesn't seem that smart to me but whatever works.

In any case, it doesn't sounds like you missed much: Apple removed the headphone jack from the phone; played some catch up with Android and ported retro games. And still no new Macs.

So, pretty much as Paul Graham predicted at PyCon in 2012: Apple has run out of ideas.

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Charlie Clark
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Interesting

To be honest I have a degree of sympathy. You seem to manage to combine persistence with a little too much snide and sarcasm — maybe this goes with the territory? — but I can't see it being very persuasive with the gatekeepers: unless you're Donald Trump calling someone a moron usually doesn't get their vote.

What I would do is go with this kind of information to Samsung, Huawei, et al. and see whether it opens any doors. Apple's attitude seems to be that it doesn't need "lowly" media like The Register. Of course, any company with a product to sell needs the media whores to get the message out, especially if the innovation train starts to slow.

I like Apple's approach to streaming the event as well: Safari or Edge. Because? This says more about arrogance and fuckwittery than anything else: they're excluding around 70% of internet users like this. That's obviously a lot of customers they're not interested in either!

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Meet Deliveroo's ‘bold and impactful’ new logo. No, really

Charlie Clark
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A shit, punk Playboy logo is what I thought too.

Don't know the older logo but it can't have been worse. Lots of these "capital light", "me too" services here in Germany. Hard to get excited about any of them considering how low the barrier to entry is but some seem to have given at least some thought as to the best way of carrying stuff around on bikes.

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Spinning that Brexit wheel: Regulation lotto for tech startups

Charlie Clark
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Re: One day we will revisit this with hindsight

Sadly option two is to fix the Euro. But that basically requires a common banking regulatory and bail-out system

This is already starting to happen. The bail-outs will stay national until the various national funds have built up enough capital. There's a positive side to this: who the hell wants to pay to bail out a merged Deutsche Bank / Commerzbank? German savers have already had to cough more than enough for WestLB, NordLB HSH Nordbank, etc. You can understand us for not wanting to take on the Italians as well.

Greece doesn't need more money, it needs an effective government and civil service. I'd like to see it leave it this didn't mean a potentially failed state on the edge of the EU next to a newly aggressive Turkey.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: One day we will revisit this with hindsight

The EU struggles on, still sticking to it's dogma and refusing to admit any possibility that currently entrenched policies are not "110% correct".

Outside the UK media this is never the case. As Alex Stubb, former prime minister of Finland. like to say the EU seems to need to for a crisis before doing just enough to reform things, but reform them it does. Then again, I can think of many national governments that do pretty much the same thing.

Personally, I hope that us voting to leave is a trigger for some introspection and the EU ends up in a "break up or reform" situation, and chooses to reform.

And Britain's decision to leave would encourage this kind of introspection because… Throwing your toys out of the pram is not the best way to advance your arguments. While every other EU member is unhappy about the British decision they are frankly more worried by their own national politics and economics.

The most telling thing about the whole process was the memo from the Japanese government. I saw an interview with the Japanese ambassador to Britain and he really didn't mince words. For anyone with any degree of familiarity with Japanese negotiators will aware, that is very, very unusual it was basically a thinly veiled threat: "stay in the free market if you want Japanese companies to stay in the UK". I think we can expect more of the same. Well, maybe not from Russia or North Korea…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Your Spanish mate

We've been trying to reform from the inside

Really? Certainly didn't look like that. One of Cameron's first moves was to break away from the EPP grouping in the European Parliament. This immediately irked the centre right parties in the larger countries and was the first of many attempts by Cameron to pacify Tory backbenchers.

Ever since Thatcher the rest of the EU has learned to work around any of the UK's more outlandish demands and just given them opt outs. This has steadily reduced the influence of the UK within the EU, much to the distress of the Netherlands or the Nordics. Grandstanding simply doesn't work. Tony Blair, who shouldn't ever be forgiven for messes in Iraq and Afghanistan at least understood this and was considered a skilled dealmaker.

But it was when it came to bailing out the Eurozone that the British approach was most shown up. The legality of the deal can most certainly be called into question but all non-Euro countries like Denmark, Poland and the Czech Republic agreed while the UK fought, and lost, a pointless rearguard action over principles. It's precisely by playing the game better than the Brits that smaller countries like the Netherlands and Ireland get more of what they want.

A little more skilled negotiation, some give and take and the EU would have adopted a more reformist agenda.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Your Spanish mate

I thought such intra-EU protectionism Was Not Allowed?

"National interest" can always be invoked. I this card is even being played by the UK's planned massive nuclear subsidy aka Hinckley point

Here's your example Spain blocks takeover. This was later made into a full <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2007/apr/03/spain>Club Med deal</a>.

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Charlie Clark
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Your Spanish mate

seems to be living in another world if he thinks the UK will be able to have both less regulation and full access to single market. From what he says I know where he's coming from, but we all have somewhat limited perspectives:

I have close knowledge of several instances in Spanish industry where the regulations force them out of business to the benefit of some large German firms (regulations are tailored to suit these firms). Also I think that EU subsidies, whether in the form of grants, research projects or direct subsidies, destroy competitiveness. I know many companies and institutions living out of EU subsidies.

Here's he complaining about EU standards being based on DIN (German industry standards, many of which are drawn up by the industries themselves.). Well, in a game of standards the first one with a complete set tends to win. And the EU is a great example of how common standards can lower barriers to trade. Germany understands this game better than Spain. On the flip side it also has a much more open market than Spain: the Spanish government intervened a few years ago to stop German utility companies buying Spanish ones, which would have advanced much needed deregulation in the area as is already the case in Germany. A more competitive environment in Spain would be the best way to compete with German companies.

As for subsidies: I don't really know of any large industrial economy that doesn't have them on a large scale. In America DARPA's projects are basically a trough for the military industrial complex, withdraw them and a lot of companies would go to the wall.

There are, of course, cushy projects out there but the EU doesn't provide that much funding (when compared with what national governments tend to provide) and it does have a pretty good record with projects that might otherwise never have happened (CERN, Ariane, ITER, etc.). But the main point is: the UK would be in a much better place to reform this stuff as a member of the team committed to reform and one trying to reverse the post-expansion navel gazing.

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Japan's Brexit warning casts shadow over Softbank ARM promises

Charlie Clark
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Re: Nope.

There won't be a second referendum. End. Of. I believe Theresa May has been crystal on that.

What, you mean like "read my lips" kind of crystal?

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Charlie Clark
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I see the media are going into Brexit propaganda mode yet again, could it be do with parliament discussing a possible second referendum?

The status of the referendum is legally suspect. Technically it can only be advisory to Parliament, which is sovereign and fully within its rights to turn the advice down. Weird, that David Davis didn't mention this in his speech today, don't you think?

Whether it would be advisable for Parliament to do so is, as you rightly point out, another matter. Though it looks like May is quite happy to sit out the full five years, and without government support it's impossible to call an election earlier.

All this just means more uncertainty for the country and this is most certainly bad for business. However, every day means more younger voters coming of age and more EU residents being awarded residency and citizenship. Given those potential millions, who knows how the country would vote in a couple of years. Well, after Jezza has retired to the Fidel Castro Retirement Home for Deluded Trotskyists that is.

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O2: Float or flog. What's it going to be, Telefonica?

Charlie Clark
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What tends to matter is the ratio of debt to revenue aka "leverage". Though, thanks to central bank intervention even this doesn't seem to matter any more. Whether it's O2, Dell, Softbank, Japan or the good ole USA, seems people can't get enough debt.

I mean, after all, what could possibly go wrong?

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'Hey, Elon? You broke it, you bought it' says owner of SpaceX's satellite cinder

Charlie Clark
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Re: Going nowhere

@DAM . Yeah, yeah, and they killed that Jebus.

With respect, the Israeli tech sector is infamous for hustlers. That's not to say that there aren't some very smart people doing clever things there because there are.

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Latest Intel, AMD chips will only run Windows 10 ... and Linux, BSD, OS X

Charlie Clark
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Re: Can you spell lawsuit?

I know a lot of people don't like windows 10 but I really don't see the issue,

Then I suspect you don't work professionally with computers. Microsoft's policy may well annoy business companies so much that they look for alternatives, or look even harder if they do already. The telemetry and sloppy update process are real blockers here. Any hint of a different deal for business users is only going to be bad PR for "normal" users.

As for lawsuits: there is ample case law for this kind of restrictive practice and as a result I don't see them following through.

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