* Posts by Charlie Clark

2869 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Google hauls Java-on-Android spat into US Supreme Court

Charlie Clark
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Good for Google

Get this clarified in the US once (and hopefully) for all.

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Windows 10 feedback: 'Microsoft, please do a deal with Google to use its browser'

Charlie Clark
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Re: It would actually be a smart business move for Ms

@Frankee I think it would be cheaper, too. All they'd have to do is stop the Mozilla people from working on pet projects instead.

But I can't see anything like that happening until they start losing share in their corporate customers, many of whom still depend upon IE 6 compatibility. :-(

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LTE's backers vow to KILL OFF WI-FI and BLUETOOTH

Charlie Clark
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Going nowhere fast

I think Bluetooth has been successful by not being all things to all men, eg. working cooperatively with WiFi. Like WiFi it's become so ubiquitous that it's going to be difficult to shift. There are also advantages in having different radios in a device: the Bluetooth one is owned by the device, not the network.

But the more I think about the suggestions the more I think this is a glorified spectrum grab: get LTE in the unlicensed spectrum areas.

PS. Welcome back, Bill

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How much is Microsoft earning from its Android taxes again?

Charlie Clark
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I'm not convinced by the sums as it seems to ignore Samsung's other businesses which might be affected. If it's the FAT32 then their TVs are also likely to be listed then there's the PC market which, while ever decreasing in size, has usually much higher unit payments.

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Charlie Clark
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Personally I think there's still quite a lot that Android vendors can differentiate with including: screens (I go for AMOLED, some prefer LCD), speakers, built-in memory, removable battery, SD-card support, customisation (worked great for Nokia when it was selling commodified GSM phones), waterproof, size (compact, standard, oversized), battery life, use in bright light, camera button, screen resolution, wireless charger, NFC, etc.

If you think this is trivial just look at any other commodified market and see what works there.

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Charlie Clark
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The agreements aren't public so we can't be sure. What is known is that Microsoft has for several years been asserting its FAT32 patent on storage media. It's coming to the end of its life, not just in terms of when the patent expires but also due to the restriction in file size: once people routinely start faffing around with HD video the 4GB file limit will be a problem.

The solution will be to use an unencumbered file system and possibly rely on something like MTP to handle this for read/write access when the device is plugged into another.

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Linux systemd dev says open source is 'SICK', kernel community 'awful'

Charlie Clark
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Re: Blaming Thorvalds is easy...

Linus' discussions with Tenenbaum were indicative of how he behaves. That said, I don't think his occasional outbursts are a real problem. Sometimes you have to tell someone what they're doing is no just wrong but total shit.

I prefer the BSD development model over the release early, release often chaos of Linux, but that hasn't excluded the odd high-profile tantrum.

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Charlie Clark
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In other news

It was announced that the earth revolves around the sun.

Peer review can get nasty (it did in Newton's time). Just as some people need to develop thicker skins, others can also learn to be slightly less of dick.

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HEVC patent prices are out. Look who's NOT at the codec party: Microsoft and Google

Charlie Clark
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Re: VP9 has no chance

What reason would any streaming site have for using VP9, which would only work on Android phones (and even then it would take several years before the majority of them are on a recent enough software version to support it)

Neither VP9 nor HEVC have any chance as a software only solution: they currently bring even high-end x86 chips to their knees.

This will be a time-to-market race for hardware and content. If either solution has significant technical (faster encode or uses less power) or financial advantages (total cost to encode and distribute) then that could be decisive.

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Charlie Clark
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Neither HEVC nor VP9 are finalised yet. This is a big difference to h264 and VP8: h264 was finalised and in lots of silicon before Google bought OnVideo.

The Android market is now what of the biggest for video so only fools are going to ignore it.. Google gives anything running on VP9, including its own services a headstart. We'll have to see which chipmakers cough up for HEVC but I suspect Mediatek might not.

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Charlie Clark
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Dear Faultline

Please at least have someone proofread your stuff.

You seem completely to ignore that Google has mandated hardware support for VP9 for future Android releases. That means VP9 will definitely be in devices and Google will have content for them.

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So long Lotus 1-2-3: IBM ceases support after over 30 years of code

Charlie Clark
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Re: Mistakes?

OS/2 had two big problems.

IBM's biggest mistake was letting Microsoft work on OS/2.

OS/2 was built for companies which is why it had all kinds of network and terminal emulation support that Windows never got. By making, and marketing, OS/2 as "a better DOS than DOS, a better Windows than Windows", IBM provided little incentive for users (and therefore software companies) to port to OS/2. If 1-2-3 and Wordperfect on OS/2 had significant advantages over their Windows versions then things might have been different.

You couldn't crash it but programs could quite easily cause Presentation Manager to hang, which was pretty much the same to many.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Source code and licensing

Wrong thread?

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Charlie Clark
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Its legacy lives on

In the deliberate date bug in Excel which treats 1900 as a leap year (it wasn't) in deference to an error in 1-2-3 and lots of legacy spreadsheets.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Mistakes?

Notes turned into a huge money spinner ant, until Windows did the dirty with NT, OS/2 was the only PC platform capable of supporting enough memory for large spreadsheets. I can't program C++ but I'm bet the OS/2 API was better than then Windows one. The switch required a complete rewrite and, this was the days before pervasive VCS and backups, I'm not sure if all the original code was still around.

OS/2 was a far better system than Windows on DOS but was hamstrung by the presentation manager and later, ironically, by virtualising DOS and Windows so well that customers didn't need to migrate their software to it, just allocate DOS boxes more memory. While we all suffered long term as Microsoft learned how to program larger systems, customers benefitted at the time.

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Microsoft's nightmare DEEPENS: Windows 8 market share falling fast

Charlie Clark
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Re: I don't get it

It's quite simple: people aren't buying new PCs; companies, in general, are using Windows 7; this article ignores mobile.

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Charlie Clark
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What's missing from this article?

Apart from the usual attempt to corroborate the reports with El Reg's own numbers?

Any attempt to take the rise in mobile devices into account. We're seeing + 20% YoY mobile traffic (Android now growing faster and larger in absolute numbers than IOS but elsewhere IOS is still the biggest). This means all other OSs must be losing market share. See Akamai's numbers (not broken down by OS

The XP to 7 migration is still going on in companies but consumers are going Windows to Android or IOS.

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Etsy security rule #1: Don't be a jerk to devs

Charlie Clark
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Re: Easily pleased?

The critical thing is: the author of the item under review is not to be castigated or dimished for any failures, improvements etc found or he will just become defensive and uncooperative.

I think that's the key thing. I've not yet come across a one-size-fits-all methodology that actually works but I much prefer automatic static code analysis and tests (including test coverage) over code walkthrough.

Security bugs are often not picked up in code review but pen testing can be included in a CI setup.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Easily pleased?

While it was nice to get the recognition it made absolutely no difference to how an individual performed.

Just being polite enough to recognise the contribution is a start. Sure, these things are often trite and immediately devalued by corporate culture but encouraging employees in their jobs is part of the service that managers need to provide.

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Oracle will 'kill MySQL' and steal its users? Ha ha, haha, ha. Seriously, we won't – Oracle exec

Charlie Clark
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Re: Thank you GPL

It's impossible to kill any open source project. The GPL is just food for lawyers.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Meaningless statistics

MySQL is only fast for queries that don't involve JOINs. The optimiser seems to have a love-hate relationship with foreign keys.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: It's still Oracle

What's wrong with Oracle want to segment and make money? Lots of companies are happy to pay for support.

I much prefer Postgres over MySQL but that doesn't mean I don't want to see improvements in both. I'm very pleased that companies are also seriously evaluating Postgres / Enterprise DB as a possible replacement for Oracle. This should hopefully prompt Oracle to improve their product offerings.

MariaDB on the other hand looks like the continuation of the fast, poor quality bits of MySQL. But there are obviously people who want just that.

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Charlie Clark
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"Frankly, when MySQL came into Oracle, MySQL was a bit of a mess,"

Absolutely. It's still got some stupid bugs but has a got a lot better since it's been at Oracle.

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Internet of Things? Hold my beer, I got this: ARM crafts OS to rule them all

Charlie Clark
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Re: Too many cooks

It's the usual marketing blurb. I'm sure most are happy that ARM is taking the lead but they get source code when then need it. More important will be reliable documentation and knowledgable support.

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Charlie Clark
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WTF?

The idea here is so that people who are handy with C++, JavaScript, HTML, Swift and other languages for phones, tablets and desktops can prototype and build applications for fiddly hardware ultimately hidden away under the mbed stack.

What? Both of them?

I'm not sure where this idea came from but it will take some work to convince me that the async patterns of the web-twiddlers will work well in the embedded world. But Erlang might see a renaissance!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: So Raspian?

No, it's for the microcontroller stuff. You can imagine some of it might for the basis of a BIOS for ARM devices which would certainly help wider adoption, but above that things will stay much as they are.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: We all saw this coming...

We are talking about microcontrollers here. Even with the rise of open source hardware this is still a very different area from PCs. Manufacturers are already paying to licence ARM and are quite happy to do so.

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AMD, Oracle sweep their glasses off the table, ARM wrestle Hadoop for the data center

Charlie Clark
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Re: Zen?

Just as the article says: ARM + specialised silicon, which in some workloads will be x86.

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German data commish makes a Hamburger out of Google

Charlie Clark
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Re: Hamburg Uber Alles

They have an office in Munich too…

True but the ad sales are based in Hamburg.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Hamburg Uber Alles

Hopefully. After the German elections we had the European ones and now we're working on a new Commission… The TTIP stuff will no doubt also include all kinds of exemptions…

Same thing happened to the environmental legislation that Germany had previously agreed to.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Hamburg Uber Alles

Google's German office is based in Hamburg.

It's not the EU that's the brake on this but the German government: Merkel got the update on the EU rules postponed last year which would have given more force to Data Protection Officers.

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Apple finally patches Bash Shellshock vuln that WAS NOT A WORRY, OK?

Charlie Clark
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Re: Is this really relevant for OS X?

Executive summary: Mavericks DHCP client not vulnerable.

But is it vulnerable to other exploits?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Why Bash at all?

Mac OS doesn't have a root user in the same way that BSD does so you run sudo -s with the same shell as your user. I agree root with the C-shell would be better but that's the way it is.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Is this really relevant for OS X?

Lots of stuff in OS X is run via the shell so the exposure is there. Anyone who has web sharing enabled is in danger so Apple is responsible for protecting them.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Not available

@Frankee

Sure, I could write a cronjob to run as root to do this but: will my machine be on when it's due to run? Do I get to tell it not to run because I'm on a shitty or expensive network?

Anyway the main point is Apple ships a load of Posix stuff, some of which is weirdly patched and or broken and doesn't maintain it. Not everyone is familiar with the command line and even those of us who are have better things to do. Taking the Posix stuff out of the OS and treating them as third party ports would make it a lot easier for Apple to integrate (and test) upstream fixes and include it in a user friendly GUI like Software Update.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Not available

sudo port install bash

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Not available

Or maybe they will grow up and bless MacPorts or Homebrew as the systems for managing their POSIX stuff and just integrate it with their software update GUI.

At the moment I have to do the following every day:

sudo port sync && port outdated

if there are any outdated packages

sudo port upgrade outdated && sudo port uninstall inactive

Don't wait for Apple: install MacPorts from http://www.macports.org

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ARMs head Moonshot bodies: HP pops Applied Micro, TI chips into carts

Charlie Clark
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Re: Really?

Seems to me the whole point of the moonshot. Though I'm pretty sure the idea of the TI DSP comes from an existing or prospective customer.

I'm sure the idea is to support the kind of architecture you're talking about with the standardisation of modules an attack on proprietary solutions. ARM can be a baseline for booting the rest of the kit which might be more ARM or other stuff. Good luck to them if it works.

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Charlie Clark
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Good way to get your foot in the door.

I can see telcos buying these boxes to replace existing proprietary ones. I can't imagine anywhere is using x86 for this kind of workload as it is suited to dedicated workloads. Buyers will have to weigh the potential extra costs of patching and deploying software themselves against any savings and independence from suppliers.

Intel doesn't need to worry, yet because it's not in those markets. But, of course, if the boxes turn out to deliver the right performance with low power draw and at an acceptable price then there will be appetite for more and it will presumably be easy enough to plugin whichever modules are required whether its multimedia or cryptography. At some point someone will try them as file or web servers.

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Internet of Stuff: Chip rivals try to stop Cortex-M7 from flexing ARM’s muscle

Charlie Clark
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Re: IPv6 ?

Not sure that's relevant here. In any case it might make more sense for IPv6 to get more roadtesting on devices which can update their code before it gets universal adoption.

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Charlie Clark
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All this means that Quark may be a strong challenger to some ARM-based embedded processors…

Where's the evidence for this assertion? Is the Quark being used anywhere in volume? And if, as the article goes on to argue, even cheaper open source hardware is starting to appear, how does Intel stack up there?

I thought Quark was supposed to be the gateway drug from Intel for embedded Its power consumption is still well above that of the M-series so it waves the x86 instruction set to attract attention. Personally, I think the ARM has an increasingly attractive argument about the same toolchain across devices.

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EU operators PLEAD for MERCY, may get roaming rates cut ‘reprieve’

Charlie Clark
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Mushroom

Re: Good

Fuck off you UKIP numpty!

The Commission only got involved in roaming charges because the case was made that operators were hindering the free market through price-fixing that wasn't covered by the terms of the national licences.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Data only?

No, data just needs to be dumped onto the local internet.

Sure, the difference is in the load carried by the cells. A football stadium of people chatting uses essentially the same kind of resources today as it did in the middle of the 1990s. A bit different when you think about the differences in the use of data from 9600 baud to 50 Mb/s.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I hate to stick up for mobile operators, but...

For voice you're wrong which is why the package has already been agreed to. We already don't pay anything like the real cost of making a call which is why a comparison based on costs is fundamentally flawed.

Roaming always involved charging the user for imaginary costs and splitting the profit between the user's network and the network where they were roaming. In a regulated market this might have been covered by termination fees based on actual costs but there were obvious reasons why the networks would never agree to that.

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Charlie Clark
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Data only?

My provider (E-Plus in Germany) has already got rid of roaming charges for incoming calls when I travel and the rest of the prices are largely in line with what I pay here. If the wholesale caps are inplace than I can't see anyone surviving the competition if they maintain roaming charges as we will be able to pick and choose our roaming partners.

I can see some leeway for data, which remains very expensive when abroad, as it doesn't scale the same way: as hard as we try we can't really hold multiple conversations at once so capacity is easier to plan for. Much more difficult to cater for the same users as they move from SMS to IM to VoIP to streaming video.

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Turn OFF your phone or WE'LL ALL DI... live? Europe OKs mobes, tabs non-stop on flights

Charlie Clark
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The catch, of course, is that passengers in a plane flying at 35,000 feet probably won't be able to connect to GSM towers on the ground, so it will be up to airlines to provide in-flight telecoms services if they're so inclined.

Oh, I don't know about that. Depends on what kind of power they have and how big the battery is. The problem at 35,000 feet isn't being able talk to a tower but to know which tower to talk to. The maths behind cells assume that most people are on or close to the ground.

The airlines have known for some years that there are phone radios on on nearly every flight, mostly because people forget to switch them off.

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How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?

Charlie Clark
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Good article

Nice to see how you detail all the steps and their attendant pitfalls.

The key phrase, though, is whether you're listening attentively. If you are, and you know the track well, then you'll notice all kinds of things. If you're not, you're unlikely to notice anything. The reason for this is that the brain uses lots of lossy compression techniques for processing audio and visual data. This is why we're so susceptible to optical and aural illusions – there was a good Horizon program on it a while back. But you will almost certainly notice the difference in the EQ settings. I have music on quietly all day as it helps me concentrate. I can nearly always tell when I forgot to switch the EQ back to standard for music from

Speakers should be able to move enough air and well enough damped not to sound harsh or tinny. But if the acoustics of your room are poor like a car or a bathroom you're unlikely to notice even that.

Want to really know what your various sources sounds like? Get some monitoring headphones on and listen to the quiet bits. Other than that go with what works best for you.

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Latest Firefox and Thunderbird updates plug CRITICAL SSL vuln

Charlie Clark
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Which other software is affected?

I thought NSS was quite popular.

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IT crisis looming: 'What if AWS goes pop, runs out of cash?'

Charlie Clark
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Re: They're not losing anything. At least not what the doomsdayers claim.

I don't understand either the analogy or the conclusion.

Amazon's profits are wafer-thin because it's in low-margin, high-volume, high-capex business. Any ROI for investors in stock-price only and that because of the expectations of future business because it certainly isn't justified by current profits. I personally like the way Bezos tries new stuff, though I do wish he'd get out of the business of owning warehouses and actually shipping physical products.

As someone else pointed out the other day: in hosting you don't pay for what you use but for what you provision and this is the achilles heel of the whole model. At some point vendors will have to drive up their yield in order to make money or go out of business. That will make the whole system much less flexible unless derivatives are introduced allowing resource trade between users.

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Bash bug: Shellshocked yet? You will be ... when this goes WORM

Charlie Clark
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Re: Oh $!#t.

bash -version

GNU bash, Version 4.3.25(1)-release (x86_64-apple-darwin13.2.0)

But then again I use MacPorts to manage most of my command line stuff as you can't rely on Apple to update the stuff.

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