* Posts by Charlie Clark

3270 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Microsoft absorbs open-source internal startup MS Open Technology

Charlie Clark
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Re: Spawn...

Yes, we all know what a clusterfuck the Office OpenXML specs are, but the good news is that those specs are open for revision. I know, I've the somewhat dubious honour of having submitted the most bug reports on them in the last year. This brings little immediate relief but as long as they remain the document formats of choice, I think it's important that we have some say in them.

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Choc Factory's king codec serves 25 BEELLION Tube hours

Charlie Clark
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Re: Google is wasting their time

Yes, there is a licensing cost for HEVC but it is quite reasonable and there's no guarantee that someone doesn't have patents against VP9.

Google has already indemnified the code and settled with patent holders. There will be no suits against VP9, though there won't really need to be any. H265 is better than VP9 but time to market is key and Google is aligning its codec strategy with the silicon strategy of the phone makers. It's also making hardware support for VP9 and the upcoming VP10 a requirement for some of its licences. With YouTube and its own video-on-demand services, both on mobile devices and increasingly on televisions, it is already one of the bigger players in the market. So, it's naive to bet against them.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: No comparison with H265 I see

VP8 probably paid for itself in foregone licence fees for H264 for Google, given how much video they actually encode. VP8 effectively put an end to the plans for charging us all to use H264. Google has also been true to its word in opening the source and indemnifying against patent suits.

Having competing codecs is good for us all in the long run. Google has several reasons for continuing to improve the format: the rise in high resolution content on YouTube preludes high resolution video on demand. Even if most of it is shit, the sheer volume of video that YouTube handles is staggering. Any efficiencies in file size and bitrate will be keenly felt. Google continues to push into our lives and wants to sell us paid for content: quality and perceived network speed will be differentiators on mobile devices. It is also continuing to improve user-generated video whether it's video-conferencing, selfies or gaming videos.

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Intel shows Google how to stick it real good

Charlie Clark
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Re: This should be compared to the Amazon FireTV Stick

Doesn't the FireTV Stick compete with the Chromecast? If so not quite the same thing as this but the price will be the same as there is no need for subsidy at this end of the market.

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Charlie Clark
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In one direction, Chromebit wins on WiFi, with 802.11 ac against Compute Stick's measly 802.11 b/g/n, while Intel has double the memory of Google's offering.

The table lists both as coming with 2GB RAM.

Intel certainly isn't giving up easily but one has to wonder about the wisdom of "Intel inside" for this kind of market. Google is pushing a completely Chinese kit with no OS licence fees, Intel chips cost more to make and then increases costs by having different models.

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South Korea to NUKE Microsoft ActiveX

Charlie Clark
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Microsoft not to blame for once

The fault lies squarely with the export restrictions that the US government placed in the 1990s which prohibited browsers being shipped to places like South Korea with strong encryption. Where encryption was required then plugins were the only way and Active X, for better or worse, was better integrated than most.

Yes, the export restrictions were lifted a few years ago but, as we all know, it takes a concerted effort to overcome the inertia of replacing existing systems. Often laws, accompanied by generous subsidies, are the only way to initiate change.

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Is this what Windows XP's death throes look like?

Charlie Clark
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"we" don't split anything, the various companies do it because it's attention grabbing. There is no good reason except for clickbait articles like this one.

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Facebook 'violates Euro data law' say Belgian data cops' researchers

Charlie Clark
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More than an advertising network

Both are leveraged to create a vast advertising network…

If that's all it was I could almost live with it: there's some mileage in the argument properly targeted advertising is less intrusive. But the truth is Facebook, et al. are collecting far more data than is useful for advertising purposes. They're also using it for purposes other than advertising just not being so vocal about selling it to credit rating agencies, employment agencies, insurance companies. And, of course, the NSA can have a look at it whenever they want. It's entirely possible that we won't be offered jobs, refused insurance or credit because of what the networks believe to know about us. Even if they have safeguards in place against this, the data collected is of almost incalculable value in the wrong hands; whether that's the spooks or the crooks is probably just a matter of opinion.

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Apple's 13-incher will STILL cost you a bomb: MacBook Air 2015

Charlie Clark
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Re: Mac vs Windows laptops?

Have you ever tried to develop software on a windows machine vs a Mac?

It depends very much on the kind of software you're trying to develop. For anything vaguely posixy then a unix environment is likely to be preferable as the command line in Windows is pretty awful due to the sabotaged keybindings. For GUI apps then native nearly always wins.

Never got into Eclipse myself, but Python isn't really its strong suit.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Low res?

Seriously? Laptops weigh less than a pint of beer these days. Man up!

Mine weighs about 2 kg and I sometimes have to carry two. If I was travelling a lot I'd definitely be looking for something lighter.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Low res?

The 1280x800 on my 2009 MacBook Pro is normally fine for me when travelling. 4GB is generally enough memory but I do have a lot of stuff on the disk. But it could be lighter...

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Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge in Vulture's claws: we find looks AND brains

Charlie Clark
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Re: Very poor show

Why not go for a Note Edge? It has the removables and the design?

While I always get a phone that can take extra storage myself I don't reckon I've changed the SD card very often since buying it. Then again I wouldn't really want to watch films on a phone. I haven't changed the battery on any phone I've bought in the last 15 years.

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GitHub jammed by injected JavaScript, servers whacked by DDoS

Charlie Clark
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Re: Can GitHub take China to court in the WTO?

Only countries can initiate action at the WTO. In general states have immunity from court actions.

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Dutch Transport Inspectorate raid Uber's Amsterdam office

Charlie Clark
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Re: How does it work in the UK?

Germany, and AFAIK the Netherlands, doesn't differentiate between public taxis and private hire vehicles: they're all licensed under the same rules. Surprisingly I find it doesn't make journeys significantly more expensive in Germany. Though I haven't used a taxi here since the new national wage was introduced. There have been grumblings about this and it might affect availability in some places but casual labour is not a way to improve standards.

Like lots of OTT services Uber doesn't really make long term sense because it adds little or no value. It seems to make sense in the US because the markets there are dysfunctional.

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Get off Facebook if you value your privacy, EU commish tells court

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

therefore the value of the accumulation of additional data is greater to its benign self than to any malignant third party.

Something similar could have been said about Standard Oil's/Microsoft's business practices and it would have been just as wrong.

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Charlie Clark
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Sounds like whoever it is will soon be looking for a new job.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: @Andy ... Meh

As I mentioned above, being tracked by FB is probably the least of people's worries. Of greater concern is the risk of identity theft, fraud, bullies, stalkers and trouble makers who may go after you in real life.

What happens if you join up those two ideas? The risk of a data breach at Facebook and other data silos is very real. Whether it's merely to the FBI, NSA, CIA, MI5, etc. or to organised crime is why this case is before the court.

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GitHub ordered to hand over access logs to Uber

Charlie Clark
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Re: Time for GitHub Europe?

Somebody else had to tell me about it. Part of the problem with the current crop of VC funded stuff is the way the media gets co-opted to talk about the companies and products. There was a terrible article on El Reg in this vein a while back about Github being the essentially the only viable choice for repositories because of "the network effect".

Personally, apart from the fact that choice is good, I also prefer Mercurial over Git for VCS. But I also have a reasonably intense dislike of the GitHub UX. I also went as far as reading the T&C's and deciding I prefer the Bitbucket ones (Atlassian is clever enough to be selling technology not just a userbase).

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Uber using github?

SaaS is all the rage in the states at the moment. I know lots of companies who have no infrastructure just lots of faith in "the cloud".

However, I'm not sure this is relevant here as the item in question may not have had anything to do with a repository. Gist's are Github's pastebins. Really quite worrying if someone did copy some access codes to a gist rather than a properly anonymised pastebin or hackers forum. Be that as it may, you'd really hope it wouldn't make much difference with 2FA for anything sensitive and virtually no straight online access to the database. Really trying hard to think when that would ever be needed. Then again, slick UIs are all you seem to need nowadays to hoover up the VC cash.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Time for GitHub Europe?

You mean something like Gitlab?

For anything really important you can't beat hosting your own stuff.

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Google throws a 180 on its plans for Dart language

Charlie Clark
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Re: Argh, another rickety language which compiles on top of JavaScript

I suspect the reason for the compiler/transliteration approach is because of the limits of what you can do in the IDE. If you look at how compact TypeScript transliterates to verbose Javascript you can see the limits of what you can reasonably expect in the IDE and still expect to keep developers on board. The verbose JS itself is replete with hints which are essentially for the JIT.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Argh, another rickety language which compiles on top of JavaScript

I think the problem is that many problems with Javascript can't be detected while writing it. Hence the preference for preprocessors that take the guess work out of writing reliable Javascript. The situation is very similar to using a compiler over writing machine or byte code. It's just that the output here is Javascript.

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ARM plans to win 20 per cent of the server market by the year 2020

Charlie Clark
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Re: Intel Broadwell-D

And the same is true of every <strikethrough>"ARM server"</strikethrough> Powerpoint I have ever seen.

Fixed it for you: the same could be said for Intel breaking into the mobile market. These things should be decided in the marketplace, assuming vendors are prevented from anti-competitive behaviour.

From the Anandtech article:

The 40nm X-Gene can compete with the 22nm Atom C2000 performance wise, and that is definitely an accomplishment on its own. But the 40nm process technology and the current "untuned" state of ARMv8 software does not allow it to compete in performance/watt.

Pretty stupid to compare 40nm geometries to 22nm ones as the article makes quite clear.

Nevertheless, according to Andreas Stiller at Heise, the CERN team reckons the X-Gene is getting close to Xeon:

CERN-Wissenschaftler haben allerdings vor ein paar Monaten mit dem hauseigenen ParFullCMS-Benchmark etwas bessere Er- gebnisse mit dem X-Gene 1 erzielt, jedenfalls im Vergleich zum nicht so energieoptimier- ten Xeon E5-2650.

So, the real test will be on standardised architecture with similar geometries.

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Internet Explorer LIVES ON, cackle sneaky Microsoft engineers

Charlie Clark
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Re: Hmm...

@Steven Roper

It wasn't so long ago that US export regulations prevented browsers being shipped outside the US with strong encryption. The only way for many years to provide strong encryption was to use ActiveX which is why a whole industry grew up around it. Rolling that can kind of stuff back can take a while but most banks should have managed it by now. If I was faced with a bank that required IE for online banking I wouldn't do online banking with it. But that wouldn't be enough to want to change banks.

Never been the case with any of the banks I work with but then I don't use a browser for online banking anyway as it's setup for the user to carry the risk associated with stolen credentials. HBCI only here.

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$17,000 Apple Watch: Pointless bling, right? HA! You're WRONG

Charlie Clark
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Re: Clickbait

What the fuck's wrong with you?

Nothing the least time I checked. I was annoyed that the OpEd wasn't properly marked for me to ignore. Worstal's economics are as off as his politics in my opinion. He's got a right to them, just as I have to mine. But I've read enough of them not to take them seriously any more and almost always avoid them.

FWIW UKIP is not just about being anti-Euro and anti-EU. Those are handy fig leaves for some fairly reactionary ideas which Worstal's articles typify. A pox on all populists. And a pox on the mainstream for giving them air to breathe.

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Charlie Clark
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Unhappy

Clickbait

from the Register's own Kipper not marked as such.

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Dutch telcos build data bonfire after judge nixes retention law

Charlie Clark
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The UK's new law will remain in force until is legally challenged, though the challenge might need to go all the way to the ECJ given the Supreme Court's current supine position.

In the meantime nation states, the Commission and the European Parliament are currently haggling over a new directive to replace the now disgraced one from 2005 and which will work with the proposed new data protection directive. The nation states are still demanding blanket data retention even though they have now admitted that this does not help prevent crime. Because the 2005 directive is no longer effective, pressure is on nation states to come up with something to stop more of their precious haystacks being blown away by further legal challenges.

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A gold MacBook with just ONE USB port? Apple, you're DRUNK

Charlie Clark
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Re: @Bronek

Oh, shit! I just agreed with DougS! Does that mean Armageddon is due to start?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Quite so

How very niche market?

Yes, that's why it's so expensive. But it's so light for the size and USB-C does provide enough power to charge. Shape of things to come, I reckon – not being able to increase memory or swap out the drive would be bigger annoyances for me.

It's not for me but I reckon these will sell like hot cakes.

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Intel SoCs it to 'em with new D: Tiny but powerful

Charlie Clark
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When it comes to Silicon, Intel will be competing with Samsung, Qualcomm, TSMC, et al. who have higher volumes. This is why they've been catching up on the geometry so quickly. Intel's depends on high margins, they don't.

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Charlie Clark
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And when was the last time YOU bought a server with the primary goal of it being $200 cheaper than the power-guzzling slower alternative?

People don't buy individual servers any more, data centres buy heaps of them and people buy or rent capacity there. The owners of data centres, therefore, have a huge interest in the TCO of what they buy: price, density and energy demand are very important.

Most of the software stack is now available and for proprietary stuff ARM is the better platform anyway as it's easier to add dedicated stuff in silicon to boost performance and reduce running costs. ARM still lacks real oopmh for some jobs but it's current problem in the data centre is not having a standard firmware to make it easier to swap bits of kit in and out. We'll have to see if what ARM has promised on this works. On power/performance ARM is still ahead of Intel and the servers can be denser – the years of developing for mobile phones really do matter.

At the end of the day I don't really care what hardware my stuff is running on as long as works reliably. That Intel takes ARM seriously can be seen by the various products it's released over the last couple of years culminating in this. As with AMD's x64 this shows the market working. Once ARM-64 systems are available in number we can expect to see Intel reacting on price.

ARM's advantage over Intel remains the different business model. Instead of going after just AMD (and maybe Cyrix), Intel is facing a bunch of well-funded competitors and ARM itself is insulated somewhat from the struggle. Of course, the diversity has also held back the move into the data centre and Intel has some top notch people but I find the developments in the ARM architecture and manufacturing over the last few years far more impressive than Intel's rearguard action.

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Charlie Clark
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And the price differential. Intel is currently slightly ahead in the 14nm process with Samsung and TSMC very close behind. While ARM in the server is still missing important parts of the software eco-system, it benefits even more from economies of scale than Intel. That might be the big difference in comparison with previous Intel vs. AMD, et al. battles. But the holes in the software side will also need fixing.

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Apple slips out security patches while world goes gaga over watches

Charlie Clark
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I'm no Apple fanboy but in my experience Apple stuff does generally "just work" and I certainly prefer it to Windows for work. I really dislike the way they handle the POSIX stuff and replace it with MacPorts. They have in the past been notoriously lax in updating the parts of it that they ship with the OS but they do generally get round to it. Microsoft's patching process is more difficult but that's largely their own fault in the way they mix applications and OS.

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Charlie Clark
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Has Microsoft released a fix for FREAK yet?

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Apple Watch: HOT WRIST ACTION plus slim $1299 MacBooks - and HBO TV

Charlie Clark
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Re: The only reason

So, let's get this straight: it's okay for you to hate? Just not anyone else? What an exciting life you must lead!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Apple Watch (BS) Sport Edition

discovered/invented/created (not sure what the correct term actually is)

"serendipped" is the right word I believe.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: How much?

Apple's buyers have traditionally proven to be pretty insensitive to price. Indeed for some the high price is part of the appeal and Apple is certainly right to keep out of the bargain basement section. If any of the segments sell well then Apple stands to make a tidy profit. Otherwise it's likely to be forgotten quickly like coloured I-Phones.

That said, I personally think it's poo.

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Charlie Clark
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Game of Thrones already holds the record for the most torrented program. Can expect a new record this year.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: hahahaha

I use a Mac but I'm not fanboy (use a MacBook from 2009, no I-thingies). A single connector like a phone is great, though a second port would be nice. Presumably £50 gets you a hub. But a mere 1 kg is very, very impressive for the size. I can see Apple selling shedloads of these. The colour and the weight may also appeal to the ladies.

At some point I'm going to have to replace my machine but fortunately I don't have to do much travelling for work.

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Chewier than a slice of Pi: MIPS Creator CI20 development board

Charlie Clark
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Re: Media Center

I use the Pi as a media centre and it plays HD (MKV/MP4) fine. Along with the absence of a real power button and attendant warning about not being shut-off properly or needing several new starts, my biggest beef with the Pi is the piss poor NFS client in userland. DNLA sources work wonderfully, though it can take a while to initialise, but you need NFS if you want to take advantage of the media database functions. Hardly a deal-breaker at the price and there are possibly bits I could fix myself.

For kicks I also set it up to do CI and was pleasantly surprised at how well that worked, just as long as you don't need to compile anything. A Pi-2 setup could be quite good for CI work and might even integrate with the media centre – get notifications that tests have passed while watching your favourite programmes.

MIPS is going to struggle to get the critical mass of developers to write drivers for stuff. Pi has done this well by masquerading as being an educational device (and Scratch is popular).

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UK Supreme Court waves through indiscriminate police surveillance

Charlie Clark
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Indeed, everyone is always guilty of something.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: As Treasonas May is fond of saying...

@Hans 1 detention without charge is possible for up to 28 days in the UK thanks to "anti-terrorist" legislation: https://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/human-rights/countering-terrorism/extended-pre-charge-detention

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Charlie Clark
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Re: UK Govt are idiots

ECJ is in Luxembourg and the ECHR in Strasbourg but your basic point stands.

This will go to the ECHR and the UK will lose. Unfortunately, the ECHR doesn't have many ways of sanctioning viz. several outstanding judgements that the UK has yet to enforce.

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EU court: Mobe makers not liable for users' copyright badness

Charlie Clark
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Re: Copying

They used (and may still be) a levy on recording media. In Germany it applied to blank CDs as well as tapes and also photocopying. I think they may have extended it to SD cards. It never applied to devices. The music royalty collection agencies are usually swimming money so why should they care about the artists?

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Office for Mac 2016 Preview: This letter will self-destruct in 60 days

Charlie Clark
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Re: Surprised at the requirment for Yosemite

Why? I'm pretty certain that over 90 % of users will be on Mavericks or Yosemite. Those numbers will only look better when it gets to the release date. (I'm annoyed because my second machine is artificially restricted to Lion but it is my second machine and from 2006). Apple will have the numbers from software updates and is quite happy to splash them around and the hints to upgrade for free aren't exactly subtle. Yosemite has the highest integration between MacOS and IOS making it easier for vendors, such as Microsoft, targeting both with its software.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I'm puzzled

I thought every Mac that running Mavericks is eligible and able to run Yosemite as well?

Does that mean that they should? Every new OS version brings changes, some for the good, some for the bad. Yosemite includes a lot of pointless UI fuckery. Though to be fair, under the hood it seems to contain mostly improvements. Notable exception: I-Tunes seems to get worse with each new release.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: The aticle needs to be re-written a bit

And I upvoted him as he often makes good points. Office on Mac even with the fucking ribbon is a damn sight prettier than on Windows though I prefer OpenOffice's fixed palettes.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: So, so happy ..

I would be too, if it did not require Java for full functionality on OS X.

I prefer OpenOffice over LibreOffice for stability. LibreOffice is busy getting rid of the Java but I'm pretty sure it will have to stay for the database connectivity: nothing else has such a wide range of database drivers.

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Why Wi-Fi won't solve mobile telcos' data dilemma

Charlie Clark
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Re: Why is it ...

Radio frequencies were long ago realised as a scarce resource so the ITU was set up to let states manage them. This has let to rather mixed results: sometimes auctions or leases have worked well in that they earned a lot of money and were efficiently used. In most countries there are only a few unlicensed bands such as those used for wifi. It's possible to argue that this is both a good thing: wifi has become ubiquitous and is undoubtedly useful; but it's also a pretty shitty standard that was rushed to the market and has huge problems in areas of high density (an example of the "tragedy of the commons"). There are other ways of looking at this situation.

I don't know the pricing in the UK but I'd expect it to be restrictive. In general, countries with relatively high population density will experience problems of congestion. Conversely, there will also be more commercial interest in providing services to the large, dense population making auctions more likely.

Fibre really is the best thing for backhaul. Various radio technologies may indeed help bridge the gap where FTTH may be prohibitive, though FTTK should now be possible to anywhere with a water supply. The problem with bespoke solutions is less likely to be the cost of licensing spectrum as in knowing you can keep the kit updated and maintained. Femto cells are emerging as the industry standard approach here. They have the added advantage of extending the range of the mobile network.

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Euro ministers ditch plan to ban roaming charges

Charlie Clark
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Ain't over yet

This is very eleventh hour and, therefore, a bit late. My network started eliminating roaming charges last year and any company that doesn't have a strategy to survive the wholesale rollout next year is not going to survive anyway. Most of the industry has already prepared for the change (billing systems don't usually get changed overnight). More changes mean more disruption which a mere two-year extension of the existing rules is unlikely to make sufficiently attractive.

The ministers can decide what they want, they'll still have to go back to the parliament to get it approved. If no agreement can be reached in time (and that's possible) then existing provisions will apply. The proposed changes are, therefore, merely a bargaining chip for talking to the parliament. In the meantime more and more consumers will continue to educate themselves on how to make the best of the situation. I, for one, am not going to hold my breath on this one.

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