* Posts by Charlie Clark

4395 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Here WeGo! Google Maps rival drops Maps branding

Charlie Clark
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Re: Had a look, but...

Doesn't bother me: I'm on Cyanogenmod so it only gets the permissions I give it.

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Why Agile is like flossing and regular sex

Charlie Clark
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Re: Charlie Clark Just one side

If you employ someone with a clue you will get both good requirements plus a contractual financial penalty for the galloping goalposts that agile encourages.

Yes, because all of those massive waterfall projects always get the requirements right and never produce overruns.

Once of the biggest fiddles in software development is to draft a seemingly complete specification based on what the customer thinks they want and then force the customer to sign-off on increasingly expensive change requests as it turns out that the specification wasn't actually what they need.

Any contract that doesn't include some degree of iteration is just as doomed to fail as one that is based on unlimited iteration.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Just one side

but if you dont know what you want you end up with a brittle unclean solution.

I think this applies whatever methodology you follow and is true of most projects.

You won't know all the requirements at the start so a regular release, test, feedback approach is inevitable. Good project managers will be the ones who can spot bottlenecks, blind alleys and fucking stupid ideas early on. And, of course, how to compromise when key aims (features, timeline) are in conflict.

Communication is important but mustn't get in the way and needs to be between the relevant people. Meetings should be constrained by the size of the teapot: 4 or 5 mugs at most; brown jenny on special occasions.

This could all be called common sense programming™ but without a fancy name, gurus and expensive certification courses it'll never take off.

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Plenty of fish in the C, IEEE finds in language popularity contest

Charlie Clark
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Re: HTML?

HTML definitely isn't a programming language: it's an SGML dialect.

SQL, as you rightly point out, is a Turing-complete programming language even if I think the chosen semantics are extremely unsuited to the domain.

Getting these two wrong tells us a lot about this language beauty contest.

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Twitter: $602m into -$107m

Charlie Clark
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Re: Remind me again

Ah yes. But that's usually a sure fire money maker. What are they doing wrong I wonder?

They forgot to charge.

I hope Twitter ends up as the poster child for the limits of the network effect. Even with ten times the users I think it would struggle with its current business model which is why it's thrashing around to come up with new ones: like live sports that aren't exclusive.

As much as I hate Facebook, I think it's obvious that Zuckerberg and his team realise that there isn't a huge amount of money in just looking over people's shoulders while they rant.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: The best thing about Twitter...

Server costs really shouldn't be that high but office rental is crazy in SF.

But I think one of the main costs is related to equity given to staff.

I think I'm right in that this quarter doesn't include any of their expensive streaming deals which could make current losses look like chicken feed. Or they could work out and Twitter could break even.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Remind me again

They stroke and massage people's vanity.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Where's the PR staff to paint this as a good thing?

Would be nice but revenues continue to increase…

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Did the Russians really hack the DNC or is this another Sony Pictures moment? You decide

Charlie Clark
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Re: It's funny

Featured prominently in the Panama leaks. See https://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/apr/03/panama-papers-money-hidden-offshore

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Charlie Clark
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Re: It's funny

Hell, I'd vote for Putin over Hillary. At least he's an honest bastard.

I'm not sure you'd say that if you'd spent any time in Putin's Russia. Corruption is endemic in Russian politics and Putin isn't immune: he's squirrelled billions away himself.

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Osram's Lightify smart bulbs blow a security fuse – isn't anything code audited anymore?

Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

isn't anything code audited anymore?

Surely that's just a rhetorical question. Was code ever audited?

Time to market is everything in this business. The gets developed by people on work experience using whatever examples they can find and gets shipped as soon as the prototype works.

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What's losing steam at Apple? Pretty much everything

Charlie Clark
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That's still a lot of money

Yes, Apple confirms what we all knew: it's not immune to the laws of gravity.

People still love their I-Phones but their just not desperate to buy new ones. Given the state of the PC market in general and the fact that Apple have yet to update their notebook line I'd say their sales are holding up incredibly well. Shit, I'm sounding like a fanboi! The bottom line is that the bottom line is still very health. It's just that the growth has stopped. Where are the new products?

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Apple Watch exec Bob Mansfield 'gets into secret Apple car'

Charlie Clark
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Transportation using round wheels.

FTFY

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Car?

2019 does indeed sound a bit late to come to market. By then pretty everyone and their dog will either have launched, or have advanced plans for their next generation cars.

Still, this assumes that Apple wants to go head-to-head in the production. Even going the cheap way Tesla did to get capacity this doesn't sound like the best thing to do with their cash pile. But it also doesn't fit the way Apple does business. Maybe they're working on some kind of mobility subscription concept which combines Uber with a Merc: nice car whenever you want one. At a price.

Or they could just be about to buy Fiat / Chrysler because it's cheap.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

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Charlie Clark
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Doesn't seem to bother a lot of people about their mobile phones…

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What's Brexit? How Tech UK tore up its plans after June 23

Charlie Clark
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Re: Scaremongering

There, here? Funny how your running around in panic yet we have not started leaving. You may want professional help to get you through the stressful 2 years of negotiations.

Haha, you fucking UKIP numpty: "here" is Düsseldorf. So, in this thoroughly undemocratic EU I'll also get to give my voice on any deal Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber™ try and come up with. Guess what? I'm not keen on free access to single market.

But it also seems your sarcasm detector is broken.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Trade deals?

I can’t see any reason other than political for the rush to sign up the Ukraine to closer integration when EU member states have said no to it.

No to what, exactly?

The EU's foreign policy focusses heavily on soft power using things like trade agreements to shore up neighbouring countries because the last thing the EU wants are neighbours that are failed states. In case you hadn't noticed: the Ukraine's economy has been a mess for years after being plundered by the oligarchs and it was getting close to collapse. An association agreement offers alternative markets for famers and the electronics industry and also the prospect of the rule of law. Many people don't realise that, despite its many problems, how attractive the EU is for people in eastern Europe: reduced threat of going to prison for saying the wrong thing; being paid on time; drinking clean water; etc.

Putin talks a good talk but is, nukes notwithstanding, no longer in much of a position militarily. Otherwise he would have marched all the way to Kiev and Lviv two years ago. This is why he's forced to do deals with fellow failure Erdogan, even though they have diametrically opposed interests in Syria. That's going to work out well. :-(

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Charlie Clark
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Re: @ Doctor Syntax

I'm really curious about codejunky the person

Most of the posts do seem to be related to the referendum. Wonder if it's someone from the "50 kopek" brigade. The speech patterns are inconsistent and indicate a non-British speaker. Some examples:

I absolutely voted leave

then your in for a bit of an upsetting surprise.

My tip is a troll. Downvotes only in future.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Scaremongering

Ok well you dont know. But the UK does as does the EU (see BoE/IMF/etc statements pre referendum) which is why the EU is pushing its ever closer union stuff. The currency is again in trouble as people look to Italy (again now the referendum is over) and massive cracks are showing through the many crisis.

Which particular statements are you referring to? Both the BoE and the IMF said that the UK was likely to go into recession and that the rest of the EU would suffer. Oh, hang on. Wasn't that shameless scaremongering by clueless "experts"? If it was wrong to try and worry people about the economic consequences of leaving the EU before the referendum, how come its okay to mutter vague threats of doom now?

What should Italy do about its banks? Surely it couldn't nationalise them like the UK did with RBS and Lloyds, and the Germans did with Commerzbank? Fun fact: bailing out Italy's banks will be a lot cheaper than the ECB continuing its financial repression.

And, despite the UK's growing deficit, I'm really worried about companies relocating there to take advantage of the smell of freedom. Huawei recently opened a massive campus here. Should I be out there protesting against the jobs they're stealing? Or maybe asking for one? Or begging them not to relocate to the UK because we Europeans are obviously not as good at doing trade deals as people like Liam Fox?

I spent last night putting brown paper on the windows. I also bought lots of tinned food and bottled water. Do you have any more tips?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: YAWN

The significance of headlines such as "Cameron considered last-ditch appeal to Merkel" seems lost on you. Unless you liked being run by Germany.

Germany's role in the EU, and in particular in the Council of Ministers, is constantly overstated because it makes for good headlines.

As things stand at the moment: Merkel is almost a lame duck Chancellor thanks to a short-sighted, if heart-warming, policy towards Syrian refugees.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Chicken/egg?

We hire immigrants because there are not enough local skills.

This applies only to a very small part of the market: technology and, to a lesser extent the trades, where years of little or regulation has deskilled the workforce.

The UK has imported EU nationals largely to work in labour intensive fields such as agriculture because the English won't do the work for the wages on offer.

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Charlie Clark
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Stop

Re: @ Doctor Syntax

We know the EU is doomed as it is.

Do we? That's news to me. What should those of us in the EU do? Duck and cover, perhaps? Create a Ministry of Unfeasible Trade Agreements?

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Eurocrats to pore over Apache, KeePass code

Charlie Clark
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WTF?

Re: Well...

httpd -t already does this

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Silicon Valley's contribution to the US Republican Convention: Gayness

Charlie Clark
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Not really. He did highlight the increasing polarisation of modern politics and you seem to be providing the proof.

JFK may be a Democrat icon but was he really liberal? The Apollo project was undoubtedly progressive but it was also one of the best examples of the military industrial complex. And, in a way, it was the ideas of Barry Goldwater that, through Nixon and Reagan did more to reshape American politics.

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AT&T: Money? Oh, sure, no I'm fine – I'm doing great (if you ignore my phone business)

Charlie Clark
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Why don't you read the damn thing?

this led to a 5.5 per cent decrease in wireless revenues for AT&T on the quarter.

Hardware is not where the money is for providers: phones are just a means to selling voice and data contracts. What's more important would be the ARPU and the subscriber mix (pre-paid vs. post-paid) but I don't see any details in this report.

The 5% decline just confirms what we already know: people, even those with I-Phones, are getting less keen on getting a new phone every two years. Forbes at least expects margins to rise.

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GMB tests Uber 'self-employed drivers' claim at London tribunal

Charlie Clark
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Re: I cannot understand the merits of this case

Uber drivers are solely responsible for ensuring they have a car…

So, Uber does no checking? What happens in the event of an accident involving a driver without a driver's licence?

The basis for the court case is contract and employment law which presupposes fair negotiations between equal and independent parties. As soon as one party appears to be dependent upon the relationship then the negotiations can be considered unfair. Lots of businesses try all the time to reduce their costs by converting "employees" into "contractors".

I can understand that everyone who uses Uber because it means a better (and possibly cheaper) service than what they were used to, but that just exposes the flaws in the existing system.

As for ratings: these have no legal status. This is one of the reasons why we license certain jobs. Or are you planning your next flight based on the rating of the pilot?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Uber seems an odd test case

I think the problem is that it's great for Uber and passengers if there are lots of drivers. However, it's less attractive for the drivers as more of them are chasing a more-or-less constant set of fares: the more you work for Uber the less rewarding it is. Drivers who a year ago were making £15 an hour now find themselves earning around only £5 putting them in a Catch22 situation: should they drive more or get out of the game?

The model seems to work well when additional marginal capacity is required: more drivers become available to take up the slack. In practice, as in other industries like power generation, this competes with the base capacity model and drives prices down. This is great until prices fall below costs, in which case the base capacity model collapses and, hence, the raison d'être for providing additional marginal capacity.

Uber makes money whatever the situation. But it also sets the rates for the "market" and I think this is where there is a legal case that the contracts with drivers are effectively employment contracts because drivers have virtually no bargaining power.

I wonder if it was situations like this that led to regulation in the first place? The UK should simply work on removing the synthetic distinction between taxis and private hire. This would create a more efficient market at a stroke and require everyone to improve their game. Licensing could then be used as it should be to prevent the worst abuses.

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Microsoft Azure doubles up to $800m a quarter – and is wiped out by dying phone sales

Charlie Clark
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Re: If they keep making a few Enterprise phones

Unless you have some insider knowledge MS have only paused on windows phone for now

You mean it's only resting? It does have lovely plumage…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: If they keep making a few Enterprise phones

Running WP10, but maintaining a superb camera, then it is still a very nice system.

Two questions:

Why would this work for Microsoft when it didn't work for BlackBerry?

Why would enterprises want "superb" cameras in phones?

I do hope a ton of companies do UWP apps

Seeing as Microsoft has effectively pulled the plug on Windows Phone, why should companies bother developing UWP for an ever decreasing market? HERE for Windows Phone isn't getting any updates.

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Charlie Clark
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Redmond is popular with the retail sector – which won’t touch AWS because Amazon is a competitor

Sounds like bullshit. For the retail sector, as for any sector, AWS is just another service provider. Azure is perhaps simply better at migrating existing stacks to run on MS hardware, whereas AWS requires redesign.

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Correction: There was no hangman's noose, claims Hyperloop countersuit ... it was a cowboy's lasso

Charlie Clark
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Re: $40,000 a month 'as standard' ??

With also more boobs, just in case...

And higher heels… hm stiletto icon seems to be missing.

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Question: What's missing in Microsoft's data science professional degree?

Charlie Clark
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Buzzword university

As far as I can tell "data science" basically involves piping datasets into some kind of machine learning environment and running various statistical models. There's some maths involved but little or no science but it makes the job title sound better.

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EU Net Neutrality debate heats up as Tim Berners-Lee weighs in

Charlie Clark
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If I pay for the infrastructure…

What you create the land for cables to be laid or space through which to beam radio signals?

Regulation is unavoidable and must come with conditions that encourage competition, innovation and investment. Just handing it out without conditions will create inefficient monopolies.

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Charlie Clark
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By regulating spectrum, one thing is certain. Only big players will play, and consumers will pay more in the end.

This is complete bollocks. You seem to be equating regulation with auctioning. Countries like Sweden gave spectrum away for free but still regulate it. The success of Free in France show that, even where resources are leased, newcomers can still enter the market, you just have to include unbundling within the regulation.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Message to the Telcos - Be proactive

And of course the business case is further eroded by restrictions on charging models like oh net neutrality and roaming ...

T-Mobile's success would seem to debunk both of those objections.

In an interview the T-Mobile CEO pointing out that by providing a flat-rate but limited bandwidth video offering they had been able to reduce peak usage while improving customer experience.

Roaming charges are almost entirely synthetic and one of the purest examples of gouging by restrictive practice you can find. Sure, it's a nice little earner but it also actively discourages investment in backhaul or alternative providers.

Some kind of traffic management (such as voice services over data) is inevitable and I personally dislike the term "net neutrality" as it obscures the issues. Licences are awarded for the infrastructure and/or spectrum and the right to offer data and voice services on them. Users pay for data and/or voice. Vertical integration which prioritises a company's own content offerings over those of others is basically breaching the terms of the licence. Technology and good CRM provide lots of ways to make a company's own offering attractive to users, but effective competition for content rights is probably the best solution.

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Shock: Apple patents the phone book

Charlie Clark
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I think the patent for hands is to extract all the water out of them so that signals are unaffected. This will be in the Apple MacBook Ultimate (Bloodsucker edition).

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Wait, what?

When you make a laptop with a metal case, it will affect the performance of the antenna.

Worse than that: it's almost bound to cut the antenna off from the outside world entirely. So, you can't do this unless you have ways to mitigate the Faraday cage that is the casing. You have two choices: stick the antenna on the outside or create a cavity antenna. There is just so much prior art here that a new patent cannot be granted. At least in a world where the job of the patent office is not simply to provide "litigation fodder".

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Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: How is this obvious?

While I can't say for sure there's no prior art, I can state with absolutely certainty that it wasn't obvious to YOU to do that.

Yes, it fucking is. As if Apple was the first company to try and put high frequency antennas inside metallic casings with variable geometry. What else are you going to do?

This is another massive fail of the American patent system.

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Ed Vaizey booted to backbench, Hancock booted to DCMS

Charlie Clark
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Re: John Selwyn Gummer

With Andrea [Polsci, Warwick, 2.2]

Really that bad? Still, didn't she go on to have a stellar career in the City? Obviously all that BS will have prepared her well for dealing with angry farmers…

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Charlie Clark
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John Selwyn Gummer

Wasn't he one of those twats who decided he couldn't stay in the Church of England when it ordained women priests?

Nice to know the Tory party is still producing progressive thinkers. And, once we're free of those EU shackles, we can go back to creating cheap cattle feed from scrapie-infected sheep. What could possibly go wrong?

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EMC: Sales flat but wallets fat. Ready to vote on the merger?

Charlie Clark
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WTF?

The EMC shareholder vote on the $67bn Dell acquisition of EMC

With profits at around $ 2.5 bn a year that's nearly 25 times the price, and the loans will have to be paid back from those profits. No wonder they're trying to peddle 30-year bonds (at 8 %) to finance this! I think I'd rather finance toll-roads!

Oh, the things you can achieve in a world where interest rates are zero!

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We ain't in 1996 anymore, Dorothy: SQL Server 2016 proves it

Charlie Clark
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NT 3.51 was indeed pretty solid but it wasn't fast enough for desktops so they fucked it up for NT 4.0

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Microsoft cheap propanda article

It is also noted that no author was indicated for the aticle.

It shows up here as Mark Whitehorn

While I agree with the general thrust of your argument: this is essentially a bit of PR for Microsoft, I also know some people are really happy with the MS stack, of which SQL Server is a key part. And let's face it, if Microsoft wasn't in the mix, the world would be divided between Oracle and DB2 — fine systems but at a price.

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Dying! Yahoo! writes! off! half! of! the! $1bn! it! paid! for! Tumblr!

Charlie Clark
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What's wrong with this statement?

Andrew Frank, research vice president and distinguished analyst with Gartner…

Answers on a postcard please.

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Opera sells open-source Chromium browser for $600m to Chinese bods

Charlie Clark
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Re: Vivaldi

I'm another one waiting for the Vivaldi mail client but I don't expect to see it this year. It's a small team which is obviously and understandably focussing on the browser.

Over the last year Opera seems have got its act together and started doing sensible things in the browser to differentiate it from the rest. The Chinese are bound to focus on the mobile side, which I uninstalled because I couldn't install an ad-blocker on it.

In the meantime I'm sticking with Opera Mail even if the filtering in the search seems broken (I have six different mail accounts and nothing comes close to Opera when it comes to searching).

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Except the encryption

Since Opera is a Norwegian company, what has the Bureau of Industry and Security, a US government organisation, have to do with it?

US extra-territoriality: companies often need to comply with their rules all over the world in order to be able to trade there.

Can't remember off-hand but I think the old Opera was. however, allowed to use strong encryption in places like Korea, when it was banned for Microsoft and Netscape.

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Softbank promises stronger ARM: Greater overseas reach and double the UK jobs

Charlie Clark
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Re: Interesting

The assets are the workforce and you cannot easily move them.

What? You mean like Surrey Satellites? I think you'll find that engineers are often very happy to move.

No idea if relocation is on the cards for ARM. I think the first thing will be a bonanza for the tax consultants.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: ARM chips in iPads?

They run the same ARM instruction set as the official designs, but otherwise contain no ARM IP.

They license a bit more than just the instruction set: they get to customise the chips as much as they want.

save a little on the licensing costs and (possibly) create a more efficient design.

Having in-house chip engineers is almost certainly going to be more expensive than the licence costs. And even at Apple's volumes, it's cheaper to buy off-the-shelf chips than design your own. It's the ability to do whatever you want in hardware then is attractive. Apple has been able to make sure IOS and the chips work well together.

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Brit chip biz ARM legs it to Softbank for $32bn

Charlie Clark
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Re: Once ARM becomes a Japanese company..

Well, they did try the brand the A3000 (or was it the A3010?) with BBC branding.

Yes, but by then Intel had transformed the computer industry into one that suited its mode of production: a demand for x86 compatibility: excellent process engineering; huge volume assembling in Asia.

It was a risk at the time but with hindsight, Acorn's decision to go fabless was the way to go.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Doubling the size of the operation..

It does make you wonder what all the new employees will be doing. If they're supposed to be engineers and developers in Cambridge I suspect that won't happen now that the UK has decided it doesn't want any migrant workers from Europe.

I guess this also means that Softbank is walking away from the US. Can we expect Sprint to be sold off, presumably to private equity, some time soon?

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