* Posts by Charlie Clark

4609 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Microsoft’s Continuum: Game changer or novelty?

Charlie Clark
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I've actually used it more for entertainment than business though

Colour me unimpressed.

I can already connect my S5 to any HDMI device with a cheap adapter and I recently used Miracast / WiFi share on a friend's TV the other day. Fantastic for entertainment.

Samsung have been experimenting with this kind of thing for years (my Galaxy Tab 8.9 came with a "multimedia" dock) including support for multi-windows and alternative input methods. It wouldn't surprise me if they aren't the first with some kind of phone / TV / Chromebook setup. And we can assume Apple won't be far behind with its own extremely dedicated market.

Microsoft is going to pull something extremely remarkable out of the hat for this get any real traction. Otherwise UWP apps on Android might be the best they can hope for.

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Paper mountain, hidden Brexit: How'd you say immigration control would work?

Charlie Clark
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Re: I still have 'friends' saying...

I saw £1 = 0.95 Euros last week at one exchange.

The official rate is about 0.86 so that's just a shitty exchange happy to scalp its customers. To be fair in 2011 it was near parity so this is within "normal" market movements if you take normal to include massive interference by central banks. The real time to worry is what happens if the BoE has more problems at auctions: the total amount that Carney is prepared to throw on this particularly is about what Draghi spunks on bonds every month.

If there is any form of general tightening of world monetary policy then the BoE may find its options severely limited and if the UK government has to go to functioning markets to borrow then rates will almost certainly have to rise.

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Charlie Clark
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I think it is a real shame that a woman got the job.

It's not as if anyone forced her to apply…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: @Charlie: Simple is best

That's just wrong matey, I may live in the middle of Devon now, but I still have many relatives who still live in Essex.

Well then you know just what a bunch of fuckwits live there… ;-)

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Charlie Clark
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Re: @Charlie @AC 20-23 pages for EU citizens

Apologies for being too subtle.

Yeah, right. Begs the question as to why you voted to leave. Not that it really matters. Some seem to think that the referendum is going to give Britain a better hand at future negotiations along the lines of "we want this, but not that", just like at a restaurant. This completely ignores the fact that the three "freedoms" are indivisible: trade, capital and labour and that none of the remaining 27 member states has any interest in giving the UK anything. Even Norway isn't keen on letting the UK join the EEA. Oh, and the UK will have to apply separately to join the WTO.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: @AC 20-23 pages for EU citizens

Btw I voted to leave, I am fine with the movement of people thing

Yes, because international agreements are like à la carte menus…

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Charlie Clark
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And, as they're the ones tasked with doing the work, the Leave campaigners are going to be the ones who have to tell them.

I think this is Theres May's plan. I don't think she cares ideologically one way or another but she clearly understands the politics quite well. We can probably be expect Article 50 day to be based on some kind of never-never criteria just like Blair did with membership of the Euro (sun shining in Manchester, Newcastle winning the league, Piers Morgan not being a twat, etc.)

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Charlie Clark
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My money is on a land border and the unfortunate return of real™ terrorism from people who actually know how to make bombs: remember the IRA sponsored "Central Manchester Redevelopment Plan" from 1996?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Oh well, better send this article to my girlfriend

Just get the application process for residency and then citizenship started. Should be pretty easy: existing rules will continue to apply until Parliament enacts laws to the contrary.

Let the Home Office grind to a halt processing such applications. We all know what the solution will be: reduce the amount of paperwork and let all EEA & EU citizens without a criminal record pass.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Simple is best

Not sure if turning the UK into East Berlin is the direction anyone* wants to go down.

You may be right but how about just Essex? Gets my vote.

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Little ARMs pump 2,048-bit muscles in training for Fujitsu's Post-K exascale mega-brain

Charlie Clark
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Impressive stuff

Intel is going to have improve its customisation game if it wants to stay in this market. Hardware customisations like this are ARM's ace up its sleeve. We can assume the actual chips that Fujitsu (no mug when it comes to chips as the SPARCs show) will have additional whizz-bang stuff baked into hardware but this kind of compiler optimisation is going to give the HPC crowd wet dreams. Between this and FPGA Intel is going to be increasingly squeezed.

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MacPorts project leaving Apple’s OS Forge

Charlie Clark
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Re: Didn't know they were still around

I much prefer MacPorts because it allows you to replace more of the Posix stuff that Apple ships with each OS version and then largely leaves untouched until the next one.

But Homebrew seems to have gained the mindshare.

Apple's own engagement in the open source stuff has always been at best lukewarm and it looks to me like they're getting ready to close it down entirely.

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Google killing app format used only by The 1%

Charlie Clark
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Re: So they had cross-platform web apps

Google's Chrome team is fully behind the "Progressive Web Apps" of which the packaged apps were a precursor. As PWAs take off, you see a button on a website to install it, there is no need for the additional packaging.

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What next for the F-35 after Turkey's threats to turn its back on NATO?

Charlie Clark
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Re: Turkey

NATO and the EU want Turkey as a strategic ally, a buffer zone for refugees we don't want, don't want her falling into Russian hands, pivoting to the Middle East.

I'm not quite sure what "pivoting to the Middle East" is supposed to mean but the situation in the Middle East is always more complicated than you think.

Erdogan and Putin are currently just posturing. There is a long history of conflict between Russia and Turkey and they're on opposite sides in current conflicts: in Syria where Russia favours Assad and Turkey wants him toppled; in Nagorno Karabakh.

Dictators routinely rub shoulders with each to look strong at home but they rarely form alliances of any substance. Anyone remember the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact?

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Adobe stops software licence audits in Americas, Europe

Charlie Clark
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I think all the audit programmes were part of the lobbying process to make sure that the relevant legislation was in the industry's interests.

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Business users force Microsoft to back off Windows 10 PC kill plan

Charlie Clark
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Re: FTFY!

Yes, I liked it to. I wonder how they define the metric… IIRC companies did move pretty quickly to Windows: most of the enterprises I know completed this within two years of launch, after giving Vista a wide berth.

Enterprises are happy with Windows 7 and have around 3 years to plan the non-Windows future.

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Soylent adds coffee

Charlie Clark
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Re: Legal position is interesting

Well, it's the same with the name "Soylent". They will just have to pay the author or the author's estate to license the name. While this might be expensive, it may be the least of their worries.

I've just been doing numbers and they need an army of believers to buy this crap in order keep going. $ 60 per solutionist fool per month including to cover development, manufacturing and shipping doesn't leave much to actually pay anyone.

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Charlie Clark
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How they're still going is by being profitable, and actually selling goods that people want to buy.

ooh, a member of the cult chimes in. If they're profitable, and I've yet to any indication that this is the case, then they don't need funding.

Let's face it: this is just another Herbal Life.

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Charlie Clark
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Jesus, funding of $ 22.3 million in four rounds!. So, will the investors really be out of pocket? Or will they able to offset the loss against tax.

No wonder Trump is popular in large parts of America if this shit™ counts as innovation.

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Charlie Clark
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Mushroom

How is this company still going? Either they mugged some VCs or California has more members of the solutionist cult than is healthy.

Maybe I'm just jealous because I didn't get any funding for something equally inane!

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Twitter forgets followers

Charlie Clark
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Re: That's nothing new

How can you "protect" tweets? Where's the encryption?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Simple explaination

Lucky you!

I wish we could all just forget Twitter…

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FreeBSD devs ponder changes to security processes

Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

What's the problem?

Does the author have an issue with the way the FreeBSD is addressing this? Not commenting on security problems for which there is no patch is common procedure for all vendors.

This particular situation — where a proof of concept for the attack has been released but for which a suitable patch is not yet available — is certainly uncomfortable. But, let's see who and what is affected:

To be exposed, a user would need to be under an active Man-In-The-Middle attack when fetching patches.

In other words: a compromised update process is probably the least of the worries!

Rushing out an untested patch could, as Microsoft and others can testify, cause more problems than it solves: the proverbial swallowing a spider to catch the fly. Security has often as much to do with procedure as it does with code and the advisory provides detailed information for admins on how to mitigate the threat until a patch can be made available. This isn't perfect but is good practice.

Perhaps the most surprising thing is why signed packages aren't already a requirement of the process. But I'm not familiar with the details. The update toolchain is obviously a vulnerability for any system, as once it has been compromised the whole system is effectively compromised. But hardening the toolchain is easier said than done: you have the repositories, transport and code to worry about.

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London's 'automatic' Tube trains suffered 750 computer failures last year

Charlie Clark
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Re: Really?

"most other train services [...] don't have a guard on the train"

For what it's worth, in comparison, here in Germany, where there haven't been ticket barriers for many, many years, all trains except suburban ones have guards, who do signal from the platform that the train can leave and keep one door open for the inevitable last minute arrivals. Making sure the train doesn't leave with someone half-out the door is probably more difficult than driving the damn thing!

On the fully-automated skyrail at Düsseldorf airport, people get in and out of the (tiny) trains using different sides, which are never open simultaneously. I guess this is because people with luggage trying to compete for door space is probably a perfect definition of chaos!

Getting rid of ticket barriers and stupid, stop-based pricing would also be a great idea. Otherwise there's not a lot you can do with much of the UK network without spending vast sums of money on new track, signalling and roll stock.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Shows the challenge of creating self-driving cars

Not really: there are systemic differences because the cars are autonomous and don't have the same kind of hop-on, hop-off operation. But a lot of the data gathered from these kind of services, especially failing safe, has gone into the systems developed for cars.

Personally, I think humans are incredibly not suited to driving cars in traffic: we are so easily distracted, so roll on fully autonomous vehicles.

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Charlie Clark
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Coat

I wonder if it's because it never comes up in Mornington Crescent so no one knows where it is?

Mine's the one with the Humphrey Lyttelton biography in the pocket, thanks.

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Breaking 350 million: What's next for Windows 10?

Charlie Clark
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Re: It's not all bad

For a year all new machines have come with Windows 10 and I think most people would agree with you, though a sizeable minority may well have opted to "downgrade" to Windows 7. But, the market for PCs is in a possibly fatal decline.

The problems are with the more or less force-feeding of Windows 10 onto people who didn't really want it. This combined the "who moved my cheese" problem of GUI changes with compatibility problems in a way that was entirely avoidable and has definitely tarnished the brand. Lots of work for Microsoft to do to rebuild that brand and get the other 700 or 800 million machines onto the new OS.

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Charlie Clark
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Thumb Up

Re: Another lazy hardware bod looking for someone else to do his job

In sum, it's badly written, badly argued, and badly researched.

Can't really argue with that. From the article:

Shot memory and dated processors in your gear meant you were unlikely to get Win 10 running on that old PC.

Sounds good but I wonder what "shot memory" is supposed to be? The baseline for Windows 10 is supposed to be any PC that was supplied with Windows 7. There might be a higher minimum on the memory but the processor shouldn't really matter much because Windows 10 is supposed to contain lots of improvements over Windows 7, which itself digested a lot of the Vista bloat (XML for a GUI, WTF!)

I wonder how many of those 350 million include the many VMs that downloaded, because download by default, Windows 10 but never installed or even could install it? For a year all new consumer PCs came with Windows 10, some of which allowed you to "downgrade" to Windows 7 and they still only got 350 million downloads for a "free" OS upgrade.

The thing is that Windows 7 is a pretty good OS, as long as you don't want the command line (Powershell fans excepted). If only MS had used that as the baselines for a subscription based OS, as they have with Office. Yes, there'd be howls of protest from a few, but I'm sure most would have happily played along. Apple had already done the groundbreaking with free, annual OS releases which selectively disable older hardware.

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Charlie Clark
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Manufacturers will go wherever there is a chance of a profit. That won't be Linux/BSD and probably not Chrome, unless blessed by a Google release.

RemixOS – which will let people run their phone apps – could be worth a bet.

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BBC detector vans are back to spy on your home Wi-Fi – if you can believe it

Charlie Clark
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Packet inspection of somebody else's wifi?

Sounds like the Telegraph spreading FUD again. It's not as if it has a long standing agenda.

Listening to someone else's wifi is not going to get you very far. What is probably a lot easier is to check for wifi at the address of a known non-payer and see if you can correlate the ip address (via request to ISP) with one currently streaming IPlayer.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: BBC Viewers

The licence fee is not a tax.

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Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: Hounded

Riddle me this though, in an age of digital media, where's the pay wall? Both boardcast television and online can sit behind paywalls

You might want to read the BBC's charter and look up the legal definitions of things like "conditional access".

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ARM's top brass land £54m Softbank windfall

Charlie Clark
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Re: Wow.

Almost certainly: the deal is debt-funded and Softbank is already heavily leveraged. There will be some restrictions on when people will fully be able to cash in but when they do, you can expect those who can afford it to leave "to take on new challenges".

At the minimum there will be financial restructuring to increase the cashflow. But, depending on how things go, the pressure to do things like selling and leasing back the patents might become irresistible. As for more money for new projects: don't hold your breath.

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Sealed with an XSS: Popular vulnerabilities probed

Charlie Clark
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SQL Injection - escaping is never enough

Passing parameters is far more important than trying to escape them: if your setup doesn't let you do this, change it.

Wrap all queries in views and only accept http-post queries with CSRF tokens.

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Samsung Note 7: Probably the best phone in the world. Yeah – you heard right

Charlie Clark
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Facepalm

Re: Still doesn't have front facing speakers..

I dont really see any real world usefulness …

In learning how to spell and punctuate?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Still doesn't have front facing speakers..

given the common use of these devices as video players…

Almost never used my phone for watching videos as the ergonomics are dead against it: to get the most out of it you have to hold the phone close enough to strain your eyes.

That said: stereo front speakers are great if you've got them. But looking at HTC's sales, it doesn't look like they're the biggest argument for most people.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Still doesn't have front facing speakers..

Obviously the most important criterium for any phone…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Got a Note 3 at launch...

so either their battery tech isn't advancing as quickly as might be hoped

It isn't advancing at all. Which is why Tesla is spending so much money on a factory for Li-Ion batteries in the expectation that nothing significantly better is going to come along any time soon.

I think Samsung also understands that more and more people are extending their replacement cycles. This favours its approach of continual improvement and integration over Apple's more tick-tock ones, which is why it's moving towards flagship releases every six months or so (first Galaxy then the Note). This is typical for consumer electronics where people can be expected to replace model X with model Y at some point, even if it isn't every two years.

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HPE CEO Meg Whitman endorses Hillary Clinton, dumps on Trump

Charlie Clark
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Re: Better the criminal you know?!

And now at a point where Hillary should by all rights, if not be sat in a jail cell

For which particular crime?

Meanwhile the lawsuits against Trump over his "university" continue to mount up and could lead to a fraud investigation. By the way, where are those tax receipts?

Neither Sanders nor Trump were ever really outsiders, they just played that card.

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Charlie Clark
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the US technology community usually comes out mostly pro-Democrat

This isn't true: John Chambers is a notable Republican. There are some headline Democrats in Silicon Valley but, like the banks, they donate heavily to both parties so that they can best influence legislation. And, historically at least, HP largely kept out of politics. Fiorina was a disastrous aberration, but also an outsider.

But nearly all CEOs are free-traders which is why it's not so surprising to see them being sceptical about Trump. What is perhaps noteworthy is the vehemence with which they've come out, more or less coordinated against Trump. Warren Buffet was particularly scathing and when it comes to willy-waving about how to make money, he has Trump (inherited most of his money, hasn't made much himself) hands down.

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Charlie Clark
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Stop

As can Trump. As is every member of Congress. Your point is?

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Loss-making data-viz biz to investors: You know what our problem is? We did too well

Charlie Clark
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Re: Am I being thick?

Not necessarily, and not in start-up land. Many companies run loss-leading sales campaigns where the costs of initial acquisition are higher than annual revenue. The business model hopes that in time both scale and renewals will more than offset the initial costs.

Tableau has certainly managed to position itself as the premier visualisation toy. Only time will tell if the product provides real benefits to customers.

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Windows 10 Anniversary Update: This design needs a dictator

Charlie Clark
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Hopefully by this time next year, the challenge of integrating tablet and desktop UIs in a way that doesn’t suck will finally have been addressed.

I don't think we'll be holding our breath for that.

Good review but one has to ask the question: why not do all the under-the-hood works with the Windows 7 (& Metro for the couple of touch users) GUI. Pissing around with the OS and the GUI never works well.

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Windows 10: Happy with Anniversary Update?

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Headline news

Other new Edge features include a tree view for Favorites, a warning if you try to exit the browser when a download is in progress…

What year is it? Folders for bookmarks? Even when Opera stupidly removed bookmarks when moving to Blink they reintroduced them, with folders, faster than MS added them to Edge.

Whatever next? The ability to print pages no doubt.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: You can put lipstick on a pig

Windows path handling (due to the DOS/VMS/POS/ETC heritage) is so shit it's worth a book.

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Windows 10 grabs 22 per cent desktop market share in a year

Charlie Clark
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Missing link

The data from US government websites. the high percentage of IOS indicates how skewed the set is:

https://analytics.usa.gov

Akamai also provides worldwide numbers: https://www.akamai.com/de/de/solutions/intelligent-platform/visualizing-akamai/internet-observatory/internet-observatory-explore-data.jsp

El Reg routinely ignores this resource. It has MS Edge, which is a reasonable proxy for Windows 10, at around 6 %

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Windows 10 still free, even the Anniversary Update, if you're crass

Charlie Clark
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Re: desktop OS's will be the minority by 2020 (?)

Interesting concept. How's my theoretical phone of the near future going to handle being asked to run something like Fallout4 ?

It probably won't be able to. But what about Fallout VR running either from a console or over a network and streaming to a fairly dumb viewer? This is at least the theory behind one of nVidia's products. By 2020 flash memory will be have all but replaced the magnetic stuff and Samsung's already pimping next-gen (hi-density, fast I/O) parts. Hi-end phones in 2020 might easily come with 256 GB storage or more and 16 GB RAM.

As noted above I said that the PC will no longer be the dominant hardware platform in 2020, but PCs will still exist. However, I don't think it will be long before we see game development budgets moving towards the mobile devices: Pokemon gives an idea of the potential size of the market (yes, I know it doesn't need anything like the processing power of Fallout). Here, it's led to a bridge being closed to traffic so that people can hunt.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: desktop OS's will be the minority by 2020 (?)

However I doubt my phone will ever have 4 usb ports, or parts I can swap out in 3 mins at £20 a pop.

Firstly, I said dominant. Notebooks overtook desktop PCs (the ones with replaceable parts) a few years ago. Nowadays you can only really swap the drive and RAM. But in a couple of years it may be really hard to find anything with replaceable parts.

Most phones will happily run a USB hub via an OTG cable

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Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

Re: desktop OS's will be the minority by 2020 (?)

More recent phone sales statistics tend to suggest that smartphones. like slabs, have had their "bubble".

The stats only show that growth has peaked: 3.5 million per day seems to be the limit. Meanwhile PC sales are in terminal decline and are lucky to get 20 million a month, with lower margins.

High-end smartphones are now as powerful as desktops from a couple years ago and catching up fast (Intel has better process but ARMs need less silicon): adding keyboards and extra screens is easy. Convergence is going to happen, just not necessarily the way Microsoft would like.

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Tablet sales remain bitter, but Nougat tipped to sweeten the market

Charlie Clark
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Re: Business oriented Android tablets

What about Office for Android and IOS? Might not be acceptable to the quants but may well satisfy others.

Android already multitasks, what Android N brings is multiple windows. While Samsung has something like this already, it will probably improve once it's in the core OS. However, I expect tablets to remain primarily devices of media consumption.

Apple's tie up with IBM, and others, has yet to yield any real gains as evinced by falling sales of all but the top end I-Pads. But it still has sufficient market share to allow for niche products. Elsewhere Android is becoming the first platform to be developed for (corporates with IOS investments are also planning Android rollouts).

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