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* Posts by Charlie Clark

2785 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Google kills its successful social network. Yes, we mean Orkut

Charlie Clark
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Why would closing this service be any different to the other services that Google has closed over the last few years? But equally, why should closing yet another marginal service have any affect on the professional, paid-for services such as docs and mail? Users of such services are protected by contracts unlike the users of free services, though I suspect the free versions will stick around in one form or another to entice people to use them. Personally, I don't use many of Google's services apart from the search.

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Conformist Google: Android devices must LOOK, WORK ALIKE

Charlie Clark
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Re: Google - More like Apple every day

And that's the way it will stay for those who can be bothered.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Slow learners?

@paul how about having a look at the "Material Design" docs to see? They're not perfect but the show that it's not a "Metro moment".

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Saddle up for the Tour de Firmware

Charlie Clark
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Re: Grumpy old git

On a race bike there is always a strict tradeoff between technical advantage and weight. Particularly on hills there is a desire to spare every gram possible. It was not unusual for people to file or drill things that they thought they could do without. There are even those who consider something like a computer as too much extra weight.

Recently, however, carbon fibre frames have put a floor under the practical weight of a bike - much lighter and they won't really be ridable. You still won't find most of the gimmicks on a race bike but electronic gearing might be nice on a hill as that's the place that you're likely to have problems changing gears. I can also imagine some of the hard core preferring indicators over hand signals so they don't have to take their hands off the bars.

In real life there is usually more weight to be saved on the rider than on the bike so there is more room for creature comforts. Hub dynamos are down to around 450g and can easily provide enough power to charge a phone - handy if you're planning an extended camping trip.

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Spanish struggle to control spelling of 'WhatsApp'

Charlie Clark
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Re: Why translate?

It isn't translation but transcription or transliteration. Or how else do you think we got the word algebra?

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What a whopper, LG: Feast your eyes on this 77-inch bendy TV

Charlie Clark
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Re: Plasma

Does the upscale to 4K and latest panel negate the "cartoon" look of LCDs versus Plasma screens? I will wait for the professional reviews

OLED has a huge colour gamut and blacks as black, if not blacker, than plasma. But they tend to come poorly calibrated (oversaturated, too high contrast and not enough gamma) from the factory. You're right to wait for the professional reviews but I think you're likely to be surprised as to how good big OLED screens really are.

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BOFH: You can take our lives, but you'll never take OUR MACROS

Charlie Clark
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Re: Not usually the programs fault.

Access has some use like for a single user

No, it doesn't. There's almost always something more suitable around.

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Charlie Clark
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Unhappy

I still sometimes wonder how the muppets got on

They probably went on to found some NoSQL company and are busy at the moment drinking cocktails paid for by our pension funds!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I beg your pardon...

Yeah, I just rely on Google/Apple/etc. to tell me what I've been watching!

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Charlie Clark
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Oh, I don't know. Eternity might be a whole lot closer while they try and figure out how to write queries in Access… Access' version of SQL is somewhat special!

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Black hole three-way: Supermassive trio are 'rippling' space

Charlie Clark
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How do they actually orbit?

My understanding of unified field theory isn't the best but I thought that for forces to work on each other wave/particles ("gravitons in the case of gravity) of force had to be exchanged. Does this mean black holes are not black to gravity? Or does the curvature of space time provide a sufficient explanation?

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SQL fights back against NoSQL's big data cred with SQL/MDA spec

Charlie Clark
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Re: Interesting

No, I'm not talking about abusing arrays to create enums. But when an array is your datatype, all operations on it will be working with the array rather than its component values. Calculating the distance between geospatial coordinates is one example of this, but there are plenty of others in other scientific fields.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Interesting

@BlueGreen - I think the idea would be along the lines of the GIS coordinate model so the fields in your tuple are themselves tuples (or possibly even tuples of tuples) and the calculations that may be associated with them.

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Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Oh, please

SQL could be in line to be moved on from “venerable” tag to “obsolete”…

NoSQL is supposed to be "not only SQL". Why is it that you lot continue misreading SQL for RDBMS and proclaiming the end of the relational database. SQL as a language has many drawbacks and pitfalls but it isn't about to go away: for the majority of large-scale data storage systems it is the only reasonable solution. Key-value and document storage systems may have their place alongside relational ones but any attempt to replace them will require reinventing them.

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DOH! Google’s internet of things vision is powered by… Mac OS

Charlie Clark
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Re: Google switched to Mac

They have their own OS, and they don't use it by default internally?

Which OS would that be exactly? Android, Chrome OS or one of their server versions?

I applaud the undogmatic use of the Mac: the hardware is good to develop on and works well with external AV. One of Google's strengths is its promiscuity - making its services available to all and sundry. In this Android is only a means to an end.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Google switched to Mac

And for presentation work MacOS video drivers are more reliable than Linux ones. I've seen a number of crashes when plugging Linux laptops into projectors.

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I/O NOOOOO!!! We sat through Google's bum numbing 3-hour keynote so you didn't have to

Charlie Clark
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Re: "Google wants battery life to be improved"

The design changes will easily be handled the GPU and shouldn't really affect battery use that much. The main power drain will continue to be the illumination of the screen and any decoding of image or video formats.

Better battery use can be achieved with a runtime that uses less memory and compiles more efficiently. Better compilers are now possible on the newer chips. With the right combination, more apps can be moved in and out of RAM, which requires power, faster.

But based on my devices I'd expect to see better management of the radios. On all my devices, disabling wifi is the single best method of range extension.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: "Material Design?"

Yes, and no. You can certainly see both aspects of Metro and IOS 7 in the new Google stuff and this is as it should be. MS rushed Metro into all versions of Windows 8 and didn't think it through properly: tiles are an excellent approach as is large type and bold colours but they become a problem when you have a lot of them on large screen. MS also didn't invent the "stack and tile" approach.

The paired back icons and areas are definitely a nod to IOS 8 but seem less slavishly puritanical: I particularly like the thought given to (coordinated) transitions. Luke Wroblewski, as ever, wrote a great article on designing for IOS 7 which highlight that good design essentially iterative. This is as true for individual works as it is for frameworks.

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You are ALL Americans now: Europeans offered same rights as US folks in data slurp leaks

Charlie Clark
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Re: Human rights are non-negotiable

@Trevor: shut up, bend over and take it like a good little ally.

The legislation's a start but I can't see Congress passing anything much before the next presidential election. Anything that gives rights to foreigners is bound to be suspicious the Tea Party freaks.

The EU is large enough to have to be listened to in trade deals but I don't think the loss of safe harbour will worry US companies too much.

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MongoDB pops up in Microsoft and Google data centers

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Get it right!

EnterpriseDB offers its own version of PostgreSQL, targeted particularly at Oracle installations. It's not a NoSQL company.

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Mozilla to cram a full web-dev IDE inside Firefox browser

Charlie Clark
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Re: Reinventing the wheel

I remember those days and, while I'm not particularly interested in this IDE, I do recognise the difference: this is built as an extension, i.e. you shouldn't notice it's their if you don't explicitly load it.

This simply wasn't possible back in the day - Javascript wasn't sophisticated enough and the runtime and the machines weren't fast enough.

Nowadays the JS runtimes are approaching the speed of native code. Gary Bernhardt gave an entertaining talk about what possibilities this offers at this year's PyCon.

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ARRRRR. Half world's techies are software PIRATES – survey

Charlie Clark
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Re: The report is without basis

Colour me surprised: lobby makes up numbers in report designed to further its interests.

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David Cameron wants mobe network roaming INSIDE the UK

Charlie Clark
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Re: Missing the point

And how exactly do you expect to be billed for this? It would be possible if you were prepared to pay different prices for each call you made depending on the network. And your SIM is necessarily tied to one network for some modicum of security, you're still going to have some kind of base charge (minimum annual spend).

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Charlie Clark
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Tsk, tsk

The comparison with Netflix is invalid: Netflix is not a network. A better comparison would be local loop unbundling which has been shown to work (improve coverage, competition and investment) in some countries reasonably well. It doesn't solve problems with white space but there are other approaches, usually based on some kind of public service model (see the French one above) for that. Scandinavia also has examples of how to solve the problem.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Nightmare

What are the incentives for improvements (or even maintaining the current standard) if they pool the services?

Certainly, during build out having the ability to plan your own network is a competitive advantage. Long-term centralised network ownership that is independent of the operators is the most likely outcome. Indeed this has already been happening for years as equipment get into the business of supplying the network rather than just the kit. You still need to balance the demands by the networks of lower costs with those of capacity and coverage. The model might be the rail network… the experience of which varies from country to country.

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Charlie Clark
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It was also an essential part of O2's buildout as the fourth network in Germany. It was switched off by O2 presumably because it cost more to keep paying for it (costs no extra to the customer) than build out where it was economically viable and leave white space where not. Establishing the charges - the termination fees could be a model - wouldn't be impossible and if set by Ofcom wouldn't need extra haggling, though you can imagine Ofcom setting floor prices and some operators negotiating volume deals.

White space remains a problem for all operators, which is why licences never stipulate 100 % coverage. In such areas the French solution is reasonable for voice services because these scale predictably: phones need only 2 voice channels at any one time. Data is more of a challenge so you can expect that to be permanently throttled.

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GAME ON: NVIDIA brings GPUs to 64-bit ARM servers

Charlie Clark
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The HPC market is still pretty small. In the data centre Intel still has the advantage of backwards compatibility and fear of the potential costs of recompiling all the relevant software for the relevant ARM chips and vendors going out of business (Calxeda). For the foreseeable future it needn't worry too much but once there is an industry standard for the boot process and drivers on ARM things might start to move quite quickly. Of course, the sales guys will be busy doing nice, long-term deals with server makers.

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Russian gov to dump x86, bake own 64-bit ARM chips - reports

Charlie Clark
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Re: It was just the question of time after the NSA revelations...

I think it's still politically too tricky to go after the NSA: any hint that you're doing anything that might stop "the war on terror" and you're out. Think of the number of investigations about the attack in Benghazi.

I have a hunch that Obama has chosen the route of disclosure and leaks to try to peg the NSA back. It might lead to some kind of civil or even criminal suits and the courts are slightly less prone to pressure than the politicians. Of course, none of the top spooks and loons will really suffer for anything but the budgets might not rise as fast as expected.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: chip-making facilities.

It is worth pointing out the Arm chips were designed not to need high end chip making facilities…

Be that as it may, nowadays there isn't really anything but high-end. 28nm is yesterday's news but how many companies are making the components for the process. And you're still going to need clean rooms and the discipline required. Meanwhile, over the last 10 years Russia's productivity (and life expectancy) has been stagnant at best.

Buoyed by a high oil price, Putin has showered money on the military, though it still pales in comparison to Soviet days (which is why it is buying tech from France, Germany and elsewhere) and some of the cleverer electronics stuff is still done in Ukraine, and pet social projects. This has disguised an increasingly uncompetitive economy - uncompetitive economies are notoriously bad at keeping skilled workers.

But, as has been pointed out elsewhere probably the best argument against the "hardening" up the CPU is that it's probably the least interesting part to hack. I believe the NSA has already been demonstrated to have implemented a backdoor on a network interface. Then again, the leaks of recorded conversations by the KGB/FSB of foreigners indicates that that at least is an area where the Russians are still on the top of their game.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Could the NSA bribe ARM??

You're being a bit naive- if the NSA wants something in the silicon it goes to the manufacturers; if it wants something on your machine it goes to UPS. Seeing as Qualcomm was spun out of the defence industry and is still heavily dependent upon defence contracts I can hardly see them saying no to adding something special or telling the NSA what to look or listen for. The same is likely to be true for many other manufacturers.

As for the integrity of the chip designers - don't place too much faith in that nor their political convictions: they probably have the same lack of sincere political convictions as anyone else. They're more likely to be motivated by going after Intel than anything else. Oh, and it's GCHQ by the way.

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Charlie Clark
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Don't believe everything you read in the papers or on the interwebs

Russia occasionally talks up its microelectronics business but it rarely comes to anything. You need a lot of good people on site to be able to design and manufacture your own chips. Years of neglect of non-essential, non-military tech in Russia has led to an outflow of many of the engineers you need for this kind of venture. Seeing as how dependent Russia is on external expertise in areas like oil and gas exploration, I doubt very much that it is capable of building and maintaining chip-making facilities.

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'Most sophisticated DDoS' ever strikes Hong Kong democracy poll

Charlie Clark
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"Security outfit"

Security outfit CloudFlare…/

While it's true that content delivery networks have to be security aware - and they can be very cost-effective in this respect - this doesn't make them security specialists.

300 Gbps is a hell of a lot of traffic, enough to disrupt whole internet interchanges. But this is still probably only the work of some of the hordes of nationalist script kiddies in China. If the Chinese government wants to shutdown something in Hong Kong it has other options. If it wants to DDoS somewhere, it would be probably start at 300 Gbps - though attack of that size will likely get the IETF coordinating sinkholes.

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T-Mobile boss: 'High and mighty' Verizon and AT&T are 'raping you for every penny you have'

Charlie Clark
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Re: Career suicide

word 'rape' is definitely going to put him in some hot water...headlines

It's his job to get his company and its products noticed. Say something outrageous and apologise quickly, no damage done. Cf. Michael O'Leary of Ryanair.

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Android to drop Dalvik VM for high-performance ART in next version

Charlie Clark
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Bit of a broad brush there. Some of the Samsung software is fine - I like the quick access to the alarm clock, the camera app and the music player; the hardware is fine - replaceable battery, SD support, OLED screen. It would be nice to be able to permanently delete some of the crap that gets installed.

As others have noted, having the latest version of the OS doesn't make a whole heap of difference. Does the phone still do what you wanted it to do when you bought it is the most important question.

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Charlie Clark
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Google knows that most people get new phones every two years. From the API perspective there aren't huge differences between 4.0 and 4.4. Where things do matter Google is using the Play Store components to move the laggards along.

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Yes. App that lets you say 'Yo' raises 1 MEEELLION DOLLARS

Charlie Clark
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Re: We're finally there...

I still think that if we're seriously to tackle the stupidity surplus that it's hard to beat the anti-smite shield. But some of these start-ups come damn close!

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Apple SOLDERS memory into new 'budget' iMac

Charlie Clark
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That's a reasonable question - I rarely run out of memory on my 4GB MacBook and regularly use Windows VMs. I'd like to have more but Apple have limited the chipset to 8GB. :-( Such use cases, however, do not justify Apple's cost-cutting / restrictions. You never know when you might need that kind of memory.

Note to El Reg - adding more RAM won't increase the speed unless you're running out of memory a lot. 8 GB on a Mac leaves a lot of RAM for programs.

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Intel reveals its FrankenChip ARM killer: one FPGA and one Xeon IN ONE SOCKET

Charlie Clark
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Technology study?

Intel really doesn't want anything that isn't x86. But if it thinks ARMs are dangerous, FPGAs are lethal for that model. Which is why they will never sell a separate FPGA part.

I can see a demand for CPU(x86) + CPU(ARM) + GPU + FPGA for scientific work and super computers but you're going to want to be able to control the distribution of those units. I think AMD is approaching this better with the options of additional embedded cores or cards.

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DANGER MOUSE is back ... and he isn't half a GLASSHOLE

Charlie Clark
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Re: noooo

Yeah, and sidekicks aren't allowed to be stupid anymore. Sigh, no more thicko Bullwinkle J. Moose.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Or....

Because we know they'll fuck it up.

I'm not totally against remakes or new interpretations but they - Battlestar Galactica - are very much the exception rather than the rule.

All this bringing stuff up to date is total bollocks. Noggin the Nog, Ivor the Engine and Bagpuss were already old when I watched them back in the 70s and 80s but they were timeless because the focus was on the story and the characters and not the fucking technology. This is the whole point of the classics.

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Charlie Clark
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Happy

That's my afternoon gone then!

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Charlie Clark
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Happy

Re: BBC Radio 4 Extra

Used to walk past the offices every time we went to the swimming baths…

Happy days!

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Cisco promises Lync link for its UC kit and collaborationware

Charlie Clark
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Anecdote

One of my corporate customers has had some kind of Cisco plugin for Lync on it from the word go. AFAIK, this is already tied into the Cisco sets on the desk.

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Samsung peddles tyred Smart Bike concept

Charlie Clark
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Re: My eyes bleed

electric regeneration

Hub dynamos are pretty impressive nowadays. I suppose they could be configured to charge only at speeds above x or on downwards slopes. You don't lose much energy braking on a bike and you can't recover anything from wind resistance - you could put on a windmill I suppose, but really a fairing and letting the dynamo charge is you're best bet.

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Sneak peek: Microsoft's next browser (thanks, IE Developer Channel)

Charlie Clark
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Coat

Suggestions

Let me get this in early: remove Windows and install PC-BSD!

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Supermodel Lily Cole: 'I got a little bit upset by that Register article'

Charlie Clark
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Re: What is the real problem

Andrew, thanks for the clarification. I'm in Germany and I'll admit to not keeping up to date with the shenanigans in Whitehall. As I said, I think focussing too much on Lily Cole detracts from the argument which would be the unaccountability of Nesta. What other bollocks things have they been involved with? More "community service" engagements for the well-to-do?

Not to worry, we have our own share of investment catapults here. And the bureaucrats and politicians dislike FoI provisions just as much as anywhere else.

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Charlie Clark
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What is the real problem

While it's amusing to bash on about the "taxpayer" giving £ 200,000 to this "poor little rich kid" for a useless website, I think it's a bit of a mistake to focus on the money. For a start, if she's got good accountants, she's probably costing the country more through (perfectly legal) tax avoidance schemes. In the subsidy stakes (such as those given in the energy industry) £ 200,000 doesn't even figure as a rounding error.

Let's take Miss Cole out of the equation and focus on the role of Nesta and whether it's doing its job properly - what are the expected tangible (ie. the number of employees) and intangible benefits of the site? How will they be measured? And how will those allocating the money be held accountable (not necessarily sacked)?

As things stand I think it is perfectly reasonable to suggest that the whole thing was a vehicle to benefit Freud Communications - weren't they associated with another waste-of-time, celebrity (political) website? What is the ownership of the website? What is the proposed business model? More digging along those lines, please.

Oh, and good to see the Freedom of Information Act doing its job.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Never...

I agree that the ad hominem attacks are off the mark and detract from the issue: what is NESTA supposed to be doing? and who's overseeing it?

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WORLD CUP SHOCK: England declared winner in 2-1 defeat to Italy

Charlie Clark
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ABE

NFT

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TIME TRAVELLERS needed to secure Windows 7

Charlie Clark
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Unaffacted

I have a Windows 7 VM (with a full-fat licence). However, as I refuse to do the additional licence verification dance (what's up with you licensing Microsoft that it doesn't work properly first time?) I get to miss out on some of the updates, including it appears the browser updates. I don't really care as I only fire the thing up once a week or so to use my scanner or test a website in IE 9. But, judging by website statistics, it seems I'm far from alone: use of IE seems to split fairly neatly between IE8, IE9 and IE11.

Microsoft, it seems, still doesn't know how it feels about its browser: is it a core part of the OS and thus worth protecting? or just one among many of the browsers out there with a sideline in traffic referral?

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