* Posts by Charlie Clark

4099 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

LG builds a DAB+ digital radio radio into a smartmobe

Charlie Clark
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Re: DAB, DAB+ and Digital Radio Mondial

The only radio station I listen to in Germany (Deutschlandfunk) has terrible reception on FM. I had to get a DAB radio in order to be able to listen to it.

DAB does use more power than FM but it still uses a lot less than any form of streaming. It handles frequency changes when travelling much better than FM and can do without an external antenna.

So, on the whole: well done LG.

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Steve Ballmer: Get the Facts. I 'love' SQL Server on Linux

Charlie Clark
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Re: Let's be honest!

Balmer is a bigger embarrassment than Microsoft Bob

I'm not Ballmer fan, but look at dividend and stock price growth during his tenure. He did a great job for shareholders, of which he remains the largest.

Yes, he bought AQuantive, Skype and Nokia all of which subsequently saw massive write downs. Yes he was responsible for Windows 8 (but also Windows 7, which is standard for enterprises) and he also poured resources into enterprise products that we seldom hear about but which are healthy business units. He also made resources available for Azure and got out of the hot seat once he realised that he was making more bad decisions than good ones. The board and thus the shareholders never asked him to leave. That they took so long to find a replacement says a lot about how unprepared they were.

Yes, MS is losing market share to mobile devices but it's still making a tidy profit and exploring new ways of making money.

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How a Brexit could stop UK biz and Europe swapping personal data

Charlie Clark
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This referendum will be decided by soundbite politics and racism.

How true!

Add to that: hair cuts, smart suits and Theresa May's footwear.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Nice that someone else realized it

I'm not coming back! I'll be staying in Germany. Luckily married to a German woman and have been here long enough to apply for citizenship.

You can have both: I do.

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Charlie Clark
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If there's an out vote in England, I think there is a case for Scotland (plus whatever other peripheral nations/regions) to remain as a successor state.

Outside the SNP's reality distortion field there isn't such a case. The treaties are with the United Kingdom as a whole. The referendum, stupid idea in the first place, is for the whole of the UK. That's the deal that the government of the UK did with the rest of the EU and that the parliament of the UK, where Scotland is more than adequately represented, will produce a bill for a referendum.

A low-oil Scotland would face a tough choice should it decide to leave the UK (main trading partner) and subsequently apply for EU membership. Schengen is now a condition for new members so that would mean border controls between England and Scotland.

British, Bavarian, Catalan, Flemish and probably a whole load of others politicians don't half talk some shit when they get the chance.

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Stop whining, America: Your LTE makes Europe look slow

Charlie Clark
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Re: There are two Americas

I think you're saying that the _average_ population density in the US is much lower than it is in western Europe, which is self-evident.

Well, yes. Except poor coverage in the US starts a lot closer to the built-up areas than in Europe. Even in Silicon Valley, coverage is very poor once you get away from the main centres of population and the motorways.

Absent government subsidies (as were given in ages past for rural free mail delivery), there is no economic incentive for the telecoms to build out in the great empty.

Whereas it was a requirement of the licences awarded in Europe that at least 90% of the population / area (varies from country to country) are covered. Part of the cost of providing this more or less universal coverage is also holding back the buildout of LTE.

Then again, the stubborn refusal of us European to pay US prices – doesn't matter whether it's telephone, internet or pay TV – has led to a more competitive and more advanced business model with more and more specialisation and joint ventures with the equipment makers.

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Charlie Clark
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but the lack of quality LTE must be hurting our economy as its not a good networking environment for innovation.

That sounds like a plea for a handout!

I like the idea of being able to submit Yelp reviews as a litmus test for the digital economy. How much data do you actually need on the move? Assuming you have some local storage for maps and media I think you'll find that you'll be fine with the occasional hotspot.

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Charlie Clark
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There are two Americas

In the big cities coverage is indeed excellent and there is competition. Outside the cities and it can be a very different story: shitty mobile coverage and ISPs with monopoly coverage.

For most people the 3G+ speeds that you can get in most of Europe are adequate for most tasks. This is why "pay more for LTE" failed to get any takers, unlike stateside where it was LTE or EDGE.

LTE was designed for gradual rollout.

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Don't fear PC-pocalypse, Chromebooks, two-in-ones 'will save us'

Charlie Clark
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Errr... isn't there a build of W10 for the Raspberry PI?

Yes, and I agree with you that it shows MS is starting to take ARM seriously. Something they didn't do first time round.

The RPi2 is okay for desktop use (processor speed is less of an issue than I/O). The RPi3 is more than adequate, albeit with the same provisos. Single-thread performance is still poor in comparison with x86 but more cores can generally make up for this as long as you're not repeatedly parsing a large DOM.

However, I wouldn't expect MS to lead here as it still does not have a very convincing strategy for multi-arch binaries: you cannot run x64 binaries on a 32-bit version of Windows.

Based on what I've seen of the ARM64 I can imagine Apple going ARM with the MacBook this year or next: it provides most of the software that will run on it and has a long-established toolchain for cross-compiling for x86 and ARM. What the ARM cores don't provide in straight CPU oomph can be added in custom hardware (encryption) and the GPUs can be made to do more. If they can do this and knock a bit off what they would otherwise pay Intel I can see this happening. I can also see them releasing hardware that will not run x86 code. The target market for the shiny gold MacBook probably doesn't have oodles of legacy software it wants to run.

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European commish considers probing Android, again

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

My main complaint is that MS and its backers appear to get preferential treatment from the EU commission

That's nonsense. It took a long time but the EC was the only body to impose real sanctions on Microsoft and enforce compliance. This went a long way to keeping the media market open on Windows devices.

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Mozilla burns Firefox on old Androids

Charlie Clark
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Honeycomb was a tablet only release

NFT

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Charlie Clark
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Re: old android

All the modern browsers are irrelevance on older devices because of memory use (needed to go moar faster with modern websites). Opera Mini is a great choice for such devices and is well-maintained by Opera precisely for this market.

OTOH I suspect the numbers of users in developing countries on older versions (< 4.x) of Android is very small. They skipped it initially because hardware was too expensive. Once handsets became available for less than $ 100 they came with Android > 4 on them.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Pity

Ruari Odegård (ex-Opera dev) touted this particular feature yesterday when promoting the most recent version of Vivaldi

I don't use Vivaldi for everything but it does seem to have much the same kind of spirit of Opera of old.

Elsewhere Opere devs tout native ad-blocking as if 2003 had never happened. At least I think it was 2003 when Opera introduced ad-blocking. Before there were even extensions for other browsers.

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Google emits Android N developer preview early to smoke out bugs

Charlie Clark
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Re: N = "Not For You"

Sounds like you need to get in touch with Motorola.

At this point, given the near complete lack of any sort of updates, I'm assuming it's roughly as secure as my Windows XP box.

Nope, it's certainly not invulnerable but Android definitely is a lot more secure than XP ever was.

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Charlie Clark
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Good move

Early access for developers should prove a boon for the conference. It also suggests that Google might be starting to open the development process up a bit.

It's also good PR for Android as it will mean more articles about what's coming next.

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Java evangelist leaves Oracle to save Java

Charlie Clark
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Re: Please just let Java die...Please!

The main purpose is to stop stupid programming errors by requiring programmers to explicitly say what a variable *is*, so the compiler can check and enforce how it's *used*.

There are enough examples of where static typing doesn't help here. The compiler can certainly help pick up some errors that would otherwise require specific unit tests, but it's far from infallible.

Type hints in Python are explicitly flagged as being there for "the tooling", ie. machine processing and optimisation of the code.

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Charlie Clark
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What is this article about?

I get the idea that the guy is upset but that's about it.

More importantly, who's going to be paying him to have a conscience?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Please just let Java die...Please!

Python? Sure I use it, but always miss Java's strong typing.

Python is strongly typed. It just isn't statically typed. This is by design.

Static typing's main benefit is improved performance through better memory allocation. This is basically what you get if you run something through PyPy. Type hints in Python 3.5 will further improve things where this is important.

On very large systems Java still benefits from the work done years ago by Sun, IBM and others to run on lots of processors.

Compiling anything on Windows is a problem. Python is particularly challenging because each Python version has traditionally been compiled with a different version of Visual Studio.

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Sexism isn't getting better in Silicon Valley, it's getting worse

Charlie Clark
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Re: Can we stop this nonsense

It is indeed. However it is possible to do more than one thing at once, so I'm sure you'll agree that racism is not the only inequality which needs to be addressed now.

I do agree and obviously didn't make myself clear. On the other hand, it looks like I'm heading for my own personal best in downvotes, which is nice.

I highlighted the incarceration rate of black Americans because it remains high even after decades of affirmative action.

I'm even more sceptical that any of the tokenisms such as IWD and the various feel-good about diversity boondoggles which ever be good for anyone other than the organisers.

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Charlie Clark
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I find a lot of these agendas are pushed by feminists and they don't actually want gender equality.

Not so sure about that. Depends upon your definition of feminist, I guess.

However, there is no doubt in my mind that there is now an industry of "victim culture". It's not actually interested solutions just in talking shops and junkets for its members.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Can we stop this nonsense

Indeed. Would be nice to see if America could do something about the incarceration rate of black men: 25 - 33% (sorry, no current stats to hand) of black men spend some time in jail. To my mind that's a far bigger disgrace than any of the "quota" issues. All kinds of policies have failed to have a significant impact on this.

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Charlie Clark
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Dr Sue Black

"Our society is vaguely misogynistic…" WTF is that supposed to mean? Sounds like something from The Day Today. Then again Sue Black would organise <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G07sWzYObnk>excellent jam festivals</a>, I think.

I was at a corporate client's HQ yesterday. Roses were being handed out to women at the canteen because it was international women's day. Can someone help explain how this helps break down stereotypes because I fucking can't. Just more bloody tokenism. And ironic when you consider where, and under what conditions, roses are grown so they can be handed out in early March in Europe.

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'Microsoft Office has been the bane of my life, while simultaneously keeping me employed'

Charlie Clark
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Why bother?

Just use xlwings (works also on MacOS). Though for this particular task I'd be tempted to do it all in Python, with my-developer-of-a-Python-Excel-library hat on, as the overhead of communicating with Excel severely limits any parallelism.

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Brits still not happy about commercial companies using their healthcare data

Charlie Clark
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Make it opt-in

Then see what you have to do to get people to opt-in.

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Cloud sellers who acted on Heartbleed sink when it comes to DROWN

Charlie Clark
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The German BSI (Federal Office of IT Security) has been contacting the various ISPs / data centres after scanning them and providing lists of probably vulnerable. Intern the ISPs are contacting the relevant server owners. Would be nice to see more of this, even if the initial e-mail suggested that there might have been a security breach and that the server would be shutdown if no action was taken.

I did have to fix one system but was able to track down the relevant instructions pretty easily. It's an older Debian system and gave me another reason to curse "packaged systems". Compiling and installing a new version of openssl was no problem. But, of course, you have to deal with non-standard paths and then configure the relevant services (e-mail, mainly). The server is due for an upgrade to something newer but there are no convenient tools for migrating things like e-mail addresses. :-/

Good place to start if you need to check.

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Microsoft has made SQL Server for Linux. Repeat, Microsoft has made SQL Server 2016 for Linux

Charlie Clark
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Re: Microsoft cannot be trusted

You have no idea how crafty, patient and dastardly MS Oracle, SAP, etc. can be.

FTFY

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Charlie Clark
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Re: *YAAAAWWWWN*

If you really think that SQL Server gives you nothing over MariaDB and Postgres then, no, this gives you nothing.

Agreed. Except that the comparison with MarIaDB and Postgres in the same breath is unfair. MariaDB continues the ignominious tradition of being fast but shit. Postgres just keeps getting better and better and more interesting for larger projects.

Azure demonstrates that MS knows how to scale.

But, as in many situations, this isn't really about the software at all. It's about the "eco-system": training, support, third-party products, etc. MSSQL has built up a reasonably loyal market in some areas. Some parts of this market might be looking to get with the in-crowd and Docker all the things. Early release due in mid-2017 doesn't sound that impressive but enterprise roadmaps are often at least two years out.

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Google splats more bad Android security bugs with patches your mobe will probably never see

Charlie Clark
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In the EU it's still within the period (two years) of statutory guarantee so you are within your rights to sue Samsung. Contact you local consumer rights body for more information.

In general, most handset manufacturers have a shocking record when it comes to providing updates. We need more legal cases like that launched recently in the Netherlands.

We'll only find our rights are respected if we are prepared to assert them.

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First working Apple Mac ransomware infects Transmission BitTorrent app downloads

Charlie Clark
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Re: Checksums anyone?

The problem is where is your reference source for a download from a web page?

Most software distribution systems, including Transmission's update procedure, use hashes to make sure that what's downloaded is what it should be. And many websites/ftp sites provide the hashes in various forms so you can check. However, how many of us bother to do us with everything we install? Developer credentials are supposed to work around this so the user has to okay the unverifiable install.

Sounds like a well-planned and well-executed scam:

1) hack the website so that a different file is offered

2) hack the credentials so that the download can bypass OS protection mechanisms

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BBC telly tax drops onto telly-free households. Cough up, iPlayer fans

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Sorry, but the guy is an idiot

The BBC works on the basis that all who watch it pay for it

Nope, that is very wrong.

It works on providing a universal service that is universally funded. The service gets its independence from the universal funding but is explicitly not quid pro quo.

It also should not be involved in collecting the licence fee. The licence fee is decided by parliament and this is what gives it its heft. If the BBC becomes involved then it becomes just another private debt that is easy to avoid. This would mean the BBC would have to devote significant resources to collecting the fee.

The alternative to a difficult to administer fee for IPlayer would be to extend the licence to cover computers. etc. as happened in Germany a few years ago.

As for a paid-for version of iPlayer: I'm sure the BBC could sell loads of those outside the UK.

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Turkish hacker pleads guilty to $55m maniac global ATM heist

Charlie Clark
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Re: um!

Nah, keep him on expensive life support until the sentence is served.

Mine's the one with the Jasper Fforde in the pocket, ta.

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Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

Spellchecking budget cut again?

Turkish hacker pleds guilty

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Windows 10 claimed another point of desktop share in February

Charlie Clark
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Re: Microsoft's real fail…

IE11 may be part of the reason. There's an awful lot of forums that IE11 won't work with.

Interesting. That sounds to me like poor programming of the forums presumably using IE specific workarounds for all versions of the browser rather than feature detection. However, as you note users no longer blame the website owner as they know they can just switch browsers and website developers know that they no longer need to worry.

IE 11 really is okay as a browser: it does a lot of things correctly and has a fast JS runtime. It's just not enough and it's not going to any updates.

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Charlie Clark
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Stop

Microsoft's real fail…

…is the continued ignominious demise of Internet Explorer as a browser. Looking at the Top10 of browsers on non-cellular networks we see that IE (13%) is now behind Safari mobile (14%) all the time and may soon fall behind Chrome mobile during the week as well as at weekends. And this desktop and desktop replacement traffic.

Edge is stuck around 2% and unlikely to gain relevance because: people are sticking with Windows 7; and Microsoft refused to backport Edge to Windows 7.

IE 11 is a reasonable browser but is going to fall behind the competition in increasingly important areas as things like Flexbox (supported by IE 11) become the "new normal". It means that, while corporates are keeping IE around for legacy, they must provide alternatives for every day use of the interwebs. Whether it's Firefox ESR or special Google builds or simply I-Pads, it's all not Microsoft. Once everyone has moved all their bookmarks to browser X, it's going to be very hard to get them back.

And Microsoft is betting the farm on the best HTML/JS/CSS runtime.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Whaaatt?

If there an equivalent covering more of the world I'm sure the vulture want to know.

What? You mean like Akamai's Internet Observatory?

Mentioned it several times to no effect. Probably because you can't just cut & paste the data into a spreadsheet.

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Bruce Schneier: We're sleepwalking towards digital disaster and are too dumb to stop

Charlie Clark
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Re: bravo

And Benjamin Franklin said "He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security".

I'm sure Cicero and Socrates said something similar. And yet…

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Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: @AC - Hmmm...

I'm not sure how much of a 'geddon it is yet, but I think we'd all prefer there to be less of that kind of thing going on.

This is straight from the major! Where's the Monty Python icon?

10 points to your team for demonstrating an appropriate response to engineered panic! Have a copy of the Brass Eye Paedophilia Special for your troubles. Better order some filing cabinets for your kids!

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'Boss, I've got a bug fix: Nuke the whole thing from orbit, rewrite it all'

Charlie Clark
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Re: C-as-assembler

Needs to be viewed in a monospace font to truly appreciate it.

Wrap in a code (pre for double linespacing) block to do that.

unsigned char i2c_rd(void) // read an 8b streaming

{ unsigned char bit_count = 0 ; // bit counter the 8b streaming

SDA=1 ; P1M2=0x05 ; // prepare SDA as input (=1)

while(bit_count<8)

{ eep_buf=eep_buf<<1 ; // shift left 1b eeprom data buffer

dly_usec(4) ; SCL=1 ; // rise-up SCL

shift0=SDA ; dly_usec(4) ; // read bit_n from eeprom

SCL=0 ; dly_usec(2) ; // pulse SCL

bit_count++ ; dly_usec(2) ; } // increment bit counter(repeat for 8b)

P1M2=0x0d ; return eep_buf ; // SDA open drain(return data buf)

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Charlie Clark
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Re: C is a glorified assembler

"Personal idiosyncratic use of such features is the problem"

As long as it can be understood why is it a problem?

It's in the definition of "idiosyncratic" – similar only to itself.

For example, I could always redefine my booleans. Would you like to work with my code?

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Charlie Clark
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... I honestly cannot figure out why anyone would do this.

It seems pretty obvious to me. For the guy each project was completely separate from the rest so he felt justified in starting from scratch but with the same approach and files as before. By repurposing the library he was able to write his application code the way he liked to.

I don't agree with this approach but I can understand it and I know that I've done similar things in the past, though usually copying something like utils from A to B. The real problem seems more systemic: why no VCS? And why were other developers charged with recompiling his stuff?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Well, this article'll cause some arguments, eh?

Anyway, it looks LibreSSL is just borrowing heavily from a fork of OpenSSL and probably just removing some little used stuff - but it's not a clean room rewrite...

It's always been a fork. A lot of stuff has been removed or rewritten, but one of the reasons for the fork was maintaining API compatibility.

Nevertheless, I find it interesting that this bit of code was kept around.

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Greybeard monobrow baldies rejoice! Boffins comb out hairy genes

Charlie Clark
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Coat

That's weird: I've always thought of them as a pair of dicks! Then there's that hairy twat, Robbie Savage.

I don't mind a bit of banter along with the football but the BBC is doing a great job of imitating the tabloids.

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One-third of all HTTPS websites open to DROWN attack

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: Meanwhile on OS X

Try http://brew.sh, it's a much cleaner approach.

No, it isn't.

MacPorts allows you to override bits of the subsystem that Apple never gets round to patching.

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Charlie Clark
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Meanwhile on OS X

MacPorts contained updates this morning.

Inspecting the system more closely:

/usr/bin/openssl version

OpenSSL 0.9.8zg 14 July 2015

and

/usr/local/bin/openssl version

LibreSSL 2.2.0

Better, especially as /usr/local/bin gets precedence in the path bug 2.2.6 was released back in January.

C'mon Apple: release those upstream updates to your customers!

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More and more Brits are using ad-blockers, says survey

Charlie Clark
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Re: Ad free please

Well, you could easily anonymise the payment stuff through a clearing house. I'm just thinking of the integration of paywalls in the browser as a way of lowering the barrier to entry.

Visit The Register initially for free then after a while it's used up and you get offered conditional access: single article, monthly sub, yearly, etc. Or ad-supported access with ad-blockers disabled for that site.

To be honest I'd be more worried about abuse of the service by unscrupulous websites than by the data slurping stuff.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Ad free please

So, what do you think of the idea I had for a "PayPal" browser that would allow you to do just that?

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Charlie Clark
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54 per cent of those surveyed (and more 18-24s) said they’d turn the blocker off to reach a particular site or service

Sounds like "do what I say, not what I do".

Polls like this remind me of those that regularly demand more spending and lower taxes: people know that they are not accountable for such opinions.

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Learn things? DROWN HTTPS flaw proves we don't even test things

Charlie Clark
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Sorry, what?

test your configuration to make sure it's what you expected

What is this supposed to mean? I take it to mean "configuration was correctly distributed and applied". Cf. the recent Google router misconfiguration.

What are "post-configuration tests"?

The only thing I can think of is: do you regularly run penetration testing on your equipment? The whole point of penetration testing is that it is external and ignorant of configuration. Run it and expect the unexpected.

Are enough people running enough penetration tests? Certainly not. This isn't helped by the legal situation: in some countries penetration testing may involve technically illegal activities.

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Safe Harbour v2.0 greenlights six bulk data collection excuses

Charlie Clark
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The responsibility of courts

Given that the CJEU failed to define what is and isn’t acceptable the first time around, the Shield is sure to end up back in Luxembourg once again.

Is it the responsibility of the court to do so? That would make the court a lawmaker. The main point of the judgement was that EU citizens have little or no rights over their privacy in the US, ergo Safe Harbour is null and void. Politicians around the world have, for reasons of political expediency ("look at what we're doing to fight terrorism/child pornography/halitosis, etc."), increasingly effectively delegated lawmaking to the courts. Think of the DRIP fiasco.

The onus is now on lawmakers to come up with the definitions both of what's acceptable and of adequate legal recourse. Mass snooping is unlikely to suffice and, so, if it's included then the agreement then there is every chance that the law does end up before the courts. However, this would be a poor strategy to follow: the ECJ has already invalidated the existing agreements so new ones are likely to be overturned by lower courts, citing the existing judgement.

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Microsoft sneaks onto Android while Android sneaks onto Windows

Charlie Clark
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Re: Kind of obvious

It doesn't need to. If MS doesn't want to be held to the licence, it doesn't need to accept it.

Nope. This is a standard area of contract law and underpins discussions of licensing such as FRAND patents. Clauses like this are routinely struck out by courts as too onerous and here possibly even irrelevant to the implicit contract of the licence.

As an extreme example: a licence for my code might include a requirement for a particular religious affiliation. It's unlikely that such a clause would withstand judicial scrutiny. This is why so many real contracts have clauses at the end that prevent nullification in case that any individual clause is held to be invalid.

Add to this the way the dual-licensing that Google already applies to Android: there's AOSP and then there's the stuff for manufacturers and it's fairly clear that Android is not Linux.

Whatever, with Microsoft apparently exiting the handset business, it's unlikely for them to start becoming an Android distributor. Providing an alternative to Google Play services is probably sufficient.

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