* Posts by Charlie Clark

4035 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Higher US Fed interest rates will hit startups over the head

Charlie Clark
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Re: The FED my be reversing that 0.25% rise

A couple other countries have successfully done this (negative interest rates) so rather than being theoretical it is something they could actually consider

Define success? Sweden and Switzerland have done it to push the exchange rate down; Japan is just going into it despite failing to get the economy growing with all other forms of expansive monetary policy.

Negative and near-zero rates have extremely deleterious effects on any form of saving. And, as we're seeing, they encourage the dependency on the Greenspan put: that central banks will always intervene to support asset prices.

The US is fine: capital is flowing back in from overseas and it has low energy costs. Of course, the next government shutdown won't be far away. But there are the slight problems of entitlement and pension funding…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: The FED my be reversing that 0.25% rise

If you raise/borrow money and assume that rates will stay this low forever then you need your head examined.

Except that "new normal" is trying to make cheap debt forever true. The long term problems of this are disastrous: pretty much all insurance-based products (pensions, health insurance) will no longer work. But, hey, who cares as long as we hit our targets for the quarter or year?

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Charlie Clark
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Not sure what the point of this post is. The Fed's rate rise just put a floor under the price of money. This has less of an impact on investment (money isn't moving from start-ups to government bonds) than it does on debt. Since 2008 central banks have engaged on huge policies of financial repression combing both low interest rates with money-printing to privilege debt. It was this which helped maintain and then pump up asset prices without any associated economic growth (this was supposed to come from the wealth effect that asset inflation is supposed to bring).

The current market uncertainties have little or nothing to do with interest rates but the resurgence of "risk-off" strategies moving hot money from one economy (China, Brazil, Russia) to another (US, Euro) with an associated correction of some asset values. Cue howls from the finance industry. I wouldn't mind so much about that if it didn't mean that central banks trying more of the same (driving interest rates negative such as in Sweden and Japan): in a risk-off environment this can only drive more money into "safer" bets such as US treasuries, or pushing string as the head of one bank put it.

So, the problem for start-ups isn't necessarily that there is less VC cash around but that the exit strategies are less lucrative: IPO or buyout. Not to worry, however, the financial industry will continue to lobby for the public to take on more of the risk (eg. by accepting bonds as collateral) so that valuations can be more or less maintained until that all-important IPO or sale.

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Debian 6.0 about to take flying leap off long term support cliff

Charlie Clark
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Re: If 5 years isn't enough

Or come over to the light and use FreeBSD.

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GitHub to devs: 'We ignored you but we never stopped caring'

Charlie Clark
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Re: "back in the day there were many interesting websites written by authors"

Whats needed is a federated thread-able searchable categorisation based messaging protocol. You know, like NNTP

I never really got on with NNTP. The problem with any subscription-based service is the barrier they offer to the casual observer.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Zoing Zoing Zoing Careoooiuuu

I hear that. The only way Atlassian can fix their stuff though is:

I find Atlassian very communicative and responsive. Certainly much better than a few years ago.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: "back in the day there were many interesting websites written by authors"

Why StackOverflow when there is IRC?

Because IRC isn't searchable and has even more noise? I increasingly find good solutions to stuff on StackOverflow because it's content-focussed (unlike the rest of the crap that seem to be all about growing the network).

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Send tortuous stand-up ‘nine-thirty’ meetings back to the dark ages

Charlie Clark
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Re: Trendy fads

Let's hope so. Indeed it looks like the business writers have discovered the problems of too much communication. So we can expect the next fad to be just round the corner.

I do think there is a lot to be said for regular reporting within a project as a way of structuring things and encouraging the communication of problems. But the meeting is just one way of doing this.

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Charlie Clark
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Dare is a great album of pop music. Accept it for what it is and you won't be disappointed.

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Scariest climate change prediction yet: More time to eat plane food

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: AC: "I miss Lewis :("

Oh, the mere fact that without it modern civilisation as we know it would cease to exist in a matter of days, along with 90% of the worlds population?

You really think 90% of the world's population is dependent upon fossil fuel? I've got news for you: if the rest of the world develops anything like the same hunger for energy as we do, then we're screwed.

But dont worry your pretty little head about it, keep voting green (or red: not much difference these says).

Ah bless, being patronised by a Tory…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Surely it wil average out

No, because drag costs more energy than pushing gives.

However, advances in aviation are likely to make more of an impact, especially if something like SABRE really can be shown to work.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: AC: "I miss Lewis :("

Anyone get a desperate spam email from Lewis Page in recent weeks looking for work?

That would indicate he had access to our e-mail address which would be quite worrying.

Lewis' articles on anything (especially defence) other than climate change were usually entertaining and thought-provoking. But the climate-change stuff was very partial ranting; a bit like Worstall's stuff on economics. I don't mind reading stuff that I don't necessarily agree with – I might learn something – but do when it's too obviously pushing an agenda.

While I do believe that human development is affecting the planet, I'm also not convinced by the greenhouse effect. But this is largely down to the fact that we simply do not have sufficient historical data. However, I don't think it's something we should bet against. And what advantages do we really have in a dependence on fossil fuel?

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Uber, Taskrabbit, other Silicon Valley darlings urge Europe not to screw their business

Charlie Clark
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Microentrepreneurs?

Would those be the ones trying to eke out an existence on the micro-payments they receive from Uber, et al.?

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Women devs – want your pull requests accepted? Just don't tell anyone you're a girl

Charlie Clark
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Re: Incorrect extrapolation

I'll only call you patronising if you automatically think someone needs more help and encouragement simply because they're a woman.

Can't be ruled out but only as an initial response – I'm the go to techie for a couple of female friends so it easily becomes a habit. Not really by inclination. Though it works both ways: there are things I ask them about because I haven't got a clue. In both situations you can get into trouble by either assuming knowledge of a subject or its absence.

One thing I have learned, however, is always to ask before grabbing hold of keyboard or mouse.

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Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

Re: nevermind the gender nonsense

double entendreurs

What's one of them, then? Some kind of cross between an entendre and an entrepreneur with some witty reference to the use of irony in the hipster start up scene?

If you're going to use words you're not sure how to spell then at least use a spellchecker before you post! ;-)

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Charlie Clark
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Incorrect extrapolation

In short, as a whole women contribute more successful submissions to GitHub than men do

Nope, that is a logical fallacy. Just because the study contends that women are more likely to make more successful contributions does not mean that, in absolute terms, they do. I certainly many, many more PRs from men than women.

Anyway, the logic for identifying the gender of the contributors is flawed. That aside, I can imagine a lot of men perhaps tending to be less harsh on code from women and maybe making changes post-merge or to the PR directly. Call me patronising but I know that I do behave differently towards people who I think may need a bit of help and encouragement than others. At a conference recently I saw a presentation by a woman who emphasised how important it is for women to be encouraged in their work, which would seem to fit this pattern.

Conversely, I can be blunt, terse and even downright rude to people submitting shit.

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Microsoft axes ‘dozens’ more from former Nokia phone biz

Charlie Clark
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Re: I still don't know why

They still have the Patents

Who does? Microsoft? No, Nokia kept hold of all the IP in the deal, Microsoft just got licences.

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Offers? Opera's board likes Qihoo, says shareholders should too

Charlie Clark
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Yep. progress on Vivaldi has been slower than I expected, but thankfully Opera 12 doesn't rot.

Yes, still waiting for it to mature so I can make it my default browser but the return of the listening to users culture is very welcome.

I understand why Opera dropped Presto for Blink – let's face it Vivaldi does much the same thing – but the rest of the crap: getting rid of bookmarks only to reintroduce them; discover; no extensions on mobile; etc. hardly counts as innovation. I used to enjoy reading the release notes for each version of Opera, now they're just about making it shinier.

The mobile package is more coherent but just not very interesting for me.

I'm sure the developers in Poland are working flat out, I just don't know if they know they're supposed to be working on a web browser.

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ARM pumps fist as profits soar, warns of weaker hand in 2016

Charlie Clark
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"It had a bumper year, but expect losses for this one"

Where's the suggestion that losses in 2016 are expected? Lower profits due to saturation of the market maybe but, although Wall St types tend to think this, lower profits are not the same as losses.

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San Francisco prepares to open source its voting system software

Charlie Clark
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Will it be the first in the nation to do so in 2019?

No, because for all it's delusions, it's still only a city.

Anyway Estonia's already done this.

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Canonical reckons Android phone-makers will switch to Ubuntu

Charlie Clark
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Re: On what merit will they be trying to convice the users ?

How about simply being able to buy a phone and reload it with an entirely open-source ecosystem?

Don't really give a toss about the open source bit but already done this with Cyanogenmod, 'cos I hate the crap that comes on a Samsung, too. I have lots of Google apps on it because Google works very hard to make them good but, for example, I've never used GMail and use OSMAnd for maps.

The manufacturers don't really care: they'd rather sell you a new phone than provide you with updates. But the market for "anything just as long as it's open source" is pretty damn small.

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Charlie Clark
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haha

I don't think people really care about the OS on their phone. They just want "the damn thing to work" (for their own definition of work) and this will include their favourite apps. Microsoft poured millions into making popular apps available for Windows Phone and look how far that got them. Is Canonical planning to do the same? Or are they planning to provide an Android runtime? Because that's worked so well for Blackberry.

The manufacturers originally went with Google because it was the pass of least resistance to get a smartphone OS quickly and this is what they need to sell devices. They might make noises about selling services but that's half-hearted at best. What they like is selling a new device to someone every two years.

The Chinese have demonstrated that it is possible to have Android without Google's services but that was initially down to government intervention. The services is where the market is. What does Canonical have to offer?

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Silent Nork satellite tumbling in orbit

Charlie Clark
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I think we may see any future launches taken down, possibly even by the Chinese. But they are stuck between a rock and a hard place: crackdown on Kim Jong Eun and the country might collapse, leading either to war with South Korea and America or straight to US troops on the border. Of course, if they do nothing then it's increasingly likely that South Korea or Japan will take a pop shot at any future launch leading to war…

The best thing might be to pursue some kind of rapprochement with South Korea leading either to full unification, with a huge demilitarised zone, or a Hong Kong: one country, to systems solution. Strategically Korea isn't that important to China any more: it's far more concerned with the nine-dash line in the South China Sea.

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Ballmer schools SatNad on Microsoft's mobile strategy: You need one

Charlie Clark
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Activist investor?

The world’s wealthiest activist shareholder?

Has Ballmer suddenly become like Carl Icahn or Elliott Fund Management? Is he demanding a seat on the board of the company he stepped down from?

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Reports of Twitter's death greatly exaggerated, says CEO

Charlie Clark
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Re: Do you really believe they wouldn't be replaced?

If Twitter and Facebook went under, one or more something else would take their place.

We know. Still, even if only for a few days, I can't help thinking that the world would be better place without Twitter & co.

Of course, what really worries me is whether of my savings schemes has been investing in this shit. The German banks seem to have talent for it, as the sub-prime mortgage disaster showed.

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So. Are Europeans just a whining bunch of data protection hypocrites?

Charlie Clark
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Re: I spy with my little eye...

This explains why millions upon millions of migrants are pushing into Europe. They have the automatic right not to be kept out.

No, it doesn't. It's the Geneva Convention that guarantees the right of asylum (though not where). As for the reasons people are seeking asylum. Well, they're mainly due to the West's fucking around and stirring up trouble.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I spy with my little eye...

US is a privacy-free zone

That might be debatable – the legal positions are on it are starkly different – but what isn't at issue is the fact that the US treats US citizens very differently to aliens. "Aliens", and this includes EU citizens, have very few rights in US law.

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Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Very partial piece

Europe’s robo-Commissioner…

The opinion of one prof and one unnamed security expert and no mention at all of the current complete revamp of EU data protection and privacy legislation currently working its way through the institutions which will provide minimum standards throughout Europe.

It's laughable to suggest that existing US law provides adequate protection of EU citizens' data. It'a also laughable to suggest that this is somehow some kind of trade war: the European Commission and the member states were caught as much off-guard by the ECJ's decision as anyone else.

It's perfectly reasonable for Prof Walden to criticise the judgement but is disrespectful to imply that the judges didn't do their job properly. The ECJ has thus far had a commendable record in its judgements, particularly those instances where it instructs referring courts in EU law.

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FaceTime, WhatsApp UDP streams AWOL on iOS 9 beta with T-Mo US

Charlie Clark
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Re: Why NAT64?

Most people don't want their phone to have a globally-unique and addressable address.

There are privacy extensions for that. And it's certainly not the reason for NAT64. This is presumably for 6to4 traffic in the network because most clients don't do 6to4.

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OpenSSL fixes bug, gets dissed by German gov: That's so random ... not

Charlie Clark
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Re: Hopefully more money will be forthcoming?

The OpenSSL team now has more than enough money. But it still has a codebase that is unnecessarily complicated due to some weird decisions. Code complexity is anathema to security.

If money is forthcoming, I'd rather see it split between OpenSSL, LibreSSL and research. For server work, LibreSSL already makes more sense unless you have hard dependencies on OpenSSL.

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Google licks its lips at sight of Qualcomm's 64-bit server ARM chips

Charlie Clark
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Re: memory architecture

That's where AMD has the advantage.

Of course, Qualcomm's chip designers are no mugs and presumably Google will be able to give them targets and real performance data.

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Charlie Clark
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Unfortunately, the A72 occupies the same living space as the A57

Apart from "a bird in the hand being worth two in the bush" the point about ARM chips not being beefy is not just about their power drawer what else they bring to the party. The AMD Seattle is not just a 64-bit chip but something designed explicitly for the data centre with excellent network and memory performance.

Just because we haven't heard anything doesn't mean that Google isn't already sampling the AMD chips. With the volumes its buying it can easily afford to have different chips for web servers, database servers, caches, etc. This also suits the Compute Engine model where Google manages the scalability completely.

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German Chancellor fires hydrogen plasma with the push of a button

Charlie Clark
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Re: re.Mutti

It's a bit of both: "mother knows best" and "mother hen" come to mind when thinking of her consensus-driven style of politics.

Her premiership has been characterised by her reassuring Germans that they were doing well while everywhere else was going to hell. Until recently she has studiously avoided adopting a position on any issue until the prevailing opinion in the country became clear. She has also demonstrated considerable skill in removing opponents, particularly putative alpha-males, within her own party and out-flanking the others by shamelessly adopting their positions and reversing policy if necessary. For this she has been rewarded by a population worried by change.

The wheels have started to come off recently ever since she surprisingly adopted a position on refugees and proceeded to break EU law (Dublin II). This initially suited the "mother hen" image and was wildly popular for a couple of months.

As for her record on nuclear power: once, when referring to nuclear accidents she made a comparison with baking noting that when you bake a cake not everything stays in the bowl… Of course, this was long before Fukushima…

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It killed Safe Harbor. Will Europe's highest court now kill off hyperlinks?

Charlie Clark
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Well, I suspect the angle will be whether the website can be seen to be aiding and abetting the abuse of copyright. There are already plenty of instances of links being taken down for all kinds of reasons, with DMCA abuse probably being the most common.

However, the ECJ can only really rule on a point of law and not really on the case in point. Freedom of speech is enshrined in the EU treaties, which the ECJ is required to uphold, so I can't see any judgement that would restrict this. Most likely is clarification of what's at stake and a referral back to the Dutch courts: can a case be made that Geenstijl was complicit in the repeated publication of copyright material? This, of course, needs to be balanced against the defence of free speech in cases like Snowden.

There is precedent in cases like the repeated publication of pictures of Kate Middleton's breasts where the courts had no problem coming down hard on publishers.

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Uber rebrands to the sound of whalesong confusion

Charlie Clark
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Pint

I'm beginning to wonder if Twitter is actually for this kind of clickbait.

Anyway, a pint for Lester for calling out this pathetic trend!

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Google ninjas go public with security holes in Malwarebytes antivirus

Charlie Clark
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Testing can't be rushed, particularly given the radical changes it sounds like they've been forced to make.

Testing should be part of the development process. If it was it might have helped pick up these failures: no package hash, no secure distribution channel a lot earlier.

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Europe wants end to anonymous Bitcoin transactions

Charlie Clark
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Why is it always terrorism?

Anonymous transfers are used for money laundering by organised crime. That alone should be sufficient justification.

The EC should also be after the ECB to phase out the € 500 note for much the same reason.

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Ofcom's head is dead against Three and O2's merger

Charlie Clark
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Re: All very well talking tough

I'm not sure where Ofcom actually sit in all of this and whether or when they may be asked to present to the EU investigation.

Neither do I. Then again, I don't really know what they do anyway. This sounds like an attempt to be relevant.

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Rooting your Android phone? Google’s rumbled you again

Charlie Clark
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Re: It's a tradeoff, just like with IOS

I don't watch anything on a small screen except the occasional youtube clip.

Neither do I but my phones does MHL so it's easy to connect to a large screen.

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Charlie Clark
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The idea of rooting, installing Cyanogenmod, and then choosing Google as a payments service seems to be totally implausible

Not to me. I root because I want to dump the crapware installed on my phones and to get security fixes faster and for longer.

As for the service provider: I'll use whoever I think offers the best service in a free market.

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Sorry slacktivists: The Man is shredding your robo responses

Charlie Clark
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Re: Meanwhile back in the UK

We should not be afraid of that; we should welcome it, even if it means replying to 300 or 400 e-mails at a time.

Until you do a time and motion study of replying to e-mails.

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Charlie Clark
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I'm with Morozov

Slacktivists use technology to assuage their technology-addled and coddled consciences. They play into the hands of the PR brigades who can identify which topics need some well-meaning massaging while the general fuckery is unabated. As long as people are twittering about transgender toilets for sheep, they're not protesting in the streets about the price of food, schools or hospitals.

Taking slackivists seriously is a waste of time and resources. This was cleverly satirised in The News Room which took on the "Occupy Wall Street" protests.

And if you do take slacktivists seriously they won't thank you for it because their goldfish minds will have moved on to the next thing they don't really care about.

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Two-thirds of Android users vulnerable to web history sniff ransomware

Charlie Clark
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Pint

Re: Glad i've not got an Android device

You've left me speechless, time for the pub now I think....

Indeed, here's one to get you started.

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Investors furious that Amazon only made $482m last quarter

Charlie Clark
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Re: The man Wall Street loves to hate

Many of them still don't "get it".

Sigh. I bet you also believe that "this time it's different"?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Looking at it another way

iAmazon is in an industry that is ever changing.

Which is industry would that be? And the industry that Apple is in isn't always changing?

Both companies have traditionally fobbed off investors demands for money by pointing at the share price instead of the dividend. This has largely been self-fulfilling. However, at some point the P/E ratio becomes so high that people don't want to play any more and demand cash either as dividends or share buybacks. Amazon is still cheap enough for an activist to get on the board.

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Charlie Clark
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I've been arguing for years that the digital services are far more valuable than the no-margin warehousing and delivery shit. The sooner it's split the better.

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You've seen things people wouldn't believe – so tell us your programming horrors

Charlie Clark
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WTF?

Will the madness never end?

Are we allowed to include database schemas in this?

httparchive.org is a great resource but I disagreed so fundamentally with nearly all the coding and db decisions that I forked it. One that sticks in the mind is adding an extra column with the hash of a URL instead of adding an index! Dates are also all stored as strings and nothing is normalised.

When people write crap like this is it any wonder they run straight into the arms of snake oil (big data) vendors promising to solve their problems?

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Charlie Clark
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Coat

I'd be tempted to say that about all PHP code…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: The risks of cut&paste...

Have a BOFH award!

(Don't understand the downvotes)

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Can't upgrade, won't upgrade: Windows Mobile's user problem

Charlie Clark
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Numbers

Windows Phone’s market share peaked at 12 per cent in August 2013, a month before Microsoft’s acquisition of the phones unit was announced.

That 12 % is cherry-picked from sales in particular markets. Worldwide and Windows Phone has never been above 5 %, which is why Nokia thew the towel in.

The numbers quoted about the most popular Lumias would appear to back this up: people are either sticking with what they've got or are moving to Android or IOS. You might expect the typical two-year contract and phone renewal to work in Microsoft's favour: switch to new phone with new OS (Windows 10). But it obviously isn't. Here the lack of compelling new phones, no doubt due to pink slips and lack of investment since the takeover, is going to cause problems.

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