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* Posts by Charlie Clark

2493 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Ten classic electronic calculators from the 1970s and 1980s

Charlie Clark
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Re: Still working

While still at school I upgraded from an FX81, which had taken quite a bashing, to an 180p which could just about be programmed to solve quadratic equations, which is indeed what I used for at O level. That was probably my first ever functional test! It wasn't cheating as marks were awarded for demonstrating how the result was achieved.

It's still going strong and is what I use any time I need to tot some numbers or double check some mental arithmetic.

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Pinterest who? EU rules social network CAN'T trademark its own name

Charlie Clark
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Re: Shakedown time

Sure, it's how many American companies expect to do business.

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Charlie Clark
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Mushroom

Examples?

Gmail is a notable example where Google didn't get its own way. Member states may line up to bend over for Uncle Sam but that is most definitely not the case at EU level.

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Picture this: Data-wrangling boffins say they have made JPEGs OBSOLETE

Charlie Clark
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Re: Browser support (JPEG2000)

Yes, but JPEG2000 is required for PDF 1.5…

The patent trolls like free-to-read, pay-to-write specs: GIF, JPEG2000, MPEG-2, h.264, etc. The free-to-read model encourages adoption by consumers but actually restricts the market by using licence fees to restrict new entrants to the market. However, the WWW is one of the best examples of allowing a market to thrive by keeping specifications open and free. Yes, it's not been without its problems, with the industry packing committees either to push their interests or prevent innovation from others.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Browser support

JPEG2000 is now largely irrelevant due to the advances in image compression made by the video industry in h264, webp, and even more with the new UHD stuff*. But JPEG2000 didn't take off because it was encumbered in patents from the start.

*Mozilla recently ran a comparison of alternatives to JPEG: http://people.mozilla.org/~josh/lossy_compressed_image_study_october_2013/

WebP is my favourite at the moment because it also for lossless compression where required making it suitable for both photos and text. Just missing a "file-in-file" approach to handling responsive images.

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Fanbois, prepare to lose your sh*t as BRUSSELS KILLS IPHONE dock

Charlie Clark
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Re: Updating Standards

To follow your argument to its logical conclusion: there is no need for standards of any kind. So no standard petrol caps: you can fill up at say either Shell or BP but not both, or maybe only Ford.

Or, for phones: no need for GSM/UMTS/LTE, let's go back to CDMA, iDEN, etc.

Saying that regulation is late is not an argument against it.

I'm not convinced that micro-USB is mechanically the best connection, but the voluntary agreement by phone manufacturers within the EU can be considered a success.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I Don't Get It

I can't remember the last time I bought a home appliance that did not have the cable factory-fitted with a moulded plug on the other end. Toaster, kettle, TV, washing machine, dishwasher... all with fitted leads.

FWIW most radios use a mini-euro connector, computer power supplies also a use a normed connector. Another area the EC has looked at is notebook power supplies which have the same kind of barriers to entry as mobile phone chargers.

My most recent phone came with a cable and without a charger. Happy with that.

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Charlie Clark
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Shameless baiting

Although the EU is well known for its diversity policies, it has been planning to homogenise phone chargers for some time...

The EU is not well-know for its diversity policies: it (actually the European Commission) has taken countries to court over positive discrimination, the US has far wider-reaching and less effective policies. The EC enforces open markets both of the employment and of the gadget kind. It has even started to look at the UK's dysfunctional power distribution market.

As for the UK in 2017 - unlikely that a referendum on membership can be held before then and even then the UK will be bound by most EU norms as are other countries in the EEA / EFTA.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I don't see the problem

The iThingy dock connector is a good way of getting the audio into your hifi without going via the headphone socket

Bluetooth is even nicer and cheaper to do. Even nicer would be NFC + Bluetooth + wireless: put your device on your speaker and music starts or you just use your phone as a controller for the speaker which gets music from a local or online server: this is the way Apple is going anyway but it likes to use the connector as a shackle on consumers and manufacturers.

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ARM server chip upstart Calxeda bites the dust in its quest for 64-bit glory

Charlie Clark
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Re: 1st ARM Domino falls in Fairyland.

some white-knight venture capitalist

They don't exist. they would only buy to sell at a profit within a relatively period of time. Another possibility is selling to prospective customers: HP, Dell, IBM, etc.

ARM servers are coming, not least because they will be available from multiple vendors which should keep the market open.

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Striking Amazonians warn: Don't rely on us for Christmas pressies

Charlie Clark
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Re: Tip of the iceberg

I thought the delivery companies were in the business of doing exactly that?

Sure, but there are very practical limits as too how many vans can deliver how much tat in how much time. People normally work until about 16:00 or 17:00. Last week I had one guy still trying to deliver stuff at 19:00. The German postal service increased its profits last year due to an increase in the price of stamps as letter deliveries scale better than parcels but basically they want to cut out the last mile, which is, of course, the main convenience of online shopping: tat gets delivered to your door.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Cultural Differences

Too be fair, I don't think the issue is being reported quite how Ver.di (if you're going to ape the logotype) would like it to be: the focus is as much on working conditions as money.

Of course, the hairsplitting over whether they are "logistics" or "mail order" workers is a typically German obsession. I can't remember whether the "Entsendegesetz" (which forces German companies to pay German rates to foreign employees working in Germany and which does notoriously not apply in the meat processing industry) applies here.

Overall I'm not sure it really matters: Amazon's is up against very fierce competition against an already extremely efficient logistics sector that has already forced WalMart out. Aldi and co. are just as good at screwing their suppliers and employees as the next and have the added advantage of incumbency and having the right friends in the right places.

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Charlie Clark
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Tip of the iceberg

Based on recent experience - I have to accept a lot of packages for others in my block - I think all this ordering of the internet is approaching a delivery cliff: the delivery companies are having more and more trouble actually delivering all the packages on any one day. As this is all terribly inefficient (travelling salesman) the prize will go to the company that comes up with the most efficient solution to the problem.

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That Google ARM love-in: They want it for their own s*** and they don't want Bing having it

Charlie Clark
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Whol'll be first?

Now that has AMD swings both ways it might well be one of the first to be able to offer ARM-64 in 14nm in volume (via Global Foundries). Apparently, a lot of companies are looking to go straight to 14nm because of energy loss problems at 20nm.

Intel's server business is safe for a while as all these custom chips only benefit customers with very specific needs: thousands or even millions of http servers and associated caches and the margins are going to stay wafer thin. Only once ARM-64 gets up the general purpose grunt levels of x86-64 will there be any chance of the mass market turning away from Intel but then only really on price. Of course, the more early adopters of ARM-64 there are, the faster any particular software stack is likely to be available for it. Will Microsoft jump in and offer turnkey Exchange servers based on ARM?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Spurring Intel on

Intel already has done lots of work to get power consumption down. It's undone by wanting to provide x86 compatibility.

ARM's big advantage is that you can have only the silicon you need, whether that's general processing (similar to x86), encryption, I/O, or whatever. Negaflops* mean Negawatts of power needed.

* I think I just made this up but I'll defer to anyone.

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Apple iPhone 5s still world's top-selling smartphone – report

Charlie Clark
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S4 vs Note III

I'm not going to argue about the numbers, because I currently don't know any reliable source. However, what I do find interesting is the uptake of the Note III. If the Counterpoint data can be given any kind of credence then that is quite astonishing but it does bear up what I have heard from a few sources that screen size is currently the main criteria for buying (non-Apple) phones. If so then Samsung got it wrong with the S4 but got it right by not betting on only one horse. Personally, I'm more than happy with my S4 Mini.

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Charlie Clark
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But even being kind to Samsung in the estimates, it's clear the flagship falls short by quite a margin.

Actually, without the volumes (could be minimal difference between some positions and magnitudes of order between others) and more information about how the stats are collected then nothing is clear apart from Apple and Samsung sharing the market between them and sites like El Reg desperate for clickbait.

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Data Retention Directive CLASHES with EU citizens' privacy rights, says top lawman

Charlie Clark
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Sure, but they won't be able to get the ISPs to do their leg work for them.

If the court follows the argument then all courts will have no choice but to act in accordance with the decision and award for any case brought against such legislation. The associated costs will ensure a pretty swift end once the period of grace for a transition has passed.

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Charlie Clark
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Holmes

Which is why it's not on the statute books in Germany

The law implementing the directive in Germany was struck down by the constitutional court for exactly this reason. Comically, the European Commission is required to undertake measures against Germany for not fulfilling with the directive while at the same time agreeing that it is probably too draconian and evidence mounting up (Denmark has published studies as far as I know) that collecting all this data has done nothing to prevent terrorism but has increased costs for all involved.

I'm not against logging information that might be helpful solving crimes but:

  • such data must be kept securely within the EU
  • the period for keeping such information should be much shorter: a week or a month at most
  • a warrant should be required to access the information

If there are sufficient grounds to suspect someone then it is easy enough to get a warrant which will allow the wiretapping / logging of an individual, as is practised in Italy.

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Drooping smartphone sales mean hard times ahead for Brit chipmaker

Charlie Clark
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The biter bit

Imagination tried to screw ARM over which is why ARM went on to develop its own graphics chips (Mali) which it offers under the usual attractive terms to its customers. Imagination still produces some great chips but is increasingly dependent upon Apple for sales.

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OM NOM MON NOM, address et D.O.B: Twitter lets admen chomp users' cookies

Charlie Clark
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Re: So I've been thinking...

So, without any RequestPolicy/Ghostery blocking, the browser would never send the same cookies back to a third-party when visiting a different first-party site.

You have been able to do this in lots of browsers but you end up having to switch it off or okay cookies on a case-by-case basis in order not to lose functionality because lots of sites use third-party cookies for fairly innocuous things.

You're best off with Ghostery/NoScript enabling certain third-parties on a site-by-site basis.

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Google lets users slurp own Gmail, Calendar data

Charlie Clark
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Re: They only do it because they legally have to.

Write a letter to their service address, including a cheque for £10. Await a CD in the post.

And if the CD doesn't arrive? Or doesn't have all the data you expect on it? Have you tried this?

Yes, it's posturing to a large degree but it is also commendable that Google is acting before any kind of court order is served.

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'Copyrighted' Java APIs deserve same protection as HARRY POTTER, Oracle tells court

Charlie Clark
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life imitating art

The while thing reminds me of Borges' story about Pierre Menard, author of Don Quixote.

I think there is some justification in being able to claim copyright to a specification, which is what an API is. However, I don't think you can start charging for the spec ex ante just because someone is not using your version. This is why specs are often written by industry bodiesand made available at nominal cost. Either way oracle loses.

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Two million TERRIBLE PASSWORDS stolen by malware attackers

Charlie Clark
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Swordfish

Passwords are the problem not the solution.

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iPhone slips in Europe as Windows Phone claims OVER 10% market share

Charlie Clark
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Re: Old news poorly reported

I administrate (sic) mobile telephony for a large company. WP is very well received. More business focused cost effective.

You are guilty of the same observational bias as I am: what you can see. But this is fine as the same methodology underlies the Kandar report. FWIW I'm based in Germany and Nokia has managed to get a couple of their phones into German TV shows but otherwise you hardly see them.

In summary, only trust like-for-like sales reports and the quarterly reports of the listed companies.

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Charlie Clark
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Coffee/keyboard

Old news poorly reported

As the article contains no link I can only guess that it refers to this from 4th November but there are clear errors in detail: it is not 10 % in Europe but 10 % in UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. except this has been averaged as Germany is quoted in the same report as being at 8.5%. The numbers are survey based so variance to real sale or shipped numbers are be expected. Still, colour me sceptical as the numbers are in now way borne out by what I see around me in commuterland where it is a pretty even IOS / Samsung split. They also don't correlate with reports on mobile internet use. And the question is: if sales are so good for Nokia's Lumias, why did Nokia feel forced to sell the division to Microsoft?

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Your browser may be up to date: But what about the PLUGINS?

Charlie Clark
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"Click to enable"

Been in my main browsers for years.

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India's Martian MOM leaves the nest

Charlie Clark
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Re: Wrong Priorities

IndianAmerica needs to stop spending money on space and use it to feed, educated and employ the masses

Fixed it for you.

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Why a plain packaging U-turn from UK.gov could cost £3bn a year

Charlie Clark
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Quite fittingly, as Manchester has produced many iconic smokers over the years: Bet Lynch, Mark E Smith and Anthony Burgess.

Oh, FFS as if everyone in Manchester smokes… In the 19th booze was too expensive so Saturdays we all queued up for us laudanum. Good fer kids as well, kept 'em quiet and out of danger under them looms.

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PS4 with Black Friday underway: TOUGH, you CAN'T HAVE ONE!

Charlie Clark
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Re: Black Friday?

Why the 'Black Friday' reference in the headline? The story is about Britain. We don't have Black Friday in Britain.

And even with the increasing number of companies trying to jump on the bandwagon - we'll know the end of the world is nigh when DFS and MFI join in - the story seems to be about getting stuff in time for Christmas. So, I'm doubly baffled.

And while we're at it: what the fuck is "pre-ordering" supposed to mean?

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Moto G: Google's KitKat bruiser could knock out, bury Landfill Android

Charlie Clark
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Re: Cheap and not nasty? Welcome to years ago

Yes, the "landfill" strawman was never convincing.

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Hello! Still here! Surface 2! Way better than iPad! says slightly desperate Microsoft

Charlie Clark
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Parody of itself

Those ads are incredibly patronising. I was just waiting for an "endorsed by the NSA" strapline at the end of the second one and a comedy central badge. But when neither came I realised these are real. So Microsoft is now selling hardware as kitchen aids? Well, I guess maybe no one else has tried it and doesn't realise what an enormous market it is (there may well be a market for tablets in the kitchen but is more likely to be along the lines of ones that really help you with making the food, controlling the stove, microwave, interacting with the scales (already I-Pad apps)).

Whatever will they think of next? Surface as the ideal accessory for accident-chasing lawyers?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: What iSheep fail to realize...

Windows 8.1 will be adopted by Enterprise over the year or two and it's the exact same OS as what's on the Fondleslabs but also running on Desktops and Laptops

er, no it isn't. The Surface 2 runs Windows RT which is neither Windows 8.1 nor Windows Phone so apps for either system don't just run on it.

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What’s new in SQL 2014?

Charlie Clark
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Re: SQL:2011

It's still shamelessly sloppy.

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Lumia 1520: Our man screams into ENORMO new Nokia phondleslab

Charlie Clark
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Clutter

For the first time, I found the screen to look busy or cluttered - the ability to add “spacers” would be welcome.

That's certainly my impression to. Certainly not helped by the colour scheme. The research has been done on how much you can comfortably take in at once and that must be the basis for GUI, folders, drawers, whatever would help but, as you say, little chance of anything like that coming soon. Can't see people swapping their Note 3's for this.

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Oracle pens recipe for tweeting turkey in Raspberry Pi sauce

Charlie Clark
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Re: I like it

Does crime fall when people know they are being watched? Yes.

AFAIK this is not true. It was initially the case as CCTV was installed all over the place. However, as the whole thing means more officers watching screens and, therefore, not being on the beat or investigating, the effect was limited. Control studies from places without CCTV mania also suggest that the effect was only correlative. The key is whether potential offenders think they may be caught.

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You THINK you're watching your LG smart TV - but IT's WATCHING YOU, baby

Charlie Clark
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Re: For shame

I think LG are suggesting that he accepted the t&c. Somewhere deep in the small print is the permission to collect the data.

Nope, that does not count as informed consent. You must be informed of what they're going to store and given the opportunity to say yes or no.

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Intel: 'Y'know that GPU-accelerated computing craze? Fuggedaboutit'

Charlie Clark
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Re: Always jam tomorrow

Yes, especially when an article just regurgitates company PR statements.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Intel failed at making decent GPUs

Credit where credit's due: the most recent integrated ones are comparable with those from AMD and nVidia and this has been driven by the work on Phi.

Intel is aware of the competition. It is just poorly placed to compete on an increasingly important aspect: price. This is always relative as, while supercomputers are not cheap, it was the relative cheapness of x86 that drove their increasing adoption over the last few years: IBM can afford to do prestige projects at around cost, but the rest of the non-x86 chip vendors couldn't.

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Reg hack fondles a sexy Pro: An Apple MacBook 13in with Retina display

Charlie Clark
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umming and erring about that myself. Or going for a MacBook Air. Most of the time my MBP is hooked up to external keyboard, screen and tablet. This is partly because the ergonomics on the desktop are poor: max screen tilt angle and position of hands over the razor sharp front edge, but also because I don't need to travel as much for work as I once did.

I guess that the biggest weight saving over my venerable 2009er was removing the DVD drive. In practice upgrading notebooks is not something I think a lot of people do nowadays but being able to swap the drive easily is important in case needs change. Apple's pricing on the issue is another matter. I'd like to be able to beef up the RAM or disk without having to have a faster processor.

I think I'll stick with the current machine as long as it runs and I can still get some use out of the battery.

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Getting it right on the second attempt: Sony Xperia Z1

Charlie Clark
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Between the lines

Apart from the pictures of "home" I like Alun's down-to-earth reviews. Yes, it mixes and matches tech trivia with extremely subjective values judgments: it's more substantial (heavy) which makes it of better quality. But it also concentrates on actually using the damn thing to do stuff.

However, what interested me most about this review was one of the bits of tech trivia:

Once again like the Xperia Z, the Z1 has a quad-core processor, but it has been bumped up from 1.5GHz to 2.2GHz making it one of the highest spec smartphones money can buy.

That is an amazing leap (~ 50 %) in 6 months and you can really start to see why Intel is worried. If the ARM <insert-pun-here> is able to bump speed and/or cores at that rate on a regular basis then Intel will have no business at all in 5 years.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Never buying SONY again

@Deaths Pirate, sorry to hear about the hassles but to be honest that could happen with virtually any of the "brands" at the moment. It shouldn't but it does and because it does companies like Apple are able to charge a premium for services like "AppleCare" which provide the peace of mind that your statutory rights should give you. My advice is to threaten whoever you're talking to with the Small Claims court and that should improve the service noticeably.

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Sony's new PlayStation 4 and open source FreeBSD: The TRUTH

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: Another win for the open-source world

FreeBSD allows Sony to freely loot open source developers work...

Using open source is not in any way looting. It is using it as it was intended. Now we've got that sorted maybe you can get a life.

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Charlie Clark
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And this is news?

Sony has been using FreeBSD for years: the PS3 used it. Using FreeBSD for a project means not having to ask the lawyers which is a win for any real developer.

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Charlie Clark
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QNX

I'm still hopeful that Google will buy the carcass of BlackBerry, adopt QNX as the basis for Android and open source it. That would pretty much remove the reason for many to stick any of the buggy OSes you talk about.

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SourceForge responds to GIMP grump with crowdsourcing caper

Charlie Clark
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Coat

Re: Installers, schmallers

What's wrong with `make install clean`? Splitter…

Mine's the one with a picture of a daemon in trainers on the back.

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Check out The Register's Google+ page

Charlie Clark
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Re: FaceBook?

@Drewc thanks for the very open and informative discussion about this.

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Charlie Clark
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I think it's main purpose is an identity server tying the various other Google services you may or may not use together. The value grows as the network of those services grows. This allows it to recommend apps on the Google store that your Google+ contacts have approved of. I ignore that kind of thing and you can turn it off but it's certainly a lot less intrusive than other approaches and I can see its appeal. I don't do a lot of the "look at me" sharing stuff, after all what's e-mail for? But I will admit to finding Hangouts very nicely done. If Google can continue to put providing useful services first then I'm sure they'll get more and more successful and Google+ will simply be a part of those services and not something on its own. Companies will like it because, of course, it offers the prospect of single sign-on with the holy grail of detailed demographic data.

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First the Yanks, now us: In-flight mobe use WON'T kill us all, say Eurocrats

Charlie Clark
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Joke

Must have been using Apple Maps! :-D

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Eric Schmidt joins board of weighty biz journal The Economist

Charlie Clark
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Re: Can we have .....

To be fair, French often translates like this: French words get translated using English homophones ("modalities" for forms for example) and as the structure of the two languages is similar the result looks like English but is largely incomprehensible and often feels pretentious.

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