* Posts by Charlie Clark

4395 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

The fork? Node.js: Code showdown re-opens Open Source wounds

Charlie Clark
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Without open source there would be no Slack, no Medium, no Github. Nor would there be Google, Facebook, or much of anything else.

When you put it like that… Might not be such a bad thing!

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Germans set to make schnitzel out of controversial Wi-Fi law

Charlie Clark
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Re: The Law of Unintended Consequences

Makes about as much sense as holding the owner of a motel criminally responsible because a room renter decides to brew up a batch of crack cocaine in the bathroom.

It's not. It's more like having no lock on a chemical laboratory or the gun cupboard…

I have a certain understanding for the principles behind the law but it's being dropped largely for being unworkable.

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Charlie Clark
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GIven that there is currently pretty much zero open internet available

That is utter nonsense. Nearly all German hotels have had free wifi for years – largely because mobile data charges are so low that it is impossible to charge for basic access. Most airports have some kind of free wifi and there are lots of public wifi spots in cities (Cologne) or provided by networks (Unitymedia).

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Opera claims 50 per cent power savings with browser update

Charlie Clark
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Re: Its a start

Gif "animation" doesn't use much power and already doesn't affect non-visible windows.

Read the article (and some of the older ones) for more information on what Opera found to be chewing cycles.

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Charlie Clark
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I think much more than that and my Firefox would explode.

It probably wouldn't but it's pretty inefficient. Firstly, cognitively you can't keep 200 items in the stack. I think the magic number is 10 to 13. (I'm with you on the total number of tabs I have open across browsers) Secondly, it's probably quicker to use bookmarks to load the pages than switch between tabs – many of which may be swapped to disk. Still, it seems a lot of people like to work like this.

That said, I have seen Firefox get into trouble when using it with Selenium for crawling. I have to spawn a new instance every 100 sites or so.

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First successful Hyperloop test module hits 100mph in four seconds

Charlie Clark
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Re: Meanwhile, in the real world.....

You'll also get massive cost overrun because it's never been done before. Yes, putting rockets into space is rocket science and space is a notoriously harsh environment, but at least it doesn't have weather.

A near vacuum tube between LA and SF is going to have to put up with a lot of shit and on projects like this it's often the little things that over time cause the most problems. On the Cologne-Frankfurt lines it was problems with toilets and air conditioning that caused the most problems.

I do like the basic idea of Hyperloop – trying to displace as little air as possible – I wonder if there isn't some kind of halfway house using some kind of fairing with a maglev system. As for the proposed line – I'm not sure that LA - SF really is the route to be looked at: how many people really want to travel between downtown LA and downtown SF? Highspeed rail has excelled at shrinking the commute so something that halved the current journey time on Caltrain between Gilroy and SF and the same for LA's dormitories would be transformational. Of course, this requires all kind of ancillary investment to make using the new lines easier.

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Charlie Clark
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Sounds like you're one of the lucky ones. I'm by no means an expert on the situation but freight generally runs happily on single track, passenger doesn't. See http://www.economist.com/node/16636101?zid=302&ah=601e2c69a87aadc0cc0ca4f3fbc1d354

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Charlie Clark
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Freight trains are indeed coming along like, er, freight trains. Energy recovery when breaking, lower noise.

Biggest problem is that it is almost impossible for passenger and freight trains to share track. This is the biggest problem in the US and the most difficult to resolve because new track means more land and land is always expensive.

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Charlie Clark
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They're are trains and trains. On the whole they teeter on direct profitability because they tend towards universal service with hop-on, hop-off access. Commuter services are designed to reduce traffic so pricing is often political: it needs to be low enough to deter car journeys.

Some of the highspeed rail services can be highly profitable: Cologne-Frankfurt, for example but I think also parts of the French network such as Paris-Lyon.

Freight doesn't need speed; it needs faster transfer between modes.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Freight is toughter than you think

Speed isn't important for freight, cost is. Freight is all about bulk and weight which is why such much of it is done over water. Containers are not built for minimal wind resistance!

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Free tool aims to make it easier to find vulns in open source code

Charlie Clark
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Re: DevOps approach to Security

Static code analysis is no magic bullet but it is complementary and is particularly good at doing the stuff that bores people: it's more eyes but eyes that don't glaze over.

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Charlie Clark
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So what? If the scans of your code help you identify flaws in your own, open source code then that's a win. Static code analysis can pick up a lot of issues. I've been using Quantified Code for about a year now and am very pleased with it.

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Unicorn adopts rainbow as logo

Charlie Clark
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I always thought that the Instagram logo was pretty good: an iconic retro camera with a flash. I haven't seen it very often but have no trouble remembering it.

The new ones look far too generic.

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GitHub pricing change

Charlie Clark
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I don't think Bitbucket puts a limit on private repositories and you get to choose your DVCS.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: it's still pretty cheap

Go to Gitlab,

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EU vetoes O2 and Three merger: Hutchison mulls legal challenge

Charlie Clark
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Remit

Allowing Hutchison to take over O2 at the terms they proposed would have been bad for UK consumers and bad for the UK mobile sector.

So fucking what? This is for the UK regulator (OfCOM (joke that it is)) and the Monopolies and Mergers Commission(or whatever it's called) to decide. I'm a fervent European but I don't see, at least from this summary, why the Commission thinks it can rule on this unless it decides that either Three or O2 are getting unfair market share across Europe, in which case conditions could be applied.

The Commission can also get involved if it looks like regulation isn't working. This the logic behind the repeated calls to break OpenReach out of BT because the market for cables in the ground clearly isn't working in the UK. The same goes for electricity distribution in countries like France and Spain.

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IE and Graphics head Microsoft's Patch Tuesday critical list

Charlie Clark
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Re: Do keep up, people!

The patches for Office alone are close to 1 GB. Rolling this shit out across a large network is not fun.

I've no love for Linux but at least the unix crowd have always understood the sys admin's needs.

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Google asks Unicode to look over 13 new emoji showing professional women

Charlie Clark
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Lego conquers the emoji world

All the figures look like Lego™ people. Will someone please think of the copyright!

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Russia poised to unleash 'Son of Satan' ICBM

Charlie Clark
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Re: The Trump Effect

Apart from the apparent love-fest between Putin and Trump. Reminds me of Berlusconi and Putin. Of course, if Trump does get elected, he'll do pretty much exactly what the banks and big business tell him to.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Wonderful

Granted the EU sparked a war in Ukraine where the Russians annexed land they loaned to Ukraine

Don't you just love Russian-apologist revisionism? Even if Kruschev's donation of Crimea to Ukraine was a bit of harmless fun back in the day, it became permanent with the fall of the Soviet Union with Russia agreeing to accept Ukraine's borders in return for Ukraine returning the nuclear weapons stationed there. Had the new nukes still been stationed in Ukraine, Putin might have thought twice about his "little green men".

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Two steps forward...

It's all about appearances rather than outcomes: "don't worry that you haven't got enough to eat, look at our lovely missiles and don't forget to vote for me". Russia doesn't want war with anyone with real weapons: remember the plane shot down over the Turkey-Syria border?

More interesting will be whether Russia has managed to replace the electronics that the Ukrainians used to develop for it.

Long term all the weapons tech in the world probably won't do it much good once conflict really starts in the Caucuses and the *Stans. And it's doing a bloody good job of stoking this. :-/

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At the BBC, Agile means 'making it up as we go along'

Charlie Clark
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Re: Agile f**king rocks! It

It's also not an excuse for not defining the long-term aims of a project. Any project that doesn't do that will fail badly whatever methodology or technology is employed.

I've always thought that the point of agile was that the iterative development and feedback loops help get the details right (because you can't imagine everything at the start) and guarantee that at least something will work.

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Microsoft bods tell El Reg: We've re-pivoted open-source .NET Core

Charlie Clark
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Substance

I don't currently work with .NET but there are some libraries I'd be interested at being able to compile and work with. But I completely failed to learn anything from this article except that beta2 is completely different to beta1. Anyone able to fill me in?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Is it just me?

Says a lot about the musical chairs at Microsoft over the last few years.

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New Firefox versions will make you activate all new add-ons – except one hacker favourite

Charlie Clark
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Yes, what with warnings about Flash plastered all over the page along with warnings that I can't see something from Twitter because "I've got third-party cookies blocked" the BBC website is increasingly devoid of content.

Maybe this is all part of some cunning plan to push users into walled gardens?

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Brit polar vessel christened RRS Sir David Attenborough

Charlie Clark
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Re: Glad to see that proper British values and common sense won the day

Too bad proper British values

What are those then? Child labour? The Corn Laws? Monumental hypocrisy? If we're lucky and Bojo willing, we'll be getting them back soon enough.

The only value here was not taking the whole thing too seriously.

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Charlie Clark
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Coat

The Navy Lark

The RRS Sir David Attenborough will be constructed at Merseyside shipbuilding yard Cammell Laird, and is due to enter service in 2019

So, exactly what will be missing from the boat when it is delivered?

Mine's the one that used to have a wallet in it…

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Siemens Healthcare struck by rebranding madness

Charlie Clark
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Suspiciously German

The Germans have become quite fond of coining English words in German (Handy, Beamer, Wellness, …) that seem oddly out of context to a native speaker. This seems like another and would go with that abominable song.

On the other hand, the yanks are the ones who came up with "onboarding" for training so maybe the is just more west coast bollocks.

Whatever it's genesis I don't really see this tagline getting much traction. Especially in the next Siemens reorganisation, which can't be that far off.

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BT Sport takes Elemental step of software encoding

Charlie Clark
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Pretty much, yes. And sadly typical of Faultline's stuff. A pity in this case as it does indeed sound like the company has done some interesting stuff.

I can't remember the full details of stuff but I think UHD with HEVC wasn't really available on hardware until very recently. When the hardware can do it then you definitely do want to use the hardware. I'd like to think there is some custom hardware in the editing suite.

Broadcasting football matches in high resolution is a challenge but you are still largely working with fixed camera positions and a studio setup. Presumably the cameras aren't encoding on the fly and you probably don't want a mobile server farm to do it for you so you need fibre back to the NOC where you can then transcode in relative peace and scale up as and when needed – presumably this is the core of the "software-defined" approach.

It's also easier for newcomers to leapfrog incumbents technologically. And, expensive as the kit may be, it's a lot less than the money spent on the broadcasting rights. I seem to remember an article on The Register not too long ago making pretty much this point with the shift to HD production as standard for broadcasters.

Still the odd UHD broadcast isn't as challenging as doing the whole channel in it which is what we'll see with the European Football Championships next month and the Rio Olympics. Those will be the real showcases for full-stack UHD designed to entice consumers into buying the necessary kit, connections and subscriptions. Like HD in its time, UHD is likely to remain niche for a couple of years so the whole chain can do everything in hardware.

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EU set to bin €500 note

Charlie Clark
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No, but the German banks will issue them on request.

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Charlie Clark
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The costs of production and processing apparently now exceed the value for the smallest coins.

The rounding is now the case in Holland (which used to do it anyway) and Finland and is even, shock, horror, being trialled in parts of Germany, though if you insist you can get exact change.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: The usual bollocks from the Euros

Sarrazin is right, as are the AfD.

Translation for those not in Jormany: Thilo Sarrazin is a bit like Farage but without the jokes, who shot to prominence with a polemic about Muslims in Germany. Weirdly though he's from the the Social Democrats.

The AfD is the German version of UKIP complete with its own infighting between the turn-the-clock-back brigade and the outright racists. In the European Parliament this means that some of them want to sit with Dave's lot and some of them want to sit with the French National Front.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: The usual bollocks from the Euros

Exactly. The war on cash has begun. It's time to start hoarding gold while you still can.

Every time you read that you know it's probably the last thing you should be doing…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: The usual bollocks from the Euros

Sorry to disappoint you but the about the € 500 note is as old as the Euro itself, as is the debate about 1 and 2 cent coins.

The Germans used to have a DM 500 note so the € 500 note was introduced to replace this. However, the Euro turned out to be far more tradable than the DM and the € 500 soon replaced the $ 100 in dodgy deals around the world as the Euro became one of the reserve currencies.

I have heard it on the radio said that some houses and cars are indeed paid for this way but no one I know says they've ever done it. Interestingly, Italy has recently lifted a ceiling on cash transactions that was previously introduced to cut down on tax avoidance, which it seemed to be doing quite well.

The € 500 has no real use in everyday life. The € 200 note won't be withdrawn. Cash is cash so when you don't trust the fiat currency you switch to something else like gold. Though that's not looking too safe as an alternative "store of value" at the moment either.

Getting the Germans entirely off cash is going to be damned hard struggle that I don't see starting soon. The financial repression is working anyway – all the governments are benefitting from the low yields but it looks like we've reached the end of the line for a while at least: the ECB's board probably doesn't have a majority for more money printing.

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How 'flexible' can the UK actually be on EU data protection law?

Charlie Clark
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Good article

Lots of detail and a clear summary of the issues.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Lengthy legal battles on the horizon

It might not matter. Schrems is precedent and the UK courts are likely to cite it as they hand out smackdowns. The legal position may then be than the bendiness doesn't apply until the courts approve it.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Procedure

Going through the courts would be the last resort. But the idea is that the Schrems judgement has set a precedent that gives the EPDB exactly these powers. As a result courts are likely to side with the EPDB all the way up the chain making it pretty pointless for member states to challenge the EPDB over this.

Cue groans of "Brussels bureaucrats stopping the UK government from watering down data privacy…" It could, of course, be argued that defending privacy is a key part of asserting sovereignty: safe harbour being struck down because it was unacceptable transfer of sovereignty. But, surely, no UK government would ever trade away sovereignty?

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Server-jacking exploits for ImageMagick are so trivial, you'll scream

Charlie Clark
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Re: Who's using ImageMagick on the server?

oh, PHP? To be expected really and I have no sympathy.

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Charlie Clark
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Who's using ImageMagick on the server?

It's a command line tool for batch processing lots of your own stuff, never give it anything from an unknown source.

Most programming languages have bindings for the relevant image handling libraries.

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Yay! It's International Patch Your Scary OpenSSL Bugs Day!

Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

Want to get pedantic about this? In that case innocuous might be the most apposite but, certainly for the first part the ASN.1 bug, innocent would also be fine: the parser behaves as expected. In which case blunder is inappropriate.

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Charlie Clark
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Also affects LibreSSL

So, still some work to be done.

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Intel has driven a dagger through Microsoft's mobile strategy

Charlie Clark
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Re: Linux on Azure, Office for Android, Subsystem for Linux

Yes, despite the ill-fated Surface on ARM devices, it looks to me like Microsoft fired the first shot here because they made no serious attempt for an x86 version of Windows Phone. The few x86 phones that do exist show that this would be possible: the market as a whole might not like them but they're okay devices. The problem for Intel was that there was no compelling argument, other than sacks of cash, to switch to x86. Intel did lots of work to make Android run nicely on x86, but with more and more apps switching to the native kit, it was only going to get harder to convince sceptical users that "only a very few" of their favourite apps wouldn't run. It only takes one high profile game not to run as expected to kill a platform (shades of MS' private APIs back in the Windows 3.1 days).

No, what we're seeing is Intel's mobile division being burned on Nadella's "cloud first, mobile first" bonfire. "Cloud" also avoids the need for the same architecture on screen 1 (mobile device) as on screen 2 (desktop or whatever). Programs either continue to run on the mobile (ARMs are now powerful enough to drive 5k screens and multitask) or are already running on the "cloud". Just stick somethng like a remote desktop server on the phone and add NFC. Moreover, this is also what companies are buying into: mobile devices accessing tightly controlled services.

I reckon we'll see lots of demonstrations of continuum and the like from MS, Apple and Google this year.

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Restaurant booked, flowers ordered ... Microsoft has a hot date for SQL Server 2016

Charlie Clark
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Re: Who'd want SQL server

Looks like Postgres is going after a slightly different market or markets. SQL Server tends to do well in vertically integrated stacks using lots of Windows tools.

Postgres via thinks like Enterprise DB's Postgres Plus is targeting smaller Oracle shops with the promise of minimal migration pain and much, much lower licensing and support costs.

The most interesting stuff seems to be going on the proliferation of different backends / storages which make Postgres interesting for the "big data" crowd: time series, columnar storage, etc.

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US data suggests Windows 10 adoption in business is slowing

Charlie Clark
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Re: Same old, same old

Given that the connections are via a CDN would the client ID actually be available or would Cloudflare have hidden it?

Virtually all CDNs make the traffic logs available to the original sites so the UA is available.

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Charlie Clark
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Same old, same old

Each month, The Register checks out StatCounter, Netmarketshare and the US government's analytics service…

And each month the articles fail to drawn on The Register's own data and focus on changes the size of rounding errors.

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Web site admins: Brace for weekend traffic surges from iOS devices

Charlie Clark
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Re: When did "Samsung" category start?

This will just be down to the way the statistics software handles the user agents. A lot of vendors are pretty poor at keeping their lists of user agent strings up to date.

Samsung does provide its own browser for its phones, but they are all still running Android.

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Charlie Clark
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A key thing would be to include a measure for total traffic. At the weekend fewer people are sitting at desks and mobile use goes up. Shock, horror. Weekend traffic is often less than 50% than during office hours.

But why let simple mathematics get in the way of some clickbait?

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Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Data source

We like it because we're aware of no other publicly available data set at this scale

Well, I have repeatedly suggested that you look at the data that Akamai provides in the Internet Observatory. Data from some of the most heavily trafficked sites in the world so obviously not very interesting.

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Chrome edges out IE for desktop browser crown

Charlie Clark
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Indeed. Another indication that the sites that run NetApplications scripts are not necessarily representative. Another opportunity wasted by The Register to compare the data with its own stats.

The stats I watch indicate that Chrome overtook IE back in 2013.

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