* Posts by Charlie Clark

6913 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Behold, the world's most popular programming language – and it is...wait, er, YAML?!?

Charlie Clark
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Any language where the amount and flavour of whitespace is significant should be strangled at birth.

Because…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Makes me pine for the days of XML...

Which problems did XML actually solve? And which ones did it create?

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Holy moley! The amp, kelvin and kilogram will never be the same again

Charlie Clark
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Re: "...using methods that can be replicated anywhere on the planet."

There are measurements that suggest those constants are in fact not. Constant, that is (cannot remember which ones, though)

There are some observations that suggest that Planck's constant ("h") might not be, er, constant in space and time. Time is sort of understandable, at least in the very early phases of the universe during expansion but I think the observations are of much more recent times. Came across this a few years ago so it could have been debunked or theorised away but it would not suprise me in the least if the universe didn't have quite a few more surprises for us.

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Alphabet gives bipedal robots the Schaft 'cos no one wants to buy its creepy machine maker

Charlie Clark
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Re: After the Google acquisition, it completely clammed up

Google hates outside code, outside programing languages, and outside libraries.

No it doesn't. It engages constructively in lots of different projects and actively supports others. It does have some odd development practices that seem to stem from people moving rapidly between projects and also from the shear scale of some deployments. I personally am flabbergasted that they didn't crash their data centres and network with all the transcoding they do for YouTube due to the world and dog insisting on 4K cat videos!

It does develop, acquire and abandon quite a lot of projects but this is within its role as investor. It seems to keep the useful stuff and role it into other projects. Lots of companies do this but generally seem to acquire and then shutdown potential competitors (Oracle, SAP, et al).

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Charlie Clark
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Re: After the Google acquisition, it completely clammed up

Boston Dynamics was sold off. Google/Alphabet really doesn't seem to be interested in the war machine stuff. Presumably it's taken the IP it wants for Waymo and other bets.

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Brits shun country life over phone not-spot fears

Charlie Clark
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Why is it ludicrous? All my life things like employment prospects, healthcare, education and transport have figured large in people's decisions on where to live and house prices and rents reflect this: somewhere close to a station/motorway costs more than somewhere a bit further away. For a while it was popular to live close to but outside a larger town but things likeand the move of jobs from "enterprise zones" back to cities and the the continuous increase in traffic have made this less attractive. Throw into this the problems of getting good teachers and medical staff to rural areas and the continuing decline of the farming population.

But, as the article says this seems largely PR for uSwitch.

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iPhone XS: Just another £300 for a better cam- Wait, come back!

Charlie Clark
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Re: Not me

What difference does it make if this is built into the phone or added by the user to suit their own individual use-case?

Or, as the car salesman said: "Oh you wanted wheels with it, did you? They cost extra…"

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Power efficiency difference

I think OLEDs are inherently more power hungry, presumably due to the discrete lighting. But, 10-bit colour in a consumer device? Who needs it? It's like some of the hifi stuff out there: technically superb but practically unnoticeable.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Not me

Put your phone in a case and apply a toughened glass screen protector.

Ie. the device, as sold, is not fit for purpose as the OP says: stupid design choice makes the device inherently susceptible to breakages.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Confused

I'm told Apples suppliers are reducing the number of conveyor belts coughing out the XR parts

Interesting. I guess this could be similar to the S6 / S6 Edge thing where people preferred the more expensive model. Of course, at these prices Apple can't really lose.

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Charlie Clark
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Confused

For a long time it seemed obvious which I-Phone was which but the new range has me confused. Not that I'm planning to buy one but I wonder: is it just me?

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Six critical systems, four months to Brexit – and no completed testing

Charlie Clark
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Re: Time running out

Why are you not having another referendum?

Because the first one was such a stupid idea! Having another one (what would the question be?) wouldn't be popular (and not just with Brenda from Bristol) and probably wouldn't change anything. Downside: everybody gets riled up again. Upside: can't really think of one.

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It's November 2018, and Microsoft's super-secure Edge browser can be pwned eight different ways by a web page

Charlie Clark
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Re: if an open source project had MAJOR flaw rates like this

Why specify C-like languages for this, when your statement is true for all languages?

C-like languages seem to suffer from some problems more than others. There are reasons for this, of course, and the problems are really with the programmers rather than the language. Some languages have attempted to avoid some of the pitfalls associated with C which is why I mentioned Rust. I think that Firefox uses it for handling CSS but I could be wrong. Would in any case be useful to know whether it has been as useful as they hoped.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: if an open source project had MAJOR flaw rates like this

What does this really say about the Chakra Core?

That, as relatively new code, it probably has yet to be detected vulnerabilities? The "I didn't expect that to happen sort" that are almost unavoidable with C languages. Would be interesting to know whether Mozilla's shift to Rust for some stuff has brought them the improved security they were hoping for.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Correct update for Flash player

What is there to uninstall? It's baked into most desktop browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Edge even if it is now deactivated by default.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Never mind the flaw, look at the *pattern*.

If you released a de-compiled version of a corporations software, that let anyone look for bugs in it, would it be illegal.

Depends largely on the jurisdiction. In many countries reverse engineering of software is illegal. We largely have the DMCA to thank for that.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: if an open source project had MAJOR flaw rates like this

That's because the source is OPEN, and can be reviewed directly by security researchers and quality-minded people

What a load of cock! While I like open source and contribute to it, the idea that making the source available automatically guarantees quality let alone security has been debunked long ago. Not just the infamous flaws in openssl but also, if memory serves, backdoors planted in my favourite unix.

The kind of static code analysis that open source provides is also a poor guide for security. So, unless projects are actively being tested for vulnerabilities, and contrary to your assertion, there is not an army of expert penetration testers out there constantly scrutinising open source projects (largely because no one is paying them to do so) so lots of known vulnerabilities will remain blissfully undetected.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: if an open source project had MAJOR flaw rates like this

Microsoft has never re-written anything from scratch (well, not since 95)

Since when was Windows 95 a rewrite? It was mainly DOS + MFC. However, Windows NT was basically a rewrite of OS/2 with some ideas from VMS thrown in.

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A new Raspberry Pi takes a bow with all of the speed but less of the RAM

Charlie Clark
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The 486 DX was great, it was the SX that was shit.

I/O is a real problem on any Pi doing real work: eSATA / USB 3 really should be available. Notice I didn't even mention the GPU that hasn't seen a refresh in years: HEVC really ought to be available as well.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I swerved the PoE hat

Last year I got me a set of various extension cables all with USB ports – all with at least 2 with 2 A.

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Charlie Clark
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New supplier required

Now that Broadcom is an investment company and not a chipmaker then there needs to be a new supplier for the SoC's. Upping the CPU while ignoring the I/O bottleneck will bring very little.

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Cheeky cheesemaker fails to copyright how things taste

Charlie Clark
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They (the Jormans) have some nice stuff, but you wouldn't think it based on the crap they export to us.

Well, that's largely true for most of the wine that the UK imports! But German wine has significantly improved from the days of Blue Nun and Black Tower (neither of which I've ever seen here). Like many European winemakers, they benefitted enormously from the expertise and techniques that the Australians brought to the business. The sparkling wines from my vintner have bee given the thumbs up by all my sister-in-laws.

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Charlie Clark
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Like many things, the Dutch have optimised their production processes for an international market that has no taste. This is as true for their water masquerading as beer (Heineken) as it is for the equally ubiquitous and equally bland Gouda. But they can and do and make and mature proper cheeses.

As a kid we had to suffer red balls of Edam because my mum basically doesn't like cheese. Strange thing is I've never seen these abominations in any of the provinces and certainly not in Edam itself, which is a lovely little cheese.

Given a choice I prefer a strong, crumbly Cheddar or a French, non-dairy (sheep, goats) cheese but my local farmer's market does a nice line in Dutch-style cheeses with fenugreek or mustard seeds.

However, elsewhere I noticed there's been another legal campaign against the roquefort mould that gives us our lovely Stilton.

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Just a little heads up: Google is still trying to convince everyone that web apps don't suck

Charlie Clark
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Re: Web app? No thanks.

I strongly disagree with this assertion. PWAs threaten to make the web an even more dangerous and hostile medium than it already is.

How exactly? Service workers have no access to the DOM and all code is tied to the origin. I'm no fan of Javascript everywhere, and particularly dislike SPAs ("Single Page Apps"), but baseless scaremongering helps no one.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Web app? No thanks.

No it's not. REST has nothing to do with rendering, ps scheduling or even simple things like FS access or user perms

I never suggested it was I specifically referred to the huge number of apps that do depend on REST. Of course, it doesn't work for everything but for all those travel & search apps, it's great idea.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Web app? No thanks.

Offline capability exists and in many cases would run just as fast as a traditional app.

Given that a lot of apps are just a webview that talks REST to an http server I think it is a reasonable claim. But, again, they currently make most sense on mobile devices.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Web app? No thanks.

PWAs are a mess

You seem to be conflating two things: PWAs and Electron/Node.Js based desktop apps.

PWAs are great additions to websites and easy to implement for mobile devices. Electron isn't required as they just need a browser runtime. Lots of apps can be implemented as PWAs and distributed without having to use an app store.

Bridging the gap from mobile to desktop is part of the ChromeOS everywhere strategy which is less interesting and more of a challenge. Some desktop/mobile apps work well – Telegram seems well done to me – others less so.

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Michael Howard: Embrace of open source is destroying 'artificial definitions' of legacy vendors

Charlie Clark
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WTF?

Oh dear

A new kid out of computer science school has been taught with a spreadsheet mentality that is enforced by the simplicity that some of the NoSQL tools have

If that's the case then don't employ anyone who graduates from such schools! That relational database theory is based on maths doesn't mean it has to be avoided!

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Huawei Mate 20 Pro: If you can stomach the nagware and price, it may be Droid of the Year

Charlie Clark
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No word from ElReg on how a face scanner is probably not a good idea

Apart from the notes in the article that biometrics are inherently not secure… The review even briefly touches on the quality of the radios in case anyone wanting to use the phone as a phone is interested.

I'm not currently looking for a new phone but credit where credit's due: an impressive device. But it's got a notch and Huawei phones are not well supported by Lineage OS, so not for me even if I was looking.

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One UI to end gropes: Samsung facelift crowns your thumb the king

Charlie Clark
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As hard as I try, I cannot make myself think of Material Design as "getting things right".

I suspect you're just being snarky. If you compare apps before and after Material I think you'll find more recent ones are more consistent. Material Design, of course, builds on classic UX patterns but also incorporates lessons learned fom IOS and, yes, Windows Phone. Which is one of the reasons why the various platforms are increasingly interchangeable.

To summarise: I think that Material Design provides a coherent metaphor for design elements that recognises the importance of visual effects but subordinates them to functionality. Eg., the darkening around a screen press: the effect reinforces the action and is thus meaningul. I don't think this is particularly revolutionary or magical, just well applied, well documented and it provided a useable toolbox for developers.

Right enough of the whalesong guff, I've off to shoot some kittens!

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Charlie Clark
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I don't mind TouchWiz that much. I do mind not being able to remove preinstalled crap and tardy updates. Fortunately, nearly all Samsung's are easy to root and well supported by LineageOS. :-)

OneUI looks to me mainly like adopting Material Design, which makes sense because it gets a lot of things right.

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Windows XP? Pfff! Parts of the Royal Navy are running Win ME

Charlie Clark
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Re: Shurely...

Macintoshes are also compulsory on-board gear

I believe this one is yours, sir.

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Bruce Schneier: You want real IoT security? Have Uncle Sam start putting boots to asses

Charlie Clark
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Re: IOT is only going to grow as an issue long term

For the non-German speakers: "Mist" == "Manure" & "Gift" == "Poison"

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Charlie Clark
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Re: America always waits for class action suits

Do you really think IT security policies would be better under Hillary?

No, I'd just expect different groups to be lobbying and blocking each other. But she might at least be more actively involved in developing policy and less obsessed with doing stadium tours.

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Charlie Clark
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America always waits for class action suits

Until then companies can, and generally do, do what the hell they like. And the new Congress isn't likely to help: the House may propose something but the Senate and the Big Orange Baby will shoot it down. Won't really matter because none of them will really understand in it anyway and will write it whatever their richest lobbiest wants.*

So, prepare to wait for, I don't know, a class action due to houses burning down because the IoT smart home stuff fucks up to work its way through the courts, impose swingeing fines and create legislation through precedent. As has been the case for the last 40-odd years.

* I call it the Greenback Wave.

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Bloodbath as Broadcom slashes through CA Technologies personnel

Charlie Clark
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Re: As ye sow, so shall ye reap

I think you're missing a step before 6: sell off carcass to like-minded group (tax efficient) or float it, if you think the cretins have returned to the market.

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Charlie Clark
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Broadcom isn't really Broadcom. It was bought by an investment company which just adopted the brand. So, everyone should have seen this coming. No doubt the entrails of CA will subsequently be put up for sale.

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Samsung 'reveals' what looks like a tablet that folds into a phone, but otherwise we're quite literally left in the dark

Charlie Clark
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Re: folding batteries.

IMHO, of course, but I don't see a device that unfolds to a roughly 4:3 like this one, and is only 7.3" at that, being much of a success.

Why are you so hung up on the specs of the demo device? It was so obviously a protoype but there are presumably multiple different designs currently being tested. We'll probably know more in a couple of months but until then we should assume that, at least some of the people in Samsung are thinking about the right form factors for their target markets. Personally, I think that A6 -> A5 would be a good place to start but we'll all just have to wait and see.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: This

Which isn't the same as people's pockets.

Pockets have a standard aspect ratio?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: How they test matters

@DougS – no shit Sherlock. But, again, this is something that the company understands well. There are bound to be issues with the screens, temperature is particularly likely to be a problem, but I'd expect the mechanical stuff to be well understood and appropriately tested. Unlike, say, the antenna problems of a certain rival phone maker when it decided that an aluminium cage was the best thing to put a radio in, because it was so beautiful.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: sci-fi show where they had devices that rolled

Sony also had a demo of roll up display, possibly eInk.

PlasticLogic will happily sell you them: now up to around 15". Not suitable for smart phone displays, of course, put pretty interesting all the same.

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Charlie Clark
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Just open it enough times and the display will start to degrade...

Given that Samsung is an industrial conglomerate with a small consumer electronics business, I think they might be aware of that and have done the tests. In fact the presentation goes into that including needing a new adhesive to cope with the folding.

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Charlie Clark
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Due to difficult of producing large OLED panels, Samsung has retreated from pushing them for monitors so I wouldn't expect to see them pushing the folding screens there soon. Assuming they can make the panels then I suspect they will initiialy all go to phones for the time being: think of the price of a TV 55" that would equate to the number of S9s that can be made from the same OLED panel.

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Charlie Clark
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Possibly, but I also think that something like this, which is yet ready for market, is also about keeping the competition in the dark until you have all the IP (materials, process, etc.) needed to make it safely registered.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Is this a joke? It must be a joke...

Watch the presentation (about 1:22 in) because it is quite interesting. Flexible displays are hard™ and a lot of the technologies and materials that we hoped could be used have failed to deliver. Yes, it's important to see what is actually available and at what cost but mass production is due to start over the "next few months".

Personally, I think the technology could really be revolutionary but as to whether it will be Samsung that makes the most of it, well, that's another question, because I'm sure we will see a slew of interesting but ultimately useless designs.

The presentations, however, are worth watching. While "One UI" looks like an admission that Samsung fucked up UX for years, it also shows that they've finally started thinking about the users. Basically the biggest indication so far that Samsung has a coherent strategy for breaking out of the consumer electronics follower segment.

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Xiaomi anarchy in the UK: Chinese tat-flinger wants to slip its cheapo flagships in Brit pockets

Charlie Clark
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Re: Disappointing

Expect to pay a reasonable surcharge in the UK for: VAT, UK/EU/network certification and, most importantly, UK-based sales and support.

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Data flows post-Brexit: 'Leave it to government to make sure you've got a smooth run in.' Er, OK

Charlie Clark
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Thumb Up

Have an extra upvote for that.

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Charlie Clark
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Trust me, I'm a politician

NFT

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Upset fat iOS gobbles up so much storage? Too bad, so sad, says judge: Apple lawsuit axed

Charlie Clark
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Re: Sizes

Why should the OS be smaller on devices Apple has full control over?

In theory because it needs fewer drivers for varying hardware configurations. But, basically people who buy I-Phones and moan about storage only have themselves to blame. You want lots of reasonably priced storage? Buy something that supports SD cards.

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'Blockchain SAVED my Quango'

Charlie Clark
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Did I sleep too long?

Has April come early? No, everything tells me it's still November but this does read like an April Fool. Except it's just yet another example of government imitating satire…

Hang on, I've got an idea for a Blockchain Sitcom. Must be worth a couple of million for a feasibility study…

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