* Posts by Charlie Clark

6394 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

ZTE sends 400 million hostages, gets back in business stateside

Charlie Clark
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Re: @DerGoat

Dumb enough to be an American

When I look around at modern democracies I don't think stupidity is limited to the US. Trump, like Berlusconi, is a good showman and that, pace Gil Scott Heron, is what a lot of people seem to want.

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Charlie Clark
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Facepalm

US libertarians and conservative Republicans is how sick we have been that recent presidents we have elected

And whose fault would that be then?

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Charlie Clark
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The international building site

Presumably, Trump did things like this in the past: you want to do the cabling the new building? then pay may 2%…

The Chinese played along for the theatre. The money sounds a lot until you see ZTE's balance sheet. It's like the fines imposed on the banks: great headlines but generally tax-deductibe charges on massive balance sheets.

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Python creator Guido van Rossum sys.exit()s as language overlord

Charlie Clark
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Re: I like Python and C

Frankly, I never had an issue with the segmented address space.

x86's memory addressing and "context switching" chained CPU performance to the 1970s for decades. Intel had admirable processes for a dreadful architecture. But, as with VHS over Beta (feel free to add your own examples), it's often not the best technology which succeeds initially. Eventually, however, the better technology is likely to be adopted.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I like Python and C

And it wasn't really 640K, it was more like 704K, if you knew what you were doing.

Like running DOS inside OS/2…

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Charlie Clark
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It should never have happened in the first place. It was always going to cause problems

Some major changes in the language were inevitable after the introduction of new-style classes. Python 3 was more or less inevitable but the release was very badly handled. Thankfully, the core developers realised this at some point and did something to fix it. It's no longer an issue for the vast majority of developers.

Smirk. I've seen plenty of people get into deep, deep trouble with Python chasing idiotic bugs long after deployment

And I could point to a long list of projects that were saved by migrating to Python…

Also there's the mad, lunatic idea of having a package manager as part of the language installation

This is unavoidable because there is no installer that works for all OSes. I maintain a popular library and much as I moan about Python's packaging I'm so glad I don't have to package it for all the different Linux distros, MacOS, Windows.

It makes deploying Python application highly painful.

Strangely I rarely hear this, in fact usually the opposite. Deployment is such a huge problem that there are entire conferences devoted to the infrastructure.

Python on Linux does some things subtly differently to Python on Windows.

Python itself doesn't do things differently but invariably the different OSes have different APIs, file handling springs to mind. It's the same for any language that interfaces directly with the OS.

I'll be sticking to my C, C++, C#.

I'm happy for you. Why can't you be happy for people who, despite your predictions of doom, are successful with Python?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I like Python and C

Some design decisions were, in hindsight, wrong. ‘print’ - statement rather than ‘print()’ - expression, for example . Means you can’t ‘[print(x) for c in x]’.

I actually want my print statement back. Why on earth would I ever wrap a print call in a comprehension? Never ever felt even the urge to do this in the past. And if I ever did, two lines would be fine.

Code that works on both 2 and 3 requires minimal changes if you can start with 3-style. Then it's really just unicode literals, ints instead of longs. It's a bit more work if you have extensions. All in all less work than changing a major component.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I like Python and C

What I don't understand is why a language allows you to do things in two different ways

Python doesn't really like this. Hence, the claim from import this, that There should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious way to do it.

Comprehensions and multiline expressions are more than just functionally equivalent, hence I wouldn't expect flame wars about them, but otherwise there is a sense of what is Pythonic. It's not canonical and open for debate, but also considered a value in itself.

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Charlie Clark
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I think a lot of the more recent PEPs have been syntactic sugar, hence the pushback. And maybe it is time for Guido to take more of a backseat. I've met him too a couple of times and he is a really nice guy and very smart.

Often the biggest win is using generators (or equivalents) with memory use being Python's biggest challenge.

For those increasing hordes using Python with TensorFlow, et al., it's just noise.

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Charlie Clark
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Any language that depends on differing amounts of whitespace to alter the program is stupid.

Python itself doesn't really need the whitespace, they syntax enforcement is for the users.

Compile-time type-checking is now optionally available for those few projects that need it. Books have been written on whether compile-time type-checking brings any advantages over memory optimisation.

Unit testing won't really pick up type errors either, you need fuzzing for that.

The 2 to 3 schism is now largely over. Most new projects are using Python 3, 3.5+ finally brings tangible improvements, 2.7 will be maintained until at least 2020. Projects can coexist for 2 and 3 with fairly minimal changes. That said, it's an investment with no immediate return for many older libraries. But rinse and repeat the discussion for any major release in any popular language.

Face it, you're a grumpy old git who resents the success that many people have because of Python.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Here's a PEP

Try import braces…

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GitHub to Pythonistas: Let us save you from vulnerable code

Charlie Clark
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Looks like they just check the use of libraries used by the code. While the Python language has very few known vulnerabilities, there are a multitude of libraries out there that might have them, for example the handling of some entities in the various XML libraries.

But there are other static code analysis tools that will do this and more: Sonar, Code Climate (or whatever it's now called). Personally, I really like Quantified Code which was also released as open source.

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Farewell then, Slack: The grown-ups have arrived

Charlie Clark
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Have an extra upvote for…

For Slack is a business, and Teams is a feature.

Slack has also done some acquisitions including some fucking awful screen sharing and audio features.

E-mail is great because it's largely just a protocol and you can always keep local copies of your e-mails. It's also great because it works best as text/plain: everytime someone sends a formatted e-mail, or a top-reply a kitten dies.

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One two three... Go: Long Pig Microsoft avoids cannibalising Surface

Charlie Clark
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£380 will get you the 4GB RAM / 64 GB Flash machine

Need to cough up £510 for a 8GB / 128 GB combo.

Obviously, swapping to Flash should still make it a zippy little device but from what I've seen of Windows 10 or whatever they're pushing 4GB really seems like the lower limit.

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Happy 10th birthday, Evernote: You have survived Google and Microsoft. For your next challenge...

Charlie Clark
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OneNote is being folded into Microsoft Teams

OneNote always felt like it was a piece of Sharepoint hiding in a desktop app: similar controls, just a slightly different GUI. And useless for ideas management. But Microsoft's strategy has always been to provide just enough functionality, and promise more, so that CIOs decide to stick with them rather than go with the competition.

Skype, which is finally reasonably stable, is also due to be rolled into Teams in a (desperate?) attempt to stop companies switching to Slack (pretty meh in many respects). Presumably, the GitHub purchase is supposed to fit into this strategy as well.

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Put WhatsApp, Slack, admin privileges in a blender and what do you get? Wickr

Charlie Clark
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200 paying customers?

Sounds like you can't do anything without VC money. El Reg covered Wickr some years back but the market has moved on since then. There is now a choice of secure messengers: Signal, Wire, Threema, etc., with Signal and Wire being open source.

But for enterprises there is still BlackBerry, which has the advantage of established user base and toolset.

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Dudes. Blockchain. In a phone. It's gonna smash the 'commoditization of humanity' or something

Charlie Clark
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Along with a good analysis of the problems of anonymous and decentralised infrastructure: you won't know it's been subverted until it's too late.

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Google offers to leave robocallers hanging on the telephone

Charlie Clark
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I'm curious; what's the good reason? Why would you call someone if you're not willing to let them know who you are?

I have a couple of friends who are ex-directory. For some this is because they have a prominent position, lawyers, doctors, etc., and don't want their private phone number to be publicly available. Some women also go ex-directory after receiving nuisance calls, no, not those of the PPI kind. With my girlfriend it's down to the exchange or the network as she never requested it; we just know that the wiring in the house is pretty damn old.

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Charlie Clark
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The detail is in the implementation

The platform is identifying who gets through to the user…

Blocking calls without an ID is easy enough. But I think this is designed to foil robo-callers that call you first and connect the sales droid only when you pick up, ie. it will identify the time spent switching the line.

I think this is pretty clever if combined with calls without an ID.

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Charlie Clark
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Won't work here: a couple of people I know, including my girlfriend, have no caller ID for good reason.

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Big contenders in the broadband chart this week, but who will be #1? Well, not Britain

Charlie Clark
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This sounds like one of the typical situations where average has very little bearing on reality

True, much better to use something like quartiles for this.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I've heard of a story of FTTH in Turkey

I'm not sure of the relevance of the comparison.

Broadband speed has a lot to do with the age of the local infrastructure, particularly in a property but also in the street. In many OECD countries cabling in the house to the next exchange is still copper because it's expensive to rip it out and replace. In many developing economies the infrastructure, especially between exchange and building will be newer, eg. fibre or coax, meaning faster broadband from the word go.

Yes, the UK dragged its feet over upgrade the network and particularly fluffed privatisation of both BT and Cable & Wireless but other countries didn't do that much better. But I think the most important aspect is that you're talking about an unlicensed connection. What redress does the customer have if a flunky decides the connection has to go?

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iPhone 8 now outsells X, and every other phone

Charlie Clark
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Re: So, the regular run of the mill iPhone 8 ...

Apple have got things badly wrong?

Of course it doesn't. The devil is in the detail which is sort of missing from the report. Apple still sells lots of phones with nice fat margins and makes juicy profits as a result. But it does make mistakes in the product mix (the coloured ones spring to mind) and the X has led to fewer sales than some anticipated for a "super cycle", but where it finally admitted that Samsung has the better display (OLED), charging (wireless) and case technology (waterproof). The X isn't a disaster but that it's the first time that the flagship model has failed to sell more than the "me-too" version. It's also not the viblen version that is designed to be so expensive that only a few people will buy it.

Apple has a large and very loyal base. It also has many customers who feel they cannot leave because of their investment in apps and, particularly in music. But it would be a mistake for them to think that they can rely on this. The market is moving on from phone features to services. Apple is well-placed here because of its large and loyal base, but is losing to Spotify and needs to counter Netflix quickly. Once consumers become more interested in the services and know that they can switch manufacturers then Apple will indeed have a fight on its hands. But, no, this is not yet another prophecy of their doom.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: @AC It's had its day.

OTOH, if you plan to trade in or resell an older high-end phone…

Strange decision when buying something to use. FWIW this is indicative of the kind of flawed logic we all use to buy more expensive items (including houses). Just because an object retains its value better does not make economic sense; as with cars, the real winners are those who buy second-hand.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Never take a first batch product

Also, I've had the phone a few times in the lakes of sweden, doing videos of the fish. You'd have called me mad a couple of years ago, if I'd have suggested that

You're still crazy doing it with such expensive kit when good, reliably waterproof phones that are much cheaper have been around for years. I wouldn't worry so much about dropping the phone in water as such, more about on rocks, or in a muddy bit. But it's your money…

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Apple emits iPhone cop-block update – plus iOS, macOS, Safari patches

Charlie Clark
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El Capitan seems full of bugs

Can't remember so many bug fixes over the previous few years. Normally Apple stops bothering once it's prepping the next major release.

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Web biz DomainFactory confirms: We were hacked in January 2018

Charlie Clark
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Re: Schufa?

Checking SCHUFA scores is routine in Germany. Note that it's one of the reasons why we get to pay by invoice rather than some kind of dodgy online payment provider.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: STOP storing personal/sensitive data in plain text

Inasmuchas the breach wasn't related to access to the database I'm not sure how this would help. The problem was exposing the information via some kind of feed.

Encryption is good but doesn't solve all the problems.

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The Notch contagion is spreading slower than phone experts thought

Charlie Clark
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Re: Charge by wire

I don't see the point of wireless charging

Use in a domestic setting might be moot, but there are plenty of settings where it makes a lot of sense, especially public spaces where charging is provided as a matter of courtesy such as airport lounges. The cabling for charging mats is simpler and less fragile than providing more powerpoints, though obviously USB-ports are also good if also a potential security risk.

If I'm travelling for any period where I think I need a device while it's charging I use a powerbank.

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Charlie Clark
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The iPhone X and Asus Zenfone 5 literally

Have an extra downvote for cretinous and inaccurate use of the word literally. I mean, literally, what has the word ever down to you to deserve such abuse?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Charge by wire

Most of the mobile accessories I buy come without a charger but with a micro-USB connection. With the standardisation I have no need to spend a lot of money on a badged charger, as I have more than enough chargers already including a compact 2-port one than can charge my S5 in an hour.

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Charlie Clark
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Bezel's have almost been eliminated from modern TV's.

And this is a relevant comparison because…?

Almost all devices that we hold or pick up have bezels: phones, watches, books, etc. The bezel is as much a design feature as anything else. Otherwise everything becomes the interface and this inevitably leads to mistakes.

Everytime I hand my phone to my girlfriend to look at something she invariably presses one of the soft-keys by mistake. Something she almost certainly wouldn't do if the phone had enough tactile buttons.

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A fine vintage: Wine has run Microsoft Solitaire on Linux for 25 years

Charlie Clark
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Virtualisation made it irrelevant

Dual-booting solved a lot of problems but virtualisation made Wine irrelevant for anyone wanting to do serious work with Windows programs from within a non-Windows environment. Since then Wine has been relegated to the "interesting" section of software development. In reality, chasing APIs, especially private ones, is a mug's game.

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Ding dong! Dell about to go public again – report

Charlie Clark
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Re: Dell about to go public again.

You sell them the boxes and then make even more money selling them services.

Netflix seems to be doing well enough by not selling the boxes.

Additionally, if even Dell can't make money out of the IBM PC, what hope is there for the rest of us?

In case you hadn't noticed the PC market has been in decline for years and more recently the notebook market has started to shrink. Why? Because we've all already got all the computing power we need.

Dell's going private was always only about taking advantage of the status and financial engineering to make lots of money for Silverlake. Remember those juicy 30-year bonds?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Dell about to go public again.

You mean the low-margin stuff that has forced other manufacturers out of the business? Sounds like a winner!

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RIP Peter Firmin: Clangers creator dies aged 89

Charlie Clark
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Attention to detail

The stories were great and well-told but it was the meticulous attention to sometimes baffling detail that made things stick in the mind and the wires and the screen melt away. I've been showing my Jorman missus some of the series and she is just as entranced as I was. For those who speak German, die Augsburger Puppenkiste made equally magical shows.

Similar for Gerry Anderson's work, Aardman and for much of Pixar's work. The sort of pixie dust that the beancounters hate.

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BlackBerry Key2: Clickier, nippier, but how many people still want a QWERTY?

Charlie Clark
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Re: "but how many people still want a QWERTY?"

2 C sockets but they are of limited function

I'll second that: you can charge the phone and do MTP with the one on the left (you might have to reboot), and use the one on the right for HDMI or the dongle. And you only find this out through trial and error.

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Google freezes Android P: Get your shoes on, tire-kicking devs

Charlie Clark
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Re: How rapid will it get into use?

The following are obviously possible but this year a number of other devices - from Nokia, Sony, Xiaomi, OnePlus, Essential and Vivo.

This hints at the success of project Treble which should make future updates available to more phones faster. Obviously not the long tail, but more than we're used. If this works well then it could be a stick to hit the laggards (Samsung) with.

Some manufacturers are still struggling with Treble but the number of devices getting LOS 15.1 is increasing albeit slowly; the most recent unofficial build I got for my S5 klte is looking very good.

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Stern Vint Cerf blasts techies for lackluster worldwide IPv6 adoption

Charlie Clark
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Seriously, though, who thought this kind of network breaking upgrade was a good idea?

Nobody thought it was a good idea, but it was considered the least disruptive with the most benefits of all the alternatives.

And if you look at the history of some of the more common protocols you can see the problems associated with maintaining backwards-compatibility for too long: SSL springs to mind.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Meh

IPv6 seems to be based on the premise that it would be cool for every device everywhere to be findable with the same address.

Nope, more IP addresses are needed than IPv4, but the sensible addressing helps routing and reduces latency. IPv6 comes with privacy extensions to reduce the risks of having such specific ip addresses because IPv6 doesn't require a device to have a single, static ip address.

It seems to be a solution looking for a problem

No, it's more like IPv4 has been kept around by a whole heap of kludges and workarounds (mainly carrier NAT). These have increased the stop energy or inertia of the system which has led to more kludges and workarounds. We don't really notice the problems and costs associated with the fixes in the West but in the many countries with large populations and small IPv4 address spaces, it has been causing problems for years. Hence, unsurprising to see IPv6 being adopted in places like India: get it right and you've got quite a few less problems to worry about.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Sure..

now in graceful and favourable retirement after taking Google's Shilling as a pension.

Or advising Google's huge teams of networking engineers when the inevitably dream up new protocols: Brotli, SPDY, etc.

Experience costs, but inexperience generally costs more.

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In World Cup Russia, our Wi-Fi networks will log on to you!

Charlie Clark
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A word to the wise

The upcoming soccer World Cup

World Cup has been trademarked so you have to write it and announce it always as the MAFIA™ World Cup.

I do like watching a good game of footy, whether it's a couple of amateur teams, or Platini's* France, as long as they're really having a go. But recently I really can't be arsed. Money has turned the players into mercenaries and tournaments into bazaars.

FCUM

* or other equally stylish playmaker: Best, Cruyff, etc.

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Finally, San Francisco cleans up the crap from its streets – yes, all those fscking scooters

Charlie Clark
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it's forbidden to drive one on roads (when electric bicycles are allowed, don't ask for MPs to be coherent)

Well, there is history: everything used to be allowed to use the road until they were so many cars that this was no longer safe. Bikes and horses were allowed to stay.

It's pretty elementary road safety: bikes have reasonably low centres of gravity which means that the users fly off them less often and less far in accidents. E-bikes are pedal-assist only or need insurance…

Every now and then there is a new form of transport whose fans think it should be allowed to be used on the road. Then there are the accidents… and the next fashion.

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Charlie Clark
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Electric Mopeds

Here in Düsseldorf we're seeing the usual explosion on rentable bikes crowding out parking spaces for bikes – Mobike has just arrived – but with little use. But we've also got electric mopeds. These are provided by the local utility company and seem like a good idea. First of all, there aren't that many of them but they do seem popular with young adults as a better fit than either a bike, not least because you can ride tandem on them, or a car which you need a licence for. Based on the anecdotal evidence of what I see on the streets I reckon they have the best utility rate of all the options.

Information, in Jorman, if you're interested in the details.

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SoftBank sells off more than half of Arm China for a bargain $775.2m

Charlie Clark
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If that's the case, it was a pretty good price.

It's a big if, so the jury's still out on this until, if ever, it becomes clear what was sold.

Chinese companies routinely pay over the market price for assets as this gives them ways of moving capital around the usual restrictions, ie. they're not idiots when it comes to negotiating.

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Ex-CEO on TalkTalk mega breach: It woz 'old shed' legacy tech wot done it

Charlie Clark
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Re: The digital deficit is coming to get us

If a company is using it then its not legacy. Its thats simple.

Have an extra upvote for this. Asserting something is "legacy" is trying to shift the blame. From day one when you own it, it's your responsibility and failing to grasp this was at the heart of the problem. Why did your company not continually invest in keeping its security systems up to date? Why did your company not handle the software of any acquisitions better?

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Five actually useful real-world things that came out at Apple's WWDC

Charlie Clark
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And what's worse, it would make their hardware cost unjustifiable.

Nah, the hardware prices are determined by what the market will bear. It's just retrospective justification to try and link thet two. Apple keeps expanding in the services area (music, film and tv, maps, health, home automation, automotive, payments…) and uses user data for this.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Damn it

All I need from Google i Google Maps... and that's it.

Oh, just that. That's probably Google's most effective property…, which is why Apple went to such lengths to create its own map system.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Damn it

But give the supper creepy behaviour of the web giants

Just because Apple doesn't sell ads, doesn't mean they're not collecting as much data.

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FYI: Qualcomm hasn't given up on Arm-based Windows 10 slabtops

Charlie Clark
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It's more like WinNT on DEC Alpha. OS/2 on anything was hobbled because OS/2 was a great OS for running Windows and DOS applications because you could give them each more RAM than they could ever get on DOS. The meant nobody bothered to develop native OS/2 apps regardless of what instruction set they were compiled for, but also that Windows on OS/2 on Power would be a dog without both Windows and the apps being recompiled for Power.

Intel effectively got Microsoft to kill WinNT on DEC by getting them to move off HAL. This meant more work for porting to the undoubtedly better hardware at a time when Intel was able to regularly boost clock speeds.

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