* Posts by Charlie Clark

5043 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Google hit with record antitrust fine of €2.4bn by Europe

Charlie Clark
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Re: Follow the Money ...... Uncover a Racket

Considered returned by whom?

By the law. This is common practice with criminal fines. Whether it's for abuse of monopolies or speeding.

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Charlie Clark
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I don't know what you were looking at at the time, but I have to disagree.

Mainly Altavista but I switched to Google fairly early (as a result of a story on BeDope IIRC) because Google was providing the more relevant results as the others drowned in smut.

I'm not saying that Google's focus on speed wasn't important, because it was and is, but it was the quality of the search results that convinced users to switch and stay (no one has since been able to provide a significantly better search).

Altavista 1999 about 100 KB.

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Charlie Clark
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It was Google's simple interface

Nope, they were all pretty much the same at the time. What Google got right was dealing with scammers in the days when Altavista, Excite, Yahoo, et al. were starting to drown in spam. And this is what they've continued to work on because knowing that they provide users with relevant search results is a huge advantage when it comes to selling adverts.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Follow the Money

Fines to the European Commission are always paid. The money goes, as is usual in such cases, into the general budget. As such the money is considered to have been "returned" to the customers who ultimately suffer from the abuse of monopoly.

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Charlie Clark
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Google changed the world in a very positive manner, contrary to Intel and Microsoft

So much wrong and right in the same sentence. In their own way each of those companies has been very positive for the world. But they have also been wont to abuse their monopolies. This is why anti-trust laws and the regulators that enforce them exist.

But if you want to look at unfair treatment: you might want to look at the record of fines imposed by the various US regulators, almost always without admission of guilt, in the financial and automotive industries.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Pesky Euros

Pip pip. and if they don't pay up, we'll send a the gunboat.

Except that since the deal with the DUP there isn't enough money for the guns so it'll have to be Regents Park Paddling pool's finest unarmed pedalo*.

* Credit Alan Coren and John Bird.

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Met Police laggards still have 18,000 Windows XP machines in use

Charlie Clark
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Re: Why?

Probably a bit of both but it is no secret that successive cuts since 2010 have hindered councils' ability to invest. At the same time police forces have been forced to taken on additional work partly thanks to government edicts, but more due to heavier cuts in things like social services.

Of course, no problem now that unlimited funds have been found down the back of a sofa in Downing Street. Financially there is no doubt that the UK is living beyond its means but loose monetary policy has thus far insulated the public purse from this (low interest rates have effectively given the government a larger budget). At some point, whoever is in government, is going to have make some very tough and unpopular choices,

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The 'DUP' joins El Reg’s illustrious online standards converter

Charlie Clark
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as soon as the brexit negotiations get far enough

Wow, you're giving her that long? While the DUP deal theoretically gives her enough votes for any confidence votes it might actually make governing impossible as everyone and their dog starts demanding money for votes; Ruth Davidson is likely to be first in line.

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Charlie Clark
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Good call

Though I suspect the DUP is going to have some kind of sliding scale.

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Tavis Ormandy to Microsoft: Have another Windows Defender vuln

Charlie Clark
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Slightly scary

This full system x86 emulator runs as SYSTEM, is unsandboxed, is enabled by default and remotely accessible to attackers.

Now I can understand for performance reasons why this might be happening but then again, given all the recent advances in hardware-virtualisation and the risks of this kind of thing, why is MS doing this?

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Researchers solve screen glare nightmare with 'moth-eye' antireflective film

Charlie Clark
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The windscreen should remove most of the glare in the first place.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: "would cause dirt and grease from fingers to accumulate much more quickly than normal"

Depends upon the environment but smudges can be wiped off. I certainly know what I'd prefer when trying to use a device in bright sunlight.

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BOFH: Putting the commitment into committee

Charlie Clark
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Pint

Committees

That's an eerily good description of how committees get formed. Sounds like Simon is venting off some steam from a real recent event.

Pint, because it might make him less inclined to ask me to check out the wonderful new storage room!

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Lordy! Trump admits there are no tapes of his chats with Comey

Charlie Clark
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Re: It only gets worse

Remember that the Queen's Speech only covers 2 years of a 5 year Parliament

It's supposed to be a longparliament to try and quell problems with a separate bill next year. But I think it was fairly clear that the Queen expects to be back soon enough, just hopefully not in Royal Ascot Week.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: The Truth?!

It looks like his counsel has finally woken up to this fact. Nothing about the destroyer rammed off Japan or Syrian plane shot down.

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Ailing Brit chip designer Imagination Technologies up for sale

Charlie Clark
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Re: Business is Business

I do not know (anything) about IM

So why are you writing about them then?

IM made a lot of money from its work for Apple. It just failed to get enough other customers. Pissing off ARM was one of the main reasons for this because it directly led to ARM designing its own GPU cores (Mali) and offering them with the CPUs.

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Cheeky IT rival parks 'we're hiring' van outside 'vote Tory' firm Storm Technologies

Charlie Clark
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Re: How would Storm know?

"They wouldn't, it's just yet another example of the arrogance of most of the Tory voters"

I think you'll find that most of them are just people with a different opinion to you.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: How would Storm know?

Neither the Tories or labour (or any other party for that matter) have a monopoly on dickheads in their ranks

No quibble with that but it's basically what I said. But I'm not so sure about an appeal to the wider electorate because. sadly, it doesn't really seem to be interested. Which maybe why the dickheads seem to dominate. Much as I revelled in May's self-inflicted bloody nose, the hung parliament doesn't look like it's going to get much done any time soon. Unless there's a cunning plan to have government by private members bills…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: How would Storm know?

They wouldn't, it's just yet another example of the arrogance of some of the Tory voters, matched on the other side of the political spectrum by the fans of nationalisation, five-year plans and everything is free.

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Charlie Clark
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Well, I'm sold! When do we get to vote again?

As soon as the New Poor Laws have been enacted you won't need to worry yourself about voting ever again.

Now, my path is all muddy so lie down so that I can get to my carriage without getting my shoes all dirty. And can you send round your youngest sharpish as the chimbleys need a good clean!

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Etsy issues pink slips for almost quarter of staff in quest for profit

Charlie Clark
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Re: You can't cut your way to healthy

No, but you can shed a load of positions created in a burst of IPO cash optimism.

I like Etsy: you can find nice stuff on it at reasonable prices and I think it's significantly better experience than E-Bay for both buyer and seller. It's always going to be difficult to survive on the thin margins but I wish the company luck.

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Ego stroking, effusive praise and promise of billions: White House tech meeting in full

Charlie Clark
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Yes, it's so much better when it's just Exxon-Mobil, Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin…

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Google may follow Apple, design mobile chips in-house

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: Google shareholders pays for it

Google shareholders

And who are they exactly? Get back under your bridge until you know at least something.

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Charlie Clark
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Thumb Down

Drivel

This suggests that Google will pursue a similar strategy to the one it has adopted for its cloud servers, commissioning custom designs from its chip suppliers

If the article would perhaps focus on how differently Google operates in the server and consumer space then it might be quite interesting. As it is, to suggest that Google is suddenly going to flip its business model, in which the own-branded devices serve largely as PR for the latest Android release, flies in the face of all the previous suggestions that this was about to happen.

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'OK, everyone. Stop typing, this software is DONE,' said no one ever

Charlie Clark
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Plan for maintenance

If you want to be able to run some "done" software for years and years then go with BSD. A clear separation between the system and user programs means you're much less dependent upon the whims of the vendor.

In reality anything that faces the internet is never done because not all of the bugs have been found yet. In the case of your Django site then you're looking at a heap of dependencies from glibc to openssl. Important to inform your customer early on that there will be a need for updates and upgrades (including the OS) over time and they should budget for this. You're doing no one a favour if you don't do this.

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Elon Musk reveals Mars colony rocket capable of bringing pizza joints to the red planet

Charlie Clark
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Re: Fuel on Mars

Oh? So a small comet on an orbit that causes it to collide with earth.

I'm not the one making an argument for leaving Earth because a "VUE" might wipe out life on Earth. This really is a straw man. I'm not suggesting that the same object would hit both Mars and the Earth but if the Earth is being hit by large asteroids then Mars probably is at the same time. For example if Jupiter stopped doing such a good job of hoovering up dangerous rocks that enter the solar system.

As to rocks for start travel. Do the maths, not the fantasy.

You seem to misunderstand me: build the spaceships on and from the asteroids. No gravity well to worry about. Still all the problems related to large-scale manufacturing in space, life-support systems, travelling safely at high speeds (a reasonable fraction of c), etc., but easier than doing it on Earth or Mars,

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Fuel on Mars

And, assuming a) my faith is misplaced and b) something nasty this way comes, leaving earth is the only way for humanity to survive.

This is seductive but flawed logic. Going to Mars is really still a 19th century fantasy.

Anything big enough to take out the Earth will probably take out Mars as well. Or, anyone crazy and powerful enough to destroy the Earth is probably crazy and powerful enough to take out Mars as well. Mars is pretty inhospitable and all the space between here and there is inimical to life.

For interstellar travel moons and asteroids are far more interesting: lots of resources without all that pesky gravity to deal with. This is why real scientists are keen on comets and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. Because, by the time the first unmanned probe confirms the existence of habitable planets we'll need to be somewhere where we can build spaceships big and safe enough for the travel. They may make for less attractive headlines but Cassini and Huygens and Rosetta and Philae delivered far more knowledge bang for the buck than a manned Mars mission ever could.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Fuel on Mars

I reckon what he means to say is that it's all but a front

More or less, SpaceX relies on government contracts to keep going.

If there is any kind of problem with cashflow, then a tried and tested method to hide it, is to raise new capital for a supposedly new, ground-breaking scheme. Doing this with an existing company achieves three things: it masks existing problems and it reduces the cost of capital associated with the new risk; allows you to buy off any existing investors who want out. If you want to know why we have public stock exchanges and for examples of similar schemes then you might look at railways in the 19th century.

Note, I'm not accusing Musk of fraud, though the Tesla / Solar City deal looks very much like it. I'm sure he is capable of raising a great deal of "lose your shirt money" from other convinced solutionists, but existing and potential new investors require full and frank disclosure and that is best done in a separate vehicle.

Meanwhile: I'm convinced that the money would bring a much greater return if directed at non-manned probes and research. Non-manned probes do at least have a chance of getting to the near relativistic speeds needed to find another solar system just in case this one fails. If the Earth isn't safe, then neither is that frozen dustball Mars.

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Charlie Clark
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Fuel on Mars

Kerosene can't be made on Mars as we're pretty sure there's no oil up there.

Well, you almost certainly synthesise kerosene from methane but the additional energy density probably isn't worth it.

However, much as I admire what Musk has achieved thus far, this is worse than a pipe dream and close to outright fraud at least as long as it is anywhere near an existing business interest like Space X. This is more than simply trying to protect investors: getting people safely to and from Mars is about a lot more than motors and fuel.

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Intel: Joule's burned, Edison switched off, and Galileo – Galileo is no more

Charlie Clark
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Re: Another botched call by Intel

Now, ARM is part of SoftBank Group it is too late.

Can't agree with that at all. Given SoftBank's level of debt flipping ARM for a profit is a pretty likely outcome. But anti-trust concerns would probably prevent a sale to Intel.

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Report estimates cost of disruption to GPS in UK would be £1bn per day

Charlie Clark
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Facepalm

If we have to pay for it, aren't we entitled to a refund?

Oh, boy. I do hope you're one of Mr Davis' team of crack (or should that be cracked?) negotiators!

International agreements are strangely very different to restaurant bills. The UK was not pressured into signing up to contributing to the development costs (which largely go to fund UK jobs on the project). As long as the contract is honoured by both sides then their shouldn't be any problems. But should the UK now wish to withdraw from such arrangements then the other counterparties would be under no obligation to honour any of it, including preferential access for companies based in signatory countries.

Rinse and repeat for a whole heap of similar agreements.

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Charlie Clark
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And yet those damned capitalists in the USA let everyone use theirs for free.

Yes, but they reserve the right to switch it off, reduce resolution, etc. at will at any time, without notice.

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Worried about election hacking? There's a technology fix – Helios

Charlie Clark
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That number can be checked against an election tally system to ensure that the vote was cast as specified.

This is more down a to a poor explanation of the system than a risk within Helios itself.

The Python Software Foundation recently switched to Helios. I don't think it's perfect as a system but it goes further to dealing with the potential issues than any other system I've seen.

I'm a huge fan of paper-based systems for national elections but I think that the Estonians have raised several credible reasons for some potential problems.

As for the US: fraud and system failure would be less of a worry if more people could be bothered to vote in the first place. Turnout at elections in the US is routinely abysmal.

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BOFH: Halon is not a rad new vape flavour

Charlie Clark
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Re: I suppose

What contracts? Would you like to come to the window.

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Amazon and others sniffing around Slack

Charlie Clark
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Re: How come Slack is so popular?

First-mover, freemium model, lots of free PR from tech "journos"?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Err ..but ..

IMO Teams is one of the best apps to come out from Microsoft in a very, very long time.

Doesn't really say much, does it? Wouldn't surprise me if Microsoft go after Slack as it fits their profile much better than say Amazon.

Valuation of $ 9 10^9 sounds ridiculous but then I think of Skype, Instagram and WhatsApp. That's somebodies pension pot about to be pissed away.

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Europe-wide BitTorrent indexer blockade looms after Pirate Bay blow

Charlie Clark
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Physical shops are all closed in the Netherlands? Here they still exist, if they have not an album but it's in catalog they'll order it

They're bloody hard to find in Germany, I can tell you that and they a lot of them don't stock everything you might like.

Regarding downloads: music's not quite as bad as films as, as long as you go with the big three (Apple, Amazon and Google) you can normally get the stuff you want (try getting Sleaford Mods on Sevenload…) but payment methods can be restricted (bank transfer is not supported by Google). Films can be a whole heap more difficult because Hollywood lurves to carve the world up into small bits in order to maximise revenues. This means there are lots of UK films and series than I cannot watch legally even if I do want to pay for them.

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Charlie Clark
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OTOH I recently bought my first download albums this year because it's finally got easy enough to get them without some form crippling DRM but it could still be easier (some kind of plugin for Chrome is still required) and there aren't really enough stores: I don't really like my purchasing habits being tracked.

I pay my licence fee even though most of it gets spent on football that I never watch (here in Germany) and I only listen to the public news channels: music on the public channels is unfortunately predictably shit. If the legal market isn't serving demand correctly then the black market will.

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Now you can 'roam like at home' within the EU, but what's the catch?

Charlie Clark
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Consolidation is driving price hikes

Roaming was always a nice additional little earner at virtually no cost. When the European Commission first investigated the telcos and found them complicit of charging users way over the odds for the service the first suggestion was to do away with roaming completely. Thanks to successful lobbying by the telcos of national governments, who like the taxes from large profits, the capping and subsequent tapering of charges over nearly 15 years was agreed.

This gave telcos more than enough time to prepare for the change. For most telcos in most countries, however, roaming makes little difference to the bottom line; exceptions being perhaps Spain and Greece where so many other Europeans go for their jollies. The loss of revenue due to people switching to data services for SMS and VoIP was far more significant. And as the market matured, data too became a commodity. The response of the telcos has been the tried and tested approach in low growth markets: buy up competitors to reduce competition. As a result most countries now have at most 3 networks where they used to have 4 or 5. There was research done in Austria on the effect this has on prices: they go up, unsurprisingly.

So, while the telcos might point at the end of roaming charges at the reason for increasing all prices, there is less reason for this then raising petrol prices the day the price of oil goes up (the two are only indirectly related), or at the start of the holidays. Companies lying about their cost base or asking for handouts. Who'd have thought it?

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Atlassian wants you to put all your eggs in one Bitbucket and beyond

Charlie Clark
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Rollins thinks price will be less of a factor in that kind of decision than the fact the stack can run in the cloud or on-premises.

Being able to run on-premises is a killer argument for many companies. And most of Atlassian stuff is at least good enough.

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Oh snap! Election's made Brexit uncertainty worse for biz, says BT CEO

Charlie Clark
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Re: Latest El Reg Brexit opinion poll

Its almost like something happened. Like a recession.

Inflation was above target for most of the recession as I pointed out in response to your original post. Having been shown to be wrong in your initial claim you proceed to change tack.

The BoE doesn't want to raise rates, it is using expansive monetary policy to engage in "financial repression" to inflate government debt away.

People have been protesting about falling standards of living for years. I contend that this was why many people voted to leave in last year's referendum and why many of those that did, voted for nationalisations and handouts last week. Which is another reason why referendums are bloody stupid things.

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Charlie Clark
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Stop

Re: Latest El Reg Brexit opinion poll

Something the BoE and gov have been trying to get up since 2008!

Ahem, inflation was well-ahead of target for years which is one of the reasons why most people have seen a decline in their standard of living since 2008 and one of the main reasons for understandable protest.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: The gargoyle’s mouth is a loudspeaker

So you'd have published your negotiating strategy in advance?! The golden rule for any negotiation is never to let your opponents know what your final position is.

This is nonsense in multi-lateral situations and has been debunked many times. But it does sound good.

That's what all this hard Brexit nonsense was about, posturing to convince the EU that tearing up the treaty

Which is great because my German friends who get to vote in the election September are starting to say: "as much as we like the Brits, there's no way they should get a special deal".

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Even less difficult with my plan:

Monsanto has just been bought by Bayer.

Yes, but Bayer is bound by pesky EU regulations about pesticides and GMC whereas in the US you can run ads encouraging people to ask for things like organodineutron. Or, for a real example, opioid pain killers.

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Telegram chat app founder claims Feds offered backdoor bribe

Charlie Clark
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Don't look over there

The real strength of Telegram is the group support and a fantastically responsive WebRPC client. Encryption claims require the relevant code to be open source. The spooks might moan about end-to-end encryption but what they really want is to be able to control the whole device.

But for companies like Telegram the market is where Slack is currently. Encryption is a box to be ticked but the money is in integration and automation for teams.

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Congressman drafts COVFEFE Act to preserve Trump's Twitter tantrums

Charlie Clark
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Re: What is Lord BucketHeads stance on tweeting?

He's currently in discussions with Mr Finger over whether or not to go in coalition.

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Damian Green now heads up UK Cabinet Office

Charlie Clark
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Logo watch?

If we don't get a silly but very expensive logo out of this then what's the point?

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Essentially puzzling: Rubin's hype-phone ties up with… Sprint?

Charlie Clark
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Re: "Sprint is ...in the midst of negotiations for a possible merger with T‑Mobile US"

Being a T-Mobile customer, I certainly hope they are not foolish enough to follow through on a deal with Sprint.

Given the current regulation climate I would expect the merger to go ahead quickly, though given Softbank's debt structure it might actually be T-Mobile doing the buying.

Sprint/Nextel's IDEN and WiMax stuff is largely behind them now. It's just the costs they still have to deal with.

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Charlie Clark
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The much-anticipated…

Really?

Not even the next I-Phone is generating much excitement, so much chance for another phone. We all want NEW toys!

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Boeing preps pilotless passenger flights – once it has solved the Sully problem, of course

Charlie Clark
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Re: This isn't news

Who to believe?

The one with the best PR.

They'll run planes on full automatic for years before retiring the pilots. By then we'll be used to cars, trains, trams and buses driving themselves.

Here at Düsseldorf airport the driverless overhead railway was an expensive joke for years until they ironed the problems out. I think driverless trains are now becoming the norm for fully isolated services.

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