* Posts by Charlie Clark

4616 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Question: What's missing in Microsoft's data science professional degree?

Charlie Clark
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Buzzword university

As far as I can tell "data science" basically involves piping datasets into some kind of machine learning environment and running various statistical models. There's some maths involved but little or no science but it makes the job title sound better.

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EU Net Neutrality debate heats up as Tim Berners-Lee weighs in

Charlie Clark
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If I pay for the infrastructure…

What you create the land for cables to be laid or space through which to beam radio signals?

Regulation is unavoidable and must come with conditions that encourage competition, innovation and investment. Just handing it out without conditions will create inefficient monopolies.

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Charlie Clark
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By regulating spectrum, one thing is certain. Only big players will play, and consumers will pay more in the end.

This is complete bollocks. You seem to be equating regulation with auctioning. Countries like Sweden gave spectrum away for free but still regulate it. The success of Free in France show that, even where resources are leased, newcomers can still enter the market, you just have to include unbundling within the regulation.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Message to the Telcos - Be proactive

And of course the business case is further eroded by restrictions on charging models like oh net neutrality and roaming ...

T-Mobile's success would seem to debunk both of those objections.

In an interview the T-Mobile CEO pointing out that by providing a flat-rate but limited bandwidth video offering they had been able to reduce peak usage while improving customer experience.

Roaming charges are almost entirely synthetic and one of the purest examples of gouging by restrictive practice you can find. Sure, it's a nice little earner but it also actively discourages investment in backhaul or alternative providers.

Some kind of traffic management (such as voice services over data) is inevitable and I personally dislike the term "net neutrality" as it obscures the issues. Licences are awarded for the infrastructure and/or spectrum and the right to offer data and voice services on them. Users pay for data and/or voice. Vertical integration which prioritises a company's own content offerings over those of others is basically breaching the terms of the licence. Technology and good CRM provide lots of ways to make a company's own offering attractive to users, but effective competition for content rights is probably the best solution.

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Shock: Apple patents the phone book

Charlie Clark
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I think the patent for hands is to extract all the water out of them so that signals are unaffected. This will be in the Apple MacBook Ultimate (Bloodsucker edition).

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Wait, what?

When you make a laptop with a metal case, it will affect the performance of the antenna.

Worse than that: it's almost bound to cut the antenna off from the outside world entirely. So, you can't do this unless you have ways to mitigate the Faraday cage that is the casing. You have two choices: stick the antenna on the outside or create a cavity antenna. There is just so much prior art here that a new patent cannot be granted. At least in a world where the job of the patent office is not simply to provide "litigation fodder".

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Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: How is this obvious?

While I can't say for sure there's no prior art, I can state with absolutely certainty that it wasn't obvious to YOU to do that.

Yes, it fucking is. As if Apple was the first company to try and put high frequency antennas inside metallic casings with variable geometry. What else are you going to do?

This is another massive fail of the American patent system.

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Microsoft Azure doubles up to $800m a quarter – and is wiped out by dying phone sales

Charlie Clark
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Re: If they keep making a few Enterprise phones

Running WP10, but maintaining a superb camera, then it is still a very nice system.

Two questions:

Why would this work for Microsoft when it didn't work for BlackBerry?

Why would enterprises want "superb" cameras in phones?

I do hope a ton of companies do UWP apps

Seeing as Microsoft has effectively pulled the plug on Windows Phone, why should companies bother developing UWP for an ever decreasing market? HERE for Windows Phone isn't getting any updates.

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Charlie Clark
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Redmond is popular with the retail sector – which won’t touch AWS because Amazon is a competitor

Sounds like bullshit. For the retail sector, as for any sector, AWS is just another service provider. Azure is perhaps simply better at migrating existing stacks to run on MS hardware, whereas AWS requires redesign.

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Ed Vaizey booted to backbench, Hancock booted to DCMS

Charlie Clark
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Re: John Selwyn Gummer

With Andrea [Polsci, Warwick, 2.2]

Really that bad? Still, didn't she go on to have a stellar career in the City? Obviously all that BS will have prepared her well for dealing with angry farmers…

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Charlie Clark
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John Selwyn Gummer

Wasn't he one of those twats who decided he couldn't stay in the Church of England when it ordained women priests?

Nice to know the Tory party is still producing progressive thinkers. And, once we're free of those EU shackles, we can go back to creating cheap cattle feed from scrapie-infected sheep. What could possibly go wrong?

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EMC: Sales flat but wallets fat. Ready to vote on the merger?

Charlie Clark
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WTF?

The EMC shareholder vote on the $67bn Dell acquisition of EMC

With profits at around $ 2.5 bn a year that's nearly 25 times the price, and the loans will have to be paid back from those profits. No wonder they're trying to peddle 30-year bonds (at 8 %) to finance this! I think I'd rather finance toll-roads!

Oh, the things you can achieve in a world where interest rates are zero!

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We ain't in 1996 anymore, Dorothy: SQL Server 2016 proves it

Charlie Clark
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NT 3.51 was indeed pretty solid but it wasn't fast enough for desktops so they fucked it up for NT 4.0

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Microsoft cheap propanda article

It is also noted that no author was indicated for the aticle.

It shows up here as Mark Whitehorn

While I agree with the general thrust of your argument: this is essentially a bit of PR for Microsoft, I also know some people are really happy with the MS stack, of which SQL Server is a key part. And let's face it, if Microsoft wasn't in the mix, the world would be divided between Oracle and DB2 — fine systems but at a price.

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Dying! Yahoo! writes! off! half! of! the! $1bn! it! paid! for! Tumblr!

Charlie Clark
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What's wrong with this statement?

Andrew Frank, research vice president and distinguished analyst with Gartner…

Answers on a postcard please.

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Opera sells open-source Chromium browser for $600m to Chinese bods

Charlie Clark
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Re: Vivaldi

I'm another one waiting for the Vivaldi mail client but I don't expect to see it this year. It's a small team which is obviously and understandably focussing on the browser.

Over the last year Opera seems have got its act together and started doing sensible things in the browser to differentiate it from the rest. The Chinese are bound to focus on the mobile side, which I uninstalled because I couldn't install an ad-blocker on it.

In the meantime I'm sticking with Opera Mail even if the filtering in the search seems broken (I have six different mail accounts and nothing comes close to Opera when it comes to searching).

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Except the encryption

Since Opera is a Norwegian company, what has the Bureau of Industry and Security, a US government organisation, have to do with it?

US extra-territoriality: companies often need to comply with their rules all over the world in order to be able to trade there.

Can't remember off-hand but I think the old Opera was. however, allowed to use strong encryption in places like Korea, when it was banned for Microsoft and Netscape.

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Softbank promises stronger ARM: Greater overseas reach and double the UK jobs

Charlie Clark
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Re: Interesting

The assets are the workforce and you cannot easily move them.

What? You mean like Surrey Satellites? I think you'll find that engineers are often very happy to move.

No idea if relocation is on the cards for ARM. I think the first thing will be a bonanza for the tax consultants.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: ARM chips in iPads?

They run the same ARM instruction set as the official designs, but otherwise contain no ARM IP.

They license a bit more than just the instruction set: they get to customise the chips as much as they want.

save a little on the licensing costs and (possibly) create a more efficient design.

Having in-house chip engineers is almost certainly going to be more expensive than the licence costs. And even at Apple's volumes, it's cheaper to buy off-the-shelf chips than design your own. It's the ability to do whatever you want in hardware then is attractive. Apple has been able to make sure IOS and the chips work well together.

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Brit chip biz ARM legs it to Softbank for $32bn

Charlie Clark
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Re: Once ARM becomes a Japanese company..

Well, they did try the brand the A3000 (or was it the A3010?) with BBC branding.

Yes, but by then Intel had transformed the computer industry into one that suited its mode of production: a demand for x86 compatibility: excellent process engineering; huge volume assembling in Asia.

It was a risk at the time but with hindsight, Acorn's decision to go fabless was the way to go.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Doubling the size of the operation..

It does make you wonder what all the new employees will be doing. If they're supposed to be engineers and developers in Cambridge I suspect that won't happen now that the UK has decided it doesn't want any migrant workers from Europe.

I guess this also means that Softbank is walking away from the US. Can we expect Sprint to be sold off, presumably to private equity, some time soon?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Oh but the premium

Why would Softbank risk this large amount of money in an area of business that they have no experience?

They're not. This is a debt-funded acquisition, so all they're risking is somebody else's money. Due to financial repression debt is ridiculously cheap and ARM is 10% cheaper than it was a month ago.

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Charlie Clark
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Unless ARM need investment I don't see what Softbank is bringing to the table.

Softbank is already heavily in debt due to acquisitions in the US so it's unlikely to see them providing funds for anything.

This looks and feels like a mechanistic move, helped by the exchange rate.

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BOFH: I found a flying Dragonite on a Windows 2003 domain

Charlie Clark
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Re: Where's teh carpet and lime?

I heard there was problems getting the ingredients. Something to do with an extensive Met investigation after recent flooding on the Thames uncovered what appeared to be human remains…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Considering it's possibly inappropriate due to events outside the UK...

And considering that the UK Foreign Secretary is now Boris Johnson...

Even if we all think Bojo is a dangerous clown, prepared to risk ruining the country for his own personal advancement, doesn't mean we put him on a par with mass murderers.

We're all going to have to deal with the fallout of the referendum (comments on El Reg in the run up mirrored an angry and mistrustful society) but can we at least keep it away from the BOFH?. It's our very own "safe space".

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Charlie Clark
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Pint

"At this point I'm advocating prayer as a service tool"

Fucking genius!

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Charlie Clark
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Let them speak for themselves, then.

I don't find it offensive or even relevant. The PFY and the BOFH are nearly always plotting someone's gruesome (and) tasteless death so that they can get to the pub early. That's what we read it for.

In Nice a nutter murdered people indiscriminately. And there was that cunt in Yorkshire the other week. Big difference.

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Lily Cole: Profit still looks almost Impossible.com

Charlie Clark
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Legacy

When people speak to me of Mr Cameron's legacy, I always refer them to Impossible.com.

As if that were the biggest money pit Cameron tried to fill…

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Containers rated more secure than conventional apps

Charlie Clark
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Re: Let's pretend I am new to all this ..

I get a container is a selfcontained instance of an OS

It isn't. It's a more like a child copy of an OS. This removes the overhead of virtualisation and makes provisioning almost instantaneous. You have a lot of flexibility when it comes to the software and within the container you do have IPC, though as this tends to complicate things, you tend to have one container per process (they can be deployed anywhere).

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Charlie Clark
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Re: big caveat there

Because one thumbs up wasn't enough!

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Charlie Clark
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Pile of poo

If the comparison with bare metal then it's just a straw man. Containers are competing with VMs and these do have better security because of CPU support.

The only thing containers really provide is better performance on systems with low I/O. Though trying to turn everything into a "microservice" is a one way to reduce any such improvements.

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Microsoft silently kills dev backdoor that boots Linux on locked-down Windows RT slabs

Charlie Clark
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Re: RT abandonded by MS, no upgrade route

There's probably a legal case in there if someone's willing to pursue it.

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Microsoft wins landmark Irish data slurp warrant case against the US

Charlie Clark
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Re: And the next chapter.....

There was a warrant in this case

But the warrant was not served by an Irish court.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: And the next chapter.....

Yes, it does matter.

First of all, it's unlikely to be overturned by SCOTUS, because it a 4-4 decision would mean the appeals court's decision stands. Secondly, it might seem like a tiny thing to you or me, but spooks hate having to apply for warrants. Not because it takes time, but because it creates a paper trail. The EU has always offered the US fast track, rubber stamp warrants but the US has repeatedly declined preferring to exercise extraterritoriality.

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UK gov says new Home Sec will have powers to ban end-to-end encryption

Charlie Clark
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Re: I wait with interest...

Block SSL HELLO messages than use unknown keys.

Well done, as if there is no way around that: Skype worked out how to do it over a decade ago. Switch ports, switch protocols, change the message form HELLO to EHLLO.

If governments carry on with this nonsense all they'll be doing is effectively sponsoring invisible encryption with everything wrapped in dummy packets to look innocuous.

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Shocker: Computer science graduate wins a top UK political job

Charlie Clark
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Re: Ideological Numpty

While I don't agree with him on most issues, I can at least listen to him. Which is more than be said about the rest of the cabinet: Liam Fox, FFS.

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Congrats, Linux users – you're finally officially alpha males... on Skype

Charlie Clark
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Re: aww bless

That might be true but remember that everything you say on Hangouts will be recorded by Google and fed into its AI.

The same is true for Microsoft's Skype which is why they can offer real time translations and stuff. I stopped using Skype after dropped the old logins.

I don't use Hangouts much have found it's video and audio to be very impressive. The ad stuff / AI stuff is going into the new "Allo" chat client which, while scary, looks like a good way to make use of the Google Now stuff. Not that I'll be using it.

For messaging and calls I use Signal and Wire and TeamViewer for screensharing.

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Smartphones aren't tiny PCs, but that's how we use them in the West

Charlie Clark
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Re: It's not the phones

Are they?

Yes, because they compete with each other. Silicon Valley prefers monopolies or at least cartels otherwise the valuations don't make sense.

Your other criticisms are not without merit. But this isn't about the complexity of the technology but of the value proposition to the user. The Chinese companies really are streets ahead there.

As for data protection: well, it's China isn't it? The state always has access to all your data.

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Charlie Clark
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It's not the phones

The article should actually be focussing on how sophisticated Alibaba, WeChat, TenCent, et al. are.

They are incredibly competitive and innovative and will probably eat most of Silicon Valley for lunch. So don't blame the users, blame the VCs for favouring the network effect over utility and value.

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Next month's Firefox 48 is looking Rusty – and that's a very good thing

Charlie Clark
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Re: Won't see it here

You might as well get used to it: your add-ons are going to be broken sooner or later as Firefox switches to the Chrome-style extensions.

Any fork is going to have its work cut out for it to keep up with security patches.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Just a question

Define "unsafe"? It's sort of difficult to do this without coming up with some kind of language specification which a compiler then implements. While it might be able to use the compiler for C, it looks like they have taken the opportunity to change the syntax and semantics as well, which like much of the Mozilla stuff, is heavily influenced by Python. Presumably the idea behind this is to encourage a particular programming style which reduces the number of errors that the compiler has to pick up.

The Rust docs contain further information: https://doc.rust-lang.org/book/bibliography.html

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Charlie Clark
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Re: How fast can you rewrite?

I'm not really sure if your comment has a point or is just a rant.

Yes, Firefox has had some horrible bugs around for ages. Yes, pretty much the whole development team has been replaced at least twice in this time. Yes, they've had lots of pet projects, UI fuckery and focus shifts. As have all the other browser makers. And your point is?

Rust is one of the more interesting projects to come out of Firefox and it will be interesting to see whether in the hostile environment of the internet it can fulfil its promise.

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Hands On with Project Centennial: A better app installer for Windows

Charlie Clark
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Facepalm

Windows 10 Anniversary

Is that seriously going to be an official name? Says a lot about the project…

So, Microsoft is introducing a form of APK to Windows? Anything that reduces registry and DLL madness is to be welcomed. But I wouldn't hold out much hope that this will make the "Windows Store" any more relevant, especially as this stuff won't be backported to Windows 7.

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Don't doubt it, Privacy Shield is going to be challenged in court

Charlie Clark
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Re: The more it changes, the more it will stay the same

Not necessarily. Lower courts mights decide that any new agreement does not meed the requirements of the ECJ's decision and strike them down pending appeal. The ECJ was fairly clear in the points it raised and it's difficult to see them being resolved without legislative changes in the US.

At some point businesses might just decide that having keeping EU data in the EU is the easiest and cheapest thing to do. At which point the legal challenges will come from the US government wanting to snoop on EU citizens without the hassle of applying for even a fast track warrant: for the US spooks the paper trail seems to be the most annoying aspect.

It was also totally unnecessary and stupid to conduct the negotiations over this in camera. Didn't Eric Schmidt say something like: "why worry if you've got nothing to hide?". Use in camera for the warrant applications.

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Google slammed over its 'free' school service

Charlie Clark
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Re: Confusing

The key issue will be whether they really are working with "personally identifiable information". This isn't clear from the article.

If they are aggregating the data and creating profiles for "pupils in Sweden" or elsewhere then they may well be in the clear. This is valuable data in itself but different in nature to profiles of individual users. It's like the metadata they get from all our more or less anonymous searches but on steroids: "projects on Harry Potter in Sweden are popular" could be of considerable value to the publishers.

The other part of the business model is simply getting people hooked on using their services so that they will find it easier to keep using them or pay for premium services. But this is no different to traditional "educational discount" policies.

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A bad day for DBAs: MIT boffins are replacing you with a mere spreadsheet

Charlie Clark
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Re: Actually in many cases

Even such single query data sets can benefit from being in a database, providing you set it up correctly which would presumably require a degree of normalisation.

For your single use, keeping things in a flat file might suffice. Though your "simply sort" notion might not always be that simple in practice. Performance is also directly related to the sort order.

I regularly import large data sets into a db and have to take the necessary measures to do this fast enough (drop and recreate indices). But seeing as I'm running random queries, using a db is the only sane way to do this.

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Charlie Clark
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What's a DBA?

I've always considered a DBA to be the person who helps the domain expert setup and tune the DB to their needs. I don't see this tool replacing them at all.

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Bad blood: US govt bans bio-test biz Theranos' CEO for two years

Charlie Clark
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Re: Considering her ownership stake

I don't really see the comparison between Holmes and Gibson.

And, apart from her being a woman, I don't really see much difference between Holmes and half of the Valley wonderkids, to whom all appearance does matter, even if the degree and form differs.

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Samsung deals out microSD-crushing faster fingernail flash cards

Charlie Clark
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Re: Who's adopting it then?

Phones outsell cameras by several orders of magnitude. I guess we can assume the next Samsung phones will support the form and who knows there might even be slots that can do both.

Video will drive the demand.

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In mourning for Nano, chap crafts 1k-loc text editor

Charlie Clark
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Re: "did not want to assign *copyright* to the FSF for his contributions"

The copyright assignment is indeed one of the most pernicious parts of the GNU.

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