* Posts by Charlie Clark

5407 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Not auf wiedersehen – yet! The Berlin scene tempting Brexit tech

Charlie Clark
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Re: Why Berlin?

Start up areas tend to benefit from network effects: once somewhere is established it attracts other parts of the eco-system, which help employees move between companies or create their own. Berlin's attraction was not just cheap rents, but also the ability to attract quality programmers and engineers from Poland and elsewhere.

That said, start ups also tend to congregate around other existing business areas, which is why Düsseldorf also has its fair share (telecoms, fintech, etct.) as do Munich and Frankfurt. London's scene is almost entirely dependent upon money from the investment sector and if that moves, it will. But don't expect any major announcements until the necessary deals have been done.

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Not the droids you're looking for – worst handsets to resell

Charlie Clark
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Touchscreens that mount on the RPi's extender are cheap and come with drivers.

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Charlie Clark
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Thumb Up

FWIW LineageOS is now available for the S3. It's well worth giving a go to get more out of the phone.

But the S5 is a much better phone, bought my own second hand 18 months ago. Splashed out on the wireless charging kit and an MHL cable (so I can watch what I want on hotel TVs) and an Otterbox and Quadlock for mounting on my handlebars and a Jabra sport headset. Worth keeping some cash for useful accessories rather than buying more shine.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: James May

The new car market is mainly driven by leasing and company cars which benefit from significant tax subsidies, the idea being that the car industry is hugely important to the economy. Pity the idiots that are trying to keep up with them out of their own pockets.

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Trump's self-imposed cybersecurity deadline is up: What we got?

Charlie Clark
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My guess is that when he finds some aspect of the presidency hard, he will just ignore it.

He's already done this many times. Just not quite enough yet to start impeachment proceedings, which is possibly why he's holding on so tightly to those tax returns.

What we're now seeing, however, is a bit like the Reagan years with policy being handed over to the generals and the VP with Trump interrupting his golf games every now and then to give a rousing speech to the base.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Cybersecurity is a problem for Trump

FWIW other countries are not quite so lax. A few years ago in Germany it became a requirement for companies in "strategic" industries (banking, insurance, etc.) to report any attacks to the state prosecutor's office (LKA). That in itself doesn't guarantee anything but, of course, failing to do so could void any insurance claims and this will inevitably spread along the side chains and to suppliers.

So, slowly awareness about cybersecurity and the willingness to do something about it is growing. Not without the usual pointless PR ops such as Ursula von der Leyen's "cyber army" stunt. In summary, it's easy to get the ball rolling on this without lots of reports.

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Google's cloudy image recognition is easily blinded, say boffins

Charlie Clark
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This is already what happens. Plus, they already have cameras covering the whole area: fixed view cameras are much easier to calibrate and train. But we need to dream up "use cases" for drones and image recognition other than whether some celebrity has got their baps out…

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Charlie Clark
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Oh goody! More training data

Interesting study but I suspect the system can soon be trained to work with such processed images.

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Apple's zippy silicon leaves Android rivals choking on dust

Charlie Clark
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Is this what is has come down to?

I don't think I've ever bought a phone because of its performance benchmark. And, even though Apple's silicon has traditionally outperformed the competition in key areas such as the GPU, it's wisely steered clear of comparisons along those lines. Apple's value proposition to customers is a beautiful product with all the nasty technology hidden away and seamless integration in the Apple world*. As Andrew himself has repeatedly pointed out: it's not about the hardware but about the platform.

What Android offers is choice. I personally won't buy a phone that doesn't have an OLED screen. Others find the idea of replaceable batteries or cheap memory expansion via SD cards, or a different browser or mail client. Google and Android manufacturers spent years playing catch up with Apple in both the hardware and OS but overtook them a couple of years ago. Since then Apple has started to copy the upstarts with larger screens and things like notifications but where's support for multiple windows?

The comparison of R&D spending between Apple and Google is disingenuous. Google has its fingers a great deal more pies and is actively looking for new markets. When did Apple last launch a genuinely new product? Of course, as long as it sells I-Phones at current volumes and margins, it doesn't really need to do much.

* This may or may not be the case for users. Certainly isn't for me.

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No, Microsoft is not 'killing Windows 10 Mobile'

Charlie Clark
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A better Windows than Windows…

If that is where x86 on ARM is supposed to lead then we all know where it will end.

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Oh snap! UK Prime Minister Theresa May calls June election

Charlie Clark
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Re: Who to choose?

Simply people complain about there only being 2 parties and then tactically vote for one of those 2 parties.

It's the electoral system that favours the two-party system: see also the US.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Who to choose?

You should also consider the 2010 result before making a decision, though I agree it looks like the anti-Tory vote where you live is probably Labour. :-/

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Who to choose?

It seems to me that Labour's best chance of nabbing this is to dump Corbyn

FTFY

I guess they won't get around to doing that until they've been humiliated again. Even then Militant 2015 seems to be so in control of the party that won't bother. After all militant policies worked so well in the 1980s didn't they? How does 18 years out of government sound?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: This goes to show one thing

If Corbyn wasn't such a fucking tool, he'd do what the Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition is supposed to do and oppose the government. Let May get her parliamentary majority only with the support of the SNP or try and ride out the inevitable backbench rebellions. Fixed term parliaments are only supposed to be undone by votes of no confidence in the government, not to allow the PM to call snap elections when it suits them.

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Feel guilty for scoffing Easter chocolate? Good news: Scientists have made NEGATIVE mass

Charlie Clark
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Re: Negative mass?

Talking about mass here definitely muddies the water. The effect seems to be one of negative acceleration but presumably the energy required for the change in direction is provided by manipulating the spin of the atoms?

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Code-sharing leads to widespread bug sharing that black-hats can track

Charlie Clark
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Stop

That time of the month?

Don't we seem to get a report like this stating the bloody obvious and overstating the risks from Trend Micro every month?

The PHP example is annoying even if it's true: if you don't use prepared statements for DB work you deserve to be hacked. Good research highlights the less obvious security flaws in our code.

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Regulate This! Time to subject algorithms to our laws

Charlie Clark
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Trite nonsense

Algorithms are almost as pervasive in our lives as cars and the internet

Algorithms are far more pervasive than either cars or the internet. But it seems the author is not sure as to what an algorithm is.

Mine's the one with the pocket Knuth in the pocket.

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Good job, everyone. We're making AI just as tediously racist and sexist as ourselves

Charlie Clark
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Hope that problem will be fixed and AI will one day take charge of hiring workers on most places

hm, I wonder who, or more likely what, they will hire: other computers are likely to make the best candidates!

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Charlie Clark
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This counts as journalism?

A previous experiment showed that people with European American names were 50 per cent more likely to get an interview from a job application.…

Link or at least name of the study and country where this happened (I assume the USA but the USA isn't the world).

Machine learning will be skewed by the datasets and the corrections it receives. Seeing as these will both be done by humans, adopting the human bias is unavoidable. Think of training systems to recognise images of cute animals… So, the real question is whether the systems are being used appropriately?

Anyway, I'm happy with a certain degree of bias as long as it stops Amazon et al. trying to sell me what I've just bought. In many commercial applications (think film or music recommendations) this kind of bias is likely to be welcomed by the customers, who, when it comes to comestibles, almost always prefer "more of the same".

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US military makes first drop of Mother-of-All-Bombs on Daesh-bags

Charlie Clark
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Re: Unique selling point

Indeed. It's the smart bomb video redux. The video footage focuses our attention on the awesome power of this weapon and its amazing accuracy. That we have no way of verifying the claim that it was actually dropped on a tunnel complex underlines the real object of the report: tell the US population that no one messes with America so they can sleep safely and not worry about the budget.

Massive bombs and chemical warfare worked so well in Vietnam and Afghanistan since 1980, haven't they? Breaking news for the US: the Taliban is winning the war in Afghanistan.

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Alert: Using a web ad blocker may identify you – to advertisers

Charlie Clark
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Re: 'logging out of websites – especially social media websites'

Depends on the cookie: any session cookies will be deleted when you logout and any decent blocker should stop running (including making a call to the FB server) in the first place.

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Microsoft raises pistol, pulls the trigger on Windows 7, 8 updates for new Intel, AMD chips

Charlie Clark
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Re: Stupid

But for those stuck with Windows-ONLY software

Not really, modern hardware imposes a minimum penalty when running VMs so need for toys like WINE.

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Charlie Clark
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What I don't understand

Assuming that the descendants of Windows NT still use something like HAL for abstracting the hardware, why there should be problems like this at all. I can understand Windows 7 not receiving hardware-dependent acceleration that only newer chips support, but for the rest? It's x86_64, SSE, SIMD, etc.

If I had a Windows environment I'd very strongly consider switching to a stripped down unix just for running Windows VMs.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I don't get it...

Unfortunately, a significant number of the MS audience

Not really: PC sales continue to decline and the most recent report (check for skid marks) suggested only business customers were buying new machines in any volume.

I don't know anyone in the retail channel but my most recent to the German equivalent of PC World showed a poor selection of cheap and underspecc'd machines and little interest from customers. It wouldn't surprise me if the selection gets smaller or even if there is a rebranding as customers switch off their computers for good.

Gaming is obviously still a large, dedicated market but there's no reason to think this won't also be eaten by the mobile revolution: imagine a beefed up version of the S8 dock just for gamers…

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Far out: Dark matter bridges millions of light-years long spotted between galaxies

Charlie Clark
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Re: False false colours

Octarene, anyone?

Pint of scumble or screech, please landlord.

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No more IP addresses for countries that shut down internet access

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Worry not, Python devs – you can program a quantum computer

Charlie Clark
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Re: Scratch?

It's basically Squeak (Smalltalk) done in Python.

I remember a keynote by one of the original Squeak developers (I think) given at Europython in Geneva saying that had Python been around at the time then he would have used that.

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MPs worried Brexit vote website wobble caused by foreign hackers

Charlie Clark
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how encryption works

Isn't is some kind of fiendish EU bureaucratic regulation nonsense?

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Charlie Clark
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First thing I would do is a add a server level GeoBlock

What about those of us living elsewhere who are still entitled to vote?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Cabinet has ruled out intervention by foreign powers

all the lies

You really sure about that?

And there's me looking forward to a rerun of the good natured contest: what larks!

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Nvidia says Google's TPU benchmark compared wrong kit

Charlie Clark
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Re: Google still kicks NVIDA in terms of power...

I think you've rather missed the point of the article.

No, the article missed the point of Google's report. They decided to build their own hardware because power consumption was key for their rollout plans. They still rely on nVidia for the training so nothing's changed there and I suspect they're not at all averse to offers for TPU replacement chips from nVidia or anyone else that have better OPs/Watt values.

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Hasta la Windows Vista, baby! It's now officially dead – good riddance

Charlie Clark
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Re: Vista Capable

No, it wasn't just Aero it was the who display subsystem using XML, which was like going back to Display Postscript and pouring treacle on it: this required lots of memory. As long as you had that then you were fine, with or without stupid translucent effects.

At the time a friend of mine asked for help getting a notebook. We went straight for 4GB which was a huge step up at the time when many XP machines had 500 MB or just 256 MB but he was happy with the machine all the way until recently retiring it. I heard similar things from other people who had Vista: with enough RAM they liked it, without it, it was a pig.

Windows Vista did indeed introduce lots of security and stability improvements of which disabling shitty drivers was key but the UAC was just badly done because it was too granular. We've similar things with the privacy settings in modern mobile phones but at least permissions are now grouped into generally understandable high level categories.

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Apple wets its pants over Swatch ad tagline

Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

Re: This is what lawyers do

Am I really the only person here who speaks English?

Stop being so prescriptive. "As" may be redundant here but it's the dominant word used in comparisons or similar adverbial phrases.

And it looks like equally as has a a long history

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Daft thing is ...

All of you who feel a compelling need to know exactly what time it is

None of us do so you can burn that straw man. Just because you don't use watches doesn't mean those who do are idiots.

What it comes down to is simple usability: KISS or "Obvious always wins". When I do want to know time I want a simple, reliable and repeatable way of doing it. I have yet to come across a device for doing this that beats a watch, though I think that today maybe a pocket watch or nurse's watch might be better because I don't like a wrist watch when I'm typing or cycling.

People used to tell the time via the local church clock (this is, I believe, one of the reasons why building ordinances often stipulate that they're kept visible) but the industrial revolution allowed the production of reliable time pieces for the masses. Should accurate time again be restricted to the elite?

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Google fumes after US Dept of Labor accuses ad giant of lowballing pay for women

Charlie Clark
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Re: Correlation is not causality

@Meerkatje

Thanks for the link. An interesting report.

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Charlie Clark
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Correlation is not causality

The big problem with investigations like this is that employment contracts are civil contracts. Regulation should, therefore, be limited to ensuring that minimum standards, such as hours worked, minimum wage, equal opportunity, etc. are met and that the playing field is as level as possible (collective bargaining). More than that and it quickly becomes interference with a company's ability to trade.

In terms of equal pay this means little more than candidates with the same qualifications doing the same job should start at the same pay grade. But there must always be room for individual negotiations and this is where the problems start: men are generally better at negotiating higher salaries but they might also get preferential treatment if they're prepared to work longer or unsociable hours, which is likely to favour men. People might also get offered better jobs because of their looks – anyone who thinks this doesn't happen, hasn't spent much time in the workforce – which might favour women. But employers are unlikely to gain a significant advantage by systematically paying men more than women to do the same thing. Where flexibility in wages is important is where you see bonus schemes or non-salary benefits such as company cars.

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Gartner halves tech splash forecasts, blames the US dollar

Charlie Clark
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Depreciating dollar?

How did they get to that? The US Federal Reserve has been promising to raise rates for some time now, which, all things being equal means financial inflows and a stronger dollar due to the carry trade if nothing else.

But, they're not that dumb. It was just the usual wishful thinking and now a vaguely plausible reason for being wrong. Elsewhere consolidation in the industry tells us all that business is slack and money is cheap.

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WileyFox disentangles itself from Cyanogen

Charlie Clark
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Re: Stock android

@Dan 55Lineage has builds for Wileyfox phones, at the cost of having to wipe everything and restoring from backup.

There are, or were at least, transitional builds designed to allow the migration from CM device (it's about the keys used to signed the images, I think). But otherwise running from a backup (Titanium Backup) isn't too much of a chore (I did this several times till the GApps bug was fixed in early February).

Since then I've found LOS to be very robust and the eco-system around it more professional than for CM. Let's hope some more manufacturers get involved in a constructive way: mainly providing drivers and maintaining builds.

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Who really gives a toss if it's agile or not?

Charlie Clark
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Re: Limits of pragmatism

In France "naviguer à vue" is pejorative.

Software development in France* which also gave us ah yes, it may work in practice but does it work in theory.

The story is about the highly unusual cost overrun of a government project. Never happened dans l'héxagone? Because it seems to happy pretty much everywhere else with relentless monotony because politicians are fucking awful project managers.

* FWIW I have a French qualification.

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T-Mobile US CEO offers kid a year's supply of chicken nuggets for switching from AT&T

Charlie Clark
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LeGere shows how it's done

Goes straight to the point and gets good coverage for minimal cost. With any luck the kid will kill himself eating all that offal — actually nuggets give offal a bad name — reducing the bill even further.

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An echo chamber full of fake news? Blame Google and Facebook, says Murdoch chief

Charlie Clark
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Re: Luddite Whining

Old media was always about content.

Sounds like you've never worked in an advertising funded business: to many content is only valuable if it can be sold with advertising.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Meanwhile "Real" News

Was either Assad or the Russians, as nobody else had the technical ability to do it.

While I'm inclined to agree with you, it's really impossible to be sure: there are so many different groups in Syria now with so many different weapons.

But there is little upside for either the Syrians or the Russians doing it because it is likely to draw the US into the conflict in a more active role. Last week on serious German media there were reports that reason Obama decided against intervention was that the spies decided that the gassing of 1500 was actually carried out by Al Nusra with support from Turkish secret service (Turkey has a long-standing dislike for the Assad led government). There are also groups who would love to topple Assad and install some kind of more religious government and get on with the real business: war with Israel. This is why I think that, at the end of the day, some kind of deal will be done by the US and the Russians to keep Assad in power.

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Charlie Clark
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News of the World

Murdoch became successful because he realised that the market for sensationalism is far bigger than the market for journalism. It was the success of The News of the World that allowed Murdoch to buy The Times and later expand into broadcasting.

I have little sympathy for the newspapers that have themselves failed to invest in their own advertising technology. That the market for digital advertising is uncompetitive is as much the fault of the ad buyers as it is of those providing the ads.

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Ex-IBMer sues Google for $10bn – after his web ad for 'divine honey cancer cure' was pulled

Charlie Clark
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Re: But seriously though folks....

Our current ways of dealing with cancers are very effective.

I should have been clearer: they're still basically barbaric and attempt to kill the cancer before the patient. Of course, I'm delighted for every success but if you know anyone whose had cancer you'll also know that the adage the cure is often worse than the disease has a ring of truth to it. The market was also skewed to promoting expensive therapies over research into the causes.

The more recent investigations into understanding what the various cancers actually are and selectively targeting treatments and looking far more promising.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: But seriously though folks....

People regularly and happily flock to quacks promising miracle cures all the time. Unfortunately, there's still no cure for stupidity in sight!

This is little more than a PR scam to get the attention of the gullible through articles such as this.

On a side note: many of our current ways of dealing with cancer including chemotherapy are sadly often not that much better.

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Device spend will rise 2% to $600bn in 2017, say techno-seers

Charlie Clark
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Re: Ah yes - Gartner

The problem is the agency principle: they're either touting for business or openly producing reports for their customers.

Anyway 2% is neither here nor there; whether Apple has a good year or a bad year moves the dial more than that. This is just a frantic grab to suggest that this year, finally, the PC market will either come out of terminal decline or people will start spending more on alternatives. They know it won't, because even they do spout shite, they also have people talking to the factories in Shenzhen and elsewhere, so they're just hedging their bets.

So, do you your duty and order that Apple Watch you've been putting off till now! ;-)

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Aviation regulator flies in face of UK.gov ban, says electronics should be stowed in cabin. Duh

Charlie Clark
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Re: Entirely predictable

If no devices are allowed how will the TSA get all your contacts

Easy: convince all the mugs to cloud all the things. No more difficult stop and search at airports and relying on the Charlies (sic) in security to do things right, just fax a letter to the tame provider of your choice and have all the data delivered by them.

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Revealed: Blueprints to Google's AI FPU aka the Tensor Processing Unit

Charlie Clark
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Re: Tech-Porn is not news

Get a fucking life you moaning bitch!

The article does contain some interesting details such as being able to use 8-bit instead of 32-bit. It also confirms that if you want to do lots of machine learning nVidia is a good place to start, which is backed up by sales figures after a couple of failed bets. This is good for the industry as a whole, as it is a boost to custom chips and will put more pressure on Intel both to cut prices and be more accommodating in its own chips.

And I also wouldn't put it past Google to release the specs at some point. They've done so with similar things in the past.

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Ubuntu UNITY is GNOME-MORE: 'One Linux' dream of phone, slab, desktop UI axed

Charlie Clark
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Mushroom

Out of the frying pan into the fire…

GTK FFS

QT all the things or forget any serious GUI development.

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Lenovo's 2017 X1 Carbon is a mixed bag

Charlie Clark
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Re: Dosh?

$1329

Which is why Apple's kit compares favourably with the competition.

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