* Posts by Charlie Clark

4856 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

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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Ed Vaizey booted to backbench, Hancock booted to DCMS

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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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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Charlie Clark
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Live to fight another day

The story tells us as much about the ethos of Silicon Valley VCs as much as anything else. They tend to regard any form of regulation as bad for business: whether it's of workers rights (Amazon, Uber), radio waves or the provision of health services. People like Peter Thiel might happily applaud unreliable but cheap medical diagnostic services.

While Miss Holmes is going to be castigated for this I'm she'll move onto other things. She's obviously clever, determined, charismatic (being pretty is part of this) and not too scrupulous. Sounds like excellent CEO material, though probably not in the health services. At least not for a while.

And it sounds like the idea might even have legs, though it will probably need some proper money and researchers to get there. Makes a change from things like Groupon, Soylent Green, etc.

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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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Wannabe Prime Minister Andrea Leadsom thinks all websites should be rated – just like movies

Charlie Clark
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Re: Massive leap

And in order to have enough people to work the fields: how about a "Cultural Revolution"? That'll the smirks off those layabout intellectuals in Cambridge.

Mine's the one with the Little Red Book in the pocket, ta.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: She scares me

As a voter I would like to have seen Ken Clarke up against Tony Blair as leader of opposition.

Indeed, he was one of the few Tories in Parliament to oppose the Iraq war, especially highlighting how Parliament had effectively been circumvented: "this House is being asked to vote on something, which has been decided elsewhere". Ted Heath did the same thing when Maggie was doing the same thing: Tory landowners still only see Parliament as at best a useful tool.

Funny how you don't see alleged guardians of parliamentary democracy like Rees-Mogg decrying the recent referendum as a farce.

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Charlie Clark
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Trollface

Re: What a choice

Minoroty.... You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means

You know what? You're absolutely right I have absolutely no idea what a minoroty is. I don't think it's what you think it means either.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: She scares me

Maybe you're too young to remember his turn at the Treasury - back when things were going well for the economy.

I think he did a reasonable job after the mess that that the clowns Lawson and Lamont had left behind. He was incredibly quiet for the first six months, gave the BoE independence and was cautiously in favour of the single currency. The latter, whether you agree with it or not, was after considerable time in the job and not a crowd-pleaser.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: She scares me

Ken? Too nice?

Surely, you jest. Of Ken Clarke it was once said that he'd cross a street to join in a fight. Maggie reportedly enjoyed fights with him over agreement from the more supine members of her cabinet.

He ran twice and lost twice because the Conservative Party members are infamously out of touch with the electorate: average age is well over 60, income is well over average, etc. It's not a coincidence that the people he lost to subsequently went on to lose elections heavily.

Had he been elected leader he would no doubt have done the same kind of purging that John Smith did of the Labour Party and presumably what their next leader will have to do with Corbyn's Militant 2015 coterie.

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Charlie Clark
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Not calling general elections when the leader changes is established tradition and contributes to stability. Even if most leaders thus elected often lose the next election.

The real problem for the next PM is going to be getting a majority in parliament to do anything. In theory the government has a slender but working majority but this hasn't been borne out by the first twelve months of this parliament and doesn't look likely to get better. A new election, whether they want it (Leadsom might fancy a Tory / UKIP coalition) or not, is very likely.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: What a choice

Sure, we all know that the next PM (and probably the one after) is a dead man walking

I'm currently torn between this kind of analysis (Bojo will be back when the waters are safe again though there might not be much of a country left by then) and putting it all down to being run by a clique of public school boys and oxbridge knobs.

Mrs Leadsom wants to bring back fox-hunting. Is she IDS' estranged sister? In any case the blue rinse brigade are going to love this.

Jolly hockey sticks!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: The obvious problem with this

Don't get sucked into a discussion of the details.

The only real thing that the UK can do is exert control over websites with .uk domains. As soon as this becomes onerous all content will move elsewhere and even this illusion of control would be lost.

But hang on: Britain could decide to leave the internet, couldn't it? That would keep all that nasty stuff out.

In reality, this is all just an excuse to allow mass surveillance to be setup.

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Linux letting go: 32-bit builds on the way out

Charlie Clark
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Re: Intel does not make "cheap"

They're not

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