* Posts by Charlie Clark

5375 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

BYOD might be a hipster honeypot but it's rarely worth the extra hassle

Charlie Clark
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Shift to commodity hardware

BYOD has more or less arrived: people are bringing their own hardware into the work environment and using it for some stuff. Networks have largely been updated to provide internet capability whilst insulating infrastructure.

However, the major shift is from PCs to managed consumer devices. As the article points out: if you don't own it, you can't control it. Devices that provide strict separation between business and private environments are needed so that the PC can die and be buried in peace and if someone breaks or loses their device they can be up and running with a new one as quickly as possible. Whether someone has a company device which has some space for them to do their own thing is, of course, important. But the trend is definitely taking some kind of universal device with you and popping it on some kind of dock and doing stuff.

But the problem is the age old: device versus network?

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Signal taps up Intel's SGX to (hopefully) stop contacts falling into hackers, cops' hands

Charlie Clark
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@inmypjs the problem wasn't the login but the need for some form of the Gapps package on the phone. Had lots of fun with this at the start of the year when I was switching to LineageOS, which would crash once Google services started up. Fortunately, the problems have long since been resolved and I'm generally fairly happy with Google's stuff (nano + calendar), but something like Signal should definitely be able to run without them.

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Charlie Clark
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The development fits in with a lot of Signal's work which is to act as an example of current best practice. It was this that made Signal's encryption system the de facto standard for messenger services. This too will presumably be peer-reviewed, hacked and improved. Signal already stores very, very little about contacts so that the servers are probably less interesting for the spooks than, say, being able to sneak a compromised version of the app onto someone's phone. But the lessons learned could, for example, be applied in any hashing system that might targeted: passwords spring to mind.

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Twitter: We also made a shedload of cash from Russia's trolling during US White House race

Charlie Clark
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Re: Free market

The Supreme Court has already ruled that, in contrast to most other democracies, there is no limit on how much can be spent on political ads. This is why spending by PACs (political action committees) dwarves that spent directly by the candidates themselves. The system is hence broken by design and whether it's the NRA, Mumsnet or the Russians doesn't really matter, unless donation and spending limits are introduced.

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'Alexa, play Charlie Bit My Finger.' I can't do that, Dave. No, really

Charlie Clark
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Re: Amazon video

Why? It already has a video service and that's where the money is, if there is any.

I'm sure if Google ever starts to make a significant amount of cash with YouTube it will let us know, but so far the only stuff I've seen is that about breaks even. YouTube, as Andrew Orlowski has indicated several times, acts as a constraint on licence fees for content from the main producers. If it wasn't full of copyrighted material it almost certainly wouldn't be as popular as it is. Google likes popular because it means data for its ad services but it wouldn't like it as much if it had to pay Hollywood rates for the content…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Internet of Silos

I'm largely in agreement with you on this: especially regarding the calling to the mothership. But voice controlled services can be useful in some situations. For example, in the kitchen setting a timer or similar. My brother's got one and if you try it you realise that its use in some situations is pretty compelling.

The advances in voice recognition mean that the speech processing can be done offline but queries can be sent (no different to a search engine). The key privacy aspect is the separation of the speech recognition from the rest.

Regarding the device itself: looks like a typical "solutionist" piece of tat. Amazon's record with phones and tablets isn't spectacular and this is unlikely to enhance it.

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Smartphone SatNavs to get centimetre-perfect GNSS receivers in 2018

Charlie Clark
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Industry and agriculture are driving the demand for this kind of precision.

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Brit broke anti-terror law by refusing to cough up passwords to cops

Charlie Clark
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This hasn't been possible with Windows for a while. On unix you can do something similar with single user mode. Unless the disk has been encrypted, which has been standard practice in most companies for about 10 years.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Micro SD cards....

Which is why dogs are being trained to sniff them out in searches.

Which is why, if you think that you will be picked out, you shouldn't be carrying anything. That said you can always carry more than one of them. They're also small enough to be swallowed.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Seriously... with the double standards

You can be upset all you like, but it comes down to common sense, and understanding that governments will always protect themselves and their people.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions…

The US Constitution is also replete with examples of why you cannot and should not blindly trust the government.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Micro SD cards....

Except they're made of METAL.

Not really a problem if they're in something that is metal or has electronics: an electronic car key, for example.

Except, as is standard spy practice, the spy will never being carrying sensitive information with them because, even if it's encrypted and you don't have the key, the authorities might well consider beating the crap out of you to get it anyway. Meanwhile the mule, who the spy doesn't know and doesn't know the spy has carried whatever is needed through or around screening.

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So. Should I upgrade to macOS High Sierra?

Charlie Clark
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WebP fail

HEIF is all well and good but it's impact in the real world will be limited. Apple could have done its users a bigger favour by including support for the WebP format for bitmaps in Safari. When it comes to photos and videos on the interwebs Apple is a much smaller player than Google. Using HEIF with HEVC for bitmaps is unlikely to take off because, unlike WebP, HEVC is encumbered which will dramatically limit the spread of applications that can create the files.

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Web devs griping about iPhone X notch: You're rendering it wrong

Charlie Clark
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Re: Goodbye HTML

HTML isn't going anywhere and the Apple Galaxy isn't going to sell enough over the next year or so to make much difference.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I don't get what the problem is...

The problem is that if designers follow current best practice, which in part derives from the kludge than Apple introduced with the I-Phone then the screen size will be incorrectly reported and this may lead to content being off-screen. In typical Apple-style they launch a device with a kludge and expect everyone to do what they want.

I suspect some kind of tweak to IOS Safari will allow users to toggle screen size to include the notch or not.

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London Mayor backs talks with Uber after head honcho's apology

Charlie Clark
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Re: the use of Greyball in London

Uber works, I've seen people break out of absolute poverty

… and slip back into it as more drivers mean lower incomes.

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Charlie Clark
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He's not due for re-election for a while…

In many ways the solves problems because it will pre-empt lots of individual court cases. It might also give TfL time to update their rules to create a level playing field. Not holding my breath on that one.

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Charlie Clark
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Until then Black Cabs are for rich people.Who do you mean? The drivers certainly aren't rich. You can end restrictive practices without reintroducing casual labour.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Uber has Objectionable Practices But So Do . . .

Uber has exposed an anachronism in taxi-licensing in the UK. The solution is to close the loophole and remove the synthetic distinction between Hackney carriages and other vehicles, and work on ways of avoiding exploitation of drivers (and fares) and relegate Uber to the dustbin of history, where it belongs.

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iPhone 8: Apple has CPU cycles to burn

Charlie Clark
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My S5 is more than fast enough for me. Could always do with more battery, but now I've got two spares and a power pack I think I'll manage.

I will admit that the camera on the I-Phone does some very nice things: slow motion,, time-lapse but nothing I feel I'm desperately missing. Give me a grand and I'll find other things to spend it on.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Please explain to me ...

Why on earth would you buy a phone to do that? ;-)

On a recent trip back to Blighty it seemed to me that owning an I-Phone was almost entirely about status. To paraphrase "Christopher Unborn": Citizens: buy an I-Phone. You won't live longer but you will live better!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Passing is temporary

This has the distinct smell of an ARM CPU coming to a Macbook near you in the immediate future.

Maybe, but if you run single-thread ARM vs. Intel, then Intel still tends to come out quite a bit better. Still, could be a nice bargaining chip in negotiations.

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It's high time we extend Freedom of Information Act to outsourcers

Charlie Clark
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Re: Public Accountability for Public Services

Inasmuch as government application for tenders have to be made public you'd have thought so, cf. the "bargain" deal the government's getting for Hinckley Point. It's a sleight of hand to hide the embarrassing details behind a commercial contract and should really be tested in the courts, as they have successfully in, for example, Berlin. Okay, different jurisprudence and jurisdiction but the principle applies: the Berlin government sold off the local utilities using contracts with guaranteed price rises that it, for some unknown reason, wanted to keep secret.

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If you need to replace anything other than your iPhone 8's battery or display, good luck

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: Well would ya look at that..

Wow, seems like you have a big need to compensate!

BPSD

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Database biz MongoDB files to go public, hopes to raise a cool $100m

Charlie Clark
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VC pressing the eject button

Annual losses of $ 90 million and an IPO of $ 100 million? That's desperation.

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Falling apart at the seamless: Inside Apple's LTE Watch fiasco

Charlie Clark
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Re: haters gonna hate

I'm glad that Apple put LTE in the watch and consider this version #1 with LTE, because it is.

No, it isn't: it's version 3. And, have you seen the price?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Just proves the point

No need to bash them needlessly here. Just as with Apple TV the sales are relatively small but the margins are nice: lots of people like these products. Just possibly not enough to change the world.

A lot of the features are sort of amateur but to be fair they've always been prepared to talk about these things as a sort of hobby. Just wish I had a hobby that brought as much cash in!

There are definitely risks in focussing too much on the "5 % problems" of the people who go for this kind of thing. None of the "smart" watches I've seen has really intrigued me but the Withthings stuff is getting close: good battery life and incremental utility. Rather than pissing around with LTE I can see a market in a flexible OLED touch strap (definitely not always on!) but Apple has absolutely no IP in that area.

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Charlie Clark
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Thanks for the explanation

That's because Apple and the network are trying to manage two devices or endpoints with one (IMSI) number.

You can see the advantages of being able to tether the devices by the mobile network but this should be done by the watch being a dumb slave to the phone. Would the networks play along? Quite possibly if a special contract was required for say $5 a month. They would still own the customer's contract and tying up with Apple should bring them customers because of the USP. This is how the I-Phone worked initially.

But the downsides are multiple: LTE is still far from ubiquitous and getting good cellular radio reception on something like a watch is a far cry tethering it to the phone via Bluetooth, and will no doubt be reflected in battery use. Then there are the multiple potential vectors: if both devices can send and receive calls, then this is begging to be used for eavesdropping.

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Google blows $1.1bn to hire HTC's Pixel people, forming one big happy handset team

Charlie Clark
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But yeah, leverage over the supply chain is important.

As is the retail operation.

Google is going to continue to develop and sell hardware but I expect it to be happy to remain a niche player. Lobbing out devices to showcase the services to encourage the market is very different from running warehouses and bricks and mortar shops full of "geniuses".

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Charlie Clark
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Nobody mentioned Motorola Mobility, which Google acquired in 2011 with the intention of building its own handsets

Google never stated that that was the intention. It was always a defensive move to stop some of Motorola's patents landing the in the hands of the competition of trolls who would sue, sue and more sure.

Won't be the same with HTC but little reason at the moment to suspect that Google wants mimic Apple, because control of the supply chain and customer service is more important than hardware designers. It might be all about kickstarting other product lines such as VR, where HTC is less of an also ran.

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Bill Gates says he'd do CTRL-ALT-DEL with one key if given the chance to go back through time

Charlie Clark
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his company popularised the use of PCs by providing an easy to use interface

Nonsense. PCs became ubiquitous because the clones made them cheap, despite the many acknowledged design flaws. When it came to the interface MS was always playing catch up with Windows versus Amgia/Atari/Apple and even things like GEM for the PC. Playing catch up involved stupid decisions like "Program Manager" to avoid legal spats with Apple…

Gates did do much better work on the programming languages side with things like MS-BASIC. But it was his eye for the deal with DOS and later NT that made him all the money.

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GNOME Foundation backs 'freedom-oriented' smartphone

Charlie Clark
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Comparison with the Planet Gemini?

The Gemini did crowd-funding in March and more than hit the target of $500k and is on target to deliver phones by the end of the year — all crowd-funding projects carry a degree of risk. It is aiming to do this by using as much off-the-shelf equipment and software as possible, and this will undoubtedly include BLOBs for some stuff.

This phone will be more expensive and without the USP of a real keyboard and will take much longer to develop (nothing due before 2019). In summary something for the true believers: unimpressive hardware at a premium price at some point in the future. Good luck with that!

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Behold iOS 11, an entirely new computer platform from Apple

Charlie Clark
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Re: I do, but

Blinding bright light when you’re reading the dark.

Get yourself a Kobo Aura One (or anything using the same screen and adaptive light). It's turned me from an occasional into an avid reader.

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Sprint, T-Mobile US reignite mega-merger talks (again)

Charlie Clark
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Re: Oligopoly

Not sure why a three way oligopoly would be significantly worse than the current four way oligopoly.

Research suggests this but it's not clear cut:

http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-mobile-europe-m-a/austria-becomes-battleground-in-fight-over-mobile-mergers-idUKKBN0OP0ET20150609

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Charlie Clark
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On the other hand, AT&T and Verizon would likely use their significant lobbying budgets to lean on regulators to kill the merger

There's little evidence to suggest this. A three-way spilt would probably suit all three more than the current situation where T-Mobile is aggressively trying to gain market share.

Consolidation in industries is the hallmark of the US economy over the last few years and is the reason for corporate profits (and prices) continuing to rise. Cf. the current round of consolidation in the aerospace supply industry. Over a wide range of industries the US is significantly less competitive than elsewhere in the world.

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Manchester plod still running 1,500 Windows XP machines

Charlie Clark
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Entirely unrelated to reduced funding by central government…

… not.

Legacy specialist applications will include drivers for specialist hardware. I seem to recall someone mentioning drivers for tasers but it could be all kinds of stuff. This should be doable with virtualised and locked down setups but that is going to take time and expertise to set up correctly. Meanwhile, since 2010 the police force has been busy shedding personnel and doing additional anti-terrorist stuff. At some point something has to give. Ditto for the rest of the public sector.

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macOS High Sierra more like 'Cry Sierra' for Mac-wielding beta testers

Charlie Clark
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Facepalm

Re: Hard locks attract workarounds, workarounds become a honeypot for malware.

No drivers exist for the hardware in question, even the hackers resort to hardware changes.

Yes, Mr Fuckwit, it's not as if Apple couldn't recompile the drivers…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Hard locks attract workarounds, workarounds become a honeypot for malware.

They already know it won't work fully on some machines so prevent those machines from loading the free software.

It would work fine if they included the drivers. If the hardware doesn't support a particular feature (and there hasn't been much in x86 since 2008 to warrant this) then that particular feature can be disabled.

Apple frequently uses system upgrades to fix bugs in existing releases that it subsequently no longer maintains. The Bluetooth bugs in Lion that were only fixed in Mountain Lion are an example, but there are plenty of others.

The free upgrade strategy fits in well with built-in obsolescence: your system is more than five years old so you should buy a new one. While it certainly makes commercial sense there's no denying that this is annoying for customers. And older installs are often in places with multiple machines. I only recently ditched my 2006 Mac Mini that I kept around as a potential backup device. Selling premium hardware on the basis of its quality and then denying it upgrades will degrade the image over time. Not that Apple cares that much for users since it discovered consumers…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Does anyone really....

I normally wait until 10.x.3 because the fixes in .1 and .2 tend to break other stuff.

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Itching to stuff iOS 11 on your iPhone? You may want to hold off for a bit

Charlie Clark
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Re: Questionable advice

It's not an update, it's an upgrade. The security fixes should be available for the previous version as well.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Simple Safety tricks

@roland6

the irony is weak with this one. I-Phones have neither SD card support nor removable batteries…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Forcing 64 bit only SAVES storage and RAM

Previously Apple (and Android still does) have had to include both 32 bit and 64 bit libraries

Nah, Android comes in 32-bit and 64-bit flavours and most apps have their bytecode jitted to native.

That said, you're right that the 64-bit / 32-bit issue is generally misunderstood. Practically apart from drivers it shouldn't make much of a difference.

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UK PC prices have risen 30% in a year since the EU referendum

Charlie Clark
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Re: The Pound

Except that this week it's up against both the weakening Dollar and Euro. Though it has not yet recovered to pre-June 2016 levels. I'm not in the markets but there could be several reasons for this: changes in the UK's position on the negotiations; anticipation of tighter monetary policy from the BoE to combat inflation; a sustained uptick in economic activity. I suspect the exchange will react to Treesar's speech on Friday, the Tory Party conference and particularly whether the EU Council of Ministers greenlights trade talks in October. Particularly the latter will increase both political and economic uncertainty so hedging is likely to increase.

Of course, if the prices of imports were to rise less quickly as a result of a higher exchange rate you shouldn't expect the savings to be passed onto consumers.

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Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 is hot, but not much more than the S8+

Charlie Clark
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Continual improvement is where it's at

My immediate impression was that there's now very little distinction between a Phablet and a plus-size handset

So don't use it. It was made up by marketers and largely ignored by the populous.

With its phones Samsung has pursued a strategy of continual improvements. There's been the odd tick-tock: the Notes get something special or the Galaxys do. Over time high-end becomes standard: high-res, edge-to-edge screens, wireless charging, etc. This is how consumer electronics works and why Samsung is doing well at it. That it has managed to throw in some significant changes: split screens and DeX spring to mind, shows how hard they're working on next-gen stuff.

The stylus is nice to have for most of us but essential for some which is why the Notes continue to sell well despite the price.

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BoJo, don't misuse stats then blurt disclaimers when you get rumbled

Charlie Clark
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Yesterday's man is a busted flush…

Sorry for the mixed metaphor…

Bojo lost the Tory leadership election last year and probably knows he won't get another chance. But he's getting board being a Minister with not a lot to do: most of the main aspects of the Foreign Office have been given to other departments.

There's not a lot of mileage in the £350 million a week line anymore, viz. UKIP's collapse in the recent general election. The point of the article was to stir things up before May's heavily trailed speech in Florence at the end of the week. After that Bojo is likely to act as a stalking horse for someone like Rees-Mogg once it becomes clear in October that wheels have come of the Brexit bus: no progress on citizenship and no progress on the budget mean no chance of a trade agreement before March 2019.

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Brit ministers jet off on a trade mission to tout our digital exports...

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: Ha

Wow thats a new narrative. Wasnt it really that Obama wanted a successful deal, the EU was gagging for it as it isnt a bad thing to want…

No, the EU gave up TTIP (please do try and get the abbreviations right) as a botched job because the European Commission, at the behest and with the full knowledge of member states and the USA, tried to conduct negotiations in secret. This backfired badly and is why Dan is quite right to point out the political price.

This was all a long time before the US presidential election by which time, of course, public opinion in the US had moved against international trade deals. Less of an issue for TTIP than for TPP, where China was given a golden opportunity to take the lead in regional trade agreements.

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Charlie Clark
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Facepalm

Re: Ha

But since we wont be within the cartel we wont need to punish the poor globally and instead will see prices falling as we dont need to freeze them out of trade any more. This is something that worries the EU as any trade deal with them could give us the best of both worlds which is why they are desperate to demand we cant be allowed a competitive advantage.

It doesn't worry the EU at all because the UK will at best get access to the single market on current terms.

But you're promised lower prices might well worry the low-skilled who've seen their real incomes decline over the last few years… How about replacing EU migrant workers with those from China, Vietnam or Angola? Sounds like a real vote winner to me!

Oh, and, of course, we know there's £350 million a week been found behind the same sofa that found extra money for Northern Ireland…

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Google, Bing, Yahoo! data hoarding is like homeopathy. It doesn't work – new study claims

Charlie Clark
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So what?

According to Chiou and Tucker, data retention periods didn't affect the flow of traffic from search engines to downstream websites.

Google doesn't really care about downstream websites. What it is interested in is demonstrating the efficacy of its search algorithm to advertisers and it doesn't look like this was covered in the study. To demonstrate the efficacy of the algorithm it constantly needs to check that the results it provides are indeed what users are looking for and constant perusing of the logs is one of the ways to do this, though I suspect aggregation of search terms is main benefit.

I suspect that Google itself knows the value of the data it collects, including the problems associated with ever bigger haystacks. You can see how they do some of these things with Google Trends or the N-Gram research.Trends allow like-for-like comparisons over time, eg. the much touted early indicators of autumn colds and flu. That's gold dust for some but only makes sense with aggregated, anonymised data. I suspect they would probably already pour cold water on the value of ever greater personalisation of adverts, which is where Facebook seems to be going. I think we're going to find out that influence, the holy grail of advertisers, is best reached by the right combination of adverts and content.

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Pretend Python packages prey on poor typing

Charlie Clark
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Re: The Real Problem is a Bit More Complicated

Even on a decent Linux distro the real problem is that pip is braindead and often overwrites system packages with incompatible versions of its own devising.

Cart before the horse: it's the distro's that mess with Python's packaging and then expose it to users. Setup correctly and pip will install to the user's home directory and they'll never have to fuck around with apt-* which should only be used for system stuff. Separation user and system packages? We've heard those BSD guys do that but we can't be bothered…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: The Real Problem is a Bit More Complicated

But it does need to be managed the same way, the Debian model works and could well be applied to a Python specific repository.

You can do this already with devpi.

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Charlie Clark
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You're comparing apples and moon rocks. PyPI is where new stuff gets published, distros choose want they want to offer.

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