* Posts by Charlie Clark

4881 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

BOFH: The Boss, the floppy and the work 'experience'

Charlie Clark
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Re: Being on a placement myself...

Granted this guy was just trying to hide his dark secret

Didn't they teach you any I.RONY at your place?

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Charlie Clark
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I too was wondering about the "he knows too much" aspect. Can't risk him going to the boss but maybe he could bought off?

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Y'know CSS was to kill off HTML table layout? Well, second time's a charm: Meet CSS Grid

Charlie Clark
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Apart from my own preference for text/plain I suggest you have a look at this article on A List Apart.

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Charlie Clark
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It has nothing to do with tables, except when they're being abused for layout purposes.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Finally!

Table-based grids were always shit and we've all been able to do better layouts using CSS for over 10 years. Nice to see you catching up! ;-)

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Security co-operation unlikely to change post Brexit, despite threats

Charlie Clark
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British intelligence is so fucking great…

…that it single-handedly defeated the IRA: prevented the bombing of the Horseguards' Parade, central Manchester and countless bombings in Northern Ireland.

Oh no, it didn't, but the EU-backed peace process managed to. Glad we're getting rid of that then!

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Samsung Galaxy S8: Slimmer bezels, a desktop mode – and yet another me-too AI pal

Charlie Clark
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Re: Mint

Don't know about putting Linux on it but some version of AOSP is bound to be available. However, DeX is most likely to Samsung only for a while.

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Charlie Clark
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Continuing to innovate

The desktop mode is really interesting, possibly even compelling. If this works well then it will justify the price and really shake the market up. Will Apple be able to respond by the time these, and related ecosystem become available in volume?

For the time being I'll be sticking with my second-hand S5, which recently got a new battery, but I am definitely tempted by this.

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Charlie Clark
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While Samsung is pretty poor at providing updates, it also makes phones that are easy to root and hence install other ROMs on. This isn't for everyone but worth considering if you've had a Samsung for a while (updates generally stop appearing after 18 months) and would allow you to reassign the assistant button to do something useful.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Ugh

They already have, it's called Google Assistant and been out some time.

DeX is desktop mode…

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Manufacturers reject ‘no deal’ Brexit approach

Charlie Clark
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Re: It'll be fine

It's quite simple really.

It always is, isn't it? Except when you get round to actually doing it…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: It'll be fine

Don't get me wrong! I understand the importance of fishing quotas. What I cannot stomach is other countries just ignoring their obligations under the supposedly universal rules.

Quotas have their own problems but you're basically right that the expansion of the EU to include Spain and Portugal made overfishing in the North Sea a bigger problem. But you have to ask yourself: how effective is the UK going to be if it's outside the club? Will it be able to push for stricter quotas in the parts of the Atlantic and North Sea that are outside its territorial waters?

As for following the rules, this is a perennial problem with Germany being surprisingly one of the worst offenders: notably in matters of air and water pollution. But compliance has by and large got much better over the last ten years. Greece is a complete mess but if the alternative is a failed state next to Turkey… Elsewhere the EU is often seen as a way to discipline otherwise wayward governments with the EU bailouts being a form of, er, soft power.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: It'll be fine

Duties are the price that we pay for accessing markets.

Duties are the least of anybody's worries: trade moved beyond duties years ago: the real issue will be non-tariff barriers. E.g. the UK will only be able to offer financial services that conform to EU regulations; Nissan and Toyota (we can assume Vauxhall doesn't have much of a future anyway) will only be allowed to sell cars to the EU that meet EU exhaust and safety norms, etc.. This is why financial service companies that do not already have subsidiaries elsewhere in the EU (Luxembourg is popular) are busy looking for offices. Small, brass plate offices for now maybe but with the potential for significant expansion.

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Europe to push new laws to access encrypted apps data

Charlie Clark
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Politics

It's worth noting that this is the much maligned commission acting as it often does at the behest of the member states. Speculation about what exactly will be proposed should be avoided but the wonks at the commission will be aware of the impossibility of getting backdoors for true end-to-end encryption. And the ECJ has already ruled in favour of individual's right to privacy. So this sounds like a stick to beat the tech companies with for better cooperation: get those AIs to do something useful like monitoring phones and reporting any "suspicious" activity.

If end-to-end encryption becomes illegal, which I very much doubt, it's hardly likely to stop anyone who is already breaking, or considering to break, the law…

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Samsung plans Galaxy Note 7 fire sale

Charlie Clark
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Re: why oh why?

They can only sell them again if they can convince authorities (including the FAA) that they're safe, or as safe as any other phones anyway. But, if they can do this, then why shouldn't they sell them? Potential battery issues aside they seemed to have been very popular with owners.

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UK digital minister Matt Hancock praises 'crucial role' of encryption

Charlie Clark
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Re: I think they genuinely don't see the problem.

If they were only accessing the encrypted information of 'proven criminals' post-fact, requiring court orders with demonstrated legitimacy to do that, and could absolutely guarantee that was the case and always would be, I believe many of us would say fair enough.

You can't do this with the end-to-end public key encryption that WhatsApp has switched to using. Encryption is binary: it's either working or it's broken.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Can do. But shouldn't?

I'm not an encryption professional, so I may have some of the details wonky.

Pretty much all of them to be honest: you can't do what you suggest with public key encryption.

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Charlie Clark
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Very rarely do people in government get appointed to areas where they are experts: this is how representative democracies are supposed to work, assuming they're prepared to listen to relevant experts in their departments, which may be a big ask. And, in any case Home Secretary is a huge brief: police, prisons, snooping, law, immigration, etc. I don't anyone is knowledgeable in all those areas.

I don't even think that Rudd is one of May's closest allies but while purging Cameron's Cabinet she had to keep some around. May wasn't even that hot on Law & Order herself before she got the job. Guess, she worked out what an effective vote winner outrage is. We still get to hear the stupid not fit for purpose quote from that idiot John Reid from his time in the post.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: opensource protocols

How could the government mandate backdoors in opensource protocols which have no company to mandate/talk to?

She doesn't care, this is just a soundbite for the Daily Mail. Beyond that, legally I don't think "open source" is any kind of defence even if it would make nonsense of any case. If a government decided XYZ is bad and makes it illegal then courts can issue take down notices to any providers (something that, for example, GitHub would only be too happy to oblige) of such software or source code. There is legal precedent in things like DeCSS and with encryption America's own export restrictions on cryptographic code. Impracticality has rarely stopped the passing of such laws. In Germany, for example, there was a law passed a few years ago that effectively criminalises the development and distribution of penetration testing software.

But enforcement across jurisdictions is always a problem, even for the US and the almighty DMCA.

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Robo-Uber T-boned, rolls onto side, self-driving rides halted

Charlie Clark
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Re: SRIMECH

Watch out for Matilda!

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Profitless Twitter starts rumour of paid-for Tweetdeck option

Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

Correction

Twitter, the profitless pointless microblogging website

FTFY

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As ad boycott picks up pace, Google knows it doesn't have to worry

Charlie Clark
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Re: Counterintuitive

Actually it's not even for a terrorist group it's the Britain First YouTube

Thanks for the correction.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Money better Spent Elsewhere - Or Not At All

Agencies live to spend money. After all, it's not their own.

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Charlie Clark
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Counterintuitive

So, an advert for a progressive newspaper appears on a promotional video for a terrorist group. If we can get over the outrage we can also see a couple of other interpretations:

  • some people who watch terrorist videos might also read the Guardian
  • some people who watch terrorist videos might start reading the Guardian and become more progressive as a result

I think the first possibility gives us food for thought and the second cause for optimism.

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Inside OpenSSL's battle to change its license: Coders' rights, tech giants, patents and more

Charlie Clark
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What did you expect when the big companies got involved? As for the choice of licence – I think the patent protection is largely handwaving but the threat of patent trolls is real – but incompatibility with the GPL is good thing™ in my opinion. But really going with any of the standard licences is better than opening it to discussion. APL allows for embedding in devices without having to argue about shipping source code.

Given the problems around getting all contributors to agree it would seem easier to adopt one of the "clean room" implementations of TLS.

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Good news, everyone! Two pints a day keep heart problems at bay

Charlie Clark
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Re: A question

It's a good question. I think from a biochemical position the definition of "no safe limit" is sound: alcohol has profound and extremely variable effects on the body, some good, some not so good and some downright nasty. And not everyone can cope with alcohol as well – the Japanese are famous for a low tolerance – but other groups of people have similar issues at different parts of the cycle.

But we're more than just biochemistry: the rest of the diet should be considered along with the amount of exercise which sort of makes a mockery of any single issue study.

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'Clearance sale' shows Apple's iPad is over. It's done

Charlie Clark
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Re: As I have said a million times

Not particularly although they are not as overpriced for their spec as iPhones and iPads.

Provide examples. When recently considering a new machine I did some research and, when it came to finding a powerful but light machine, I found that specs and prices at the high end are pretty close. The Windows machines maybe a bit cheaper but there's not as nice to develop on as the Macs, stupid touch bar thingies aside.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: As I have said a million times

Your powers of prediction are simply amazing! I think Apple charges a premium for its devices but they are generally very well specc'd and made. The notebooks in particular are competitively priced when you go like-for-like: compare a MacBook Pro (without the stupid bar) with a similarly specc'd (weight, big SSD, screen, etc.) Lenovo or HP and you'll not find much difference. Which is why I stayed with Apple when I recently bought a new notebook. But I've never had an I-Phone or an I-Pad.

Since Jobs died Apple has largely rested on its laurels and earned billions and billions doing so. I'm in general agreement that if they don't do something new then they will hit the DEC/Nokia wall but in the meantime all the best to them for selling what the market likes.

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Charlie Clark
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@big_D

I, too, love the Model M style Apple keyboard (I have a Model M as well but it's just so loud). Looks filthy because it's white but it's the one I can type best on.

Which particular MacBook Pro keyboards are you referring to? Didn't notice much difference when I switched to an early 2016 model (Thunderbolt not USB-C). But seeing that this is usually hooked up to my KVM (Mac HDMI to DVI-Dual-link works great) I guess I haven't give it much of a workout yet.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Education PC seller says Apple is no good in that market

Apple might be big in the USA

It is, partly because of the way it's financed.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Education PC seller says Apple is no good in that market

the pope is still a catholic.

It might surprise you to learn that this is indeed a matter of theological debate.

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Charlie Clark
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And that's still a lot for a glorified picture frame

Pretty much sums it up. Mind you TVs aren't much more than that and you can see the advantage of cheap tablets for families on long journeys. But then price really does start to matter.

I still think there's something in it for Apple to go all out on ARM and make and I-Pad Pro worthy of the name: with a real keyboard. Maybe they're hoping the clearance sale will give them the room to do so?

Kudos for the Pi-Top reference: great little things that you can run off AA batteries and tinker with the hardware.

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With Skype, Microsoft's messaging strategy looks coherent at last (almost)

Charlie Clark
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Business versus Consumer

Microsoft might be getting its strategy together but in the meantime the market has moved on. The consumer market (and some businesses) have settled on things like WhatsApp and Telegram for messaging with the argument being it's "good enough" and it's what everyone else is using and they don't care much about their data. Personally I use Signal which is great on the phone and has a usable browser client.

Google has dicked around a lot but Hangouts is rock solid and the new whiteboard is a good add-on for video conferences. Allo just looks like a messenger, in reality it's a customer service AI beta. Look beneath the flurry of releases and you'll see that they tried to see what worked and rolled into their other products.

I have to use Skype for Business with one of my customers. Works fine for me but my customers have so much trouble with it that they now always dial in and, even though they're on VoIP phones, the system is more stable. Can't see anyone who doesn't already have this going with it.

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Now UK bans carry-on lappies, phones, slabs on flights from six nations amid bomb fears

Charlie Clark
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Re: So now large, fragile batteries must go in the hold

There's a difference between a box full of Lithium batteries and a hold full of suitcases with devices with Lithium batteries. They're in all kinds of cases that are designed to protect them and even if one were to catch fire it's not going to find a lot of oxygen to burn.

I've often travelled with one or two computers in the suitcase because I didn't need them while travelling.

But I think this announcement is mainly misdirection, see my post below.

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Charlie Clark
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Not to be taken at face value

The ban is so easy to circumvent that it shouldn't be taken, er, literally. Apart from sending a mixed message to the travelling public — inconvenience but security — it may well have been designed to let one or more groups know that "we're onto them" and they should drop their current plans. Think of it as the inverse of a bomb warning.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Idiocy - but hardly a surprise

Oh really? Explain how without resorting to a ticket, security clearance, OR connections.

Think of this a con and not some kind of terrorist act. You're biggest challenge is going to be getting a minimum wage job with the ground staff and sticking around long enough to do the reconnaissance.

For maximum effect a bomb has to go off while the plane is in the air but not only is the hardest to engineer, we've already seen that the chaos and terror which are the terrorist's aims can be achieved far more easily: just blow something up or start shooting in a crowd or getting a wheel or tyre to fail. Or just making a call to say you've planted a bomb.

Proper explosives would be a challenge but there are plenty of simple ones, which when combined with other agents which could be quickly made up on the spot: think of what you could do with some weedkiller, sugar and overpriced water bought in one of the many shops in the departure lounges. If you are a chemist and can get access to a well-stocked lab, then, well, the sky's the limit.

If you think this is outlandish then you obviously haven't looked at how the IRA operated because they specialised in clever ops using low-tech bombs, though they also weren't averse to using explosives used by the building or mining industry if they were available.

This. for me at least, is proof that the current threat level is completely overblown

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Hutch's Three UK users ripping through over 6GB a month

Charlie Clark
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6 GB per customer per month doesn't sound too much for a mobile network. For comparison, German PAYG are moving towards 5GB LTE for about € 15 per month as a baseline, especially for "cord cutters".

Is spectrum really the solution? Not really going to help without more base stations and they can be added anyway.

Mobile networks biggest problem is always: which cells are expected to provide the bandwidth and that could be trickier if use is concentrated in certain areas and at certain times for, say, live streaming of football matches. But, as the linked report suggests, networks should have been managing their infrastructure to be better able to cope with such requirements using MIMO on high towers where appropriate and also judiciously throttling users at known hotspots (train stations, airports, etc.).

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New iPad revealed. Big price cut is main feature

Charlie Clark
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New Tablet

My trusty Samsung Tab 8.9 died recently and I'm thinking of getting a replacement media player and browser for around the house because there are some things for which a tablet is the better form factor. But the thing is: I'm far less likely to pay a premium for a secondary device and it looks like I could pick up something suitable with an SD slot (useful to load up for going on holiday) for around € 200. So I'm unlikely to be tempted by the Apple.

However, I think the price cut has less to do with market share than the exchange rate: the dollar is quite a bit stronger than it was a year ago and with recent rate rises are likely to keep it that way.

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Android O my god! It's finally here (for devs)

Charlie Clark
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Re: Amazing wow Boy oh Boy Incredible Orgasmic...

This article hardly reads like a eulogy for the new release.

The last three major Android releases have, by and large, focussed on getting more out of the hardware and while adding some more or less new features: NFC, multi-window, better power management. They have also been improving release management and incorporating stuff in AOSP from other sources. All pretty reasonable if you ask me.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I'll believe the battery story ...

If you've rooted your phone then you can probably get rid of everything other than Google Play Services. Then I don't think the number of services is particularly relevant. What matters is how many services are currently active and Android 7 certainly keeps this number lower than Android 6, though as others have noted, this comes with the occasional cost in performance for some apps such as K9.

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Samsung's Bixby totally isn't a Siri ripoff because look – it'll go in phones, TVs, fridges, air con...

Charlie Clark
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Re: I don't trust Samsung...

That's nice to hear, but then who can you really trust?

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Google's stock rating downgraded as YouTube ad boycott contagion goes global

Charlie Clark
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Re: Why should it be the advertiser's responsibility to fix this

I am quite certain Google has the means to identify

What makes you think that? Can't see the upside for Google in this. But this also looks like some attention grabbing PR for the investment company.

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Huawei's P10 breathing on Samsung's shoulder

Charlie Clark
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Missing specs

I'll only buy phones with OLED screens so it would be nice to have this in the summary. Huawei do do OLED but just not with this phone.

http://www.gsmarena.com/huawei_p10-8514.php

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Linux, not Microsoft, the real winner of Windows Server on ARM

Charlie Clark
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Re: SBSA is the real threat to Intel.

I look forward to the day of being able to customise a Linux distro for TVs instead of the garbage inflicted on users called "Android TV".

This sounds very much like wishful thinking to me: in the consumer space Android has pretty much beaten Linux off because most consumers don't really relish the idea of customising the software on their TV. They want the easiest access to their favourite shows which will always come with some kind of DRM.

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Charlie Clark
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ARM is fine for what it's intended for, but a fire-breathing high performance general purpose CPU suitable for weather forecasts it is not.

HPC teams already use heterogenous hardware mixing x86 with GPUs because x86 hardly shines at parallel vector work. While x86 delivers great single-thread performance that necessarily the most important part of HPC. ARM chips already come with optional hardware acceleration packages, throw in FPGAs and GPUs and, at the right price*, the HPC crowd will be drooling.

* If you look at some the biggest HPC installs it's obvious that purchase price is not that important. Increasingly, it's important to have something that doesn't need its own dedicated power station.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Bit confused

Windows Server on ARM is currently proof of concept for Microsoft. There has been no indication that it will ever see general release and Microsoft's strategy is clearly to get as many customers to stop running their own servers and use Azure instead. x86 support for things like Exchange is already available but Linux is where the growth is and already popular on Azure and even better suited to ARM than Windows.

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BOFH: Don't back up in anger

Charlie Clark
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Re: What goes around...

I though it was part of the job description, Brian?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: New technical terms.

electrons in their brain

I think we've found the problem: what brain?

Anyway, what the boss deserves sacking for such a pathetic attempt to cover up not being arsed / able to do the presentation!

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Be our Guetzli, says Google, to make beastly JPEGs beautifully small

Charlie Clark
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Re: A better solution...

Increasingly it's not the images that are the problem it's the SPA (single page app) development approach which try to turn websites into applications and loads essentially a mini-operating system to handle stuff that may never happen. You can see this when apparently text-only websites become 5 MB because framework-of-the-week and all its friends have to be loaded. Sort of like the "quick start" option for MS Office even for people who never use Office.

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Google borks Nexus 6 with screwy over-the-air Android 7.0 downgrade

Charlie Clark
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Re: Move along nothing to see

One click install needs to be the ambition for the project

There are several reasons why this isn't necessarily the case. This is all about installing onto devices that block root access for security reasons. If installing a new OS can be done in a single click then so can installing a compromised OS. For the rest, I think the failed CyanogenMod installer shows just how difficult this is when you don't own the hardware.

I've had LOS on my S5 since January and it's generally been pretty good, even the time when there were conflicts with Google Play Services. An increasing number of apps require the services in order to run but LOS itself runs fine without it and alternative App stores are easy enough to use. But basically most people sideload the OS to get rid of vendor and network bloatware and keep their phone as up to date as possible. YMMV.

How easy it is to install depends mainly on the hardware and how easy it is to root and install TWRP. I've only ever had Samsungs and they're pretty easy but definitely not for the faint-hearted. AFAIK LOS is completely open source and driven by volunteers. This means that spit and polish isn't necessarily the main focus, though I personally have been impressed by how quickly the necessary build infrastructure has been put in place and the increasing number of devices supported.

A smoother experience would need the hardware manufacturers to get involved to provide drivers and sign releases so that an OTA install would be possible.

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