* Posts by Charlie Clark

5121 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Google may follow Apple, design mobile chips in-house

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: Google shareholders pays for it

Google shareholders

And who are they exactly? Get back under your bridge until you know at least something.

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Charlie Clark
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Drivel

This suggests that Google will pursue a similar strategy to the one it has adopted for its cloud servers, commissioning custom designs from its chip suppliers

If the article would perhaps focus on how differently Google operates in the server and consumer space then it might be quite interesting. As it is, to suggest that Google is suddenly going to flip its business model, in which the own-branded devices serve largely as PR for the latest Android release, flies in the face of all the previous suggestions that this was about to happen.

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'OK, everyone. Stop typing, this software is DONE,' said no one ever

Charlie Clark
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Plan for maintenance

If you want to be able to run some "done" software for years and years then go with BSD. A clear separation between the system and user programs means you're much less dependent upon the whims of the vendor.

In reality anything that faces the internet is never done because not all of the bugs have been found yet. In the case of your Django site then you're looking at a heap of dependencies from glibc to openssl. Important to inform your customer early on that there will be a need for updates and upgrades (including the OS) over time and they should budget for this. You're doing no one a favour if you don't do this.

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Elon Musk reveals Mars colony rocket capable of bringing pizza joints to the red planet

Charlie Clark
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Re: Fuel on Mars

Oh? So a small comet on an orbit that causes it to collide with earth.

I'm not the one making an argument for leaving Earth because a "VUE" might wipe out life on Earth. This really is a straw man. I'm not suggesting that the same object would hit both Mars and the Earth but if the Earth is being hit by large asteroids then Mars probably is at the same time. For example if Jupiter stopped doing such a good job of hoovering up dangerous rocks that enter the solar system.

As to rocks for start travel. Do the maths, not the fantasy.

You seem to misunderstand me: build the spaceships on and from the asteroids. No gravity well to worry about. Still all the problems related to large-scale manufacturing in space, life-support systems, travelling safely at high speeds (a reasonable fraction of c), etc., but easier than doing it on Earth or Mars,

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Fuel on Mars

And, assuming a) my faith is misplaced and b) something nasty this way comes, leaving earth is the only way for humanity to survive.

This is seductive but flawed logic. Going to Mars is really still a 19th century fantasy.

Anything big enough to take out the Earth will probably take out Mars as well. Or, anyone crazy and powerful enough to destroy the Earth is probably crazy and powerful enough to take out Mars as well. Mars is pretty inhospitable and all the space between here and there is inimical to life.

For interstellar travel moons and asteroids are far more interesting: lots of resources without all that pesky gravity to deal with. This is why real scientists are keen on comets and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. Because, by the time the first unmanned probe confirms the existence of habitable planets we'll need to be somewhere where we can build spaceships big and safe enough for the travel. They may make for less attractive headlines but Cassini and Huygens and Rosetta and Philae delivered far more knowledge bang for the buck than a manned Mars mission ever could.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Fuel on Mars

I reckon what he means to say is that it's all but a front

More or less, SpaceX relies on government contracts to keep going.

If there is any kind of problem with cashflow, then a tried and tested method to hide it, is to raise new capital for a supposedly new, ground-breaking scheme. Doing this with an existing company achieves three things: it masks existing problems and it reduces the cost of capital associated with the new risk; allows you to buy off any existing investors who want out. If you want to know why we have public stock exchanges and for examples of similar schemes then you might look at railways in the 19th century.

Note, I'm not accusing Musk of fraud, though the Tesla / Solar City deal looks very much like it. I'm sure he is capable of raising a great deal of "lose your shirt money" from other convinced solutionists, but existing and potential new investors require full and frank disclosure and that is best done in a separate vehicle.

Meanwhile: I'm convinced that the money would bring a much greater return if directed at non-manned probes and research. Non-manned probes do at least have a chance of getting to the near relativistic speeds needed to find another solar system just in case this one fails. If the Earth isn't safe, then neither is that frozen dustball Mars.

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Charlie Clark
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Fuel on Mars

Kerosene can't be made on Mars as we're pretty sure there's no oil up there.

Well, you almost certainly synthesise kerosene from methane but the additional energy density probably isn't worth it.

However, much as I admire what Musk has achieved thus far, this is worse than a pipe dream and close to outright fraud at least as long as it is anywhere near an existing business interest like Space X. This is more than simply trying to protect investors: getting people safely to and from Mars is about a lot more than motors and fuel.

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Intel: Joule's burned, Edison switched off, and Galileo – Galileo is no more

Charlie Clark
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Re: Another botched call by Intel

Now, ARM is part of SoftBank Group it is too late.

Can't agree with that at all. Given SoftBank's level of debt flipping ARM for a profit is a pretty likely outcome. But anti-trust concerns would probably prevent a sale to Intel.

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Report estimates cost of disruption to GPS in UK would be £1bn per day

Charlie Clark
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If we have to pay for it, aren't we entitled to a refund?

Oh, boy. I do hope you're one of Mr Davis' team of crack (or should that be cracked?) negotiators!

International agreements are strangely very different to restaurant bills. The UK was not pressured into signing up to contributing to the development costs (which largely go to fund UK jobs on the project). As long as the contract is honoured by both sides then their shouldn't be any problems. But should the UK now wish to withdraw from such arrangements then the other counterparties would be under no obligation to honour any of it, including preferential access for companies based in signatory countries.

Rinse and repeat for a whole heap of similar agreements.

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Charlie Clark
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And yet those damned capitalists in the USA let everyone use theirs for free.

Yes, but they reserve the right to switch it off, reduce resolution, etc. at will at any time, without notice.

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Worried about election hacking? There's a technology fix – Helios

Charlie Clark
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That number can be checked against an election tally system to ensure that the vote was cast as specified.

This is more down a to a poor explanation of the system than a risk within Helios itself.

The Python Software Foundation recently switched to Helios. I don't think it's perfect as a system but it goes further to dealing with the potential issues than any other system I've seen.

I'm a huge fan of paper-based systems for national elections but I think that the Estonians have raised several credible reasons for some potential problems.

As for the US: fraud and system failure would be less of a worry if more people could be bothered to vote in the first place. Turnout at elections in the US is routinely abysmal.

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BOFH: Halon is not a rad new vape flavour

Charlie Clark
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Re: I suppose

What contracts? Would you like to come to the window.

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Amazon and others sniffing around Slack

Charlie Clark
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Re: How come Slack is so popular?

First-mover, freemium model, lots of free PR from tech "journos"?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Err ..but ..

IMO Teams is one of the best apps to come out from Microsoft in a very, very long time.

Doesn't really say much, does it? Wouldn't surprise me if Microsoft go after Slack as it fits their profile much better than say Amazon.

Valuation of $ 9 10^9 sounds ridiculous but then I think of Skype, Instagram and WhatsApp. That's somebodies pension pot about to be pissed away.

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Europe-wide BitTorrent indexer blockade looms after Pirate Bay blow

Charlie Clark
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Physical shops are all closed in the Netherlands? Here they still exist, if they have not an album but it's in catalog they'll order it

They're bloody hard to find in Germany, I can tell you that and they a lot of them don't stock everything you might like.

Regarding downloads: music's not quite as bad as films as, as long as you go with the big three (Apple, Amazon and Google) you can normally get the stuff you want (try getting Sleaford Mods on Sevenload…) but payment methods can be restricted (bank transfer is not supported by Google). Films can be a whole heap more difficult because Hollywood lurves to carve the world up into small bits in order to maximise revenues. This means there are lots of UK films and series than I cannot watch legally even if I do want to pay for them.

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Charlie Clark
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OTOH I recently bought my first download albums this year because it's finally got easy enough to get them without some form crippling DRM but it could still be easier (some kind of plugin for Chrome is still required) and there aren't really enough stores: I don't really like my purchasing habits being tracked.

I pay my licence fee even though most of it gets spent on football that I never watch (here in Germany) and I only listen to the public news channels: music on the public channels is unfortunately predictably shit. If the legal market isn't serving demand correctly then the black market will.

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Now you can 'roam like at home' within the EU, but what's the catch?

Charlie Clark
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Consolidation is driving price hikes

Roaming was always a nice additional little earner at virtually no cost. When the European Commission first investigated the telcos and found them complicit of charging users way over the odds for the service the first suggestion was to do away with roaming completely. Thanks to successful lobbying by the telcos of national governments, who like the taxes from large profits, the capping and subsequent tapering of charges over nearly 15 years was agreed.

This gave telcos more than enough time to prepare for the change. For most telcos in most countries, however, roaming makes little difference to the bottom line; exceptions being perhaps Spain and Greece where so many other Europeans go for their jollies. The loss of revenue due to people switching to data services for SMS and VoIP was far more significant. And as the market matured, data too became a commodity. The response of the telcos has been the tried and tested approach in low growth markets: buy up competitors to reduce competition. As a result most countries now have at most 3 networks where they used to have 4 or 5. There was research done in Austria on the effect this has on prices: they go up, unsurprisingly.

So, while the telcos might point at the end of roaming charges at the reason for increasing all prices, there is less reason for this then raising petrol prices the day the price of oil goes up (the two are only indirectly related), or at the start of the holidays. Companies lying about their cost base or asking for handouts. Who'd have thought it?

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Atlassian wants you to put all your eggs in one Bitbucket and beyond

Charlie Clark
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Rollins thinks price will be less of a factor in that kind of decision than the fact the stack can run in the cloud or on-premises.

Being able to run on-premises is a killer argument for many companies. And most of Atlassian stuff is at least good enough.

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Oh snap! Election's made Brexit uncertainty worse for biz, says BT CEO

Charlie Clark
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Re: Latest El Reg Brexit opinion poll

Its almost like something happened. Like a recession.

Inflation was above target for most of the recession as I pointed out in response to your original post. Having been shown to be wrong in your initial claim you proceed to change tack.

The BoE doesn't want to raise rates, it is using expansive monetary policy to engage in "financial repression" to inflate government debt away.

People have been protesting about falling standards of living for years. I contend that this was why many people voted to leave in last year's referendum and why many of those that did, voted for nationalisations and handouts last week. Which is another reason why referendums are bloody stupid things.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Latest El Reg Brexit opinion poll

Something the BoE and gov have been trying to get up since 2008!

Ahem, inflation was well-ahead of target for years which is one of the reasons why most people have seen a decline in their standard of living since 2008 and one of the main reasons for understandable protest.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: The gargoyle’s mouth is a loudspeaker

So you'd have published your negotiating strategy in advance?! The golden rule for any negotiation is never to let your opponents know what your final position is.

This is nonsense in multi-lateral situations and has been debunked many times. But it does sound good.

That's what all this hard Brexit nonsense was about, posturing to convince the EU that tearing up the treaty

Which is great because my German friends who get to vote in the election September are starting to say: "as much as we like the Brits, there's no way they should get a special deal".

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Even less difficult with my plan:

Monsanto has just been bought by Bayer.

Yes, but Bayer is bound by pesky EU regulations about pesticides and GMC whereas in the US you can run ads encouraging people to ask for things like organodineutron. Or, for a real example, opioid pain killers.

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Telegram chat app founder claims Feds offered backdoor bribe

Charlie Clark
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Don't look over there

The real strength of Telegram is the group support and a fantastically responsive WebRPC client. Encryption claims require the relevant code to be open source. The spooks might moan about end-to-end encryption but what they really want is to be able to control the whole device.

But for companies like Telegram the market is where Slack is currently. Encryption is a box to be ticked but the money is in integration and automation for teams.

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Congressman drafts COVFEFE Act to preserve Trump's Twitter tantrums

Charlie Clark
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Re: What is Lord BucketHeads stance on tweeting?

He's currently in discussions with Mr Finger over whether or not to go in coalition.

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Damian Green now heads up UK Cabinet Office

Charlie Clark
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Logo watch?

If we don't get a silly but very expensive logo out of this then what's the point?

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Essentially puzzling: Rubin's hype-phone ties up with… Sprint?

Charlie Clark
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Re: "Sprint is ...in the midst of negotiations for a possible merger with T‑Mobile US"

Being a T-Mobile customer, I certainly hope they are not foolish enough to follow through on a deal with Sprint.

Given the current regulation climate I would expect the merger to go ahead quickly, though given Softbank's debt structure it might actually be T-Mobile doing the buying.

Sprint/Nextel's IDEN and WiMax stuff is largely behind them now. It's just the costs they still have to deal with.

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Charlie Clark
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The much-anticipated…

Really?

Not even the next I-Phone is generating much excitement, so much chance for another phone. We all want NEW toys!

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Boeing preps pilotless passenger flights – once it has solved the Sully problem, of course

Charlie Clark
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Re: This isn't news

Who to believe?

The one with the best PR.

They'll run planes on full automatic for years before retiring the pilots. By then we'll be used to cars, trains, trams and buses driving themselves.

Here at Düsseldorf airport the driverless overhead railway was an expensive joke for years until they ironed the problems out. I think driverless trains are now becoming the norm for fully isolated services.

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Charlie Clark
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This isn't news

It's open secret that the whole aerospace industry has been working for years to replace pilots because they are expensive and unfortunately unreliable (this is a general meatware problem not specific to pilots). The black boxes don't just collect data for working out what went wrong in disasters but what works when there are problems.

We've had decades of heroic propaganda about pilots so expect lots of PR designed to to defuse any fears associated with the inevitable first flights. The real heroes are the engineers who have learned from the disasters to build the remarkably resilient planes that we now have.

Though I suspect the threat of litigation will keep pilots in planes in the West so that the first scheduled flights may well be in China. Huge market to those who get it right first.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: There's something fundamentally important they're missing.

There are plenty of things for which I wouldn't trust a computer but flying planes isn't one of them. They're already almost entirely automatic and I'd be happy to fly in one that was. Not only are humans bad at long periods of sustained concentration, we're also really bad, despite our prejudices otherwise, at responding quickly and correctly in emergency situations unless we do this routinely.

Yes, there are all kinds of risks associated with this kind of automation but on balance I think these are mostly at air traffic control, maintenance and ground-handling.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: shortage of pilots

If that's a money making opportunity, why doesn't the A380 have upper deck front windows?

Windows are something any aircraft designer would love to do away with: improve body strength, reduce weight, and better AC. There are already plenty of design studies illustrating the advantages.

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Cabinet Office minister Gummer loses seat as Tory gamble backfires

Charlie Clark
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Re: "And the Labour Party actually got behind the campaign."

just maybe someone whose a bit more neurotypical might be the way to go

Well, except that Corbyn has already demonstrated more typical "leadership" qualities such as applying the whip over the Article 50 vote, despite his own record of voting against the party line.

Whatever the politics the high turnout at the election was fantastic. Corbyn, and the rest of the party, should be congratulated on the way it got the vote out, especially among younger voters. But the task was made a whole lot easier by a Tory manifesto memorable mainly for promising to bring back fox hunting and seizing the houses of elderly people.

I think that the problem that I and many is less with Corbyn personally, who seems largely to be a principled and reasonable person, than those around him (McDonnell is an unreconstructed Marxist) and Momentum. We remember how Militant in the 1980s successfully drove an incredibly unpolitical agenda.

Many of the new Labour seats have ridiculously thin majorities so that, should there be another election, the Tories with a more effective campaigner as leader, might well get that majority they want so that they can on with the business of rolling back the welfare state. Of course, when the Tories inevitably do change their leader, they might think twice before calling another election. But with the DUP on board some kind of crisis, including a resurgence of violence in Northern Ireland, can't be far off.

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Charlie Clark
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shy Tories having been replaced by shy Corbynites

Not so fast. The Labour voters in the North who voted UKIP and to leave were never likely to adopt the Tories en masse. 2015, the referendum and now: a continuing protest vote over the standard of living and immigration. The tuition fees was an easy sop to get students on board.

If May hadn't been such a dreadful campaigner then Corbyn's expensive promises and gaffes could have cost him a lot of votes. But as things turned out she appeared to get more and uncomfortable meeting real whereas Jezzer grew in confidence after bathing in the crowds. And the Labour Party actually got behind the campaign.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: None of them would have if it was a two round system

UKIP are basically deceased now, so their support cannot prop up the conservatives

I wish. Super-Kipper is dusting off his action man suit and ready to lead the party again if there is another election.

What am I saying if? Coalitions can work very well if both parties are committed to the idea (spot the Liberal) but a Tory party desperate to dump Mother Theresa in bed with the DUP?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Well look on the bright side

Subtract Ken Clarke who thankfully did not stand down at this election

Yep, I think he's looking forward to playing Ted Heath/Geoffrey Howe to Theresa's Thatcher. Was pleasantly surprised to see him standing again having presumably refused a peerage.

I've no time for the Tories but Clarke was the best leader they never had. He stood up to Maggie, he gave the BoE independence, he was one of the few to warn about the abuse of parliament over the Iraq war and he voted with his conscience, as all MPs are supposed to over Article 50. And he would have cauterised the EU wound in the Tory party. As things stand they've probably just ripped it open again.

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Charlie Clark
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Don't frighten me...

He may be related as part of the Gummer-Rees-Mogg dynasty.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Well look on the bright side

If the DUP is involved in the government in any way then I can think we expect problems with the Northern Ireland Assembly. And if May thought her own backbenchers were difficult to manage, she's going to find out what real hardliners are like.

Couldn't have happened to a nice person.

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Intel to Qualcomm and Microsoft: Nice x86 emulation you've got there, shame if it got sued into oblivion

Charlie Clark
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Who bought Transmeta's remains?

I seem to recall, but I could easily be wrong, that Transmeta's approach was vindicated by the courts so presumably anyone who licensed that would be reasonably safe.

But I think there are other established methods of code interception and emulation such as that used by Rosetta in MacOS, that could be employed in software with just some kind of hardware accelerator. For Microsoft the biggest hurdle will be the shitty x86 instruction set, which is out of patent and for which they probably already have a licence. For anything that really requires SSE and similar optimisations where software emulation isn't fast enough recompiling might solve the problem, especially if .NET is being used correctly. But somehow I don't think that video encoders from 2002 are going to be high on the list of must run software.

Intel's defence would be to get an injunction on the sale of devices but there are risks that it would be slapped down or that it would be limited to devices sold in the US. That Qualcom is a major supplier to US Department of Defense could never influence any court, could it?

Microsoft's risk is being shut out of the fast growing mobile market altogether.

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Tech can do a lot, Prime Minister, but it can't save the NHS

Charlie Clark
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Nice article

Unfortunately, I think the conclusion is: we're all fucked. Still could be worse: the US spends far more per person on healthcare than any other G7 country and has below average outcomes.

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Charlie Clark
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Here in Germany you can go straight to a specialist. However, this is considered one of the main reasons why healthcare is so expensive. And also, due to the way things are budgeted here, appointments with specialists for non-private patients quickly become very rare and Germany spends a lot more per person on health than the UK.

On the whole I much prefer the referral by GP approach because a good GP should be able to refer to you the right specialist quickly. Digital records and more powerful practice nurses could also help here but at the end of the more resources: financial, personnel and technological are required. Won't stop the solutionists lobbying for purely virtual solutions though: you can get a free VR consultation which virtually solves your shoulder problem.

For years the Tories have been chanting the mantra of greater efficiency (listening to Yes Minister from the early 1980s is eerily prescient) meaning more can be done with less. But it never can. Outcomes only really improved and waiting lists declined when Labour started spending heavily on health, though they also fell for the dreadful PPI scams.

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Senator blows a fuse as US spies continue lying over spying program

Charlie Clark
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Yes, but it's not discretionary so Congress can't stop it.

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The internet may well be the root cause of today's problems… but not in the way you think

Charlie Clark
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Re: This article proves its own point

They don't seem to have as many terrorist incidents as western countries.

Well, when it's the state doing the terrorising, how do you do the counting?

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Charlie Clark
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Pint

Nice article

Reminder me to buy you one of these if our paths should ever cross. That's if Mother Theresa and Donny Boy haven't locked us up beforehand!

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Ex-MI5 boss: People ask, why didn't you follow all these people ... on your radar?

Charlie Clark
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And add to the list the RAF (the German lot), Italy's Red Brigade and ETA.

The RAF definitely were keen on indiscriminate murder because they felt the whole society was evil, definite parallels with the current lot of extremists, and ETA and the IRA also had their moments. Manchester in 1996 very nearly was a bloodbath, in the end "only" 200 people were injured.

Ideological conflicts often have multiple causes: the Israeli/Palestinian mess is certainly one but the various "regime changes" for oil haven't helped. And, of course, the Americans created their very one by setting up madrasas in Pakistan and supplying guns to the Mujaheddin. But you also get nutters like Breivik who need no reason for reaping havoc.

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Hyperloop One teases idea of 50-minute London-Edinburgh ride

Charlie Clark
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Re: Whatever the technical merits/flaws

@Ledswinger I was referring more specifically to the intercity rail network, which after a dreadful start, is now being reasonably managed. Otherwise, sure, China is full of infrastructure white elephants. But which country doesn't have its fair share of those? Robin Hood or Kassel-Kalden airports perchance?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: It's all well and good...

I cant see the airlocks being an issue at all...

You might be a in minority there. There's a world of difference between maintaining a vacuum in a school lab, lab conditions, and doing the same on an industrial scale in the real world. Look at some of the problems they have to deal with at CERN and that's a tiny installation in comparison.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Whatever the technical merits/flaws

What can you say of their actual use and the return on the investment?

Pretty good and improving all the time since they got the hang of large-scale infrastructure management.

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Charlie Clark
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Tectonically and teutonically stable ?

Afraid not, like most of Northern Europe it is pretty stable but it does also have fault lines and even volcanoes.

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NSA leaker bust gets weirder: Senator claims hacking is wider than leak revealed

Charlie Clark
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Re: A trick that 1984 didn't foresee

The Qataris have been proposing a less hardline against Iran. Arab unity? Yeah, heard about it but yet to see it.

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Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: Liberals - read, try to understand.

hey, dickshit: the last one to claim there was electoral fraud was your locker-room buddy, Donald who claimed "millions" of votes were fraudulent.

The investigations into collusion are, as always, about money and influence: Trump's mate Flynn was on the payroll of the Russians and the Turks and broke the Logan Law.

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