* Posts by Charlie Clark

5381 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Reality strikes Dixons Carphone's profits after laughing off Brexit threat

Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

Re: Not Austerity Then?

I also claim today's prize for the longest sentence.

Maybe but seeing as your capitalised "Austerity" and included a qualifying subclause in your list, you lose two! ;-)

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Blame everybody but us

The pound falling is good news for exporters, but bad news for importers.

The pound has risen against the dollar in the last six months which would make imports less expensive than a year ago. Most inputs for phones for the UK are priced in dollars.

Carphone Warehouse has operations in Europe which should boost earnings in pounds.

The note on the roaming is also complete bullshit: companies have had years to prepare for this and, indeed many companies had got rid of most if not all roaming charges long before this year's deadline. A CEO who is not aware of these developments isn't doing his job properly.

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Charlie Clark
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Blame everybody but us

The referendum was over a year ago and the pound has recovered from it's lowest point against the dollar since then so any effects on prices should have been factored in a while ago. The pound has continued to fall against the Euro but, if anything, this would lead to an increase in revenues outside the UK.

Smartphones hit the innovation ceiling a few years ago. But while refresh cycles have slowed there are still plenty of people happy to pay for new premium models such as the latest I-Phone or Samsung Galaxy, especially if they're on a contract and consider a new phone every two years part of the deal.

So, all in all, nothing new since the last earnings call. Guy obviously needs to learn about getting the bad news out as early as possible so that the next set of earnings look better.

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Expect the Note 8 to break the bank (and your wallet)

Charlie Clark
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It’s like they are shit scared people will think they don’t provide the same quality proposition as Apple.

Put a fucking sock in it: we already know you think only Apple can develop products!

Both Apple and Samsung make extremely high quality products and, as a result, are able to command premium prices. Despite the problems with the Note 7, Samsung still has a loyal customer base for a fairly unique product line and it continues to develop it. On a brief review of the Note 7 on CNN last night the presenter's eyes lit up when the split screen functionality was shown. Combine this with DeX and Samsung definitely does have a very exclusive value proposition. It also leaves room for cut-down versions for aspirational customers with slimmer wallets.

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Seriously, friends. You suck at driving. Get a computer behind the wheel to save your life

Charlie Clark
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Re: People aren't terrible drivers.

I recall reading (dont remember where) these periods of driving are your safest

Sounds almost tautological, doesn't it: drove for an hour and can't remember if anything happened. Says a lot about the brain failing to remain alert during a repetitive activity.

Research has been done into this in the Netherlands dealing with the problem of "polder blindness": drivers unable to recognise corners after driving too long on straight roads. For more information there is a report "Attention problems behind the wheel": https://www.swov.nl/sites/default/files/.../fs_concentration_problems_archived.pdf

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Charlie Clark
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Re: People aren't terrible drivers.

On the whole: people are terrible drivers. Driving requires people to maintain high concentration while doing lots of repetitive tasks, which is something human are simply not very good at.

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Samsung gains ground on smartphones

Charlie Clark
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WTF?

Re: Aggression in emerging markets

You've got a massive chip on your shoulder.

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Charlie Clark
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Numbers?

82,535 units in a quarter? So around 320,000 a year? That's hardly going to pay the bills…

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Sonos will deny updates to those who snub rewritten privacy terms

Charlie Clark
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Re: Farewell Sonos

If you ever have to wire for sound a largish room in a reinforced-concrete building…

I haven't, but neither do I consider that to be the typical use case for Sonos kit, which is targeted squarely at affluent consumers.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Farewell Sonos

If you did own a Sonos I wonder if changing the T&Cs to something you no longer agree with provides a case for you to return the goods for a full refund?

Almost certainly. My guess is that they're reckoning that most people will simply agree. And, unless someone does a test case, then I suspect they'll be proved right.

Never really understood the fuss about networked speakers: Bluetooth has always been sufficient for me.

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Google slaps a suit on beefed up Chrome OS, offers Enterprise version for business

Charlie Clark
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Re: Competition

Where does control lie here? When my user's stuff is in the "cloud" I have no idea where it all is and who has access to it.

A worthwhile concern but I suspect the target market for this includes companies who've already bought into Google Docs & Google Mail for business or Microsoft 365 and are quite happy with someone else hosting their data because it means they don't have to any data centres of their own. For many clerical companies this might seem preferable to running their own kit, as long as it complies with any regulatory requirements.

Personally, while I've no doubt that both Google and Microsoft are able to demonstrate that they can host company data securely. The real risk is whether you will ever be able to get it all back if circumstances change.

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Google's Android 8.0 Oreo has been served

Charlie Clark
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Re: Google Need Them To

This may well have basis in the Server Base System Architecture: an ACPI-like system being developed as ARM progresses into the server market.

It's almost certain that the chips are all close enough to some kind of reference design from ARM because it's too difficult to customise it; there are still only a handful of designers of phone SoCs. There might still be problems with custom drivers, but given how well things like LineageOS cope with the relevant blobs, this shouldn't be too much of a problem when it comes to running an upgrade, though it's possible that some apps might no longer work. That could lead to some interesting battles: "Google broke our camera app with a security update…" but I suspect most manufacturers that care will be pleased to see Google taking the lead here.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Yeah, right

@wolfetone it looks like only the Swift and the Storm have official builds of LineageOS 14 (the replacement for CM). If this is the case then there is either no maintainer (unlikely in the case of Wileyfox), or there are significant problems with the hardware. If it is the hardware then it must be something pretty odd considering that things like the Samsung SII is officially supported.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Google Need Them To

Google has to tread VERY carefully if they think to start upgrading directly without carrier/OEM involvement!

Not really. They've been pushing abstraction for a few years now and this will probably restrict Android 8 to configurations they can manage. After all we're only talking about officially licensed versions of Android, not the heap of stuff based on AOSP coming out of China.

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Charlie Clark
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Headmaster

Re: Google Need Them To

then Google can update literally everything

Ah, but what can they practically update?

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Who needs 5G? Qualcomm, Ericsson and Verizon hit 1Gbps with LTE gear

Charlie Clark
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5G is a marketing label only

LTE didn't get the name by chance. AFAIK there are no plans to include anything radical in 5G, if it ever arrives. It's just a label to be used by marketing departments and will largely be defined by bandwidth, using the current combination of technologies to boost headline speeds as long as you're in lab conditions.

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The sky is blue, water is wet and UK PC shipments are down

Charlie Clark
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Re: re: the sky is blue etc

ECB austerity policy is a more likely cause.

Oh that's a good one! € 60 * 10^9 pumped into the economy every month for a couple of years isn't austerity. Furthermore, the ECB is responsible for monetary but not fiscal policy, which is where you'll find any austerity if there's any to be had. However, most of that money has gone into buying government bonds which has allowed most Euro-zone governments to have more expansionary fiscal policy. Which is why the German constitutional court considers the ECB's actions to be outside of its mandate.

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Qualcomm moved its Snapdragon designers to its ARM server chip. We peek at the results

Charlie Clark
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Re: There's little risk in dropping Kyro

Sorry to be picky but you're comment about ARM vs Intel holds just as true for ARM vs Apple: tweaking performance of the ARM designs doesn't make much difference to overall performance. Where Apple still has an undeniable lead is in the GPUs and in the custom hardware that the ARM design encourages.

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What weighs 800kg and runs Windows XP? How to buy an ATM for fun and profit

Charlie Clark
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Re: Is anyone surprised.

Any device that can be access without 2FA should have its insurance cover revoked.

Of course, as modern devices have got more secure the crooks have gone low tech and now just blow them open. Hence, the banks none too subtle attempts to put people off cash. Because contactless payment systems can't be hacked…

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Charlie Clark
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Happy

Re: What weighs 800kg and runs Windows XP?

But she's totally cool with running XP?

Ever since she got a machine with Windows 8 on it!

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US cops point at cell towers and say: Give us every phone number that's touched that mast

Charlie Clark
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Re: The only good thing you can say about this

What kind of judge would need to rubber stamp these kind of requests? An appointed one or one who might occasionally need to stand for re-election?

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Charlie Clark
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The point is that these requests cannot be related to individual events but only as part of surveillance and profiling of everyone in the area.

I'm neither American nor a lawyer but I think it is an attempt to work around the restriction on mass surveillance of US citizens. Of course, the NSA probably already has a direct feed because why should they waste time getting warrants?

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UK.gov is hiring IT bods with skills in ... Windows Vista?!

Charlie Clark
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I'm okay with all the versions of Windows…

… but Milton fucking Keynes? No fucking way!

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The future of Python: Concurrency devoured, Node.js next on menu

Charlie Clark
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With some trepidation, I must inform you that serverside javascript is already popular.

Ain't it just? And just waiting for all those gotchas we'd thought we'd ironed out of other "stacks" to come back with avengeance!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Python 3 split over?

I don't know about you, because you probably never had to touch foreign words or names at all

Seeing as I live in Germany I have to do it a lot…

I understand the difference between bytes and strings just fine but it wasn't until u"" was restored in Python 3.3 that porting from 2 to 3 felt less like shooting yourself in the foot. Keeping the literal around wouldn't have cost anything and would have kept a lot of goodwill and would undoubtedly have brought the ports of many projects forward.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Python 3 split over?

Python3 made just enough breaking changes to annoying programmers, without fixing major design flaws.

While it's arguable that Python 3 did actually fix some (but not all) design flaws, doing so brought some unnecessary incompatibility (unicode) and and a considerable performance cost. However, since Python 3.5 performance is generally on a par with Python 2 and asyncio does offer new opportunities.

Some systems will stick with Python 2 for as long as possible because they just work and the costs associated with migration far outweigh the benefits. But this is true of many systems and why virtualisation is so important.

But for the last few years lots of projects have added Python 3 support and new ones are written exclusively for it. This means that newer programmers rarely face any problems.

There are lessons to be learned from 2/3 and we can only hope that future changes in the language are handled with a greater understanding for the maintenance of existing libraries and applications. I think that the shift to time-based releases under Larry Hastings is evidence of this.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: RIP GIL

You only need to remove the GIL for better parallelism (on multiple cores), asyncio does the job for concurrency. Of course, now that multicore environments are becoming ubiquitous, the need to use them effectively is increasing but processor locking has always had advantages.

Larry Hastings gave an excellent talk last year on his attempts and progress on removing the GIL.

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Charlie Clark
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I do use language X, but I still find it very silly that they refuse to implement a Y statement

Pretty much true of all programming languages. I write a lot of Python code and find dispatching much preferable to the SWITCH statement.

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Batteries that don't burn at the drop of a Galaxy Note 7? We're listening

Charlie Clark
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Re: The inventor of Li-ion batteries already has the replacement ready

Wrong. Adding weight is the kiss of death to batteries if they are going to be used for transport.

Not for motor vehicles, apart from perhaps Formula 1. All the weight that has been saved due to using aluminium in the chassis and engine has been replaced by safety features and creature comforts. Then there are increasingly fat fuckers actually sitting in the car.

Energy density is critical to battery powered cars but this has more to do with how much space is available. For the current crop of vehicles the extra weight has been more than compensated for by incremental improvements in energy density. For the vast majority of journeys range is now more than good enough: charging is the bottle neck.

Haulage might be another thing altogether but the combination of an electric drive train and driverless vehicles could be compelling for a lot of freight journeys.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: The inventor of Li-ion batteries already has the replacement ready

Will it still be 5-10 years away from mainstream use in 5-10 years time, like so many bits of magical technology...?Will it still be 5-10 years away from mainstream use in 5-10 years time, like so many bits of magical technology...?

Well, you might think so. But the market for batteries is about to get a whole lot bigger. It's expected that this year on next the installed capacity for cars will overtake the installed capacity for all other devices since Li-Ion batteries were invented.

This is a big deal. While we might think that the electronics market is big, the car industry is huge and batteries are more important to cars than they are, say, to phone makers. The amount spent on battery technology is about to go through the roof (government subsidies will no doubt also be available). This will allow for both gradual improvements and new approaches. FWIW improving fire resistance for Li-Ion is already possible. It adds a bit of weight but this isn't a problem for car batteries.

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Charlie Clark
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Facepalm

Re: Lithium batteries are last century's technology

This is especially more pertinent when we are at the cusp of VR/AR technology becoming mainstream.

Oh goody! Do wake me when it happens.

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HBO Game Of Thrones leak: Four 'techies' arrested in India

Charlie Clark
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Re: I might watch it sometime

TBH I think the pricing on Google / Amazon at around € 20 for a series is reasonable, presumably less if you have some kind of streaming deal. But you should definitely try before you buy to see whether you like it.

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How are you feeling today? Don't tell us, save for it this handy emotion-detection code

Charlie Clark
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Coat

Surely something for Simon?

I shudder to imagine what the BOFH will do when the boss suggests using this service…

Mine's the one with the a copy of "Give me a free pint or I'll brick your phone" in the pocket.

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HP Inc vows: We're not walking away from Continuum

Charlie Clark
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I can connect my S5 to any HDMI device for the big screen but on devices that I support it, I can also just use Miracast, which routes the video directly to the screen.

I use Bluetooth to drive my soundbar from my phone or use Kore to run Kodi. None of these activities are what Continuum is about but they're ubiquitous, which is why they work.

It will be interesting to see if Samsung continues to push DeX with things like the next Samsung Note.

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Google paying Apple BEEELLIONS to stay search top dog on iDevices, say analysts

Charlie Clark
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Re: Just goes to show ...

Why would Apple want to give up this revenue stream: they're obviously happy with the situation. And it's not as if user choice ever mattered to Apple: want a different browser? Tough.

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Vodafone customers moan about sluggish data abroad

Charlie Clark
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Re: Not my experience

excellent performance from Vodafone' - I think that's the first time I've ever seen those words put together in that order.

It surprised me too — I'm not fan of them — but maybe it's because it was Vodafone Germany roaming on SFR?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Not my experience

I was recently in France myself. I have a German white label provider (not Vodafone) and performance was very, very patchy but seemed very much like a case of the local provide doing or throttling or even not even allowing data. My girlfriend has German Vodafone and she had a much better data connection.

I guess we'll have to wait and see how the various networks manage this and whether anybody can be bothered monitoring them to make sure customers get reasonable service. I can personally understand a certain degree of traffic management on host networks — they have an incentive to prioritise their own customers over perceived freeloaders — but it should work both ways.

My provider still sends me text messages telling me data will cost even though it has managed to update the price schedule confirming that data abroad will be free as it is at home.

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Commentard Quizwall experiment ends with more quizzing than commenting

Charlie Clark
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Can I be the first to express my anger that Norway are building a quiz wall, what we need in the current climate is less walls.

You eco-socialists seem to blame climate change for everything!

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Charlie Clark
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Trollface

Re: Quiz answers

Oh yes, there we have the mainstream media trying to brainwash us again! The correct answer to the last question according to Sergeant Detritus is "lots"!

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Raising minimum wage will raise something else: An army of robots taking away folks' jobs

Charlie Clark
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For a good discussion of the effects of minimum wages I can recommend this recent article in the The Economist which covered the subject quite well. Minimum wages are neither a panacea nor a job killer; they can act to correct perceived market failure: if people cannot live from their wages then some kind of subsidy is usually forthcoming. But if they are pushed too high then they will inhibit economic activity.

But with regards to automation minimum wages really are a side issue. Capitalism favours rationalised production lines wherever possible with competition encouraging either lower wages or automation of the lowest-skilled, most repetitive jobs.

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Blighty’s beloved Big Ben bell ends, may break Brexit bargain

Charlie Clark
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Slow news day?

For The Express at least has given us all a laugh. Nice set of puns (from both sides of the the referendum argument).

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Old Firefox add-ons get 'dead man walking' call

Charlie Clark
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Are you under the impression that NPAPI on Firefox doesn't have a sandbox?

No, but because it's in the same process, if it crashes it can bring the browser down with it. Also, as any fule noes: sandboxes are not infallible.

Anyway, this really is old news. Mozilla announced years ago it was going to make the switch and also explained why. Wish they'd done more with some of the stupid UI changes they made and it's nice to see that they're finally getting round to supporting WebP.

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Charlie Clark
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Stop

You might like to come out from under your rock a bit more often. While the Firefox developers have been guilty of chasing unicorns from time to time, the discussion about plugin architecture wasn't one of the rainbows. It's hardly surprising that an architecture designed rather hastily in the 1990s should later to be shown to be insecure. Still it's a testament to developers of the time that it "worked" as a well as it did for as long as it did. But the combination of NPAPI and the power given to the runtimes (essentially black boxes) through it, that made it such a powerful attack vector.

Google did a lot of research on NPAPI before proposing a replacement which was generally welcomed by other developers. And the whole browser developer community has put a lot of effort into developing standards so that fewer plugins are required for things like video conferencing.

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Surfacegate: Microsoft execs 'misled Nadella', claims report

Charlie Clark
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Re: I would guess MS is to blame

Could it just be that Intel's documentation was wrong?

Highly unlikely: for years (since the Pentium 4, I think) Intel has had hardware thermal cutouts built into its chips because, as a hardware manufacturer, Intel understands the costs of product recall, both of having to provide replacement equipment and in regaining trust. Intel also regularly provides well-documented reference boards.

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Google and its terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week in full

Charlie Clark
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Facepalm

Re: "why Blacks are such fast runners?"

Probably due to eugenics as a side effect of the slave trade.

Congratulations, you seem to have a staggering ignorance of: genetics, Africa, the slave trade and statistics, which is what the point was made about.

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Ancient IETF 'teapot' gag preserved for posterity as a standard

Charlie Clark
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How else will we ever build an infinite improbability drive?

Kudos to all involved for looking at this and deciding to keep it. Even if it is just about an Easter Egg in the specification, it also says something about not changing stuff just because we can.

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Kalanick stations! Ex-Uber CEO sued for fraud by soured sugar daddy

Charlie Clark
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Arrogant, venal capitalists lose patience with arrogant venal capitalist.

Pot: meet kettle.

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At last! Vivaldi lets you kill looping GIFs

Charlie Clark
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Re: I tried Vivaldi once...

That hasn't been a problem for at least a year: extensions can simply be installed from the webstore. I have Ghostery and Signal running all the time.

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Charlie Clark
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While the Vivaldi team do seem to focus on lots of next door's low-hanging fruit, they do deserve praise for sticking at it and for the investors for showing the faith. It is still missing some stuff we took for granted with Opera but they are keeping up to date with security patches.

The ominous silence over the promised mail client is what worries me most.

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Uber bros kill car leasing program after losing nine grand per vehicle

Charlie Clark
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Re: Thought to be?

In other words: this isn't the reason you are looking for. Leased car == benefits in kind

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