* Posts by Charlie Clark

4954 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

'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

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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Charlie Clark
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Pint

The moral of the story?

Be nice to your BOFH! Buy them a pint, a packet of pork scratchings, heed the "do not disturb" signs, buy them something nice on sys admin day…

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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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Charlie Clark
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Re: Giving it a try

Now do a comparison with WebP…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Research is good

The money the server saves has to be balanced by users' reactions when they find their mobile phone battery depletes more quickly.

JPEG, like most codecs, is asymmetric: it requires more work to encode rather decode. The paper notes that currently the codec is too slow to encode to be used in production. Not that bitmap decoding is particularly onerous or relevant for battery use: lighting the screen to display the image is almost certainly harder on the battery.

Hardware acceleration is always possible but unlikely here: JPEG has other problems inherent in the way it works which is why there are several formats vying to replace it. Of these, Webp is derived from video codecs for which there is already hardware acceleration. Webp already compares favourably with JPEG in time/quality tests.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: webp

Actually Firefox went ahead with webp implementation

Thanks for the heads up. Apple apparently also tried it last year only to remove it from the final release.

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Charlie Clark
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Research is good

Sounds like an attempt to backport some of the optimisations used in WebP to the older format. Google definitely favours WebP for images as it is a single format that does both lossy and lossless compression well and supports alpha channels. Unfortunately, there are still holdouts against WebP: Apple and Microsoft unsurprisingly but disappointingly also Firefox, though it supports the parent WebM format.

As for economies: I think Facebook did the numbers about the money it saves by compressing images as much as it does and it's more than you think.

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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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Charlie Clark
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Move along nothing to see

A serious cockup at the Chocolate Factory caused an over-the-air (OTA) downgrade to people who had side-loaded Android 7.1.1, dropping them back to Android 7.0 and sending their phones into meltdown.

Anyone who sideloads an OS onto their phone should be familiar with the risk of potential data loss especially when they okay the downgrade.

Want Android 7.1 on a Nexus 6? Go with LineagesOS

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Microsoft kills Windows Vista on April 11: No security patches, no hot fixes, no support, nada

Charlie Clark
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Re: Options?

You should be able to buy a valid licence for Windows 7 somewhere – use that. It's faster than Vista anyway and you need your accounting software.

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NetBSD adds RPi Zero support with 7.1 release

Charlie Clark
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Re: Variety of reasons

@Voland

And, 4. NetBSD's special trick: build for all platforms from a single source tree.

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Sources: Liberty Global, Vodafone take seats at negotiating table AGAIN

Charlie Clark
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It goes round and round

Back in 2000 when Vodafone bought Mannesmann their argument was a mobile only strategy had more value, while Mannesmann was one of the first to argue for the combined service option. Many years and significant write-downs by shareholders (and taxpayers) later they seem to be coming round. Mind you, back then Calao was head of Mannesmann's Italian subsidiary, Omnitel.

Also worth noting that once the UK leaves the EU, there is probably not much to be gained by trying to be a pan-European telco so we might see more of this kind of deal with the European business being managed from the continent. But, hey, UK customers will no longer be disadvantaged by not having to pay ridiculous roaming charges when travelling: what's not to like?

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Germany to Facebook, Twitter: We are *this* close to fining you €50m unless you delete fake news within 24 hours

Charlie Clark
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Re: Hasn't history taught us to think twice before appeases the Germans?

Second point, define obvious.

An example cited was that the German government issued a travel warning for Sweden which never happened.

I'm no fan of censorship but I understand the German legal and constitutional position on propaganda and hate speech and the law seems to fall within those bounds. It should also be noted that there are robust provisions for freedom of speech in general and satire in particular.

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UK to block Kodi pirates in real-time: Saturday kick-off

Charlie Clark
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"incentivised"

Andrew, really? ;-)

I think this may end up being a pyrrhic victory. Confidential parts for court rulings are not something you want to see very often. Time for an FoI request, methinks.

But this just a game of whack-a-mole. Until I read an article about it I had never thought of using Kodi for streaming stuff: together with a Pi it makes a great little media server for my TV so that I'm not at the vagaries of the manufacturer for software updates, codec support, etc. Now a lot more people know about it. I haven't streamed football matches for many years – I found I had better things to do with my afternoons – but I remember that even then there were other options such as getting the streams from different satellite signals and would expect these to become popular alternatives again.

As for blocking: well this might the be the step that encourages the mass adoption of IPv6 as I reckon trying to block anything based on that could turn out to be rather hard.

But at the end of the day: there is a risk of pricing themselves out of business. If things become too difficult and or too expensive, people may end up deciding it isn't worth it, even for something as emotionally charged as football is for many people. FCUM

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Tech titan pals back up Google after 'foreign server data' FBI warrant ruling

Charlie Clark
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Re: Turnabout

The US routinely spurns the principle of reciprocity, see how it handles requests about tax evasion.

But I don't really see Russia or China doing something like this except for propaganda: they have no concept of due process and probably have other ways of getting the information they want, which probably one of the reasons that services like Telegram are popular in Russia: if the stuff is properly encrypted then there's not much point in trying to get hold of it.

But for somewhere like the EU: pushing too hard on something like this is a sure way to get the new fig leaf called "privacy shield" declared insufficient. The FBI should follow due process and get a warrant in the country of the relevant jurisdiction, shouldn't be too hard if they have anything like reasonable grounds for suspicion.

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Today's WWW is built on pillars of sand: Buggy, exploitable JavaScript libs are everywhere

Charlie Clark
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Re: Backwards compatiblity

You sound absolutely butt-devastated over my internet typo.

Nope, just mildly amused by your lack of erudition and subsequent defensiveness. Why not go with end-of-life in the first place?

FWIW for my clients I advocate such a policy for all web site development. But I also see, as do others what the real world throws up: IE9 is indeed still popular in China. Furthermore, while it's a good start to use the most recent stable versions of libraries. this doesn't obviate the need for objective security reviews and tests. And as developers we all need to ask ourselves: do we really need this library?

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Charlie Clark
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I have to disagree on this: website owners are at fault for not budgeting and contracting for maintenance. This favours cut-throat cowboys over anyone with a proper support policy.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Backwards compatiblity

Please lookup depreciate and deprecate.

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Can you ethically suggest a woman pursue a career in tech?

Charlie Clark
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Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

Perpetuated the stereotype that women are the "home makers" and men are the "bread winners".

That's a side-effect of the lack of childcare. Seeing as women who have children will have to take time off work at least to give birth, failing to provide childcare is what needs fixing. Otherwise, there are lots of reasons why women generally prefer the non-technical trades.

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Charlie Clark
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This isn't the problem you're looking for

The gender split in any particular area of employment is not of itself a problem, whether it's women in tech or men in education or nursing.

Equal opportunity and equal pay are far more important and to achieve both the most important thing is to improve childcare: women who have to take a lot of time off work to have and raise children will always be at a disadvantage in the workforce, others will go without children for a better career. Guess what, both choices will perpetuate the status quo. Improve childcare so that pregnancy and children become less of an issue and labour participation rates for women improve everywhere, as Scandinavia demonstrates. But leave it up to the girls and boys to choose for themselves what they want to study and do.

And while you're at it: look at fixing education for under-achieving boys so that have more employment choices than being janitors or security guards. The disaffected male masses of the developed world didn't come out of nowhere.

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Charlie Clark
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There's app for that

More fucking conscience-washing tokenism from Yanks. Maybe <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtlxIcN_tAM>this</a> would help.

Equal opportunities and equal pay for equal work are important. Hand-wringing bullshit like this article will do nothing to bring it about and can even be counter-productive because they're so obviously tokenist.

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BBC hooks up with ITV, launches long awaited US subscription VoD

Charlie Clark
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Re: Proof read your articles

Yes, but I'll take the named author from Faultline typo's over the usual stream-of-consciousness buzzword bullshit they normally churn out.

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Charlie Clark
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No – you get a small selection on the TV content and you can only access it via the internet, basically what you can already get on BBC America.

The licence fee covers all the local (radio and tv) content including all the boring stuff that only interests a few people and the a large part of the free-to-air infrastructure. The main argument, Lord Reith's famous edict to "inform, educate and entertain", behind public service broadcasting is that it is one of the best ways to avoid the echo chamber of people only hearing more of what they think they know.

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Favored Swift hits the charts: Now in top 10 programming languages

Charlie Clark
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WTF?

What's the point of this article?

I mean I read it and go: it's another fucking language beauty cost and the author seems to like Swift. Apple liked Swift so much they dumped it on the open source community.

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Germany to roll out €100bn gigabit internet network

Charlie Clark
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Re: The €100bn project

Would you really be happy to see UK Gov increase your local taxes by £2400 to pay for that?

Well, seeing as I live in Germany it's happening anyway. However, we should correct your assumptions:

  • it's not an annual increase
  • and it's not just being paid for by households.

Governments raise money via taxation to pay for infrastructure, whether it's roads, railways, airports or communication networks. For capital intensive projects sometimes government is the only who will do this. Such investments are supposed to "pay for themselves" over time. Well, at least we have some examples as to what happens when they don't do this: road bridges in America not being repaired because the federal road repair tax hasn't been enough. Over time this increases costs to the economy and hence households.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: oooo

There is an awful lot more of rural France (similar populations but France is much bigger) than there is of rural Britain but the places I know (and some of them are pretty rural) generally have at least 5 - 10 MB ADSL because around 10 years ago the government decided it had to be done

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Charlie Clark
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Re: The €100bn project

We've already spent similar sums on similar projects (Köln-Frankfurt, etc.). One advantage was developing exportable technology: the newest trains have lovely linear motors and energy capturing systems (and toilets and air conditioning that regularly fail). Apart from the occasional howler (Berlin's airport is getting more Italian every year and will probably never be finished) and the inevitable cost overruns, Germany spends lots on new infrastructure. It's not necessarily so hot on maintenance. But at least the Germans are prepared to spend money on things, the Brits just always try and do things on the cheap: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8dB4YnLSsE

Anyway, I'll accept bids for anyone to take that smug Bavarian Dobrindt out, or off our hands. He'd be great in a double-act with BoJo.

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Brit ISP TalkTalk blocks control tool TeamViewer

Charlie Clark
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Re: VPN?

and another thumb down....interesting....come on, tell me why?

Have a downvote for giving a shit about downvotes.

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Windows Server ported to Qualcomm's ARM server chip. Repeat, Windows Server ported to ARM server chip

Charlie Clark
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Re: pretty pictures

Nor do I see any PCI slots.

What do you want those in an OCP box for?

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The good times are over, Peter Thiel tells Silicon Valley's oligarchs

Charlie Clark
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the internet to actually fragment and not to have this historical necessity to it.

Not really, if it fragments it stops being the internet. What is it with these people and money that turns them into pop (or should it be pot?) philosophers? I suspect it's one of the side effects of living in the VC echo chamber; the inverse of the aphorism: if you're so clever, how come you're not rich?

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