* Posts by Charlie Clark

5754 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Pixel 2 tinkerers force Google's hand: Secret custom silicon found

Charlie Clark
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Re: @AC

so if they did collect your personal information

So, Siri and Maps don't harvest?

Apple might not be in quite the same league yet as Google, but there's no doubt it would like to be able to monetise all that customer data it collects.

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Charlie Clark
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I agree with Andrew that we're unlikely to see Google suddenly becoming a major new chip designer and maker. This kind of development is fully in line with the shift from the x86-based industry standard architecture, which meant you got whatever Intel decided you should have. The ARM world is all about core + customisation.

Google will no doubt continue to focus chip development in the server area where this can bring competitive advantage. I can imagine this leading to codec and AI silicon designs for mobile, if these means better use of Google services: hardware support for VP9 means keeping licensing costs at zero and the AI play is self-evident. And, of course, to make things even more interesting: Google has a habit of open sourcing stuff it's developed but does not plan to exploit commercially. As with the codec stuff and back with map/reduce, making this stuff publicly available can help contain costs.

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Tell the public how much our tram tickets cost? Are you mad?

Charlie Clark
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It also required a GPS signal and data link when you tapped in or out at the start/end of the journey.

This is what is so infuriating about many public transport systems: the illusion that the ticket price should be related to the length of the journey. Doing this dramatically increases the complexity and attendant bureaucracy with little advantage for the system except political expediency of those who rarely use the system. Costs are driven by providing a universal service including to out of the way places at unsocial hours, benefits are less idiots in cars…

Most PTEs (public transport executives) in Germany and elsewhere steer well away from such nonsense and generally offer, simple zonal tickets with huge incentives to buy a season ticket for the area where you live. If you can get > 50% on season tickets you can rely on occasional spot checks to remind people that paying something towards public transport isn't such a bad idea.

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Charlie Clark
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That's as maybe but TfGM is a public body. Whatever, it's a mockery of FoI when bodies get to decide what they release or not.

I only use the tram occasionally when I'm over but I've found it to be a lot more reliable since the second city crossing was introduced. Now what they need to is reroute from Piccadilly Gardens along London Road instead of the slow slalom via Aytoun St…

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MongoDB shoots for $220m in IPO, values NoSQL biz at $1.2bn

Charlie Clark
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Re: Don't buy

I've had a play with Spark and I like it a lot. I do have the problem that most data that we play with happily fits in RAM on a single machine* though!

Slightly confused by this because as long as your data fits into RAM you shouldn't have any problems. Both SparkQL and Google's Big Query have acknowledged, that despite its many problems, there are huge advantages in a standard query language. I guess the main difference between NoSQL and relational is whether you want or need persistent indices. NoSQL kind of implies extremely that your data is transitory so it's hardly worth indexing.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Don't buy

@Korev it depends an awful lot on what you want: time series, documents, etc. NoSQL stuff should really be thought of as some form of denormalised data store that is particularly suitable for particular use cases or queries, where the flexibility of the relational model is less appreciated and you have very large (> 100 GB) datasets you want to play with. There are specialised DBs for things like time series (logs can get big quickly) but HDFS (Hadoop) with Apache Spark is a reasonable place to start to get a feel for the area.

But it's also worth pointing out how useful something like Binary JSON for Postgresql is as an add-on to an existing project.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: "The relational database era is passing…"

That one never gets old, except MySQL… yuck! ;-)

Anyway, I've said it before a $1.2 bn valuation sounds very much like a pump and dump fire sale. No doubt my bank and pension funds are scrambling to get their piece of the action. :-(

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Charlie Clark
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"The relational database era is passing…"

Yes, because mathematically demonstrable advantages are no longer important!

This should be a red flag to anyone to avoid this company with a barge pole.

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GE goes with Apple: Not the Transformation you were looking for, Satya?

Charlie Clark
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Re: "Nadella was right to pull it"

Let's see - it could turn out to have been one of the worst mistakes MS ever did.

That's never going to be provable, but I suspect your opinion is in the majority. MS has repeatedly underestimated markets and entered them too late: the internet itself and, of course, mobile. Yes, it was a player with Windows CE, but like so many other projects, it failed to devote sufficient resources or provide a clear strategy which led to Windows Mobile 6, 7, 8 and 10. Along the way various manufacturers demonstrated that you could make good hardware for the various systems but MS always seemed keener in simply trying to kill the competition than working with others.

Providing software only has worked well enough for Google and might have worked for Microsoft had they not repeatedly stiffed both manufacturers and developers. You rightly point out that OS/2 failed largely because there was no native OS/2 software. IBM looked at this and decided it wasn't worth the necessary investment because it could make more money doing other things. I wish they had pursued OS/2 but I understand why they didn't. And I think it's largely the same MS with Nadella. He gave Windows Mobile a stay of execution, saw it wasn't improved it and pulled it. It's his job to make calls like that.

If only Microsoft had made an earlier play for MS Office on IOS and Android it would have established itself more firmly as software developer and services provider.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Maybe Satan Nadella will reflect on his decision to kill Lumias...

MS' purchase of the phone division of Nokia was a bad commercial decision and Nadella was right to pull it. MS entered the market too late with an unfinished product. It then found it could make more money on mobile by selling MS Office to IOS and Android users. In a similar way it's found that it can sell Azure to Linux shops.

This is similar to the lesson that Lou Gerstner learned when he stopped development on on OS/2. It was technically superior in almost every respect to Windows but it was mainly used to run Windows software. A bitter but understandable decision for all fans of OS/2.

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Charlie Clark
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But back then the software argument was all in Windows favour. The shift of lots of stuff to web-based interfaces and Microsoft's own excellent work on Office for Mac has more or less ended that argument. And Microsoft's licensing gets expensive, fast. The un*x desktop won't cut it for a lot of people.

Of course, it would be just as dumb for anyone to go down the "only Apple" route…

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Google faces $10k-a-day fines if it defies court order to hand over folks' private overseas email

Charlie Clark
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I think, as is often the case, the fines are not actually being paid pending the appeal. All Google needs to do is to demonstrate its ability to be able to pay the accumulated fines, or, failing that, put the money in escrow.

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Breakfast at Jeffrey's: UK CEO admits Voda 'slightly lost its mojo'

Charlie Clark
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Re: On The Other Hand...

I'd agree inasmuch as FTTP is not a particularly appealing investment for providers. This is why in many countries the "state" tends to do this and charge for it. But this in itself would be a good argument for splitting OpenReach off from BT completely.

You can still use the market to get some idea of where demand is strongest to prioritise roll out and best working with councils to synchronise with any other maintenance or utility work to minimise disruption, maximise road service repairs. Well, one can dream…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Dear Vodafone WTF

£9 a month just for streaming?

Sounds like they're copying T-Mobile USA's deal which is "unlimited" streaming for many services but at lower resolution. Video eats bandwidth with an hour at 1080p being needing around 4.5 MB/s* for streaming versus < 1 MB/s 480k, ie. you can serve more people on the same cell. For a lot of people streaming video is what mostly what they want an internet connection for.

* These are very much beer mat calculations which I'm happy to have corrected.

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You're doing open source wrong, Microsoft tsk-tsk-tsks at Google: Chrome security fixes made public too early

Charlie Clark
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I'm not even convinced that access to the source code or commit log really make that much difference anymore. Spooks, et al. now have advanced techniques for diffing binaries and running them in an environment where that can trace what effect the changes have and I suspect these are also the tools of choice when it comes to finding exploits in the first place: even highly automated static code analysis only gets you so far.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: This is a real issue ...

Relying on innocuous commit messages sounds optimistic but might your only option if you really need to provide public release candidates.

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Charlie Clark
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Meh

In this case Google got the process slightly wrong. You can compare this with how it deals with CVE issues which are kept private until the updated working code is released. I'd expect Google to be better on this next time but really there isn't much to see.

When it comes to security patches fixing the code as soon as possible is priority. You must assume that if Microsoft has been able to discover the flaw, then the NSA and others will have been as well. Then there's distribution: Google made it possible for Chrome to update itself very early on because it knows that many people don't always know how to deal with requests to update software. Even so, corporates and distros, and in this case, possibly Android is affected through WebView. But the inability of others to supply their customers with the patched software should never be an excuse for holding back a release. And even if they released the binaries without publicly visible changes to source code or issue tracker, then black hats would probably be able to detect the changes quickly.

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Yes, British F-35 engines must be sent to Turkey for overhaul

Charlie Clark
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Re: Making life easier - for an adversary

A little history: in the Falklands War the Argentine airforce flew French planes armed with French missiles. However, they had neither nor the licence nor the know-how to repair stuff or make new ones and the French government refused to supply them. So, yes, battlefield capability depends upon logistics.

In practice, some kind of resource pooling for modern weapons is essential because of their complexity and price. This one of the reasons behind the proposed "European Defence Force" and even the aircraft carriers being shared by the UK and France and some NATO initiatives. Turkey makes sense for some stuff if the job is bombing somewhere in the Middle East. But, as the recent spat between Germany and Turkey over the AWACS stationed there has shown, you can very quickly lose access: Germany has since moved the AWACS planes to Jordan because the Turkish repeatedly denied MPs access to the base. Obviously, something like this would never happen to the UK…

But more fundamentally, does the UK really need the F35s that it can neither afford nor maintain?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Total cost ...

Haven't you heard? The EU is going to pay for the UK's hospitals from now on.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: DoD Contracting

Yes, because the US Department of Defense itself has a positively stellar record when it comes to getting value for money in procurement… aka as Augustine's Laws

If you want competitive prices then you need multiple suppliers. Also multiple purchasers help establish the market price.

As for servicing: in a country in a customs union you're planning to leave?

Might as well admit: these are US planes that the UK is planning to lease.

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Samsung to let proper Linux distros run on Galaxy smartmobes

Charlie Clark
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Re: Nothing new..

I think the DeX stuff just makes the whole thing a lot easier to work because there is proper hardware support. But I suspect we should reserve judgement until it's actually available.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Wine?

Just think of it as a docking station: less shit to carry around.

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Microsoft exec says ARM-powered Windows laptops have multi-day battery life

Charlie Clark
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Re: Windows 10 on Arm?

I think sometimes CPU designers get the wrong interpretation of 'low power'.

Or, maybe it's you? There is a always direct correlation between # CPU instructions and electrical power.

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Linux kernel community tries to castrate GPL copyright troll

Charlie Clark
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Re: I'm confused

Secondly, the purpose of the GPL is to encourage sharing of source code

Nah, the purpose is to transfer rights to the FSF under the guise of encouraging the sharing of code. In fact, the threat of possible litigation pushes some people and company away from GPL projects.

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Ex-TalkTalk chief grilled by MPs on suitability to chair NHS Improvement

Charlie Clark
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Re: Plus ça change...

It's another inspiring example of taking back control! It just might disappoint some as to who's doing all the taking…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: All aboard the gravy train…

I may understand the sentiment, but I think it is a bit much talking about burning an effagy of someone for incompetance.Or poor spelling ;-)

You seem to be ignoring several hundred years of tradition that does exactly that. There's also a point to be made for precisely burning effigies and shifting to conflict to the realm of the symbolic.

Mind we're a bit spoilt for choice this year: Treesare, Bojo, the 18th Century Papist throwback aka Rees-Mogg; Jezzer; etc.

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Charlie Clark
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All aboard the gravy train…

Harding's mistake was not just in the crisis management (early communication of the breach is good but then leave it to the professionals), but in allowing the data breach to take place in the first place by not giving a fuck about data security.

Nice to see that's she's being suitably punished…

Hm, not long till Bonfire Night: Penny for the GuyDido?

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So the 'Year of Linux' never happened. When is it Chrome OS's turn?

Charlie Clark
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Purchase price isn't everything…

Google hopes those $200 Chromebooks serve as a gateway drug.

I doubt this very much: it's standard market segmentation. Low-end Chromebooks are cheap for a reason: you can't do much with them. This is fine for a reasonable number of people who are used to Google Mail, Google Docs and anything else you can do in a browser. Mind you, saying such machines are running Linux might be technically correct, but the user's runtime is essentially the browser: they're experience wouldn't be that much different if they OS was Windows. But the low prices also mean low margins which usually means poor support and little incentive for improvements from the makers or upgrades by the customers. I expect this market to continue to lose share to purely mobile devices.

The enterprise market is an entirely different beast where the costs for training, support and maintenance often outweigh the purchase price. The post-PC market is still deciding what it wants here but for many it will be Citrix or maybe a Chromebook. I've now idea whether these devices will be successful but they will be compared with like-for-like for mobility, screen, etc. The prospect of being able to run from a vast selection of Android apps could be very appealing to some sectors. Not for me personally, because I need more than just a browser. But you can see where the market's going.

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Russia tweaks Telegram with tiny fine for decryption denial

Charlie Clark
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Re: But..

At least it went to court in Russia: the US spooks want to have access to the keys without even having involve the courts.

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Grant Shapps of coup shame fame stands by 'broadbad' research

Charlie Clark
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Unhappy

Re: Coup shame fame?

"borrow, fritter, borrow, fritter, borrow fritter".

They had to come up with something new after there was nothing left to privatise: government spending has been inexorably upward since the 1980s but Maggie was good at hiding it with privatisation and North Sea oil.

But ever since the BoE, along with the other central banks, discovered they could seemingly monetise government debt with impunity. governments think they've found another unlimited source of cash. That is until all insurance-based products, such as pensions start to fail…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Coup shame fame?

re. cunning plan

I like the idea. People like Rees-Mogg would probably won't be happy until they've repealed things like universal suffrage for all adult men. It was too much democracy that did for the Empire!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Coup shame fame?

Johnson is the one with brain power.

At least that's what he like to think. A lot of other people think he's just another Eton fool.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Coup shame fame?

The only shame is that the dimwits of the Tory party didn't support the attempt to oust her

Which particular attempt are you referring to? There seems to be at least one a week.

But, it's also a naive assertion. May was, by acclamation, given a poisoned chalice in 2016 and he main mistake, as with most recent Tory leaders, was to start the blood-letting at the subsequent Tory part conference and follow it with a snap general election.

But plotters on both sides of the party are now increasingly worried that if he she is toppled, Corbyn will become the next Prime Minister as yet another leadership election will split and weaken the party even more. But they might just be putting off the inevitable: if EU doesn't agree to start negotiations on trade at the next summit then the pro-business lobby is almost certainly going to have to act to make sure the status quo is cemented as a "transitional arrangement", presumably with a cross-party vote. This will in turn probably push the fruitcakes into launching a leadership challenge.

Poor Britain offered a choice between Militant 2.0 and a return to the Corn Laws.

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Supreme Court to rule on whether US has right to data stored overseas

Charlie Clark
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Re: Interesting tussle coming up ...

The US has a long (and proud?) tradition of extra-territoriality, which is what this is really about. As noted above, if the Supreme Court rules in favour of the government then sanctions can be applied to any company that trades in the US.

Trying to enforce this could, however, really foul up lots of trade agreements. The US could offer reciprocity but has a tradition of not doing this because legally foreign governments are, well, foreign powers. Expect companies to look at implementing additional technical mechanisms that will give them plausible deniability when served with orders. If things get difficult enough the DoJ might even get round to requesting a warrant in the other country. It's not as if this would be technically difficult as the procedures are already in place for this.

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BOFH: Oh dear. Did someone get lost on the Audit Trail?

Charlie Clark
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Boffin

I'm surprised the boss didn't have an accident with the shredder.

Blood plays havoc with the internals and is a forensic's team wet dream. Why do you think it was in storage for so long? Of course, if a corpse has been carefully freeze dried after a halon incident due to a naked flame in the data centre, then resulting chips make fantastic fertiliser!

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Twitter: Why we silenced Rose McGowan after she slammed alleged sex pest Harvey Weinstein

Charlie Clark
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Re: virtue signalling.

That's how I read your post Charlie. You think your opinion is just as righteous, don't you?

Certainly not. I think being righteous out outraged in the situation achieves nothing except making someone feel like they've done the right thing. It's like organising a jam festival…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Not just Hollywood

Thanks. I think "Charlie" is worried that his manhood is threatened.

Not in the least. However, I do think most of the discussions about women in tech are nearly always missing the point.

Do I think discrimination is a good thing? No. Do I find sexual harassment heinous? Absolutely.

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Charlie Clark
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Except rape charges will trump the non disclosure agreements.

In which particular universe? Rape is a statutory crime so an NDA is non essentially relevant. It can, however, still be binding and then there's the problem of witness credibility: had sex and agreed not to discuss it but have since decided otherwise.

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Charlie Clark
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Mushroom

Re: Not just Hollywood

What's this got to do with Weinstein? And how you do make claims for the whole industry based on one incident?

If anyone is doubt, my gender is male and I have no axe to grind against the male manager in question, other than the fact that he has shown himself up to be a deeply unpleasant individual.

Why not go after the guy if he's such an arse? Much better than all your virtue signalling.

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Charlie Clark
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McGowan herself reached a $100,000 settlement with the mogul in 1997 following “an episode in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival,” and signed a non-disclosure agreement.

Good luck with making a court case against Weinstein out of that, and all the other settlements. Rinse and repeat for all the molesting moguls. It only came unstuck for Roger Ailes at Fox when one of his victims refused to be bought off.

My prediction is that this will blow over in a couple of weeks and Weinstein will return to the business in a less prominent role.

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Do you Word2Vec? Google's neural-network bookworm

Charlie Clark
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Black Helicopters

Re: Artificial intelligence let loose on the internet can go badly wrong

I don't think this would really suitable for a chatbot which is probably why we've not really seen one from Google. I can think of a number of uses it could be put to but if I told you I'd have to kill you....

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Apple's iPhone X won't experience the joy of 6...

Charlie Clark
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Stop

Re: Umm X is not the right device for market metrics

The iPhone X was never produced as a market booster…

Typical apologist bullshit. "Concept" devices are never made available to the general public and Apple never announces something it doesn't sell.

The Apple Galaxy X is typical of a company in two minds and something that his Jobness would never have accepted. Not that I kneel if front of that particular altar, but while Apple under Cook's stewardship has continued to grow and rake in profits that others could only ever dream of, it has repeatedly failed to deliver significant new products.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Numbers

Analysts rarely go out on a limb (for a range of reasons) so they stick with the herd.

Have an extra upvote just for this: no investor wants to hear bad news.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: I've never believed this year would be the next iPhone "supercycle"

The 8 won't be driving upgrades, the only new feature it adds is wireless charging which is pretty meh.

Au contraire: wireless charging is becoming standard for other high-end phones so Apple had to react and adopt it (as they did with bigger screens for the 6). The Apple Galaxy X face sensor thingy doesn't seem to excite anything like as much, at least if the fanbois I know are anything to go by.

Whichever way it goes with the X Apple will try and spin it as a win. If they sell anywhere near 200m in a year it then it's hard to argue against, even if expectations are disappointed: "supply constraints" are always a good excuse. And if it bombs like the 5c then it will be quickly, and quietly, buried with whatever "magical" technology it contains due to be reheated in next year's models.

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Charlie Clark
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Apple's biggest problem with the Apple Galaxy is probably having to share more of the profits with the phone's maker: Samsung. While Apple has been investing in SoC development, most of the rest of the phone depends on Samsung's technological prowess with the screen being the most obvious example.

This also means that Apple is entering the murky waters of functional equivalence: if what I really want is a stonking edge-to-edge OLED screen, why not buy the original?

The X won't be the end of Apple, it's just further evidence that the magic is gone.

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Google: This may shock you, but we also banked thousands of dollars to run Russian propaganda

Charlie Clark
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So what?

The US Supreme Court, in its infinite wisdom, decided a few years ago that there should be no restrictions on who can run political adverts and how much they spend on them. The cynic might interpret this as suggesting elections be won by the highest bidder. But any student of American political history is likely to note that "it's always been thus".

Given the money being poured into politics by lobbies, special interests and cranks, any outrage over money being spent doing the same by foreign governments is disingenuous at the very least. The real outrage is to call this democracy.

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BAE confirms it is slashing 2,000 jobs

Charlie Clark
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Unfortunately not entirely unexpected

A few years ago BAe made a strategic bet that being part of the US military industrial complex would make them more money than being part of the European military bureaucracy. Surprisingly, the hoped for contracts making for the US never materialised in the expected quantities and that was before the Ginger Kid became president.

There's a lesson in there for others, perhaps.

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Footie ballsup: Petition kicks off to fix 'geometrically impossible' street signs

Charlie Clark
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Re: Traffic Signs

How about the one that wants red cars to drive next to black ones? What about all the colours?

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Not the only one

Indeed.

Pictograms are fundamentally associative and not representational: this is difference with skeuomorphism. I'm sure biologists and architects would be only to happy to point out the problems with the pictograms for fish, elephants and castles.

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Frustrated Britons struggle to locate their packages: Royal Mail tracker smacked

Charlie Clark
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Re: Craptastic

You'll be able to check it on GLS' website after it's been scanned the first time by them.

You might think so but according to Royal Mail it was handed over to GLS on Thursday and GLS is full of the sound of crickets and tumbleweed…

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