* Posts by Charlie Clark

4949 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Hangouts hangs up on third party apps

Charlie Clark
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Re: The Google giveth...

1) can you tell the difference between an API and a service? Hangouts is alive and kicking, the rest are better RIP.

2) which services do you provide for free?

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Charlie Clark
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Is this Reddit or what?

Google announced last year that Allo and Duo would be the new messaging platforms with Hangouts being reserved for enterprise, where it works really well and for which the relevant extensions will be kept around.

Note to self: one-sentence-per-paragraph articles are usually accompanied by whiny comments.

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Google's Grumpy code makes Python Go

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: Just port the bloody code.

Shall we go through the original Python code-base and re-implement it in Go, testing as we go?

Because computes make fewer mistakes than humans? "Transpiling", particularly with Python, is well understood, reliable and fast as the PyPy project documents.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Calling BS

A cross compiler allows Google to get rid of CPython and, eventually, create a private version Python that is not foreign matter in Google's parallel universe.

This is some of the biggest horse shit I've come across in a while. Google does loads of stuff in Python and actively contributes to lots of products. They wanted to use it for systems stuff but hit problems with the GIL and Go was a reasonable solution for some stuff. A good developer keeps an open mind and Google is keen on good developers.

I've not used Go myself but I know plenty of developers who are comfortable switching between Go and Python depending on the task in hand. Go's builtin support for concurrency and parallelism is fantastic for some situations, though not for all, as Ben Bangert's talk on Python to Go and back makes clear. In many situations being able to use PyPy will solve most performance problems and this sounds like an extension of the idea where better parallelism is required.

Meantime async.io is getting traction and Python is also looking at ways of alleviating problems associated with the GIL.

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How Google.org stole the Christmas Spirit

Charlie Clark
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Re: Just a google bash?

The real issue here is DonorsChoose taking such a so much of a cut and Schools needing to beg for essentials like paper, colored pencils, etc.

This is the sad truth. I know of one school in Germany where the kids have to take in their own toilet paper!

All aid programmes reveal contradictions. Indeed foreign aid programmes are one of the biggest gravy trains for industrial contracts out there.

I'm not a fan of Chromebooks but the US non-profit set up invites this kind of self-serving "foundation" because of the favourable tax treatment. However, just because schools are asking for computers and basic materials, does not make the programme evil. It just highlights the general underinvestment in education. The programmes themselves are supposed to be complementary and provide additional resources.

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Chinese boffins: We're testing an 'impossible' EM Drive IN SPAAAACE

Charlie Clark
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Re: Curiouser and curiouser

As others have noted, the comparison is the cold fusion nonsense: the time isn't spent debunking but in trying to replicate the experiment and possibly along the way discover flaws in equipment (fast neutrinos) or calculations.

Theoretically there is no reason to give this "drive" any credence. But sometimes, just sometimes, it's worth trying the daftest of ideas just one more time. And a good scientist is one who's able to put aside his prejudices to do so. That said, this really is an expensive joke.

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Did EU ruling invalidate the UK's bonkers Snoopers' Charter?

Charlie Clark
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Re: Get yourself an early Xmas present...

Sadly, using Tunnelbear from outside the UK condemns one to be geolocated in Slough

Great, let the spooks all think we're in Slough and then, pace Betjeman:

Come, lovely bombs, and fall on Slough

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EU accuses Facebook of providing incorrect info on WhatsApp buy

Charlie Clark
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Re: just one word ....Signal !!!

You can only download/use Signal through a Google Play account; which entirely nullifies the point of it for me.

Lots of places you can sideload it from but it is fine to install it from the Google Store: key creation and exchange have nothing to do with that.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Why not actually demand a FIX for a change?

Facebook cannot fix what happened two years ago, no matter how much the EU or the UK would press them to..

You can't change the past but the EU Commission could easily enforce not just financial sanctions as the case against Microsoft demonstrated. Anything that looks like unravelling that deal would put a lot of pressure on Facebook because of the size of the deal and the potential negative affect on Facebook's sell the idiots' data business model.

Expect the Trumpeter to get noisy about this.

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Brussels cunning plan to save the EU: No more Cookie Popups

Charlie Clark
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Yes, "strictly necessary" cookies have never been a problem: the people who drafted these documents are not entirely clueless. Banners, such as those used on El Reg, do not constitute informed consent but are easy to copy. As this is how much of the internet works, this is why we see so many of them.

There is, of course, a problem with what constitutes "strictly necessary". I've argued successfully in the past that this can include statistics as long as the data collected is processed in accordance with the data privacy regulations of the website owner: this excludes Google Analytics, which Google provides as a "free" service in order to track people across websites.

Of course, in a "post-truth" world privacy can be considered as at best optional and, at worst, dangerous.

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Trump meets Google – exclusive transcript

Charlie Clark
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Re: Sounds about right

But now they all need each other. Trump won the election so he doesn't need votes from the saps any more but he will need Congress to get anything done and the palms in Congress will need greasing.

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SpaceX delays manned Dragon capsule launch

Charlie Clark
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I don't think Boeing's going around boasting about how it's revolutionising the industry. Plus, and I don't know any details, doesn't Boeing have to produce something to satisfy the politicians? That usually means a whole heap of impossible requirements.

Anyway, having multiple suppliers is important. Having Space X in there undoubtedly encourages the others to up their game. Who knows, it might even lead them to tell the politicians when their pipe dreams are impossible or at least financially ruinous.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Actually less about the Amosposion I think.

Whoever said rocket science isn't hard?

While admire a lot of what Musk does, there is often an undertone that the existing way of doing things is all wrong. Yes, NASA (but even more so DARPA) is a nice source of big, fat cost-plus contracts for the industry, but they still have an enviable record for getting stuff done. Especially the stuff no one has done before.

As for launch records: Space X still has a long way to go to match Ariane but it's good that they're trying and we're all learning new things.

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Reschedule the holiday party, Patch Tuesday is here and it's a big one

Charlie Clark
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Yes, because the Linux lot never get it wrong. Except that Debian and Ubuntu are famous for botching the integration of upstream patches (openSSL, cough). And RedHat will happily offer you software that is not only no longer maintained but actively warned against.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Update nightmares

Apple's approach is particularly egregious here. They should just do what FreeBSD does best and keep system and application updates separate and keep system updates out of the fucking awful AppStore. Even Microsoft has managed to do this reasonably well, Internet Explorer notwithstanding.

When something is broken, fix it, test the fix and distribute it but stop sitting on these vulnerabilities for months.

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Investigatory Powers Act signed into UK law by Queen

Charlie Clark
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Facepalm

As usual, laws like this tend to suffer from the "Law of Unintended Consequences": secure messaging encryption, TOR proxies and VPNs are now commodified so that anyone who has something they want to hide from the state can easily do so and, more importantly, it's better hidden than used to be possible.

The government can collect all the fucking data it wants; it'll do them little good. But I worry a lot about what happens after the inevitable data breaches: criminals now have extremely good reasons to try and get hold of this stuff and the government have conveniently offered to put all the data in one place.

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Huawei Mate 9: The Note you've been waiting for?

Charlie Clark
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Good on you. Still, Samsung did the only sensible thing they could do and withdrew the product: at some point you can no longer bury the bad PR. While the battery-related problems were obviously worrying, they were also, er, blown up (sorry) all out of proportion by a sensationalist media.

I'm happy with my second-hand S5 but looking forward to what Samsung next come up with, especially if they go back on the non-replaceable battery approach. Could be onto a winner if they do.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Competition

The camera is 13MP, with laser focus and two-tone flash.

If you want to go budget then you really ought to ignore the bells and whistles, which are there just to convince you that there's no such thing as a false economy, and you're less likely to be disappointed.

Price/performance isn't linear, which is why the term "premium" exists. Still, you almost always do "get what you pay for": paying a bit more will generally mean a better overall product. If you ask me, waterproofing, ability to survive the odd drop and a screen that's readable in sunlight are more important than how many MP the camera has (CCD size and speed are more important, but can also fall victim to "go faster stripes". After-market support is also important: does the vendor have a support operation in your country, etc? Yes, we all know Samsung's and Huawei's record on updates isn't stellar, but they have UK subsidies who you can at least take to court.

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'Mirai bots' cyber-blitz 1m German broadband routers – and your ISP could be next

Charlie Clark
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Re: The big problem is...

Well, legally they are a victim of a malicious attack. As to whether they were negligent, well, that's another matter.

Fritz boxes are not immune either: a a couple of months ago there was an exploit that finally galvanised Unitymedia and AVM into a firmware update for their 6360s.

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ESA: Sorry about Schiaparelli, can we have another €400 mill?

Charlie Clark
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Re: So, you want an extra €400 million?

I haven't had a chance to follow the details of this one but I don't thing a lack of software testing is the only thing to blame. And since Ariane 5 the ESA has a heap of people pouring over the code.

I'm a huge fan of software testing. But, as Gary Bernhardt says, you're often restricted to testing "known unknowns". Sending probes to foreign planets tends involve heaps of "unknown unknowns". This is rocket science after all!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: syntactical question

Most abbreviations tend to get the definite article: theCIA, etc; MI5 being an exception. So I tend say the NASA and the ESA. Whether acronym gets contracted into a noun is another matter and one of preference, though with only three letters it doesn't make much difference. Longer than that, eg. NASA, and the lazy brain will tend to try and speak it.

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Charlie Clark
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to give a kick along to smaller and startup space companies developing “software, hardware, and integrated solutions for companies using satellite data”

The ESA has a long history of working with university spin-offs to get stuff done: it's how Surrey Satellites got started.

When it comes to things like Exo-Mars then comparisons with Space X and Blue Origin are completely specious. None of this stuff has been done before, ergo, none of it has been commodified and can be done cheaply.

As any fule kno, the biggest cost of any mission is getting whichever contraptions you have from the earth to the destination (out of the earth's gravity well and into Mars' orbit). My scribbles on the back of an envelope that, given the current cost of routine satellite launches, $ 500 million isn't expensive for going to Mars and still better than trashing the main lander "to see if you've fixed the problem".

On projects like this you need teams that will work hard to find out what went wrong, who will own up about it publicly, and management that will back them. So kudos to the ESA for doing this.

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Airbus flies new plane for the first time

Charlie Clark
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I think it's a little too early to judge the A380. Sales have been disappointing but not bad, all things considered and the markets for which it's really suitable are still growing: pilgrimages to Mecca from around the world. But for Airbus it was also the test bed of many of the techniques that it's now using in things like the A350. And, while the 787 is selling well, it had so many problems that I reckon the financials are on a par.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: First Flight Challenges

shattered and charred aluminium

Pah! I laugh in scorn at your aluminium, puny human: real planes are made from plywood! :-)

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Sorry, iPhone fans – only Fandroids get Barclays' tap-to-withdraw

Charlie Clark
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Re: Security?

NFC itself has nothing to do with security, this should be implemented by the chip + PIN because the magnetic stripe isn't in the least bit secure.

Medium term it would also mean cash machines with fewer moving parts. Though there are many economists who want to move us away from cash so they can devalue the currency faster.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: How is this progress?

It makes skimming the card at a cash machine a lot more difficult.

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Samsung fires $70m at quantum televisions

Charlie Clark
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So rather than combining RBG to get beige, the quantum dot just emits beige?

Not quite. Due to the use of filters LCD screens have a narrower range of colours or gamut than OLED. Doping the crystals with the nano particles helps increase that range. The difference is that colours used to be tied to particular chemicals: say Lead oxide for white, rust for ochre. Now you just choose nano particles of the right size for the colours you want. I'm not au fait with the details but I think they use the quantum dots to create sub pixels and thus increase the range of colours, because the "white" of the source isn't a continuous spectrum.

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Charlie Clark
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In the longer term, its boosters hope quantum dots could replace other light sources in displays, making them a potential competitor to OLEDs.

Not really: OLED has fewer components and layers and can in theory work entirely without glass. However, Samsung, despite having invested heavily in the OLED production process, have decided that for TVs they're more competitive if they tweak LCDs and sell more expensive OLED screens with higher margin phones until they or 3M, or Dupont get the additive manufacturing for OLED sorted.

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Charlie Clark
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It's a misnomer here. Colours have long been achieved by doping one material with another. A few years ago boffins discovered some materials that could affect colours simply due to their size (based on the research into butterfly wings, I believer). To get this to work you need really tiny particles, which is where the term nano or quantum come from. The managing is all about managing these particles.

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Signal security revealed: A triple-Diffie-Hellman with a double ratchet

Charlie Clark
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Re: Capture the message post decryption...

Signal disables screengrabbing by default and can be configured to require a password to read any message. If I was writing malware I wouldn't start there.

The encryption stuff is mainly about spooks trying to listen in on all traffic. If they get hold of you and your device then I wouldn't really worry about any passwords.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Capture the message post decryption...

I think you're assuming the messages are stored somewhere unencrypted but they're not.

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Emulating x86: Microsoft builds granny flat into Windows 10

Charlie Clark
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Re: Cart before the horse

Microsoft should have required Intel mobile chips in their Continuum phones.

The whole thing started with the WinRT fiasco. They could, and possibly should, have included something like Rosetta, possibly backed with something like Transmeta's emulation microcode on the hardware, maybe throw in some ART style JIT cache; depends a bit on which resources are available. But they were worried about cannibalising their existing market and pissing off Intel.

For the last few years all mobile chips have been beefy enough for this kind of thing which Intel demonstrated with the ARM emulation code for x86 for the Atoms: nearly all apps ran fine at the cost of battery use.

My guess is that they're getting ready for the long-heralded but Zarquonesque arrival of ARM on servers and possibly desktops. Many of us expected that to be from Apple this year but they were too busy raising margins and adding fluff. Still, can't be too long before we see some impressive reference designs.

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And with one stroke, Trump killed the Era of Slacktivism

Charlie Clark
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Re: Time to get of the fence Mr Orlowski

I believe that the Koch Brothers have more influence than Apple and Google combined. And, once they realised they couldn't control Trump, they directed their not inconsiderable funding at Congress. Scrapping the EPA's good for business as I'm sure Volkswagen among others would agree.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: "Better broadband could be a grassroots cause"

NOW... if that process were made SIMPLER, maybe those lines being brought in for YOU could then provide competing service to all of the neighbors.

Congratulations for going off at a tangent, you dumb fuck. I'm glad to see you're happy with your vote and I wish it brings you everything you expected. Though I suspect you may be ever so slightly disappointed.

Now, back to the issue: there are many documented instances of incumbents telcos lobbying, generally successfully, against municipal fibre services. Nothing to do with universal access and all to do with restricting competition.

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Charlie Clark
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It's very amusing watching leftists try to claim Trump is bad for not releasing his tax returns.

Would that it were true, Mr Redneck. But, alas no conspiracy theory here: it was Trump himself who reneged on his own promise to release his tax returns. Not that it really mattered: his egregious, if perfectly legal, avoidance just made him seem "cleverer" to his dumber than average base.

And not that it really matters either but Americans always seem to want change but never seem to get it: Dodd-Frank will get repealed and that the banks go back to betting with other people's money. What larks!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: We do not know what Trump will do or will not do

I can see Trump doing that...

If you mean that, like Teddy Roosevelt, Trump might split the Republican Party, I think you may well have a point.

As for the rest, we'll just have to wait and see. He ran extremely effective campaign but that has little to do with running the government. Appointments so far read like a three-way toss up between right-wingers, insiders and members of his family.

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MongoDB's CEO: Expect aggressive investing as biz aims at Oracle et al

Charlie Clark
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Re: If one reads between the lines

Postgres provides you with enough options for when you need to keep this kind of data around, and, as a bonus, it won't magically lose it for you. This is the "o" in NoSQL I was recently at a talk on Map/Reduce and the volume of transient (OLAP) data you need for non-relational systems to have an edge is staggering.

Otherwise stick with Redis for the transient stuff if it's working for you.

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Firefox hits version 50

Charlie Clark
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Re: Wifi Hotspots

This is because these gateways are really, really, badly programmed and open to MitM attacks on the network.

Recently tried (with all browsers) and gave up at the Royal Exchange in Manchester.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Statcounter

I've heard that in some countries up to 10 % are using ad-blockers. Don't think it really matters that much. Akamai's data, which El Reg disappointingly fails to use, has Chrome (all versions) at around 50%:

https://www.akamai.com/us/en/solutions/intelligent-platform/visualizing-akamai/internet-observatory/internet-observatory-explore-data.jsp

Google must be particularly pleased in the uptake of Chrome Mobile because that's a fairly recent addition.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Android

That's been my main experience with it, it's just regular enough to be annoying but not so regular that it's forced me back to Chrome.

I've found it pretty solid over the last year or so even on websites like BBC Sport which really hammer the network and the CPU. And blockers (I use Ghostery are a must).

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Low-end notebook, rocking horse shit or hen's teeth

Charlie Clark
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Re: Funny that...

Sounds like the channel adjusting to lower aggregate demand with some component lines being discontinued.

I like the idea of responding to the situation by putting even crappier components in and hoping to make money the mid-range and premium devices. Good luck with that!

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Samsung sets fire to $9m by throwing it at Tizen devs

Charlie Clark
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Re: Pocket change for Samsung ...

The version on the new Pixels seem to be hinting at Google heading in a Google-only direction.

What makes you think that? It's already in the CM nightlies.

Google is a services company and it is working very hard using all kinds of the methods to offer more services to more people.

It's difficult to see how the rest of the world can benefit from the Chinese experience. Switching to Baidu would be like jumping from the frying pan into the fie.

But Samsung's much more expensive purchase of Harman International suggests that they're interested in the embedded space. They've already gained experience of Tizen on weaker hardware with the Gear watches.

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Married man arrives at A&E with wedding ring stuck on todger

Charlie Clark
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Coat

Re: A wedding ring...

I'd always thought this sort of thing was apocryphal but obviously not. If you really must try this kind of thing I believe you can get something called a "cock ring", which is slightly smaller than the average (53 mm according the condom manufacturers).

But, basically viagra in all its forms is what the pros use. Unless their worried about getting the gush.

I'm just off down the park…

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GitLab to dump cloud for its own bare metal Ceph boxen

Charlie Clark
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"pay for what you provision"

IO is always the biggest problem with any virtualised environment and why cloud solutions are sold on CPUs, memory, disk size, bandwidth, anything but the IO speed and VCS systems are known to hammer IO.

So, it's a classical trade-off which is why some businesses are happy not managing their own data centres because they have extremely variable capacity. The various providers also offer differing solutions.

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Trumped? Nope. Ireland to retain corporate tax advantage over the US

Charlie Clark
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Re: Seems to me ...

Taxes are a game played between the finance minister and accountants. Our modern, sophisticated societies need reasonably high tax bases spread across all areas of economic activity. Actual rates are less important than the loopholes and exceptions which pit various theories against each other.

Apart from mopping up distortions from redesignating income, taxes on capital are also intended to keep money in circulation. It was discovered some time ago that letting too much capital accumulate anywhere causes all kinds of problems.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Yeah Donald, you punish those coastal elites

trickle down yes

all the way down the wall! Well, it worked so well before and this time it's different!

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Ireland can compete

Good. H1B visa employees and offshoring is killing US IT workers

The two are not the same: I think you'll find that is H1B's get reduced that offshoring will increase. Silicon Valley wage and associated inflation is evidence that there are not enough homegrown IT people, though admittedly this is additionally distorted by the network effects. Anyway, I don't think we can expect many tech jobs to be appearing in West Virginia.

Offshoring is very likely to fall under the wheels of the automation bus.

As for driving wages down, well that would largely be done by concentrating purchasing power in companies like Walmart and Amazon but I think we "ain't seen nothing yet" if the deregulation policies get enacted. There may well be an uptick in employment (participation is still low) but wage pressure could easily be offset by other measures meaning no net gain and quite possibly a net loss for some. But I think we'll have to wait and see what stuff really gets passed.

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Charlie Clark
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Pretty much anyone says they have a mandate for something you can be sure they're bullshitting you but, according to the rules of the election, he was elected head of the executive branch of government.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Who knows?

He controls both houses

He doesn't you know, the Party does. We'll see all about checks and balances, and earmarks and "deals" next year. But at the moment it's best not to jump the gun until specific policies appear, though tax cuts are probably a given.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Only needs to be $1 cheaper...

Well, yes but you also have to be able to do something with the cash. Hence, things like Apple's complicated Swiss debt issue to use foreign earnings to do share buybacks.

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