* Posts by Charlie Clark

9011 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Have no idea WTF is going on with the Oracle-Walmart TikTok deal? Don’t sweat it, here’s our latest rundown

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: 1984 was not the only instruction manual

Not necessarily: it's not something that you can keep in the news all the time, especially if rates (doesn't really matter which ones) are falling.

Trump just likes to appear powerful and decisive and will try pretty much any stunt to do so.

Some known near-term risks for his campaign:

  • the economy, especially unemployment
  • hurricane season
  • increasing death rates amongst "snow birds" in Florida
  • court ordering his tax returns be made public

He's probably got as much out of the TikTok thing as he can and, lucky for him, a Supreme Court judge died on Friday so he gets an opportunity to pander to religious extremists.

Coding unit tests is boring. Wouldn't it be cool if an AI could do it for you? That's where Diffblue comes in

Charlie Clark Silver badge

I've known a couple of projects to fail with TDD because the tests led development in the wrong way. I think code and tests should, where possible be developed in lock-step. This reduces the overhead of writing tests. For an existing project some form of reflection should be able to create stub tests for nearly everything. You might want to sprinke some AI pixie dust on them but once the grunt work of creating the boilerplate test code has been done, there really isn't that much of a barrier to entry. And this is the key point when it comes to testing: developers should feel comfortable with reading and writing tests.

Bad news for 'cool dads' trying to bond with their teens: China-owned TikTok and WeChat face US download ban by Sunday

Charlie Clark Silver badge

A very leaky sieve

Starting from Sunday 20 September, the two Chinese-owned apps will be banned from being hosted on US app stores.

Most people who want them (especially WeChat) will already have them. For the rest, there are lots of other app stores and instructions on how to sideload. Great way to educate people about how to get along outside the walled garden!

Net neutrality lives... in Europe, anyway: Top court supports open internet rules, snubs telcos and ISPs

Charlie Clark Silver badge

In my original post I said the values would need adjusting a bit but speaking from experience I can say that as long as you don't stream anything 500 MB goes a long way. Many countries already have similar basic tariffs for phone and internet. Obviously not America because that would be socialis and that's evil!

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Sorry, you seem to have completely misunderstood my point. I was talking about what might become mandated as a minimal free service. Having had such a service for a couple of years I know how limited it is, but also how useful. But more importantly, I know that it's doable for the networks. Might end up being 2 GB on 4G, but the principle is the same. As for autostart videos: there are browsers that stop them.

Charlie Clark Silver badge

While there are certain situations where this kind of approach might have merit, current deals are merely commercial: the content providers are paying the networks for privileged access to consumers and this cannot be welcome.

What I think we will see over time is some kind of minimal, free service that all networks must provide. Say 500 MB a month at 3G speeds (adjust these numbers to suit). This would allow most people to communicate and stay informed, I also think we'll see more of the T-Mobile US approach to "unlimited" video usage but only at lower resolutions – bandwidth contention is more of an issue that total data traffic – but this should apply to all providers.

USA still hasn’t figured out details of WeChat ban but promises users won't be punished

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Hot air

Probably because no one expected these decrees to go anywhere but, unlike China, it's probably pretty difficult to enforce any of these bans in the US.

Amazon Transcribe can now ID 31 languages from audio so uncultured swines don't have to

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: convert what I say to my wife from English into Wifespeak?

Miscommunication between men and women is eternal. It's been well-researched and, even though cultural factors play a large role, there are still innate differences. YMMV but pretending otherwise is at least disingenuos if not downright patronising. I'm constantly having to apologise to SWMBO for not being telepathic, ie. for knowing what she meant to say instead of listening to what she did say.

Charlie Clark Silver badge

People will pay for accuracy

At our local Python sprint last year one of the teams was working with Transcribe. The results were promising but not good enough for general use. Obviously, Amazon has been collecting training data via Alexa for years but this is mainly going to be on household subjects. Nuance/Dragon has decades of specialised data: I remember installing Dragon Naturally Speaking for a customer over 20 years ago and accuracy wasn't bad then.

Who cares what Apple's about to announce? It owes us a macOS x86 virtual appliance for non-Mac computers

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: Rosetta

With Rosetta users will be at Apple's mercy. Sure, initially there will be lots of reasons to make it very good but in a couple of years from now there will be lots of pressure to support an ARM-only world.

Besides, whilst most software developers will probably make the shift to ARM fairly quickly – here Apple has done a lot of work in making cross-compiling easy and fast – it's often the less interesting bits but equally important bits of software that won't be updated. For example, switching off 32-bit x86 put paid to quite a few things like my printer controller and I'm routinely being warned that thinks like my Cisco AnyConnect (from last year) soon won't work either. The way Apple has handled these changes smacks of arrogance and doesn't bode well for future changes.

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: gamers

At the time of its development it was considered very high level.

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: Hackintosh

Oh it does in most cases through folks paying £2000 for £500 worth of laptop.

While Apple does charge a premium, it's nothing like that. If you compare similarly specc'd machines from Dell, etc. you'll see comparable prices.

And the reason people keep on buying the machines for work is the "value proposition" of everything just working out of the box. Less time fiddling with drivers, etc. means more time doing what we get paid for.

That said, the move to soldering everything is a real PITA, but seeing as most of the other manufacturers are now doing the same thing isn't really Apple's fault. What we need is better regulation.

Another week, another dual-screen phone, this time a T-shaped LG thingamy

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: The Robin Reliant of mobes!

Apart from the spectacular ability to capsize and other notable brainfarts, in many ways the Robin was ahead of its time. Because it was so light, it could use a much smaller engine and required thus much less fuel. But it really should never have left the "concept" stage.

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: Fantastic! Finally, someone has solved the problem of ...

Standing your phone on a table with a small slot in it?

Having a bommerang that can take pictures while in flight.

Nvidia to acquire Arm for $40bn, promises to keep its licensing business alive

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: Stock?

The Fed, along with most central banks, has had excessively loose monetary policy for over ten years now. Yes, it's got even looser this year, but tech companies have been taking advantage of it for years.

Softbank has been in a hole since a couple of its big bets: Uber and WeWork didn't go as well as planned. nVidia is just one of the many companies taking advantage of Softbank's fire sale and cheap debt. So, it was Softbank's own failings that have forced it to sell ARM.

It was shown years ago that people who watch Fox News are generally less well informed than people who watch no news. They've had quacks on there for years. But on the other side of the street you've got well-educated middle class dweebs in California up in arms about vaccination in general: spikes in measles infections have nothing to do with the Orange Idiot in Chief. Or, for that matter, the Federal Reserve.

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: Stock?

Why the fuck are you hijacking the thread to promote your ill-thought out criticism of Trump? The guy's a tool but comments like yours just play into his hands.

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: Nvidia and Linux? @macjules

I think he's probably referring to the infamous nVidia blob drivers for Linux. Though I agree that this is a separate issue.

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: Indeed...

There are already some restrictions due to the work done by ARM's office in Austin but seeing as it's a design licence business, you cannot effectively revoke existing design licences.

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: Stock?

It's only $ 12 bn cash, the rest is stock, which given how tech stocks have performed this year, is a bargain for nVidia. SoftBank had to sell because even more of Son's bets have soured recently: this month a whole heap of his options went bad which is why investors took fright.

Brit mobile network EE follows O2 by ending trading relations with retailer Dixons Carphone

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: I'm actually a little surprised

The big problem for resellers that the change in refresh rates removed their main source of revenue: commission. They used to get paid up front for selling customers new contracts on the back of a new phone.

Unfortunately, at some point customers realised that this wasn't necessarily in their best interests and started increasingly to treat phone and contract as a separate items: keep phone, renegotiate cheaper tariff directly with the network; no middleman required. For many of us, phones have become just another piece of consumer electronics equipment.

IBM calls for US export bans on facial recognition tech including cameras and big iron

Charlie Clark Silver badge

China already has the best facial recognition software. Yes, it isn't perfect: it can be fooled by many of the usual techniques ("kitten, not kitten") and there have been some highly publicised SNAFUs. But it is also validated by its near ubiquitous use every day throughout China. You don't need advanced silicon for this kind of thing, just suffiicient training data and time.

Go Huawei, Android: Chinese telco biz claims it will spread Harmony OS for smartphone to devs come December

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: Android compatibility would be a mistake

If they do that, no one would ever develop any Harmony apps.

And where would be the harm in that? The big challenge will be providing drop-in replacements for the GMS stuff, but that should be doable.

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: The biggest problem

Xiaomi, Oppo, Realme, ZTE, TCL, and everyone else is unhappy

Doubt that: China is their biggest market and you probably don't realise how strong Chinese nationalism is.

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: The biggest problem

There will almost certainly be some form of ABI for running Android apps with minimal additional overhead. No, the bigger problem may be sourcing chips, depending on who's prepared to provide ARM chips for them.

But, China has the advantage that normally only the US has: the sheer size of the domestic market. Easy to imagine Harmony OS get mandated for mobile phones in China and then it only has to be "good enough".

AT&T’s CEO has a solution to US broadband woes despite billions sunk into the problem. You’ll never guess what it is

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: “Geographic Precision”

Can only be a matter of time before they introduce some new charges for, I don't know, polishing the bits and bytes. I mean, it's not as if, in the Land of the Free, you have much choice. You've already had the "chance" to try the "competition"!

So, stop moaning and hand over the dollars, already!

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: It's funny how they could connect rural areas with telephone cables in a distant past...

The reason is that 100 years ago companies were given a monopoly provided their ensured "near" universal coverage. Which they were interested in doing anyway because the more people have phones, the more money they made, because the more people made calls, which were very expensive.

The cable companies biggest beef is the loss of subscribers to their packages of dubious worth: 300 channels of the same shit and pay extra for each type of sport and anything else you might actually want to watch.

Charlie Clark Silver badge

God bless America!

It's easy to cost and mandate universal access and seeing as there is little or no competition, it's also easy to pay for it by cross-subsidies: people close to an exchange pay a little more than cost to help pay for the cost of connecting those a little further from an exchange. Network effects mean that there are never that many people far away from an exchange. In fact laying cable to someone in the sticks is relatively cheap because you don't have to worry about digging up the road, etc. to provide the service. Of course, you can still use directional radios for some places, but basically anywhere that already has a phone line, can also have fibre. But, without the dual incentives of monthly rental and connection-based charging, how are CEOs expect to fund their mistresses and property habits?

Q: How does hydrogen turn into a metal? A: Hang on a second, I need to train my AI supercomputer first

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Hydrogen is just odd and largely defies classification along with the other elements. It's an electron captured by a proton so it doesn't even have a proper nucleus except it has two isotopes that do. But it's metallic behaviour has been absorbed in many ways, not just because it's such an effective reduction agent but also because it can be adsorbed.

Cool H and He enough and they get odder.

Zero. Zilch. Nada. That's how many signs of intelligent life astroboffins found in probe of TEN MILLION stars

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: Looking for signs of McDonald's on other planets?

It's called the anthropic principle: even though it's all chance. Combine this with rectlinear perspective, which is as ideological as it is aesthetic and humanity must be considered the most advanced life form. We consider our situation special, even though it's just unlikely.

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: Words and actions

I've just finished reading "Closing Time" by Joseph Heller, he who gave us Catch 22, where the president is referred to by everyone, including himself, as the "the little prick" and who starts the apocalypse by confusing the buttons for ending the world with those of his favourite video game.

IOW: rinse and repeat for every US* president because they're usually dicks.

* insert your country of choice

Android 11 lands with plenty more privacy preferences for Pixels and special Google friends first

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: Old Phones

Feel free to contact the manufacturer.

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: Automatically reset permissions


US ponders tech export ban on SMIC, China's biggest chipmaker

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: SMIC might be a "law abiding citizen"....

"Reports of the death of the Dollar have been much exaggerated".

The Renminbi is currently not suitable to replace the Dollar. But I guess we can expect to see more money as hedging moving into it, the Euro, the Swiss Franc and a couple of other currencies. More important for the near term, however, will be payment systems that don't rely on SWIFT

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: SMIC might be a "law abiding citizen"....

That, and the exhorbitant privelege of owning and, hence, controlling access to the world's reserve currency. Which is why so many companies got out of Iran when the US broke the agreement.

But at some point other means of payment will be established and at some point investors won't feel compelled to buy US debt. Probably won't be any time soon but god help them when it happens because the US debt:GDP is staggering and really low levels of domestic savings means that, unlike Japan and Italy, there's not much of a fallback if international creditors take fright.

Charlie Clark Silver badge

The horse has bolted

SMIC will have already ordered all the kit it needs for the next couple of years so threatening it now will have little immediate effect. Global chip production capacity is limited and new fabs take years to build so forcing Qualcomm to move production elsewhere will no doubt just drive up its prices.

And, of course, all the time China will continue to develop its own IP in chip design and manufacture. Given how capricious the US has become, it would be crazy not to.

Hidden Linux kernel security fixes spotted before release – by using developer chatter as a side channel

Charlie Clark Silver badge

I'm afraid that's wishful thinking as things like SSL have shown. Unless you're actually looking for bugs you're unlikely to find any. And, many exploits are not necessarily bugs. Or they would previously never have been considered bugs before someone worked out how to exploit the code.

This is why security testing should be done by a separate team.

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Is trust a problem?

"The existence of such commits contradicts one of the key promises of an open development model."

Not really, it just highlights a potential exploit vector. But, really, depending on inferring attack vectors from silent patches means you're behind the curve, because this is a known issue. The usual suspects – the various government agencies around the world – have far greater resources for code analysis and penetration testing for detecting (and then exploiting) unknown issues.

My understanding is that, in general, a security relevant issue is handled by a dedicated team, which then coordinates with the main team on when and how fixes can be committed. I think silent commits stem from this approach and are there largely to avoid spreading unnecessary alarm, prior to a coordinated security release. There are good arguments for keeping everything completely open but there are also potential aspects of liability for disclosing an issue without being able to provide a solution.

When it comes to secure development you really need a separate team that does nothing else than try and find exploits. This is the best way to deal with the risk that trusting your developers brings with it: you have to continually try to break and exploit their code.

Charlie Clark Silver badge

I don't anyone seriously claims that Linux is the most secure OS. You might take it, rip out most of it and make it the basis for a secure OS, but the defaults are not secure.

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: Fear mongering

No, but IIRC there was a backdoor installed by the NSA in this way. Trusting your other developers is unavoidable in any project but can lead to complacency and developer cults tend to spring up around the most unsuitable people.

The Honor MagicBook Pro looks nice, runs like a dream, and isn't too expensive either. What more could you want?

Charlie Clark Silver badge

How much does it weigh?

If you want to make a notebook expensive, try and make it light. 16" screen at only FHD is certainly usable but will also tax the battery, though maybe a bit less than a 4k one does. But, in any case, a 16" is likely to be too heavy to want to lug around a lot. I generally recommend something smaller and lighter that you can easily connect to a larger external screen when its on your desk. And if you don't need mobility, don't buy a notebook.

No Huawei, America: Samsung scores $6.6bn for 5G at US giant Verizon

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Not an also ran

When it comes to 5G, Samsung is right up there with the rest of them. 4G and 5G were introduced earlier and more extensively in Asia than in the West because the need for them in their huge, densely populated cities was greater. And Samsung has for years being developing and supplying telephone network kit to the networks in Korea. Being able to design and manufacture its own silicon can't hurt either.

Brexit border-line issues: Would you want to still be 'testing' software designed to stop Kent becoming a massive lorry park come 31 December?

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: @wolfetone

None, a transition period was always part of the agreement.

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: Err...

59:41 is a nearly 20 point margin so while "resounding" or "clear" might be better, "overwhelming" is reasonable in the context.

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Isn't it time for him to move on to his next mistress? Give a chap a break! All the hard work he's put into managing an epidemic, surely he's allowed some "quality time"?

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: Shock

Which bureaucracy would that be? Last time I checked, some jokers from something called the Conservative and Unionist (though apparently not of Ireland) Party were running the country.

Qualcomm flexes latest Arm chipset for laptops: Snappy performance and battery life if you can put off your upgrade long enough

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: There won't be laptops with 25 hour battery life...

One of the main advantages with ARM-based chips is that they tend to have more specific hardware acceleration so it's possible that the rendering at least would get a boost, though compiling as a generally single-core process might take longer. Either way these new devices are unlikely to be suitable replacements for your current workstation, which is basically what you're using your notebook for.

TCL's latest e-ink tech looks good on paper, but Chinese giant will have to back up extraordinary claims

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: Nice but...

My Kobos have all are great to read in virtually any kind of lighting condition: ghosting hasn't been a problem for years. Full refresh is now generally one a chapter and some of these can be pretty long and never a problem. Full control of text size, margins, etc. and indirect lighting are a win, win, win.

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: 400 page "Data sheets" and maintenance manuals

Sony has an A4 device precisely for this kind of use but I think volumes are still considered to be to low.

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Pocketbook has them now: https://pocketbook.de/de_de/color-moon-silver

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: Wake Me When It's Rugged

The screens are no less resilient than anything else that relies on glass. I'm a klutz so I keep my readers in a case. One of them is 10 years old and still going strong. Should be standard for anything more than about 5cm in diagonal.


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