* Posts by Doctor Syntax

8646 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Google wants to track your phone and credit card through meatspace

Doctor Syntax
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"A brand that has invested in advertising is more likely to care about quality and more likely to fix problems, out of brand protection."

A brand that invests heavily in advertising may assume that that's all it needs to do. In fact it may not be able to invest in quality because all the money's gone on the adverts.

How do your data mining algorithms obtain figures on people who've gone elsewhere because of the ads? Occasionally there may be strong negative feedback - e.g. my complaint to the MD of the car sales firm - but mostly people will go quietly elsewhere. It will be an enormously difficult thing to measure.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Well...

"there was an email from the company named above thanking me for my purchase and attaching my proof of purchase and warranty details."

I think I'd want the proof of purchase in writing printed out by them from their till. And no email.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: So when it shows advertising doesn't work, no-one is influenced by them

It'll work. It'll work because the results will be biased. It will only show conversions from adverts and not the potential customers lost because of being pestered.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Stuff google

"Rodney"

Still working as DelBoy's runner?

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: They'd know which cashpoint I visited

"Google can only infer your visit from your Android collecting location data and the time you spend near an ATM."

I shall stick with my Nokia C5 a little longer.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: re. Has anyone ever bought anything on the strength of a web advert?

"And I very much doubt the marketing / ad business would be able to lie about those figures on such a massive, world scale to fool those that pay dearly to have their products / services adertised year, after year after year."

There's an excellent book, How to lie with statistics. It ought to be part of everyone's education. In a few years I'll buy the grandkids copies. (If I live so long boxed sets of Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister fill follow.)

As I've pointed out in another post here they don't measure the sales lost because of advertising pissing off potential customers. By only quoting conversion rates to their customers the advertising industry is lying to them with statistics.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: get ready for “what's your e-mail address?” from counter staff

"It is depressingly enlightening."

Actually I've found comparatively few who do leak email addresses. This may be because I just give out a series of short-lived email addresses so leaked addresses just bounce.

The exceptions are Ebay and PayPal who pass on the address to vendors. Even this is rarely abused.

I very seldom leave feedback at Ebay now simply because if I do it's impossible to then add negative feedback in the event that they do spam. I have left negative feedback in such circumstances. It's against Ebay's T&Cs to spam so I hope they do follow up on such feedback.

PayPal is a different proposition. The email address is also the login ID. They send a customer's login ID to the merchants! That is downright stupid beyond belief. I've been spammed a couple of times by PayPal merchants. They've been left in no doubt as to what I feel about them and that they've forfeited any chance of further business. It's also been pointed out that the email address makes it quite clear that it was only for PayPal's use and that they have inconvenienced me by forcing me to change it.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: I just tell em to fuck off and mind their own business.

"the problem with directing your anger at the people setting the policy is that it's extremely hard (and, in fact, impossible)"

Giving a valid address at your country's data regulator is possible and may well be very effective at directing your anger there. Of course if you live in a country that doesn't have such a concept - well, the rest of us feel sorry for you.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: We're already being asked for email addresses at the till

And the e-mail they get is probably the main only one, of this idiot customer.

The whole thinking behind this is predicated on the assumption that people have only one email address.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: It's a bit of an irony, actually

"Google, on the other hand, will one day have the means to prompt the sales clerk to ask if I like whatever it was that I bought yesterday, or if I'm still using whatever it is I bought last month."

At which point the sale would be lost.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: We're already being asked for email addresses at the till

"There's one retailer for garden machinery in my area that needs name, address, DOB and phone number for cash sales."

If this is in the UK it would appear to contravene the DPA.

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Doctor Syntax
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Assuming for a moment that this scheme does exactly what Google claim it still won't measure the actual effect of advertising. In order to do that they'd also need to measure the negative effects - who bought what instead of a product that had been advertised at them because the advertising pissed them off.

Nobody in advertising or marketing will risk doing that. As long as they don't know they can plausibly deny that such an effect exists. The advertising industry can keep on selling to marketing and marketing can keep drawing their pay. Knowledge would seriously disrupt this cozy arrangement.

Remember folks, the only thing the advertising industry sells is adverts.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Categories

"The occasional stuff is probably where the richest pickings for sellers/ad-slingers are, so they might want to concentrate on that."

Why would they do that? Don't they want me to buy their stuff?

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Doctor Syntax
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"I remember when my manager bought a brand new Volvo. Six months later he told us that the dealer had got in touch to try and sell him a brand new Volvo."

Six whole months pester-free? I'd scarcely got my new car home before the dealer started spam texts. It only stopped when I managed to find the MD's email and told him bluntly that the spams had ensured that I never buy from his company again.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: get ready for “what's your e-mail address?” from counter staff

"Remember, corporate policy isn't the fault of the kid running the POS."

No, that's why directing them to the ICO would be a good move in the UK. Corporate policy might be in for a well-deserved nasty shock if they start spamming that.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: get ready for “what's your e-mail address?” from counter staff

"give a different email address to every organisation I deal with"

Ditto but only for those who I'll need to deal with on a long-term basis. I also set up a new address every few weeks for one-offs and then tear them down.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: We're already being asked for email addresses at the till

"Yes, I am the exception"

Don't be too sure. You're certainly not alone.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: We're already being asked for email addresses at the till

casework@ico.org.uk

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NHS Digital stopped short of advising against paying off WannaCrypt

Doctor Syntax
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Re: Virtualisation Of OS

The problem isn't so much restoring a known good image as restoring data. In any case there'd be no point in restoring an OS image while a worm was working it's way round the network as it would promptly get reinfected.

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Doctor Syntax
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"you will need to make a risk-based decision of whether to pay or not."

As a matter of interest do we know if any of those who did pay actually got their data back?

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UK ministers to push anti-encryption laws after election

Doctor Syntax
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Re: Clueless govt...

"I *SERIOUSLY* doubt the current Labour group want this invasion of privacy and communications."

Presumably you were in Scandinavia at the time but they have past form on this.

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Doctor Syntax
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"Obviously "wannacry" is not connected directly to the use of encryption or otherwise"

What it is directly connected to is the inability of TPTB to keep things secret and things they'd need to keep secret include the backdoor key.

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Doctor Syntax
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"UNLESS you can demonstrate an effective ZERO-KNOWLEDGE code?"

A twice solved problem. Diffie-Helman. Public key encryption.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Bloody Vikings

"Can you tell I like history?"

Yes but I think you mean he proceeded up the west side of England and also I think Norfolk was also part of the Danelaw - at least as originally constituted. Didn't Alfred cede more or less everything NE of Watling St?

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: thoughts on future regulation of encryption

" No rolling your own."

That, of course, would be illegal. And people already hell-bent on breaking old laws will shy away from breaking new ones. I can't quite put my finger on it but I get a sneaking suspicion that there might be something wrong with that line of thinking.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: So the person had been reported to the authorities....

"Until a crime is committed there is still the presumption of innocence, otherwise you're simply advocating that we have lifelong monitoring of every person who has ever been reported to the authorities"

The Home Office attitude, as exemplified by the recent Home Sec and Prime Minister pro tem, is that (a) there is no presumption of innocence and (b) they want life long monitoring of every person irrespective of having been reported. As this results in their spreading resources too thinly they've failed all too often to pay sufficient attention to those who should have been monitored..

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Doctor Syntax
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"Perhaps finally putting the fear of the people back into the government."

Why do you think the government wants to spy on the people?

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: As if the government had done so much...

"Well, the next obvious question is whether they choose to ignore the information, or do not have the resources to handle it?

Discuss"

OK, let's discuss. Maybe they don't have the resources to handle it and undertake mass-surveillance of everyone else as well. I which case, wouldn't it be better to focus on those they're aware of?

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Doctor Syntax
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"The first question I would ask is how they justify that MP's comms data is exempt from ICR collections."

That is justifiable. Not well thought out but justifiable. The justification is that you should be able to discuss matters confidentially with your MP. The not well thought out bit is that it's only actually exempt if your communication is also exempt.

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Doctor Syntax
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"This means that the encryption won't be as secure, but not all removed."

It won't be secure at all once it's leaked.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Liberty for temporary safety

"Seriously? Taking away your encryption is worse then massacring children?"

What do terrorists want to do? They want to remove our freedom under the law. So when a government decides to remove some of that freedom anyway then the terrorists have won a substantial victory. Is that what you want?

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: The encryption horse is free

"Of mainstream apps, only WhatsApp would be completely banned"

Did you join up today to astro-turf on behalf of the Home Office?

Lets look at what you forgot:

Online banking.

Placing orders online with Amazon, eBay, Tesco etc etc.

Paying for anything via PayPal

Securely sending your password to your email provider to get your mail

Logging into pretty well any other service.

All these things require end-to-end encryption between one user (the customer) and another (the service provider) in order to work securely. If you don't thing this security is important then I challenge you to post all the IDs and passwords that you use for such services here in public.

But first, have a look at the T&Cs of these services. You'll find every one requires you to keep this information confidential. Your government wants to make it impossible for you to abide by those.

And for what? For nothing as far as the stated purpose is concerned. Because any organisation that wants to use encryption to facilitate law breaking is concerned will source encrypted communications from outside the government's remit. The only ones to suffer will be law-abiding citizens.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Clueless govt...

"A hung parliament would be a good thing, but it won't happen."

You clearly have a very weak grasp of recent history.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Clueless govt...

"If they had a chance, I'd vote for them in a heartbeat."

Then do so for two reasons.

Firstly in pretty well every election the number of people who don't bother voting is greater than the majority and if those not voting do so because their choice "hasn't a chance" that attitude becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Give them that chance. Vote.

Secondly, although they don't stand a chance of forming a government they do, in the event of a hung Parliament, stand a chance of exerting a degree of control. They would have influence. All it takes is people like you to vote for them.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Clueless govt...

"Given the way the FPTP system operates then a hung Parliament is not unthinkable."

A hung Parliament is eminently thinkable. Farron, unfortunately, has been stupid enough to rule out a coalition in advance. A LibDem participation in a coalition is about the only thing that would stop this nonsense as Labour would do the same. I suppose just possibly a very slim majority might result in a change in PM - if May finds herself weakened Hammond would probably move next door.

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Doctor Syntax
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If any Conservative candidate comes calling for your vote ask them if they've published all their banking, ecommerce, farcebook, twatter and other log-in credentials. When they ask why explain to them that this will be the net effect of removing encryption and you don't see why you should be asked to vote for someone who hasn't tested such a stupid policy on themselves.

Or simply explain that forcing HMG to abandon the centuries-long presumption of innocence is a major win for terrorists who wish to destroy British values. (Make that English values dependent on your assessment of the candidate's degree of rabidness.)

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8 out of 10 cats fear statistics – AI doesn't have this problem

Doctor Syntax
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Re: When is a car not a car?

As Magritte would tell you, it's not a car, it's a picture of a car.

And I wonder what the self-driving car would make of this: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@53.571895,-1.6610001,3a,15y,14.84h,76.54t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1shgFY-Sgpy7aPBcFLra-3Tw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en

It's not a sheep. It's not even a picture of a sheep.

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Intel pitches a Thunderbolt 3-for-all

Doctor Syntax
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"We envision a future where high-performance single-cable docks, stunning photos and 4K video, lifelike VR, and faster-than-ever storage are commonplace,"

In other words bigger and better selfies and kitten videos. Oh to be living in such times.

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Britain's on the brink of a small-scale nuclear reactor revolution

Doctor Syntax
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Re: Renewables are not as green as its promotors claim

"The sun runs out of fuel."

Anybody still around when that happens has more problems to worry about than renewables failing.

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Doctor Syntax
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"That's why there are proxies for further back in the record"

And what are the error bars on such proxies?

The trouble with all this argument is that the period for which we have good global measurements (give or take arguments about integrating them) is very short so we're really arguing about noise which includes such things as the effects of volcanic veils - and do we know yet what caused the cold & wet period in Western Europe starting in 1315? In any case anyone who thinks that constant climate and constant sea-levels are the norm is living in a fools paradise. They have changed and they will change whatever we do.

OTOH we should really be concerned about conserving scarce resources. It's wantonly using up those that our descendants will be cursing us for.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Underground

"Wasn't Fukushima a "fail-safe" design?"

In the wake of Fukushima the Swiss have voted to phase out their nuclear energy. That should protect them against tsunamis.

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Doctor Syntax
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"137 years of measurements"

This is what concerns me about climate change discussions. Set against the period of the post-glacial it's about 1% and yet all the arguments hang on this.

There are very good arguments against unnecessary consumption of fossil fuels: they have multiple alternative uses as raw materials and when they're gone they're gone. There have been no good arguments against shoving them up power-station chimneys for the last half-century or more. It's largely down to the self-styled green movement that we're continuing to do this.

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Hitachi exits mainframe hardware but will collab with IBM on z Systems

Doctor Syntax
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"Back in 2016 there were rumours Hitachi was going to buy Big Blue's mainframe division"

Given time I'm sure Lenovo'll buy it.

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IT firms guilty of blasting customers with soul-numbing canned music

Doctor Syntax
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Re: We are experiencing unexpected call volumes at the moment

"Aaaaarggh! I so hate that particular lie."

If they were so unexpected how come they had a message recorded for that exact situation?

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Suggestions for tech firms' hold music

Blossom Dearie - Brr brr brr busy line.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: All of our advisors are down't pit at' moment

Surely Yorkshire themed music should include some of our brass bands. Preferably playing Pratty Flowers.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Vivaldi

How odd, in that case, that he taught in a girls' orphanage.

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Media players wide open to malware fired from booby-trapped subtitles

Doctor Syntax
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Re: didn't read it

Hmm. How free is free? Here's the link to VLC fix: http://get.videolan.org/vlc/2.2.5.1/win32/vlc-2.2.5.1-win32.exe

Oh look, it's a Windows problem at least in part.

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Capita and Birmingham City Council 'dissolve' joint venture

Doctor Syntax
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@Cynic_999

Dammit. I meant to write "service" and somehow "job" got in there instead. You're right, of course, where there's specialist investment in equipment required the job can usefully be outsourced. But the sort of labour-intensive service provision jobs that are being outsourced in situations such as the article describes don't easily gain from capital investments in the same way.

Another example would be health care provision. Locally,district nurses and various other services have been shifted to some not for profit organisation. The management gets paid more but the nurses are reportedly breaking down from overwork.

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NSA takes one-two punch to the face

Doctor Syntax
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Meanwhile on this side of the pond...

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