* Posts by Doctor Syntax

11589 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Engineer named Jason told to re-write the calendar

Doctor Syntax
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Re: "Can't we get rid of May?"

"We tried that in June, but we were foiled by the Orange March."

Orange Marches are usually in July.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Can't we get rid of May?

"Literally just before one of the biggest busts in memory."

Not just before. He'd been saying that for years whilst engineering a long boom by having the BoE base interest rates on the principle that a house price bubble wasn't inflation, ignoring runaway borrowing and taxing the future by killing the pension funds' tax relief on dividends. By keeping the cycle going longer and further than normal he just ensured that a bigger boom was followed by a bigger bust.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Can't we get rid of May?

"Imagine the media coverage if that was being spent on any other industry."

Imagine the media coverage if they hadn't bailed out the banks. Although there might have been rather less media to provide the coverage - a collapsing bank is likely to take most of its customers down with it.

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Doctor Syntax
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"ah the good old days. Cant do that anymore"

You still can if you own the company. Calling themselves Mythic Beasts gave the company the ability to name their servers after mythical beasts.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Can't we get rid of May?

"When Blair left office in 2007, the National Debt was ~36% of GDP. Its now well over double that."

He sidestepped the crash. Things were well on the route to getting a lot worse.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Can't we get rid of May?

"Blair might have dragged us into an illegal war, but at least he didn't completely stuff the country"

Not on his own. He had his side-kick Brown to help with that. Then neatly stepped aside just in time to avoid the inevitable result.

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Oi, force Microsoft to cough up emails on Irish servers to the Feds, US states urge Supremes

Doctor Syntax
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Re: UK not much better (in the quality of its arguments)

"The article clearly states that MS can access the data from within the US"

Where do you see this in the article?

Do you mean this: The prosectors argued Microsoft is an American corporation and therefore should obey an order from an American judge; where the data sought existed was immaterial – it could be accessed from Redmond's US offices.?

Or this: “The court reached this conclusion even though Microsoft could easily access the stored data from its United States offices,” the group said, echoing a key argument in the DoJ’s case against Microsoft.?

In the first case note that this is an argument by the prosecution and in the other the group referred to is the not entirely disinterested group of state attorneys general in it's a claim in an amicus brief.

Neither of these constitutes evidence. Neither is clearly stating fact.

"I have no interest pro or anti any of the parties in this case, but surely where the information is accessible from, and by whom, is just as important as where it's physically stored? Otherwise, all reasonable law enforcement in the digital realm could quickly become impossible"

How many times does it have to be pointed out that if the authorities have a case to justify a warrant there is an existing process whereby they present it to a court in Ireland in whose jurisdiction the data resides? So reasonable law enforcement is not impossible. The fact that they have not done so gives rise to grave suspicions that something else lies behind it - anything from initial ignorance of the due process backed up by pig-headedness or a severe case of willy-waving to embarking of a fishing trip with no case at all. It doesn't need any interest in the outcome of the underlying case to be deeply concerned about due process in accessing it. Due process of law should be of interest to us all.

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Doctor Syntax
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The next step?

The EU should test the US's attitude on the reciprocal of this. Start a tax investigation into Trump's EU property and apply for a warrant in an EU court to get his tax returns.

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Doctor Syntax
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"What numpty wasted taxpayers money coming up with this one?"

On reflection this could be much more than a waste of money. It could cost British business dear. When, post-Brexit, the UK is looking for adequacy under GDPR this cavalier attitude could be held against us.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Yeah, but common sense, too...

"Well in the case of the EU it would be because personal data stored in the EU is protected under the GDPR regulations"

Not quite yet. GDPR doesn't apply until May 2018. But GDPR only tightens up on an existing directive.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Change "email" with "money"...

"Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the courts being in Microsoft's favour. It's just, rationally, I find it hard to support"

Rationally it's not at all hard to support. There's an established procedure for this, one which involves going to the Irish courts. They should have used it. There's no indication that they tried. Supporting due process of law vs taking short cuts isn't at all irrational.

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Doctor Syntax
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"Because of such storage policies, and due to technological change and the global nature of the communications environment, the U.K. does not believe that the geographic storage location of data should be the determining factor for whether or not a nation may gain access to such communications."

Does HMG really believe that if the Feds won this one that the US would reciprocate and grant access to US servers on the basis of a warrant in a UK court? What numpty wasted taxpayers money coming up with this one?

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Yeah, but common sense, too...

" why in the hell should the police have to involve the government of another country just because the emails are located on some server there?"

They don't have to so why are they doing it?

There's no need to involve the government of another country. All they have to do is involve the courts of that country by following existing agreed procedures. So why do they try to go barging in heavy handed in a way that gets governments involved in defending their sovereignty?

"This whole situation highlights the serious need for more and better international agreements regulating this sort of thing."

ROFLMAO. The international agreements of which you write already exist. This entire episode is the result of the authorities in this case choosing not to use them.

All they have to do, assuming they have a case, is to present that case to the relevant court and get a warrant. Microsoft Ireland would be bound to abide by that warrant. The Irish government would not be involved. (Technically, I suppose, it would have already been involved in negotiating with the US the relevant treaty which the US authorities are now ignoring.)

So why are they getting themselves in this position. Is it that they don't have a case? Do they have a case but can't be bothered to get off their arses and present it to the relevant court? Are they trying to establish a precedent whereby they can go to a complaisant US court for fishing expeditions when they really don't have a case and know they'd be laughed out of an Irish court? Did the read the word 'foreign' and think they'd have to present the case in a non-English language? If it's that I can assure them that they speak excellent English in Ireland. Do they just fancy throwing their weight about internationally to bully smaller countries, given they're not doing very well with Russia or the Norks?

If they get their way with this things will not go very well with a large swathe of the US tech industry in the future. The Privacy Figleaf can be expected to shrivel up and die and it will be very difficult to persuade anyone in the EU to have another shot at replacing it. Any US business that depends on the Figleaf this will find EU business drying up. Other markets might follow. You might find yourself reminiscing about the halcyon days when the US had an international tech industry.

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Russia could chop vital undersea web cables, warns Brit military chief

Doctor Syntax
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Re: "Can you imagine a scenario where those cables are cut or disrupted?"

"The threat of Russia doing this does not exist."

Not deliberately, of course. But there could be the occasional careless anchoring -oops, so sorry.

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We need to talk about mathematical backdoors in encryption algorithms

Doctor Syntax
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Re: turning it up to 11

"based on what we know of chaining hashing algorithms, you may end up with a counterintuitive result of making it easier to crack your ciphertext"

Nevertheless it's something the theoreticians should be looking at.

The critical point could be key exchange algorithms. It's not going to help if you have a very strong message encryption based on chaining algorithms from multiple sources if the key exchange is vulnerable.

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UK needs a 'digital twin' to keep track of its data assets – report

Doctor Syntax
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@ Ledswinger

Enough of this reticence. Tell us what you really think.

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Doctor Syntax
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It's a pity they didn't get some boundaries into the title. "Data" is just too vague. They clearly mean data about how some sort of infrastructure is working. But if someone from, say, the NHS picks this up...

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UKIP appeals against ICO request for info on Brexit data dealings

Doctor Syntax
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Re: The problem for UKIP

"The government in power does not need to break laws, it just changes them to make what it wants to do legal."

Could you point to any changes in law in a time frame relevant to the referendum?

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Doctor Syntax
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Not being the type of party to shy away from being accused of petulance

FTFY

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EE Business Broadband digital transformation: Portal offline until July

Doctor Syntax
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Re: Code review?

"I agree, biut since when did something like a ton of gaping security holes stop a company from making a service live over the public Internet?"

So damned if they do and damned if they don't?

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Code review?

Either that or the likes of SAP, 'Orrible etc. came along and did an audit that showed they needed 2 licences for every member of the UK population in case any of them blundered into the portal by accident.

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FBI tells Jo(e) Sixpack to become an expert in IoT security

Doctor Syntax
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Re: Almost no education

"I've been trying to teach 13 to 15 yr olds computers on a one on one basis (to earn some cash) and not one has known anything technical learnt from school."

Selection bias could be at work here - if they learn it at school they're not your target market. But, depressingly, you're probably right.

The root problem - what's the intersect between teachers and elReg readers and what's the probability of finding a member of it in any given school?

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Continuous product and service improvement

"Those votes are for comments, not the article to which they relate though."

Nevertheless, comments such as GrumpyKiwi's serve as a proxy for voting for the article.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Who is this aimed at?

"Let's assume, as a starting point, that the FBI is not completely stupid."

It could be an arse-covering move. At some point they might need to turn round and point at this and say "well, we did tell you, it's your fault for not taking the advice".

Another possibility is that it's a starting point for mandating features and default configuratons for stuff to be sold to the public.

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IETF protects privacy and helps net neutrality with DNS over HTTPS

Doctor Syntax
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Re: Now this would be a great idea...

"Meaning, all the surveillance that your ISP or government did on you is moved to Google and Facebook."

This is the real problem. The bottom line might be that you'd have to take a paid service from a provider in a country that takes privacy very seriously. DNS, email, storage hosting; eventually a small country is going to realise that this could be a nice little earner - just like running a tax haven and maybe a prerequisite.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Chickens and eggs?

"made me think a bit, though."

Not too long, I hope. The reminder was in A Non e-mouse's reply.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: This proves it...

"and that impasse can come with ISPs blocking encryption wholesale at most levels"

The points about ossification and greasing made in the linked article ( https://blog.apnic.net/2017/12/12/internet-protocols-changing/ ) are worth a read. But in this case encryption of HTTP is now so prevalent that an ISP who tried blocking that would be out of business PDQ. That's why initiatives such as DOH use HTTP.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Now this would be a great idea...

"The only way to break in is to get a copy of the pad"

That's also your weakness. The recipient of a message also needs a copy of the pad. That means that you have to have a secure method of distributing the pads.

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Disk drives spin, are you listening? In the lane, servers glistening...

Doctor Syntax
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Dunno about the article but full marks to the title.

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Former ZX Spectrum reboot project man departs

Doctor Syntax
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"I'm surprised to see how popular the ZX Spectrum"

It's part of the phenomenon that sees grown men buying second hand toy cars etc. because they once owned new ones.

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Put down the eggnog, it's Patch Tuesday: Fix Windows boxes ASAP

Doctor Syntax
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Re: Damn you ms - damn you to hell!

"Executed it, went to save it"

Lesson learned. Write it, save it, try it. Then edit, save and try as necessary until it works.

And if it updates stuff, start with BEGIN WORK but leave the COMMIT or ROLLBACK to be entered by hand.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: "Put down the eggnog"

"Whatever was she thinking?"

Something along the lines of "Stop the boat, I want to get off" as far as I could make out.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: "Put down the eggnog"

"I'll continue to observe the ancient tradition of grabbing a bottle of the Christmas beverage since time immemorial"

From the link: The technical people at IDV’s research and development department in Harlow had concocted some “heather and honey” traditional-style liqueurs

I may have a still unopened bottle at the back of my pantry shelf, given to us some years ago by a cousin who'd had it given to them - a chain of events you might find informative.

But years ago when we, for some reason, took a ferry from Dublin instead of Larne, we came across a promotion for it. The poor girl who was trying to organise it had a supply of those minuscule plastic thimbles they use for such occasions and was trying to ration it out. She ran into a gaggle of old dears from the back streets of Belfast (to judge by the accents). After a few minutes she was looking a bit stressed. Before long they'd wrested control of the supply from her and by the time we docked in Holyhead they were all rolling drunk.

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Google lies about click-fraud refunds and tried to destroy us – ad biz

Doctor Syntax
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@FozzyBear

No. Definitely not.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Conflicted Here

"The fact that the putative victim of the act is bottom-feeding scum doesn't change the fact that the act itself is wrong."

It does, however, severely limit the amount of sympathy I can feel for them. Down to zero, in fact.

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Auto auto fleets to dodge British potholes in future

Doctor Syntax
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"The prime culprits are HGVs. A single 10 ton truck does around ten thousand times more damage in one pass than a car (road damage is proportional to the 5th power of axle pressure and the 2nd power of speed)"

One local road, only a couple of hundred metres or so long services various sites that attract HGVs including one that's accessed by really big stuff - the sort of thing you see on the motorways with wide load escorts. The road is a mosaic of holes and patches. A while ago they spent a day or two patching some of the holes. It's meaningless. The whole road needs to be dug up and rebuilt from scratch with a structure capable of carrying that traffic. As it's a side road off a B road there's probably a stack of documentation somewhere proving it can't possibly carry traffic that would justify that.

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Doctor Syntax
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Facepalm

"The biggest problem with potholes is the way they repair them, bunging a bit of tarmac in and levelling it off doesn’t seal the gap.

Water gets between the patch and the rest of the road. Freezes and they pushes the patch out. "

You can fix that with a covering of tar and chippings to seal over the filling. So - council tars and chips the road, potholes and all. Then council comes along again and fills in the potholes on top of the tar and chip layer.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Pothole reporting

"Then there is all that anti-skid surface that flakes off after a couple of years."

Taking some of the underlying surface with it.

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At Christmas, do you give peas a chance? Go cold turkey? What is the perfect festive feast?

Doctor Syntax
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Re: Mince pies

"there is no effing meat"

Meat can also be a generic word for any sort of food.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: What about cooking disasters?

"Costly & takes up space but a dual oven cooker is worth the hassle"

1 1/2 here and the small one wouldn't take a goose. Must check on the spare element situation for that one...

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Bring me a cheese from every town!

"I've only got 4 bottles at home."

Thanks for the reminder. Must go and do a stock-take.

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Doctor Syntax
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"Yorkshires are mandatory. As are peas."

Not peas. Too difficult to chase round your plate after a few glasses of wine. At a pinch you could coat them with honey, I suppose but that would really be overdoing the calories.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Goose

"never tasted goose"

Never tasted turkey. I've eaten it a few times but tasted it? No.

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Doctor Syntax
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What about cooking disasters?

Some years ago:

Goose in oven. Switch on. Bang! & shower of sparks. Oven element blown.

SWMBO took goose round to her sister to supervise start of cooking there whilst I got online to place an order there and then for two replacement elements, instituting an N+1 redundancy plan. Sister and husband brought cooked goose with them later.

N+1 plan vindicated on more than one occasion since then, once again about Christmas but not AFAICR on Christmas morning. I think if we ever bought a new oven I'd order a replacement element at the same time.

But a few years ago the fan motor also went TITSUP* shortly before Christmas, fortunately in time to get a replacement. BiL roped in to help get the oven out if its housing on the basis that his dinner depended on it.

*Total Inability To Spin Up

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Duck

"rabbit in vinegar"

Double shudder (one for the vinegar). Once a term the hall of residence menu was rabbit. It consisted mostly of bony shrapnel, ribs and vertebrae. In the succeeding half century I've never considered it to be an edible foodstuff. The other once a term horror was macaroni cheese which somehow had achieved a density approximating to that of osmium.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Yorkshire puddings

Should only be consumed with gravy*. The meat comes in the next course. It doesn't matter what sort of meat it is. I don't know where this strange idea that it should be beef came from. Probably some southern idea.

* This is not strictly true. It can also be sprinkled with sugar as a desert but not at Christmas.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Starter for Ten...

@ Alister

Wot, no red cabbage?

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How fast is a piece of string? Boffin shoots ADSL signal down twine

Doctor Syntax
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Re: If the engineer has a quiet moment...

"there was a phone system in the UK that used the actual physical earth as the return leg of the current for the local loop."

I still have most of a 1000' reel of gov. surplus plastic covered steel wire that I think was used for military telephones in that way. We could use it by splitting a pair of high impedance phones and using one earpiece at each end as both microphone and receiver. It's been sitting around in various garages since the 50s and still snip bits off as garden wire.

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Doctor Syntax
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"And then the wind might be a factor, too."

That'll be the Brussels sprouts.

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Doctor Syntax
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"string (which The Register can reveal was bought on eBay)"

So this ISP stuff is just money for old rope?

I was expecting mechanical transfer of data with a couple of tin cans to add voice transmission.

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