* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Boffins foresee most software written by machines in 2040

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: We've been here before...

"In this case, if you happen to be a prescriptive linguist, you should use less, because '10 minutes' isn't plural here."

A handy rule, if you care about this sort of thing at all, is to do a units conversion. Would you write "it took fewer than 1/6th of an hour"?

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Re: The 80's are calling

"and want their ideas back."

Indeed. Will this really be the Last One.

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Re: The less you know, the sooner you will be replaced

"It seems the people who write such papers ...will be replaced first."

They have been and the replacements keep arriving.

Investigatory Powers Act: You're not being paranoid. UK.gov really is watching you

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Re: My fingers are crossed those of you on the east side of the pond.

"Someone has taken the race to the bottom seriously."

A lot of people take it seriously. Some are either just better runners or had a head start.

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Re: Operation haystack...

"A few PB each and even google wouldn't be able to help for all the tax breaks in Ireland."

As the ISPs are to do the storage the price of those PBs will be added to your ISP subscription.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The cynic in me says it's academic ...

"Bank records, verified as correct by the bank, are pretty good whether or not the warrant was signed by someone of the correct rank."

And due process counts for nothing?

"It's only in cases where the probity of the investigator is important that there's any risk - say, for example, a blood stained glove. And that's something that the judge can rule on and the jury make their minds up on."

The blood stained glove might have nothing at all to do with what's alleged. It takes a properly documented chain of evidence for the judge and jury to even begin considering whether it does.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Yawn

"You may not like surveillance but it was a valid point."

No it wasn't.

The whole thing is predicated on ignoring the presumption of innocence which has been a cornerstone of English law for centuries and of the concept of due process of law which goes back even further, to Magna Carta. When such fundamentals of our basic rights are being yanked away like this we have every right duty to complain. Paranoia doesn't even enter into it. It's not the surveillance in itself that matters, it's the dismantling of the very foundations of our law.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: No surprise

"while she was a remainer."

Do you believe she really was? It would be inconsistent with wanting to ditch the ECHR and ECJ. I think that she expected the vote to go remain and didn't want to do anything that might have endangered her position post-vote.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: If they are going to make it easier for them

"I do not believe in the infinite dragnet and will simply bypass it and recommend the same to anyone else as well."

I can see where you're coming from on this but it doesn't get round the fact that important principles of English law are being set aside. This legislation regards everyone as a suspect on no good basis and I personally resent being regarded as a suspect on no good basis.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The cynic in me says it's academic ...

"We don't have the situation as in America where evidence doesn't amount to proof of something just because the right paperwork wasn't completed or procedures were not followed."

If the right paperwork isn't completed with all the due signatures in place and the procedures not followed there's no basis for believing that the exhibits placed before the court are those taken in the investigation, that there wasn't any cross-contamination between seizure and examination or that essential evidence hasn't mysteriously disappeared.

Of course having all that in place doesn't ensure that interference doesn't take place but it's an essential first step to getting things right and also for investigation when it becomes clear that something went wrong.

"I think that's how it should be; we shouldn't let guilty people walk free just because the authorities are also guilty of some crime."

Due processes of law are there largely to ensure that the innocent don't get convicted. Or do you subscribe to the idea that provided someone doesn't walk free, to use your term, it doesn't matter too much who the someone was?

And remember this: once there's a conviction it's very unlikely that the investigation will continue unless, years down the line, convincing evidence comes to light that there was a miscarriage of justice. By that time it's likely to be too late for any meaningful reinvestigation. A wrongful conviction is very likely to result in the actual culprit walking free.

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Re: Yawn

"It is getting increasingly hard to tell if you are a troll or just a wanker."

Or a wanking troll vs a trolling wanker.

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Re: Yawn

Maybe if people didn't break the law there wouldn't be a need for law enforcement due process of law and the presumption of innocence?


What really pisses me off about this is that the laws are written on the basis that I'm guilty of something. Something that hasn't been defined, but just guilty of it anyway.

It makes me wonder why I spent about a third of my working life as part of law enforcement (got that 'unwarranted triumphalism' - as part of law enforcement?) dealing inter alia with terrorism offences if what's supposed to be my government chooses to impose the same sort of anti-democratic rule that the terrorists would had they won. In fact it's arguable that in this respect they have won.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

" the plans do contain baby steps in the right direction."

The author is being very polite. Putting a trace of lipstick on the pig would be a better description.

Car rental firms told: Tell your customers about in-car data slurps

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Re: I tend to stick

Above that, the big companies seem to have a massive scam going where they bill your credit card a couple of hundred pounds for "dents" after the car is returned with no such damage.

Had that happen to me. Unfortunately it was after the last trip for a gig in N Ireland. If it'd been earlier then on the next trip an old colleague would have been able to have found a contact in the RUC Fraud Squad.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"some said they would update their privacy policies as part of prep for the General Data Protection Regulation"

They may update their policies. It'll probably take some fines before they update their practices but it looks like that's what they'll need to do.

Microsoft adds nothing to new Semi-Annual Windows Server preview

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"introducing bugs to existing code to see who can put up with them for the longest"

You wrote that as if it was something new.

Mailsploit: It's 2017, and you can spoof the 'from' in email to fool filters

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

There seems to be a view in some comments that being able to spoof From: is a Good Thing.

I challenge that. It facilitates all sorts of crime and what's possibly worse is that business who "legitimately" make use of this are training their correspondents to be phished.

Take a typical phishing email:

- The From: field claims it came from some bank.

- Examination of the headers shows that it came from elsewhere

- It has a link to an image of the bank's logo - probably a genuine link as an image of the bank's logo isn't difficult to find on the bank's website

- One or more links in the body of the email that appear to point to the bank's web site but on closer examination point elsewhere. The object of the email is to get the victim to click on one of these.

Now take a typical outsourced valuable marketing message spam from a bank:

- The From: field claims it came from the bank.

- Examination of the headers shows that it came from elsewhere

- It has a link to an image of the bank's logo

- One or more links in the body of the email that appear to point to the bank's website but on closer examination point elsewhere (this is my experience - they use a sub-domain of the bank but it resolves to the digital marketing spamming company). The object of the email is to get the victim to click on one of these.

The result is that the genuine article authorised spam looks exactly like a booby-trapped phishing spam. The wary will treat the two alike and ignore the bank. The unwary will treat the two alike and get phished. It's time this was stopped. If, as a by-product, it stops banks and other businesses spamming the public nothing of value will be lost.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: There are spam filters that pay attention to the contents of "From"?

"Trying to change this simple fact would break all kinds of things."

Many of them bad.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I dunno

"Removing the ability to spoof the from address would stop third party companies handling mail on someone else's behalf; a very common thing in business nowadays."

And that is more important than stopping the mechanism for all sorts of common, serious criminal behaviour?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"And making any of this compulsory or improving SMTP is a problem because the system is too widely used and still too important to break."

The evidence is that it's already broken. Is it too important to fix?

Hyperloop founder goes on immediate leave following sexual assault 'smear campaign'

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Re: Do you guy's actually read what you write?

Whatever they write I'm quite sure that all of them know not to form a plural with an apostrophe.

Dentist-turned bug-biter given a taste of freedom

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Re: One should be very careful

"About repeating the sentiment that Patterson Dental's Eaglesoft has security issues (as mentioned by several commentards). That might influence google's search results in a way that leads searchers to conclude that Eaglesoft, from Patterson Dental, has serious security issues."

I'm afraid we've been careless. If you search for patterson dental security on Google el Reg comes 5th.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Clearly a good move on Patterson Dental's part. By having the publicity descend on FBI officers it's maybe deflected attention from Patterson Dental's Eaglesoft having security issues. That would help avoid the Streisand effect drawing attention to such security issues with Patterson Dental's Eaglesoft. BTW, doesn't HIPPA have anything to say about such issues?

Once again, UK doesn't rule out buying F-35A fighter jets

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"At this rate we'll have the Prince of Wales permanently anchored in Lough Neagh"

It wouldn't fit through the lock at Toome. Better try Lough Foyle.

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"maintenance costs to be cut significantly."

Maintenance costs cut - F35s? Does not compute especially as the maintenance is outsourced non-competitively.

Viagra's Irish plant STILL giving local men and dogs stiffies (not really)

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At the weekend – signalling the beginning of the "silly season" for journalists – The Times splashed a rehash of the time-honoured tale

It's just as well el Reg would never stoop so low.

You're SAP-ing my will to live: Licensing debate lumbers on as ERP giant tries to rebuild trust

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Re: Failed with us

" we engaged SAP in a frank verbal discussion on what we could and couldn't do with our license. They were very forthcoming and honest."

Perhaps you should have recorded it "for training purposes".

Dirty COW redux: Linux devs patch botched patch for 2016 mess

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Re: Huh?

"And even that is pre-supposing that the requirements can still be regarded as 'bug free' themselves, as Lee D pointed out."

Also pre-supposing that the theorem provers are bug free.

It's bugs all the way down.

Brit MP Dorries: I gave my staff the, um, green light to use my login

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Re: Its up to the Data Controller to govern sharing of your data


Some of what you say is quite true but you seem to have overlooked that the net of who's being trusted here seems to have been spread a good deal wider than those corresponding with her might have expected.

Also, right there at the start of your 2nd para you list the police amongst those to be trusted. Well, there's one (ex-)policeman who evidently can't.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Nadine Dorries : Why do people vote for her?

"She loves employing her family to work for her, according to wikipedia, her daughter earns 40-45K working as her office manager, despite living 96 miles away from the office. Her sister is one of her secretaries, on 30-35K."

That's a relief. She's just sharing her password with family so of course they can be trusted.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Yet if any other civil servant did this

"sheer flippancy"

I think you may be doing her too much credit. Flippancy requires some comprehension.

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Re: @ macjules

"it'll be 'N4d1n3'"

Too hard. More likely 'nadine'.

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Re: Sends a terrible message.

"Essentially she's saying you can't prove someone is at the keyboard just because they've logged in."

Sadly, this is true. If senior managers in business need to have their emails printed out to read them what can you expect of MPs whose only essential skill is chatting up their constituencies' selection committees?

Drone collisions with airliners may not be fatal, US study suggests

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Re: Bird Strike

And those were only lapwings!

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Re: "may not be fatal"

"I suspect logic is not their forte."

Saying anything cautionary about drones brings out a flock of downvoters.

Escrow you, Apple! Ireland expects Cupertino to cough up to €13bn

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "The Register has contacted Apple for a statement"

Things are improving. They didn't reach out.

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Re: Clever Irish

but they can always blame count on the mega corps going elsewhere to Ireland on Brexit.


From the graaaaaave! WileyFox's Windows 10 phone delayed again

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""Wileyfox Pro"

Sounds like a cunning but elderly database system.

Freelance techies moan about DXC billing snafu: No pay for three weeks

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Re: If you get your contract through a third party ...

"But an increasing trend for companies that employ contractors"

There's the problem right there: "employ".

As soon as a client is thinking in those terms you have a problem. I stuck to working with relatively small businesses and mostly getting contracts by reputation or repeat business.

Smaller businesses were also less of a pain to work with unlike, say, the time I covered someone's 2-week holiday with an overlap either side and it was largely occupied by doing the paperwork to get agreement to add another chunk to the database and then more paperwork to get the system admins to make the space from LVM.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: If you get your contract through a third party ...

"... you are not freelance."

That doesn't follow. What matters is the terms of the contract. The trouble is that having a pimp mediating the contracts introduces an element of uncertainty into those terms. It's certainly preferable to contract direct.

Nationwide UK web bank and app take unscheduled nap

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Re: An amateurish organisation

In the banking world it seems to count as business as usual.

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"Customer service is the highest priority for Nationwide"

What's the lowest?

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Terrible Interference To Santa's Universal Providing

Damian Green: Not only my workstation – mystery pr0n all over Parliamentary PCs

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"Well the ICO has waded in"

Given that an MP could be dealing with personal affairs of constituents it's not surprising. What is surprising is that the Sergeant at Arms would allow the seizure on an MP's computer even with a warrant let alone without one.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

If you were of an - errm - nefarious turn of mind wouldn't it be a good idea to send each MP an email claiming to be from a constituent with a dodgy payload that would download a few dodgy thumbnails? It would have the added bonus that the timestamps of the files would coincide with times that the computer was in use. Just so that should the case arise you want to blacken or blackmail an MP you could make such allegations against them.

Who might want to do that? Probably lots of people, not all from unfriendly countries. MPs are high value targets.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"No filter on the gov network?"

This is a Parliamentary network and what applies here doesn't necessarily apply to other gov.uk sites. I'm not sure about then but nowadays they even have their own domain, parliament.uk. And introducing a filter onto that raises all sorts of issues: would you be monitoring MPs' confidential communications with their constituents? or Party officials? Would you be censoring what they see? What authority could impose such sanctions on MPs given that collectively they are sovereign?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"particularly damning to ...the coaching MPs get on security"

The coaching might be OK but the ability of MPs to understand complicated technical explanations such as "don't share your password" might be a bit restricted. Ask Amber about hashing.

Voyager 1 fires thrusters last used in 1980 – and they worked!

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Re: Well done NASA!

" by planets"

Almost as good as a Soviet-era Russian woman shot-putter.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: how is assembler outdated and by what?

"this particular Assembler language IS outdated."

Not if there's a functioning CPU to run it on.

Guilty: NSA bloke who took home exploits at the heart of Kaspersky antivirus slurp row

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Re: Pho no!

"What's a good replacement for Kaspersky?"

Do you mean apart from not using Windows in the first place?

A lot of people here would reckon that they have more to fear snooping from their own governments than from a foreign government so, unless their government is Russian, Kaspersky would be their AV of choice.

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