* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Algorithms, Henry VIII powers, dodgy 1-man-firms: Reg strokes claw over Data Protection Bill

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Re: Don't worry

Of course they will. They've got Dame Martha "lastminute.com" Lane Fox to explain it all to them.

They certainly will.

There are much sharper knives in that box than DMLF. In fact they're a good argument against elected legislators. What we really need are ex officio appointments of people who know what they're talking about like, say Presidents or equivalent of the Roy Soc, chartered professional institutions (a year or two ago I'd have added University VCs but that role seems to have turned into a gravy train); the HoL would be just the place. Then put it on equal footing with the HoC when it comes to passing legislation. We might even get to the position where the main parties have to compete and select candidates who also know what they're talking about.

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Read: "Guilt-trip and/or pester anyone whose ever met an alumnus or student of our "institution" for more money. " No thanks.

Too true. It's only as we approach pushing up daisies ages that our old University seem to have discovered where SWMBO & I live.

UK industry bods: Re-train one million manufacturing workers to deal with new tech

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Same old same old

This will identify areas of skills shortages potential recruits wanting reasonable salaries

USB stick found in West London contained Heathrow security data

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First question they need to settle:

Was this an item lost by someone who should have known better or did the finder stumble on someone's dead-letter drop?

And secondly, if it was the latter, was it smuggled out of an office by someone with access, authorised or otherwise, or was it assembled by someone who hacked into a system or systems that contained it?

Camera company, huh? Snap's nerd goggles look destined for landfill

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Snapchat addicts – "some of the most plugged in and digitally aware people on earth,"

Plugged in? I thought it worked over the air.

Mine's the one with a reel of Cat 5 in the pocket.

Fresh bit o' Linux to spruce up that ancient Windows Vista box? Why not, we say...

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Re: systemd :(

It seems that it can be installed over Devuan - see my post above.

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"It needs to be hybridised with Devuan."

This looks interesting: http://www.q4os.org/forum/viewtopic.php?id=1592

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"everything is tied to an impenetrable, monolithic lump of unnecessarily mingled code that only creates problems without solving anything."

It needs to be hybridised with Devuan.

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Re: nice to see...

"This gets a thumbs up from me for using Debian."

A pedant speaks: Ubuntu is also based on Debian.

I have to agree, however. Ubuntu does seem to specialise in taking features from Debian and slightly damaging them.

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"That's great and all, but you've already alienated 98% of non-techies by making it even as difficult as that."

Those who would find typing a one word command are unlikely to want to exercise that choice. The screen-shot on the Q4OS site shows that they've taken trouble to make the menu look post-W2K Windows-like so Windows migrants aren't likely to want to change much anyway.

I must download it to take a closer look; think it will become my standard distro for upgrading family from Windows from now on. I might even move SWMBO's new laptop over to it, away from standard Debian Stretch with its fashionably flat and ugly KDE 5 styling.

Spare me the confected 'Innovation Theatre' that is hackfests and their ilk

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I see Simon's vasectomy has been quickly reversed. More power to him.

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According to the by-line Simon had a vasectomy so where does Warren Burns come into the picture?

Or is the by-line wrong?

F-35s grounded by spares shortage

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Re: Wrong methodology

"fail fast and fail often" seems to apply here

"Fast" seems optimistic.

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Re: Crap planes = more profit for the 1%

"Show the rabble shiny toys and they'll pay for the joy."

That would be the rabble of SW1.

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Re: F-35 Normal state is TITSUP

Option3) Use them as drone carriers.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......@ veti

The real advantage of the US military was not technology, but in the size and scale of the US economy, by having a domestic industrial base that was not under regular air attack, secure, local supply chains for materials and components, along with little dependence on foreign food or energy resources.

And by being late to the party.

Merck's $310m NotPetya bill, stolen RDP logins selling for $10 a pop, bug patches, and more

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The Merck paragraph misses out in this aspect: https://securityledger.com/2017/10/notpetya-infection-left-merck-short-key-vaccine-gardasil/

It's more then business's accounts that are affected.

Car trouble: Keyless and lockless is no match for brainless

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"my £300 student car, which you could open with any old penknife or coat hanger."

A real student car is one where you could almost crawl inside through the gap between the floor and the sill.

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Re: A Peugeot...something or other

"The 2 CDs I found in the glovebox, plus whatever compilation albums Carlisle services had were our entertainment for the 8 hour drive."

We didn't have to drive as far as Milton Keynes but we found additional entertainment provided by "are we there yet?" and fights on the back seat.

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Re: Daft indicator switch

"I test-drove a BMW 7-series....After a while I felt it was easier to switch lanes without warning."

Thanks for that. It explains a great deal.

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"Secretly, there too many of us in IT who seem to be luddites when it comes to cars."

No. There are a lot of us in IT who recognise things being done badly when we see them.

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Re: You are NOT kidding

"Who the hell are these moron interface designers these days?"

I think interface design has become a work creation scheme for unemployed arts graduates.

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Re: Hire cars are a mixed blessing

"Bring back those happy days when any Ford key would open any Ford"

I'll see your Ford and raise you a Subaru. Having got to the destination I reached down to turn off the engine and found the key was missing. It had fallen out of the lock onto the floor with the engine turned on and running.

After that I realised I could start the car in the morning, take the key out with the engine running, lock up and go back into the house until the engine had warmed up and defrosted the windscreen.

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"It does have the big advantage that it's mechanically impossible to have the fog lights on without the headlights"

AIUI the theory about fog lights is that by mounting them low you don't end up looking down the beam to the same extent that you do with headlights and that the backscatter doesn't, therefore, dazzle in the same way as headlight backscatter does. Not that I've ever found that convincing in practice.

But it does imply that the correct operation is to have headlights off when you need fog lights.

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"Variations in where Reverse lives on the gear stick "


Years ago we organised a student field trip. I drove to the site in my car. And waited for the rented mini-bus to arrive with the students. And waited. And waited.

Eventually it turned up. The driver had never driven a Ford before, missed a turning and drove on for miles before working his way back because he couldn't find reverse.

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"Electronic handbrakes still need a button that lets you put them on / take them off."

Have you investigated how to release it if it fails?

I did that a while ago before I bought my current car. It involved breaking into a weather-proofed sealed unit and unwinding some humongous number of turns with a special tool from the toolkit. Because you'd now broken the weather-proofing you then had to get the whole expensive unit replaced. And good luck with keeping the car in place whilst unwinding it if you were parked on a hill.

I bought something else.

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Re: Possible Solution

"Which is usually around v1.1"

Things must be improving. It used to be 3.1.

NHS could have 'fended off' WannaCry by taking 'simple steps' – report

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Having touched on certifying equipment in previous comments, here's a suggestion answering some points made about businesses providing support services.

Require services to be certified. If, as in a previous comment, ACLs weren't in place, the service provider loses its certification and must pass its contracts over to another provider.

And I don't mean simple ISO 9000 box ticking. The service actually being provided gets unannounced spot checks to see what the reality is.

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Re: It's a mess

"and too many people are getting fat on caging up Source Code anyway."

That can be stopped by insisting on escrowed source code.

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Re: I work in the NHS

"I wonder if said crap company has had moneys withheld?"

Or prosecuted for fraud if they've claimed and received payment for something they haven't done?

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Re: What went right elsewhere?

"As you say Wales did not seem to be as badly hit and they are part of the same NHS as England."

No. They even keep separate records of the GPs working in Wales. I discovered a whole bundle of fun around that when I was trying to keep a unified database for a service provider. A GP moving from one English practice to another or one Welsh practice to another wasn't too bad. But when they were going to move across the border..

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Re: getting the queues down isn just some basic maths

"The maths is easy, but the numbers that go into the maths are a tad more difficult to come by."

The easiest thing of all, once you get into lead times of 5 years and over, is to kick it all down the road into the next government's territory.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Surely, Government Departments have the buying power to have hardware manufacturers give up hardware details so that proper drivers can be written when required."

Medical equipment has to be certified as safe and effective in the markets in which it sells. The NHS is probably not going to be counted as a big enough market to make manufacturers see some UK-only spec. as being worth spending time and money on pandering to; at least not unless they charge a great deal extra for it.

A better bet would be to pressure the certification authorities to ensure that in order to remain certified equipment has to be maintained reasonably up-to-date. Of course that would be easier if we were part of a larger market such as the EU but in order to make an extra £350m a week available for the NHS (as Boris still seems to insist on) we won't be.

The likelihood is that imposing a draconian regime of that (or any other) nature would simply result in a good deal of existing equipment being orphaned by the manufacturer declaring it EoL or simply closing down altogether.

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Re: Easy to mitigate

"But looking to the future, can I assume that the NHS will be refusing to buy software tied to current versions of an OS likely to be obsolete in something like five years?"

It's not a matter of buying S/W alone. It's the complete package of H/W, the custom S/W that works with it (not only the user applications but also drivers) and the underlying O/S.

The driver bit is a particular problem if you're relying on the manufacturer to update it. After all, they're relying on the underlying O/S driver model not to change in 5 years. Is any OS vendor going to guarantee that? If, for instance, the OS implements vendor signing of the driver that might sound fine now if they've signed the existing driver. But in 5 years time they may simply refuse to sign all 3rd party drivers.

You also rely on all the parties in what might be a long chain of specialised bits & bobs that went into the device's BoM to play along or even to exist years into the future.

TL;DR It really isn't that simple.

You're designing an internet fridge. Should you go for fat HTML or a Qt-pie for your UI?

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Re: The code!

"In fact, the parsimonious nature of white goods makers is perhaps our best defence against the internet of tat."

Let's hope it stays that way. All the TV makers seem to have gone for double-dipping their customers.

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"And how is that going to be easier than tapping the order into your iPad?"

It won't make the fridge-maker any money.

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"the internet connected fridge is just going to be a gimmick bought buy people with more money than sense"

Let's hope it stays that way and sensible alternatives remain on the market.

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Simple answer


Is the FCC purposefully screwing up US school broadband projects?

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Re: School -- Let the parents know what's happening --> write to their Con-gressman

@John Smith

Your politicians must be more responsive than MPs if you think that'll have an effect.

UK.gov joins Microsoft in fingering North Korea for WannaCry

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It's far more convenient to blame the Norks, Russkies or whoever than blame MS for building stuff with holes in it and the NSA for not only discovering those holes, not (at least presumably not) feeding the info back to MS, not only that but building exploits for the holes and not only that but also letting the exploits leak out.

No, nothing to do with MS or the NSA; strictly down to the Norks.

Boss put chocolate cake on aircon controller, to stop people using it

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Re: So, my first read....

"it boiled down to a case of aesthetics."

We had an architect with a fetish for putting windows right up to the corners of the building on both walls. Presumably it made it look as if the building was being held up by magic when, of course, everyone knew the external walls weren't load-bearing and the building was held up by pillars just behind the windows and blocking the light. Presumably in architect thinking it's better to be stupid and look clever rather than be clever and look ordinary.

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One Monday morning I arrived to find that over the weekend Facilities had boarded over the openings into the risers with fire-proof boards. The sort that sprinkle hard little bits of grit all over the place when you cut and drill them. They'd cut and drilled them.

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Re: It's not just cake which can annoy the real folk.

"piece and quiet"

Dammit. I'm having a bad weak with my tiepin.

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Re: It's not just cake which can annoy the real folk.

"a small pair of wire cutters"

One former colleague who preferred piece and quiet in pubs was known to carry a pair of wire cutters in her handbag.

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Re: The first I have ever said this

"Cake is not the solution"

Of course it is. What's the problem?

BOFH: Do I smell burning toes, I mean burning toast?

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Re: vengeful auto mechanic

"Axel Grease"

Was that the well known Swedish disco star?

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"I still don't know why it had a push bar on it."

Did you notice the systems administrator was called Simon and had a side-kick with an acne problem?

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Re: decisions HAVE been made!

"Now the server room is 1/4 it's original size"

I take it Finance and Facilities are now having to share a server due to the reduced space available. A Raspberry Pi with a USB hard drive makes quite a useful server for combined spaces.

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Re: !!!!!!

"cheap out and put only VoIP phones in the datacentre control, when the networking kit isn't on secure power: power goes down, phones go down, management have no way to harangue the operators"

That sounds like a win.

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Nice false ending in the middle.

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