* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

I love disruptive computer jargon. It's so very William Burroughs

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Talking about jargon...

don't say "swimming pools" but "deep standardized aquatic environment"

That's fair enough. After all, they are a recognised standard unit of measurement.

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Re: Reminds me of this from the 90's

"amazed it's still there and working!"

But not very well. Compared to modern bullshit it's almost lucid.

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Re: British revenge

"you Brits created ITIL"

Does anyone actually admit to having created it?

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"We tend to write the resulting mess as separate words but that's a cosmetic detail."

It helps with wordwrapping.

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Re: "all Americans sound like Woody from Toy Story"

"Woodpecker Cider was a fixture of my youth. Not use whether it still exists."

I think its relationship to alcohol was somewhat homeopathic.

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"Being able to make up new jargon whenever you like is one of the finest unique features of the English language."

My distant memory of a year of Science German in the 6th form says that not only can German do this but it can do it with twice as many letters and probably more with a bit of effort.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"I don’t know whether what you think you’re writing is supposed to mean"

Was this intended to mean something?

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Re: Phew!!!

"I started reading, couldn't understand a thing"

The worrying thing is that I can't tell which of them he did make up and which he didn't.

Co-op Bank's users moan over online wobbles

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Architecture

"That is to say the current design looks reasonably pretty"

Pretty dreadful would be my description. it was obviously designed by someone who'd just bought a load of whitespace going cheap and wanted a punter to unload it to. A browser really ought not have to go full screen to display a small handful of fields.

I'm not in the least surprised if they ask people to tweet bank details. This is the same crowd that sends out spam looking exactly like phishing spam - says Coop bank in From and Reply to but originates elswhere, asks customers to click on in-spam links which claim to go to their own domain but which resolve to an IP address belonging to the same non-bank domain as the spammer. IOW they're training their customers to be phished. Anyone with the mentality to do this clearly has such a deep ignorance of IT security that they're likely to get phished themselves.

TL;DR if this was down to some stupid pratt in the bank getting pwned I wouldn't be in the least surprised.

Dear America, you can't steal a personality: GDPR godfather talks privacy with El Reg

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Actual result

Checkbox added to EULA saying "can use all my data" before you can install the product

And any court in the EU would throw it out as non-binding.

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"If you choose to fashion a modem to to the ODB port then that is your doing,"

And if you can, so can the vehicle manufacturer.

Gartner says back-to-school PC sales failed. IDC says they worked

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Re: Plus

"Since it's easier to repeat the previous success than try something new, you end up with everything looking like clones."

You've just described the process which ensures that if there's no product today that meets a particular demand there won't be one tomorrow because it will be dubbed "niche", not because anyone knows it's niche but because, without an existing product, it's niche by definition.

The polite summary of this is that it's a self reinforcing feedback loop. The alternative is that marketing spends all its time looking up its own arse and finding the obvious.

That's why the "no demand" joke rings true with so many people.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Plus

"I'm also confused when people need to buy a laptop for work, and complain about the cost. If it's an essential tool, then it's a cost you factor into your fees, and assuming your accountant isn't an idiot, it should be a tax write off in some form or another. At the very least you should get the VAT (or local equivalent) back."

I agree in principle although, in fact, for someone who isn't VAT registered, VAT is the one thing they won't get back.

But what the OP wanted was a netbook. That was a genuine product but it threatened MS because it was sold without Windows*. MS then made a cheap licence for Windows available with the stipulation that it wasn't powerful enough to challenge the regular laptops running full price Windows. This effectively stopped the products from being as effective as they might although, as I said, with Linux they were powerful enough.

There may also be an element of snobbery; "it's a chicklet keyboard". Of course it is at that size and price. So what? You can type on it.

*It's also possible that the market couldn't then, comprehend a computer that didn't have Windows. That's no longer the case.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Plus

"14-inch laptops have screens that are too small for more than one working window"

The netbook size is usually about 11". I have one running Linux. I use it for work in libraries or archives where I want something small for data gathering. I normally run text-based applications in a 80x25 window which leaves room to spare but then I did used to use an Osborne luggable as a terminal back in the day. If I wanted to use multiple full screen applications I'd simply use multiple workspaces. That comes naturally to a long-term Linux user and I understand Windows has caught up with that so it's not really a problem. As the OP said Unix he might not even be intending to use GUI - another trick that Unix/Linux users are used to is having several command line sessions running and flipping between them with Alt/F1, Alt/F2 etc. You're not going to use them for compute-intensive stuff but if you adapt to flipping between several single application workspaces or terminal sessions they're quite functional. Mine is running an Informix RDBMS to power the data gathering applications.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Plus

"I would quite like a small size laptop"

You're the 10th person to ask for that today. We don't stock it. No demand.

Mine's the one with the old joke book in the pocket. Or is it the old excuse book?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Plus

"your desire is extremely niche, and the laptop market is very much mass marketed. ... The laptop and consumer desktop market is designed around price points, not features."

Designed by whom? By marketing of course. Tell me again how marketing, with their deep understanding of customers' desires, have created these soar-away sales figures.

Beware the GDPR 'no win, no fee ambulance chasers' – experts

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"I had tens of thousands of names and addresses, all verified."

Verified that they existed or verified that they wanted letter-box litter?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: In the recruitment industry the panic is just starting to set in.

"I predict much wailing and gnashing of teeth in recruitment, as soon as a recruiter sends out a job spec to half the internet and lots of legally switched on types notice that they didn't give consent under GDPR and fire up the lawyers."

And well deserved. One could spend time customising a screed for one particular gig only to have the pimp send it out for something quite different. I'm sure this must occasionally cost perople gigs they might otherwise have got so real money's involved.

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Re: At least we know now

"What all the PPI firms will be doing next"

And doing it to each other with any luck.

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Re: Let me understand...

" Don't hate the player, hate the game."

Why not both?

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"In a game of Top Trumps, Tax always beats GDPR."

Except, of course, Top Trump.

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Re: Waiting......

"banking on the odds that they wont be in the first companies to fall afoul of GPDR"

They're probably also banking on being able to get it all fixed in time when someone else falls foul of it first. Good luck with that!

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Dwarves???

The plural third person singlar, present tense of the _verb_, which is what is being used in the article, should be "dwarfs".


Software update turned my display and mouse upside-down, says user

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Re: I wonder...

"we had to call in the Leitz engineer to lock the lenses in place"

Back then even the sales guys were techies. We had one new microscope, actually the new top-of-the-range job, as a loaner to try to sell it to us. The objectives weren't par-focal. One was one of the 0.95 NA Plan Apo dry lenses so that couldn't be touched, but when the salesman rolled up and we told him he took the 10x out, adjusted the internal components to fix it and locked them in place with a smidge of SWMBO's nail varnish.

"to stop the students nicking them. And these were medical students - supposedly the creme de la creme."

I was in Halls with medical students - it brought an air of reality to any subsequent dealings with the profession. The Leitz salesman left a sample of a new Fluroite 0.90NA with us on approval one time which I've still got somewhere. It wasn't a patch on the Plan Apos. They didn't want it back, I think it never went into production.

A fair chunk of my working life was spent looking down Leitz microscopes. Beautiful pieces of kit.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I wonder...

It sounds like a very inexperienced microscopist. The image in the eyepiece is upside down already.

I used to help out as a demonstrator for a pollen analysis course (not my job but there weren't enough of the regular staff with the knowledge). This was the first time in about 2 1/2 years into a degree course that students had had to set up a microscope for maximum resolution; at least it felt like that. So they were shown how to set up the Kohler illumination etc. You could guarantee that the first thing to do when called over to help with an identification was to set the microscope up properly, even if you'd done that only a few minutes earlier.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It's always the same, isn't it?

"The engineer interrupted the workman to explain that even a large particle of cigarette ash could cause the disk heads to crash. The workman heard him out - then happily resumed drilling."

Why wouldn't he carry on? He wasn't smoking.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Every day's a school day

" When you have a preferred orientation in mind and the imaged object seems to have a different idea in mind, rotating the camera so that all images are oriented the same way is often the best solution."

A microscope normally inverts the image compared. This means that when you move the specimen on the stage the image moves in the opposite direction. It's not difficult to get used to this, especially when using a mechanical stage. (I'm surprised the microscopist in the story had a problem with this.)

Cue using a microfiche reader. The lens is rotatable and has the same effect as rotating the camera in the story. If you put the fiche in the wrong way round so the text appears upside down you can just rotate the lens but then you have to move the fiche in the opposite direction to the way you want to move the image. Again, it's not difficult to adapt, at least I never found it so. But if the fiche was photographed to the writing is sideways on you have to rotate the lens a quarter turn; that fixes the image orientation but then sliding the fiche on one axis moves the image in the same direction whilst sliding it on the other axis moves it in the opposite direction.

Culture, schmulture. DevOps, agile need to be software-first again

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I know my career hasn't been typical...

"All these analyses and methodologies seem to start with the assumption that "software" consists of FaceBook and Enterprise CRM systems."

I'm not sure an Enterprise CRM system would be a good place to start either. First you need a good RDBMS. The good news is that at least you don't have to be Agile about developing that; you can buy it in. Then you need a database schema to sit on it. And once you have that in production you'd better have it right because once it starts to accumulate data it'll be a pig to do a reorg. If you're clever and take the time beforehand you can make your schema general enough and the application configurable enough to set it up for all sorts of different enterprises but ISTM that that's the opposite of Agile.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"For me, a 2009 talk by Andrew Clay Shafer codified this thinking right around the time it was codified into DevOps. To a room full of agile lords and ladies, he proposed something wild and crazy: what if you were responsible for how your code ran in production?"

We were doing this over 20 years earlier. I've previously supposed that we were doing DevOps ahead of time. But...

"Systems will go down catastrophically, but you can't simply give up, and punishing people just takes you back to the overly cautious state where software is released infrequently. So, as described by the Google SRE book, you instead celebrate failure"

Thanks for explaining to me that we weren't doing DevOps after all. They didn't go down catastrophically so we didn't have failures to celebrate, only successes to lament.

As a database guy to some extent I've always been puzzled about this salami slicing thing. Do you set up the database by introducing a table at a time or do you set up all the tables empty for the first release and then add the columns one at a time for each subsequent release? And how many release cycles do you expect to have before the developers get anything to develop against. At least as the data volume grows with use each reorg following each sprint's schema change will get longer and longer so eventually there'll be really good failures to celebrate.

Cynical? Moi?

Judge says US govt has 'no right to rummage' through anti-Trump protest website logs

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Re: This is another huge win

"the rest of the world has nothing to do with American case law"

It wouldn't necessarily be binding on other jurisdictions but it could still be put before a judge as a model of how to handle such a case. If the judge accepted it that might then set a precedent elsewhere.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Not that it will be of course. Sane results like this directly undermine their attempts to wage economic espionage on a cowed and fearful populace."

The way case law works suggests that this will be cited in the future, at least in the US. The great pity is that it's less likely to be useful in the UK.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Ministry of Truth

" Every once in awhile one of sleeping non-entities in the courts wakes up enough to veto the latest grab but goes back to sleep soon after."

Have you spent much or, indeed, any time actually watching real judges at work in courts?

Disclaimer - my experience of this excludes US courts.

Rejecting Sonos' private data slurp basically bricks bloke's boombox

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Re: It’s not for El Reg readers, is it.

"They also assume that they can and will be tracked, and that protesting doesn't change anything."

They probably don't believe that voting doesn't change anything either. Or they didn't until a year or so ago.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Software v. wetware

"According to your standard I'm a raving nutcase"

That's what your handle says.

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Re: Connected?

"Good luck with your unconnected light bulb."

Great idea. It never burns out.

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Re: Crap like this...

"Which, I thought was the coolest party trick ever, and then I found out how much B&O systems cost!"

The coolest party trick ever was getting people to pay their prices.

Look! Over there! Intel's cooked a 17-qubit chip quantum package

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"Ah, but it'll shuffle the cards better."

It doesn't need to. All the orderings are already in there. You can play all the possible games at once but it'll only tell you the result of one of them when you ask it if you won.

Dear America, best not share that password with your pals. Lots of love, the US Supremes

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Sadly, a decision which needs more clarity

"I think people are missing some of the details in my original post here."

And you are missing the point: company rules provide for disciplinary action within the company with the ultimate sanction of a quick journey to the outside of the front door but no further.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Sadly, a decision which needs more clarity

"For a long time similar rules applied in 'normal' businesses,"

The rules might well apply. The sanctions available to a 'normal' business would not include recourse to the Official Secrets Act unless the business were carrying out work for HMG in which case, depending on the work, the Act could apply.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Sadly, a decision which needs more clarity

"No, the PAs would."

Only if the PA then uses the access to commit a criminal act. Corporate rules do not have the sanctions available under criminal law.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Sadly, a decision which needs more clarity

"Since each of those companies very clearly stated that such activity was forbidden and a disciplinary offence, I presume those managers/Execs in the US offices will now go to jail?"

It depends. Clearly they could be disciplined by the company but that isn't a criminal offence. If, however, the PA used the password to commit fraud then the PA could go to jail and possibly the manager as an accessory.

There's a very simply difference here: company rules are not the subject of criminal law, fraud is.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Interesting opinion to have...

"otherwise the person would be liable to prosecution back in the EU."

Didn't you get the memo? US law overrules everyone else's

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: What happens if...

"Seems to me the individual has been sent down because of the intent not just the action."

Just this. Intent can be an important factor in criminal cases.

Dumb bug of the week: Outlook staples your encrypted emails to, er, plaintext copies when sending messages

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Bring back the testers"

The new system seems to be working fine.

MS ships alpha code. Users and security researchers test it. Bugs get reported back to Microsoft.

What are you complaining about?

El Reg was invited to the House of Lords to burst the AI-pocalypse bubble

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"He thought the problem today was that software was clever and hardware was slow."

The problem - or at least part of the problem - for AI is that the hardware RI runs on is massively parallel. Whatever counts as massively parallel in silicon is nothing compared to what the brain runs on.

Sniffing substations will solve 'leccy car charging woes, reckons upstart

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: In around 1907 it took 3 minutes to turn around an electric bus with a new battery

If you swap the battery do you swap in single use alkaline cells and chuck out the old one or do you recharge it? If you recharge it how do you do that without imposing the same load on the supply network as recharging in-vehicle?

Simply swapping batteries only solves part of the problem and quite possibly introduces new ones.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Tesla is not typical

"a Nissan Leaf with a 40KWh battery (made in Sunderland)"

At present. Is replacing the entire UK IC fleet with electric their plan for keeping car mass-manufacture in the UK post-Brexit?

" That is free leccy for any EV/PHEV."

That's the rest of us subsidising you. HMG is very good at handing out other people's money to get something they have been lobbied to want get going. Don't think that will continue.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Tesla is not typical

"Plans are in hand (Mercedes, VW, BMW at least) to build a 350kw public charge point network in Europe. That keeps us in the 20 minute to 80% range."

Based on Pen-y-gors' example above that'll allow 3 cars to be charged at once. Even on the basis of taking a break every 300 miles of motorway travel it's not enough. How often, at least during the working day, do you see a motorway service station car park with only 3 cars in it?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Tesla is not typical

"We're in the process of getting an ultra-fast charger for our community shop, which will do a typical battery in 15-20 mins (have a coffee while you wait)"

Whist having your coffee you can also chat to all those queuing up to wait their turn for a charge.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Canadian petrol/diesel prices tells us that in Canada diesel is 0.75 EUR per litre, compared to the UK's 1.34 per litre, which means their cost comparison isn't really valid for the UK."

UK costs are heavily influenced by taxation. Expect that to be applied to any fuel except as a temporary measure which the government of the day has been lead by the nose lobbied to support.

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