* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

NHS England claims it will be all-digital within the decade

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Older physicians seem to have a harder time "multi-tasking" and do sometimes seem distracted, diverting their attention away from actual patient.

And there was I, thinking it was younglings who get distracted with their digital toys, diverting their attention from whatever it is that needs to be done.

On the whole there's a lot to be said for making sure stuff is recorded, whether in writing or otherwise.

My mother had a penicillin allergy but in her 80s she forgot. It didn't matter too much as her GP knew about it. But then the GP retired and it wasn't in her notes. Possibly a coincidence but she had a fatal stroke not long after being prescribed penicillin.

Entering stuff and checking on past history inevitably takes attention but it's essential if the GP isn't to have to carry everything in their head. Perhaps the answer is to make sure systems fit into the doctors' work as effectively and unobtrusively as possible.

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Re: Bollocks

"it was the Patient to Doctor responses that tended to be of Anglo Saxon derivation."

Back in my University days I knew a few medical students. I have no illusions about doctors not using A/S.

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Health is inherently not digital. It's not even analogue. It's about actual physical people, not electronic representations of them. Matt Hancock is exactly the wrong person for this.

Attention all British .eu owners: Buy dotcom domains and prepare to sue, says UK govt

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Re: A new low

"European politicos have been practising being cnuts for far far longer."

Objected to on the basis that Cnut was an intelligent man. For one thing he made sure that his demonstration of what happens when you challenge reality took place in safe condition.

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Re: How long until the new referendum will be called?

"The black and white stay/go option was the only viable one."

Go in what way?

You just argued there were multiple leave options and not everyone who voted leave wanted the same thing. In fact, I doubt many had even considered the consequences; it was a non-binding vote and many took it as a general protest vote. Now there are realistically only a couple of leave options: the one negotiated with the EU by such Leave politicians who were prepared to take on the job, let's note, or the jump off the cliff option. The consequences of either are a good deal more obvious than they were back then including, of course, the consequence that this time it's for real.

Given that there are really only a couple of leave options available to vote for then a second preference vote works fairly well.

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"You just attracted the attention of 123REG"

You think they haven't already thought of that?

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Re: Don't worry, it's only money

"Barnier needs to be reminded that he is just a civil servant not a head of state nor working for one. His remit should be merely to minimise the impact on the EU not impose 'penalties' on the UK."

Could you explain how Barnier might have forced the EU Council to make this change (if you follow one of the links in TFA you'll find it was the Council's decision).

Mainframe brains-slurper sues IBM for 'age discrim', calls Ginny and biz 'morally bankrupt'

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She was also one of the people originally assigned to Rometty’s “Millennial Task Force” initiative. That initiative was charged, so 57-year-old Keebaugh said, with “creating a workforce comprised of 75% millennials”.

Don't upset someone who knows where the bodies are buried.

Apart from her own case it sounds as if she could have a nice career for a few years as an expert witness when all the others sue.

You were told to clean up our systems, not delete 8,000 crucial files

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Re: Thems my initials thems is.

"my initials are DEV"

Could be worse: DEVOPS.

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Re: xfer

"Only the one 'from key'?"

It's a big key.

Camera stuff just goes straight into ~/Pictures/Lumix, ~/Pictures/Nikon or whatever.

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Re: Oh, it gets worse...

I had a gig with someone who used a vertical market (on SCO) ERP system.

The box had been set up with very few separate partitions. An overnight job wrote working files into /tmp but cleaned up nicely after itself. Except for the odd time when something triggered the job into just keeping running so the file grew and grew. By the morning the partition holding /tmp, /, /bin &ct was at 99%. The box was unresponsive, probably because it had also filled memory and the OS was thrashing.

AFAICR the process couldn't be killed, either because it wouldn't terminate with an unwritten buffer or maybe because it was so sluggish it was taking a few hours to terminate. Attempts to free up space failed - the monster wrote to them faster than it would list files for me to delete. It didn't help that the box was in a branch office over a hundred miles from my desk. I think we had to wait till someone came in to the office and hit the switch for us. Oddly it didn't seem to do any actual damage other than needing an fsck on reboot.

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Re: Same user - same problem twice

"Not everywhere has the budget for that."

Somehow they always have the budget to cope with it going wrong. Either that or they're out of business.

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mv * in root

Just caught it too late. As cd and echo are shell built-ins I could navigate and list the ruins but not do anything about it. A reboot from the SCO install disks would let me sort it out but they didn't include the custom driver for the RAID. It took most of the next day to get someone to email us the driver. Putting the driver on a floppy, booting from install disk and putting everything back took minutes.

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Re: rm -rf /

"Then known as Midland Cellular, it went on to be better known as Phones4u."

That might explain something. I had a 4 week gig in Phones4u days as a 2 week holiday cover plus a week either side. ISTR it took just about all that time to do the paperwork to get some disk (probably 2Gb) allocated under LVM by the admin team and permission for us on the database team could add it as another chunk to the Informix database. It did strike me as a bit over-cautious.

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Re: xfer

"Old laptop" and "old backup" etc have places on my computers.

And "From key" - the USB drive on my keyring.

Low-power chips are secret sauce behind long-life wearables

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"The latter, however, includes an ECG (electrocardiogram) sensor the user can activate in the case of atrial fibrillation (irregular heart rate)."

Why? So the user can watch themselves die?

Border guards probe 'suspicious bulge' in man's trousers to find he's packing fluffies

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Should have just put them down on the Malaysian side and had a confederate put down a saucer of milk on the Singapore side and shout "kitty kitty".

Until now, if Canadian Uber drivers wanted to battle the tech giant, they had to do it in the Netherlands – for real

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Re: Judgement of Justice Feldman.

"I don't see why a statutory test replacing a well-used body of law that's been built up over time would be an improvement."

Well-used in the sense of extensively used. "Well" in the sense of "good" is arguable.

Consider for example that civil law decisions are supposed to be taken on the basis of balance of probabilities. In an IR35 case the alternatives being argued are a contract of employment vs a contract for provision of services. Shouldn't that mean that a court should look at each factor and ask "does it fit a commercial contract for services?" as well as "does it fit a contract of service?". One of the crucial tests has been "personal service" of a named person. At one time the IR website had a sample contract for provision of services to the IR Commissioners. I may still have a copy somewhere; I took the precaution of downloading it. In the middle of that was a key man clause to the effect that someone who the Commissioners (i.e. the client) considered important to the delivery of the services couldn't be substituted without their agreement. Put that in a contract as a term the IR wanted to protect itself and it was a normal commercial clause. Put it in a contract the IR wanted to challenge and it was an indication of employment because the possibility of a commercial contract doesn't get weighed in the balance.

Then there's the back-to-back contract problem. The freelancer has a contract with the agency saying one thing, the client has a contract saying something else. HMRC got a decision saying that the provider is bound by the client side contract which he hasn't seen with terms he wouldn't have agreed to. How did they get that one through? They didn't take on a contractor able to defend himself, they took on one who was so ill that that the tribunal had to conduct the hearing in his home. What's the underlying commercial equivalent? The agent is a broker who sells something he doesn't have (the employment-like contract the client wants) in the hope he'll be able to get it. I've twice had a car dealer sell me something he couldn't get - in one case the entire model was discontinued* and in another it was just the colour. In the case of a freelancer the agent is hoping that the circumstance won't arise when the difference in contracts becomes significant in the course of business; if it does they risk being sued by one party or even both just like any other commercial transaction gone wrong where a settlement can't be achieved - it's a normal broker's commercial risk and it's not the outcome that the HMRC got a precedent on.

*Strictly speaking it wasn't me to whom they were('nt) selling it. It was picked from my employer's company car list so it was some leasing company so I had no real say and got stitched up with a lump of ghastly diesel rubbish - no I didn't want to pay to buy it when I took early retirement a little later.

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"in the UK I would expect IR35 to be the nail in the coffin for Uber’s argument. Fighting a bunch of drivers in court is one thing. Fighting HMRC is quite another."

I'd look on it from a slightly different angle. HMRC will be hoping for a decision against Uber because it would allow them to tilt decisions even further in their favour. It would be another nail in the coffin of those trying to keep out of IR35.

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Re: Judgement of Justice Feldman.

"I happen to like the gig economy as a self-employed engineer. I don't want inequities in the Uber model paraded out as an excuse to force myself (and man other people) into involuntary employee/employer relationships."

Being retired I no longer have a direct interest but as an ex-freelancer I share your concern.

The precedents relied on by taxation tribunals always seemed to have been made to determine employment status in such abusive situations. What's now making it worse is that a previous indicator of being in business on one's own account - provision of equipment - is being ignored.

ISTM that the entire body of precedent needs to be dumped and replaced by a set of statutory definitions which take into account not only protection of employees but also the right of individuals to be in business.

Detailed: How Russian government's Fancy Bear UEFI rootkit sneaks onto Windows PCs

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"Security professional and beancounters will probably come to different conclusions."

Until it goes wrong.

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Re: Physical write-enable switches

"someone's going to mandate its use"

Do a proper risk analysis first.

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Re: Physical write-enable switches

"You simply set the 'write-protect switch' on remote machines to 'write-enable' and leave it there, leaving you in exactly the situation you are now."

Not simply. Do a proper risk analysis first.

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Re: Linux and out of date Windows machines

"It's nice when you hate Windows enough to only use it for what you absolutely have to."

Even nicer when you absolutely don't have to.

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Re: Once again this proves

"What happens when (not if) your OS doesn't support your hardware?"

You switch on your computer. Your OS is sitting on your disk. Only your OS has drivers to read from disk. How do you get any of it into memory so it can run to read the disk to load itself into memory so it can run?

I know. Rows of switches on the front panel so we can toggle a first stage boot loader into memory, just like the old days.

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Re: Wait, what?

"But then a) it wouldn't be Microsoft,"

It wouldn't work here if it was.

" b) it wouldn't be pretty."

Aesthetics are a matter of personal opinion. In my view my email client looks a good deal better than the fuggly stuff MS has been shipping for the last many years.

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Re: Wait, what?

"There's no excuse in this day an age for anyone in IT in a business to be in the position to be able to run executables or see URLs in emails!"

There's no excuse in this day and age to have to go to the lengths you describe but marketing departments the world over employ numpties than make it necessary.

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Re: Well...

"Yes, the only thing that I find more baffling ... is that Microsoft still hasn't changed that default"

Not baffling at all. They don't care. The JJ Carters of this world will happily impose this mess on 4000 users and brag about it so with a plentiful supply of administrators like that why should they care?

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"System administrators should be held to a substantially higher standard for safe behavior than even their bosses"

Sadly admin privileges aren't necessarily restricted to system administrators. Not if the boss demands he be given the admin password.

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Re: The real solution

As Updraft says those who want to balance convenience against security can install it with the update enabled. At least it would be a conscious trade-off for them to make. I suspect there is an economic incentive - the ability to make updates without having to have staff at a higher pay-grade than click and go. Put something on the motherboard and you have to pay people able to open the box, find the switch and eventually put the whole thing back together again without disturbing anything and without leaving the switch enabled.

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Re: The real solution - amended

"all system code"

What does that mean? Firmware? OS kernel? Userland portions of the OS? RDBS engine? Services such as web server?

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Re: The real solution

there's no real fix except as the article mentioned what Will Godfrey said; a physical switch.

Forget 2019's tech biz takeovers, here's the mega-merger everyone's talking about: Milky Way and LMC, coming soon

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"With any galactic collision, there is a chance that solar systems like ours could be severely perturbed and may be hurled out of the galaxy. But the chances are slim, thank goodness."

Why thank goodness? With the galactic centre warming up wouldn't that be the safest place to be? And anyway, who needs a galaxy?

Marriott: Good news. Hackers only took 383 million booking records ... and 5.3m unencrypted passport numbers

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Re: Huh?

"it is a little touch the customer appreciates."

Until the downside is revealed.

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Re: Huh?

"Because storage is cheap, and no one wanted the responsibility for making the call to purge old data in case there was a use for it down the road."

Gradually privacy regulation should change this round to nobody wanting to take the responsibility of keeping it. It'll take a while.

Stormy times ahead for IBM-owned Weather Channel app: LA sues over location data slurp

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Re: "To the contrary, the app misleadingly suggests . . ."

"A lie is a lie, whoever says it"

The lie misleading suggestion was probably written by a lawyer. If one of m'learned friends accused another of lying the accuser would probably end up getting disbarred.

I'm just not sure the computer works here – the energy is all wrong

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Re: Memories

"even on current kit, full auto-landing is only used in conditions of zero visibility"

Back when BA used Tridents and the like on the Heathrow/Aldergrove shuttle one of the captains could be fairly chatty over the PA. On one flight there was a party of school kids on board who had been given a tour of the cockpit before take-off. Immediately after landing in poor visibility is voice came over the PA, more or less continuing the earlier tour commentary "And you've just had an automated landing too".

BTW I always preferred travelling in the rear-engined planes, 1-11s rather than Tridents. They were so much quieter.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"A UPS is a must for computer equipment wherever you are."

I mentioned Zilogs (incidentally the only kit I've ever come across running Sys III Unix) in another comment. There was a UPS somewhere in the depths of the building which supplied a set of outlets in the computer room. A big thunderstorm took out the UPS (computers not damaged). The non-UPS circuits were undamaged and we had to run off those for months waiting for the interrupted uninterruptible power supply to be repaired.

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Re: Similar story

"didn't have magnetic screening in the base to allow it to sit on top fo floppy drives without causing problems."

I've seen the opposite effect - disk drive (presumabl) affecting the monitor. We had two models of Zilogs, each with the console monitor sitting on top of the box. One model was OK but the display on a monitor atop the other would always have a slight shimmy.

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Re: Ah, the carefree days of yore

"Trust me, not a smart present :O"

Tell us more.

Dark matter's such a pushover: Baby stars can shove weird stuff around dwarf galaxies

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Re: Sums over matter do matter

"Dark matter: 27%. Ordinary matter: 5%. Other: 68%. (Postulated to be dark energy.)"

As an onlooker who once worked in other branches of science this simply provokes feelings of deep unease. ASAICS the term "dark" means that we can't detect dark matter and energy by any other means that the sort of observations on which their hypothetical existence is based. We can't sample it to weigh it, measure its charge or whatever. This seems to me deeply anti-scientific.

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Re: Kinda?

"perhaps it looks like matter now but with more observation will be something else"

Observe how? "Observing" by observing something else and putting in some numbers to make it fit established physics isn't really observing at all. All that gives you is a hypothesis as to what might explain that observation. You need to be able to make that hypothesis falsifiable. A hypothesis that's predicated on something that only interacts by gravity to explain a gravitational effect on "ordinary" matter and is otherwise inherently undetectable seems to me inherently unfalsifiable.

Fake 'U's! Phishing creeps use homebrew fonts as message ciphers to evade filters

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Re: BOFH solution

"Outlook was deliberately crippled"

I thought this was normal.

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Re: Tesco F***ing marketing bank

"he 'abuse@' e-mail address had a spam filter on it, and if I attached the spam I was complaining about, it would bounce"

I can assure you it was far from unique.

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Re: People stil falling for the fake email.

my late grandfather opened my house door to a nice young woman who said she was from the "gas company"

I occasionally get people presenting themselves at the door who think they can authenticate themselves by waving a phot-ID card from whoever they claim to be representing. It baffles them I fail to believe them and point out that I could produce the same with my camera, colour printer and a laminating kit bought from eBay.

Hmmm. Idea. Get one of those laminating kits and make my own badge claiming to be from some suitably official- and threatening-sounding body to wave back at them. Yesss...the more I think about it the more I like it.

My 2019 resolution? Not to buy any of THIS rubbish

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Re: #7 - "AI"

"AI" has become a new marketing soundbite for anything that might contain an 'if...else' code


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"spend time decluttering"

Life is too short.

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Re: You missed one...


Were there actually enough of them to provide one for each canal in the country?

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Re: "Hospitality"

"Gentleman of the Bedchamber."

A good and sought after role. It brought influence. The modern equivalent would be lobbyist. Which would be the dirtier job?

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