* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

MH370 final report: Aussies still don’t know where it crashed or why

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Re: planet is surrounded by spy satellites

"OT: Oi, El Reg! The wavy red line of disapproval appears beneath the word when I write kilometer, but disappears if I swap the last two letters. Please load a proper English dictionary! (Or in this particular case, a French one, I guess)."

Assuming you're not actually joking:

(a) The dictionary is supplied by you via your browser. In my case, using Seamonkey which is the same program for both browser and mail, I get exactly the same underlining in both the browser and the mail composing windows.

(b) Kilometre is the original French spelling and hence is correct unless you live in a country that also thinks that colour and theatre are also incorrect.

If you wish to persist in using the spellings currently in vogue in the colonies load the en_us dictionary or right-click on the word and add your misspelling to your dictionary.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"despite us being able to view a pimple on the nose of anyone on the planet via satellites"

Once your initial assumption is wrong even the most impeccable logic won't help you.

Home Sec Amber Rudd: Yeah, I don't understand encryption. So what?

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Re: Fashionanle Ignorance

"At what point in our society did it become acceptable to declare your own ignorance and be proud not to know something so fundamental."

A very long time ago. In fact, I'm not sure there ever was a time this side of the middle ages where knowledge other than legal knowledge was essential. In the middle ages a talent for violence was also handy.

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Re: A blonde , female, politician

"she will be considered as brain dead as the current occupant of No. 10."

Don't forget the current occupant of No 10 is the Home Sec in power. Once they get the HO post they become Home Secs for life.

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Re: The Home Office

Has she not asked anyone to explain to her how "it works"? Is there nobody there that understands it?

I've explained this before.

There are people at the HO who do understand it. They need someone who doesn't to front things for them because such a person will be able to spout the bollocks they tell her with complete sincerity as she doesn't know any better.

Life began after meteorites splashed into warm ponds of water, say astronomers

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" We have provided plausible physical and chemical information about the conditions under which life could have originated. Now it’s the experimentalists turn to find out how life could indeed have emerged under these very specific early conditions.”

Translation: We've done the easy bit. Can someone put it together?

In reality we don't have separate DNA, protein and energy handling chemistries. They form an interactive whole. Once the thing is up and working it's easy to see how advantageous chance changes can be preserved. Discovering how a sufficient collection of apparently unlikely changes came together it assemble a self-reproducing system is a different matter.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Why highlight meteorites?

"The meteorites and large asteroids of the early solar system were probably important for delivering water to ancient earth"

Why suppose that meteorites and large asteroids would have had water and the early Earth wouldn't? They might have added water but if was around in the early solar system for them to incorporate it was also available for the early Earth.

Forget the 'simulated universe', say boffins, no simulator could hit the required scale

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Re: But when no one's watching...

"the observers"

In the plural? Do you have a proof there's more than one?

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Re: The whole point of simulating a universe

"There's observer effect and faster than speed of light communication between entangled particles, how much more obvious easter egg you need ?"

Not Easter eggs. The whole of quantum physics and relativity are just bugs that haven't been sorted out yet. Newtonian mechanics was all that was intended.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

s/some of the sims/the sim

What makes you think there's more than you?

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Re: What if it isn't a simulation but reality?

"It would basically refer to the fact that ... our universe is part of something much bigger, something not easily comprehensible."

I don't know about you but I find the universe itself not easily comprehensible let alone anything bigger.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "To model just a few hundred electrons needs a computer bigger than the universe"

e) If I (and this has to be expressed in 1st person terms) exist in a simulation then none of you, el Reg or anyone else exist except as inputs presented to me. That includes the papers you write which I'd have no way of verifying as I have no access to the observatories that don't exist. So if one were to consider oneself as living in a simulation one doesn't have to believe that everything an entire universe is being simulated all the time because nothing outside one's immediate experience needs to be simulated all the time; it can just be instantiated as needed.

Smart burglar alarms: Look who just tossed their hat into the ring ... It's, er, Ring

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Re: 'it's hard to know'

And if el Reg stopped reporting stuff then in 2 year times there wouldn't have been shocking revelations in the last 2 years. We might all think things had been cleaned up.

Mainframes are hip now! Compuware fires its dev environment into cloud

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Re: Solution is simple

Yup. There's nothing like offering serious money and this is nothing like offering serious money.

Ancient fat black holes created by belching Big Bang's dark matter

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Re: So...

"the hypothesis we're talking about depends so strongly upon something we can't prove to be true"

Or prove to be false?

It used to be the case that science proceeded by making empirically testable hypotheses and testing them, discarding the duds and retaining the not-yet-proven-to-be-duds. Now we seem to be proceeding by only hypothetically testing hypotheses.

It's the white one with a big ferric chloride stain.

Telco forgot to renew its web domain, broke deaf folks' video calls – now gets a $3m paddlin'

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Re: Here in the UK... off topic

"it is too difficult for police to solve most simple theft in modern cities."

Simple theft is apt to leave few clues. You stand more chance of getting the culprits when they do something stupid. That doesn't, however, mean that there shouldn't be a preliminary investigation otherwise the opportunities will be missed.

Tarmac for America's self-driving car future is being laid right now

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Re: Driving at less than the speed limit

"Not everyone needs to get from A to B in as short a time as possible ALL OF THE TIME."

But some of the people you're holding up need to get from A to Z and the accumulation of time spent behind those who don't means that they end up driving the latter part of their journey much more tired than they need to be.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Insurance-Lobbyists:

"no matter what data protection laws say"

Data protection? In the US?

IKEA flat-packs TaskRabbit to crack assembly code

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"I've assembled plenty of IKEA and random brand flatpack stuff, I've NEVER experienced missing holes."

It had all the right holes but not necessarily in the right order.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Are you positive it - or possibly the piece it joined up with - wasn't the wrong way up?"

No. Holes drilled in edges to take bolts. "Matching" holes to take cams drilled adjacent to opposite edge at other end of piece. Either the process missed out a 180° rotation or put an extra one in.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

No matter how many Taskers they have it wouldn't have made it any easier assembling the grand-kids desk. A component had half the holes drilled with the the component 180° out of alignment.

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Re: @ Prst. V.Jeltz

"Also missed a couple of full stops and Cap letters."

And an apostrophe.

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"If you ask me everyone should assemble their own furniture by law ... Same for other areas , like cooking , reading writing"

It would make eating out interesting. Presumably TV would just show the scripts - can't have actors and newsreaders doing the job for you. And book-buying....

Vibrating walls shafted servers at a time the SUN couldn't shine

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Re: Dockyard

"It took a heck of a lot to kill those DEC terminals."

And maybe other DEC kit. Back in the '80s of Big Bang London there was the story of DEC being asked by a non-customer if they could supply a copy of the OS. They asked what it was for. Someone had found a presumably surplus Micro-VAX tossed into a skip.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Oracle may have hosed out its hardware teams but still has this whopping PDF Reference Manual for the machines. What bruisers they were! Each needed a full rack all to itself"

That's what I call a reference manual.

Internet-wide security update put on hold over fears 60 million people would be kicked offline

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Re: The problem?

"I say just do it.

Then all the companies running DNS servers and not maintaining them will get an in-flood of angry customers some will leave and the company will learn it's lesson to not leave stale infrastructure out there."

Maybe a half-way house. Roll it out for a short period then roll back (they did have a roll back facility in their plans, didn't they? Then announce "Did you have a problem? If so you've got a month to fix it, then it's permanent."

At last, someone's taking Apple to task for, uh, not turning on iPhone FM radio chips

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"When wireless networks go down during a natural disaster, smartphones with activated FM chips can allow Americans to get vital access to life-saving information,"

So any other nationalities caught in the danger area don't get warnings?

Really, is it so hard to say "people"?

NatWest customer services: We're aware of security glitch

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Re: password specifications..

"the servers handling authentication are much less likely to have been compromised with malware"

OTOH if your device is compromised you lose control over your own passwords and, frankly, the bank isn't going to care about that. If the authentication server is compromised they lose control over everyone's passwords and. of course, the bank ... Yes, you can see why they're choosing such an insecure option.

Seriously, there are two aspects to risk. One is the probability that something will go wrong, the other is the scale of going wrong.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: password specifications..

"Isn't it time there was a standard for this stuff?"

A standard? There are lots of standards. Just pick one.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Next time, screenshot it and post it on Twitter with a link to the story

"We can't be arsed to do our job properly unless you hang out your dirty laundry in public on Twitter" approach to customer service

AFAICS customer service was doing its job - it even escalated the problem, a step which seems to be unknown to many these days. The tech side -trying without success.. It's PR that needs to be hung out to dry.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

“in order to more thoroughly investigate"

OK, a split infinitive isn't actually reckoned to be ungramatical. Throwing in an adjective as well is just plain ugly.

OTOH I take it that "exceeding authority" is PR-speak for telling the truth.

Alleged dark web drug baron cuffed – after he flew to US for World Beard Championships

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"Interesting they didn't try and get the gendarmes to do this with a bit of help from Interpol?"

No promotions available for that although, to be fair, they might not have expected him to tote all the evidence around on a laptop for the gendarmes to find.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I believe the word we are all struggling to vocalise is ...

"surrender encryption keys at the *French* border on the way in"

He should have surrendered his on the way out.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I believe the word we are all struggling to vocalise is ...

What sort of idiot takes electronic devices themselves to the USA on a visit these days?


Microsoft gives all staff a marked-up 'Employee Edition' of Satya Nadella's new book

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Re: I can reveal the chapter headings...

Surely all the chapters after 8 are numbered 10.

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Re: I hate when business try to turn into religions...

"Especially since you can't change a company culture with books or other silly initiatives."

Maybe you can, but not in the way intended. Revulsion isn't a useful addition to company culture.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: And at the same time, not so Good

"it's pretty degrading, exposing them to the vacuous thoughts of the PHB in chief."

It was an on-stage version of this sort of rubbish that finally lead to a parting with my last permie employer.

El Reg is hiring an intern. Apply now before it closes

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Re: Want a remote one?

"Can you operate a Teasmaid?"

WHy are you teasing maids?

Dot-Amazon spat latest: Brazil tells ICANN to go fsck itself, only 'govts control the internet'

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Re: I wonder what Brazil's reaction would be if ...

"Libya made a claim for the .amazon TLD?"

Or Lycia? Given that the earliest written sources seem to be Greek maybe Greece should be given the deciding vote.

TalkTalk once told GCHQ: Cyberattack? We'd act fast – to get sport streams back up

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"the TalkTalk Data Controller"


Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"it was important to add that TalkTalk was still a victim."

No. TalkTalk was a negligent custodian. The victims were the customers whose data was taken.

Dyson to build electric car that doesn't suck

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Re: Pass the popcorn

"Entering a globally highly competitive market with well established multi-national players in an environment where you are about to lose all your global trade deals, ironically due in part to your own lobbying."

He off-shored production some time ago. He doesn't need UK-global trade deals except for those which make imports from his factories cheaper. Brexit increases costs for such manufacturers who remain in the UK. Are you surprised he lobbied for Brexit?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The UK mostly powered by coal?

"Post 2020, what sane car maker will spend £5bn developing a new ICE car for European markets?"

Unless something drastic happens to the range/charge time ration, anyone who wants to sell a car to customers who want to travel more than a few tens of miles at a time.

And if ICEs are totally banned (including ICE/electric hybrids) then the govt will have finally achieved the goal it's had for years: limiting the freedom of movement that the car brought to the masses.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Popcorn

"Look under the bonnet of your car, remove everything and put back a single computer to control a single electric motor, and perhaps some aircon rads and a fan. Of course brakes and steering are still required"

You've left in the entire transmission. You might want to take that out and replace it with a motor at each wheel. You also have to think about regenerative breaking and how to recover power back into the battery, otherwise you're going to have a very short-range car. The aircon rads aren't going to be much use because you've removed the aircon pump which is driven by the engine.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The UK mostly powered by coal?

Yes, we need additional capacity if we have a fully electric transport network, but that’s not going to happen anything like overnight and can could be planned well in advance.


Whether it will be planned well in advance is another matter. The usual HMG response to this has been "Ooh, expensive. Maybe later".

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I'd trust the build quality

"after Brexit we'll need to actually build stuff when the banks head to Paris."

Don't look to Dyson for help with that.

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Re: Popcorn

"Nothing wrong with this"

Unless, of course, you're looking for a job in UK manufacturing.

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Re: Popcorn

"It will be interesting to watch Mr Leave Business Poster Child trying to sort out his supply chain to build anything that size and/or complexity. "

Given that he doesn't build his existing products in the UK or elsewhere in the EU I doubt he'll build this one here either. The mess that he leaves for UK manufacturers won't affect him.

Alibaba beats Google for IaaS market share, with IBM out of sight

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"Gartner's first ever attempt at calculating market share in the field."

Remind me again, who do they rank as the world's best security consultants?

Welcome to the future: Bluetooth jackets you can only wash 10 times. Gee, thanks, Google

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Project Jacquard

Back to punched cards.

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