* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16427 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

DXC Technologies mails another corp message (gulp)

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“We recognise that our people are essential to DXC Technology’s $ManglenebtSPeak”

Better late than never.

Noise-canceling headphones with a DO NOT DISTURB light can't silence your critics

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Re: Do not disturb notice.

"If the red lights are on I'm busy. Please leave me a note or and don't come back later when the red lights are off. Thank you."


'All-screen display'? But surely every display is all-screen... or is a screen not a display?

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Re: A long time ago....

'one or more parent plus one or more children (of that parent)'

So if SWMBO & I take our grand-kids somewhere we're not a family?

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Re: Why do we need bezels ?

"You could get a good quality 48" OLED TV"

Really? I thought they were all "Smart" these days and that surely disqualifies them from being thought good quality.

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Re: Say what you mean and mean what you say

"Not a pair of adult brothers."

I don't have any siblings but I still know that pairs of brothers of any age are family. If you can't be arsed to say what you mean you should be prepared to accept the consequences. After all, govt. contractors rely on that principle for their profits.

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Re: ... or that my right shoe is currently filled with an "all-foot foot"

"I put socks on before putting my feet in my shoes"

It's a lot easier than doing it afterwards.

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Say what you mean and mean what you say

If the gym didn't mean that family membership didn't apply to any group of people who could trace a family relationship they shouldn't have used the term. It's not the brothers' fault that the gym's marketing department weren't capable of thinking through the implications of what they advertised. The gym should simply have admitted the consequences of their error, given them the family membership they'd offered - and then rewritten their T&Cs for future members.

BOFH: We're only here because they said there would be biscuits

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Re: It would be more believable...

"They'd have their all company consultation but IT would have been left out because for some strange reason"

The reason isn't that strange. IT know that it's all bollocks and are apt to say so.

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Re: Pantome

Is there a mime type for it?

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Re: Are you spying on us?

AND being all "digitised"

Digitised? That's so last millennium. It seems to be digitalised these days.

EU's tech giant tax plan moves forward

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Re: @ J. Smith

"Do you have an ISA or similar tax free savings vehicles?"

Including company or personal pensions.

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Re: And in DC the US Treasury is not happy

" the advertisers would increase the price of their products to cover their extra costs"

I suppose it would be too much to hope that they'd stop and ask if the advertising is worth the cost. Yes, it would be too much to hope

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Re: EU - making it up as they go along

The blame for that doesn't sit with Brussels, it sits with the lazy and inept arts graduates staining the seats of Westminster Whitehall.

The tax rules get written in the Treasury. You don't think MPs could write 10million words, do you?

What is required to improve this is a binding law to place a word limit on new statutes of say 2,000 words

And whilst we're about it, how about a new law specifying that no program should be no longer than 2000 LoC? Of course to do that we might have to drop things like parameter checking but even if we do what could go wrong?

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Re: EU - making it up as they go along

For the EU to subsequently castigate and change the rules of the "single market" is wrong.

It may be wrong to castigate companies for following the rules but it's not wrong of them to change the rules if they can agree. After all, they're the EU's rules to change as they wish. However, threatening to do so and getting the necessary consensus to do so are two different things.

Boffin wins (Ig) Nobel prize asking if cats can be liquid

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Re: Peace prize

"I actually damaged a reed in my harmonica when I was trying to learn how to do this."

From your description I'd have expected you'd damage more than a reed.

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Re: Cats are neither a solid nor a liquid.

Actually they are both when you're not looking. They only settle on one state or the other when you watch them.

ICO whacks Welsh biz with £350k fine for 150 million nuisance calls

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"Seriously. If you want to send bulk text messages or make automated phone calls you should pay a deposit before you can send them, which is returned to you in the unlikely event that the recipients actually did opt in to receive them."

Take it a step further. The recipient dials a code, say 147x where x is any digit not currently assigned, and their account is credited with £1 (or some larger fee), twice that if the number is TPS registered. The recipient's telco adds on a fee for the service and then puts the charge on the caller's bill - or, if the call arrived from another network, transfer-charges that network.

It would, of course, be up to the originating network to decide whether they require an advance payment - why dictate their credit control policies, just put them on the hook for letting their customers behave that way.

Just how are HMRC’s IT systems going to cope with Brexit?

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Challenge: Won't be working any time in the foreseeable future.

Unprecedented challenge: Still won't be working any time well beyond the foreseeable future.

Hubble catches a glimpse WASP-12b, an almost pitch-black exoplanet

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2,600C? It might be a black body but it's not the dark matter you were looking for.

Veritas shrinks Sydney office, slashes 60-something support staff

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"slashes 60-something support staff"

That sounds like extreme ageism. In fact, it sounds more like Dignitas than Veritas.

User worked with wrong app for two weeks, then complained to IT that data had gone missing

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Re: Modifying test system?

Having something like a configurable background as part of the original design is fair enough. It doesn't touch any of the code responsible for doing the actual work. Just don't make it user configurable.

In fact I've seen something similar where there were a number of production systems sharing a lot of common code and hence user interfaces but operating on different databases. The background was specified in the database so that the users would always be aware of what they were working on.

But the same gig underlined the point about making sure that the test system tests the actual code that will be live. My client was a subcontractor processing data from other subcontractors and it was one of several where the data feed was to be XML so there was a bunch of systems sharing common code for handling that. On one contract upstream wasn't ready to generate XML when testing was due to start and wanted to send fixed width files instead (the data wasn't very complex so in this instance XML was overkill).

Fair enough, we had to have some end-to-end testing in place to keep to schedule. I wrote a front end, in fact a two stage front end, which converted fixed width to CSV and CSV to XML, all parametrised and set up to generate the XML to the project's schema with both steps being trivial to implement and based on the in-house class hierarchy, etc. This enabled our test system to use the eventual live code to do the XML import and as a by-product provided modules to allow the client to import fixed width or CSV data should this be a requirement for a future contract.

My client's development manager - yup, development manager! - couldn't understand why I didn't rip out the entire XML processing code, which was a large part of the entire custom code, and implant a completely new fixed width file processing code just for testing. In fact, it was the stress of dealing with that particular manager's bad decision making that persuaded me retirement time had arrived.

UK Data Protection Bill lands: Oh dear, security researchers – where's your exemption?

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Re: Ripe it up and start again!

"We need laws to be clear and easy to understand not so complicated."

Laws have something in common with programs. They are lists of things to do. And, therefore, they have to be able to deal with all those tricky corner cases. Remember all those problems with programs where nobody bothered to check whether a parameter passed to a function was within specification? Not checking made for clear, easy to understand, compact and unreliable code. Checking made for longer, somewhat harder to read and more reliable code.

Your clear and easy to understand laws trying to regulate unclear, hard to understand life are liable to fail to fit. Here's one instance for you to consider. It was real and goes right back to the DPA Mark 1 and to my days as a forensic scientist and setting up a casework system for my lab. As such I might receive an exhibit labelled "Clothes of John Smith". That's a label someone else wrote and so would be the accompanying documentation. I, personally, have no idea whether they are indeed the clothes of John Smith, nor who John Smith is. Someone may have given a false name of John Smith. I don't even know if they came from a single person. The defence might subsequently dispute some or all of what I've been told. Should I count the label and accompanying documentation as PII? What does the law say about it? What would you do if you were in that position?

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"GDPR is not compatible with high chancellor rees-mogg. It won't be passed into their law."

I wouldn't worry about that. Once reality starts to bite and people discover what they actually voted for Rees-Mogg will either turn out to have been an enthusiastic Remainer or be a forgotten man.

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Re: [an offense of] altering personal data in a way to prevent it being disclosed.

"Hmm, is it about (e.g.) tampering with access logs to prevent disclosure of disclosures?"

I think that's it. Of course if you don't keep logs....

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"That's not Kafka-esque, that's just English."

Yup. It's an assurance that the terms don't mean one thing in one place and something else in the other. Just the opposite of Kafkaesque.

Tick, tock motherf... erm, we mean, don't panic over GDPR

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Re: Up to €20m includes the figure zero

"Would you start an action against (eg) Talk Talk, who probably have a legal budget of the order of a couple of million quid?"

Depending on the scale of the claim the small claims court might be the appropriate venue in some cases. That effectively wipes out the advantage of a large legal budget.

But what happens if

- the ICO finds there was a breach

- a victim loses their house as a consequence

- the ICO issues a flat rate £1,000 compensation?

Should the victim simply write it off to bad luck?

Should the ICO's finding assist in the victim establishing their case? Should there be a compulsory use of an independent arbitrator to assess compensation on a level playing field?

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Where does it all end?

Dave's comparison of big and small businesses set me thinking. It's not necessarily the big organisation that doesn't realise what it's doing with PII. If anything they may have better resources to carry out a formal analysis and pick up on such things whilst a more informally managed SMB might not.

But this line of thinking extends down to the purely personal holding of PII. What about personal friends and family phone and address books? Your Christmas card list? SWMBO's ladies group (definitely NOT part of the WI!)? Does sending Christmas cards escape by being counted as a transacton?

Is a line drawn anywhere and if so where? What about the email list of a group of friends who meet in each others' houses to play bridge? Or a larger group that hires the village hall? Or the village hall management committee?

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Re: Up to €20m includes the figure zero

it is worth stopping to ask whether the actual fines will differ by very much from the current regime

Maybe "dissuasive" as mentioned in the article will change this. I hope those issuing the fines will interpret this as "big enough to affect management's bonuses and too big for the board to hide from the shareholders".

The bottom-feeders can be smacked with proportionately high fines, but they simply aren't going to pay them.

Power to freeze bank accounts would be a useful addition.

Government actually stand to make money from data breaches. That's wrong - the money should either be handed out to the victims

The possible income should be an incentive to pursue cases more vigorously and more often. The fines shouldn't stand in the way of civil proceedings for compensation. The imposition of a fine should, if anything, make the burden of proof easier. The ICO could be given the power to compel a compensation payment but then it might block the injured from producing evidence of more substantial actual losses.

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"Why are fines always an up amount? It's like a flat tax."

Do you mean "up to"?

Think about what "up to" means. Note that it's not the same as "at least".

Then you'll realise that your "flat tax" comparison is the exact reason for "up to"..

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"I don't see why I got a downvote?"

Maybe someone thought you should have included Alice. But I suspect it was really Eve.

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Given that it's been talked about in general terms for ages it's not really that new. Anyone who will have responsibilities under it and has been paying attention should have started planning for it a good while ago even if the final details have only recently been confirmed.

On the downside it'll only be Royal Assent that finally persuades some boards that it's a thing. And some will hold out until they're fined.

DARPA lays out cash-splash to defibrillate Moore's Law

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Re: Where is this going?

And why do I seem to hear Dick Feynman saying "Nature cannot be fooled"?

Chirpy, chirpy, cheap, cheap: Printable IoT radios for 10 cents each

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Re: Official reg units please

"a ballpark figure"

Over paid, over sexed and over here with their ballparks.

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Re: Oh sh*t

"You missed the hint in the article that they are looking at agricultural applications."

I'm sure there will be plenty of scope for abusing the technology beyond farming.

Shoddily-set-up Elastisearch hosting point-of-sale malware

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If they used the "do one thing and do it well" philosophy to decide not to include authentication, their definition of "one thing" is not big enough.

And their definition of "well" certainly isn't good enough.

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Re: This doesn't make sense

"The worst a dumb customer should be able to do is leave all their data exposed for the stealing and/or deleting."

A customer shouldn't even be able to do that. You need to think again about the "their" in "their data". The data may be about customers, employees etc. You and I may be included in the "they". "Their data" may mean "our data" and nobody should be able to leave that exposed.

Windows 10 Creators Update will add app-level privacy controls

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the additional setting, Microsoft says, will limit telemetry to “the minimum required for Windows Analytics”

Why didn't they start like that? And make even that optional?

Facebook posts put Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli in prison as a danger to society

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Re: Misleading headline.

"Shame on the Reg for such misleading clickbait over a non-story."

Come off it, Nick. You're not new here. You know what goes on.

Intelligence director pulls national security BS on spying question

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" How can Congress reauthorize this surveillance when the administration is playing games with basic questions about this program?"

s/reauthorize/continue to fund/

That'll get his attention, if only in retrospect if the implied threat gets carried through.

Act fast to get post-Brexit data deal, Brit biz urges UK.gov

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Re: Fiddlesticks

"I don't see them blocking transfers of PII over the Atlantic any time soon"

They have a cunning plan for that one. Every time the current fig leaf gets torn down by the courts they invent a similar one (rather like the Home Office's handling of investigative powers law). That's because keeping in with the US is important to the rest of the EU. Keeping in with the UK after Brexit won't rank so highly.

Regulate, says Musk – OK, but who writes the New Robot Rules?

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"Then the passengers ON the trolley die."

No, they can jump off. Didn't anybody tell you they were wearing crash helmets & protective clothing?

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Re: Working out what AI is thinking and why

Writing procedural code for "if this horizontal line at the top of the image is n pixels long AND ... AND ... AND " then Peckham high st - is going to be a bit limited

And if you don't know how it claims to be able to recognise Peckham High St - and that that "how" makes sense - then you've no assurance that it will recognise it correctly nor that it won't categorise other streets as being Peckham High St. Indeed you don't even know whether the system that recognises it correctly today will do so tomorrow after being provided with additional training data.

Cops' use of biometric images 'gone far beyond custody purposes'

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"Being annoyingly pedantic the person responsible for most, but not all, policing is the Home Sec."

And being even more annoyingly pedantic the Home Sec of that time is now the boss of all the others. So there!

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The person ultimately responsible for policing is the Home Sec. This would have been the Home Sec at the time of the original commissioner's report. She and her successor should be held responsible for her continued failure to take suitable action.

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

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Re: I'd love

"a season ticket from here to the smoke costs 5K a year"

So you're just inside the M25, then?

Apple: Our stores are your 'town square' and a $1,000 iPhone is your 'future'

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"We deserve all we get for putting up with this treatment."

Who's this "we" of whom you speak?

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Re: These "new" iPhones

"The question Apple has to answer (and the tech press would ask it if they were journalists)"

If they asked questions like that they wouldn't be allowed into the press conferences.

Bish, bosh, Bashware: Microsoft downplays research on WSL Win 10 'hack' threat

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Re: WSL?

AIUI it's a facility to translate Linux system calls to Windows kernel calls in order to run the Linux userland - the converse of Wine.

But I like Gnu/Windows. As soon as the marketroids mis-hear it it will become New Windows.

Government lab that gives a crap pushes open source

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"Whether you believe them or not, there are departments in the US Gov that do, and that's why they've gone to the bother of encouraging farmers to build digesters."

I do believe it. That's why I'm a bit worried by the article. They're encouraging farmers to build anaerobic digesters. These are the ones which produce methane. But then it goes on to say that it might not be possible to sell the energy from the methane to make the process economical. If that's the case the methane might be released instead. Old fashioned muck spreading may be a bit smelly but it does result in aerobic breakdown and adds humus to the soil.

Your boss asks you to run the 'cloud project': Ever-changing wish lists, packs of 'ideas'... and 1 deadline

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Re: Enterprise Architecture

"Presumably in crayon"

Powerpoint. Crayon for management.

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