* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Rolling in personally identifiable data? It's a bit of a minefield if you don't keep your feet

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Just wondering

" If I sent an email to you, asking you to stop this, would you be required to do so with all haste?"

That raises a further issue. Marketing emails are usually sent with a no-reply email address. If there is no acceptable means of communicating one's wish to opt out (and clicking links in an unsolicited email has been a non-no these many years) when is this in itself an offence under the GDPR?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"If I signed up to every data protection seminar invitation in my inbox I'd have no hours left in the day to work... or drink or sleep, for that matter. "

Sleeping wouldn't be a problem. As to drinking, clearly you need to be selective about the seminars you choose.

US government: We can jail you indefinitely for not decrypting your data

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Good quality encryption results in random data, which can be decrypted to anything."

Following up that thought in a slightly different way:

Here's the key.


This is garbage.

No, it's random numbers. It's an encrypted disk of random numbers. What were you expecting?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"For the time being an attempt to ask again gives you all you need to bring the case to ECHR."

Which is why our Home Sec in charge (and probably her side-kick, the Home Sec in office) would like to get out of the ECHR as well as the ECJ.

Oh, ambassador! You literally are spoiling us: Super-stealthy spyware hits Euro embassy PCs

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"any other OS available could be penetrated as well, no matter what safeguards may be in place."

It gets harder to make spear phishing work if the victim only reads emails with mutt.

NYPD head of IT doubles down on Windows smartphone idiocy

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Many trust fund babies never bother."

And now we know why.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Hold on, if I read this right

Not really, read Brook's "Mythical man-month" and see what he says about the "second-system effect"

But he also wrote "plan to throw one away". How unusual for an IT director to have not only read Brooks but also taken his advice to heart and followed it 36,000 times.

So thoughtful. Uber says it won't track you after you leave their vehicles

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Makes me laugh...

"Even making it more obvious when an app is doing this, as Apple are planning, doesn't really help, since there's still nothing you can do about it other than refusing to use the app in question, and it's clear most people aren't actually willing to do that."

If it's not previously been clear to users that an app is tracking them than it's by no means clear that people aren't willing to do without it.

Crowdfunding scheme hopes to pay legal fees for Marcus Hutchins

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Here, the key is... the evidence has to be weak. In this case... it's not. The evidence is seemingly strong against him."

What evidence? Where did you read it? Do you mean the redacted summary that was released? If so I've got news for you: that wasn't evidence. it was a summary of what the FBI hope to prove.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: No travel insurance?

"in a way, can you blame them?"

Yes. Selling insurance requires persuading potential customers that they'll get the payment they need when they need it. Weaselling persuades them that they won't. More weasel, less sales.

Two million customer records pillaged in IT souk CeX hack attack

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Some credit and debit card data was also slurped

"They fessed up, though, admitted fault, AND hired a cybersecurity expert ... what more do you want ?"

To do things in the right order. Hire the cybersecurity expert first, then they might not need to do the rest.

Lanarkshire NHS infection named as Bitpaymer variant

Doctor Syntax Silver badge


Remote Desktop Disaster Protocol.

Huge Apple news confirmed. Software deal with Accenture is official

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Re: I don't understand...

"Why would Apple have anything to do with them?"


Next question?

New York Police scrap 36,000 Windows smartphones

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

So - what qualifications does a billionaire's daughter have to be Deputy Commissioner for IS?

I seem to remember a similar question being asked elsewhere.

Enterprises gooey for Windows 10 as OS helps Computacenter rake it in

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Re: I wuv you MSFT

"Were you hoping for a round of applause?"

Or sympathy?

WannaCrypt NHS victim Lanarkshire infected by malware again

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"being run (down) by a Government who want to privatise the NHS and who have their snouts in the trough of private medicine?"

Go read JinC's comment above. He's already nailed this political garbage. You know as well as I do that no party dare touch the NHS in the way you suggest and this is an over-used piece of claptrap that Labour drag out at every opportunity. And as JimC says, it inhibits everybody from trying to improve the situation the NHS has got into.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"But if we patch they loose their warrenty and CE marking since we're acting against the manufacturer."

Put them on the spot and ask them* if their warranty covers not only malware damage to the unpatched systems themselves but also consequent damage to other systems for malware getting in through unpatched XP and consequent harm to patients.

*Via your legal dept. of course. Potentially being on the hook for large damages is apt to concentrate minds.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Failing to do so.

"legacy kit that can't just be upgraded"

I usually point out the the "legacy" system is the one that's earning the money and therefore can't, as you point out, be easily upgraded. But if indeed this was spread by Word attachments on email there is every reason to treat Word as legacy which can and should be replaced.

And, to forestall those who witter about "training to use this [allegedly] really difficult" LibreOffice then the training costs* for such a transition should be set against the costs of the obviously needed training for sanitary handling of email attachments.

*Really? It's not exactly difficult. It's a long time since I used Word but I don't remember it being that hard to flip between one and the other; they seemed pretty similar. Maybe the difference between the ribbon and the classic interfaces made LibreOffice a harder transition until the recent update which provided an optional ribbon. And in any case, those using the ribbonised version of MS Office must have either swallowed the training costs when that was introduced or let staff struggle untrained when they had the much less disruptive alternative of OO or LO.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Underfunded or underskilled?

"they lost several managers especially in their IT area last year"

So undermanaged applies.

Nasty firmware update butchers Samsung smart TVs so bad, they have to be repaired

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Go Samsung!

"A Pi for plugged into a TV would be classified as a HTPC, not a computer"

Ummm... That acronym you posted - what do the letters stand for?

PC sales to fall and fall and fall and fall and fall for the next five years

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Virtual Reality

We're about a year away from the "business usefulness point" of virtual reality systems

Hasn't this been the case for the last few years?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Useless

"As for my Land Rover - great for me out here in the sticks, wouldn't want to drive it around the city though."

I'm not sure about the latter. When driving in central London I always thought I'd rather have been in an early Land Rover showing all the scars of 40 years use on a farm. The locals who weren't scared off would just have bounced off & what's another scratch or patch of paint?

UK.gov wants quick Brexit deal with EU over private data protections

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Don't worry, it will all work out in the end.

"Incredibly daft though"

Incredibly daft to be in the position that that will be the best outcome. I doubt that much canvassing would be needed, however.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Well said

"They would rather we all fail so they can say I told you so"

1. I don't count myself as an elite.

2. I most certainly don't want it to fail for any reason whatsoever, I simply regard it as an inevitability.

If that statement represents the quality of your thinking it explains a good deal as to why you espouse that cause.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Diversionary tactics

"We want out of the EU."

Is this the royal we again? You may want that. You aren't everybody. In the advisory referendum you got a small (in percentage) majority. A great many thought then that Brexit would be a disaster, are still of that opinion and most certainly don't want out. You do not speak for us. And remember that your slim majority in that referendum (assuming it still exists in public opinion today) will have no bearing whatsoever on whether the outcome of Brexit is success or failure, that will be down to reality.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: They need us more than we need them

"A bloodless revolution which will return power to those who it should belong to, us the people."

One outcome is May getting our as far as possible from the ECJ. This removes a layer of protection for the people. Don't be fooled into thinking you're being empowered. You're not.

It's a good default assumption that any politician who seeks to remove a layer of legal supervision of their activities has something to hide.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Diversionary tactics

" there will be a revolt by the backbenchers and presumably a leadership challenge by that toad, Jacob Rees-Mogg."

I still think the best thing that could have happened was for Cameron, instead of doing a runner, to have counted up to a hundred a few times, drawn a deep breath and then announced that because it was an advisory referendum he'd start a feasibility study. To that end appoint all the Rees-Mogg & Bill Cash element as junior ministers in a new ministry, each with the task of carrying out an impact assessment of some aspect of the economy closely affecting their own constituencies. Let them actually take some responsibility and do some work. And for those constituencies with a strong Leave vote and major EU bases of foreign corporations but no government MP, their MP could go on the corresponding Select Committee, again with the job of evaluating the impact on their constituencies.

Once that task was complete run a further, binding referendum requiring a supermajority which, of course should be the right way for any substantial constitutional change - and should have been a requirement for all those EC/EU treaty changes in the past.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: That's a new definition of "alignment" then

"especially with May as PM I can't see that happen"

The slight benefit here is that Davis is Brexit Sec. I can't imagine them seeing eye-to-eye over this.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: They need us more than we need them

"refusing to support democracy"

Bearing in mind that this was only an advisory referendum with a very small percentage majority and taking into account the roaring success the current government achieved in the recent election how sure are you that a referendum now would confirm the original?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: There 'May' come a time

"Its any wonder that the rest of the world finds employment while they are not in the EU."

The rest of the world is not seeing a large proportion of its home market converted to an export market.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Diversionary tactics

"That's at least something you can't blame on Johnny the Foreigner."

With a handle like that he must be a Scot. So to any little Englander he's still Johnny Foreigner.

And, of course, we see an attempt to drag out another pre-emptive excuse so that it won't be the Leavers' fault when it goes pear-shaped.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It's not complicated...

"Obviously, as it won't be a member of the EU, the UK has no role or influence in drafting those regulations. If there is a dispute about whether the UK has done the job correctly, the ECJ (without any UK judge) will rule."

And, of course, we'll have "taken back control" as now we're just doing it voluntarily out of the goodness of our hearts. The obvious solution all along.

Warning: this most might contain traces of sarcasm and irony. Best avoid if you have an allergy.

Bombastic boss gave insane instructions to sensible sysadmin, with client on speakerphone

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It's Friday. So where is Alistair Dabbs?

He's still on-site sorting out an email problem.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: So he knew how to fix it anyway?

"if I was the Lawyer firm I'd be asking why 'Diannes' time was so utterly wasted by the clown on site playing stupid games when he knew how to resolve the situation in the first place."

For one thing I'd guess Dianne was Craig's lawyer appointed minder. Craig would be handling client confidential information. In those circumstances the lawyer would expect to have someone keep and eye on things and, if he'd any sense, Craig would also want want that too.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Sounds like Craig is unprofessional and was trying to score points."

Sounds to me as if Craig had a good idea of what was likely to happen and was covering himself.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Sorry, you couldn't have. He works here."

No contradiction; you work where the A/C worked.

Forget trigonometry, 'cos Babylonians did it better 3,700 years ago – by counting in base 60!

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Gilgamesh sued Apple

"From the OED:" etc

Yup, but AFAIK the historical thinking is that the title doesn't apply as no such ruler is known but there may have been a military commander of that name. Or maybe there wasn't. All the references are considerably later, and have a strong whiff of myth about them. The only battle attributed to him in these sources which can be matched in earlier sources is Mons Badonis and that earlier source, Gildas, doesn't attach any participant's names at all. In fact, although he says it was a siege it doesn't even say who besieged whom.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Gilgamesh sued Apple

(In that sense a bit like King Arthur, though evidence for him is more tenuous and most of what you read/see is stuff made up 100s of years after original Welsh legends.)

And not actually a king either, assuming he existed.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Special cases

"The Egyptians beat Pythagoras to it; they used 3:4:5 for land surveying. Heck, I used it a lot when building my home 14 years ago."

When we moved into our home some years ago after my parents had dies I wondered what became of the 3:4:5 wooden triangle my dad made to set out the walls when he built the house. A year or so ago I found it propped up against a boundary wall when I was cutting back a holly. The joints attaching the hypotenuse had rotted but I still have the right angle.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: So much for digital

"Thought that was why there was 60 seconds / minutes in a hour."

I think that's also derived from the Babylonians as do the divisions of a circle. But, of course, it was they who had the wit to use a number base that was convenient for integer division rather than an inconvenient one based simply on counting their fingers.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: So much for digital

"why has the modern world moved so far towards pure binary (and powers of 2 in specific contexts)?"

Imperial measurement made considerable use of binary. Weights from pounds down to drachms were binary as were volumes from gallons down to gills. In general they seem to have been based on measures which were a convenient size for some purpose with a strong inclination to subdivide on a binary basis. It's a natural thing to do. If you have a standard of weight, for instance, you can weigh out that amount of sand, flour or whatever on scales and then, using the same scales, divide that into two equal portions and subdivide further.

The problem arises when two different scales of measurement overlap and we end up with a stone of 14 pounds. Other stones were available - I've seen reference to a stone of 15lbs in the C18th - but I suppose a atone of 16lbs would have required too much adjustment to reconcile with the larger scales in use for other purposes.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: So much for digital

"1024 if you undo your fly"

No, that would be 2047.

El Reg gets schooled on why SSDs will NOT kill off the trusty hard drive

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: M-disc

"For me, it was Zip drives."

I had to buy a drive which got used just once. My daughter had data on a disc and needed to get it off onto something more tractable.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Tepid storage for home users

"What I'd like is some reliable, long-term (archival) storage for home users. Something with a vast amount of capacity that I can write, lose in the back of a desk drawer for 20-30 years and reliably read afterwards, without (like a tape drive) needing a rather expensive bit of kit to read and write it."

The problem with this is that not only do you have to provide the equipment for 20-30 years but you also have to be able to understand it. So even if you resort to writing QR codes to microfilm you then have to hope that whatever OS you're using in 20-30 years has a library for decoding QR codes, even if the data is just plain old ASCII text that you could have streamed off a tape providing you had a tape drive.

There are no easy solutions for long term data storage except active curation: copying from the old medium and format to the latest one whilst the old is still physically and logically accessible.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: What is needed is better data destruction policies

"Lots of storage will be freed up as people die."

There's a very long term storage format available: ink on parchment. A lot of that must have been freed up when people died. If you're an historian that's one of the central problems of your professional life.

OTOH I think present day rates of data accumulation will also be a problem for future historians.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Flash replacing Tape too

"tape technology... evolved to produce additional advantages: such as high data transfer rates that can surpass most rust drives"

Isn't tape also based on rust?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I just replaced the HDD in my laptop with...

"Put the SSD in as the boot drive and put your old HDD into the USB casing for extra data space."

I get it: it's a use case that works for you so of course it must work for everyone else.

Fancy talking to SAP about your indirect licensing concerns? Straw poll says no

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Re: Overlicensing?

"too many licences"

Does this concept actually exist?

Node.js forks again – this time it's a war of words over anti-sex-pest codes of conduct

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

I'm trying to work out who's harassing who here. I think it's everybody and everybody else.

It certainly wouldn't happen in the Linux kernel community.

Reality strikes Dixons Carphone's profits after laughing off Brexit threat

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Re: Extended life expectancy for mobes

"what makes them die so young?"

The smaller you make the components the less able they are to tolerate minor defects.

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