* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Encryption? This time it'll be usable, Thunderbird promises

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"When the Mozilla Foundation decided to turn the email client loose in May 2017, its future looked doubtful, but it's still here"

There was strong support for the Document Foundation taking it over. I wonder if a serious rival was what made Mozilla change its mind.

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Re: Evolution EWS

"Are you sure that isn't Microsoft's fault for not properly using an open standard ?"

That's not a fault, it's a feature.

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Re: The only reason "everyone" runs Outlook is because "everyone" uses Exchange.

"Especially as Exchange is hardly Microsofts poster child for quality software"

When you've achieved lock-in why would you need quality?

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Re: The trouble with PGP is that

...it isn't a required part of the protocol that Thunderbird supports.

Very few people use PGP because very few if any of the people they correspond with us it. That's because those of the people who they correspond with who don't use PGP don't use it because very few if any of the people they correspond with don't use it. That's because... (Recusion: see recursion.)

What's needed is a Simple Encrypted Mail Transfer Protocol with SMTP being deprecated.

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"Thunderbird's look ... will be supported by a dedicated UX staffer."

There goes the neighbourhood.

Germany hacked: Angela Merkel's colleagues among mass data dump victims

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Date being sucked up?

It makes a change from it being Zucked up.

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Isn't having their private data hacked something that should only happen to the little people?

Oregon can't stop people from calling themselves engineers, judge rules in Traffic-Light-Math-Gate

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Re: What an engineer does in the US

I was amused by a sign stating, "Bob Smith, Signtist."

I've seen a sign on a chimney sweep's van describing himself as a Flueologist. His slogan is "Up Yours".

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Re: Technician Vs Engineer

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be. needs to be emptied. The normal term for engineering students in my college was "beers".

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Re: Great for this Engineer

the term "engineer" has been bastardised and mis-used until it's almost become a meaningless term.

The word "engineer" existed long before there were university courses and professional institutes dealing with engineering and it had a wide variety of meanings beyond the original which, I think, was military (cf civil engineering). The real issue here is a long-standing campaign to hijack the term for a restricted meaning rather than create a new one by those who want such exclusivity.

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Re: Great for this Engineer

"Sanitation Engineers arrived shortly after that, and it's been politically correct downhill ever since."

I remember somewhere about 1970 someone at a British Ecological Society* conference complaining to me and SWMO that the term "environmental science" had become so devalued that you couldn't tell whether someone claiming to be that was an academic or a man who'd come to tell you where to fit the radiators.

What lent this a certain piquancy was that he was a geographer and it was my view that ecology had been invaded by geographers who persisted in talking about well established aspects of the science but inventing their own terms for it. I suppose it was a primer for later life in IT where too much innovation is old ideas with new words.

* This was back when ecology was predominantly a branch of science rather than a branch of politics.

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Re: Great for this Engineer

"Of course, there are reasons to insist on high-quality software where safety depends on it. In most cases, it does not. Users prefer the present world of bug-ridden software, filtered by their experience and by the reviews of others. The alternative is a return to the relatively software-free 1970s."

What about security as well as safety? If there's sufficient demand there'll be enough money in providing software even if a requirement for higher standards were to be enforced.

It might, of course, result in the absence of software where the "bugs" are deliberate features to allow the vendors to extract data on the QT. Good.

The glorious Brexit uncertainty: The only dead cert on data rules for tech biz in 2019

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Re: My prediction is...

"We can infer from the noise coming from the MSM and politicians that in fact it is politicians who will be most affected, with lots of MEPS and other parasites losing their jobs."

So you're categorising as parasites those who work in businesses which were located in the UK to give their foreign workers a UK base. They might not lose their jobs immediately but further investment in those facilities will dry up until they reach EoL and close.

Wouldn't it be better to classify as parasites those who support Brexit but have moved their own businesses into the remainder of the EU ahead of it? Or are they just hypocrites?

Millennium Buggery: When things that shouldn't be shut down, shut down

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"As usual, all this is down to the failure of management to actually manage."

In fact, a failure to manage at two levels. Good management should create a cohesive workforce that doesn't get into the turf warfare which seems to be the essence of this particular incident. So not only is the management not planning on the task by task level, it's also not showing proper leadership.

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The screen flashed up its usual "Press F11 for recovery" screen

This is, of course, bad UI design. It tells the user nothing about this being an option for which there is an alternative, nothing about it not being the normal option and nothing about the circumstances in which you should use this option. Don't assume knowledge the user might not have.

It should say something along the lines of "If and only if you need to recover after a serious error press F11. This option should only be used by technically knowledgeable support personnel. If in doubt do NOT do this; just do nothing and the computer should start up normally and ask for help if it doesn't."

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Making and enforcing decisions like this is what top management is paid to do, not the likes of you and I.

Where the updates are to enable new functionality that department X needs and Y is objecting then get X & Y to agree a schedule between themselves. If they can't agree then it goes to the top team to tell them when it's going to happen.

Where the updates are initiated by IT because they're needed to patch some risk or move off some component that's reached maintenance EOL if you can't get agreement then go to the top team yourself and point out the risk and that you can't accept responsibility for any consequences of postponement.

I've seen the latter happen once when the server was due to reach EOL at the year end and IT proposed to cut over between Christmas and New Year when the business was closed. Management deferred for some weeks without giving reasons but accepted the risk of it costing arm and leg rates if there had to be a call-out after that. The reasons emerged early in the new year; it justified the risks for them.

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Re: God Bless written instructions

"And the blame gets shifted to the guy/team who wrote the instructions, and to the manager(s) who approved the instructions."

Given the context in Jim's case it sounds as if the entire thing came from a manager who thought that any bit if kit still running would burst into flames or self-destruct in some other way at midnight.

In those circumstances there's no reason to think that the writer knew there were routers or, if they did know, would be aware they shouldn't be shut down. It's what happens then authority outruns competence.

Bored IT manager automates Millennium Eve checks to ditch snoozing for boozing

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Re: The Sorcerer's Apprentice

"the USPTO won't let you patent a perpetual motion machine"

I think they'd be OK if you provided a working example. It would be a useful condition to apply to all other patents.

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Which reminds me - 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the start of ARPANET. Opportunity for a nice article there, el Reg.

Oh to see something as good and far-reaching come from 2019.

Heard the one where the boss calls in an Oracle consultant who couldn't fix the database?

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Re: Expensive Oracle consultant

"The Oracle consultant (making £600 a day) wasn't aware of that and poor me, making a good deal less than that, had to point it out."

The fundamental issue here is the attitude that "Excel (or any other spreadsheet) is the solution, what's the problem?".

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"You will therefore, be pleased to know that Open University students on the IT degree programmes do study 2s complement arithmetic along with gaining an understanding of bits, bytes and nibbles."

S100, the original OU science foundation course, provided students with a simple balance.

My problem students - a couple of teachers - couldn't understand why a foundation course would use this when they had digital scales at work. The magic lure of numbers! Could I get them to realise they were relying on all sorts of things they weren't able to see such as the linearity of transducers?

When we bought a digital balance in my lab the first thing I did was to check it out with some standard weights borrowed from the local Weights and Measures dept.

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"sharing data through disks files"

Instead of pipes?

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"why I'd have a need to thump a TV with a screwdriver"

Isn't it obvious? Providing you it it with the handle and not the blade it does less damage than a hammer.

Staff sacked after security sees 'suspect surfer' script of shame

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Re: "wouldn't be common freakin' sense to not surf dodgy websites at work?"

"I feel so old now"

You should worry. We had the extended family round last night. Ignoring one cousin who's a great deal older than the rest of use we realised that the first of our [i.e. cousins'] children has now reached 50. That really was frightening.

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Re: Perhaps they should apply the same rules on PCs on the Parliamentary Estate

Which rules would those be? Rules that allow MPs' communications to be monitored? Good idea - until you want to write to your MP about something confidential. What was that? You don't think you should be monitored when you communicate with your MP?

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Re: Access Denied

"wasn't there an issue when SuBo had her latest CD release ?

all invited to see at www.susanalbumparty"

Obligatory DIlbert: https://dilbert.com/strip/2000-08-19

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Re: Access Denied

It looks as if we're getting back to the bad old days when residents of Scunthorpe and Penistone had trouble signing up to stuff: https://linux.slashdot.org/story/18/12/20/1753257/debians-anti-harassment-team-is-removing-a-package-over-its-name In fact residents of Titchfield might have the same problem.

Microsoft's 2018, part 2: Azure data centres heat up and Windows 10? It burns! It burns!

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"It also means the USA can effectively switch off any Azure services as and when they please"

And even when they don't please. I'm reminded of the song of the Siamese cats.

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Re: All that elderly code is one reason for the current woes of the OS (?)

"Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year Bob!"

But a curse upon thy caps lock. May it get a crumb from thy mince pie or other seasonal offering lodged immovably beneath it.

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Re: ... and people ask me why I use Linux exclusively

"Back to PC-World yesterday and got their money back despite protestations."

Why not just put a proper OS on it?

Microsoft's 2018, part 1: Open source, wobbly Windows and everyone's going to the cloud

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Re: Anus horribilis, indeed.

"Nope, I think you have it correct!"

Forget the downvote. I think you have it correct that the OP has it correct.

GDPR: Four letters that put fear into firms' hearts in 2018

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Re: The Result of Arrogance

"The GDPR and other rumblings are the result of arrogance by Suckerberg, et. al."

Not really. In Europe the antecedents are the DPAs of the 1980s. It may have taken the US a few decades to realise that there's a problem but unless I missed one somewhere this is now the 3rd such Act in the UK. The current version reacts to the need to bring the penalties up to date with inflation and to make them scale with the size of the offender and to penalise the usual weaselling actions of offenders.

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Re: Oh No It Isn't...

And also: "We take users privacy and sercurity very seriously" after a major breach of either.

I'd like to see journos point blank refusing to print such a statement without an answer to a question as to how the company squares this with what's just happened.

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Re: Oh No It Isn't...

Well done!

'Year-long' delay to UK 5G if we spike Huawei deals, say telcos

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This is worrying

My FTTC connection is one of the old ones with separate modem and router and the modem's Huawei. Maybe it's reporting all my eBay bids back to China so they can outbid me. Bastards!

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Re: Marconi

"BT already bankrupted Marconi"

I thought the bankers did that by inveigling them into spending their cash mountain on inappropriate diversification.

London Gatwick Airport reopens but drone chaos perps still not found

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Re: Unlikely

"If youre tech savvy enough to rig up something like this youre smart enough to know to switch off all mobile devices before you get anywhere near your destination."

You'd be surprised at what mistakes people make when committing offences, particularly if they panic.

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Re: "there's really one use for guns"

"But not many."

OTOH they're pretty big.

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"The difference is that there's really one use for guns (especially in the UK which is really too densely populated for hunting with guns, except shotguns*, to be a thing), which is killing people."

There's competition shooting for a start. Post-Dunblane the ban lead to the shooting contingent of the UK Olympic team having to train abroad. And yet smarmer-in-chief Blair had his photo-opportunity with the team. I was surprised that those affected didn't boycott him.

The trouble with urgent legislation in response to something like this is that it's not well thought out and liable to err on the side of being too all-embracing or nigh on impossible to enforce. The pit-bull legislation is an example of the latter.

*I believe deer stalking uses rifles. There are large portions of the UK less densely populated than those you're familiar with.

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There have been no reports of anyone seeing drones taking off or landing, or at least none have been made public. This restricts the locations to isolated buildings or open locations well away from visibility of roads and groups of houses whilst still near enough to Gatwick. I'd expect that right now there are searches through mobile tower records looking for mobiles that can be triangulated to those areas at those times. I wouldn't rule out someone getting a knock on the door from the plod between now and the New Year.

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"Why is it that politicians (and pilots on PPrune) don't seem to understand that regulation only stops people who are prepared to abide by the rules?"

It also provides sanctions against those who don't abide by them. It increases the scope of "those who are prepared" from just "those who are willing" to "those who don't want to face the sanctions". That's not insignificant.

It's a lot of work, being popular: Apple, Tim Cook and the gilets jaunes

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Re: Where history repeats itself

"what happened when BillG took pity on the floundering Apple."

I thought it more about taking pity on poor Microsoft that was in danger of being bullied by the big bad regulators on account of its being a monopoly.

It's a Christmas miracle: Logitech backs down from Harmony home hub API armageddon

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"Hopefully Logitech's New Year resolution will be to forge a closer relationship with its passionate fans and learn that it can make a better product with their help, rather than cut them out."

An even better resolution would be to start thinking intelligently so it doesn't get into this sort of situation again. They knew what the immediate consequences would have been (stuff would stop working) but didn't think beyond those (customers whose stuff stops working are not happy customers) and further still (unhappy customers are apt to (a) sue and (b) become somebody else's customers instead).

Slap for Slack chat app after US, Canada chaps zapped in Iranian IP address map whack

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Re: Ironic then that Israel and Iran are antagonistic to each other.

"Can you remember when Iran used to be liberal?"

Yes. I'm not sure whether you can. Things had changed by Reagan's time.

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Re: Whack a mole?

"What is to stop them creating a new account?"

Or using IRC.

Error pop-up? Don't worry, let's just get this migration done... BTW it's my day off tomorrow

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Re: been there - done that

"Internet not working - didn't pay the bill for 6 months"

I had an ISP for my home internet who didn't get paid for a few months because my card had expired. I eventually got a final and only warning. Was it too difficult for them to have emailed a warning the first time payment failed? Sometimes these companies can't look after their own interests as well as they might.

At one time we used SunAccount. They put a warning on every screen at login about a month before the licence was due for renewal. It played havoc with our screen-scraping program we used to keep account details in sync with the ordering system.

London's Gatwick airport suspends all flights after 'multiple' reports of drones

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"I am intrigued how police are searching?"

I'd start with a bit of map work. Unless we're not being told nobody's reported their neighbours operating them or reporting having seen them from a passing car. So you start looking for some isolated locations not too far away. Then get airborne to check them out.

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Re: I wonder if...

The “someone” might not have enough people

...or drones.

2018 ain't done yet... Amazon sent Alexa recordings of man and girlfriend to stranger

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"something that Amazon claimed, wrongly, that it had discovered."

To be fair they did discover it. They just forgot to say how they discovered it. Somebody told them about it.

Facebook Like, social sharing buttons on your website may land you in GDPR hot water if data goes a-wanderin'

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Re: "website operators should obtain the consent of site visitors before collecting data"

There's another aspect of that. The EU folks are smart enough to realise that far from harming the EU economy there are competitive advantages in establishing data sovereignty.

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