* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Firefox doesn't need to be No 1 – and that's OK, 'cos it's falling off a cliff

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"Comodo dragon. Chrome without the feed to Google."

Hmmm. Wanted to download a .exe & run it with Crossover Office which was once installed & now isn't. I'm impressed. But not favourably.

Details of 400,000 loan applicants spilled in UniCredit bank breach

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"GDPR ensures that data is accounted for, protected and access to it is managed"

Not really. It just ensures that failure to do these things may result in a big fine. It's the same sort of thinking that says if we ban encryption Bad People won't use it.

Virgin Media's profanity warning triggered by chief exec's name

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"not only was Mr Bastard real, but he was clearly old enough to have been able to change his name and had *chosen* not to."

A quick trawl through the birth registrations for several years from 1900 shows that there were almost invariably a few born each quarter with that surname. Presumably these were mostly not some quirk of recording illegitimate children. Fairly often, however, the mother's maiden surname was given as Bastard so they may well have been genuine bastards.

Confessions of an ebook eater

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Re: 'Fag up'?

"Which, interestingly, is something that you can take on a fag (of the cigarette variety)"

Or, indeed, the other.

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Re: Great article

"Regarding screens, Microsoft's Surface line has the best screen aspect for reading A-series documents: its 3:2 display ratio (i.e., 1.5:1), is as near as dagnabbit the A-series 1.414 : 1 plus a tiny bit for a menu bar.

Hopefully, other manufacturers will follow suit: 16:9 is only good for movies."

That's the trouble with toys where it's assumed you'll only have one thing displayed, it will be A-seriesish in proportion & it will be at full screen. Have you considered that other people have use cases involving multiple documents open at once, perhaps a reference document and a text editor? Or involving images which are much wider than the sort of text you use? In those situations 16:9 is minimal.

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Re: Ms. Stob, you've been lucky you had not to cope with translated books...

"before BorInCodeEmbIdera finishes to kill off Delphi - their new Linux compiler didn't set the development world aflame"

FreePascal and Lazarus might be what you're looking for.

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Re: 'Fag up'?

"I think you mean schlep."

Or drag.

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"Foyles' quixotic system of trading"

Paying was only half of it. The other half was the way books were displayed. The common habit of grouping books by subject wasn't for Foyles. They shelved their books by publisher.

If, by chance, all the good books on CodeMangle-- were published by, say Wiley, this was fine. If every publisher had a book out on it you'd wander all over the shop trying to compare them. And if nobody had one out you'd wander all over the shop simply to discover that.

At one time the bus-stop outside bore an advert reading "Foyled again? Try Dillons."

HPE boss Whitman among candidates for Uber CEO job – report

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Oh, go on, Meg. Don't keep sacrificing yourself for HP. They'll struggle on without you somehow.

Slapping crap bosses just got cheaper: Blighty's Supreme Court nixes tribunal fees

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"charge you £750 an hour or more for barrister representation.

Even for 1 day, the price was over £1500."

At £750 an hour the price per day would be several times £1500.

Microsoft ctrl-Zs 'killing' Paint, by which we mean offering naff app through Windows Store

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Re: Anyone cares really?

"I much prefer operating systems not to come with bundled crap."

Most people only want the applications. They'd prefer them to come without bundled crap operating systems.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: As usual .....

"So listening to consumer feedback, acting upon that feedback and admitting you made a mistake is a bad thing now?"

Not making the mistake in the first place is the better option

HP Inc, HPE both slapped with racism, ageism lawsuit

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Re: Ah the magic number or how the game is rigged ...

"Wage is probably the most likely."

No longer being [young and] impressionable is another.

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Re: Unsure what to think

"This is why HR in many companies insist on a structured hiring and firing process, with retention of notes, emails, etc. that are related to the decisions...

Simply put, HR policies are a pain in the ass, but they are they to protect the company's reputation and keep it out of the courtroom."

In other words, whatever you do, make sure the paper trail looks OK.

Got some pom-poms handy? UK.gov seeks a geography cheerleader

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I don't know if geographers have changed since the long-ago days when I was a palaeoecologist. If they haven't then the likely outcome will be that they'll reinvent whatever field they're asked to advise on, inventing new names for everything.

Now I've written that, I wonder if a lot of them go into marketing. Cloud? DevOps?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Experts?

"I thought official government policy was to ignore experts and rely on unskilled, ignorant and bigoted amateurs?"

Yes, but if you don't have experts you can't ignore them.

User filed fake trouble tickets to take helpful sysadmin to lunches

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Re: Why so much anger?

"They need to get a grip on their misplaced anger."

So if your company has seriously mucked things up for a customer the customer should just shrug it off? They have no entitlement to be angry at your company, the one that's got things wrong? Why?

It may well be that anger is misplaced in that front line support isn't responsible for you company's lack of a proper escalation process, bad product quality, documentation or whatever it is that gave rise to the anger which may very well be justified. Front line support is, unfortunately, the only face your company presents to the user once the shiny suited salesman has disappeared.

But no company should regard anger directed at it as being misplaced unless they're very sure that it wasn't their own inadequacies that caused it. And they are, very often the cause in one way or another.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: No lunch for me

Got into work one morning There were half a dozen agency staff who'd turned up to do data entry. On what? Sales had set up a new contract but the business process required didn't fit with anything presently in place and nobody thought to enquire what might be needed. Most unusually I hadn't caught wind of this one, otherwise I'd have had the rabbit ready to pull out of the hat.

I quickly set up a database table and data entry form (on the development server - not letting a load of strangers have logins on the production box). While the new arrivals got on with key pounding I spent the rest of the morning working out how to feed the data into the appropriate bits of the production database so product shipment could start in the afternoon.

All the personnel from the other teams got taken to London for lunch in the BT Tower revolving restaurant. But not the one who stopped the whole thing becoming a fiasco.

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Re: Went further than lunch!

In my case it was helping out with field work.

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Re: Apologized to? Sure.

"If it were costing my employer money"

This is not necessarily a simple issue. In the example in TFA it might be Wayne's perceived value to the customer that keeps the customer from going elsewhere. Even if it were nominally costing the employer money in the greater scheme of things it might be making money. If Wayne's job title was sales, business development or the like the only worrying thing would be that it wasn't Wayne paying the bill.

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Re: Never had one, despite being fucking awesome.

"Get visible"

Sometimes you only become visible by handing in your notice.

Google goes home to Cali to overturn Canada's worldwide search result ban

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Presumably the issue for a US court is the challenge of some other country trying to apply its jurisdiction world-side. Equustek should get an injunction in the US where unchallenged world-wide jurisdiction is assumed.

systemd'oh! DNS lib underscore bug bites everyone's favorite init tool, blanks Netflix

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Re: Integration dammit

"Then I see that systemd started life as an init replacement, with good aims, and then rapidly realized that to achieve its design goals big chunks of the rest of Linux needed to be rewritten."

If, when you attempt to fix something you find that everything around it then breaks and you fix that & more stuff breaks, that's nature's way of telling you your original fix was broken.

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Re: And this is why Linux will NEVER be a useable desktop OS

"Linux is becoming MORE like a hobbyist OS than ever before"

Which hobbyist OS did you have in mind? The problem most Linux users have is that it's becoming more like Windows.

The lady (or man) vanishes: The thorny issue of GDPR coding

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Just customers?

Employees are also data subjects. Also all those non-customers in the email lists marketing have got their grubby ittle hands on.

Watson AI panned, 5¼ years of sales decline ... Does IBM now stand for Inferior Biz Model?

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Re: It's a pivot

"They always knew they would drop for a while. This is known as a pivot and is fully expected while they invest in their future business and watch their past business disapear."

How do you differentiate between revolving round a pivot and circling the drain?

One-quarter of UK.gov IT projects at high risk of failure

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Re: Need more resources.

"What risk? You are paying PAYE tax if you are within IR35."

What part of the word "afterwards" did you fail to understand?

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Re: Need more resources.

"It will just cost them an extra ~ 30% on top of the outside of IR35 rates."

I don't know. If I were still working I'd be very wary of taking a caught contract even with a hefty premium for doing so, just to avoid the risk of not being able to get HMRC off my back afterwards.

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"Munich was a failure - and wants to reverse course after a decade of trying."

No. Its Microsoft fanboy mayor wants to reverse it. Politics. Or something.

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"Only 25%?"

Yup, a lot better than I thought. Now tell us like it really is.

Insurers claim cyber calamities could cost more than Hurricane Sandy

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"The Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 wasn't the cause of most of the property damage. It was arson. People were insured against fire, but not earthquake. So while emergency crews were busy, people burned their houses and businesses down."

That sounds like the insurance industry's definition: damage == insured damage. If the building was wrecked in the earthquake it wasn't damaged, just wrecked.

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"human error causes a zero-day vulnerability in widely used software to leak. Details are purchased on the dark web by criminals who develop exploits and target vulnerable businesses for financial gain."

Who invents stuff like this? Couldn't possibly happen. Nobody leaks stuff like that so nobody buys it. No chance.

Openreach asks UK what it thinks about 10 million 'full fibre' connections

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Re: Why?

"If you really want a universal service obligation of 50 Mbps for everyone then full fibre everywhere probably is the best path currently available to achieving it."


"My" cabinet is about 2 miles from the exchange. There are cabinets at a number of other points along the way where the copper comes in from side roads. So to get from the exchange to install a cabinet about 300 metres away from my house BT had to lay 2 miles of fibre. Myself and anyone else on those cabinets who wanted a faster connection could then have their copper links connected as and when they wanted it.

If BT had started connecting FTTP to every house along the way, working up the side roads as they came to them that 2 miles would have been a tiny fraction of the whole. I can't even begin to guess at how much longer it would have taken. In fact, our exchange probably wouldn't have had fibre at all because they'd still have been at work on the exchanges that were higher up the list.

It makes far more sense to get on with extending the coverage of the FTTC network than rolling out FTTP in the areas where there'll be RoI to support it and enough prospective customers who'll be prepared to pay for it.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Not here methinks

"What really gets my goat is BT had the capability to fibre up all the premises in the UK nearly 30 years ago for less than they spend maintaining copper but shelved it."

You do realise, don't you, that BT were prevented by HMG from doing that. Instead the opportunity was given to the cable companies who cherry-picked what they considered the best areas. Even then they had trouble making money out of it, hence the consolidation.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Fortunately our village went FTTC some time ago. A friend living in an even more rural area is still on a very marginal ADSL. If FTTC doesn't get rolled out to him before OpenReach start cherry-picking areas for FTTP he's got no chance. That's going to be the real world trade-off.

Another Brexit cliff edge: UK.gov warned over data flows to EU

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I think we can guess how this report is going to be regarded by HMG.

The HoL is an unelected body. What's that? They took expert evidence? Well, there you go. Experts; what do they know?

Our PM is a housetrained Home Sec. Getting access to personal data is the very thing that GDPR and the ECJ will make difficult. This report will go down like a Xenon filled lead balloon.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "The potential downside of not getting this right is very serious,"

"What makes you think it's a good idea?"

I know I have answered this many times but I have yet to hear a remain answer to it.

Note that the question was posed to a Leaver who'd stated outright that nobody knows what the outcome would be. As to Remainers - we don't think leaving is a good idea and can think of no reasons why it would be.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Can anyone give an example?"


Let's say you want to offer some service of goods for sale. You require the customers to set up an account - name, address, phone, payment details - nothing out of the ordinary. But do you know what that is? It's personal data. And handling personal data is going to be very much more closely regulated. Most of us think that's a Good Thing.

Whilst we're in the EU we're subject to the EU rules so the EU PTB are going to be cool with you doing that because you're subject to their law.

Now imagine the situation when we're not in the EU. Unless we can ensure the EU that we as a country can ensure that you as a business are going to be subject to equivalent rules then you're not going to be able to accept that data from an EU customer. You're not going to be able to sell to them.

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Re: Stupid people don't know they're stupid

"maybe you should check your facts first."

Maybe he did. In the Mail.

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Re: what?

"when they do do f*ck all"

That's a bit hard on Farage. He worked reasonably hard at insulting anyone who disagreed with him.

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Re: "The potential downside of not getting this right is very serious,"

"First, clearly not a disaster, in fact not even an issue. Translating data from one format to the other is not new nor rocket science"

So the whole thing has gone over your head.

Data formats are irrelevant. It's a matter of data governance. If we want to do business with the EU then it means exchanging data and ensuring that the data we receive from them is subject to their rules, rules to which we, at present, contribute to making but which, in future, we won't. Not contributing to making them doesn't mean we gain your much vaunted control. It means losing it. That applies to just about every aspect of trade with the EU. That has been transparently clear from the very start.

The only way that this isn't an issue for you is if you think you don't want to do business with the EU. If that's your wish and you get your way then you'll have tipped a large part of the UK economy down the drain, including the jobs of a lot of people who voted Leave (all those car makers with EU bases currently in the UK; do you really think they'll stay?).

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "The potential downside of not getting this right is very serious,"

"No one actually knows what the ultimate outcome will be."

An excellent thought.

Reflect on it.

Think about it as hard as you can.

Then ask yourself this question: What makes you think it's a good idea?

Security robot falls into pond after failing to spot stairs or water

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Re: It doesn't say

"How long the robot was missing in the pond before security staff noticed."

It was the security staff.

Vendors rush to call everything AI even if it isn't, or doesn't help

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"marketers have brainwashed themselves"

Depends on a fact not in evidence as Perry Mason used to say.

Hot HoloLens models 'shafted by Microsoft'

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Re: The Las Vegas attitude...

"Microsoft is committed to a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture where everyone has the chance to succeed."

Some men think that 'the chance to succeed' applies to activities outside of work too.

Yup, the PR droid doesn't seem to have thought through the implications of that particular piece of boiler-plate response. Was AI involved?

The curious case of a Tesla smash, Autopilot blamed, and the driver's next-day U-turn

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"So it's possible motorists don't understand how the software is actually supposed to work."

s/motorists/users/ and it's a fairly generic statement.

2017: The FBI alerts parents to dangers of Internet of Sh*t toys

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Re: Self-Regulate basically... Thanks FBI!

"who else is going to ensure people the children are safe?"

TLAs & FLAs.

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Re: Ga goo gaa!

"the entire house hold"

If the rest of the household is over 13 COPPA seems to consider them fair game.

Linus Torvalds may have damned systemd with faint praise

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Re: no systemd here

"The modern answer would be unit tests, which are easier to do on modularized programs."

Another is long experience observing the thing to work correctly (also easier if it only does one thing) coupled with if-it-isn't-broke-don't-fix-it. And throw in if-you-fixed-it-and-it-broke-everything-around-it-you-fixed-it-wrong-so-go-back-and-try-again-instead-of-trying-to-fix-everything-else.

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Re: Not surprising. At all.

"Now, a CentOS fork without systemd... Centuan?"

Centaur? Or has someone already used that?

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