* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Oh my Word... Microsoft Office 365 unlatched after morning lockout

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"Erm you download the software to your computer. Then it's all available even if you are unable to log-in to MS for any reason."

What did people do before there were online services? Oh, just what you said (substitute "stick a disk in the drive" for "download"). So just what has been gained by going online/to cloud?

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What would journalists do if they didn't have Twitter to quote?

Reach out to ring people up for quotes.

The ability of Twitter to kick businesses into action almost makes it worth having an account. Almost.

Talk about cutting-edge technology! Boffins fire world's sharpest laser

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Re: @ Doctor Syntax

"I would imagine that constraining the the frequencies would increase coherence"

I interpret "Stable for up to 10x the distance from Earth to Moon" as referring to the coherence length so that appears to be the case.

The irony is, of course, that a laser should be unnecessary for reading CDs & DVDs. Interference contrast ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differential_interference_contrast_microscopy ) microscopy resolves similar phase differences with white light.

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So you'd be able to spin a CD on the moon and read it with a pickup on Earth providing the spot size was also constrained.

Ubuntu 'weaponised' to cure NHS of its addiction to Microsoft Windows

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Re: It will take 1-2 more WannaCries

"And just at the moment it seems that Linux security is in a bit like a mess; it doesn't seem to be a major focus of the kernel community."

While any monoculture isn't a good idea I suspect the comment about the kernel community is a misunderstanding of an attitude that all bugs are bugs so security bugs are no different to any others. But your response to this depends on whether you think some bugs don't need to be fixed.

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Re: Good luck.

"many developers don't have a Linux client"

If their sales office received a call from the NHS saying "We're reviewing the market, do you have a Linux client?" that might not be something they'd admit to. It might be followed up by a flurry in development involving Wine so they could put up a plausible demo.

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Re: Good luck.

"Especially given that most people have already chosen to learn a new UI, on their smartphone?"

To say nothing of learning a new UI for each Windows version.

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Re: Cost is the smaller concern

@ Dr_Barnowl

Careful there, you're getting beyond some people's comprehension - markets, competition. Weird stuff.

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Re: Cost is the smaller concern

"someone else's hacked and undocumented spaghetti code?"

Citation needed as to your assumptions.

However let's look at what might be involved. As research is so difficult I've taken the liberty of cutting and pasting this from their website:

Our customisations are as follows:

-NHSbuntu wallpaper!

-A look and feel similar to a well known desktop…

- NHSmail2 compatability

--Email, calendar, address book

--Messager, with file sharing!

- N3 VPN compatability

--RSA token supported

-Remove games packages (sorry folks, no Minesweaper!)

-Added Remmina, a Remote Desktop client for VDI (or whatever it’s called these days)

Yup, maintaining that is going to be far too much of a challenge.

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Re: Yet another distro?

"A dedicated NHS distro doesn't see a big deal to me."

Quite. AFAICS enterprise deployments of Windows seem to rely on their own build and routinely overwrite the vendor's install with their own. This doesn't seem to be much different.

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Re: Yet another distro?

"I mean, there are several distributions which could be up to this task as they stand even some which could be highly tuned (Gentoo, Arch anyone?) surely the better way forward would be to use an existing distribution and add any required packages/features as an additional repository/ppa?"

s/Gentoo, Arch/Ubuntu/ and you seem to have described what's described here.

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Re: The city of Munich tried this

"But found it cost too much. They recently announched a move back to Windows."

Nope. Politics. It helps not to have your local politician too chummy with vendors.

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Re: Unpatched=Unsafe

That's a big win for Linux given the relative speed and simplicity of applying patches.

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Re: Pipe Dream

"Clinical systems developers will simply charge more for developing systems on linux, since all they typically develop for just now is browser or Windows."

For a start those who develop for either are going to have to move on from XP only. That's unsustainable and they shouldn't have been allowed to get away with it.

Secondly, the NHS is a big customer. For many their only customer. Giving the customer a reason to review the market is a really, really bad sales strategy.

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Re: Well, might be better than windows. But not much cheaper

"A good paper system"


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Re: Well, might be better than windows. But not much cheaper

"Not much point pulling Windows out and replacing open SMB shares with open NFS shares, is there?"

No, but then a migration is a good time to change to a better approach.

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"In fact there are very few of the computers in an NHS trust that dont use software unavailable on linux , if you can unpack that string of negatives."

I think I've unpacked it correctly.

But let's make a slight change:

there are very few of the computers in an NHS trust that don't use functionality unavailable on Linux

As an example, if we discount Wine IE isn't available under Linux but other browsers are. It may well be that there are web-based applications that are tied to ancient versions of IE. That's something that has to be faced anyway, otherwise the NHS would be stuck on XP forever. When these are replaced there should be an insistence on cross-platform support so any browser can be used. The same insistence could be applied to any new web-based applications: if they're not sufficiently generic to run across multiple browsers the bid goes in the bin.

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Re: Cost is the smaller concern

"For the NHS cost is the biggest concern and will become increasingly so."

The two are linked. Having overall control prevents lock-in to expensive proprietary solutions.

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Re: Cost is the smaller concern

"it will become difficult to hire a different company to maintain it."

Why on earth should that happen? The source is available. The upstream, Debian>Ubuntu is already maintained. If NHSbuntu makes any more widely applicable code contributions - such as smartcard ID - they can also be passed back upstream and integrated with it. So what you'd be looking at would be a collection of userland add-ons which could be maintained separately. You (a) wouldn't need a single company to do that and (b) iit could be competitively tendered. This is a different world to what you're used to in Microsoft.

UK.gov leaves data dashboard users' details on publicly accessible site

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Re: Well, that didn't take long...

"Next time some authoritarian crackpot insists we must have ID cards for our own safety, we can point to yet another example of our data not being safe in their hands."

No problem. Lessons will have been learned. No, no problem at all.

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Re: Example of exceeding open data requirements

"It works in Estonia, where if anyone in government looks at your data, you get notified of who did and why."

How do you know? Just because they told you that?

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"The Cabinet Office did not respond immediately to a request for comment."

Probably still trying to find someone who understands the question.

Civil rights warriors get green light to challenge UK mass surveillance

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the Lib Dems... promised to roll back the law if they gained power in the last election.

However they ruled themselves out from joining a coalition which made all such promises a no-op.

Fresh cotton underpants fix series of mysterious mainframe crashes

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Here's one I made earlier

"I've never seen a lady slip *into* a bikini... the process inevitably involves her briefly balancing on one leg at least one point, and some bending."

Sir, the thoroughness of your investigation does you credit.

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Re: Don't give me no static ...

"Note also that opening envelopes with self-adhesive flap generates static -- try opening one in the dark"

Not necessarily static. Other forms of luminescence are available.

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Re: I've personally measured 61,750ish volts on an empty, unused Styrofoam coffee cup

"Do we need a Reg unit of charge?"

That's a DUP.

Oh, that sort of charge.

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Re: "it might be you appearing in this august space next week!"

Dammit. Two hours too late.

Dead serious: How to haunt people after you've gone... using your smartphone

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" SwonSong ceased posting to its own blog ten months ago."

They don't seem to have had any faith in their own product if they couldn't set up a few decades' worth of posts in advance.

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Great for delivering a most scathingly ad hominem attack on some deserving public figure (which'll get you into jail normally)?

Why wait?

The immediate thought that occurs is "how will they know you're dead?". Obvious: someone has to tell them. Next thought: "how do they know who you are?". Obvious: you have to tell them.

So set up the app with an entirely fictitious person and then report their death. All the company can do is point to an apparently dead customer. (Point of order - should this be an ex-customer?)

Rackspace goes TITSUP in global outage outrage

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"Yesterday dozens, if not hundreds or thousands, of local storage guys had their storage go down on them."

And they'd have had control over fixing it. Don't undervalue control.

Shadow Brokers hike prices for stolen NSA exploits, threaten to out ex-Uncle Sam hacker

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Re: Just $130,000?

"They are almost certainly bugs in Windows, why wouldn't Microsoft want to buy them up and fix them ASAP. "

More to the point, why wouldn't the NSA release them to Microsoft? It's time for the rest of the world's governments to start giving US ambassadors serious grief each time their infrastructure or businesses are hit. For a start May could make it clear to Trump that his invite is cancelled and a new one will only be made once that's done.

'Janus' resurfaces: I was behind the original Petya. I want to help with NotPetya

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"Regular ransomware authors must be terribly frustrated that NotPetya did damage to their reputation of 'pay and you'll get your files back'," joked Martijn Grooten

I'm not sure that was a joke. For ransomware to work victims have got to trust they'll get their files back. So, odd though it might seem, victims need to rely on crooks being honest. A few episodes like this and the entire ransomware business model is destroyed. "Frustrated" probably understates it by an order of magnitude.

However, the assumption that it wasn't intended to be ransomware without further evidence violates the principle of never attributing to maliciousness that which can be attributed to stupidity and underestimates criminals' aptitude for screwing up.

Robots will enable a sustainable grey economy

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Re: How can a car-based future be long term sustainable?

"That's a problem decent public transport can solve cheaper and better."

In this context decent public transport borders on being an oxymoron. Stop crowding all the work into cities which need 1,000 square miles or more to house their workers. Don't take people to work, return work to where people live. It means reversing a life-time's planning policy but that's because it's taking more than a lifetime for planners to work out their policies were wrong.

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Re: Hurrah we can work forever

"Don't blame those of my generation if said government has frittered away that money."

It wasn't so much frittering away the money as spending as intended. You were paying into a Ponzi scheme just as the rest of us have done. None of the money we paid in is left over because it was spent on pensions, healthcare and other benefits as we paid it in. It's been that way for a long time.

It's not a good scheme and not easy to break out of. Grey vote aside, a generation that decides to break with it will simply grow old to find itself unsupported.

What should have happened was to start off, back when Lloyd George set up old age pensions, with a fraction of the money paid in being invested. With time that investment could have grown so that gradually the income from it could have replaced contributions. Of course that would have meant public money favouring some investment targets at the expense of others, opportunities for corruption, putting undue power in Civil Servant's hands etc. So it didn't happen and here we are.

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Re: Dumb yanks

"Increasingly, as autonomous(ish) vehicles can take public transport passengers the last mile or so, it will be private transport that fades away."

How does that work? Is public transport going to invest in fleets of autonomous vehicles that will be used for an hour or so at each end of the working day? Private owners do so because they have to. Public owners won't because it's SEP.

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Re: Dumb yanks

"Many oldies retire to the country, or to the seaside - only to discover they're nowhere near the health/care support systems they increasingly need."

You can stay in the same place and discover the health care systems become nowhere near all of their own accord.

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Re: Dumb yanks

But X is a complete pain, if you want to get anywhere other thanY. You have to go to Y and back out again to get to Z"

Generic statement of public transport at its best. Worse is possible.

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Re: Dumb yanks

"Public transport is conceptually flawed, based on the weird assumption that everybody has the same requirements."

Which usually comes to the conclusion that everyone wants to commute into the centre of $city in the morning and back out at night.

This starts to fail when you have clusters of towns & cities such as Manchester, Oldham, Huddersfield, Bradford, Leeds/, Wakefield and Sheffield (plus a few others on t'wrong side of t'Pennines) or the equivalent in the Midlands & the North East. You then find that the only public transport offered is $home to $(centre you don't want to go to) to $(centre nearer where you want to go to) to $(where you want to go to) and it takes 2 hours each way with one connection involving a 40 minute wait and another just 40 seconds. It doesn't help to move house because different members of the household commute in different directions.

UK regulator probes PwC over BT's Italian accountancy scandal

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Auditors supposed to catch frauds? Who knew that?

How to avoid getting hoodwinked by a DevOps hustler

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Re: If they’re a 'DevOps Expert', they probably aren’t

"a whole bunch of cobblers"

A group of superannuated shoe repairers.

French general accused of nicking fast jet for weekend trips to the Sun

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"History does not record just exactly how pissed off the lion was about this..."

Maybe someone should have looked in the bottom of the sidecar to find out.

The better trick would have been to have the lion ride pillion...

London suffers from 'sub-standard' connectivity - report

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Cram more and more people into an urban area and find the infrastructure isn't catching up. It hasn't for centuries. It never does.

Murdoch's £11.7bn Sky takeover referred to competition regulator

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I can't tell you how disappointed I am to hear this. Because I'm not.

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"You won't see that on the front page of The S*n though."

Which - the bosom or the consolation.

Not the one with a copy of the Sun in the pocket.

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Re: NowTV

@ djstardust

Next chat simply ask "What's the address of your registered office? I need it in order to address my Small Claims Court summons."

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Culture secretary Karen Bradley

Shouldn't her title be Secretary of Fun in elReg speak?

Don't panic, but Linux's Systemd can be pwned via an evil DNS query

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Re: "pid 1 does DNS"

"its totally optional."

Probably seen as a bug which will be fixed in due course.

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"time for you to do some much needed research into systemd"

Maybe it's time for you to realise that many of us have been using Unix and Unix-like systems for decades without systemd. Those systems have done sterling work for us and for those who've paid us over those years. We have not experienced any problems that systemd would have been needed to solve. We therefore see no more need to install systemd to our systems than, say, a mechanical apple-picker (unless, of course we were to work in the cider* industry in which case the apple-picker might well be of use).

In short systemd is irrelevant to us. If the word irrelevant is unfamiliar to you look it up in a dictionary. Systemd does nothing useful for us that its predecessor didn't do. And, by long experience, we know better than to install something more complex than it needs to be.

We do not argue from ignorance. We argue from experience.

*Mmmm- cider ->

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Re: Only 14 responses (at time of writing)

"It may seem to come from a colleague with their email address"

Be thankful they're starting to think about things and provide some gentle guidance.

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Re: Hang on, all y'all ...

"he'll wipe you across the floor technically"

Who's this "he" and who are the "you"?

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