* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Facebook is abusive. It's time to divorce it

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Tantrum

Following the (impeccable) logic of your last paragraph, don't bother with Facebook at all.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It's funny in a way...

"we are all participating in what is arguably social media."

No, we come here to be anti-social.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Facebook has its uses ...

"Maybe we could put together some kind of P2P distributed Facebook "


Not that I use it but it's there.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: There is a compromise

"But look on the bright side - who remembers MySpace and Friends Reunited? Hopefully in ten years we can say the same about FB."

Unfortunately the reason nobody remembers those is that FB & Twatter displaced them. It's a grim thought that if your hope is fulfilled it's likely to be because something even worse comes along.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Pintrest

"Certainly for a school / business/ charity /broadcaster it's less than $100 a year to have a domain and hosting and setup up your own wordpress copy."

In the UK one free option is http://www.btck.co.uk/ for those who qualify.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Such a true reflection of a sad world

"At present especially the Google thing is kept quiet to prevent a trade war, but I suspect that won't be the case come September when the EU Art 29 working party revisits the Privacy Shield excuse."

And just wait until next May when GDPR comes into play.

Debianistas get Jessie mass package update

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: OwnCloud

OwnCloud is "unsupportable". What's that about?

At a guess, whoever was packaging it has moved over to NextCloud along with many of the developers.

Sorry, Dave, I can't code that: AI's prejudice problem

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Getting good metrics is hard.

Garbage in, garbage out.

One of the stories linked makes interesting reading: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/creative--motivating-and-fired/2012/02/04/gIQAwzZpvR_story.html

Basically the value-added "measurements" conflicted with other assessments but were allowed to dominate the assessment. Digging in a little deeper it turns out that the start of year measurements weren't the school's own, they were someone else's. Right there is a prerequisite for using numerical approaches - you've got to be sure you can rely on the data.

The article ends “Teaching is an art,” she said. “There are so many things to improve on.”

Measuring is also an art.

IBM: Remote working is great! ... For everyone except us

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

If the conference allowed questions from the rest of the attendees it should have been quite ...interesting.

systemd-free Devuan Linux hits RC2

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"modern software requires modern solutions"

The difficulty I have about accepting this argument as favouring systemd is that I don't see systemd as modern.

I take this as a good principle of modern design: "A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."

On this basis systemd fails to qualify as a piece of modern design. It may, by definition, be newer than that which it sets out to displace but new does not equal modern. In fact I see it as a throwback to the sort of messy complexities that the modernism of Unix set out to replace.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Most of the complaints about it...

"... are because those sysadmin need to learn something new and they really hate it, and fear it."

Sysadmins are paid to keep things working. They know through experience that changes break things. Therefore they realise that the only changes that should be made to something that works are those that are absolutely essential. This means that changes should be evolutionary not revolutionary. I've yet to hear about one essential thing that systemd's supposed to have fixed.

I think the resistance to learning something new is on the part of those coming from the Windows side being reluctant to learn how Unix works.

"They like a fossilized Unix that must not change since it was written on stones in 1970."

I can't claim to have used Unix back in 1970. However I have used it since the early '80s so when I tell you, as I do, that Unix has evolved greatly over that time and has not become fossilized I do so from long experience.

"My Linux sysadmin is a perfect example of them...."

Your Linux sysadmin appears to know what he's doing. You should learn from him.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Easy answer.

"Death through impact"

People have been known to die in horse-related accidents. An ancestor of mine died falling from his horse. Unfortunately re-engineering the horse to make it intrinsically safer is a bit trickier than re-engineering a car.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Easy answer.

"I seem to recall reading that motor cars would never replace horses."

And look at the mess they have caused.

If you watch some period drama from the days of the horse look at the nice clean streets and ask yourself if the historical reconstruction was accurate.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Wait until systemd comes with a word processor."

You mean it doesn't?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Easy answer.

"I seem to recall reading that motor cars would never replace horses."

News must have been delayed where you were brought up. I'm a good bit older than you and cars had already replaced horses here.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It's fascinating that Linux now has the same problem as Windows

"If you wish to see logging in free text as well as binary, install rsyslog and the binary logging will be duplicated into /var/log/messages"

Why not do things the other way round, default text, binary an option for those who want it?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It's fascinating that Linux now has the same problem as Windows

"Binary log files ... detect corruption"

by becoming unreadable and therefore useless.

"and tampering through signing."

If you're concerned about tampering log to a remote host. That's a problem that was solved years ago.

"If you want text files in addition to or instead of binary it is a simple matter of reading the man page to enable them"

Not quite so simple. One of the times you really need logs is in diagnosing a system that's not booting properly. In such circumstances an original text log is readable by booting from another medium and your binary log probably isn't; how far behind current was the translation to text and how do you know?

Systemd: bringing you problems you don't need to solve problems you don't have.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It's fascinating that Linux now has the same problem as Windows

"English is just a form of cultural imperialism"

So should programming languages be translated from English - "if", "else", "break" etc translated into your local language?

It's been two and a half years of decline – tablets aren't coming back

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: No improvement is specs

"My nexus 7 (2013) model is slowly dying. It has only one use case, I use it to read news in the morning while on the crapper."

Note to self. Avoid used Nexus 7s on eBay.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Netbooks vanished from the market, and I loved that form factor."

They didn't spontaneously vanish. They presented a big threat because they were released with a non-MS OS. So an MS variant was devised and made available providing the OEMs kept the spec down to something as barely usable as possible. Ironically, of course, Linux was and is a much better fit on that spec but it was enough to keep people from realising that there were other options than Windows (and Apple at the higher end) and at the same time to keep the netbook out of the mainstream as an inadequate toy.

We are 'heroes,' says police chief whose force frisked a photographer

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Pepper spray is a delicious example!

"If he's carrying them packed in a bag and doesn't try to grab and unpack them when challenged (i.e., acts normally), then I'd expect very little effect on his life expectancy anywhere."

Not affecting his life expectancy but this one is ridiculous: http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/man-caught-knife-said-needed-12992281

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: @albaleo

In this case, the staff member's boss really should have taken them aside and said "don't be an idiot, he's clearly a f**king photographer"

Not really. This would imply that the staff member was generally empowered to throw her weight about and act like a constable and that her only problem was her poor choice of occasion on which to do this. As far as I can tell from the various reports this was not the case. If she was a purely civilian staff member then what she was doing should have resulted in a caution from a police officer about impersonating a police officer; it should really go beyond line management.

It should be a nice opportunity for the local press to set up an interview with crime prevention about this sort of thing: http://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/NEWS/14634633.SCAM_ALERT__Fraudsters_impersonate_police_officers_to_con_people_out_of_cash/ and then drop this incident on them, asking if it helps having their own civvies teaching people to accept dodgy identification.

I should add that I do understand the police about being targeted. Not only did I know a couple of police officers in N Ireland who were murdered, I could easily have been collateral damage when a booby-trapped item was brought in for examination. However it really does not help the police by their setting up "us and them" situations with the law-abiding public in this way.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

It would appear from these reports that a woman was impersonating a police officer. Has she been arrested for this offence?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: @albaleo

"The article says Mitchell refused to answer an unsworn constable's questions."

What's an unsworn constable? A constable becomes that by swearing an oath of office - go back & read the bootnote.

There's no indication from anything I've read that this woman was even a PCSO - had she been and been on duty she'd have been uniformed. She just tried to throw her weight about with an ID card which could have been knocked up with a printer and a laminating holder that can be bought off eBay for pennies. It's no evidence of anything except to her employer's staff. Outside police property it means nothing. In fact such things are regular props of scammers.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: @albaleo

I think that's proof of twattery. getting close to misfeasance in public office. If they'd actually arrested him it would have got really interesting.

The Chief Constable deserves an Oscar. That's the Oscar Munoz award for supporting his staff beyond all reason.

Hackers emit 9GB of stolen Macron 'emails' two days before French presidential election

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Seems presumptuous to blame Le Pen personally

"I doubt French voters will blame her"

Maybe not, but they may well take umbrage at such shenanigans and vote against her as a protest against such interference. That would be their only options given that there can be few French voters also entitled to vote against Putin.

Debenhams Flowers shoppers stung by bank card-stealing tech pest

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Many organisations assume that their business partners are secure, but don't actually take steps to validate this."

But surely they're secure already. Because Cloud.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Next May GDPR comes into force. How many of these businesses will be ready for it? How many have even heard of it? There are going to be some nasty shocks when the fines start to build up.

Curiosity Rover's drill is ill. But chill: we can dig Martian sand instead of rocking hard

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Ingenuity at work

"That looks suspiciously like a shed to me."

That's a shed!

Greater Manchester cops fined after victim interview vids lost in post

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Or the computer illiterate copper?"

Computer literacy doesn't come into it - we've no information on that one way or the other - but what's relevant is that we appear to have someone who doesn't know about a proper chain of custody of evidence. If they hadn't got lost and had been presented in court could he have produced a set of signatures for everyone who handled it in the Royal Mail?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Apart from the privacy issues anyone handling what are potentially court exhibits should really be taking personal responsibility for their actions. They could be called into court to give evidence to prove that what was examined and exhibited in court was what it was claimed to be. I think it would be entirely reasonable that those responsible for posting the items should be held responsible by the ICO. I'd also expect any defence barristers in cases handled by the GMP to give chain of custody a close examination and probably get a number of cases thrown out if this is the GMP's standard of exhibit handling.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"but for a copy DVD with an interview on it... I doubt it."

Also not a police officer but formerly a court-going forensic scientist. If the copy was being sent for investigation by someone who'd then give evidence on it then I'd have thought chain of custody would be necessary.

OTOH I think DiC samples for independent analysis are sent by post. I know one was. An unexpected item arrived by post and the X-ray couldn't identify it. It was put round the back of the lab until the Army sent round an ATO team. They "opened" it with their shotgun robot. It turned out to be someone's urine sample that he'd sent without making prior arrangements. He didn't get his independent analysis done.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"I know someone who does forensic examination of hard disks. One force sent them a hard disk in an envelope. No box, no padding, no bubble wrap, no Jiffy bag"

And no chain of custody either.

The Co-Op Bank's online banking has gone TITSUP*

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Multiple bank accounts?

"I believe the Co-op ethos is a good one"

I think you mean was a good one. As someone has pointed out after the Crystal Methodists manglement it ended up being sold to whoever would put up the money to rescue it. The Co-op kicked out the in-store branches and replaced the in-store ATMs with someone else's.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"There's a gaggle of techies sitting around with that slightly vertiginous / nauseous feeling in the pit of their stomachs, sweaty palms"

We've all been there.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"My guess is a lot of Intel firmware updates"

Intel? I'm sure they're advanced enough to use Zilog Z80s.

First cardboard goggles, now this: Google's cardboard 'DIY AI' box powered by an RPi 3

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"the AIY Projects website"

And a very odd site it is too. With NoScript it displays nothing at all. Nowt. Zilch. Nada. So I didn't trouble them any further. Any business that treats potential customers with such disrespect soesn't deserve actual customers.

Capita's huge role in UK government should go under the spotlight

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: TV Licenses

"How about just take it from tax in the first place"

Do you really want the Beeb completely under HMG's thumb? Because that's just what you're suggesting.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Over many years, the BBC intended to replace the legacy ICT systems it uses to support the collection of the licence fee, but it has been unable to do so"

Maybe they should put more effort into that and less into tweaking iPlayer. OTOH I don't suppose the hipsters tweaking iPlayer would recognise a real business system if they tripped over it.

UK.gov job ads entice IT bods with promise they will be OUTSIDE IR35

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: What?

"the trivially simple task of managing software licences."

It probably involves wrangling with the notorious Oracle licensing and also Microsoft. The MoJ needs to be able to withstand a FAST onslaught. It sounds like they may need a legal bod rather than a techie.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

That rattling sound you hear...

... it's the sound of the penny dropping.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I just...

"This strikes me that they're exploiting loopholes in their own legislation to get the staff in place."

Why? All they have to do is write the contracts correctly and ensure that their working practices abide by them. It might mean ignoring what HMRC want them to do but they're realised it's what they need to do.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Has she got out of her cage again?"

She doesn't need to. Her legacy is still with us.

Windows 10 S forces Bing, Edge on your kids. If you don't like it, get Win10 Pro – Microsoft

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Meh, I give it a few months

"MS could just say that Windows S doesn't have a dominant market position"

But planning on being able to argue that means they'd be planning to fail.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The Real money here? Proctor and Gamble etc

"Microsoft have missed it completely."

Maybe not:

"The reason a lot of students buy Macbooks is because they keep their inherent value. Yes, they are expensive but the resale value is also high. This design is almost designed to kill the resale value of the Surface Laptop as soon as you walk out the store."

Planned obsolescence - the oldest trick in the book.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

a Microsoft spokesperson told The Register on Thursday.

"Customers are in control of their Windows experience - we must try harder"


Can you spout digital bollocks? London is hiring a Chief Digital Officer

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: DevOps

"They should just go to the DevOps conference you're constantly pushing at the moment and throw a brick to choose their candidate."

If the candidate selected by this is still standing they didn't throw the brick hard enough.

Chip design chap arrested for using photocopier

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

In a tech company someone who resorts to a photocopier to nick trade secrets probably isn't the new employee you want. Unless his existing employer has banned cufflinks, of course.

You only need 60 bytes to hose Linux's rpcbind

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Was running unneeded on Debian LTS so apt-get remove rpcbind.

Oracle links to LinkedIn so its salesware can sniff you out

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The problem with linkedIn is

"I first deleted all info from my profile"

So you think.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019