* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

As Trump signs away Americans' digital privacy, it's time to bring out the BS detector

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From this side of the pond the only effect on me is that that Privacy Figleaf is withering a little more.

However I wonder if it's possible that a telecoms provider also acting as an ISP could be caught under the telecoms provisions.

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Re: The one way this will be stopped quick smart...

"Someone needs to fork Wikileaks..."


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Re: Devils advocate (from the right side of the pond)

"ISP's profit on providing a hardware service is surprisingly slim, Big G & F buy servers, not laying cables in the ground everywhere"

I think you're confusing two separate activities here. Telecoms companies lay cables in the ground and/or sling them overhead. The ISP service is one of several that runs over the the telecom infrastructure and it may well be that your telecoms provider will sell you - or attempt to - such services over that provision; companies are apt to muscle into adjacent lines of business to add value profit. But your ISP doesn't have to be your telecoms provider.

So ISPs, like the social network companies, are buying servers and internet backbone access. It's true Google tried to get into the infrastructure business but seems to be back-pedalling from that. The difference between ISPs and free services is that the one sells you a service and the other sells you.

Steppe thugs pacified by the love of stone age women

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Re: Dont Tell UKIP or Britain First

"French a bit at odds here earlier influenced from the south or there are synonyms."

Even French and other Latin derived languages aren't that much at odds. They're still derived from the same origins, the shifts in letters such as those which gave Latin pater and frater rather than father and brother are systematic and the remainder of the word is often the same.

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Re: Dont Tell UKIP or Britain First

"French was the language of England"

French was the language of the court which wasn't surprising as the Normans and their immediate successors owned up to 2/3 or so of France. After they lost that they discovered that the Parisian French were laughing at them for using unfashionable provincial French. So they stopped speaking French and started speaking English which everyone else had been speaking all the time.

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"Or you invade, kill off all the males and rape the local girls."

That seems a bit simplistic to explain the consequent emergence of a new culture which inherits elements of those of both parents in quite the same way.

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A better link to the paper: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/antiquity/article/retheorising-mobility-and-the-formation-of-culture-and-language-among-the-corded-ware-culture-in-europe/E35E6057F48118AFAC191BDFBB1EB30E

First EU-US Privacy Shield annual review to take place in September

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Re: "EU justice commissioner Věra Jourová"

"I have no doubt it will be renewed"

And I have no doubt about its following Safe Harbor once it hits the ECJ and for the same reason. Google, Facebook & the rest will eventually realise that they'll have to follow an arms-length model such as Microsoft are adopting in Germany.

The only question is how long do we have to go round this loop before that realisation dawns? Maybe GDPR-scale fines will hasten that along.

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"we need the active engagement and contribution of all interested parties to the review"

... preferably in the ECJ.

Startup remotely 'bricks' grumpy bloke's IoT car garage door – then hits reverse gear

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"Ultimately, it spells out a warning for other companies – that one bad-tempered action can impact the entire business."

It should also spell out a warning for other customers and potential customers - if the server goes down for any reason, including the company going out of business, your toy stops working. That applies to any toy that depends on the availability of someone else's computer.

Governments could introduce 'made by humans' tags - legal report

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Re: Land Value Tax

"That's why they normally wait until it is sold or transferred and tax it there, because the transaction attaches a value to the asset."

A few days ago my annual council tax bill landed on the doormat. It's based on some nominal valuation of the property. This may not be normal where you live but it's normal here.

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"That's assuming everyone CAN make what they want or need. Trouble is, in the future, many will lack the skills, the rest will lack the resources."

And in the days when people had to make or grow what they used* their standard of living was limited by just that.

*Which more or less equates to wanted or needed. If they survived then arguably they got what they needed and they probably didn't want iPhones because they didn't know such things were possible.

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"Your problem may be less with the type of checkout and more with a poor implementation."

IME it's all of them although the record is held by one that told me to remove an item from the bagging area when there wasn't even one there.

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Re: A Lesson from History

Got me on that one. I was expecting the not very missed "I'm backing Britain" campaign. Another one that fell flat on its face.

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Re: Illogical conclusion @Charles 9

"real estate. It's not only the most stable asset out there, but because its value is constantly mutable, it's hard to tax."

Could you please tell that to my local council because they keep taxing me on it.

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Re: Ban JCBs

"“Having learned from these cases, the algorithm was able to predict the outcome of other cases with 79% accuracy ... "

Lawyers will love that. Appeals are so much more lucrative.

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"I don't really care about the kind of checkout."

But it gets to be a drag putting a lot of shopping through in batches of 3 - which, IME, is about as many as you be reasonably sure of getting through a self-service till without it deciding that something's wrong.

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How do they tag products made by humans using machines?

WWW daddy Sir Tim Berners-Lee stands up for end-to-end crypto

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Re: No, it's not settled

"It's why, for example, the UK has historically had very low gun crime; we used to punish it harshly."

I didn't notice that back in my time in N Ireland. That could have been to do with the fact that both sides had a well organised gun-running operation which got round the restrictions in supply.

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Re: Fundamentally, the key technologies the terrorists use for secure comms...

"carry out their nefarious plans to reduce the nations of the free world back to the Muslim Dark Ages."

Ah, yes. The Dark Ages, when Islam did so much to carry the learning of antiquity through to a period when the West could pick it up again. "Algebra" and "algorithm" don't sound a bit like Arabic words by chance nor is it chance that we use Arabic numbers.

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Re: No, it's not settled

@ pccobbler

Was that a well-crafted satire or a load of old cobblers?

For avoidance of doubt, you don't dissuade people who are or are intending to break laws by providing them with more laws to break.

In other words those who intend to use strong encryption as an aid to breaking the law will source it from somewhere - the algorithms are not a big secret. So the people who'll be affected are the law-abiding people who you were trying to protect and those you were trying to deter will shrug it off.

You do not make the public more secure by weakening encryption, you make them less secure.

'No deal better than bad deal' approach to Brexit 'unsubstantiated'

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Re: It won't make any difference...

"I keep on waiting for the straw that'll break the camel's back, but it hasn't happened for 9 months yet."

Of course it hasn't. That will come afterwards when it's too late.

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Re: Choose your statistic...

"I don't think French farmers will be happy at the loss of trade with the UK"

Are you sure? They never seemed keen on UK meat imports into France?

"or German car workers who get laid off because the UK no longer buys BMW/Audi/Mercedes in such numbers will be happy, and all because EU Politicians put idealism over common sense."

And what about the UK car workers who get laid off because their home market has just been slashed and their foreign owners, whatever they say now, will inevitable redirect investment to the rest of the EU?

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Re: WTO rules which seem to work well enough

"Interestingly manufacturing has benefited from the leave vote."

Manufacturing hasn't yet lost the greater part of its home market. There seems to be this notion that as soon as the result of the vote was announced it had taken effect. It hasn't. What you see in the short term isn't what you'll see in the long term.

"The currency falling only became a bad thing"

The value of a currency is an indication of that the market thinks about the economic strength if its economy vs those of other currencies. And you think a fall is a good thing?

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Re: @ Dan 55

"By voting out we can now vote for parties to do what we think is best for the country."

Who's this "we" of which you speak? It was a slight majority of those who voted. Many analyses seem to conclude that it was in part a protest vote. Do you still exist as a majority?

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Re: @ Dan 55

"Thats not going to happen. Businesses find a way. As with the 'mass exodus of banking' it turned into 'open an EU subsidiary aka an office'."

Quite. But then remember that for some non-European businesses the UK plant is one of those EU subsidiaries. What incentive do they then have to retain it?

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Re: @ Dan 55

"Except no deal would mean WTO rules which seem to work well enough in the real world."

The whole thinking behind the EU from the European Coal and Steel Community days onwards was that within a geographically compact area it would be possible to draw up rules that worked better. And with one exception everyone within those rules seems to have come to the conclusion that this is so.

The problem with the EU is the political overtones it's taken on board. But an economic hair shirt policy doesn't seem a good idea to deal with that problem.

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"I think you'll find that half the committee walked out too."

I blame the committee arrangements. They should have ensured the room was provided with sufficient fire buckets. Then they could have just buried their heads in the sand without actually walking out.

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And while that might be good for the government in terms of appeasing a small, and possibly now non-existent, majority of voters fixated on immigration / free movement of people


Mediaeval Yorkshirefolk mutilated, burned t'dead to prevent reanimation

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Re: The 11th Century?

"Then the fierce Normans destroyed everything. Villages were burnt, men, women and children were killed."

Which villages, men, women and children?

The evidence is that it wasn't all. History isn't always written by the victors, sometimes it's written by the victims but both have a tendency to exaggerate.

Do you believe that Noah's flood really did inundate the whole world?

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Re: Demons - Daemons

"Developed a new incantation, a prototype of systemd."

Daemon as a computing term was introduced by the BSD crowd. Definitely no systemd there.

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Re: The 11th Century?

"The Harrying of the North did happen."

Certainly. But that doesn't preclude exaggeration. We know (because they were important enough to be documented) of pre-conquest Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-Danish landowning families who went on into the post-Conquest period. Swein of Hoyland and Aleric of Emley are a couple of examples.

Swein's son Alan adopted a Norman patronym and was known as Alan Fitzswaine (Fitz = "Fils de" and was used for some time in the same way as Icelandic patronymic system). Swein gave his name to the village of Hoylandswaine and Alan Fitzswaine founded the church of High Hoyland. I think the dynasty ran on a little longer but died out or at least lost importance.

The family of Aleric of Emley followed a similar but more successful path. Emley was retained as a sub-tenancy of the the Manor of Wakefield. They also acquired Sprotborough as tenants-in-chief and gradually acquired many other interests in the area. The patronymic eventually stabilised as Fitzwilliam. The Fitzwilliams became important coal owners and iron masters in the industrial revolution.

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Re: The 11th Century?

Our dialect retains a number of words derived from Danish settlers and we have many Anglo-Saxon and Danish place-names. That wouldn't have happened if the place had been "wiped clean" and resettled from elsewhere. I suspect an element of exaggeration.

Hundreds of millions 'wasted' on UK court digitisation scheme

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Re: Dabling indeed

"Just Enough Design Up Front (JEDUF)"

Translation: working out what's needed would have been hard work.

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Re: Have any Government IT Projects in Britain worked?

"As a US reader, I am left wondering if any Government IT project in the UK has ever worked."

There are projects that have worked. However they're not as newsworthy as those that fail so you don't hear about them. That's a pity on several levels. One advantage of publicising them would be to let it be known in the public sector that failure shouldn't be regarded as an expected outcome. Another would be to have exemplars of how to do things right.

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Re: Silly

"Agile as a paradigm doesn't work without end/business user engagement."

Neither does anything else. Without that that you'll have a failed project regardless of the methodology.

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Re: "we have come to value ... Working software over comprehensive documentation"

"Anything outside the agenda was mercilessly swatted aside with an imperious remark to the effect that that was not on the agenda."

I take it that if the plant caught fire during a meeting the fire alarm would have been ignored because it wasn't on the agenda.

Alabama man gets electrocuted after sleeping with iPhone

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Re: Headline contest

Chap zapped in neck wrap gap flap

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Re: I was hoping for more snarky comedy

"Don't give lawyers ideas. I don't want to start seeing stickers on everything (like ladders) saying not to sleep with them."

With ladders it's also advisable not to sleep on them.

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Re: Zombie! Help! It speaks!

"Your going to cite merrian-webster?! really?!?"

If we're going to get pedantic:



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Re: and things like chargers tend to have plastic prongs with metal tops.

"You never quite believe that a reel of cable can heat up as much as alleged until you are handed the actual result, and it's quite a chilling sight "

I'm not sure "chilling" is the right word here.

D'oh! Amber Rudd meant 'understand hashing', not 'hashtags'

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"bring back selling things in pounds and ounces"

That's fine, it's a binary system. We just need to get all the other measurements converted. A stone, for instance, would have to become 16ibs (there's not a fundamental issue here as historically a stone wasn't fixed at 14; a C18th diary records someone being weighed and he specifically states that it was a stone of 15lbs).

I always reckoned that instead of going decimal in the 1970s we should have gone binary. A penny as 1/256 of a £ would have been quite close to its original value of 1/240.

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"Because what we want to do is collect information this year so that next year we can have an adult conversation in this country."

But where do you find the adults to have a conversation with?

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Re: Pity the poor civil servant

"Perhaps that attitude is why she's not getting any good advice on the topic and is having to make it all up as she goes along."

I think it was working the other way round. She'd had a meeting where hashing images was explained to her and this was how she remembered it. I suppose she'd have taken offence if whoever briefed her asked her then & there to explain it in her own words and then corrected her. It would probably have been a far from brief briefing and she'd probably have still mangled it the next day anyway.

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Re: Last time this came up

"He also plagiarised Neil Kinnock's speeches."

Why? Surely the only known effect of a Kinnock speech is to ensure the speaker never gets into office.

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"But present them with anything techie, and they seem to think it's okay for them to remain ignorant."

One reason is they can get away with it.

The interviewers are equally ignorant. It seems acceptable that a degree in PPE, History, English Litt or whatever is acceptable not only for running a modern society but also for holding those running it to account.

If Andrew Marr had had the knowledge to call bullshit on ignorant statements like that they'd PDQ decide that whoever was going to go on the show was at least properly briefed. Parties might even realise they'd need to have technically competent people appointed as ministers - even selected as candidates in the first place.

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Here we see the difference between someone blindly repeating something they thought they'd heard of without understanding it and someone reading a statement written for them by someone who did understand it. Note that there's no need for the person reading the statement to understand it.

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"it's a sad indication of how stupid the people of the United Kingdom are to be electing these clowns."

The trouble is, the electorate is only given a choice between sets of clowns, so inevitably clowns is what we get.

Trump sets sights on net neutrality

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Re: "You're just a forum troll - why even bother picking an icon?"

"Rule 1: Don't push changes on a Friday"

Why ever not? You get a whole weekend before you have to sort them out.

New plastic banknote plans now upsetting environmental campaigners

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Re: The only solution...

"Slaughter is natural causes, for a cow."

I live next to a farm. A while ago I went to look for the farmer, probably to tell him yet another of his sheep had escaped. There was nobody about but I found a dead cow lying on its side the yard and it certainly hadn't been slaughtered.

However, the mention of sheep raises the ideal solution: mutton fat. It seems to be an article of faith amongst sheep farmers that a sheep's only ambition is to die as soon as possible.

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