* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

UK's first Investigatory Powers Commissioner: Lord Justice Fulford

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Re: Lord High Justice

"Does he also wear a powdered wig?"

I don't know if the appointment's full time. If not he may also sit in court in which case he probably does wear a wig. Having had the opportunity to see a good many barristers and judges from the vantage point of the witness box I've never seen any sign of their wigs being powdered.

Do you have any relevant questions to ask?

Palmtop nostalgia is tinny music to my elephantine ears

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Re: Not understanding the nostalgia

"capable of running bog-standard desktop OS's (full Linux or Windows)"

AIUI the intention is dual boot Android & Linux. So ignore the first & it matches your spec.

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Re: A man after my own heart

"I'm going to cannibalise and improve!"

Pictures or it didn't happen.

Passport and binary tree code, please: CompSci quizzes at US border just business as usual

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Re: No issues visiting India

"Its rare, but unlike the UK, you don't take your life in your own hands if you walk in to a bar wearing the wrong football jersey."

Nothing on Earth would persuade me to take any interest whatsoever in football. In fact I often say I can understand football violence. If I spent an afternoon watching 22 men old enough to know better kicking a bag of wind up and down a field I also might get violent.

But for a few years we lived in High Wycombe and the railway line serves Wembley. We were travelling into Town one day and realised it was cup final day and both teams were from the Midlands and fans of both were on the train. I have to say that they were extremely well behaved to each other; I even saw them wishing each other luck. Oddly enough we travelled back on the same train as some of them after the match and I couldn't tell from their demeanour which had won.

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BOFH version

I'm a cryptographer.

Can you prove it?

Click on this website - it's a piece of my work.


It's now encrypting all the files on your PC. Sorry, but I didn't make a note of the key.

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Re: This is sad...

he general view I'm reading here (and elsewhere) is to not visit the US until things have had the chance to settle down

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You want me to write code? I'll need a purchase order and my hourly rate is...

OK, you're a professional engineer.

Awkward. Investigatory Powers Act could prove hurdle to UK-EU Privacy Shield following Brexit

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Re: "An SNPMP asked..."

The committee transcript is linked below should anyone want to see the gory details.

I'd guess the discussion on the European Arrest Warrant will be pored over fairly carefully my more then one person in the Ecuadorian Embassy. If the UK ends up outside the EAW system will an outstanding warrant still have force?

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"If May was forced to suspend IPA to keep the EU happy she would undoubtedly have to resign as PM."

I wouldn't look at it quite like that. I rather think the reason she wanted to leave* was because she wanted to be outside the scope of EU legislation. I doubt she'd resign. She might, however, explode, a spectacle we'd all look forward to.

*I never believed that almost invisible pre-referendum Remain stance.

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" tweak the act so that it is only UK citizens privacy that the British government is shitting on, and job done"

They would face the same problem the US does in ensuring they don't spy on their own citizens. Both gather data indiscriminately so there's no way they can effectively discriminate. It's a matter of how long they can keep up the pretence that they're not doing that. The US manage it by not bothering to answer Congress' questions. Not answering questions when you need to provide a (hopefully verifiable) satisfactory answer to get something you want is going to be trickier.

Uber loses court fight over London drivers' English language tests

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Re: Fluent in English?

"European lorry driver got stuck on narrow lane this week and claimed that he couldn't understand the signs warning HGVs not to attempt it."

Satnav said yes so obviously the signs were wrong. I don't think European lorry drivers have a monopoly of this.

BONG! Lasers crack Big Ben frequency riddle BONG! No idea what to do with this info BONG!

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Re: huzzah!

"I was trying to type out the response on my way into work this morning on the bus"

And there I was trying to work out if ordinal was one of these obscure change ringing terms.

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Re: No spectrum analyser?

"Any reason why it wouldn't have been easier to just point a microphone at the bell and use a spectrum analyser to find the resonant frequencies?"

It was a follow-up to a visual demonstration of vibrational modes of a flat plate. The plate itself was pretty dreadful sounding with a lot of non-harmonic modes so the obvious follow up was to look at the modes of something made to be euphonious. The spectrum analyser in itself wouldn't show the mechanical basis of the modes. Having said that, they whisked through the results PDQ.

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There were some odd aspects to the programme.

At one point it suggested that Lesley Garrett's vocal range extended from 80Hz to 1kHz. That's some range. 1kHz is probably about right for a soprano but 80 is at the bottom of the bass range.

Also at some points they were illustrating natural sounds, in the sea for instance. Why did they cover them up with music?

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"Does that mean that some vibrations in a 13 ton bell can be seen by the naked eye?"

Maybe but if you're close enough it might be your eye that's vibrating.

Google, what the hell? Search giant wrongly said shop closed down, refused to list the truth

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Re: If Google lists Google as closed...

"lets try it and see"

Didn't someone just try that with Amazon?

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"the process for changing a mistaken listing is less clear."

A billion dollar lawsuit for libel would probably be effective.

US military drone goes AWOL, ends up crashing into tree 623 miles away

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"the distance to the crash site was achievable"

Stating the bleedin' obvious.

Java? Nah, I do JavaScript, man. Wise up, hipster, to the money

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"it’s sometimes worth paying for something that your entire business relies on - just sayin’."

Which of Tricky Dicky's henchmen was it who said "When you've got them by the balls their hearts and minds will follow."?

User rats out IT team for playing games at work, gets them all fired

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"You can't just fire people like that."

You think not? When working in an only slightly foreign place (Lancashire) one of the salesmen asked me for a report. I had to work out how to get the data, code the query and format it. By the time I'd done that and printed it out I walked over to his desk at the other end of the office with the result. He wasn't there. I asked where he was and was told "he doesn't work here any more".

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Without 'half' an IT dept, how did the company get by?

Quick answer - at least as well as it got on before.

Long answer - it doesn't say how long it was to the next payday so there may well have been time to set up an outsourcing contract.

US Congress to NSA: How many Americans do you illegally spy on?

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" Since the Director is an Admiral they'd have to change the pay for the entire US military."

Or at least, for all the other admirals. All the better. The rest of them will quickly gather round to encourage him.

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I'm sure Congress has the power to extract an answer if they want. A quick bill to reduce the Director's salary to $10pa until such time as it's answered would do the job nicely.

Frustrated by reboot-happy Windows 10? Creators Update hopes to take away the pain

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Re: Linux kernel changes

"File changes aside the Linux kernel gets updated (in the average distribution) EVERY FEW DAYS."

Citation needed.

My experience (Debian LTS): there may be updates of some sort every few days but very few of these are of the kernel.

If you get kernel updates every few days you must be running a bleeding edge distro. If you're using it for production then you have more problems than needing to reboot.

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Re: MS Quality

"I don't think MS is doing much quality control on them anymore."

Of course they do. They have a huge number of beta testers. They're called users.

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Re: Fedora restarts to update...

"when I used Fedora for about 6 months it had updates and needed rebooting pretty much every week"

It's a long time since I used Fedora but AIUI it might not be a bleeding edge distro but it does follow a faster release cycle than others so I'm not surprised. If you want stability you go with a distro with a slower cycle such as Debian stable and accept you might be running older versions of applications.

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Re: Serious question here...

"Even in Linux, unless you restart the running processes that are using a patched file, they will keep on using the previous version."

In general processes running services will be individually restarted during the update without a reboot. Processes running a shared library will continue to run the old in-memory library. In general there's an assumption that such processes won't be long-lived and the new library will then be used next time they're run; in the interim there may be two versions of the library, both memory resident, one not yet finished with and one in use by processes started after the update.

What always amazes me is the relative speed of doing all this. One factor may be the fact that the greater number of Windows boxes puts a greater load on the servers and their networks so that they throttle the bitrates. Another might be that as Linux updates are much less disruptive they're pushed out as a available so that each is smaller; this, of course, has the additional advantage that a fix gets pushed out Right Now rather than waiting until the next big patch release.

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Re: After seen that dialog text, I've one more reason to avoid Windows 10

"it shows the attitude of those behind Windows 10"

And the attitude shows exactly who it is who are behind it: marketing. They're the ones with the built-in insincerity to write this crap.

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Re: Hmmm

"People don't reboot."

One thing I've noticed on Linux is that after a kernel replacement the machine won't hibernate, it has to be shut down. Perhaps if reboots weren't built into the Windows update the same thing would happen. That would mean users would be forced to reboot but only at a natural break in their work - other than those who'd simply leave the thing running overnight.

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"When of when will they learn to listen again to their users instead of their marketing 'experts', advertising executives and UI theoreticians?"

They may have been listening to their developers explaining how difficult it is to avoid reboots given the actual OS structure.

We found a hidden backdoor in Chinese Internet of Things devices – researchers

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Re: Ethical dilemma

Conviction for malicious beneficial damage.

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Re: Are you surprised????

"Odd but didn't Huwaei's Network kit get a clean bill of health from GCHQ?"

Hello GCHQ, here's the back door and here's the key. Do we pass?

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To have a door you must have a wall to put it in. The truly amazing discovery would have been if they'd found any evidence of walls.

Amazon S3-izure cause: Half the web vanished because an AWS bod fat-fingered a command

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Re: Availability Zones

"If that is too difficult to manage for you, then set the appropriate expectations with your business managers and users. Your product is too cheap to support that high of an uptime requirement."

We keep hearing people saying things like this. And we have to keep replying that marketing has set inappropriate expectations with these very people who are the ones who make the decisions. They've been told that cloud someone else's computer is cheap and that it's resilient.

"This whole fiasco is probably a good example of why developers should not be put in charge of the IT systems"

To some extent I take objection to this. Back in the day it was possible to be in charge of development and operation and be paranoid about stability and uptime. It encouraged not developing what you knew you couldn't run. Times have changed and not, I think, for the better.

But some cloud someone else's computer usage is shadow IT, paid for with a company credit card by people who don't see the need for all the costs and time needed for the detailed stuff which enables in-house developers and operations to combine to provide reliable systems. Don't assume either real developers or operations get anywhere near such deployments. Again, sales and marketing by providers have to take some responsibility here.

And whilst you're extolling operations, don't forget it seems to have been Amazon's operations staff who grew fat fingers in this instance.

You're mulling GitHub Enterprise. Not keen on on-prem hosting. You don't totally hate cloud...

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"GitHub has offered an on-premises version of its software to enterprises since 2012"

Alternatively anyone can run their own git server on their own hardware. What am I missing here?

$310m AWS S3-izure: Why everyone put their eggs in one region

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Are we holding it wrong?

Not the Cloud, not Amazon but the internet as a whole.

Looking back at the origins of the internet it was preceded by separate networks which had a weird and wonderful spread of technologies.* The internet came along with its own protocols to connect these individual networks together but the original emphasis was on those individual networks. Local came first and the internet only provided what wasn't local.

Now that we're almost all using the same internet protocols to run our LANs the distinction between local and remote has been blurred. We've forgotten to put local first but we're relying on an internet designed under the assumption that we would.

Even if we go along with the old Sun slogan that the network is the computer we shouldn't extend that to believing that the internet is the computer. This was a reminder of that.

*I remember one which consisted of little terminal boxes each with a single RS-232 connection daisy-chained together with coax. TV aerial coax with TV aerial connectors.

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Re: "companies should consider building redundancy into their cloud instances "

"A cursory glance at the documentation would have educated you."

Does the marketing provide the same education? The decision makers all too often are those who not only wouldn't give documentation even a glance, nor would they understand it even after prolonged study. Those who get to read the documentation are those who have to read it to implement the decisions above their heads.

Cheaper than running your own data centre. Simple. We take all that hard stuff off your hands. That's what sways decision makers.

Two-thirds of TV Licensing prosecutions at one London court targeted women

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Capita have just fallen out of the FTSE 100 this quarter. Is it too much to hope it's the start of a long decline in their fortunes? A rapid decline would be too much to hope for.

Yahoo! dysfunction! meant! security! warnings! were! ignored!

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Re: The entire Yahoo board should be sacked

"If you need to hire someone to turn a failing organization around, you hire someone who has done it at least once before."

Bernard Woolley wants a word with you. He can't work out how such a person could possibly exist.

US-Europe Privacy Shield not worth the paper it's printed on – civil liberties groups

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Re: Uhm

"There's no evidence that's the case and the joys of an actual democracy rather than a pretend one"

Really? You can't have been paying attention.

We've had a series of Acts of Parliament attempting to legitimise HMG's spying on us, all ending with the words "Investigative Powers Act": Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 and most recently Investigatory Powers Act 2016. The reason for these is that the govt activity in this respect keeps getting struck down by courts and the govt then insists on a new Act to legitimise their activities.

The most reliable courts in this respect are the European ones; basically a UK court will ultimately hold Parliament sovereign whilst an EU court will enforce EU legislation and the European Declaration of Human Rights. The only Parliamentary check in recent years has been the Lib Dems in the coalition who held back the govt during that period.

Maybe there's a chance that we could get a Lib Dem govt in a few years time when the backlash against what Brexit eventually does to the economy hits both the current major parties but that's a fairly long shot.

AWS's S3 outage was so bad Amazon couldn't get into its own dashboard to warn the world

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Re: Excelsior!

"never tell me that the days of progress are over."

They're not. The direction of progress, however...

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"why do web authors insist on loading JS from the 4 corners of the internet"

In fact, why do they insist on using so much of it?

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Re: @Lotaresco

"Chances are the clock in a mechanical timer is an electric one."

Ha. A few weeks ago the clock on the CH boiler had a little problem. It would run until it came to the start of an on period. It's an electric clock so I'd expect it to work unless the mains went off but with mains behind it why should it fail like this? Replaced under warranty and I took the old one apart. It's a battery operated quartz clock with the battery charged, as far as I could see, by a diode & dropper from the mains. Presumably when the battery goes on the blink it doesn't have quite enough voltage to trip the switch.

As a price for the clock not stopping when the mains goes off - I can live with that as it would be just another clock to reset - I have a timer that fails to work at all after a few years service.

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Re: The Cloud...

"ps. is there any way to automatically format a link without having to remember html ?"

OTOH if the link is made explicit everyone can see where it goes before they click. I rather like that idea.

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Re: eh, feller, nukes kill op-amps. get off my lawn!

"while tubes, on the other hand, will just keep on working."

Travelled in London much?

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Re: Bad, but not that bad

"Any critical service like that should be built with multi-region availability."

So if you want your light switch to work it has to be built with multi-region availability. Or is this an install-time option?

Controversial opinion alert: Privacy and the public cloud – not just possible, but easy

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So we make life safe for storing data in the cloud by making sure the data's encrypted and then we store the keys in the cloud. Do we encrypt them there? If so where do we store the keys to the keys?

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Re: Embedded?

"For that matter, plenty of executives don't give fucks about fines."

No, they'll just sack the IT manager who didn't stop them doing it. Who said life was fair?

Actually I've worked for companies who took security seriously They'd have been on the A/C's side.

Congratulations IBM for 'inventing' out-of-office email. You win Stupid Patent of the Month

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As I've said before, patent offices should bear all defendants' costs when stupid patents like this are successfully challenged with compensation for any other costs incurred, for instance by not being able to make use of whatever it was while the case was pending.

Yes, I know the objection, it's taxpayers' money. Well, it's up to the taxpayers to stop it. Make some compensatory savings in the patent office; chuck out the patent examiners who were responsible, claw the money back from them, whatever.

Uber: Please don't give our London drivers English tests. You can work out the reason why

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Re: Only English?

Dammit, New Johnston.

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