* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

'At least I can walk away with my dignity' – Streetmap founder after Google lawsuit loss

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Disgustingly Evil

"can you clarify why Google Maps are not useful?"

Take an example. Look up Hardknott Pass on Google and streetmap.co.uk. What does Google tell you about the steepness of the road and the terrain in general? Now what does the OS map on Streetmap tell you? In case you're not used to reading maps I'll tell you that the OS's little chevrons on the road mean "steep" when single and "bloody steep" when doubled (1 in 7 to 1 in 5 and more than in in 5 respectively). What does Google tell you about the features you'd see from the road? What does the OS map tell you?

As I've written in other comments, Google maps are really just street maps, the OS maps streetmap.co.uk uses are real maps.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: @druck Not as good

"not having their own source data for maps is what killed them"

I can't see why anyone would want to provide their own source when the OS is available. They're not going to match it.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Not as good

"Obviously, looking at Bing's use of OS maps, whilst they have a better zoom"

Bing also swap between different scaled OS maps but they also zoom to different magnifications of these so you have a choice of too small to be legible, legible and jaggies. I find the zoom painful to watch and unnecessary as only one magnification is really usable. OTOH Bing has better scrolling. If Streetmap were to disappear I suppose I'd have to use Bing but it would be an unpleasant experience.

One issue common to Streetmap and Bing is the search: they only seem able to find place names starting from the first word; if, for example, you search for Nibley their choices will include a couple of villages called Nibley, Nibley Lane, etc. but miss North Nibley. Google has the edge in this.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: My condolences.

"Streetmap doesn't make their own maps."

No. They use OS maps instead.

Somehow Google never seem to get round to little details like contouring and such like. The irony of all this is that Google's maps really are just street maps. Streetmap's maps are maps of the terrain. No contest in my view.

UK Snoopers' Charter gagging order drafted for London Internet Exchange directors

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Re: Cheers Tory voters - United kingdom = worst kingdom

"the global economic crash was caused by the exposure of the long-running subprime mortgage racket in the US in 2007 and the subsequent collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, not by the economic policies of Gordon Brown."

Which in turn was driven by low interest rates which made mortgages appear affordable. An Brown was a part of the low interest movement. His giving the BoE responsibility for interest rates with an inflation target that ignored housing costs led to a housing bubble here, leading to the problems with Northern Rock, HBOS/Lloyds & RBS. Instead of being responding to the bubble by changing tack he, as chancellor, went about lecturing Germany el al about how they should adopt UK/US policy on interest rates. He might not have been able to check what the US was doing but he could have minimised the impact here.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Cheers Tory voters - United kingdom = worst kingdom

"You already need one to work legally."

In my entire working life I only needed a passport for a job once. That was a contract which involved going on site in Italy to install S/W.

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Re: Seems rather self defeating to me.

"non-British ISP's and network providers ... will almost certainly exit LINK "

Easier said than done if they require the facilities it provides. They'd have to replace the facilities it offers outside of the UK which will presumably take time. Most likely they'll insist on LINX pursuing any such order through the courts, if only to give themselves time to be able to route round the damage.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

From LINX's response

"Under our current proposals, we recommend creating a special new ability for elected directors to veto a decision by a majority of the Board."

What does the board consist of if not elected directors?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Great article by El Reg.

"LINX have proposed no such thing at all"

Follow the link to the gGovernance review PDF in the article. Check that the URL is indeed on Linx's site. Download the article. Go to page 7. Read. You will find out that this is exactly what's being proposed and for the reasons in the article.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Didn't this behavior collapse the Empire?

"This has nothing to do with patriotism and everything to do with power."

True but then you go off-course.

May loved the referendum result. It's brought her to power and given her the opportunity to do as much as she can to evade European jurisdiction which would limit her ability to implement the Home Office's policy on surveillance. Did you, pre-referendum, see her giving any more than the minimum support to Remain that would be required to keep her job on the assumption that Remain would win? Hard times for everyone else post-Brext? Why should she care, she's got the foreman's job at last.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Didn't this behavior collapse the Empire?

"a blind overly-nationalistic belief"

That would be a blind, over-nationalistic belief in standing up to Hitler in 1939 (which is when WWII started, not in 1941). It left us broke.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

LINX bod: "Looks like I'm pwned" "Nothing to what you'll have on yours"

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Re: Cheers Tory voters - United kingdom = worst kingdom

"If you voted Tory you voted for this regardless if you knew it or not."

I think it's been HO policy for a long time and they usually manage to have Home Secs go native. In general common sense in the rest of the govt held them back. We now have the misfortune to have an ex-Home Sec as PM, first time in a long time. It could be worse - think what happened to the economy last time we had an ex-Chancellor as PM.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"specialist legal advice" was "general... often verbal or by email... not really in a form we can share with a wider audience"

Yes, I'd always rely on advice like that. No, no qualms at all.

Google agrees to break pirates' domination over music searches

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"one of musicians' biggest beefs, which is Google's autocomplete providing pirate-friendly terms"

I thought musicians' biggest beefs were usually about the percentage they were left with after the music industry took its whack.

New EU rules on portability of online content services move closer

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Re: Optional

"we will be out of the EU"

If the rules come into force in 2018 we won't be.

Love lambda, love Microsoft's Graph Engine. But you fly alone

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Re: Wot! Most popular DB is not Oracle/SQLServer/MySql?

Were you referring to this statement:

"the most popular graph DBMS by some magnitudes is Neo4j, followed by OrientDB and Aurelius's TitanDB graph databases"?

If so let me repeat it again with one word emphasised:

"the most popular graph DBMS by some magnitudes is Neo4j, followed by OrientDB and Aurelius's TitanDB graph databases"

Smash up your kid's Bluetooth-connected Cayla 'surveillance' doll, Germany urges parents

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Re: Then again..

"They could just remove the batteries."

And then give it a quick zizz in the microwave, just to make sure.

Nokia's 3310 revival – what's NEXT? Vote now

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SWMBO uses a 3410. But the one to bring back would be the 9110: phone, remote terminal and battering ram, all in one. What's not to like?

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Re: Mr Fixit

"But a pi-Top is stupidly pricey, for a laptop-with-no-guts."

And an ideal educational device for a 9-year-old grandson.

Florida Man jailed for 4 years after raking in a million bucks from spam

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Re: "He will have to forfeit all of that ..."


Agreed. Nevertheless I have a sneaking suspicion that he'll have pocketed a good deal more than was accounted for and will end up with a good rate of pay for his 4 years.

Paper factory fired its sysadmin. He returned via VPN and caused $1m in damage. Now jailed

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Re: Not Mom and Pop

"I think the defense attorney could have spun this as a non-authorized penetration test"

Indeed, a defence lawyer's job is to spin any defence that offers itself. There's not guarantee it will be accepted and if that one succeeded the court would need to provide a runway for the pigs.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Thanks to the victim's quick response"

Quick response? A quick response would have been to lock things down when they fired him.

Errors in Australia's Centrelink debt recovery system were inevitable

Doctor Syntax Silver badge


Thanks for that. It means that if this system issues debt letters solely on this basis it's not fit for purpose. As I explained in a comment above the acceptable rate for false positives is zero and what you describe cannot avoid false positives.

In a human-operated system a case would be built by one team, e.g. police, and passed to a second, DPP, CPS or whatever for review before it gets to court. The second team and the court itself should act primarily as checks on the first team's work, not as an excuse for the first team to get away with sloppy work.

In the system you describe the output should be no more than a list of cases to be checked against the original fortnightly data. It should not be possible to issue debt letters which do not give the dates and figures for the incorrect payments.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Base rate fallacy

"Whether 99% accuracy is a good result or not depends very much on the split between false positives, false negatives AND the underlying base rate "

Where the decision leads to legal action the acceptable error rate for false positives is zero. If you were accused of some offence of which you were innocent would you consider it OK to be found guilty and incarcerated providing the false positive rate was considered acceptable?

False negatives are trickier. A false negative can also lead to injustice* beyond the occasional guilty party escaping on grounds of reasonable doubt.

Such high standards makes criminal investigation a stressful occupation for anyone taking it sufficiently seriously.

*A complainant of assault being wrongly disbelieved could come into this category.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: AI my arse

"common-or-garden SQL database?"

They were solving that even before relational databases were a glint in Ted Codd's eye. They were solving it in the days of tape-to-tape. They were solving it in the days of mechanical accounting machines. They were solving it the days of quill pens & paper. It all goes to show that if you want to fail really badly, use a computer.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Oh waht a tangled web...

Once upon a time people used accounting systems, not AI, big data or anything else. Accounting systems can summarise each account with a balance. That balance tells you whether you're in debt, credit or neither. Why complicate a simple process by throwing AI at it?

Probe President Trump and his crappy Samsung Twitter-o-phone, demand angry congressfolk

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Pleas hack his "smart" phone, install keyloggers and crack his twitter account... install some voice capturing software that is permanently on

What makes you think that hasn't already happened?

send some nice postings like "I am so soryy, Hillary" or better "Hi Mexicans, I luv u all!"

That's just skiddie stuff.

'I'm innocent!' says IT contractor on trial after Office 365 bill row spiraled out of control

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Chamber of Commerce? Maybe one of the members has a lad who's good with these computer things.

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Re: Depressingly familiar

"I put the penalty clauses on the front page of the contract"

Where possible I included a clause to say that all copyright in work done remained with MyCo until final invoice was paid.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Based on assumptions...

"Here the government is the best customer you can have if you want your invoices paid on time."

One client of mine doing work for HMG billed one of their clients by EDI. The client's EDI server had been down for a few weeks before they got round to telling them. I also spent a long time analysing the far from clear self-billing of another of their clients, trying to reconcile it with work done for them.

US visitors must hand over Twitter, Facebook handles by law – newbie Rep starts ball rolling

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I have a Hotmail A/C which is mostly used for people I expect to be spammers (hello Tickemaster) or in situations where it's likely to be harvested. It frequently gets a few emails sending me "invoices". My son may have to go the the US later this year. I may let him have the password for it and hope they try to download and open a few of those nasties. I'd just have to move them from Junk to Inbox...

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: What is social media?

"Does El Reg count?"

No, we're all anti-social here.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"I've never made a law before, so it's completely shit, but let's hope my laws don't get passed until I know what I'm doing."

Nevertheless he's ensured his bill not only has a cute acronym but that it's recursive. Surely that's 90% of the way there.

UK recruitment biz Coal Intelligent Technology ceases trading

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If there's any money at all HMRC will get first dibs, staff second and contractors will be at the end of the queue as unsecured creditors. HMRC never take that into account when trying to claim disguised employee status.

Installing disks is basically LEGO, right? This admin failed LEGO

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Re: The Curse of "Cowboy Keith"...

"A thumbs down! Is that you, Keith?"

It's a Martian upset that you insulted him, er, it.

New Royal Navy Wildcat helicopters can't transmit vital data

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Re: WTF?

You've got to remember what 2008 was like. Years of Brownomics finally hit the buffer.

A webcam is not so much a leering eye as the barrel of a gun

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"if I'm feeling in a particular tin foil hat mode I'll just unplug it."

Why not make a little tinfoil hat for it?

Knock knock. Who's there? A Lenovo server salesperson, because revenue dip's no joke

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"while Lenovo got lots of lovely product and capabilities from IBM it didn't get a direct sales force."

Surprising. IBM seems intent on shedding just about anybody who does anything (i.e. anybody but senior management). I'd have expected they'd have let them have an entire sales force.

Global IPv4 address drought: Seriously, we're done now. We're done

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Re: Some of you guys worry me greatly.

you're meant to be "tech" people (whatever the hell that means this day of the week) or sysadmins etc

It might have escaped your notice but there are now several people who aren't network admins, sysadmins, DBAs or whatever who actually have internet connections to their homes.

In fact there are a lot of them.If IPv6 is ever going to be rolled out it's got to work, work well and work securely for all these people as soon as they lift their router/firewall/whatever-naming-hair-you-want-to-split out of its cardboard box. When I read comments about how any competent sysadmin should be able to set up IPv6 routing I know this issue isn't being addressed and a successful roll-out is just receding into the distance.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Address allocated but not live

"This is a really naive attitude and it is exactly this attitude (and ignorance) that makes the IPv6 transition so difficult."

What makes the transition so difficult is an almost will-full refusal to look at the the problems it causes on the ground.

"This is not a problem with IPv6, but instead with your network topology. Put them on a VLAN that doesn't route to the Internet, or use a firewall to prevent traffic to/from them."

Right. Tell me how Joe Soap, who can't put his webcam on the net without getting it bounced into a botnet within minutes is going to accomplish all that. Because that's the core problem.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Address allocated but not live

"No, I'm pretty sure that most people do want their stuff on the internet."

More likely people want the internet on their stuff but not necessarily the other way around. They want to connect their laptop, desktop, tablet, phone etc to the net. What they don't want is Joe Random on the net connecting to the above. It's a one way thing.

A smaller set of stuff doesn't get connected either way - my printer and NAS don't need to see the net, nor do they need to be visible from outside.

Then there's another class of stuff that some folk do want on the net: their Nest, their webcam etc. And just look at the problems that's causing for everyone else; most of us would be happier if none of that had got on the net. It's been a big illustration of the problems that happen when Joe Random can connect to their stuff.

The first case has been handled well by IPv4 & domestic routers for a long time and a part of that is that NAT ensures that the individual device can't be directly addressed from the wider net. At the same time the services behind the router/firewall/whatever can talk to each other; I can print from my laptop or exchange files with my NAS. Somebody in another comment mentioned NAT breaking end-to-end routing. That's just what these use cases need.

It's these first use cases that need to be addressed simply by IPv6. Being told that address randomisation answers users' concerns by preventing being tracked is a failure to understand the issue. My printer isn't going to be tracked anyway but what I don't want is someone coming across my printer on its current randomised address and either dropping a load of stuff to be printed just because they can or taking advantage of a zero-day to enrol it into a botnet.

Nul points for Ukraine's Eurovision ticket site fail

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Eurovison fans? Does not compute.

Haven't deleted your Yahoo account yet? Reminder: Hackers forged login cookies

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Is it a coincidence that this just surfaced after they're supposed to have reached a new agreed price with Verizon?

Talk of tech innovation is bullsh*t. Shut up and get the work done – says Linus Torvalds

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In such situations there's an obvious advantage in always being right.

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Re: Linux is not dominant on servers:

" On large business servers segment, Linux does not even exist. That segment belongs to IBM Mainframes"

{Cough} http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/uk/z/os/linux/

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Is it just me or does Linus tend to have a lot of process problems"

It's not just you as others seem to come to the same conclusion. It's a consequence of your looking at the exceptions, not the rule. Consider the situation:

- He has a huge number of contributors

- He's probably never met most of them

- He never recruited any of them

- He doesn't employ any of them nor work for a company that employs them

- He doesn't provide any annual assessments of them

- He doesn't recommend pay levels

- He can't fire them

If you were in that position and responsible for a project of such magnitude what management tools would you have to hand and what process problems might you experience?

As Microsoft touts Windows Insider for biz, let's take a look at W10's broken 2FA logins

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

<em.Since when has Microsoft worried about randomly borking machines of "a small number of users" with Windows update</em>

In PR speak "a small number of users" means "any number up to and including the entire user base. Possibly several times over."

Doctor Syntax Silver badge


I think there's something in common in all these. People need an OS to just work and just keep working. They want it to be secure - and that includes not being snooped on by the vendor

The claimed rationale behind W10 actually fits the first of these: rolling updates to accommodate new H/W, fix bugs and occasionally meet new requirements and standards in IT.

What's not good is the implementation The initial release should have been fit for purpose and updates should have maintained this status. There is plenty of evidence that that isn't so.

The idea of giving feedback from users about performance as an aid to this is reasonable. Again the implementation isn't; if I have a KDE application crash, for instance, I can choose to have it send a crash report, if I'm using Debian I can choose to let my installation participate in popcon. And then there's the appalling privacy policy of W10.

Identity disorder: Does UK govt need Verify more than we do?

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Re: Journalistic standards are slipping

Too easily confused with the other "mad Frankie" - aka Frankie Boyle.

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