* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16427 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Man jailed for 3 days after Texas cops confuse cat litter for meth

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Re: Road site test?

"All the cop movies that I've watched have the cops doing on the spot tests by simply sniffing a little of the power or tasting it ..."

It's a reliable test for cyanide.

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"Widespread evidence shows that these tests routinely produce false positives. Why are police departments and prosecutors still using them?"

It's not using them that's the problem, it's relying on them. They would appear to be presumptive tests, an indication that they should be followed up with something more time-consuming, elaborate and, most importantly, reliable.

Why the UK is unlikely to get an adequacy determination post Brexit

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Re: If the UK doesn't, the US won't

4) 3 + repeated attempts to grant US adequacy alternating with trips to the courts to thwart them.

Would it be too much to hope that 3 brings about a final realisation that Brexit really wasn't a good idea with the electorate punishing those politicians who supported it.

NB there's no requirement for an electorate to remain consistent, especially when it finally realises which side of its bread was buttered.

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Re: Who cares?

"Unfortunately this isnt a brexit problem but a politics problem."

The two are not independent. Brexit is a necessity for May's escaping international scrutiny on human rights by reneging on the ECHR. She is clearly prepared to chuck substantial swathes of the UK economy under the bus in order to achieve this dubious political end. The most charitable explanation I can think if is extremely blinkered vision.

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Re: I'm not sure where the "We" is in the appointment process.

We as a nation. Wasn't that what Brexit is supposed to be about?

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Re: Who cares?

You forgot the joke alert icon.

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It's one thing to argue that May's policies would make compliance impossible. It's another to assume that she (or someone else) won't have to change them. The economic realities of not being able to comply (not to mention the impact on the Good Friday agreement of abandoning the ECHR) is going to make her stance increasingly impractical.

We would, in future, be well advised to avoid promoting Home Secs to PM; the experience seems to warp their judgement.

NASA taps ESA satellite Swarm for salty ocean temperature tales

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Re: Hmmm....

Note how the proportion occupied by direct measurement is tiny compared to the rest - and how jittery it is compared to the rest.

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"Conductivity, measured in siemens per meter"

Presumably a conductivity meter.

MongoDB ransom attacks soar, body count hits 27,000 in hours

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Easy come, easy go?

If large numbers of databases have been pwned and few have paid up what does this tell us about how much the owners valued their Big Data?

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Re: Something to note.AWS?

"have a publicly open unfiltered port to any software without the understanding of the implications is just unprofessional."

Were professionals involved or are these cases of Excel and Powerpoint jockeys moving up to the next level?

Google nukes ad-blocker AdNauseam, sweeps remains out of Chrome Web Store

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Re: you are the product

"if the ... ad not sent in its entirety"

That could simply be a network problem so it couldn't reliably assume a blocker.

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Re: Maybe they should've thought the whole video ad thing over

If I see a big, expensive advert I think "Why should I pay for that?" Same with a big, flashy shop.

Yes, but we're not in the business of selling big, expensive adverts or big, flashy shops. At least I'm not and I don't suppose you are. But being in such a business requires you to take a different attitude - and try to get your clients to share it. I say again, the advertising industry sells adverts to advertisers, that's all. What effect it has on the advertisers' bottom line isn't their problem providing they get paid.

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Re: Maybe they should've thought the whole video ad thing over

"What would she have made of Google/DoubleClick?"

Probably bumped all the management off before getting Lord Peter on the case.

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Re: No free ride

I haven't been running a Google operating system for the past 25 years under one paradigm, only to have them suddenly change the rules to "customer be damned, let's serve ourselves instead!" That's what's happened with MS, though.

Well put although in may case MS got my ire much earlier. It was a little advertising trick (glueing magazine pages together FFS!) that did it and even at the time they should have spotted the double meaning of their tag-line "Don't get stuck with Microsoft" which I decided to take to heart. Effective stuff that advertising.

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Re: Interesting why block this one?

"they have a responsibility"

Even thinking about that must have brought them out in a sweat.

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Re: Maybe they should've thought the whole video ad thing over

"Love me or hate me, as long as you KNOW me."

This, of course, has to be the advertising industry's motto. As long as they can keep the punters believing that's all that matters they'll stay in business. Remember, the only thing the advertising industry sells is adverts. Preferably big expensive adverts that they can persuade their punters are getting them value for money.

TV anchor says live on-air 'Alexa, order me a dollhouse' – guess what happens next

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"Order me an escort"

Followed shortly afterwards by a "vroom vroom" sound from the street.

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"Isn't a chimp some kind of monkey?"


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Re: @ Lee D

Why am I now imagining Compo from "Last of the Summer Wine" walking up to one of these things and saying "ey'oop Google !" ?

There were few characters played with anything like the right accent. Compo wasn't one of them.

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I entered my home number into my car phone. The first time I used voice command to call home it told me it didn't have an entry. I got it to read out the entries and it pronounced it "hume", i.e. the pronunciation used by the former Prime Minister. Presumably the makers think more of their customers know someone called Home than have homes to go to.

They need to sort this out before self-driving cars come onto the market. Come out of the pub, get into the car and get driven to a suburb of Manchester.

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"So it means that Producers of Sound (radio, TV, the lot) are going to have to be careful to not do as you suggest!"

As has already been suggested, it should be at least possible to change the wake-up word. This would at least reduce the problem to that of occasional coincidence.

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"Alexa, get me fork 'andles"

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Re: @ Lee D

Meanwhile here's someone complaining they haven't made Alexa multilingual: http://www.osnews.com/story/29591/Alexa_Amazon_s_operating_system

Google gives up YOUR private data to US govt – but won't hand over its OWN staff personal info

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Re: @AC Egg-zactly!

"It's actually voluntary for employees to provide it."

Presumably the employer (a) asks the employees to volunteer it and (b) makes provision to record it.

This must pose a problem in relation to people employed by US companies in Europe. In the UK, for instance, the information would fall foul of the data protection principles (see https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/data-protection-principles/ ), especially 3 and hence of the DPA and the equivalent legislation in other EU countries.

I can see how they'd probably twist the principle's wording to try to get away with it assuming the exemptions in Schedules 2 & 3 extend to obligations in the US. As stricter EU regulations come into force and Max Schrems or others get more judgements at the ECJ that might get more difficult.

But I repeat a comment I made earlier: it's different attitudes about such things that make Europeans distrust the US with personal data.

And I trust that the man who fell to earth, amongst others, has never been in charge of anything where European data protection law applies.

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Re: @AC Egg-zactly!

"It's a reaction to a time, a very real and prolonged time, when many arse-backwards companies discriminated like mad against all sorts of people."

Nevertheless I would consider it extremely offensive for an employer to ask me for this sort of information. Partly it's a matter of principle but there's an added factor. I spent 19 years in N Ireland in the '60s to '80s. People could and did get murdered for being the wrong religion in the wrong place and the wrong time. I know. I took part in the investigation of a number of these, right down to my last case in '86. In such an environment anyone asking about religion would be regarded with deepest suspicion.

It's different attitudes about such things that make Europeans distrust the US with personal data. Whilst I have some sympathy with the sauce for the gander sentiments of many comments I regard the keeping and demanding of such information as being totally out of order whether it's Google or anyone else.

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Re: @Doctor Syntax

"Pretty clear you've never been in charge of anything."

OK, how do you measure race?* Colour? It's pretty clear you've never had to think critically.

*There was an instance discovered some time ago of a family in the East Midlands, apparently English as fas back as one could go, with an African yDNA haplotype. A suggested explanation was that there must have been a male line descent from a Roman soldier of African origin, Lincoln being fairly close by (you didn't have to come from Rome or even Italy to be a Roman citizen). So what race were they?

Former car rental biz staff gave customers' details to phone pests

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Re: The calls aren't stopping

"direct access into the DVLA's live database"

No surprise there: https://www.gov.uk/data-requests-dvla

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Re: Did they really steal it for hundreds of thousands?

Once they've got their foot in as "solicitors" (I'm sure they're called that legally, if not ethically)

If they were solicitors I'd have thought the Law Society would have been taking an interest.

Ransomware sleazeballs target UK schools

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Re: Called me twice this week

"If you're really from the Department for Education then the should already have our proper contact email details,"

She put the phone down.

For occasions like this, keep a list of addresses of the more recent SEO etc spammers from your junk folder. They're all in the same line of work, no reason why they shouldn't occasionally be introduced to each other.

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Re: standard response

"I've said it before: the point at which this great idea fails is the point at which a management higher-up decides the security rules don't apply to him"

It's up to senior management to set the policy. If they don't set it and follow it they've nobody else to blame.

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cold-calling schools claiming to be from the Department of Education and asking for the head teachers’ email addresses

"It's our policy not to give such information over the phone. Please write." should be the standard response. Making it should be a reflex action.

Cache flush: AI poker bot to compete against top players in tourney

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Does it get to shuffle and deal?

Microsoft goes retro with Vista, Zune-style Windows Neon makeover

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Re: Rearranging the deck chairs.

"Not all of us are happy with shit like the ribbon, we want to slap the stupid out of you for that, so the ability to choose our own themes would be a big boone."

From MS's point of view ribbon was far from stupid. Between that and supporting education (getting schools to train MS Office users) they've now got a cohort of users who don't grok what you and I would call a sane interface, and hence any S/W that uses it. It's lock-in 21st century style.

Not to worry, LibreOffice is fighting back with multiple interface options.

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Re: Blur disbanded

"Talent...Post proof or retract."

I think it's just a word they have to use. Telling it like it is would only bring in the lawyers.

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Re: At least they're trying!

There is a place to try something new, and it's called a "lab".

Microsoft know that. Who do you think they're using as lab rats?

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I'll say it before Bob gets here with his pointless upper case: still fugly.

FBI let alleged pedo walk free rather than explain how they snared him

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Re: 'We...

"So reality is... they don't need to put them away or try them to ruin the alleged crim."

"Alleged" is a key word here. No conviction so in the eyes of the law he's innocent. I think we can expect the lawsuit to follow PDQ.

Investigation of crimes should be properly conducted so that the prosecution are able and willing to stand over their evidence.

Bank robber reveals identity – by using his debit card during crime

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The problem with crime is that sometimes you just can't get good staff.


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Re: Curious

"How is the guy being 'a registered sex offender' relevant?

Why was it mentioned?"

It's just possible that the register also had his address, just in case they needed to check that the bank's records weren't out of date. It also indicates prior convictions which might affect sentence. Just a couple of obvious answers, I'll leave you to work out if there are more.

Fatal genetic conditions could return in some 'three-parent' babies

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Re: Prediction...

"Got anything to back that up ?"

For one thing this paper and the interest in separate mitochondrial parents is going to result in more research money going to mitochondrial genetics in the next few years (give or take the effects of our current crop of governments).

3... 2...1... and 123-Reg hit by DDoSers. Again

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Re: I'm with 123reg

"I need to move"

As a general practice, when changing hosting, whatever you choose, check with whois and Companies House first. Some companies trade multiple names so you might be jumping from the frying pan to the frying pan.

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Re: Domain Registration

"they also support open source projects."

And the Pi.

Dodgy dealer on Amazon lures marks towards phishing site

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ISTM that whether or not Amazon have liability is only part of their problem. It affects their reputation which they should be guarding. Time and again we see reports of what appears to be over-zealous protection of trademarks and yet here we see an instance of what in effect is passing off not being policed by the trademark owner.

Switzerland says Uber's an employer, sends social security bill

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Re: Been there

"Most Air BNB run fowl of zoning laws"

Another one that quacks like a duck?

5G? Pff, don't bother, says one-time Ofcom man's new book

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Re: What good is 5G when 1G doesn't even work?

"smartphones could easily support a decentralised mesh network"

Presumably the phones would spend much more time transmitting in order to relay mesh traffic. How would this play against the lower power in terms of battery life?

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Re: Tech semantics

"What do you know that these telcos don't?"

Which side his bread's buttered?

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Re: Tech semantics

"you have to have a way of getting all that data to/from all parts of the UK, including the remotest locations, where there often isn't a power Grid Network to power G.fast type 'active devices' rollout v passive fibre optic."

If you don't have power at the base station site I think power for the backhaul is a secondary problem.

Slim pickings by the Biggest Loser: A year of fitness wearables

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"Easy way to lose weight"

Not what I'd call easy.

TCL vows to keep BlackBerry alive

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"secured" Androids

How secure is "secured" Android?

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