* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Snapchat coding error nearly destroys all of time for the internet

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"An investigation by the perennially under-resourced pool discovered"

The investigation found the list of servers apparently compiled in from a library on Github, a library from which they have now been removed in the current version.

What sort of eejit compiles in stuff like that? Haven't they ever heard of configuration files?

Landmark EU ruling: Legality of UK's Investigatory Powers Act challenged

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Re: Yup...

"And even then Waxy May will neither accept the verdict, nor allow debate."

Think not? If the SC supports the HC and she tries to go against it she'll probably be ousted by a vote of confidence or she'll be in a legal tangle that will take years to unravel.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: But I thought we "took back control"

"their copies of the ICRs will be on machines physically separate from the open internet (or so one would hope, anyway)"

I admire your optimism.

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Re: Appropriate?

"it's one thing the security services having untrammeled access to this material, they are some of the most highly vetted people in the country. "

And there are still instances of their abusing it.

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Re: This is great news...

'Which speaks volumes about ''independent'' our media really is.'

Nothing to do with that. No celebrities are involved so the media couldn't care less. For them it's a non-event.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Yup...

"If they were lukewarm about it, why take it to the Supreme Court?"

Oh, no, not again!

Read the very first part of Article 50. Go on, Google it now and read it. Look, seeing as you probably CBA, here's the link: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2016/577971/EPRS_BRI(2016)577971_EN.pdf Now read it.

Still CBA? Here's the relevant passage: 1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

Now you tell me, what are the UK's constitutional requirements for this - and what's your authority for that?

You see, it's unprecedented. HMG think Royal Prerogative provides the requirement. But we've spent over a third of a millennium - that's right, right back to the Civil Wars in the 1640s - establishing something called the sovereignty of Parliament. Some people think that means Parliament's decision is the constitutional requirement.

The way to resolve this, the only way, is to get the decision of the courts. ATM the decision of the High Court is in favour of Parliament. HMG have appealed to the Supreme Court where it will be decided once and for all.

Whilst my own view is in favour of Parliament making the decision I still think it right that the matter should have gone to the Supreme Court because we really do need a definitive decision.

Consider, for instance, the situation if Article 50 was invoked irrespective of whether it was by Her Majesty May using the Royal Prerogative or Parliament passing an Act without a ruling. Brexit will inevitably cause expense - redundancies etc - for those corporations who have set up in the UK because it gave them an EU base. Suppose one or several of them were then to demand a Judicial Review on the basis that the constitutional requirement wasn't met. Can you imagine the chaos it would cause?

Do you now see why it's important to get this settled now irrespective of whether you think Brexit is the best thing since sliced bread or a mistake that's going to cost swathes of its supporters their livelihoods?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Yup...

"I seem to recall that most of our glorious leaders were all for staying in the EU...?"

Although our current Glorious Leader, allegedly in favour, seemed to have kept her head well below the parapet when it came to campaigning. Turned out well for her, didn't it?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: But I thought we "took back control"

"I wonder what people who voted leave think of the snooper's charter anyway?"

If they've heard of it at all it will be explained to them in terms of immigrants and the terrible EU removing HMG's control over spying on its own citizens.

Sayonara North America: Insurance guy got your back when Office 365 doesn't?

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Re: Just Remember the EULA (All 456789 pages of it)

"one of the Indian (Cough, cough) Consultancies"

Cowboy Consultancies are also available.

Amateur radio fans drop the ham-mer on HRD's license key 'blacklist'

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"the blocking mechanism is sometimes used to disable copies of the software once the buyer has asked for a refund. Thus, we're told, it is difficult for HRD Software to know exactly how many keys have been cancelled for legit reasons or out of retaliation"

They can't match up refunds with keys blocked because of them? Really?

Strong non-backdoored encryption is vital – but the Feds should totally be able to crack it, say House committees

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"A narrative that sets government agencies against private industry, or security interests against individual privacy, does not accurately reflect the complexity of the issue."

Oh yes it does.

Google's latest legal opponents: Shooting victims' families – and a cheesed-off ex-manager

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Re: Sign of Things to Come?

And how did the terrorists get to the scene? Sue the local highway authority.

HMRC IT cockup misses nearly 1m Scottish taxpayers for devo PAYE letters

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"So use the fast switching service"

The fast switching service has a hell of a job keeping up with the speed at which banks shut down branches, especially outside the M25.

In fact, I anticipate the branch closure programmes getting into difficulties - they're running out of branches to close.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: You say England and Wales

"Wales have a separate system which hasn't had any issues"

Yet. Just wait http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-38345168

Swiss defence firm snaps up Brit security outfit Clearswift

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“This deal highlights the continued global success of UK-based technology companies."

This deal highlights the UK's continued global success at selling off its technology companies.


Kingpin in $1m global bank malware ring gets five years in chokey

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Re: Use a compromised proxy you dickhead

"this one is just barely a wannabe"

He still doesn't beat the robber who left his jacket at the scene

Yes, his was the one with his library card in the pocket

BT and Plusnet most moaned about broadband providers. Again

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"I've been with Plusnet since they were Tiscali"


I was with Nildram who were taken over by Pipex who then rolled Nildram's CS arrangements out to the rest of their business. They were then taken over by Tiscali who nixed Nildram's CS. I left them when they were taken over by TalkTalk who traffic-shaped Usenet more or less out of existence and hid behind the crap Tiscali CS at which point I left. I'm not aware that Plusnet ever were Tiscali.

Why don't people secure their IoT gadgets? 'It's not my problem'

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"Sorry, am I too cynical?"

Too cynical? There's no such thing.

It's round and wobbles, but madam, it's a mouse pad, not a floppy disk

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Re: Insert a new disk and press Return

"although she's been told we have a remote Exchange server she's probably forgotten"

Or not even understood the significance.

We each have our own mental images of how things work. For some that image is just keyboard and screen.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Poor instructions

"the "music" is inside the grooves, so it would seem that just the record surfaces rubbing probably wouldn't do much."

But the grooves extend all the way up to the surface. So if the surface has scratches on it they do, in fact, interfere with the shape of the groove and the S/N ratio goes down.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

'His reaction was "pull the other one"'

Maybe he'd heard about some of the pranks traditionally pulled on engineering apprentices.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: ahh, floppy disks

she was also told that we saved electricity if empty sockets were switched off as it stopped electricity "leaking out"

A missed opportunity. You have to put a blanking plug in to do the job properly... And be careful of bits dribbling out of spare network sockets.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Poor instructions

"I have a copy of Tommy by the Who, which was a two LP set, which had sides 1 and 4 on one disk, and 2 and 3 on the other."

That was common with opera recordings which could very easily run to multiple disks. On long pieces it wasn't always possible to get the turnover right. The CBS Bruno Walter LP of Mahler 1 had a turnover in the middle of the long 3rd movement. It was a relief to move on to CD where that wasn't necessary. Then they came out with a multi disk, multi symphony set where they split one symphony between 2 CDs.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Poor instructions

"You never had an autochanger that would let you stack half-a-dozen disks up for playing?"

And let them skid on each other? A great promotional aid for people who wanted to sell more disks.

Stupid law of the week: South Carolina wants anti-porno chips in PCs that cost $20 to disable

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Re: Where do we find these numpties

"The Republican Party."

I doubt they have a monopoly.

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Re: Out of State

"Don't underestimate people with power. Let's assume they know what they're doing."

No, don't let's assume anything. Let's expect them to demonstrate that they know what they're doing.

Ancient water found in Canada is two billion years old – giving hope to Mars colony dreamers

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Re: How much did the drilling ...

"Yeah, us stupid scientist who are incapable of thinking about such things, controlling for them or working out ways of sampling which do not contaminate the source."

Nevertheless, one thing does worry me about this dating. There's only one radio-isotope found in water itself, tritium and that has a half-life far too short to be used in dating of this age. They're dating it on the isotopic make-up of the solutes. How do they demonstrate that they've been in solution that long?

I spent half my working life having to be concerned with contamination of samples, including dating samples. They're valid concerns and they're not addressed in the article nor in the linked abstract so you can have your snark back, thank you.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Close

"a pedantic grammar nazi icon"

I've often wondered - is that a photo of Jimmy Edwards? Whacko!

Cyber insurance brokers: If it makes you feel any better, 2016 was not our year either

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"So if you're a policy holder and get hacked, you get paid. What about your customers/users who actually suffer?"

You offer them two pennorth of fraud protection or whatever - which you claim on your insurance.

But realistically the insurers have got to start laying down the precautions their clients take. No security, no payout.

View from a Reg reader: My take on the Basic Income

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Re: Private market undermines social change

"Where does the capital growth fit into that arithmetic?"

Capital growth comes into it when someone takes out an even larger mortgage to buy it from the previous owner.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Private market undermines social change

"renting should *never* be more expensive than a mortgage and that is the situation we are in these days."

Did you give even a moment's thought as to how anyone could rent out a property at a rate lower than it's costing them to buy it let alone maintain it?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "What if those taxpayers are machines, not humans?"

"You mean money printing machines?"

No, the machines that are now supposed to be putting everyone out of work. That seems to be the notion. Whether it actually works that way is another matter. As per another comment, AFAIK mass unemployment is the result of governments making a pig's ear of the economy by meddling rather than advancing technology. But there's no harm in a bit of "what if" thinking in case things go differently this time.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"And this complexity in turn is passed down to HMRC"

Complexity pushed down to HMRC? Where do you think it comes from?

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Re: I would love it

"So you expect the taxpayers who do work to buy you a house, which you will be able to pass down to your children, as well as feed & clothe you?"

What if those taxpayers are machines, not humans?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Of course you'd have to implement the taxes on a global level"

Not really. Place an export tax on money. Money leaving the country bound for tax havens or off-shoring gets taxed. No need to tax the rest of the globe if you can simply tax the money headed in that direction.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Inevitably that cannot work for everyone, since then there would be no money coming in to pay us"

The recent article on this was predicated on the assumption that automation would give rise to mass unemployment.* The proposal there was to tax the work of the robots. This in itself might not be sufficient as the work could be off-shored to somewhere with lower tax rates. It would take more than simply taxing robotics but there could still be means to levy the necessary taxes. In those specific circumstances one could see how it might work.

*AFAIK mass unemployment in the past has been a result of economic meddling rather then mechanisation but I suppose there's always a first time.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Private market undermines social change

"If you did an FOI of your local authority to ask them how much money is spent on emergency accommodation, I think you'd be in for a shock."

OTOH some of the locals have a shock when I point out how much the local authority, which is perpetually crying poverty, spent on financing a leg of the Tour de France in England.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"A similar idea is negative income tax. If you earn less than the tax threshold they pay you to bring it up to that. Probably easier to administer than UBI."

Maybe you're thinking of PAYE and a low-paid job. In the case of Edward making and selling stuff there wouldn't be an employer running PAYE.

But the killer in this idea is that it would involve HMRC. HMRC would ensure administration could never be simple.

IT ops doesn't matter. Really?

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Re: Heretic!

And Cloud! Don't forget Cloud.

Christmas cheer for KCL staffers with gift of extra holiday after IT disaster

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Re: Need new glasses

I don't think there'd be much difference for those whose data was lost.

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Re: Repeatable?

"If it's not repeatable, it's not science."

But you never get back the several years you spent doing it.

'Upset' Linus Torvalds gets sweary and gets results

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Re: Wouldn't YOU be fucking pissed off ...

you then "test" against the "bugs your changes are supposed to fix"

Not just that. Also test against the bugs previous changes are supposed to have fixed. Just in case you reverted some of the previous fixes.

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Re: Torvald's Tongue Back To Normal - XMas May Proceed

"At least Santa's list compiles"

or Santa compiles his list?

Banks 'not doing enough' to protect against bank-transfer scams

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More hindrance than help

A few days ago my bank send out an email about this. Or, strictly speaking, they didn't. They had a marketing company spammer send it out with a From: line purporting to be the bank, naturally a noreply address.

So I have an email purporting to be from the bank but originating from an IP address not owned by the bank. Look like a phishing email much?

And it gets worse. There are several links in the email which appear to point to the bank's domain. However when I look up the address of the sub-domain server for these links (the same subdomain used for the From: address) it's not in the bank's block. It belongs to the same spamming business that sent the email. Look like a phishing email supported by a bit of DNS poisoning much?

The only indication that it's probably from the bank is the address to which it was sent. It's one that's provided only for the bank.

Instead of training customers to be aware of scams, the overt purpose of the email, it's actually training them to be phished.

And I wonder if their IT security manager, assuming they have such a thing, is happy to have a subdomain resolve to a server not controlled by the bank. If I were in that position I'd be livid.

'So sorry' Evernote rips up privacy changes

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Re: Evernote?

"I guess napkins are so 20th century."

It's all email's fault. No envelopes so no backs of envelopes.

Crim charges slapped on copyright trolls who filmed porn, torrented it then sued downloaders

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Re: Not News!

"we're going to go after a bunch of law students"

Law students? Go read Ken White's account at Pope Hat to find out in detail what this bunch were up to.

Kids, look at the Deep Learnings! (We’re just going to slurp your data)

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Re: can someone please disrupt Evernote

"if that was a tenner a year"

Not in Switzerland.

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Re: All your thoughts are belong to us.

"https://owncloud.org " forked to https://github.com/nextcloud

National Lottery whacked with £3m fine for suspect ticket win

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Re: What about the fraudster?

"Has the claimant been prosecuted?"

And if not why not? Probable answer, not sufficient evidence for a criminal prosecution. But if that's the case why do the Gambling Commission think they've sufficient evidence to issue a fine?

NASA – get this – just launched 8 satellites from a rocket dropped from a plane at 40,000ft

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Re: Only perfect storms ?

"I am going to launch a competing system which helps sailors avoid all storms"

Called a basement.

Wouldn't be a bit damp?

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