* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Plastic fiver: 28 years' work, saves acres of cotton... may have killed less than ONE cow*

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Oblig XKCD

"And a fair number of birds."

Nor the nematodes.

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"Perhaps we just need to point out that the RIPA contains traces of beef."

And huge amounts of bullshit.

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Has anyone investigate the level of animal products in the paper fivers the vegans have been happily using all these years?

Sysadmin figures out dating agency worker lied in his profile

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"So by disabling the capslock you can guarantee that the user can't tell if caps lock is on or not."

No it means the user can guarantee that it isn't on.

" Surely every single password entry should disable capslock?"

An excellent idea.

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"If you actually know how to type, caps lock throws a flag in your mind when you see consecutive capitals. Seems like the aystem is designed for people who can't type"

Read this very carefully.

We're talking about entering passwords where the letters aren't echoed back.

You can't see consecutive capitals when you type them.

It makes no difference whether you can type or not.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"why? because fsck you that's why"

No, because it's the sensible thing to do.

With the characters not being echoed back to you you can't see whether the caps lock is on or off. It's all too easy to repeatedly fail at entering a password because the caps lock is on and you didn't know it. Requiring the shift key for upper case means that the user knows when they're typing upper case and when they're not. It should be foolproof - with the usual proviso.

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Re: Bless....

"but I may need to break out the letraset transfers"

Can you still get them?

Brexit means Brexit: What the heck does that mean...

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Not necessarily. It will have lost them the electoral support of many who voted for them in the past but no longer. Brownomics and then Corbyn have seriously damaged Labour. UKIP will get their comeuppance when the economic costs of Brexit start to bite. This could be the start of a Lib-Dem revival.

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Re: Codification of existing practice?

"There is an argument that the Snoopers' Charter is 'simply' codification of an existing practice that the UK authorities ... have been carrying out covertly for some time"

Such practices ignored the presumption of innocence which was part of Common Law. The Act now says, in effect, that innocence need no longer be assumed. It's a major step. Unfortunately the petition didn't say this. It should have concentrated on that single point and left the govt. no room for the anodyne reply it came out with.

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Re: Codification of existing practice?

"I see no justification whatsoever for the rest to have access, especially without a warrant."

I can see no justification for any of them having access without a warrant. This law simply assumes guilt until proven innocent.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

GDPR comes into force automatically. AFAICS the general plan is to have a single Act to adopt all the EU Regulations until such time as the UK Parliament can decide which to repeal or amend. Unless that Act specifically excludes GDPR nothing changes at Brexit. It would then take a further Act to repeal or amend it. Such uncertainty as exists depends on whether GDPR would be excluded under the proposed Act. The industry ought to press the govt. on its intentions in this regard so that it can plan accordingly.

I assume that at some point Max Schrems or AN Other will have caused the ECJ to tear off the Privacy Figleaf. Even if it doesn't GDPR is going to make relying on it somewhat risky.

The data repatriations which make sense are US to EU/UK and UK to EU, the latter on the basis of the IP Act). Anyone repatriating data EU to UK would be signalling that they expect the UK to repeal GDPR locally and that they intend to take advantage of that to adopt a cavalier approach to their customers' data.

It’s Brexploitation! Microsoft punishes UK for Brexit with cloud price-gouging

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Everyone seems to have missed the obvious reason why they've increased prices: because they can.

It's called lock-in.

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Re: Forward planning?

"It's very embarassing to raise prices every three months."

Embarrassed about taking money? This is Microsoft we're talking about.

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"said equipment and service management, excluding local employees and datacenter location costs are in USD"

You omitted the most important $ factor: PROFIT.

LeEco Le Pro 3: Low-cost, high-spec Droid takes on the big boys with a big fat batt

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Re: Some points

As regards battery, let's try a car analogy. Non removeable wheels and tyres. If you have a puncture or a worn tyre you're obliged to have the manufacturer's agent service them, assuming they haven't decided to end the service life of that model, or replace the car whichever is cheaper.

As to the software phoning home, after recent revelations about Chinese Android builds, like you, I'd expect this to be part of any review from now on.

Renewed calls for Tesla to scrap Autopilot after number of crashes

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Re: Statistically....

"It isn't self-driving and the term autopilot is simply being misunderstood by people to think it does mean self-driving."

That's the problem. It immediately suggests two solutions. Improve understanding or drop the name. Which is the more practical?

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Re: 98%

"Uhm, so 2% of users do NOT understand that they are supposed to maintain control of the vehicle at all times?"

I wonder how that compares with the percentage who think it's OK to drive singlehanded whilst holding a phone to the ear. Or zero handed whilst texting and checking emails, Facebook & tweeting "I think I just hit something".

PC sales outlook improves: Now terrifying instead of catastrophic

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Re: Lack of variety

"Win 10 is probably responsible for more sales of Macs than PCs."

And reportedly the recent Mac announcement resulted in a surge of enquiries for venrods of pre-installed Linux.

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'Convertible and slim, sorry, “ultra slim” laptops will make up 63 per cent of notebook shipments by 2020'

If these are the ones with non-serviceable parts that's hardly surprising.

American supremacy, space, liability, funding, openness – AI gurus lay it all out to US senators

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"The technology is still in its early days"

And has been for decades.

Still too much discretion when it comes to that 'terrorism' stuff, repeats David Anderson QC

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Re: Huh ?

4 It counts as business as usual.

Clients say they'll take their money and run if service hacked – poll

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Re: We have just all been hacked

"The offshore VPNs will be blocked soon, leaving you with no choice but the hacked ones."

The Mayfly's team might find such a move makes life difficult when they try to negotiate access to Europe for service industries.

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Re: Walked from one, stayed with another.

"I on the other hand moved to TalkTalk as they were investing in security"

Is that something you know of your own knowledge or what they told you?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Transnational companies have more power than most sovereign nations in that regard. Unlike the countries, they can jump ship."

It's not always that easy to jump ship. If they want to trade on any substantial scale in a particular country they'll have to consider have some footprint even if it's only a local sales office. These days regulators are starting to think in terms of fines based on global turnover so the days of being able to shrug off responsibilities might be coming to an end.

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Re: No they won't

"Because once you are using a service, it costs time, effort and money to change."

The thing which is most difficult to change is email. You can gain independence from an ISP by using a non-ISP supplier instead of relying on the ISP's email. In the long run it's easier to have a private domain. The domain hoster of the moment can also host the email service but, as it's your own domain, you can switch to another service provider and keep the domain. Sadly it's not a solution for everyone.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"What if the ONLY provider suffers a data breach"

It depends on how important the provider is. There's no shortage of ISP, email providers etc. Banks are rather fewer but there are still choices. Facebook might be considered an only provider but in that case it can be easily done without.

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Re: Gut reaction

"the breached provider now has a thorough understanding of the issue and should be able to prevent further breaches in future"

Unfortunately the list of "respectable businesses" in the article includes at least two serial breachees.

I think there are at least 3 categories here:

Those that never learn

Those that learn from their own mistakes

Those that learn from the mistakes of others

Jersey sore: Anchor rips into island's undersea cables, sinks net access

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Re: "on the UK island of Jersey"

"Any pure bred celts had long since be consigned to the corners of the british isles by the time Rome left and a lot of people would have been speaking some version of Latin."

The general archaeological view seems to be that most of the Romano-British population were the descendants of the pre-Roman Iron Age population who had simply adopted elements Roman culture. The colonia, however, would have added retired legionaries although these were recruited from across the empire.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "on the UK island of Jersey"

"From the English or from the Saxons, who weren't English either, AFAIK?"

Pretty well the same thing - Anglo Saxons. They weren't Britons, however.

And, of course the Normans were Vikings who'd nicked a bit of France from the French.

Tobacco giant predicts the end of smoking. Panic ensues

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"The really interesting part came when I called up Friends of the Earth for a comment."

Be honest now. Did you really expect any other reaction?

UK.gov was warned of smart meter debacle by Cabinet Office in 2012

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Re: Benefits

"link your washing machine to the meter so its triggered to run when the price drops."

And, whether it's triggered or not, gets enrolled into a botnet to DDOS your smart meter.

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GCHQ has worked more closely with DECC "to assure the security of the UK system".

Even if we give GCHQ a free pass on this it's still a worrying statement. Why aren't they working to ensure security?

systemd free Linux distro Devuan releases second beta

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"have been using Ubuntu and kubuntu, both subject to freezes where the only option is power off."

Is the M/B Intel J1900 based? If so, Google is your friend. There are problems which require some tweaking of processor idle states. It can be done through BIOS.

Ofcom to force a legal separation of Openreach

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"Think of rural farmers (or instance). They are now /required/ by gvt remit to submit their subsistence grants online.. but many don't have BB access of any sort, or any training in how to use or protect themselves from the internet, or the time to learn."

My neighbour is a farmer. As he's slightly nearer the cabinet than I am he'll get a perfectly adequate connection from FTTC.

But then there are a few more scattered farms further out. They're not going to get as good a connection, if any. So the question is what is the most effective way of rolling out upgrades to them and to the others in the same situation? Can more be put on line with FTTP in a year by a given number of workers than by any other means? If so then fine. But if some other technology puts more on line then why would FTTP be chosen and if it is what would be the criteria for deciding who would go without so that the lucky few (relatively speaking) get their FTTP?

Roll out of any technology is achieved by actual work and not by sprinkling some fairy dust that suddenly becomes available by separating Openreach from the rest of BT.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Be careful what you wish for!

And here we have the usual Pointless G.fast A/C plugging FTTP.

It's been pointed out that Ofcom requires 999 to work in the event of a power cut to the premises. POTS does this by having the pairs powered from the switch. How do we manage this with FTTP? Presumably we have a choice of an adequate UPS with each fibre termination, a power supply run into the premises alongside the fibre or a a POTS link alongside the fibre.

UPS in the premises is going to be expensive and raises maintenance issues.

An external power link is a slightly less problematical version but has its own problems. There would be far too much loss to allow distant customers to be powered from the switch so there'd need to be power supplies distributed throughout the area. Just the arrangement that the A/C calls "carpet bombing" and why, if I follow the argument, renders G.Fast pointless. So how shall we describe this FTTP arrangement? Pointless FTTP?

That leaves the FTTP and POTS duo. This also has a problem. Many existing POTS users will be satisfied with FTTC so the take-up of FTTP won't be that great. FTTP+POTS would be Even More Pointless FTTP.

The only ways in which FTTP wouldn't be pointless is would be supplying it to people who want it in addition to POTS or doing away with Ofcom's 999 requirement.

The fact is that FTTC, G.Fast and Pointless FTTP are compromises. None fits everyone's requirements, none is cheap to roll out and none is anything but a long haul to get rolled out from both a financial and logistical aspect. The network likely to be rolled out in the end is going to be a mixture of technologies which best - or at least approximately - match the requirements.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"El Reg isn't the only offender in this regard."

If it's an offence my copy of the pocket edition of the OED is also an offender.

Premise singular is a proposition from which...an inference may be drawn.( pl., Law) beginning of a deed giving the names of the parties and the nature of the grant, the property etc. (pl) any house or building...

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"It's the kind of shit argument that has completely failed Britain's generating capacity."

At risk of going OT the argument that's failed Britain's generating capacity has been "Nuclear No thanks" followed up by a realisation that shoving coal up power station chimneys isn't a good idea.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Err.....

"The cable companies laid brand new networks in a very short space of time. It's taken BT years attempting to catch up to their cable rivals for speed."

You do realise, don't you, that BT wasn't allowed to compete with them. So what happened? The cable companies laid cable in the areas where they thought offered the biggest ROI and nowhere else. So now we endure all these eejits coming along and complaining that BT hasn't instantly cabled up the huge majority of the country without ever explaining how the resources are going to magically appear to do this.

I suspect there's a huge correlation between those who think a separated OR will instantly cable up the country and Brexit won't mean unemployment because both sets appear to believe in magic.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"BT was handed a national asset on a plate and all they did was watch it crumble while pocketing the cash."

The usual bollocks. When the telephone operation was split off from the rest of the GPO its new chairman, MD or whatever is supposed to have described what he took over as the black telephone rationing company. That's because your supposed national asset had lacked adequate investment from the taxpayer and wasn't in line to get it in the future. By selling it the govt. had a chance to get some money back and to enable it to get private investment in the future. Without the finance it's been able to raise in the private sector BT would be a fraction of what it is now. You might still be waiting for your internet connection so you could get onto el Reg to complain.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Pension

"All the costs of privatisation, but none of the benefits? Tell Sid."

Wrong advertising. Sid was gas. And would want to be in the queue for your rationed black telephone?

BT was privatised because no government of any stripe had been prepared to put sufficient investment into BT for years, had no intention of doing so for more years and saw a chance of getting money back instead.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: And in the course of time

"I assume...they can also step into prevent it being bought by another company."

They didn't step in to stop, say O2 being bought by Telefónica or the various other mobile networks being bought by foreign overseas companies. Back in the days of the golden share HMG could have prevented it but those days are long gone. And remember Deutsche Telekom already owns 12% of BT as a consequence of the EE deal.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: And in the course of time

"10 Year from Now when were living in your Marxist Utopia, I'll expect a knock at my door after you've gone through the snoopers charter to find and silence those who disagree with you. Viva le Revolution"

10'o clock in the morning and how many of these have you had already?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Explanation please...

"They can roll out following other ISPs' criteria, not just BT's."

No. They would roll out - or not - according to their own criteria and their own financing. Their own financing would probably be a lot less than as part of the BT group, at least until some other company such as Deutsche Telekom* bought them out when you'd have a whole new set of problems to grouse about. And a separated Openreach would have similar requirements on ROI and prioritising one potential site against another.

*DT already own a slice of BT so would automatically own the same percentage of a split-off Openreach.

Adblock again beats publishers' Adblock-blocking attempts

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Re: Um

"People who deliberately chose to block ads aren't ever going to be your customers."

Charles 9 doesn't seem able to grasp this. I wonder why.

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Re: More People Need To Block Ads!

"Unless they're the ONLY source of something, like a manufacturer's website."

What he said. The other sites do a roaring trade. Those won't be 3rd party driver sites, they'll be the sites of the manufacturer's competitors who don't paywall their drivers.

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Re: An idea

"Which is good enough for them because it lodges them in your brain"

When I was young I got stung by a wasp. That event lodged itself in my brain. In consequence I avoid wasps. In evolutionary terms this is what the wasps would "want". I'm not sure that applies to advertisers.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Advertisers, here's a novel idea."

The advertising industry will do everything they can to avoid giving advertisers that choice because they can't charge as much for simple, non-intrusive ads. Remember that the advertising industry doesn't sell the advertisers' products, it sells its own services.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: More People Need To Block Ads!

"Ads are still so cheap to make that just one hit in say a million can justify the expense."

And the industry has no metrics on the negative effect of the the other 999,999 so they can go on selling their services to the special snowflakes who haven't cottoned on to the idea that the ads for their products will annoy their potentials customers just as much as other ads annoy them.

"What happens when everything goes behind ad walls?"

You think everything would? There'll always be some sites smart enough to thing differently and hoover up most of the traffic.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: An idea

"They MUST be intrusive."

Which makes them repellent.

This amazing comment came in a recent /. discussion in the paperless office. Nothing could be more indicative of the utter lack of self-awareness of workers in the ad industry: https://ask.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=9898731&cid=53315433

"Readers ignore all the other ads."

Actually this isn't true. Readers look at ads when they want to. Every Friday my local paper publishes a motoring supplement. It's filled with advertisements from the local car dealerships. I ignore them with extremely rare exceptions - when I'm looking to change car. Because I can ignore them they don't annoy me; they just become so much bedding for my grandchildrens' rabbits. Because they haven't annoyed me I'm prepared to consider giving the advertisers my custom when I need to.

What really drives the ad industry to make intrusive ads is that there'd be much less money for themselves. The only thing the ad industry sells its own services to advertisers.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Dumb Question

"No, the reason is legal. If ads are sourced through them, they'd have legal responsibility to curate them."

Thanks, Charles. That, in a nutshell is the problem. Gross irresponsibility on the part of the publishers. They're happy to take money and no responsibility for throwing potentially damaging stuff at their visitors.

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