* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Add it to the tab: ICO fines another spammer as unpaid bills mount

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

I still think my idea was the best.

Take a number in the 147x range. If the caller dials that immediately after a call their telecoms provider credits their account with a couple of quid as a fee for taking the call (a tenner if they were TPS registered) and adds that, plus their own handling charges to the caller's bill. If the call originated from another provider they charge that provider who can then add their own handling charge and bill the caller. Extend as required until it gets onto the caller's bill or a provider who was stupid enough to accept traffic from elsewhere without having the required arrangements in place.

Yes, it would require sufficient calls to be reported against a caller to activate it, both to avoid fat finger errors and to deal with someone who decides to try to collect from all incoming calls, however innocent.

And yes, telecoms companies do know the origin of calls with fake CLI - how do you think they bill them? Come to think of it, double the payout for a call with a faked CLI.

Telecoms companies would start being more careful about who gets to set up accounts, otherwise they'd end up with a lot of unpaid bills. They'd also be faced with the up-front costs of putting the arrangement into place although the costs would be recovered through the handling charges. The consequences, of course, would be that the scourge would disappear very quickly and the telecoms companies would end up with being unable to recover those costs. However if this scheme was presented to them as a potential Transaction Handling Reimbursment in Event of Abuse of Telecoms scheme I'm quite sure they'd quickly come up with an effective alternative means of stamping out the whole thing.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Go after the lawyers as well...

"Might I also suggest that the lawyers involved in liquidating these companies and then setting up new ones should be disbarred for aiding and abetting a crime."

I doubt it requires a lawyer.

Facebook 'fesses up to WhatsApp privacy blunder in UK

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Re: Prediction: The ICO will do f*ck all

Revised prediction. She's taking her job seriously so May will get rid of her.

Turn off remote admin, SOHOpeless D-Link owners

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'As Ribeiro notes, “D-link has a long history of vulnerabilities in HNAP”, many of them attributed to embedded device hacker Craig Heffner of dev/ttyS0.'

Was Craig Heffner responsible for creating the vulnerabilities or for the discovery of them? I suspect you meant the latter but the wording implies the former.

New Relic: Turtles? No. It's cloud infrastructure all the way down

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Re: "There's no such thing as 'The Cloud'..."

"trot out the same old same old thinking"

There's plenty more same old thinking I'm happy to trot out. I expect gravity to stop bits flying off the world, I expect broken cups not to spontaneously reassemble themselves etc.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "There's no such thing as 'The Cloud'..."

Dammit. Beaten me to it. Have an upvote and a

We're going to have to start making changes or the adults will do it for us

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The problem in IT is the anarchic attitude...

"Experience suggests rules long out-last the reasons for them"

I've thought for a long time that a rule should be accompanied by its rationale. That way (a) PHBs & CxOs who wish to override them can be made aware of the risks and (b) it's possible to see when changing circumstances remove the rule's reason for existence.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Technological evangelism means someone thinks something they are doing is better, and a lifetime's worth of experiences say that on close examination it turns out to be the same old same old gussied up with a new name.


Browsers nix add-on after Web of Trust is caught selling users' browsing histories

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Getting rid of the difficult bit in the title. Sir Humphrey would have approved.

UK spying law delayed while Lords demand Leveson amendments

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Re: First the Brexit vote, now this.

"I think the appeal is more of a hissy fit as they have been embarrassed"

It may be but even so I think it's the right thing to do. Imagine the situation if it was left at this stage, the MPs voted for May's bill, Article 50 was invoked and then someone was to appeal the current decision to the Supreme Court alleging that it wasn't legally invoked. Taking it to the Supreme Court rules out any further uncertainty which is simply the sensible thing to do.

As is leaving it to the MPs. After a few more % of inflation and a few big employers indicating they'll leave the UK MPs voting against invoking Article 50 could be hailed as popular saviours. A week is a long time in politics: there are quite a few weeks between now and March.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: First the Brexit vote, now this.

Seeing as you raised the Brexit court decision and obviously disagree with it see if you can answer this:

Article 50 starts:

1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own

constitutional requirements.

What is the UK's constitutional requirement for this? Please quote an authority for your answer.

Tesco Bank limits online transactions after fraud hits thousands

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Re: As I understand the situation

"So why block logons to online banking? That suggests that they have been totally hacked..."

Probably a reasonable precaution until they determine what the problem actually was. Yes, it prevents customers getting on to check but if this was the route so it would stop any further fraud so they had little option.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Corners cut?

"Tesco & Tesco Bank have pots of money"

Rather less these days that the stock market was hoping for. I believe they still have pots of honey.

Mythbuntu busted as last two devs working on media centre distro quit

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Re: Kodi Problems

"All I wanted was a decent PVR."

Then try Mythbuntu while you can still download the iso.

Google makes it to third base with Home digital assistant

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Re: It's evil

"This is just the next step in the subversion of the general purpose computer."

There seems to be an effort to get us back to the days of there only being a market for 6 computers (or whatever the number was) in the world. The modern twist on this is that rather than being single computers they're networks of data centres (AKA clouds). Everything else is just a programmable client (programmable by the parent company, not the "users") with which to access them. And yes, we need to put "users" in quotes because they're the entity being used.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Same wake word for all devices, really?

Clearly it should be possible to set individual "words". "Oi, you" would seem to be a suitable alternative.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Kitchen interface for Spotify

"I do not understand why someone downvoted you for that post."

Probably on account of the fact that someone who thinks £50 isn't too much to spend on something like that has more money than sense. It's the sort of voting that brought us Brexit.

And surely, a Jambox in a kitchen should be a place to keep your pots of jam.

Any questions? No, not you again at the back, please God no

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Fear of flying

"For you guys that are afraid of flying. I am an Aerospace Engineer, i design the bloody things for a living. And I continue to be happy to fly"

Many of us write or have written software for a living and are far from happy about being driven or flown about by software.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

'What's worse: asking withering questions or being Cassandra and saying "I told you so" later?'

Why limit yourself to just one?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Annoying questions

"Almost any tech presentation's Q&A is liable to feature an interminable question from an audience member who's only asking a question to prove that he knows much more about the subject than the presenter."

Answer to that one: "you're wrong of course but it would take too long to explain why."

Software licencing gets easier in the cloud? Not if your name is Microsoft

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Re: You can keep it.

Microsoft, SugarCRM (and derivatives), etc: do they keep personal data of customers?

If so do users have the customer's permission for that and are they registered with the appropriate regulator?

If not they stand at risk from the DPA or equivalent. Things get even worse if it's hosted by a supplier. They then have to worry about - or should be worrying about - where it's hosted, whether the hoster is also registered and just how much cover the Privacy Figleaf provides. Given the standard gung-ho approach of the average salesman or marketroid I suspect that many of the users of CRM are in contravention. Maybe a visit from FAST is the least of their worries.

World-leading heart hospital 'very, very lucky' to dodge ransomware hit

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Re: Prepare

Please tell me you missed out the sarcasm tag. Or that you're USian and can be excused on grounds of not knowing any better.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Why

Because the users complain, especially if they're being used to transfer important information such as X-ray images or lab reports. See Spotswood's post for a more practical approach.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Bleedin' obvious

" There's a small management overhead, yes, but it's a damn side better than dealing with an outbreak, which has not happened yet."

And how long before some bozo says "Why are you doing all this? There haven't been any problems so it's just a waste of time."?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Luck?

AIUI the luck bit comes with the fact that the backup completed just before the attack struck so was pretty well up to date.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"using mixed media including tape, given that some attacks target digital backups."

So that's analogue tape. Are they using cassette recorders?

James Dyson's new startup: A university for engineers that doesn't suck

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"Have you noticed that all the Wrexiteers commenting on the High Court judgement clearly have absolutely no understanding of the legal issues involved?"

Generalising much?

Adblock overlord to Zuckerberg: Lay down your weapons and surrender

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Re: Wall Street is looking for a Facebook blocker

If a load of bankers(sp?) are stupid enough to believe growth can go on for ever what do you expect?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The ultimate ad-blocker

"So yeah, the visible viewport would not show ads to you; but this concept fails to address the bandwidth, performance, and security issues that the current generation of ads has foisted on us."

Security issues wouldn't be a factor unless you have an exploitable /dev/null. Bandwidth, set a maximum size - accept the first K or so and then break the connection. If the advertising agency has any wit they'll count that as the full advert sent and bill the client accordingly.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: How ads work

"It's dangerous to believe that ads don't work on you because you choose to ignore them."

I didn't say they don't. They piss me off so I buy from someone who's adverts I didn't get. Businesses have definitely lost my custom by getting in my face. My home insurers are going to be the next to experience this when the renewal comes up shortly.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Simple solution...

'No, because they can use bandwidth usage as a Turing Test to see if their ads are really being "seen".'

A few moments' thought - OK, these are advertising people, a few days' thought - should show them that that really isn't information they want to have. If they don't have it they could, with as clear a conscience any advertising company could have, bill the client for an advert shown.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: yeah, about that

"What if I were to tell you .. they possibly make more than a smidge more than that off a person (who doesn't block ads)...?"

A) I'd want to see evidence

B) Any advertiser selling something I might possibly buy stands a better chance of selling to me if I've blocked their ad. and hence helped them to not piss me off.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Eyeo says it [..] wants "user empowerment"

"I've got adblock and have used it for years just fine in conjunction with NoScript. Don't see any ads when I'm surfing"

Snap. And what's more UO seems to interfere with the Beeb weather site. No doubt it can be tuned no to but AB+ and NS do what I want with no problems.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

" for the sort of one-to-many communication that a brand-promoter needs, FB, etc. is very very valuable."

Sort of like running your own website?

Anti-ultrasound tech aims to foil the dog-whistle marketeers

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"track the user's visited content across different devices to then push relevant, more targeted ads."

I think you misspelled irrelevant.

Is password security at just $1/month too expensive for most?

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'I would still be locked out of every account I have on any ad-hoc "alien" device.'

You say that like it's a bad thing.

Ubuntu Core Snaps door shut on Linux's new Dirty COWs

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"the Lancastrians use it"

It's more widely used than that place over t'tops.

Brexit judgment could be hit for six by those crazy Supreme Court judges, says barrister

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Re: Media and entertainment

"Quite possibly, even Ms May herself would be in that category."

I see her as in the category of closet Leaver but unwilling to declare on the assumption that they'd lose the referendum and she didn't want to be out of a job. Previously she didn't seem enamoured of anything from the EU that impinged on her old job in the Home Office.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Thursday's explosive anti-Brexit judgment

"There should have been a clause saying that the result was binding on the Government"

Why? Because Smooth Newt thinks so?

A British phone you're not embarrassed to carry? You heard that right

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Re: Looks decent

"I'd be quite interested in one for my eldest lad who burns almost all of his saved pocket money for screens for his current one"

Let him burn all of it. But point out that the screen he buys with the last of it has to be taken care of, otherwise he's phoneless until he's saved up for a new phone.

New MH370 handshake and wing debris analysis suggests rapid descent

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Re: Conspiracy ..

"I didn't know planes had retractable flags."

Let alone detractable ones.

Dark matter? More like diet matter: Super-light axions may solve universe's mass riddle

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"Right now around 65 billion neutrinos per cubic CM per second flow through you."

The trouble with all these billions of neutrinos and trillions of axions it's difficult to find room for anything else.

Mine's the one with not much in the pockets.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Is it not possible?

"What is known is that the dynamics of galaxies does not match our understanding of gravity. Missing or dark matter is an hypothesis as to the cause."

An alternative hypothesis could be that our misunderstanding of gravity is the cause.

Lenovo hires tech 'big brains' to turn around crappy sales

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Some good advice would be don't get yourselves a bad reputation for shipping spyware in your PCs. But I suppose it's a bit late for that.

Survey finds 75% of security execs believe they are INVINCIBLE

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Re: What's the problem

See my link to the wonkypedia article on GDPR.

"The reporting of a data breach is not subject to any de minimis standard"

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Re: Reasons

"So let's call their bluff, this is this opportunity we have been waiting for to get stronger enforcement - the government should now say - "

Take a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Data_Protection_Regulation especially the Sanctions section. Not necessarily 10% of turnover but it should concentrate the mind. I look forward to the results of the first few prosecutions.

Microsoft's chaps slap Slack chat brats with yackety-yak app

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Re: "since before the great y2k hoax"

Three downvotes. Millennials!

The Rosetta Stone of chatbot APIs: Upstart touts software bridge

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"Bots also offer an alternative way to interact with enterprise applications, which (in the desktop world at least) have a reputation for clumsy interfaces and burdensome workflows."

Why is the interface clumsy? If it's because it requires accurate inputs the process isn't going to be improved by bolting on an interface based on guessing what the user meant. Alternatively it might be clumsy because some UX-"expert" was let loose on it.

And if the workflow is burdensome it's the workflow that needs improving, not the interface.

I think this whole article is a piece of puffery about a solution looking for a problem.

Brexit may not mean Brexit at all: UK.gov loses Article 50 lawsuit

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Re: Very Interesting . .

"but my reading prior to the judgement seemed to suggest that the balance of probabilities was with the government so it's at least a surprise."

The legal issue was the supremacy of Parliament vs Crown (the govt may be the creature of a Parliamentary majority but nevertheless it's Her Majesty's Goverment, not Parliament's). Any other decision would have been contrary to the trend of the last third of a millennium or so of constitutional history so I'm not in the least surprised.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Also, Tories have commons majority and I am quite sure that, if MP vote is after all required ... Brexit vote be pushed through no matter what."

I'm not. It's a matter on which the big parties are split and have been for a long time. The whole referendum thing was an attempt to glue the Tory party together. It hasn't worked. I think it's an issue where whips will be defied by MPs who believe that the national interest is at stake.

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