* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Mercedes answers autonomous car moral dilemma: Yeah, we'll just run over pedestrians

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Re: Simple answer to overly complex handwringing

"If you can't avoid a collision, then apply maximum braking and hope for the best."

The best course of action. Minimise the risks all round. Trying to deflect the risk involves steering and trying to steering and brake hard at the same time is likely to result in failure to do either.

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Re: Hard decision but Mercedes are probably right

"Er, except that as a driver you are required to anticipate road hazards."

The question of reality has to creep in here. You can anticipate hazards but to what extent should you allow for them.

For instance I've been about to overtake a couple of cyclists when one of them, for no obvious reason and with no prior indication, turned square across the road right in front of me, fortunately with just sufficient clearance for me to do an emergency stop and blow my horn (I hope his pants were festering by the time he got home). Had he done this a second later he'd have been a gonner.

Now any cyclist has to be regarded as a hazard who can act in a totally idiotic manner (try driving in any area which has been on a TdF route before downvoting) but does this mean that no cyclist should ever be overtaken in case they try stunts like this? One has to balance the probability of an action against the utility of continuing in any sort of motion.

Ireland reaps benefits of Apple's tax schemes, even without EU bounty

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Re: Tim Crook is so disappointed

"Apple was indeed having a 'special arrangement', f*cking Irish (and european) taxpayers in the process"

Excluding the European taxpayers bit, what part of "the nation's arrangements with Cupertino is driving tax revenue and spending increases in its budget for 2017" did you not understand?

The whole point of that sweetheart deal is that the Irish economy gets an income it wouldn't otherwise have had. The rest of the EU is, of course, jealous. You have to look at the whole picture: without that deal it wouldn't have been €13 billion plus all the other income, it would have been nothing, or at least the income from a local branch office.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

'And people died for the country to have the right to it's own determination and to be able to make its own laws etc, only for these jackasses to turn round and stick two fingers up to the country and the rest of the world and say "we don't want the €13 billion".'

It's that making its own laws bit that enabled Ireland to make the deal that brought Apple into Ireland in the first place. The EU's instruction to charge that €13 billion is an attempt to end that deal; I don't think they're doing it to benefit the Irish economy.

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Re: Obligatory rifling pockets icon

"there is a big push in the EU to harmonise corporation tax"

And would a Brexitted UK govt see the potential this offers for a bit of competitive tax marketing? If they do, beware of flying porcines.

PC sales sinking almost as fast as Donald Trump's poll numbers

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Re: I for one will never buy a Windows computer again

"That is the 2nd PC Windows 10 has trashed for me. There won't be a third. Microsoft has lost me as a customer for ever."

After the problems you chronicled here in the past I'm surprised you gave then a 2nd chance.

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Re: I've had the same broom for years!

"I say that's a Theseus' paradox"

Did you hear a sort of whoosh sound?

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"We may see a boost to sales once they get SSD costs down to the point where developers feel they can get away with building stuff that works poorly on HDDs. Then everyone will be forced to get an SSD, and many of those will just buy a new PC."

Don't give 'em ideas!

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Besides, any kind of tablet is not conductive to do lots of typing on or CAD design, for that you still need a proper Win7/Win8.1 computer.


Like it or not, here are ALL your October Microsoft patches

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A bottomless pit

"Its a crazy town with one hell of a marketing budget, some would say a bottomless pit."

Which do you mean, town or budget?

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Re: Dear Microsoft.

"Signed, a pissed off MS customer whom has a lawyer."

I'm pleasantly surprised at the number of commentards who (not whom) spotted that one but here's an upvote for a splendid rant.

Burger barn put cloud on IT menu, burned out its developers

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"She's therefore been surprised at the amount of governance she has to do, lest marketers go wild with campaigns that target people from the wrong lists, breaching policy or good taste along the way."

Why the surprise? That's marketing SOP.

Boost Ofcom's powers and fix mobile market woes, Three and TalkTalk tell MPs

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Harding appears before MPs and they don't open the bowling by asking why she's still representing TT?

FreeBSD 11.0 lands, with security fixes to FreeBSD 11.0

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Re: Pre-release turns out to be pre-release quality?

"though as a knowing user (or glutton for punishment!)"

If I'd been a glutton for punishment I'd have gone the systemd route.

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Re: Pre-release turns out to be pre-release quality?

"I use FreeBSD for my workstation, and keep it patched etc, and yet somehow managed to resist the temptation to pre-emptively download the latest version before it was announced as being available."

I've been using 11RC3 for a new GIS workstation. It works fine.

It was a choice between that and Debian Jessie in order to get drivers for a recentish motherboard. A BSD RC vs systemd? No contest.

Yesterday brought in a shower of updates which I assume bring the RC up-to-date with the final release.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Why the torrent hate?


Take another look at that link.

Do you see a Disk1 image? That's a CD image. You can download and install from that.

Do you see an even smaller boot only image? You can download that but that means you pull down binary tarballs at install time. The tarballs are quite small, however.

The install gives you a command-line system. If you want GUIs you'll have to install xorg and, if the default window manager (TWM I think) isn't sufficient, you'll have to install the manager of your choice. Again this requires pulling down tarballs of the binaries.

Nuke plant has been hacked, says Atomic Energy Agency director

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Re: Umm. PDP-11s? good!

"Some hospitals still run Windows 2000 because to recertify their gear with anything else would be next to impossible and besides many of the staff are in their 60's and trained for decades to use them as they are"

Great. Casual ageism - still PC if not mandatory. And remind me how many complete decades since W2K came out (there's a clue in the name).

The principle argument of "just works" is sound so why throw in some bollocks to spoli it?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The safest form of energy is?

Or, to put it another way, for the whole of my adult life (and I'm in my 70s) there's been no excuse for wasting good fossil carbon feed-stocks by shoving them up power station chimneys.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: News at 10

"The stuff we did in the 6th form in expectation of doing a physics or chemistry degree would probably get you locked up nowadays."

Sugar and sodium chlorate was regarded as an entertainment.

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Re: News at 10

'I spent 2 years working with radioactive materials (H3, P32, etc) as a student in a lab... So my brain is in violation of the relevant part of the UK criminal code "materials useful for terrorism"'

I doubt it. P32 has a short half-life anyway and normal biological turnover will have flushed the tritium out long ago.

'Wake me up when someone tries to steal any quantity of radioactive Cobalt'

There's probably more of that about in the environment than you might think. Way back when the Belfast Radiocarbon lab was being set up we had to cast about for some old steel sheets to use in shielding as modern (in the '60s) steel was considered to contain cobalt-60.

'Facebook and eBay need to be subject to greater scrutiny' - Margaret Hodge

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"Margaret Hodge understands this perfectly well, as her own family business - Stemcor, a global steel erector - paid very little UK tax on its worldwide revenues of c $10 billion, for the simple reason that they made a loss."

Didn't you know you're supposed to do as she says, not as she does. And for good measure, stump up for her little book.

No, software-as-a-service won't automatically simplify operations and cut costs

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Re: Green Grass

"The grass really IS greener on the other side."

Which side are you looking from? From the vendor's side the the greener the better amongst all those HR & marketing types with credit cards.

Yahoo! halts! email! forwarding! to! outside! email! addresses!

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Re: good reason

"a warning system that tells you that you've probably lost control of your mailbox, using said mailbox..."

I keep getting messages like that about Hotmail/Outlook all the time. And sometimes about Gmail as well.

Verizon! 'wants! a! discount!'

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Did you get that right? Maybe it's not $1bn it want's knocking off, but just the bn, as in $4.8.

Social media flame wars to be illegal, says top Crown prosecutor

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"The new guidance was released along with a public consultation on what should constitute a hate crime, particularly against the disabled, race and religion, and on sexual orientation and gender identity."

As ever, age is fair game for discrimination. Kids!!

Linus Torvalds says ARM just doesn't look like beating Intel

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Re: Linux has facilitated the cituation he is lamenting about

"The reason is simple -- Microsoft under BG and SB was only ever interested in money and monopoly and customer lock-in. MS was absolutely never interested in engineering elegance."

Are things different now?

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Re: Almost bought a QL

'Your recollection is both right and wrong....The 68020 was the first "full" 32-bit implementation but the nice thing was all your 32-bit code from the 68000 would be ready to run and take full advantage of it.'

Yes, the 68k family became very popular for Unix boxes by being 32-bit but it was probably 68020s and later that were used.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The man is a giant...

"If he is right, and the IoT become more like general purpose machines, we're in for a lot of trouble."

In terms of openness for being pwned for DDoS attacks they already are and so we are too.

Stickers emerge as EU's weapon against dud IoT security

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This could be a useful first step if it involves creating an on-going process to set standards and to provide testing. The next step is to use that to prevent non-compliant stuff getting onto the market.

Boffins eschew silicon to build tiniest-ever transistor, just 1nm long

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Re: Abundance a problem

In 0.65nm sheets I don't think abundance is a problem.

Leap second scheduled for New Year's Eve 2016

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Another already

Somebody get the big key out and wind the Earth up.

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"It shouldn't be something we're wasting so much time on any more, like you shouldn't be using any software that doesn't understand February 29th."

ISTR that there was a version of SunOS or Solaris that went TITSUP on a leap year.

Command line coffee machine: Hacker shuns app so he can stay at the keyboard for longer

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Re: This is bad

"I can run the washing machine/dishwasher/dryer"

All in one? Have you got a patent on that?

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Re: Why aren't they following the standards ?!

"Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol"

It's not a standard:

"Status of this Memo

This memo provides information for the Internet community. It does

not specify an Internet standard of any kind. Distribution of this

memo is unlimited."

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Extrapolating...

"The command line in the video was "coffee make"."

Just as well it's not the other way round unless he had a Makefile with a target of coffee.

Heads roll as Qihoo 360 moves to end WoSign, StartCom certificate row

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Re: Archived copy of Tyro's blog post about backdated SHA-1 certs

"We reached out in good faith"

All this reaching out! No good ever comes of it.

Yahoo! spymasters! patent! biometric! online! ad! tracking! IRL!

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If these advertisers put so much effort into understanding the "audience" how come they still haven't understood how much they're hated and despised? Have ad blockers told them nothing?

BOFH: The Idiot-ware Project and the Meaningless Acronym

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If you've worked in a company long enough to have been on two or three projects you find that when you go into a fresh project meeting you'll know a good few of the faces.

There'll be one or two you've worked with before

There'll be or two you've learned to avoid.

There may be one or two who are new to you actually know about the area of business involved. Your task in the first meeting is to identify them.

From then on you get together with those from the first group because you know you'll end up doing the work between you, consulting with those from the last group as required and avoid as many of the rest of the meetings as possible. You'll miss nothing of importance and the job gets done.

'Please label things so I can tell the difference between a mouse and a microphone'

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Re: Labelling

"Which C suite decided was such a good idea, everyone must do it, and made it mandatory not only for the shop, but all the design and research offices too."

I'm with Mike on this one. An empty desk is a sign of an empty head.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: When we get to the stage where we have to label everything...

"These days, before you can use a new purchase, you have to puzzle your way through complex assembly and use advice written entirely in pictograms."

It saves a fortune in translators. They're equally incomprehensible in all languages.

Crooks and kids (not scary spies paid by govt overlords) are behind most breaches

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Re: Yes, I believe that crooks and kids are behind most attacks

"Plus crooks and kids don't really have the power to subvert standards, infrastructure and even logistics systems to insert vulnerabilities into the system for their own selfish reasons"

All too often we're not talking about standards. We're talking about badly configured installs that should have been secured and weren't. The kids attacking TT were using one such known exploit that was older than they were.

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Re: "Dropbox" ".. halfway through moving from the ageing SHA1 technology.."

"Remind me what is Dropbox's core business."

Never mind about their core business, remind me who's on their board.

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"I don't think the 15 year old kid using free software is the problem in TalkTalk's case. I think TalkTalk deciding that they didn't want to pay for any serious investment in IT security infrastructure was."

The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it was a combination of the two.

BT Yahoo! customers: Why! can't! we! grrr! delete! our! webmail! accounts!?

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"Please spare a thought for Sky customers"

No. It was being bought out by Sky that caused me to jump ship from my previous ISP.

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Re: unless they are old there's no excuse

"they wouldn't let just anyone mess around with their wires."


When we moved here the master socket was located in the hall as was common but with no power anywhere near. The telephone cable comes into the house below ground so I knew it came up the wall from the below floor cavity.

When we had some building work done before we moved had the spark put a socket in the porch cupboard next to the meter. Se we drilled a hole though the floor of the cupboard, disconnected the master, pulled the cable back, threaded it up through the hole and reinstalled the master in the porch cupboard. The original site of the master was connected as a slave. So now the master socket sits well located next to the power for the cordless phone, the router and the VDSL modem and any other kit I want to put in there.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Pay for Email

"You can check out, but you can't leave."

You can but you obviously didn't. In order to check out from ISP and other service provider email services you need your own domain. That, and the email service, can then be shifted to providers other than your ISP as you find fit. It involves making sure that everyone who needs to email you is told to do so at an address on your domain. If you'd done that you'd have both checked out and left.

Invasion of the virus-addled lightbulbs (and other banana stories)

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I must go and make some toast. All this reading about it has made me hungry.

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"And we aren't likely to have AI for a long time"

Don't be silly. It'll just be another 10 years, like it's always been.

Windows updates? Just trust us, says Microsoft executive

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Re: That's exactly the problem

"Microsoft have proven throughout its history that it cannot be trusted, whether it be software quality or business ethics."

Not entirely true. Way back in time I quite liked their FORTRAN for CP/M

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Re: El Reg sat down with....? Wow!

'play "find the start bar" for them'

Big clue. By default either the desktop itself or the distro packagers put it just where Windows puts it.

'or "what fucking workspace am I in now?"'

Ah - multiple workspace envy.

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