* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Don't let banks fool you, the blockchain really does have other uses

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Blockchain <> Bitcoin

"If you point to a mil-spec screw on a Tornado, you can find out exactly where and on which plane every screw is that came from that batch, there is a vast paper chain between the design, the factory and the plane for every component - full traceability.

That's an app that could use a blockchain and has nothing to do with money."

In other words, a solution to an already solved problem.

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Re: 4D printing

Given that it's so slow I think alleged 3D printing is already 4D.

BBC to demand logins for iPlayer in early 2017

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"The login scheme may be used for enforcement purposes in the future, however, and the BBC's own media correspondent considered that “the inclusion of a postcode as part of the new compulsory sign-up information"


No problem.

On a more serious note I hope this doesn't bugger up get_iplayer.

152k cameras in 990Gbps record-breaking dual DDoS

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Re: Good news

"All this IoT malarky is going to have to tighten up, and this kind of massive screwup is just the thing needed to bring big guns to make it happen."

Agreed, but the bad news is that there's more than enough kit out there to cause havoc and little if any means to get it cleaned up.

Add 'fattism' and hacker stereotyping to the list of Donald Trump's list of non-PC positions

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Re: Double Fail

"From what little I saw (or could stand). this wasn't a debate; it was a case of throwing insults and innuendos."

In other words a political debate. This definition is not confined to any particular country.

Mozilla wants woeful WoSign certs off the list

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: x.509 broken by design

"the biggest problem seems to be that there is no effective regulation of this critical piece of infrastructure and no real interest in there being any."

No real interest except amongst the consumers, but, hey, who cares about them!

The server's down. At 3AM. On Christmas. You're drunk. So you put a disk in the freezer

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“Sometimes it takes the CEO looking destruction in the face before arcane requests for budget have meaning.”

Only sometimes?

Narcissist Heidi Powell wants her dot-com and she wants it now, now, NOW!

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"We wonder what she'll do when the judge throws the case out. Whatever it is, it won't be pretty."

Maybe she'll thcream and thcream 'till she's thick. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_William

Scrapped NHS care.data ballsup cost taxpayer almost £8m

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Translation: We spent £8.1m finding out what we can and can't get away with and how not to do it.

Swiss vote for spy powers

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So that's another country off the secure hosting list.

Self-driving Google car T-boned in California crash

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Re: Is there a story here?

"Every study on the subject shows this."

ISTR reading one here that didn't.

Brexit at the next junction: Verity's guide to key post-vote skills

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Re: Guineas

"iiij seems preferred to ix"

Dammit - iv

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Re: All this olde worlde unit stuff...

"I bet there's an off-the-shelf module for it somewhere."

I'm not sure there is but you could always create your own type for it. Working with old maps, land valuations etc it's an irritant that spreadsheets don't have a type for acres, roods & perches. Metric measures, or at least only having metric, just complicates things..

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Slowly does it

" If a stone of apples"

Is that a stone of 14lb or 15lb? Both were known.

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Let's just settle for binary, or at least hexadecimal. Ooh look, 16 oz in a lb.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Guineas

"the mark, worth 14 silver shillings"

No, 13s 4d or xiijs iiijd if you prefer (not only do old documents use lower case Latin numerals but what would be the last of more than i i is always written j and iiij seems preferred to ix).

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Killer fact!

"THAT's how stubborn the Northern Irish are."

Some of them also celebrate the 1st which is known as the little twelfth.

Matt LeBlanc handed £1.5m to front next two series of Top Gear

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"the BBC is now being run by a bunch of utterly clueless muppets?"

Now? Has been for decades.

Watch out, Openreach: CityFibre swallows Redcentric's network for £5m

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Re: Fighting over cities

"Infrastructure will (almost) always be better in a city than in the sticks. There will be better transport links"

So why does it take so long to get anywhere?

Forgive me, father, for I have used an ad-blocker on news websites...

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"because the bridge has been burned and everyone's using ad blockers"

The bridge has already been burnt. It's not the blockers that did it. It was the ads.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Numbers...

"I suspect the industry does read the comments here"

And frequently post defensively. But not in this thread. Maybe he's lost his job - or just taken the weekend off.

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Re: That whole industry needs a master reset

"all shenanigans beyond an animated GIF"


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Re: Tracking ads

"If the ads didn't track me they would be allowed."

But does malware include trackers?

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Re: I don't block advertising banners…

"If a piece of JavaScript is hosted from the same hostname as the page, it loads."

Only if I trust the host. And all too often the JavaScript from the same host wants to do little but upload (oops - mistyped uplard which seems a reasonable substitute) crap from who knows how many other hosts.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"How did they manage to take all of that snooping and data mining and still end up with ads that are less relevant than dumb print ads on a piece of paper?"


Because that's an expensive service only the advertising industry can sell. Any fool can put together something simple that obviously works. Remember, the only thing the advertising industry sells is the services of the advertising industry.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Forbes

"One of these writers has addressed the need to warn people about the terrible and rarely recognised danger from ponies."

Warning. Cover your keyboard before following the "ponies" link. Ken White at his very best.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: No I don't

"a) I'm not going to buy anything as a result of an ad on a news site. Usually I buy by browsing a shop, eBay, Amazon etc or searching for something I've decided I want. I never click, so no revenue lost?"

Of course the reason you decide to buy something might be because you've read about it on a news site. If the news site blocks you for using an adblocker it's the advertiser who loses out in the end. Funny old world, isn't it?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I added the TheRegsiter to whitelist

"When sites use non-Google ad networks I'll consider whitelisting more of them."

Irony here. If Google decided to do it they're probably smart enough to filter out all the egregious stuff but they're not smart enough to see the need.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: No guilt at all

"Antron, in order for the ads to display things you may be interested in, they will have to track you and create a database of things that interest you. Is this what you want?"

Think about this a bit more.

I'm reading a page about, let's say growing mangel-worzels. If you know that then you know quite a lot of things I might be interested in. Growing mangelworzels, growing other cruciferous vegetables, growing things in general, possibly eating vegatables or selling them.

And you don't even need to track me to know that. You don't even need to know who I am. You know anyone reading the page is liable to have those interests. The contents of the page are the best and surest guide to the reader's interests and hence of what might most usefully be advertised at that point. Information gained from tracking the user is more often than not best described as post-relevant because it so often ends up trying to sell the user capital or at least durable items he's already bought*.

That's why many of us keep saying that static ads, tied to the page, on the site itself are not only acceptable, they're the form that stands the best chance of selling what they're advertising. Why don't advertisers and sites do that? Because the advertising industry makes lots of money by selling its services in tracking people and pissing them off. The one thing that the advertising industry is interested in selling is its own services. They put ads out there, maybe associate a few sales with them, they get paid. The vast majority of people who got the ad thrust at them are so pissed off they decide never to buy that product again? No skin off the advertising industry's nose.

*Not online advertising but an outstanding example of the same mentality. When I bought a new car 3 years ago within a few weeks the dealer started spamming me with texts inviting me to all sort of events presumably aimed at selling me a new car. The only thing they've achieved is to ensure I will never, in the remainder of my life, ever do business with them again.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: No guilt at all

"If Reg took US checks and real credit cards (not bogus sham PayPal)"

Real, non-sham PayPal is an alternative. Especially for those who don't want to spread their credit card details, including the security code, far and wide to people they've never even met, maybe not even on the same continent.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: No guilt at all

"The ironic thing is that he uses adblockers too, for the same reasons."

The really ironic thing is that that will apply to many if not all of the advertisers. However, they're not really advertising, they're giving the readers the benefit of their valuable marketing messages which the readers wouldn't want to block.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: No guilt at all

"I never use an adblocker."

Nor anti-virus?

I admire your principles. Someone has to have some because the malvertising scum don't.

Dev teaches bot to talk spammers' ears off

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I wonder if some of the spammers were also bots. Sara who seems to have made a leap from Africa to N. Ireland is suspicious.

And! it! begins! Yahoo! sued! over! ultra-hack! of! 500m! accounts!

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Re: So... you provided REAL data to a FREE service...

"If it's a free service, don't trust it to keep your data safe. Seems like common sense."

Nevertheless, if you seek or accept custodianship of someone's data it becomes your responsibility to keep it safe, even if you're providing a free service. Responsibility isn't simply a consequence of being paid.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

There's a serious need for a sufficiently cautionary tale to make its way into MBA courses as an example of the perils of bad security. Maybe this will be it.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Looks like the beginning of the end

"Only a few more disastrous multi billion dollar losses and Microsoft might make them an offer"

Or maybe someone else. Where are Carly & Leo these days?

Big Software is the next, er, big thing

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Re: Buzzword Bingo

"remember most business marketing is not aimed at engineers and technical staff but the PHBs and MBAs"

The problem with this is that given the competing pulls of shiny gadgets, impressive reporting tools and beefing up online security where does the IT budget go?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"searching, analyzing, and visualizing [data] in real time"

Plenty for the MBAs to so. In the meantime, is there anybody minding the shop?

British unis mull offshore EU campuses in post-Brexit vote panic

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Re: Off-shoring, can they afford it?

"hope the HR dept know"

There's your problem, right there.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Off-shoring, can they afford it?

"Media Studies degree worth the debt for the vast majority of students?"

"HR are like everyone else"

Probably using their media studies degrees to good effect. Or at least to some sort of effect.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Less of a problem nowadays with covered tanks, but still a risk"

And even less with boilers supplied straight from the mains with no storage anywhere in the system (although that has its own problems).

UK copyright troll weeps, starts 20-week stretch in the cooler for beating up Uber driver

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Re: Oh, please don't put me in jail . . .

"e.g. the the texting driver who eventually killed someone (mentioned in an earlier post) was let off seven times and allowed to keep his licence because he claimed he would lose his job if he was banned."

I've always thought that if you were driving for a living the expected standards to which you're held should be higher, simply because you're presenting yourself as being a professional and also, of course, because you spend more time driving and the risk you present to the public is directly proportional to that time.

A comparison would be along the lines of someone complaining of a headache and his mate advising a couple of aspirin - unless the mate is a medic who should be aware of possible serious causes of the headache.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I have one reservation

'I've only ever seen judges make comments like this when the answer is "extremely".'

I've heard of someone making a comment when being taken down and the judge asking the clerk "Have you written that [the sentence] down?"; to the warders "Bring him back".

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I have one reservation

"He clearly had not learned to grovel properly. If he is equally stupid inside, he may have a really different life when he leaves"

Which makes it not so much a comment as sound advice.

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"Can't be arsed with the surveys"

That's OK. Just fill stuff in at random. Nobody'll ever know.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Troll gets tossed under bridge

Perhaps another 20 weeks, just to make sure.

Sad reality: It's cheaper to get hacked than build strong IT defenses

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Re: Wrong.

"Strong security is about hiring competent people"

...and doing what they say. If this means rewriting the colander that the servers present to the net be prepared to pay to do it.

London-based Yahoo! hacker gets 11 years for SQLi mischief

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"Given that Yahoo outsource email for BT & Sky

I am not sure this is still the case. I think BT moved to something else at some point. Not sure - never used it."

Other posts suggest that BT only moved some of the accounts elsewhere.

If we can't fix this printer tonight, the bank's core app will stop working

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Got on site one morning to find a SCO box pretty well jammed solid.

Some job had gone wrong overnight and was still trying to write a humungous log file. The box had been set up without partitioning the storage much if at all so the file was in the root partition along with more or less everything else.

Simply deleting the file wouldn't work because the program was still running; until it closed its handle on the file the disk space wouldn't be released. Deleting any files that could be spared didn't help much because the space released would be filled by the elephant in the room almost immediately.

It turned out that a SCO box with a full file system ran very v.e.r.y v..e..r..y slowly, probably because the file was buffering a load of stuff and choking most of the memory so everything else was trying to run in about 4K left over and thrashing. That made running ps to find the PID to kill more or less impossible.

And the box was a couple of hundred miles away at the end of a slow modem link - not that the speed of the line had much influence.

Eventually it got arm-wrestled into submission. I like to install Unix systems with multiple partitions, especially keeping directories that might grow, such as /usr/spool or /var separate.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"before I read the story let me take a wild guess"

Yup. Wild guess. This may surprise you to the point of disbelief but there were times when you only had one printer on the system. A big one. So big that it might have been assembled in situ if it was too big to get through the doors.

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