* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Sony wins case over pre-installed Windows software

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Re: Simple

"Only Microsoft would lose because they pay out for an unused OS and no metrics."

It's the crapware vendors that lose out because they paid to have their advertising put on there.

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Re: The free market

"The most returned PCW product in one year, some time ago, was the Eee PC"

Since then the growth of mobile devices has shown people that there are alternatives to Windows. So much so that the one thing people don't want on their phones is Windows.

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Re: Why not just grow up?

"there is only a very small minority of consumers ... who don't expect a PC to just work out of the box."

Work for whom?. Some of us want the PC we just bought to work for us.

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AFAICS from the article he wasn't content with getting the cost of the Windows licence, he went for damages, maybe from greed, maybe just to make a point. Assuming there was the equivalent of the small claims court in his jurisdiction he should have gone for that. Now he's created a precedent which is probably the very opposite of what he intended.

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Re: OS Refund

"I think you'll find that the range of models/suppliers this is available on is very limited and it is actually quite difficult to but a laptop now that is compatible with linux."

How many people go round butting laptops?

Buying laptops compatible with Linux doesn't seem to be a problem, however.

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Re: "Which will prove what, exactly?"

"Does he for example go into car showrooms and try it on the sales staff there?"

I have gone into a car showroom and after waiting an unreasonable time for attention, left. And I was seriously looking to buy a new car - which I did from the showroom across the road.

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Re: Three heads and bare machines

"There is a very cosy (and profitable) relationship between PC vendors and the OS manufacturers."

Only as long as the OS is seen as promoting the sale of the machine. If it becomes seen as a toxic brand then the vendors have a problem.

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"And I for one would buy a laptop based on a Raspberry Pi 3 compatible motherboard"

Seek and ye shall find: https://www.pi-top.com/

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"Sure, you can easily buy a barebones laptop and mod it."

There's a bit of a giveaway in the article linked to. The OS was Vista. That article was written a long while ago. Things have become tighter since then but there are still the sort of options available at vendors such as https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/

The main difference of desktop vs laptop is that the former has a range of cases to take standard components whilst the latter has to have a good proportion of the components, especially the mother board, designed around the case which itself is styled as much as designed. When you don't have a choice of motherboard there's a limited amount of options available to you.

A laptop case designed to take the latest thin mini-itx boards would be a good start.

Seagate sued by its own staff for leaking personal info to identity thieves

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Re: The data wasn't stolen

"Workplace safety was really driven by them way back when."

Maybe in the US. In other places there is legislation which was driven, at least in part, by media reporting of disasters. e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huskar_Colliery

Is there paper in the printer? Yes and it's so neatly wrapped!

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Re: Locked in? BTDT.

"Pointy Haired Boss. See Dilbert, then look at Dilbert's boss."

It's worrying when you have to explain this.

Self-stocking internet fridge faces a delivery come down

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Re: Remind me not to have dinner at your place

"In Gloucestershire, if it doesn't contain some part of a pig, it isn't food."

In that case it can be converted into food via a pig. Old Spot?

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Re: drones

"I will expect my drone to fly to the nearest field and milk the cow itself"

See the earlier comment about cats. That's nothing compared to what a good kick from a cow can do.

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Re: Remind me not to have dinner at your place

"None of this is food."

It's considered such in parts of London. I'm not sure about Gloucestershire.

Petulant Facebook claims it can't tell the difference between child abuse and war photography

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"And it annoys me that if something like this were to happen today (the taking of a horrifying photo of a child that represents everything wrong with a nations behaviour) everyone would complain that it was too gruesome and they would have to draw a picture."

That would have been the expected result at the time. I'm sure it took a lot of courage to print the picture first time out. And, of course, the result was that public opinion was directed, rightly, at what lead up to the picture and not at the picture itself. It was that ability of the picture to change public opinion that made it iconic.

What we're now seeing is a generation, or at least a sub-set of a generation, who lack the cultural education to recognise what they're looking at and to respond accordingly. It's deeply worrying - those who don't know their history are condemned to repeat it.

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Re: "How are facebook supposed to tell the difference?"

"with sub average intelligence."

Maybe FB's problem here is that they're trying to do this not with sub average human intelligence but with AI which is well sub sub sub intelligence in practice so now they have to put exceptions in. Because of the scale at which they operate that's what they have to do.

But they do need to get a handle on the fact that when the AI gets it wrong they have to move quickly, intelligently and with good cultural knowledge. The AI isn't going to get things right first time every time but the humans backing it up need to, either by taking appropriate action where they're authorised or in escalating PDQ to someone who can make decisions. If they don't have suitable escalation procedures they're not alone - it seems to be SOP these days for almost any business.

Double-negative tweet could be Microsoft Surface Phone hint

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"Only four Microsoft Windows 10 Lumias were ever announced"

I understand they did manage to sell all four.

IBM's AI guru leaps over to Brit biz benevolent.ai

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One of the problems with san serif fons is that a capital i looks just like a lower case L.

I was left wondering if Alguru was Algorithm's older brother.

You should install smart meters even if they're dumb, says flack

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"Our role in terms of consumer engagement, people are still getting the benefit of the smart meter. It will still be the right decision for a consumer to take a smart meter"

I'm not sure what this bit of verbal compost was supposed to mean but it gives me a sneaking suspicion that his terms of engagement are that he keep the numbers up so that for him its the right decision. Am I being over cynical?

Plusnet broadband outage: Customers fume as TITSUP* continues

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Re: Fortuneately (sic)

"If you can understand the Northern accent that is"

I find one of the advantages of PlusNet is the absence of strange accents.

Excel abuse hits new heights as dev uses VBA to code spreadsheet messaging app

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'This sounds like another example of "wrong tool for the task"'

Doesn't that describe so much of management?

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Re: @Gene Cash

"Pah - Easy stuff. I did mine in Pascal."


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The development manager at one of my clients wrote a sudoku solver in VBA in Outlook. If only he'd stuck to that and not tried to manage....

BT needs to ditch its legacy to be competitive, says chief architect

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Re: Fibre to the premises not copper?

"Do you remember when the UK decided to change mains gas from coal gas to natural gas?

It wasn't a big bang all at once operation, it was done regionally and street by street. Same as you might with copper=>fibre. Thereby avoiding the need for a near-infinite number of workers to do the job in a finite time."


"One difference between mains and coal gas is that gas is fungible. If I was still being piped coal gas it probably wouldn't matter (I don't know - I'm assuming that my boiler would burn either without any difference)."

The burners had to be changed to cope with a different gas/air mix. But the supply to premises was delivered through the old pipes. There was a need for a natural gas backbone.

In fact it mirrored the FTTC arrangement pretty well. That's why it didn't take a near-infinite number of workers finite time.

Printers now the least-secure things on the internet

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Re: I wouldn't connect it to the Internet

"What if it come sufficiently enabled so as to connect by itself, using an open wifi network, or a mobile data networks?"

I wouldn't buy it. Next question please.

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"Not that it's even remotely likely, but if somebody sold me a 'fridge that had a capability to connect to the Internet, I wouldn't connect it to the Internet. Nor to any network."

The problem starts when the fridge won't work unless it's connected to the net.

HPE crams unloved software down Brits' throats – then charges them $9bn to swallow it

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Re: MicroFocus an "IT COnsultancy"

"Either they got $10Bn of assets for just over a quarter of that or they paid close to 3x revenue for this software pick-n-mix deal."

Did you notice that HPE now own 50.1% of them. So their shareholders just got a diluted share of the enlarged business. Given that their new majority shareholders are HPE should they feel comfortable with that?

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"They then do nothing as far as future development and charge people a mint in support."

It's not necessarily bad, of course. If, say, MS had gone this route with W7, there'd have been continuing licensing income, no W8, no W10. Continued development of mature software is apt to add misfeatures as much as features. And doing it right requires expensive facilities such as QA departments.

St Jude sues short-selling MedSec over pacemaker 'hack' report

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Re: Why not give a little time before judgement?

"No question this is sleazy, but maybe that industry (and a few others) need a real kick in the pants to design security in, and listen to those who tell them about problems?"

If they'd told MedSec and been ignored the kick in the pants would have been fair enough. I haven't seen anything which indicates that this happened.

The best that can be said for this line of argument is that it might prod other device makers into taking security more seriously. Might.

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"I would have preferred that the SEC itself took action"

Maybe it'll grab the SEC's attention. They seem not to have noticed anything prior to this.

Tesla driver dies after Model S hits tree

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"A car battery is 12V. The current supplied depends on the resistance across it. A human is of sufficiently high resistance that that current is insignificant."

Maybe you guys are at cross purposes to some degree. Yes, 12V isn't going to let any great amount of electricity flow through a human. However, the current available to a conductor placed across the terminals depends on the total resistance in the circuit. That includes the internal resistance of the battery itself and the internal resistance of a car battery is low. That's why shorts of car batteries can deliver a large amount of energy in the form of dangerous amounts of heat. Forget electric shock - you don't want to beholding the spanner that bridges the terminal.

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Re: standard operating procedures

'You think "Tesla driver dies after Model S hits tree" is clickbaity?'

It's presumptuous. Until the PM the sequence of crashing and dying is unknown. He could have had a heart attack or stroke and died at the wheel.

Microsoft takes shot at Amazon as it wraps up UK cloud data centres

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Re: And do they...

As per my earlier post, they have set up an arrangement in Germany where a German company, Deutsche Telekom, acts as the trustee for the data https://news.microsoft.com/europe/2015/11/11/45283/

If they put something similar in place here it should serve that purpose. Whether it will keep it out of reach of May's minions is another matter. The real solution would be to put the data centres in the countries with the strongest privacy laws irrespective of whether they're in the data subjects' or users' jurisdiction and held by a local company or trustee incorporated in the country where the data centre is located. Then all you've got to worry about is data in transit....

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Will they have a legal fire-break between themselves and the data as they have with the trustee arrangement in Germany?

Linus Torvalds won't apply 'sh*t-for-brains stupid patch'

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"There is NO mechanism for plugging something in the the machine going to find drivers for it based on the IDs (USB or PCI) or the device."

I'm not sure I fully understand your sentence. If you plug something like a USB drive into a Windows box Windows seems to make a big song and dance about loading drivers and all that. All that happens if I plug the same thing into this Linux laptop is that I get a popup telling me that I can open it with the file manager, Digikam if it found some image files on there and various other options if it found sound files in there (including burning them to a CD).

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Re: The mostly non-existent drivers of Linux

"The mostly non-existent drivers of Linux are why you can't buy PCs at your local store with Linux."

How about doing some careful thinking. If a manufacturer wants to sell a pre-loaded Linux box they can make damn sure that it has the correct drivers built in. This won't be difficult because as someone else has said, most stuff is supported these days.*

The reasons why you can't buy such items easily are

(a) there isn't a big corporation like Microsoft with a marketing budget to promote demand; in fact there's a big corporation like Microsoft with a big budget trying to suppress demand. (Remember Netbooks.)

(b) the local stores are staffed with oiks who can only recognise a handful of brands.

(c) that you haven't recognised the Linux boxes which are available at your local store. Apart from Android devices, which we can agree aren't PCs you might well find such things. But, because of (a) above they won't be labelled "Linux". Try looking for something labelled "Chromebook".

*OTOH it appears that in the future you won't be able to get Windows other than 10 to install on newer H/W because Microsoft will actively prevent you.

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"And the only way to do that is abuse?"

Only when all else fails. How would you handle the situation when someone keeps trying to get the same nonsense into your project? Remember no normal corporate procedures are available to you because it's not one of your employees or vendors or customers doing this.

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Re: He's probably right

"What makes me uncomfortable is the line of reasoning that when all else has failed there is no alternative but to throw an abusive shit fit."

I'm sure he'd welcome a constructive suggestion from you. But don't offer it twice if you get turned down politely the first time.

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Re: Linus does good work.

"Sure, he doesn't have to be touchy-feely, but he could have made exactly the same point without being offensive."

When you look into the background of these rants it emerges that he did just that, to no effect.

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Re: A little bit more nuanced...

"The story is a bit more nuanced that the El Reg article leads you to believe."

What? An el Reg article that's under nuanced? My flabber is ghasted!

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Re: I expect my manager to give me all kinds of shit if I f**k-up

"Any manager trying that shit with me will get very short shrift."

You have to remember that Linus is not the manager of any of these people. He didn't hire them. He didn't interview them. He doesn't write their appraisals. All he can - and does - do is to refuse to accept their stuff with increasingly firm notes as to why he's refusing it. Sometimes this requires several increments of firmness.

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Re: He's right. Again.

"the downside, of course, is that you get to endure Linus' outrages when you are wrong"

The other downside is that it exposes the internal workings of the driver which might then open the vendor to patent trolling,

When you've paid the ransom but you don't get your data back

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"prepend all inbound emails that have certain characteristics ...with a warning"

"Oh yes, I saw that. I didn't know what it meant."

My Dell merger wish list

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"I want... a pony"

Don't we all. What we're more used to getting is a donkey.

Sysadmins: Poor capacity planning is not our fault

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Re: Visibility and Accountability

"IT only ever asks for money, it never creates any and as a result is a cost to the business, directly hitting the bottom line."

There's a good way to test this. Turn it all off. For an hour. A day. A week. See what happens to the business.

Would you have the balls to prove "it's only a cost" by doing that?

Spinning that Brexit wheel: Regulation lotto for tech startups

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Re: One day we will revisit this with hindsight

"And if, as has constantly been claimed, we can expand our trade perfectly well with the rest of the world on the basis of WTO tariffs for as long as is necessary, we can do this as easily within the EU as without while we see what transpires."

Meanwhile http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-37286883

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Re: What's next?

"I thought Ireland was still the land of the choice between Guiness and Carlsberg?"

It also has this thing called whiskey.

Hacker takes down CEO wire transfer scammers, sends their Win 10 creds to the cops

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"The government of China are unlikely to take kindly to unilateral breaking of banking treaties they've signed up to."

Do these treaties include investigation and prevention of fraud? If so just who is unilaterally breaking treaties?

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Re: Hoist by their own Petards

"the last few years"

Years? These are people who should be aware of likely scams. If it takes a few years to find out about this one they're asleep at the wheel.

Google plots cop detection for auto autos

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Re: Oh good grief

"Or are we going to see patents for every single aspect of the behaviour of a driver, driving a car, when the driver is replaced by a computer?"

They'll end up being totally encumbered by patents. The holders of the best portfolios will do cross-licensing and kill any new entrants.

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