* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

New booze guidelines: We'd rather you didn't enjoy yourselves

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"The expert group was also clear that there are a number of serious diseases, including certain cancers, which can occur even when drinking within the weekly guideline. Whilst they judge the risks to be low, this means there is no level of regular drinking that can be considered as completely safe in relation to some cancers."

In other words, you can get some diseases even if you don't drink at all.

Muddying the waters of infosec: Cyber upstart, investors short medical biz – then reveal bugs

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Re: Actually this might work...

...in which case if it isn't currently illegal it soon will be.

Both HPs allegedly axed people just for being old, California court told

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"'m pretty sure 'effectuate' isn't a word, even for Americans. Perhaps just effect?"

The more syllables (hyperpolysyllabic?) the better for USians it seems.

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Re: Wage slaves

Oxymoron alert!

HR workers

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Re: You Cannot Buy Experience and Love

"HR? Useless twats everyone of them."

That's why we have freelancing.

French, German ministers demand new encryption backdoor law

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3. Thinking that this wouldn't make use of encryption much less convenient

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The magical thinking comes in several forms:

1. Thinking that govts. wouldn't justify the distrust by abusing their holding the keys.

2. Thinking that govts. would be able to secure this huge tempting target.

3. Thinking that this would make use of encryption much less convenient for everyday use (e.g. there are extra steps involved in going to the escrow store each time an encrypted communication is made).

4. Thinking that this doesn't introduce single point of failure for all everyday use, i.e. ecommerce but see:

5. Thinking that who holds the key issues can be resolved for international communication.

6. Thinking that people who are already breaking or planning to break the law are magically going to obey this one.

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Source code for strong encryption escaped into the wild a couple of decades ago. That genie is not going back inside the bottle. Whatever legislation is brought to bear on legitimate companies there will always be the ability for sufficiently knowledgeable individuals to roll something out.

You do not inhibit those who are already breaking the law by providing them with more laws to break.

Nobody who cannot grasp this simple fact is has adequate intelligence to create new laws.

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Re: Easy Solution....

"Then, let the government outsource the issuance, storage, etc.."

I'm sure TalkTalk would be happy to undertake this.

Biz phones 'n' broadband bods Gamma suffer a network TITSUP

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The usual "small number" of customers. Has it never occurred to them that from the customer point of view no number of affected customers is small?

Windows Update borks PowerShell – Microsoft won't fix it for a week

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Re: Time for a career change

" Your agenda (your emplyer's agenda) is showing."

Fair cop.

a) I'm retired, I have no employer to have an employer's agenda but

b) I realised when I came back to it that I'd worded it very badly. Of course Linux installs aren't esoteric (except maybe to the Windows habituated who probably assume there must have been something wrong & they haven't spotted it).

Nevertheless my next OS will be a BSD - Linux is looking less Unix-like than I'm happy with these days.

As to installing W7, over the last few weeks I've had the task of bringing a new W7 laptop up to current, avoiding the undesirable stuff. Trying to find the appropriate patch that would allow the rest of the updates to run before the heat death of the universe (this patch fixes it; no, this patch supersedes that patch; no this new patch supersedes the superseding patch) plus the stuff in the post I was replying to seems reasonably esoteric.

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Re: Embarrassing

"Of all my kit I have 1 vista partition for SQL Server and when it's released for Linux I'll prob dump that as well."

SQL databases are available for Unix and derivatives such as Linux. We were using them since before MS acquired one of them to port to WIndows.

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Re: Embarrassing

"But I would not inflict Linux on an ordinary user, either family/friends or in a business, would be a support nightmare."

I've got news for you, at least as far as family and friends are concerned.

It isn't.

Being retired I've never had to try installing across an enterprise. Back in the old days, however, I used to run stuff on Unix servers for multiple business users.

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Re: What a shame....

"... Windows 10 Users can't turn these Automatics Updates Off."

If they could who'd do the testing?

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Re: No testing, Redmond?

"Supposedly, an organization learns from its mistakes."

Supposedly. In real life, often not. Too many organisations seem to have a top layer that doesn't even recognise the existence of mistakes. Others iterate through top management so that any learning that does reach the top is regularly wiped out. And as the big mistakes are those that percolate down they get repeated.

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Re: Time for a career change

"No, average people still aren't contemplating changing their PC to Linux, no matter how much people here might wish that was true."

Neither are average people who've been forcibly updated to W10 reloading their own W7 nor installing NTLite or DAZ Loader (which I'd never heard of).

Getting back to a nice stable (as far as these things go), spyware-free W7 is going to be every bit an esoteric art as installing Linux or Unix. And with the arrival of monolithic patches from this autumn avoiding spyware whilst remaining current in other respects might be a bit of a problem.

Excel hell messes up ~20 per cent of genetic science papers

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Re: Devil's advocate

The problem here isn't specifically Excel or Microsoft. It's autocorrect. When it works it's a time saver. When it doesn't it can require considerable effort to get what you want into the data. That can distract whoever's entering the data and lead to other errors elsewhere. We end up with something that's supposed to save time and avoid errors costing more time and introducing more errors than if it hadn't been there. And yet the little blighter insists on elbowing its way in where it's not wanted.

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"I presume that authors are offered the final version to proof-read, but as long as it is largely correct I expect they just skim it."

It's more subtle than that. If you wrote it you know what's supposed to be there and that's what you see.

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Re: but...

" Nanny Microsoft knows more about what you are trying to do than you do."

It's not just Microsoft. LibreOffice Calc has similar problems - although it might be that they're trying to be bug-compatible with Excel. The real problem is with any dev who decides to try to double-guess what the user's going to do has put a foot on a slope which is far slippier than they ever imagined.

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"Outlook insists on autocorrecting (in formatted emails) our postcode, which ends 3RD, to 3rd"

"formatted emails": there's your problem, right there ;)

Except, of course, any software which starts out attempting to be too clever by half ends up not being clever enough.

Facebook, Twitter and Google are to blame for terrorism, say MPs

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It's noticeable that existing legislation, for which MPs are, of course, responsible for framing, has made it almost impossible to deal with radical preachers. It seems so much easier to find someone else to blame doesn't it?

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Re: Isn't "Vaz" some kind of lubricant?

I suspect that the "terrestrial star wars" bit referred back to the US Star Wars defence initiative of the '80s. Let's see, what party was the president back then?

The Internet of Cows is moo-ving fast … no bull!

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And for sheep...


Google broke its own cloud by doing two updates at once

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Re: Still planning to have these clown in your infrastructure?

"What I can say is that nobody in their right mind would accept the boilerplate terms that these providers start the negotiations with."

That's what we've been saying. But how many potential customers are big enough to have them changed?

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Re: re: I have plenty of horror stories which I cannot share here.

"I have plenty of horror stories which I cannot share here."

Go on, you're anon...

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Re: Interesting

"If you are an affected customer and running stuff critical to your business then I would hope you already had a resiliant plan in place to mitigate something like this, if you haven't then more fool you."

The reality is that such customers will be using cloud because it's supposed to provide that resilience.

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Re: Still planning to have these clown in your infrastructure? @Adam

"The cloud can facilitate this in an amazing way which having multiple redundant DCs can't - you don't need to worry about invoking DR plans, failing over storage replication, and restarting things, they just keep running."

You read the article? Scale brings its own set of problems.

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Re: Still planning to have these clown in your infrastructure?

"Simple answer to both of your questions [who to sue & who to call] - Google [or other cloud provider]."

What do your contract terms say?

They'll limit the compensation to whatever the cloud provider can afford which isn't necessarily within sight of your actual losses.

It doesn't matter how well the provider's staff compare with your own the financial incentives for their management are such that if they can make more by favouring some other customer, by cutting a corner somewhere or by scaling up beyond their ability to manage reliably than it will cost in compensation for failing an SLA then failing an SLA here or there won't be an issue for them.

It's something to watch out for. It may seem a risk dealing with a supplier much smaller than your company - how can they afford to provide the service you need. But the converse also applies; there's a risk of dealing with a supplier much bigger than you are because you're too small to matter very much.

French submarine builder DCNS springs leak: India investigates

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Maybe the French need better encryption for their documents.

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"I'm sure they're working on that."

And if they can't find any wars they can always send gunboats to threaten Ireland about taxes and emails.

US Treasury to launch pre-emptive strike on EU's Ireland tax probe

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It seems fairly common for tax authorities to forget that there are multiple countries in the world, each setting their own tax rates. Entity with an option to trade in different countries are essentially buyers in a competitive market. HMG found itself in competition with France in regard to duties on alcohol and tobacco for private purchasers. The US is obviously in competition with other countries for corporation taxes. In both cases we have authorities charging more than the market rate and bleating about it being so unfair when they have no takers.

This is not to say that the Apple situation is right but this is business which they have chosen to take to Ireland because of the market in taxation rates. If, above and beyond that, they're taking the piss then it's a matter for the EU, not the US and the EU are indeed looking at the situation.

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Re: Apparently, the US already does

"It is their business if it is American companies that are avoiding tax."

From the Grauniad article you referenced:

"During its investigations, the subcommittee found that Apple considers three key subsidiaries, all based in Ireland, to have no tax jurisdiction at all."

Given that these are subsidiaries based in Ireland that makes them Irish. Ireland is not, as far as I'm aware, a US state. It is, however, part of the EU so they are European companies. The EU should get first dibs at looking into this.

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Re: Apparently, the US already does

'"Been on holiday to the US? That will mean that all your income is subject to US Federal Taxes on top of your own tax burden."

Bullshit. '


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Re: I don't think so. The US has a huge debt that they need to address sooner or later.

"That can will just be kicked down the road for someone else to deal with."


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"Thumb it down, Hillary voters."

Nothing to do with Hilary voters. This is the EU reviewing the conduct of an EU company (Apple's EU subsidiary) on EU soil (Ireland) and and EU government (Ireland again).

It's reminiscent of US authorities demanding access to data of servers run by another EU company (Microsoft's EU subsidiary) on EU soil (Ireland yet again).

Neither are any of your business. Non-players off the green, please.

Nuclear fallout shelter becomes cloud storage bunker

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What about flooding risk?

Tesla touts battery that turns a Model S into 'third fastest ever' car

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Re: Think of the pedestrians?

That's the great thing about idiots, you can find them in all income groups. Think about BMWs.

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Re: I'll wait until...

"accommodates probably 99% of trips"

And, of course, you can afford to buy a second car for that other 1%.

EU ministers look to tighten up privacy – JUST KIDDING – surveillance laws

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"And no, you can't educate them to bow to the inevitable because otherwise what's the whole bloody point of civilization?"

The whole bloody point of civilisation is to allow people to live with the greatest possible amount of freedom within society, respecting each other. To this end we have developed certain principles such as the rule of law, proof beyond reasonable doubt and the presumption of innocence.

The whole bloody point of terrorism, and it can be very bloody indeed, is to prevent this.

All we have to do is ask whether or not our governments are promoting those civilising principles or not.

Corbyn lied, Virgin Trains lied, Harambe died

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Re: The 'two wrongs make a right' argument.

"Well if it was anything like the nationalised trains I used to have to try and commute on he wouldn't have been sitting on the floor, he'd have been sitting on the platform like everyone else"

You had seats on the platforms?

Yes, I well remember the evening "rush" hours spend on Marylebone station wondering if they'd ever find enough working units to make up a 4-unit train.

Paper mountain, hidden Brexit: How'd you say immigration control would work?

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"She's just waiting for the right moment to announce the obvious conclusion (no Article 50, not in 2017, not ever)."

I think she's been craftier than that. She's waiting for Boris et al to report back that it can't work and in effect announce it themselves. The Brexiteers have to do it themselves. It's the only way to put an end to it.

Your wget is broken and should DIE, dev tells Microsoft

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Re: Recycling this comment from the earlier article

"Or do everything poorly"

Or do everyone over.

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Re: They are quick to shutter services

"After a while the RFC will be forgotten and people will accept the MS versions of wget and curl as the defacto ones."

OTOH someone might just fork it and replace broken aliases with the real thing.

Beardy Ed Vaizey: 'I can't let go. I like the tech sector'

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Re: "I like the tech sector"

"How else could you explain the likes of Boris Johnson getting as far as being appointed Foreign Secretary?"

Very easily. Having made his Brexit bed he's been told to go and lie in it.

Yes I know there's ambiguity there.

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"you can say these companies have created a new working environment which perhaps sits between self-employed and being fully employed by a company. Therefore, there is an opportunity for government to say: is there a third way?"

Of course there is. It's working via one's own limited company and being treated by HMRC as a real business.

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"But I said to her when she was letting me go that I would be very glad to support her from the back benches."

Any "Yes Minister" fan will read that as a threat.

Mozilla's trying on seven hot new spring/summer logo looks

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Anyone in any organisation proposing a change of logo or some such nonsense should be immediately escorted to the pavement outside by security. A small cardboard box containing any personal possessions from their desk can be sent on later.

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Re: Mozilla doesn't need a new logo

"Mozilla seems to be lacking direction (the big danger for open source volunteer organisations it seems)"

Maybe the real problem is that Mozilla seems to be an amalgam of several different things, community, foundation, corporation and goodness knows what else. If it was just one thing perhaps it would have a direction.

Microsoft's maps lost Melbourne because it used bad Wikipedia data

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Re: Absolute proof

"Indeed, I wonder how the data gets from Wikipedia to Bing. Is it a one time grab, so if the location is wrong at the time they get it Bing will have it wrong until it is fixed manually, or is it refreshed periodically?"

Or even on the fly?

Microsoft's kinder, gentler collaboration war: Evernote, you're first

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Re: Google is eventually going to take down Microsoft

'Yeah but they can play on the "big brother Google knows all about you, complete lack of respect for privacy" angle what with its relentless collection of information about browsing and emailing habits.'

In order to do that they'd have to be positioned well away from doing the same thing themselves.

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