* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

More gums than Jaws: Greenland super-sharks live past 400 years old

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"This species of shark is seldom eaten by man, since its flesh is infused with trimethylamine N-oxide, which is toxic, has a strong smell of urine"

I can't say I'm impressed with the taste of a much smaller shark, dogfish, AKA rock salmon.

Adobe stops software licence audits in Americas, Europe

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Re: SAP!

Microsoft's gain?

I thought they were supposed to be one of the worst offenders for confusing licensing & audits.

Business users force Microsoft to back off Windows 10 PC kill plan

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Re: What will it take to get people to switch to Linux?

"Every failed Windows 10 install/upgrade is an opportunity to install Linux, and to teach friends and family about the benefits of FOSS/FLOSS."

Even on 7 every ransomware attack is a similar opportunity.

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Re: Microsoft start listening to people outside your bubble

I should have added that if anyone running Linux absolutely has to have MS Office they can simply run the Windows version under Wine.

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Re: End of days - beginning of a new era

"The only reason I run Windows 7 is because Linux still doesn't run the BBC iPlayer because it is largely dependent upon Flash Player."


I use it with a GUI wrapper written in Lazarus.

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Re: Microsoft start listening to people outside your bubble

"Satya Nadella could (I think will) still release MSOffice for Linux, because I can't see MS offering MS SQL Server for Linux, without Office Integration Tools alongside it"

If this is the case than he's taking a long time about it. I'm not sure about your SQL Server point. Swivel server on Linux allows him to offer it in Azure instances running Linux and is a matter of bowing to reality but I'd guess he wants all the desktop clients to be on Windows. There's also the little matter of every desktop Linux distro having LibreOffice, or maybe OpenOffice already there as soon as it's installed. There's only a percentage of users who are then going to fork out real money for something with the same functionality.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"They could make that easier, then, by not having their OS bundled on most systems sold to end users"

I don't know about that. Conversation last evening:

80-year-old woman (currently owning 2 computers downgraded to W10): "If I buy a new computer how do I get Linux on it?"

Me; "When you get it, ring me."

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Backing down is the first sensible decision for ages.

"Forcing people off Windows 7 is not guaranteed to see them take up 10."

Or, more generally, never give your customer a reason to review the market.

'I found the intern curled up on the data centre floor moaning'

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Every time this headline scrolls into view I momentarily see it as "I found the internet curled up on the data centre floor".

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Re: What are the odds

'"drank" ?'

For the rest of us, yes, but, given his handle, maybe he was right.

Adblock Plus blocks Facebook block of Adblock Plus block of Facebook block of Adblock Plus block of Facebook ads

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Re: I find the best way to avoid adverts on Farcebook...

"some of the less opulent places in southeast Asia."

So maybe not prime advertising targets.

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Re: I find the best way to avoid adverts on Farcebook...

"And what if the only point of contact you have with someone important ... is through Farcebook because they don't have e-mail...?"

Turn that round.

And what if the only point of contact someone has with you is through e-mail because you don't have Facebook?

£1m military drone crashed in Wales after crew disabled anti-crash systems – report

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Re: Touchdown

"just typing that makes me feel nostaligic for the days of Usenet news!"

It's still there, no need to be nostalgic.

Adblock Plus blocks Facebook's ad-blocker buster: It's a block party!

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Re: Don't forget 'connected' TV's

"The BOX is ALREADY connected to the provider"

No. It's connected to mains and an aerial. Both are strictly one way.

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Re: arms race

"Nope. Their reception is spotty, meaning you don't know when they're in reach."

There were multiple communication channels in existence on the net years before Facebook came along to monetise it. They are still viable. If Facebook and the online advertising industry were both to disappear from this Earth today people would still communicate.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: arms race

"Text ads get baked inline with the article. The only way to block the ad would be to block the article, making it a pyrrhic victory"

For whom?

If the ads are non-intrusive text ads then everyone wins - the ad neither annoys nor risks carrying malware. The advertiser and the viewer gain. Of course the industry doesn't get paid large fees for producing something vast and intrusive. So, yes, a pyrrhic victory for the advertising industry.

If the baked in ads are the same old junk that viewers are trying to avoid then the viewer loses, the advertiser loses because they've pissed off a potential customer. The industry and publisher have indeed scored a pyrrhic victory because in the long run the poor experience of the site and the risk of putting malware out there will damage the sites reputation.

Online advertising as it currently exists has done immense damage to itself. Adblockers are not the cause of the damage, they are a symptom. The industry - including the publishers here - needs to take a long, hard look at itself, grasp that fact and decide what to do about it - more of the same is not a viable option. It would help it it dropped its arrogance sufficiently to take note of the views we, the public, express about it.

Maybe they won't do that. Maybe the industry will just die the lingering death it deserves. And if that happens will the rest of us bother? No, we'll quite happily dance on its grave.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"They DO realize it"

The advertising industry probably does. The advertisers may well not - after all they're probably so full of shit that they think they're universally adored.

"They've essentially got nothing to lose."

The advertising industry hasn't. They get paid for shoving the ads out there. Why should they care that they're pissing off their clients' potential customers?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"The advertisers wouldn't do it if there was no money in it......."

Distinguish between the advertising industry and the advertisers, those who have something they want you to buy.

The money is in it for the advertising industry for showing the ads. If they really wanted to do something for the advertisers' profits they'd follow the following line of reasoning:

1. This person is trying to block us.

2. This person therefore doesn't like being pestered by ads.

3. If we pester him he'll probably give our client a miss when he might have otherwise bought something.

4. Breaking through his ad-blocker will be bad for our client.

5. We won't try to do it.

The fact that they don't think that way (nor do the publishers) should tell the advertisers something and one day they might actually catch on and pull the rug out from underneath the whole thing.

The fact that this hasn't happened yet tells the rest of us two things: firstly that the advertisers still haven't grasped the fact that they're not special snowflakes to whom this logic doesn't apply and secondly that the advertising industry is using this to sell successfully.

And remember, the advertising industry doesn't sell to the rest of us, it sells to advertisers. How good a deal do they get?

Julian AssangeTM to meet investigators in London

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"Is there any good reason they couldn't have simply questioned him on Skype at any time in the last few years if they really wanted to?"

This has been dealt with so many times in this and other threads. If you can't be bothered to read the existing answers, why ask the question?

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Re: Ugh...


You missed the additional gem: that his self-imposed exile in the embassy is a further breach of his human rights by being unlawful imprisonment or some such argument whose logic I fail to follow.

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Re: Ministerio de Movilidad Humana

"The he gets arrested by the UK for dodging court and bail thus gets extradited by the UK to the US."

You mean gets extradited just like he didn't when he was on bail?

Linux malware? That'll never happen. Ok, just this once then

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Re: the system packages for most distros are totally open by default.

"It's the reason why some distros are so keen on using sudo rather than encouraging a root login. You take control for as long as you actually need it and no longer."

I think there's a fairly complex history here. Ideally nothing should run with higher privileges than it requires. Your mail daemon should have a mail user ID, your printer daemon should run as a printer user such as lp etc. In old-style Unix there was a user bin to own most of the standard executables so root wasn't even needed for installations. Nowadays all the executables seem to be owned by root and in general root privileges seem to be needed for more admin that used to be the case.

Sudo seems to have been introduced in the wake of that - no need for all those separate IDs & passwords. IMV it's a bad compromise between security and convenience with logging thrown in as a some sort of gesture. It means, of course, that a member of sudoers can get root privilege with their own password; it's marginally better than running as root but it does mean that anyone who manages to get that otherwise ordinary user password need nothing else to gain full control of the system. Certainly a direct root login shouldn't be possible, but su to root with a root password and even then only when necessary; in a large installation someone only responsible for printers, for instance, should user a lesser ID such as lpadmin.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge


"It happened on Synology NAS, which run busybox (a special version of Linux for low power CPU/RAM)"

There seems to be an implication here that busybody is a version of Linux. It isn't. It's an all-in-one replacement for many of the normal Unix-style command line utilities for low resource situations where low resource includes running out of small flash storage. It requires a kernel which is a separate entity.

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Re: Dr. Web

"That surely isn't a Linux problem."

Yup. Here we have some application set up to run insecurely by default and suddenly it becomes a vehicle for selling some nostrum for the OS on which it runs, despite said OS having a reputation for not needing such nostrums. I think I detect a salesman at work and adjust my cynicism levels accordingly.

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Re: How is this a Linux issue?

"You fail English."

You fail clarity. Which comment were you commenting on?

Hilton hotels' email so much like phishing it fooled its own techies

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Re: Banks are just as bad

"It had a link at the bottom to click and find out more"

It might, of course, be something akin to the test phish mentioned above. At least it would enable them to find out who are the numpties in their customer base. But the balance of probabilities is more likely a numpty in marketing - possibly tagging it onto a draft written by somebody who actually knew the score.

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Re: Situation normal then

"I get an email every year from a large Australian Domain Registrar asking me to go and verify my contact details....They see nothing wrong with it."

If they - a domain registrar, for crying out loud - see nothing wrong with it why are you still with them?

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Re: "tricked its own IT shop into advising that it was a scam"

"That is too dumb to be real - avoid"

And given that they probably have some experience of marketing that translates as "too dumb to be marketing" which is really plumbing the depths.

ICO wades in after GP doxxes woman to her estranged ex-partner

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That's a £40. What about the complainant? Isn't she entitled to damages?

Head of UK oversight body to join GCHQ 'tech help desk'*

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'Cavan stated she was proud to have worked towards "building public trust through education, transparency and accountability."'

And has undone that trust - such as it is - at one move.

Tinfoil hat or no, it's all too easy to see this as a reward for several years of covering up. Trust is a matter of perception and this is all too easily seen as a reward for services rendered to one of the least publicly trusted parts of the govt.

Brexit Britain: HP Sauce vs BBC.co.uk – choices that defined voters

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Re: Ironic...

"You get that the UK government sets our import taxes"

The import taxes into the UK from the EU are likely to bear some relationship to the import taxes into the EU from the UK. That depends on how negotiations go. They could, of course be zero if there's access to the single market but that would be part and parcel of an agreement allowing free movement. And free movement, of course was one of the things Brexiteers are said not to like. What's more, single market T&Cs in the future will be decided without any UK input so there will be less control than ever. And control is one of the things Brexiteers are said to want.

Without access to the single market? Well here's one pointer http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37024707

Hitler ‘ransomware’ offers to sell you back access to your files – but just deletes them

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"“However the approach to delete all of the files upon reboot after initiating an OS crash leaves users few alternatives.”

s/few/a few/

1. Boot from any live Linux disk and rename the user's directory.

2. Boot from any live Linux disk and back up the files.

3. If the user reboots first and assuming the S/W didn't actually overwrite the files before deleting them boot from one of several available live recovery disks and recover the files. I've done that with better ransomware than this one.

Facebook to forcefeed you web ads, whether you like it or not: Ad blocker? Get the Zuck out!

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Re: "cut down on intrusive or annoying ads."

"I have to use the un-adblocked internet at work"

Clearly one of those businesses that can't deal with problems pro-actively. Once they get a malware hit blocking will be compulsory.

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I wonder if they've considered a pay-for-ad-free option.

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"At least back in reality they just have to deal with "

"cold calls" reported for calling a TPS line - fines incoming

"billboards" very few here - it's rural area - and easily ignored

"and junk mail" goes back into the post box - I don't care whether it's the advertisers or their side-kicks, the Royal Mail who pay for return to sender, they're all the same to me.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

'And to those who say "If i have to see ads i'll go somewhere else" You chose to use an ad blocker rather than avoid a site so i doubt that.'

Indeed you can doubt it. There's no guarantee that you're right.

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Re: How does it work?

"where Facebook practically IS the Internet"

Only because the mugs have allowed it to be so.

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Re: OK, let's catch that lie: Facebook is NOT free.

"You ARE paying for Facebook"

An alternative view is that you're not paying for Facebook. You are what Facebook is selling - to anyone who wants a slice of you.

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Re: So FB is taking responsibility...

"..for vetting each and every ad that runs on their network, 24/7/365.25, to ensure that it does not deliver a virus / ransomware / spyware / browser hijack payload to users."

They're going to need to, aren't they? Because every slip gets to be expensive.

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Re: Simple solution...

"the only data they are selling is my anonymous Facebook account data" and that of "my extended family who are spread out all over the country, and there isn't a day goes by that I don't get to see and enjoy photos and videos of my young nephews, neices and cousins as they learn to walk and talk, play in their gardens, start at their new schools, attend their proms, graduate from their Universities, and eventually post their own videos of themselves getting wasted in fancy dress."

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Re: I'm wondering

"And If you end up unwittingly serving up a nasty trojan-bearing ad the reputational damage is all yours! Using an ad broker at least spreads the blame around a bit."

If you serve up a nasty from your own servers then you're open to actual damages so have good reason to be careful after the first time.* Irrespective of using an ad-broker you're likely to get the reputational damage anyway - the users don't see the broker.

*Or maybe a whole lot of times if your CEO happens to be a baroness and you're a bit slow moving.

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Re: Just one

"it's a lot better than blasting a bunch of people with emails in the hope they find it interesting, and not an annoyance or an intrusion."

Change your email address and don't give out the new one to the pests.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Just one

"only let me know what they are doing via FB cr*p."

Do you care? Do they care if you don't know?

Just don't use FB & tell them that if they want to contact you they'll have to use email or even - wow! - pick up the phone.

Funny story, this. UK.gov's 'open banking app revolution'. Security experts not a fan of it

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"their security guy is one incredible chap"

I'd prefer credibility in a security guy.

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Re: I'm all for online banking...

"Maybe people aren't switching because, on the whole, UK banking is very good? I've only ever moved to take advantage of deals not because of bad service."

Really? More likely people aren't switching because they're uniformly crap having dead-heated in their race to the bottom. I've only ever moved because of bad service and am running out of places to go.

Bungling Microsoft singlehandedly proves that golden backdoor keys are a terrible idea

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Given that Microsoft have more or less given up on the RT as a source of profit wouldn't it be a good idea to unlock them? It wouldn't cost them anything and would be good PR. The only problem appears to be that, AFAICS from the article, the same keys are used everywhere so they couldn't restrict this to the RT.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update crashing under Avast antivirus update

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It used to be said that anti-virus firms were engaged in an arms race with virus writers. Now it seems they're engaged in another arms race with Windows.

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Re: We'll see more of this with W10

If the company has a legal department perhaps yo should draw their attention to the T&Cs. Just to be sure ask them what exceptions they might expect and whether they can find them.

Internet of Car...rikey what the hell just happened to my car?

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Re: The worth

"I would venture that very few hackers are actually interested in taking over control of your steering or brakes."

There are few idiots who drag obstacles onto railway lines. Nevertheless they exist and are a nuisance at best and very dangerous at worst. I don't see any reason to suppose that those who'd do that wouldn't also be interested in crashing your car if it came in range.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The worth

"If we get to the stage where oiks can stand on motorway bridges, press a button on their Pi-powered gizmo, can crash a stream of cars into each other, can do it time after time at any time of their choosing, we will indeed have a problem. But we are a long way from that."

So you're saying that the time to solve a problem is after it's gone into production? Surely conventional wisdom is that you build security into the design, not try to add it on afterwards. Because by the time we have that problem it will be far too late to fix it.

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