* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Why Agile is like flossing and regular sex

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"testing phase", is that the bit where you ask the customer if they've bothered testing the new system you've developed and they say "yeah, looks fine", get the customer to sign in triplicate that they've tested it and found it satisfactory so you go ahead and deploy it to production

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The Way Good Software Is Done?

'Also sounds like the the scrum master you refer to either does not understand "stand ups" or did not explain it to you.'

For anyone with a bad back stand-ups are an HSE issue.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Just one side

"Meetings should be constrained by the size of the teapot: 4 or 5 mugs at most; brown jenny on special occasions."

With experience I learned not to be upset by the size of the original meeting. A quick look round inevitably showed the following:

A few strangers, sent along by someone or other and looking slightly dazed.

The occasional known trouble maker.

Two (seldom more) other people who'd helped do the work on other projects.

Once the formalities were done, just work with the last lot as before, but sound out the first lot as some of them might actually know what's what.

Ofcom: Legal separation will force Openreach to eat more fibre

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Ultimately no reorganisation will have any effect other than splitting the BT pension deficit.

Rolling out anything requires resources. That's plain reality. A rapid expansion of OpenReach's staff for a rapid roll-out would probably result in Brookes's Law coming into operation, large training costs, reliance on half-trained staff or some combination. In addition a large staff would have to be paid off when the roll-out was complete.

Then we have people complaining that problems don't get resolved. With any given level of resources there's a split between maintenance and new installs and wherever that split goes there'll be complainers.

It's the old, old story: good,quick, cheap, pick any two. In my time I've come across at least one senior BT manager who'd never heard of the Iron Triangle. I'd have hoped not to find that repeated amongst elReg readers.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Palying fields

"Firstly from what has been said today Openreach will not have a separate share issue so it won't be possible for anyone to buy a stake in it; in BT as a whole, yes; in Openreach, no."

I wouldn't put it past a numpty management in BT to float it off as they did with O2, see it sold to Telefonica or the like and then have to buy VM a decade or so later so they can have a network.

I get annoyed when I see outsiders criticising BT. You need to have worked there to be properly vituperative about BT management.

NASA puts lenses through a different drill to stare at the Sun

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Fresnel zpne plate not a fresnel lens

"I can remember when you could get a fresnel lens to make your 9 inch (B&W) TV screen look more like a 14 inch one."

I can remember a cousin having a non-Fresnel lens for that purpose. To save material it was a hollow plastic moulding which the owner had to fill up with water. And the set was more black & green then B&W.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

AIUI Fresnel lenses and plates are different items. The lens is a refraction device and the plate a diffraction device. A Fresnel lamp is is one that uses a Fresnel lens with stippling on the the flat back of the lens to break up the ring pattern which would be apparent in the projected spot. The original Fresnel lenses used in lighthouses aren't usually stippled - nobody's looking at what the projected light looks like.

Osram's Lightify smart bulbs blow a security fuse – isn't anything code audited anymore?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: What I'd hope ...

"I'd hope that someone is working on a seriously low-bandwidth protocol for commanding functions that are not safety critical, like on and off or up and down for light-bulbs, over the mains wiring of a house."

I already have this at home. It requires simple devices, placed conveniently adjacent to the doors of each room although there are exceptions where the devices are located on the ceiling and operated by a length of cord. The devices have a simple toggle action.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "what kind of security review the products go through"

OK, I've said this before but it's worth saying again.

Security requirements should be built into UL testing. Add FCC declaration of conformity and CE.

I'm not sure about FCC declarations but CE is a matter of self-certification so it might need a few prosecutions for false marking before that would fully hit home but the principle would be established: if you want to get it to market, build in security from the first design stage onwards.

Heart Internet goes TITSUP again

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

You're going to have to invent a new backronym where TITSUP is usual performance.

Brit chip bods ARM quietly piling up cash. Softbank will be happy

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

'ARM will retain its "senior management team, brand, partnership-based business model and culture" while Softbank "at least doubles the employee headcount in the UK over the next five years."'

We've seen such wonderful promises ahead of previous takeovers. What should be needed in order to gain regulatory consent is a way of holding buyers to them. Maybe if they attempt to move the production overseas (who could I be thinking of?), sack the management team or whatever, the business gets offered back to the market at the same price as it was before the original offer was made and, where there was a cash surplus previously, with that surplus intact or alternatively with no more debts than it had originally.

UK membership of Council of Europe has implications for data protection after Brexit

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Out means out

Old Englishman or just old fool?

"We need out of the ECHR in particular."

I suggest you dig into this a little further. You'll then find that it was the idea of another old Englishman of whom you might have heard: Sir Winston Churchill. I think most of us would reckon that what was good enough for Churchill is good enough for us.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Brexit means Brexit

"The NI-Eire border being the most obvious one. (If the UK left the EEA it would become a customs border, because there would be no free trade agreement, so how could it be completely open? i.e passports won't be needed, but goods would need to be checked.)"

OTOH it's difficult to see how it could be completely closed. Not only are there farms which straddle the border, there are buildings that do that. Who's going to check when you bring your shopping in through the front door in one country and carry it to the kitchen in another?

Europe gives Privacy Shield one year to work

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

The data regulators may be prepared to give it a year. There's always the possibility that an individual won't although the route to the ECJ might take a year anyway.

Dolly the sheep clones have aged well, say scientists

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Good or bad development?

"Like the 'harmless' genetically altered vegetables."

I don't know if it's still the practice but genetic engineering techniques used to include splicing antibiotic resistance genes in as markers. That was the worrying biological aspect to me. The worrying business aspect, of course, was the behaviour of Monsanto.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"So cloned animals age as well as a control group of a different breed of older sheep. Couldn't be arsed to use the same breed or the same age? Sloppy."

I'd have thought the ideal control should be the individual that was cloned.

Washed out summer? Fear ye not: DVDs for DevOps droogs

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

' "Each group of four LEDs represents a hex digit", explains Gordon, pronouncing "LEDs" to rhyme with "heads", just like a dork.'

Twinkle, twinkle little LED

How I wonder if you're dead.

Ancient H/W engineer's chant.

Microsoft offers admins free Win 10 upgrade lube

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

'You'll also have this "reasonable expectation" rule'

However the reasonable expectations as laid out in the T&Cs aren't something you'd reasonably want to expect.

Openreach to split from BT... so they'll be 'Legally Separate'

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

So BT, via OpenReach, will end up subsidising Sky & TalkTalk who want to avoid making their own investment. Inevitably this will result in more cherry-picking at the expense of universal service provision as happened during the years that BT was prevented from rolling our fibre at all. Or am I reading this wrong?

Microsoft stops to smell the roses, creates the Shazam of flowers

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Yes please

"Even more useful would be a plant-identifier for foragers."

It'd need better than the claimed 90% accuracy.

By 2040, computers will need more electricity than the world can generate

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Extrapolating into the future predicted that by the early 20th century cities like London would have ground to a complete halt because the streets would be six feet deep in horse shit"

They were a century and species out. Six feet deep in bullshit sounds about right.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: But

If you have one computer solving all problems simultaneously what are the other four doing?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Good thing world electricity production won't flatline until 2040

"IOT is a waist of time"

And an obese one at that.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

The limiting factor might be the number of coders required to write enough bloat to require all those computers.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Clearly needs a Doc Emmett Brown

"some bad things are exponential"

However, some things which look exponential are sigmoidal.

Alleged hacker Lauri Love will learn his fate in September, says judge

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

If a single act spans two (or more) jurisdictions and is an offence in both then ISTM that logic dictates that the trial should take place in the jurisdiction where the actor was located at the time.

What's Brexit? How Tech UK tore up its plans after June 23

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Histrionics

"a great number of the passengers don't have long to live anyway"

Oi! Less of the ageism!. Don't just assume that we oldies voted Leave. Some of us voted Remain. After all we have children and grandchildren to think of. And, speaking personally, I'd like an economy that's still able to pay my pension.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: @ Doctor Syntax

"We know the EU is doomed as it is. ... I want out of that doomed wreck."

Your first statement may well be true. But there will be a lot which will be salvageable from that wreck, perhaps something like an EEC 2.0 and we won't be in it.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: @ Doctor Syntax

"All of this boils down to one thing. Are we **sure** this is what we want?"

Of course we're not sure. The majority was far too small to justify such a significant change.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: All it will take is one big company

"North East is the only region of the country with a balance of payments surplus - that is to say that exports more than it imports (largely thanks to Nissan)"

Who set up there because it was in the EU and who now have no great incentive to continue investing there.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Already paying 10%

"The weakened Pound is due to market speculation that UK might leave the single market, speculation proves to be wrong 99% and I doubt this will be the 1%."

Haven't you noticed, we've already voted to leave the single market?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: German car industry...

"...allow the Asian competitors to create cheap, reliable and enjoyable cars that the British public are loving. They then move into Europe..."

In case it's escaped your notice those Asian competitors are producing cars in Britain now. They're doing so because that gives them an EU manufacturing base.

You're right in that they'll move into Europe. They'll move into Europe because they'll want to continue having an EU manufacturing base.

The odd thing is that it seems that the areas where they currently have their factories voted for them to leave. This will be the second UK car industry destroyed by its workers (the native industry was pretty-well banjaxed in the '70s). What makes you think anyone will want to provide us with a third?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge


"He was frozen out of the brexit negotiations even after being the reason for a referendum"

On what basis could he be included? Not only is he in the gov't party, he failed to even get into the HoC.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

I wonder if May is playing a strategic game. The Brexiteers have been given jobs of setting up deals. At some point whatever they come up with can be put before the HoC as a basis for invoking Article 50. The govt. doesn't actually have to recommend the proposal and she could even lay down some criteria to be met to gain a recommendation.

If they can actually put a viable proposition together then all well and good. Personally I'll be surprised but pleased. If not it will be up to them, the Leave campaigners, to accept that they couldn't make their good idea work at which point it can safely be remembered the referendum was only advisory. In the meantime any malcontents on the backbenches can be added to the team so they can accept their share of responsibility.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge



Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"The US has also hinted at a deal."

Given that there existing trade negotiations look a lot like colonisation that might be one to avoid.

BBC will ‘retain your viewing history’

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The real goal is..

" If the BBC want money then make good programs that everyone wants to watch. Not the usual gardening, nature watch, antiques, cooking, dancing, Eastender crap."

Has it occurred to you that there are few if any programmes that everyone wants but that the programmes the BBC chooses to make are those for which it has the largest number of people wanting to watch?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Thankfully...

"The BBC do not produce anything worth watching anyway, every time I see a BBC channel"

You also say "Although, in the 5 years or so I've not paid for a TV license" so are we to take it you're watching someone else's TV?

"it's deadenders, antiques shows, house buying/selling"

Such programmes have audiences sufficiently large that it's worth making those programmes. Indeed, if you're watching someone else's TV in order to see these then it would appear that your hosts are amongst that audience. Maybe that audience wouldn't want to watch the programmes you'd prefer.

" or biased news."

I take it that this means news that doesn't reflect your own biases. As a general principle I'd expect that the more effective a news organisation is at avoiding bias the more likely it is that people will consider it biassed, an artefact resulting from their own biasses.

"There used to be a show called Top Gear that was fairly good, but even that's been messed up now."

Now there you have a point.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Retarded Argument

"My point is why attack X when Y and Z have been doing it for ages? Attack them first."

Prevention is better than cure.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Is it any worse than what Netflix or Amazon (presumably) do with your data?"

From the Beeb we should be able to expect better. Much better.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

English translation needed

"We have met and continue to engage with the ICO on personal data usage. We regularly review the ICO’s published guidance about current and future legislation, particularly in relation to GDPR. We comply with all aspects of the Data Protection Act and take the operational privacy and security of people’s personal information very seriously."

I recognise all the words but have a problem extracting meaning. I do, however, recognise the last bit. It occurs frequently in association with "only a few customers were affected" or similar expressions.

Ofcom should push for fibre – Ex BT CTO

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"If the UK is to participate in cloud computing, we cannot do it with asymmetric services. It's no good having 30mbps download and a 5mbps upload. You can’t upload all your material into the cloud."

This assumes I want to participate in uploading all my material, whatever that means, into the cloud.

It's as well to remember that if you do upload a lot of stuff into the cloud you're liable to find that some of it gets deleted because of excessive use of your unlimited storage.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Spot on Peter!

"Laying fibre is not rocket science."

Neither is making good the damage from extending it into millions of homes which currently have underground copper connections. It just costs a lot of money.

I don't like Mondays, Pokemon, Twitter or Facebook – Sir Bob Geldof

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

I don't like Mondays, Pokemon, Twitter or Facebook – Sir Bob Geldof


No, the VCR is not about to die. It died years ago. Now it's VHS/DVD combo boxes' turn

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Actually VCRs still exist

"they probably still have a large library of tapes sat in storage."

And at some time in the future they'll have a big panic because they find they've got a large library and nothing that can read it. How many times has that happened?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Actually VCRs still exist

"Essentially you have a computer with an array of DVB-S2 cards."

Or one DVB-T card with a couple of tuner modules on it. As it can take several streams from a single physical tuner you'd be hard pushed to find enough simultaneous watchable programmes to exceed its limits. In fact, I'm not sure mine uses the second tuner very often.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Stop making me feel old


It was the major storage medium in a lot of applications in the late '80s/'90s. HP made a 6 slot changer. Combined with a bit of scripting that was the way to do unattended overnight backups.

Free Windows 10 upgrade: Time is running out – should you do it?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge


"Will somebody please think of the children!"

Indeed. I'm thinking of my granddaughter. She's about to get a laptop. It won't be W10.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"there was a dearth of programmers interested in writing software for Windows"

There may be something in this. At the time there was a DOS office suite called Smartware. My employers of the time were big users. Informix bought it. In one of several inexplicable decisions the then management team made they didn't port it to Windows (they did contrive to add Informix as a back-end storage for Smartware - but only to the spreadsheet component and not to the database). A bit of rationality there could have seen them taking over the Windows office market. In the end IBM took them over instead.

UK employers still reluctant to hire recent CompSci grads

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Meanwhile, back in America..

'They asked for someone with "5+ years experience with Solaris 10"'

I blame ISO9000 and similar crap for this. They have their quality manuals saying that everyone working with whatever should have a minimum of 5 years in it because it looks impressive. Unfortunately it's written by someone with a total lack of contact with the real world (my view of most quality wonks) who doesn't realise that (a) in some fields technologies turn over faster than that, (b) there's no way everyone arrives fully minted with 5 years' experience in anything and (c) there's no way on paper of distinguishing between 5 years' experience and 1 year's experience repeated 5 times.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019