* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

UK.gov digi peeps hunt open source chief

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Re: Cheers to the Lawyer from Lima

Upvote and thanks for the link. An excellent read.

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Re: Common standards

"But who hasn't rocked up at a new job, taken one look at the legacy code, and decided to burn the whole lot and start again?"

Sometimes just running it through the C pre-processor pass was enough. Some people had strange ideas about using macros.

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Re: Hmm....

"What could go wrong running HMRC, DWP, DVLA on shareware?"

A lot. Which article were you commenting on? This one was about open source.

BT internet outage was our fault, says Equinix

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Are they called uninterruptible because you shouldn't interrupt them and they go wrong if you do?

TalkTalk: 9,000 broadband customers did the walk walk last quarter

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Re: Chuggers

"He seemed a bit surprised when I said that."

Probably the only ones they can successfully recruit have no idea to start with and then get put through an induction that tells them how wonderful the company is. Take it as an opportunity to explain at considerable length, and clearly audible to passers by just how dreadful the company really is. Ensure that the name TalkTalk is mentioned at sufficiently regular intervals so the passers by are in no doubt who you're talking about.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Faulty Router, Compulsory New Contract

I think that says as much about your FiL as about TalkTalk. If that had happened to me (assuming I'd been a TT customer) it would have accelerated the walk walk.

Web meltdown: BT feels heat from angry punters

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"Wasn't TCP/IP designed to avoid problems in the event of nuclear war?"

That was my reaction as well. I suppose design is one thing, implementation is something altogether different. You need those redundant routes and routers and they all cost money.

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Re: Peering Problems

"At the moment, BT would just appeal to the EU and it would be overthrown as there's a similar problem in Germany with Deutsche Telecom."

And if OR were to be split off how long do you think it would be before it was bought by Deutsche Telecom, or Telefonica - or maybe SoftBank?

US govt is in, EFF told to take a hike in post-Safe Harbor wrangling over privacy and EULAs

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Hi ho, hi ho...

... It's off to [E] Court [J] we go.

So if he comes down on the side of Schrems that's OK and if not he's just handed out grounds for an appeal. Splendid!

ASUS first Asian PC maker to warn of price hikes... in 2.5 months

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Re: The Brexiteers were

"Stop crying."

Say what you will, I think there'll be a market for stickers saying "Don't blame me, I voted REMAIN" in a few months time.

IoT baby monitor style hacks still a threat

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Re: Still?

"Pity that some agency like this can't take action against the suppliers/manufacturers."

Some agency could if they wanted to. Underwriters' Laboratories could include it in their testing.

Maybe some other Agency doesn't want them to.

Drone bloke cuffed after gizmo stops firemen tackling forest inferno

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Re: Good

"if they're too stupid to consider how their actions might harm others"...they're probably stupid enough to try it themselves. You can't beat stupid.

UK's climate change dept abolished, but 'smart meters and all our policies strong as ever'

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"he UK hasd a significant influence on creating the EU legislation in the first place"

But we'll still have to follow it if we want to retain the same trading rights with the EU. But it's all about control, isn't it?

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Re: Finally......

"It's the electricity generated from powdered unicorn horn...."

No, it's made from the methane in unicorn farts.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: smart meter

"a not particularly efficient system to turn th electricity to heat."

I'm not sure about this last bit. Turning other forms of energy to heat seems to be something that happens particularly easily, especially when you don't want it. (Burnt fingers from the gear on my strimmer).

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Why do you think TM put The BoJoTM in the FO?"

To start WWIII?

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Re: Consumer benefits are not falling!

"Or banging off the oven on Sunday 'cos you can no longer afford to roast the Sunday joint."

Or when it's half cooked because the price has just gone up? Invite Sam & Ella round for lunch.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: All for doing away with meter reader

"The idea of a chap or a chapess trotting from home to home reading a meter seems about as necessary as having the egg-man or the ice-man calling round."

We used to have both and egg-man and an ice-cream man. We miss them.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

In Saturday's Times Matthew Paris was musing on the Conservative party's nut-cases (that might not have been the exact term he used) who will never be content with anything - Brexit won't be exit enough etc. It struck me that one way to deal with them would be to "promote" them to a department with a death march project and then, after the next PAC/NAO report condemning the lack of progress, publicly label them as incompetent and replace them with the next in line. It might seem cynical to do this rather than put someone competent in charge but the definition of a death march project is that it's unsalvageable so this simply re-purposes them.

I think Leadsom has been set up to fail with both smart meters and the rural payments scheme on her plate.

Blighty's Coastguard goes into battle against waterborne Pokemon

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@ EvilGardenGnome

With a handle like yours, who are you calling a varmint?

MPs tell BT: Lay more fibre or face split with Openreach

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"There is something to be said for nationalisation"

Not much of it would be complimentary.

You need to remember, assuming you're old enough, just how under-invested the POTS network was prior to separation from the GPO and privatisation.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: BT - the caring company.

"I yearn to see them split asunder."

And exactly how do expect this to benefit you?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Apples vs Oranges

"The company borrows money for capital projects that will be repaid over 10 or more years."

And do you think that isn't happening at BT?

There are a few considerations.

One is how much money can be borrowed at any one time? We'll come back to that.

The next is how fast can it be spent productively? Building infrastructure requires a skilled workforce. Training that workforce is an investment in itself. What's more, as more infrastructure is built some of that workforce has to be redirected into maintaining it. If you go for a very rapid roll-out you have to spend a lot of money training a large workforce, then pay them to do the job over a short period of time, then you have to retain a proportion of that workforce and pay off the rest as redundancies. It's not a very productive way to spend money. Who hasn't either told their management - or wanted to tell them - "good, cheap, quick, pick any two"?

The third is what return can be made? My observation is that some years after the local FTTC network has been rolled out users are still being connected. It's taking time to get to that return.

The value for money vs speed of roll out and the rate at which returns can be realised determine how much can be borrowed. Nobody is going to want to lend BT or a separate OR money if they're going to have difficulty in paying interest and repaying capital.

And while nobody could be less keen than I on having BT proposing that I want to pay to watch football, presumably they think that it's an offer that's going to improve ROI.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Nationalization not needed.

"At present it is becoming ever more obvious that OpenReach's priority is to install ever faster fibre in places where Virgin or some other provider already offers a fibre service. It ignores rural communities where there is no competition"

I live in a rural community. I have FTTC with a cabinet at the end of the lane. What is this Virgin of which you write?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"separating Railtrack (now Network Rail) from the Train Operating Companies"

It always seemed to me that that was a bad idea. It ensures that the objectives of the single company providing the infrastructure can never be aligned with those of all the various companies using it.

It's a fair comment that as part of the BT group OpenReach's objectives are going to be more aligned with those of BT than of any of the other companies. But as an independent company they could well be a choice of 1. Make less investment and just collect rent from what's there. 2. Respond to the requirements of the largest customer which is going to be...who?..oh, the rest of BT.

Really, if the likes of TalkTalk want to investment in infrastructure to match their own objectives they need to make that investment themselves, rather than complaining that somebody else isn't making it for them. Or are they too cash strapped by the huge investment they've made over the years to provide themselves with such world-beatingly secure systems?

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"able to invest in world-class technology for the whole country"

And just how far into her pocket is she prepared to reach to contribute to that investment?

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"What would have happened if BT had been in charge of the moon landing?"

At the time of the moon landings BT did not exist. Instead there was the telephone arm of the GPO, AKA The Black Telephone Rationing Company.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Apples vs Oranges

"They made £2.664bn in ONE year, so they are investing 37% of their income, not making a loss."

It also says an investment of £6b over the next 3 years. Remember that the £2.64b is EBITDA Depending on what the IDTA amount to it looks as if the plan is to invest almost all, if not more than the whole of the net earnings.

The question remains, if OpenReach were to be split off and investment were to rise considerably, where's the money going to come from? Especially given that the split-off part would inherit part of BT's pension deficit and, presumably, the commitment to fill that share.

What's big, blue and red all over? IBM. Profit, z Systems down, cloud up

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Are we getting close to the day when someone says "Remember IBM?".


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"IBM continues to establish itself as the leading cognitive solutions and cloud platform company."

A "sell" indicator if I ever heard one. Why do MBA types take it as "buy"?

If managing PCs is still hard, good luck patching 100,000 internet things

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Re: Oh for Goodness Sake

"That value for end users is going to have to be "it does something useful". Something like turning the lights on, controlling the heating, monitors for movement whilst the user is away, smart door lock, etc. etc."

And it also has to do it so much better than existing, simple, alternatives. Given that switches, thermostats and locks have been solved problems for a very long time it narrows down the real user value to a very few use cases and hipsters.

Windows 10 a failure by Microsoft's own metric – it won't hit one billion devices by mid-2018

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Re: Telemetry is not the issue...

"I'm sorry to all who's sole concern is hiding dodgy stuff on their computer"

Are you saying that using a computer for online banking, buying stuff online, doing commercial-in-confidence work etc is dodgy?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: 350M is a failure? LOL

Given the effort that's gone into trying to force it onto every PC in sight I think you have to accept that 350M is indeed a failure.

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Re: 1 Billion?

"you know it's definitely all gone."

Unless it restores itself from UEFI.

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Re: "run MS Office"

"It's a bit of a culture shock but I'm happy with the end result."

I had a trial run at BSD some months ago. It depends where you're coming from. My background includes Unix V7, System III, HP-UX, SCO, Dynix and various other Sys-Vs so another Unix version is just another Unix version.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: analysis of the CEO and management style

"they threatened to ban me over my writing style"

So they're not wrong all the time?

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Re: increasing customer delight

"Sure, it's not uncommon for a sales droid to be a litte out of touch with reality"

Not uncommon? It's part of the job description.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Perhaps ....

"I suspect your sampling is likely 90% liberal arts and fine arts students."

Not necessarily. Macs run Unix S/W so some of the scientists & engineers could be using them but most of the rest will be on Linux.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The penguin struggles to reach 4% market share with a free product

"Having a rude, abusive and harassing pseudo-hipster CEO is not a commercial advantage."

CEO? I suppose some of the distros are from businesses with CEOs. Others just have project leaders.

Oh, did you mean Linus? He's not a CEO. If you're going to criticise you'd do much better if you got your facts right first.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "run MS Office"

"Why Windows?"

Because it would probably take more than her school career to wean her teachers off it.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "run MS Office"

@ Updraft102

8 plus Classic Shell is a possibility. I have a 7/8.1 on order so have the option. I'll probably set it up dual boot. Linux only would probably be a mistake as her teachers will probably expect her to use Windows.

You might be new to Linux, as an old Unixer I've been using it for years. My take is that with systemd distros are getting less Unix-like so, from my POV, worse. So my next move will be to BSD once Wheezy is no longer the basis for Debian LTS..

Wine, in my estimation, made a big mis-step years ago when they broke use of video-drivers from that minor H/W player Intel that used 24-bit colour. It didn't affect Office 97 but it did resulted in a whole lot of other bug reports from users of various other applications. The really stupid thing was that they kept sending out bug reports asking if the bug was still present event though they were refusing to fix it, having turned down a patch. According to them it was a feature added for performance reasons.

Brit chip biz ARM legs it to Softbank for $32bn

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Re: Doubling the size of the operation..

"I've read that they intend to double the size of the op to 6000 developers."

This is the sort of Krafty statement that's customary in such circumstances. Believe it when you see it.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"I see Softbank are suggesting doubling the (UK) workforce."

"Well, they would say that, wouldn't they?"

If they suggested anything else I'm sure there'd be some sort of hurdles put in their way. Let's wait and see.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"@intel will be hurting even more"

I think you'll find it's spelled Intel, upper case I, no @. Maybe you thought you were somewhere else?

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Re: Oh but the premium

"According to the reports I read, this is a CASH purchase. Where's the debt?"

Mizuho bank according to http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36822806

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Apple will never own ARM (again)

"I could believe it's as simple as SB having a huge mound of cash"

To say nothing of being made much cheaper by the pound plummeting since the referendum.

This "taking back control" is going so well, isn't it?

Trump? Terror? Turkey? Whoa, there's a Tentacool in that Bush...

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Re: The surreal part is that

"In the last two weeks we've acquired small herds of folks."

That would be all we need here, with had herds of numpty cyclists ever since the Tour de France. My best home is that they'll collide and take each other out.

Softbank promises stronger ARM: Greater overseas reach and double the UK jobs

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Re: ARM is a strategic asset

"We aren't in TTIP just yet."


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Re: its Cadbury Schwepps all over again

Yes, I was thinking the offer to double the workforce sounded like a Krafty move.

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"vote of confidence in the British economy"

More like the result of the vote of no confidence that manifested itself in the drop in the pound. Any decent home-grown companies we might have had left are now in the bargain basement.

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