* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Mystery black hole hides by curbing its appetite

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

If this is the first such survey and it turns up one then the probability that it's a one-off seems small.

The immediate thought is could this account for the missing mass? Given that it's a small black hall you'd need a lot of them.

Those Xbox Fitness vids you 'bought'? Look up the meaning of the word 'rent'

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Refund? @Doctor Syntax

"That case relies on the particularly consumer friendly court system in California. It's pretty much not applicable anywhere else in the world."

It might be unusual in California but consumer protection is widespread in Europe. I don't know about the rest of Europe but the UK has a small claims court.

"how many people are prepared to try to claim back the cost of their VHS fitness tapes, because you can no longer buy a tape player"

Not a good analogy. The equivalent would be Jane Fonda knocking on your door and demanding her tape back because you'd watched it.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: There's an old saying

"problem is that Microsoft has billions still to burn before they finally fold"

But it wouldn't be yours.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Refund? @Deltics

"but how many people are prepared to take on a company like MS in the courts!"

Maybe you missed http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/06/27/woman_microsoft_windows_10_upgrades

The trick is to go for a small claims court - and presumably the amounts here are within those limits - which negates MS's size advantage.

I wonder if it will find its way onto this guy's to-do list http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/06/28/chatbot_kills_parking_tickets

Chatbot lawyer shreds $2.5m in parking tickets

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: A small omission?

"So, by your definition, anything that is legal by the letter of the law is automatically morally and ethically right as well?"

Who were you replying to?

If it was me, then let me restate my point. If it's legitimate it's legitimate by definition. It would be a non sequitur to imply that something is moral, ethical, both or neither on account of whether or not it's legitimate. Or do you think that legislatures invariably act in moral or ethical ways?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

I'm convinced I've seen similar bots handling customer disservice queries for years.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: A small omission?

legitimate vs moral and/or ethical?

If parking tickets in general are sanctioned by legislation (the similarity of the words should be a clue) then they're legitimate. I don't see why you expect moral and ethical issues to be involved. The only question, in each case, is whether a particular ticket was issued according to the legislation.

Florida man sues Apple for $10bn, claims iPod, iPhone was his idea

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"It looks exactly like an iPad type device except its square not rectangular. Yes, it has round corners."

And don't forget http://dilbert.com/strip/1995-04-03

Evernote riles freetards with two-device limit

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"lifetime upgrades"

Whose lifetime?

No means no: Windows 10 nagware's red X will stop update – Microsoft

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"Yes it has telemetry enabled, but that is easily switched off and helps provide valuable feedback on how people use the OS so Microsoft can improve it even more."

1. What's easily switched off is easily and surreptitiously switched back on by the next unavoidable update.

2. If the telemetry is so harmless, not to say benign, why do MS's T&Cs make no attempt to exclude themselves from recording what's none of their business? If you don't believe me go and read the privacy policy for yourself and try to find the bit where it confines their rights to recording transactions and access credentials to those relating to themselves.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"a class action is on the cards if they bork thousands of pc's with unwanted upgrades."

They'd almost certainly prefer that to a death of a thousand cuts in the small claims courts. They'd be able to settle a class action with a big payout to lawyers, and either peanuts to the losersplaintiffs or a donation to EFF or maybe a charitable organisation of their creation choice.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Loving windows?

"When there are more mainstream GAMES for Linux than for Windows, THEN they'll pay attention. Otherwise, they pretty much have a captive market."

So what you're saying is that Windows is only fit for playing games? For real work something else is better?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

'Trouble is, as later drug ads showed, "They don't take no for an answer."'

I see you've understood the analogy.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Gun, meet foot

"a machine purchased without an OS is a lot cheaper."

I'm not sure about that. The Windows free-trial bloatware can more than subsidise the Windows, at least that used to be the case - I haven't looked a buying anything new for some time.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Gun, meet foot

"Web browsers get pwned more easily than custom software. Didn't the Target and Home Depot attacks teach them anything?

As for LibreOffice, that's all fine and dandy unless you use a lot of macros and other stuff Libre doesn't do very well (if at all, like macros)."

Macros get pwned more easily than custom software. I'm not sure about Target & Home Depot but in a lot of cases the attack that came in through a browser and/or email was actually in a Word document with a malacro (TM) in it.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"We started our journey with Windows 10 with a clear goal to move people from needing Windows to choosing Windows to loving Windows."

It seems to have moved some people from needing Windows to realising they don't need Windows.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Yes, I know, but Apple --

"But then Sid Stupid doesn't realize this, the update goes uninstalled, and he gets pwned due to a wild exploit the update would've quashed."

There are a couple of issues here.

Firstly, IME, Windows updates take a very long time to install and give the user very little feedback if they want to see it whereas Linux updates, again IME, are applied quickly and, if you're interested, tell you what's going on. This is exacerbated by Windows updates being saved up for big monthly releases while Limux updates are released as available so the updates, although more numerous, are individually smaller.

Secondly Linux updates do not call for reboots. If software for an individual service is updated the service is stopped and restarted whilst the rest of the system continues to run. Even if the kernel is updated the original kernel is left in place and running until such time as the user finds it convenient to reboot in order to run the new kernel - in some distributions there are even live kernel updates.

Taken together these mean that there's no particular incentive to bypass Linux updates.

MPs of Europe unite: Listen up big biz, air your tax deals in public

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"And who do you think the corporations pass that tax bill onto? Consumers DUH!"

And how many times does that have to be said before it gets through people's skulls?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Bad move

"And what has a UK body got to do with the EU?"

I think you must have been reading a different article. The one I read was about the finance committees of individual European nations. What was yours about?

My plan to heal this BROKEN, BREXITED BRITAIN

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Parliamentary Sovereignty

"It was the people, and we spoke clearly."

Nowhere near clearly enough.

A constitutional change should, in my view, require a referendum (in fact there should have been one before we joined the Common Market and there should have been referenda in all the countries to validate each of the treaty changes since then). But the referendum should require a substantial majority in order to change the status quo. A change should reflect a consensus.

Accepting the smallest majority means that major, long term decisions are made at the whim of a small group of swing voters who might not vote the same way next year, or even next week when they realise the consequences of their vote. That's just plain daft.

Osborne on Leave limbo: Travel and trade stay unchanged

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Re: Irish passport

"While our marriage would not be recognised in Ireland,"

What? Do you mean the UK ambassador to Ireland is living in sin?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"we'll just take it."

So, outside the UK and outside the EU? That's real independence. What, you thought they'd let you join, just like that?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Growing Sense of bereavement..

"Leave is what exactly? EEA, EFTA, bilateral trade deal, WTO rules? Free movement, EU budget contributions, co-operation on science and policing?"

You missed out that magic happens once we're out of the EU so we don't have to worry about anything ever going wrong again. I think that was the main thing they had in mind. Either that or the Remainers would sort it all out for them.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"If we have those figures in 6 months time, after Brexit plans have been published and refined, then we'll have a problem."

True. What do you expect the value of that if clause to be?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Growing Sense of bereavement..

"90-95% of economists"

Economists? Probably 110-115% of them. You always have more opinions than you have economists.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Growing Sense of bereavement..

"The vote was Leave, now we have to make it work."

Who's this "we"? The Leave campaign got what they wanted, now it's up to them to make it work. AFAICS the only thing Boris & co seem to be offering is back-pedalling. Perhaps they're waiting for the pixie dust to arrive.

'I urge everyone to fight back' – woman wins $10k from Microsoft over Windows 10 misery

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Re: puzzled

"Do US small claims courts findings trigger precedents?"

I shouldn't think so. Precedents arise from rulings on what the law means as other courts would then apply the same interpretation of law. In a small claims court there's no legal argument to present so no scope for rulings of law, the court just has to make a finding of the facts in that particular case.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Now the precedent has been set ...

"historically all a class action suit does is make the lawyers rich."

I think the parties, in diminishing amounts they have to gain are:

1. Lawyers - they get big costs.

2. Companies - only one case to fight.

3. Plaintiffs - peanuts if they win.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Who's next?

"For precedent, look what happened to Sony with the recent Linux-on-PS3 settlement."

And any of those who got peanuts in the settlement will be looking at this & realising they should have gone with the small claims court.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"I have done this twice recently for friends who wound up with Win10 and didn't like it."

And presumably, the MS techies could have done this. Were they under instructions not to let any user escape the clutches of W10?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"unknowingly enrolled in a beta program"

AFAICS she was just enrolled in MS's enforced update. It took place last August. However you might be correct in describing it as a beta program.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Now the precedent has been set ...

"Eww, I feel a bit dirty even joking about that."

So you should, given that the crux of the article was that the small claims court is the way to go.

Parliament takes axe to 2nd EU referendum petition

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Re: 4Chan pranked

"The amount of middle aged and older people I saw on election day asking why we used pencils instead of pens really lead me to despair. How can you get to that age and never have been in a polling station before?"

It's a valid question irrespective of how many times you've voted. Did you have an answer for them?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Dimwits

"the dog which has finally caught the car - WTF do I do with it now...?"

Quote of the week.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

" suggest it's more useful to see what David Allen Green , a legal writer has to say on things, such as reminding us the referendum is not legally binding or this on Article 50


That's a very interesting read, particularly in regard to what constitutes a decision. AFAICS even without a second referendum it would be open to a PM, Privy Council, cabinet or the HoC as appropriate to look at the existing vote and decide that a 4% majority in a non-binding poll isn't sufficient to allow such a far-reaching decision to be made.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Democracy in action...?

"So my only wish is that the geriatric majority which brought us this vote takes the responsibility proportional to the way they voted."

Are you privy to information about the actual distribution of votes by age? Nobody else has. All you have is anecdotal evidence. Other anecdotal evidence suggests that some of the younger voters didn't understand what they were doing and had simply voted Leave as a sort of protest vote.

FWIW this 70+ voter voted Remain, as in the previous vote 4 decades ago.. The Facebookers who thought it meant no more than a Like will have to live with the consequences of their votes. Unfortunately so will my children and grandchildren.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: wtf?


A UK citizen is a UK citizen irrespective of how long they've been out of the country. Not quite the same as out of the UK but I spent about 19 years in N Ireland before returning to England. But one of the issues was freedom of movement and these were UK citizens who were directly affected by it. I can't think of any convincing reason why they should have been excluded.

Visiting America? US border agents want your Twitter, Facebook URLs

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Re: I guess it's good then that I'm a citizen and not a visitor....

And, for similar reasosns, as a non-citizen it's a good thing I have no intention to visit there.

Botnet-powered ballot stuffing suspected in 2nd referendum petition

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Bit late but..,.

"But having said that, the basic idea of having a threshold of votes/majority for any referendum on constitutional change is a very good (essential?) idea."

True. I'll settle for essential.

"Obviously not to trigger never-ending referenda,"

Obvious to you and to me but there seem to be a number here who haven't grasped that the word "second" indicates that no more than two are being proposed.

"Why on earth didn't that idiot Cameron include a similar requirement this time?"

Dunno but possibly either he didn't expect leave to win or, more likely, because it didn't include a binding clause.

One option is for the HoC to debate the petition and come to the conclusion that although the principle behind the proposal is sound there's no need for a second referendum because, as the referendum doesn't bind the government or country to a simple majority, the government can apply the criteria to the existing vote, i.e. the majority wasn't big enough to change the status quo.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The debate

"the older folks were more likely to vote leave"


UK digi strategy on ice post Brexit results - sources

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Re: @Doctor Syntax

South facing, most of it steep hillside. Global warming. I'm hoping someone turns it into a vineyard.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

What happens to the Rural Payments Scheme affects me. I'm surrounded by land which is part of a hill farm. I hope it stays that way although I suppose the chances of it becoming housing are much diminished - nobody'll be able to afford to buy.

'Leave EU means...' WHAT?! Britons ask Google after results declared

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Whatif 17.5 million people sign the petition?

"The UK voted."

At least some of them appear to have put the pencil in motion without engaging the brain. Now they're discovering that they were actually doing something real - maybe they thought it was the same as a Facebook "like".

The basis of the petition is that a referendum should require a reasonably substantial majority to change the status quo. There's also the point made by another commentator that non-resident UK citizens were denied the vote and yet they are particularly likely to be adversely affected.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Whatif 17.5 million people sign the petition?

"very few politicians will have experience of what things were like in Britain prior to the original In Referendum all those years ago."

True, but now is not then outside the EU. Whoever takes it on is going to have to work things out from first principles in any case. Can anybody see anyone who's up to the job?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: So how long before ...

"It takes several years for petrol to go off"

In the 70s during the loyalist (sic) strikes in N Ireland a colleague stockpiled petrol for a relatively short period - maybe weeks, months at most & found that he couldn't start the car on it. Some of the lighter fractions had evaporated.

Brexit and data protection: A period of shock and reflection

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Re: Theresa Stasi May was in the Pro-EU camp

"Theresa May was pro-EU"

Only to the minimal extent she needed to stay on what she probably assumed would be the winning side. She doesn't seem to have been very pro-EU in anything that affected her departmental brief.

Tech firms reel from Leave's Brexit win

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Re: keithpeter Assumptions, assumptions...

"And EU regulations are enacted into British law. With UK detached from EU law i understand those enactments could suddenly find themselves challengeable to their legal standing."

A little task for Team Leave to sort out. Maybe IDS could take a look at it. He did so well with Universal Credit...

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: FFS Calm Down Kids!

"We had almost a years delay on selling a system because the US didn't adopt ISO-some-long-number::2014 but stuck to ISO-some-long-number::2012 while the component supplier moved to the new one."

I thought you said the problem was with the UK, not the US. And if you don't have the ISO numbers at your fingertips do you expect us to believe that you're really your company's strategist when it comes to regulations?

In the meantime, it's no change so if you want to sell stuff here under the current EU regs you can do so. If potential customers can put up with the whining.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Change is a chance for the agile and alert to beat the status quo."


Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: London Falling

"The EU bureaucracy has allowed a large, hostile contingent to form in several European nations. Perhaps now an inward gaze, compelled by credible criticism, can form a more perfect union."

It'll probably take a couple more exits before they start thinking "Could it be something we said?". After all, when you know you're right you tend to adjust reality to match your views.

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