* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Marketing by opt-in, opt-out, consent or legitimate interest?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

I have a simpler rule: if you try to market stuff to me I won't buy anything from you. That includes stopping buying if I have done in the past. My current house insurers will discover that later this year.

Seattle Suehawks: Smart meter hush-up launched because, er ... terrorism

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Hello, Sensus. Is Ms Streisand in the office?

Sweden decides Julian Assange™ 'remains detained in absentia'

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Re: Does "detained in absentia" count towards any future jail time?

"t's the possibility of extradition to the US"

It's the possibility that the US couldn't care less about extraditing him. The humiliation!

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I could have dug a tunnel walked out of that embassy by now.

Judge torpedoes 'Tor pedo' torpedo evidence

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"They can show ... but they will not reveal how they obtained the evidence"

If they will not reveal how they obtained the evidence then we don't know that they didn't simply invent it. If they invented it then it isn't evidence. If they don;t have evidence then they can't show anything.

Revealing how they obtained the evidence is a link in the chain of proof every bit as essential as the evidence itself. No chain, no proof.

Microsoft's Windows Phone folly costs it another billion dollars

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Re: MS Windows is finished

" A decade from now, Windows devs may be getting over £1000/hour from the truly desperate. We are not there yet."

I doubt it. There are too many of them. Add a few more decades & you might be right.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Hello there...

"There is a pertinent story about a man who was working on an oil platform in the North Sea. ...When he looked down over the edge, all he could see were the dark, cold, foreboding Atlantic waters."

Problem with mapping S/W.

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Re: The very high price of loyalty

"It would be fascinating to see who has profited from this."


123-reg email goes TITSUP

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"3rd time in as many weeks without email thanks to @123reg"

And thanks to being a slow learner.

Irish data cops kick Max Schrems' latest Facebook complaint up to EU Court

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"We have an army of really expensive laywers who can tie this up in knots until it goes away."

Apart from the fact that DPC has gone straight to the top there comes a point where it's cheaper to do things right than pay lawyers to avoid it.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Don't worry...

"If Brexit happens, the corporations and the UK government will be free to violate our privacy without any of this annoying interference from the CJEU."

True but they'd still have the European Court of Human Rrights to interfere with them. I don't think May would get very far with trying to resile from European Convention of Human Rights (damn them for having the same initials - it means I have to type out both in full). She might be reminded of Churchill's part in that.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Looks like endgame.

"This will drag on through appeals"

What appeals? The UN? They've taken it to the EUCJ for a definitive ruling.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Don't worry...

"If brexit happens then it might be the case that FB won't even be allowed to ship your data as far as Ireland."

Irrelevant to this case. It concerns an Austrian citizen and an Irish subsidiary of a US company.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Looks like endgame.

Start building those EU data centres and make sure there's a good legal firewall between their operations & the US corporation. You know you're going to need them.

Craig Wilson just can't catch a break. Tries to leave HPE, finds self back again

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Re: It reminds me of a friend of mine....

I knew someone who was made redundant from two different companies by the same director.

Insure against a cyberwhat now? How the heck do we crunch those numbers?

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Re: Talking about this at CyberUK Practice yesterday/today

"Between the fire, house and car insurance issues and cyber crime, there is certainly one chasm of difference and that is one of intent. If someone intends to attack you in a targeted attack, then it is very difficult to draw a parallel with fire insurance except in the case of arson."

OK, you spotted the arson aspect. But houses and cars are also subject to targeted attack. Even shipping is subject to piracy. The insurance industry has been dealing with insurance against crime for a long time.

Although cyber attacks might in some cases be down to nation state organisations they can also be perpetrated by teen-age skiddies.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Many commentards don't understand insurance

"But cyber attacks are much more like warfare, in that people are actively working to create losses."

Housebreakers also actively work to create losses. So do arsonists.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"We have 350 years of fire data.

2016 - 350 = ?"

They did have earlier data but it went up in smoke.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

“We have 350 years of fire data and 100 years of motor and aviation data, but we have just a few years of cyber data,”

They may have all those years of fire etc. data now. Initially they didn't. They coped then. They'll need to cope the same way now.

Of course there are some interesting aspects to this such as the way risk is affected if the CIO goes to the board and says "we need to improve security" and the board hears him say "I want to throw money away.".

Geniuses at HMRC sack too many staff! Nope, can't do it online. FAIL

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All over the world senior management, ensconced in their own private virtual reality, fail to grasp the simple fact that whatever it is your organisation does, it's actually the people whom it employs that actually do it.

Boffins blow up water with LASERS, to watch explosions in slow-mo

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Re: Always interesting

"when we were kids we used sugar and weed killer or black powder from fireworks to blow up all kinds of stuff"

We had a method of inflating balloons from the gas supply. We constructed fuses from a length of paper impregnated with sodium chlorate (weed killer) with a few matches taped to one end and then taped to the balloon. Lit the fuse (NOT with a match) and released. A hundred foot or so in the air the balloon burst, the gas exploded and burning matches scattered across the sky. Being in a narrow valley echoed the bang.

Lovely, but nowadays you'd probably be put into care.

Labour scores review of Snoopers' Charter's bulk powers from UK.gov

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And if he gets to be Home Secretary he'll go native. They always do.

Microsoft bans common passwords that appear in breach lists

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...if I mistype either the username or password on Hotlivelook Microsoft helpfully tells me which was wrong. And they still can't filter out spam pretending to come from themselves.

IETF spikes government metadata collection with DNS request crypto plan

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@Alister. Beat me to it by about a minute. I can only conclude the journo didn't know & had to look it up.

Former Sun CEO Scott McNealy has data on 1/14th of humanity

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I used a stateless dataless thin client years ago. It was called a VT100.

I can also add a suggestion about accumulating data on humanity for advertising purposes. In fact I can be more ambitious that you; I can cover all humanity. Just start with a couple of defaults:

1. This person is capable of going to look for things when they decide that they want or need something.

2. This person is likely to be so annoyed by being advertised at that they'll go and buy whatever it is from someone who's not advertising at them.

You can then update this in a person-by-person basis for those for whom you have clear evidence that the defaults don't apply. Simple.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Dataless/stateless thin client

"the problem there is they can't run anything phones and tablets can't"

Yes they can: anything that needs a real keyboard. You can, of course, tote a separate keyboard around to plug into your phone or tablet but you then have a netbook in two parts.

ENISA / Europol almost argue against crypto backdoors

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"enough R&D and collaboration between EU agencies."

Contracts. Expensive meetings in agreeable venues. Fact-finding missions to such notable cryptography centres as the Caribbean.

Hate Windows 10? Microsoft's given you 'Insider' powers anyway

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They may hear but will they listen?

Committees: Wait! Don't strap on the Privacy Shield yet

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"Data controllers should make sure they have adequate safeguards in their contract terms with processors, even if that processor is a large US cloud company which trades on its own terms."

Under current US legislation no such safeguards are possible. That's why the shield doesn't shield the public, it simply shields the transferrers and, probably more importantly in their minds, the negotiators. As the article implies, it will last no longer than it takes to get to the EU Court of Justice. That's why it's better to call it a fig-leaf.

G4S call centre staff made 'test' 999 calls to hit performance targets

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Re: Same problem as any helpdesk.

"I can't understand why people keep paying for these fecking things though, you'd think someone would have a clue by now."

They keep paying for these things because they're easy to measure - the call centre equipment will do the measuring for you. Even excluding test calls, assuming the equipment can differentiate, won't help because the consequence would be hanging up live calls to take new ones.

Time to answer is probably a good measure if used sensibly. If you get towards the failure limit it tells you you're getting to the point where you need to add resources but, of course, this is going to be resisted by whatever management entity is going to have to pay. Turning into a target makes it useless as a measure (Goodhart's law rather than the Cobra effect).

Setting targets based on outcomes, which is what should be done, creates a very much more difficult measuring task.

Your next server will be a box full of connected stuff, not a server

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Re: Am I the only one

"You could cram the racks closer together if you didn't need to fit humans in between them to replace faulty hardware."

Now there's an idea. Ever seen document archive shelving like the stuff in the picture at http://www.mobileshelving.org.uk/ ? The racks of shelves run along a track which is a bit longer than the space the shelves need when they're closed up. You just roll them apart when you need to access a given shelf. To do this with servers you'd need to be able to provide enough wiggle room in the cabling. I don't know if anybody's tried this with servers - posted here as prior art just in case there's an attempt to patent it later.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

'“There is no inflection point coming that will increase demand for non-x86 and Unix,” he said. Organisations migrating from those platforms, he said, will see Linux as their natural destination.'

One of the nice things about inflection points is that they arrive without the Gartners of this world noticing until it hits them in the face.

A lot of people running Linux at the moment do so because it's a cheap Unix-like OS onto which commercial vendors have migrated products such as RDBMSs. And a good proportion of those users are not over-fond of it becoming less Unix-like with the incorporation of systemd (yes, I know there are systemd fans who welcome a more WIndows-like approach). There's also a proportion of those users who realise that there are now alternatives to those commercial products which have less vicious licensing terms and which are available on other platforms.

Some combination of these factors could quite easily form an inflection point whereby there's a migration to BSDs. At which point there'll be a whole new slew of reports from the Gartners of this world assuring us that there's a migration to BSDs, that chroot jails are the new containers and explaining the reasons for it being a natural destination.

Shakes on a plane: How dangerous is turbulence?

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Re: Explainer?

"My guess is the author is aiming it at the level of his students at Preston Poly."

My knowledge of the graduates of that institution is limited to a sample of one but it would have been well beyond his comprehension.

Blighty's Virgin Queen threatened with foreign abduction

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"@Martin - English may not be their first language"

A handle of patrick_bateman might be a clue about that.

Google-backed solar electricity facility sets itself on fire

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"Ah but the real purpose of the facility is as a weapon for zapping satellites."

Or incoming asteroids? There should be scope for a Bruce Willis movie in there.

Cock fight? Not half. Microsoft beats down Apple in Q1

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"all hail the successor to the great IKABAI-SITAL"


Salesforce slaps UK Enterprise customers with 40% price hike

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It could, of course, be to cover the cost of building EU-based arm's length data centres so as to be compliant when the Privacy Figleaf gets torn down. But I doubt it.

Half of EU members sidle up to EC: About the data-sharing rules. C'mon. Chill out

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"the right balance between digital products and services and the fundamental rights of data subjects"

I assume the balance intended is 1-nil to the products and services.

The underbelly of simulation science: replicating the results

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A very long time ago I was at a lecture in a British Ecological Society meeting (that's ecology as a branch of biological science, not a political movement). Someone had spent a lot of time measuring the growth of heather in the lab in response to light, temperature, water, etc. Based on that they then used a model to predict growth of heather in field conditions based on monitoring all these factors. They reported that the model hadn't performed well, being out by a factor of 3. A comment from the floor was reassuring: in modelling terms a factor of 3 was a good result. I've approached modelling with scepticism ever since.

The Sons of Kahn and the Witch of Wookey

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"And, notwithstanding Kylix they did they did plan a version for Linux."

And AFAICS this means running the IDE on Windows with a cross-compiler for Linux. They never grasped the nettle of making the IDE cross-platform; unless memory plays me false Kylix relied on running the Windows IDE in a hacked version of Wine which, like other binary-only stuff, didn't survive the transition to 2.6 kernels. What was worse the compiler that shipped with Kylix wasn't that good. That's not good in that it would barf on suitably complex but legit Pascal.

There was a compiler called cross-Kylix which could be used with Delphi and which did a better job. Here we are, a decade or so later, looking at the same approach. Meanwhile everyone who wanted to use the Delphi approach to cross-platform programming running the IDE on Linux or BSD has been getting along nicely with Lazarus. How much are they asking for RAD-Studio these days?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Prophetic

"Today with such a silly name you can easily gather hundreds of millions of VC funding, especially if you babble about IoT or the like every three words."

Provided another one of the other three is DevOps. And the third is cloud.

Hacked in a public space? Thanks, HTTPS

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"Some popular IT news websites even fail to use HTTPS in their comments if you can imagine that"

I wondered how far I'd have to read before someone pointed out this.

If you know what's good for you, your health data belongs in the cloud

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I don't know how many sets of units are in use in blood sugar testing. In this scenario 60 was dangerously low. My wife's recent test by the health centre was 50 and they were pleased, but not over-pleased that she'd got down to this figure so I doubt the result is in the same units as in the scenario. The readings on her home monitor are of an order of magnitude different to the lab results so they must be in a third set of units. Unless there's a standardisation on units this sort of system could be very dangerous.

Goracle latest: Page testifies, jury goes home

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People who live in glass houses...

Oracle must, of course, be using APIs from various places. If they were to win I wonder howmeny sue-balls will be flung at them citing their case as precedent.

The PC is dead. Gartner wishes you luck, vendors

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"A lot of UK business has been donating old computing equipment for almost a decade to organisations like UNICEF and Save the Children. What has happened to that equipment?"

Given that this is old equipment before it gets shipped one wonders how much longer it survives. In fact, how much survives the rigours of shipment. Having said that, any trip to the local skip site shows a selection of old PCs and monitors in the electronics cage. What happens to those? And how many of those PCs have been wiped?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Consider the nonsense of buying a desktop for your home

"Let us do the mental experiment of thinking that mobile internet is cheap and that games, messaging, E-Mail, telephone, video and internet access are all available in a portable device in your pocket, wherever you are and whenever you need."

OK, my mental experiment runs like this: Everyone in even my rural neighbourhood uses mobile internet for video at the same time. Bandwidth saturates. How do you increase it? Smaller and smaller cells. Very quickly you get to the point where you need lots of backhaul to service those small cells - you've reinvented internet connection to the home and wi-fi.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"PCs are no longer the first or only devices users are choosing for internet access,"

Maybe I'm getting old & the memory isn't what it was but I'm sure I can remember businesses not only using PCs for purposes other than internet access but using them for business before internet access became common. I think they might still be doing that. The vendors' problem isn't that people are using other gadgets instead of PCs, it's that the PCs they have are still working and fit for purpose.

Maybe the market for market reports has also saturated as they keep finding the same thing.

White hats bake TeslaCrypt master key into universal decryptor

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I'm surprised that the link in the article is direct to an executable rather than to the parent page. This link might be more informative: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/teslacrypt-shuts-down-and-releases-master-decryption-key/

Hmmm, where should I dump those unencrypted password files? I know - OneDrive

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Re: BS!

"They might just be in a position to benefit from what they say."

Of course.

The Windows 10 future: Imagine a boot stamping on an upgrade treadmill forever

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Re: Does anybody remember?

"But what happens when they discover that non-Microsoft is not an option because their critical software is Windows-only"

What happens when they discover it's Windows $SPECIFIC_VERSION only? Where $SPECIFIC_VERSION is probably XP. Wine. VM. There are options.

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