* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

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

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: This study says what?

"I'm thinking the companies who would allow this study to take place on their systems likely don't think security first; skewing the results."

A minimal amount of research - if you could go as far as calling a quick Google and looking at their website research - shows that they're security consultants who do such scanning on clients' cloud use to look for this sort of thing. So companies who call them in are actually being security conscious* and the skew might be in the opposite direction to what you thought.

*Or maybe not if they're using someone else's computer.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: BS!

'I call BS. There isn't one word in their report about how they got their "estimate".'

Let's see now.... Google Skyhigh Networks.... Hmm, there's their web-site, click on it, scroll down till we find out what they do for a living... Hey, they act as security consultants for corporates, checking both shadow IT and official IT. You know something? They might just be in a position to discover what they say.

Storage array firmware bug caused Salesforce data loss

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Re: Predicting failure modes

"Most companies would prefer the asterisk disclaimer at the end of their Up-Time Promise."

If you run your own services it's your data and ultimately your business at risk and you can decide what it's worth paying to protect it. If you decide to put the services on someone else's computer then from that someone else's point of view it's not their data and only the penalties in the SLA are at risk.

Adpocalypse 'will wipe out display ad growth' by 2020

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Re: Protection?

"I really don't understand why people here can't see that adblockers hurt the wrong people. There are typically at least four parties involved: content providers, ad brokers, advertisers and viewers."

Your second sentence is something I've pointed out here myself. But the only technology available to viewers is the ad-blocker and for reasons of security, if nothing else, the ad-blocker is not going to go away.

Also, I'm sure the advertisers themselves, if they go online without an ad-blocker, find the obnoxious ads - and by association their advertisers - as obnoxious as the rest of us find them. At some point they're going to realise that that's how they're seen by the rest of us. Then they'll start to wonder why they're paying good money to have the general public find them obnoxious and whether this is costing them more than just the price of the ads.

So there are a couple of reasons why the old business model is in its coffin being nailed down. If you're in the content industry you'd be better occupied in looking for a new business model rather than fighting ad-blockers. I don't think the present idea is going to be the one; it's simply a variation on micro-payments and the problem with micro-payments is likely to be the unit cost of processing each payment being too big a proportion of the whole.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

If I were to encounter a subscription site worth subscribing to, or if I were running a subscription site, I'd expect the deal to be direct between subscriber and site. Why should a 3rd party horn in and get money for nothing?

Ad blocking by ordinary users might be costing the ad industry some money. But we may reasonably expect to find that some of those using ad blockers are also the advertising industry's clients - after all why should they find having ads pushed in their faces any less unpleasant than the rest of ut. And when they realise that the rest of us have the same dislike of them as they do of the rest of adverts they'll start to wonder why they're paying good money to be disliked. That's when the industry's problems really start.

Manchester cops to strap on 3K bodycams

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Re: Storage

"It's amazing that the police demand almost infinited storage duration for anything on the PNC, including illegally maintained biometrics on those arrested but innocent, yet they can only argue to store their own directly obtained evidence for a month."

So, damned if they do, damned if they don't?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: That's not too bad

"If the footage is going to be kept secure with no possibility of unauthorised access as is claimed, and destroyed after a month if it is not required, I see nothing wrong with filming any of the situations you describe."

And then at some point the accused demands all the video of the distressed victim and promptly posts it on YouTube.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: That's not too bad

"How about when taking the intimate sample from the rape victim? Think she's going to want that on video?"

Police surgeon's job.

Girls outpace boys in US IT and engineering test

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Re: There's a touch of the 'bleedin obvious' here

"Our daughter did OK, she's and engineer/pilot but then she didn't stand much of a chance going into the humantities."

Not even it she'd wanted to?

Sainsbury’s Bank insurance spam scam causes confusion

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"Which is why you buy a cheap domain and give every company a unique email."

I do this. I gave PayPal their own address. I was surprised to receive a confirmation email from a vendor who I'd paid via PayPal and who hadn't asked for an address. Clearly PayPal are passing on my address to vendors. They seem to lack any concept that this is a bad idea if only to avoid being impersonated.

They should make it clear to vendors that they can have the billing address (to check for fraudulent purchases) but if the vendor wants an email address for the customer they must ask for it themselves.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"It's also not uncommon for companies to outsource e-mail marketing to third parties,who may turn out to be spammers"

It's also not uncommon for companies to outsource e-mail marketing to third parties, who are spammers


Unsolicited, bulk, commercial email. The definition of spam.

It's all very well hacking ISIS, Barry, but what about your ISA?

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Are HPE thinking of cybercrime as a new business opportunity? Or are they worried that the cyber-criminals will go legit and out compete them by offering better customer service?

Hewlett Packard Enterprise hiring temps to cover for redundancies - sources

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"But contractors aren't people"

No, contractors are businesses (retired contractor speaks) and will have factored in this. They won't have had redundancy payments. In fact it will be contractors who pick up the slack.

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Re: Sort-a

Most people who have been made redundant do not have access to such "justice for the rich".'

Trade Unions do.

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If a "redundant" post is back-filled doesn't it change the "redundancy" to wrongful dismissal with the possibility of suing for better compensation?

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

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Re: Scared Sh*tless with W10 updates

"AC because i'm an utter knob because in the past I thought it would be a good idea to install a W10 PC as a file server into a tiny office. They use a SQL express DB as the backend for an app."

Help is coming - maybe: SQL Server on Linux.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: If there's one thing...

"We already know that SME's are be able to purchase Windows Enterprise licences."

What about SMBs, those businesses that can't (other, maybe than Trotters' Independent Traders) aspire to call themselves enterprises? What about individual professionals? Businesses that don't have the spare cash to upgrade to Enterprise licenses?

Are you telling them that Windows is no longer a suitable OS for their purposes?

No, scrap the interrogative, you are telling them that.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: So...

"many companies are, more or less, happily wedded to Windows stacks."

Happily wedded to old Windows stacks.


When "old" becomes "obsolete" and "wedded" becomes "enslaved" it's time to review the market.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: So...

"those still struggling to get rid of IE & ActiveX crap are in for a massive re-wire effort either way."

Which gives them the opportunity and reason to make a long-term decision.

Destroying ransomware business models is not your job, so just pay up

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"To this end the FBI and others would be better saving their breath and offering advice about how victims can identify and then decrypt their ransomware infections, rather than delivering sermons from an ivory tower"

However although "breaking criminal business models is not, however, the job of the system administrator" it is the FBI's job so the best thing they could do is get on with it.

China's new rules may break the internet warns US government

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"The world's governments have long acknowledged that what countries do within their own borders is largely their own business."

The US, of course, has long taken the view that what it wants to do within other countries' borders is also its own business.

Their upset about China's actions might have an element of sour grapes in that they didn't get round to doing that first.

Art heist 'pranksters' sent down for six months

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It sounds as if what they really need are brain transplants.

UK needs comp sci grads, so why isn't it hiring them?

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"The employers provide hands on experience in a real work environment, and steer the academic input"

Do you really think that employers would be ready to step up to that plate when they can just hire in cheap labour from abroad?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Science?

" Engineering is a discipline, the state of most current software products shows exactly why no sw dev can be called an engineer"

Yes, we know that. Which means, if you think about it, that Mr Massey has made a very good point.

ZFS comes to Debian, thanks to licensing workaround

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"what's the point in licensing your free software?"

Because if you don't license it it isn't free.

A license is a grant of permission. That's the meaning of the word. If you don't believe me look it up for yourself. An example would be a driving license - it's a permit to drive.

f you don't grant a license you're not allowing anybody else to use it. That's the legal position. There seems to be a common misconception to the contrary but it most certainly is a misconception.

Of course you can add restrictive clauses to your license. Your driving license, for instance, might restrict you to driving certain types of vehicles; nevertheless without it you're not legally permitted to drive at all. A software license might impose certain restrictions. The GPL's restrictions are different to BSD's & some might consider them more onerous but in both cases they are permissions to use and distribute the software subject to those restrictions.

I presume it's the restrictions that are the root of the misconception but, I repeat, it is a misconception because the licenses are essentially grants of permissions to do something which would otherwise be a breach of copyright.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"That's one of the most stupid things you can do - especially when you're not fully aware of the long-term implications."

Another is to not specify a licence in the first place, presumably on the basis that it's the freest of all. It's not, of course, it's the most restrictive because a licence is a grant of permission to use: no licence, no permission.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: That's Why...

Firstly, we need to differentiate between Linux the kernel and Linux distributions.

Linux the kernel has the ability to accommodate loadable modules some of which are included in the kernel source. ZFS isn't one of these. Neither are such items as user space file systems and binary drivers.

Linux distributions package the kernel, a bundle of tools including a whole raft of more or less Unix-like tools. As we've seen Ubuntu bundle a GPL'd kernel-derived module which interfaces with the non-GPL'd ZFS file system. Ubuntu, presumably on the basis of legal advice, take the position that this indirect link between the kernel and non-GPL code isn't such as to make the ZFS code a derivative on the kernel and hence isn't subject to the GPL.

Secondly we need to consider the legality of this in terms of licensing. As I've spelled out here a few times whenever some new legal situation arises the only way to be sure of the way the law will deal with it is the decision of the highest court that adjudicates (which might differ in different jurisdictions). The only way this is going to receive such a ruling is if someone with suitable standing, presumably a kernel contributor with contributions to the parts of the kernel most closely associated with the interfaces being used, takes the case to court. RMS might not like the situation but he isn't a court and unless he takes action himself and convinces a court that he has sufficient standing then there's not a lot he can do about it AFAICS. If the kernel contributors don't take legal action within a reasonable period of time we have to assume that either they accept the Ubuntu position, take the view that they don't believe that they have a strong enough case against Ubuntu or simply can't be bothered.

It's worth noting that although ZFS isn't GPL it is, AFAIK open source under the CDDL licence. This is in clear distinction to many binary-only drivers that many Linux distributions include. If the inclusion of ZFS were successfully challenged in court distributions might start to be concerned about including such drivers; under such circumstances the entire Linux project would be in serious trouble.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"The problem with non-GPL licensed software seems to me to be that it eliminates the requirement for reciprocity that the GPL licences embody."

It's only a problem if your wrote the software and demand reciprocity. If you write something and release it under BSD then presumably you don't care about reciprocity so no problem.

Spied upon by GCHQ? You'll need proof before a court will hear you...

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I doubt Privacy International is too worried. A refusal by the IPT is likely to be a required step to taking this to the European court.

Sysadmin paid a month's salary for one day of nothing

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OK, I've posted it here maybe a couple of times before but...

Client had two not-quite-same systems running a product which wasn't Y2K compatible in the version they were running. One of the systems could run the later version, the older one couldn't. The older one was the hot standby, allegedly kept ready to roll by an overnight NFS copy.* Their decision was to replace both boxes with new ones running the current S/W and cut over between Xmas & New Year. I had a contract for several weeks to install and oversee UATs all of which was successful, in other words the sort of work which generally made Y2K the non-event which the great uninformed insisted proved the work wasn't needed.

The bean-counters flat-refused to let us cut over before New Year as their accounting year was also the calendar year and they wouldn't take the "risk" of using the new system until they'd closed down the year which took them into the middle of January. The actual risk they took, of course, was that the old system wouldn't handle the new data properly. It didn't & we had the vendors dialling in two or three times a week to fix corrupted data until we were finally allowed to cut over.

Yup, Y2K did have the makings of a lot of stuff going wrong if the remedial work hadn't been done.

*One of the things I discovered was that the data had grown too big to be copied within the overnight window. The tapes from the main system would have been OK but if the main had gone titsup the hot standby wouldn't have worked.

Salesforce.com crash caused DATA LOSS

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Staffing realignment

"A rolling head gathers no moss..."

...but plenty of golden handshakes.

Kazakhstan wins bid to get Mega IP address info on state secrets hackers

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Re: Ordered to hand over rather more than just IP addresses

Likely answers. If the hacker was any good why would he do anything different?

(i) Tor exit node

(ii) Disposable email address

(iii) Says his name is Borat

(iv) ?

(v) Bitcoin

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

@John Savard

I agree with your first sentence. But the second doesn't make sense. The subpoena is exactly the sort of demand the US tries to make around the world - although as far as possible it might try to avoid foreign courts in favour of direct action - and it's more likely to support the Kazakhstan government than citizen.

Americans cutting back on online activity over security and privacy fears

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Re: It's not surprising.

"Senior level decision, senior level impact, senior level liability. It actually isn't hard - it's just made to look that way."

Agreed. The only justification for their salaries is the level of responsibility they carry.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It's not surprising.

"As it happens I know I destroyed the old SIM card"

That doesn't help you. The SIM has a unique number but it's not the mobile number. The mobile number is associated with the SIM by the network. Eventually it will be reassigned to another SIM.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It's not surprising.

Not even paper statements are secure. I've received my own statement along with someone else's.

Big Pharma wrote EU anti-vaping diktat, claims Tory ex-MEP

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Re: Have to ask...

"all the players of the cancer industry (which also includes many pharma-funded public health bodies and anti-smoker charities) have vested interests in keeping people smoking"

Once again Sir Humphrey explained it. Yes [Prime] Minister should be part of the national curriculum.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Hurrah!


Occasionally that does happen. Fortunately it's not the norm.

In regard to the firearms laws a little after that Blair had his photo-opportunity with the UK Olympics squad who signally failed to use the chance to point out that some of their number had been disadvantaged by it.

Ooh missus, get a grip on my notifications

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

'My personal favourite is a local turfing contractor who uses the slogan "Don't seed it, sod it"'

A local chimney sweep has one of the shortest slogans painted on his van: "Up yours".

The fork? Node.js: Code showdown re-opens Open Source wounds

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Similarly, anyone hosting code on GitHub might want to think about what the transition away from GitHub will look like for their project."

Some projects have made a similar transition in that they've moved from Sourceforge to Github. Maybe projects should voluntarily move every few years, partly to ensure that they have the capacity to do so and partly as a reminder to the corporates that this can happen if the corporates don't play nice.

Banning computers makes students do better on exams – MIT

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I'm reminded that a lecture is a means of transferring information from the lecturers notes to the students' notes without passing through the heads of either.

Popular cache Squid skids as hacker pops lid

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"... attackers can readily obtain the necessary vantage point using techniques such as web ads."

Here we go again.

Blocking ads? Smaller digital publishers are smacked the hardest

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Re: Who knew ?

"there is no adblock available on our builds."

Maybe you should have a word with your sysadmins. Get your security improved before you get hit.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: @kryptonaut RE: "...you won't get content..."

"Copying an MP3 maybe morally wrong, but doesn't that mean listening to a radio equates to the same wrongness, the creator still gets nothing and you hear a song for nothing."

The radio broadcaster should be paying royalties so the creator is being paid (give or take the operation of the royalty collection industry).

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: @kryptonaut RE: "...you won't get content..."

"But, at the moment, ads are part of an ecosystem which also includes content providers and content consumers."

Ahh. Ecosystem. Ecosystems are where natural selection operates. And natural selection is going to remove the unfit PDQ. Those who see the way things are going will adapt and survive. Those who don't won't.

You won't change the whole by picking them off one at a time with complaints about obtrusive ads. In fact it's not the obtrusive ads that are going to kill it, it's the malware. Ad-blockers are now part of the security set-up along with anti-virus. Malware and advertisers catching onto the fact that we're being negatively influenced by the ads. That's why the old days aren't coming back.

And ignore the conclusion the article comes to. If the small publishers are the ones that feel the pressure most they should also be the ones who can adapt more quickly. Isn't that what we're always told about small businesses?

TalkTalk customers decide to StayStay after £3m in free upgrades

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You can fool some of the people all the time.

Ireland's international tech sector bumps up against language barrier

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"I don't remember having to identify anything much past verbs, adverbs and adjectives"

I had a line manager like that once. I had to bring in a copy of Fowler to show him that my using a gerund in a report was grammatically correct.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

" One word is derived from German and is pronounced <one way>;" etc

Prompted by a comment in another thread a few days ago I keep intending to see if it's possible to draw up a complete phonetic alphabet based on words where the first letter is silent e.g. k as in knee.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Esperanto?

"more of us did Latin in school than that."

I'd describe it more as having Latin done to us. Despite several years of it my smidgeon of Latin is more botanical than classical.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It starts in the schools...

"You lack the qualification in our ancient tongue, and therefore cannot be considered for this senior post"

I've had that one in Ireland. There were two candidates for a post in an Irish university. I had several years research experience in the topic. The successful candidate had experience of an honours project and Irish. OTOH my kids avoided compulsory Irish in school.

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