* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Official: Microsoft's 'Get Windows 10' nagware to vanish from PCs in July

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Removed How?

"Still, curious to see what M$'s definition of "eventually" turns out to be.."

I wondered that too. About 5 years?

Database man flown to Hong Kong to install forgotten patch spends week in pub

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Re: Not quite these distances, but still a PITA

"Fine, I drove home."

Right away? From a brewery?

'I thought my daughter clicked on ransomware – it was the damn Windows 10 installer'

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Re: If they want to get more Win10

"Offer it free to XP users"

Quite a few of the XP users will have no option but to continue using it as it controls equipment that would cost a fortune to replace and for which the custom software is limited to XP.

Windows 10 free upgrade offer ends on July 29th

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Re: I don't mind Windows 10, but what's next?

"It seems the telemetry can be disabled"

And if MS wish, re-enabled on the next update.

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Re: @jaywin - Fairly good outcome my ass

"Tell me again how this was a fairly good outcome, for something that was FREE? "

And not just free but actively forced on users.

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Re: "The program's been a success"

"If only 45% of the total numbers were eligible, and they've got almost half of them to upgrade, that'd be a fairly good outcome for any marketing department."

Given their strong-arm tactics, maybe not.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I have to run Windows 7

"Linus has such immense respect for computer professionals."

As far as I can see Linus' respect for others depends on their ability to earn it. Maybe you're a little more indiscriminating towards Microsoft's marketing department?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The Last of Us


You're displaying a fairly common human trait: thinking that your experience is universal. Those of us who have been zapping Windows in favour of Linux for friends, relatives or clients have a different experience. Clearly this isn't one that you're going to share; from what you say it seems likely it would be outside your comfort zone although you'd probably be surprised to find it wouldn't be outside your capabilities.

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Re: No more nagware?

"Because someone wrote MS actually reads these forums."

But do they recognise jokes when they see them?

Wasps force two passenger jets into emergency landings

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"Wonderful image over breakfast"

The wasp larvae certainly think so.

Suck on this: White hats replace Locky malware payload with dummy

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Re: Technically what they've done is a crime in many jurisdictions

Maybe the owners of the server will make a complaint to the local police.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

So one distribution route gets de-fanged and what does an anti-virus company do? Warn the malware slingers so they discover it a little sooner than they might otherwise have done.

The blog is headed "I'm with Stupid".

Stop resetting your passwords, says UK govt's spy network

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"if they were, the banks wouldn't hand them out like candy"

And about as effective in the case of the one I was given.

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Re: @zanshin

"I ran through work/rest/play as the 2nd half over most of 1 year, closed out the year with mars...."

Deep and fried for the start of the next year?

Microsoft: Why we tore handy Store block out of Windows 10 Pro PCs

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Re: Out with the old

'Unless you're going to fall in line, buy a lot of "apps", and be the consumer Microsoft wants for its new business model, then they don't really need to be subtle about getting rid of you.'

That depends on how many people want to buy them. On that basis they could end up getting rid of more & more possible customers.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Same old, same old.

"it seems that they feel the only way to increase sales is to force ANY business to upgrade to Enterprise, whether or not it's an appropriate choice."

Of course the message received isn't necessarily the one that was intended. It could easily be interpreted as "Windows isn't aimed at SMBs any more.".

Review legacy code: Waking dragons is risk worth taking, says Trainline ops head

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Automates searching your code-base for dragons.

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Re: 14 million lines of code?

"14 million lines of code - just to sell train tickets over the internet."

Given the complexity of rail fares it's maybe not surprising. They're fronting multiple rail company marketing departments, all beavering away being marketeers.

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Might 50 software deployments a week be part of the problem, not part of the solution?

Siemens Healthcare struck by rebranding madness

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Re: Heal...

Specsaveers. Extra syllables are available.

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Re: Sounds like

"But the people who apply veneer... they must be veneerereers."

That's a veneereal job.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Sorry, but the only acceptable use of company name changes is really when you merge two companies (Alcatel-Lucent?) and even then, only to eventually decide to retire one of the names."

Or when the old name has become toxic.

Woman charged with blowing AU$4.6m overdraft on 'a lot of handbags'

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She'll have to go to work for a bank. It's the only way she could afford to pay it off.

US telly stations fling malware-tipped web ads at unsuspecting surfers

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None of the usual apologist seem to have shown up here. I wonder why.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Round robin blame

"Quickest solution?

So take it to the end of the chain, and make each website owner legally liable for all damages caused by malware served by visiting their site."

I agree that that ought to be the case. But it's not the quickest solution. The quickest solution is ad-blockers.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "A rogue advertiser abused the Taggify self-serve ad platform"

"Advertisers ... stop wringing your hands every time you let stuff like this hit end-user systems"

Advertisers wringing their hands? I thought the stock response was "meh".

BT to splash £550m integrating EE. Firm shrugs: Cheap!

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Re: @Tony S

"you may find that the pension fund is lacking money that was given to the shareholders while BT had a pensions holiday."

The pensions holiday was forced on it by HM Treasury. Can't have companies evading tax by paying too much into pension schemes.

Ultimately, of course, it's HM Treasury on the hook because of the pensions guarantee. Other pension schemes that are in deficit because of enforced contributions holidays aren't so fortunate.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Pension scheme

"The split of responsibility for the pension deficit would no doubt have caused some very considerable complications were BT forced to split off OR (as, arguably, most BT pensioners would have worked in areas which functionally fit with OR)."

If OR were to be floated off as O2 was with the same arrangements it would still be the BT pension scheme on the hook for those pensions in payment. I'm not sure about deferred pensions.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"The business also revealed net pension deficit of £5.2bn net of tax"

That's not exactly a revelation. It's had a deficit for years now. Like other pension deficits it's a consequence of government policy coupled with the law of unintended but-entirely-foreseeable-if-only-we-weren't-so-dumb consequences.

Once upon a time BT's pension scheme was in surplus. HM Treasury tend to treat pension contributions as a species of tax evasion* and force companies which are in surplus beyond limits to take a "contribution holiday". This means that the surplus is less than it could have been and more easily turned into a deficit. That's one side of it. The other was Brown's stealth taxation, specifically his removal of allowances on pension schemes' investment income. That was quite obviously a tax on the future. That future arrived years ago and, because pension schemes had less reserves because of the contribution holidays, they found themselves in deficit.

*Being Civil Servants they have the CS pension arrangements which are a species of Ponzi scheme. There's no pension fund. Pensions are paid out of current contributions being backed by HMG's current account where necessary. BTW, whatever the popular view of Civil Service pensions they're not that great in comparison to BT's.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Shouldn't have floated off O2 in the first place. Having created the problem of not having their own mobile business they now throw money at solving it. But then common sense was never a quality I found in senior BT management.

A Brit cloud biz and an angry customer wanting a refund: A Love Story

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Re: Strange outfit...

The Manchester address is also a mail forwarding address.

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Re: Strange outfit...

"Sole trader you say?"

Not clear. If the Clever Consultants who registered the domain is the extant registered limited company, then no.

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Re: Strange outfit...

"Couldn't find any clue as to who actually runs this Monster Cloud business. But it appears that the domain is registered to a sole trader (though not with real name, which might be in breach with Nominet's rules, but I can't be bothered to confirm that right now)."

Their web site gives a registered address in Regent St, London but there's no Monster Cloud on webcheck on companies house.

The whois registration address is given as Manchester and the registrant as Clever Consultants with a web address whose hosting has lapsed but with the same whois address as monstercloud.

Companies House has two Clever Consultants Limited, one dissolved with a registered address in Argyle St, not far from Regent St but not the same. The other has a registered address in Woking. Whether either was/is connected with the Clever Consultants (not limited) responsible for the registrations is not clear.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Nice set of emails

It's going to be good evidence for the small claims court. Or for a higher court if he goes for damages due to the disruption to his business.

How 'flexible' can the UK actually be on EU data protection law?

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Re: Procedure

"But the idea is that the Schrems judgement has set a precedent that gives the EPDB exactly these powers. As a result courts are likely to side with the EPDB all the way up the chain making it pretty pointless for member states to challenge the EPDB over this."

What the article has to say about it is: "Decisions based on that Guidance can be challenged by another concerned supervisory authority and if there is such a challenge, the matter can go to the European Data Protection Board (EDPB)."

What's the situation if HMG waters down implementation to an unacceptable degree but the ICO does nothing about it. My reading that sentence implies that the EDPB would only get involved if another regulator complained. I suppose that might happen if a citizen of another country were dealing with a UK-based data controller. If, however, it was a UK citizen dealing with a UK data controller and the ICO wouldn't act then unless they could appeal direct to the EDPB there appears to be no other route than the court.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge


How can the EDPB get involved in this? Does it have to be through another national regulator or could a citizen dissatisfied with his own regulator's lack of action approach them? Or would the latter, like Schrems, have to go via the ECJ?

Intel has driven a dagger through Microsoft's mobile strategy

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Re: It's not just Microsoft.

"Apple are also reliant on Intel investing heavy R&D into CPUs that can crunch lots of data without hammering the power.


If Intel are effectively giving up on all this, then they're placing Apple in a similar situation to the one they found themselves in back in 2003, when they had similar problems with PowerPC.


Coupled with AMD's graphics IP and this makes AMD a rather tempting purchase for Microsoft"

By the same token it must make AMD a tempting purchase for Apple, maybe even more so.

Bidding war?

Old, complex code could cause another UK banking TITSUP – study

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Re: Distant memories

" It's lot's of lines that don't do checking that are the problem."

Damned apostrophes, breeding when you're not watching. Must be bit rot.

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Re: Pah

As a Perl programmer did you actually put them in in the first place.

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Thumb Up

Re: "Even if something has been written in Java in 90s that is still 20 years ago."

"Does - your - sourcecode - loose it's comments on the bedpost overnightttt?"


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Re: "Even if something has been written in Java in 90s that is still 20 years ago."

"that makes the software out of date"

No, it makes it require maintenance. Development is the process by which software is launched into maintenance. It usually spends most of its life there so it's no excuse for assigning the least competent staff to the job. Neither is it an excuse for relying on maintenance to do all the bug-fixing that should have been done during development (did someone say continuous release?) so documentation and testing are equally important in both phases.

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Re: "...a 10-15 per cent charge on that project..."

'Traditionally, the "last 10%" (suc) (sic) of the code requires the other 200% of the budget.'

UK's Universal Credit IT may go downhill soon, warns think tank report

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"Universal Credit IT may go downhill soon"


"Making a success of Universal Credit"

Definitely a Sir Humphrey job.

Venezuela tops world lightning conductor league

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Maybe they could sell this as a tourist attraction. They need the foreign currency as apparently they can't pay to have enough of their own printed to keep up with inflation. Where's Tim Worstall when you need him?

Do you know where your trade secrets are?

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"Information security has always been a matter of corporate survival."

It needs to be a requirement written into company law as part of the director's responsibilities so that our A/C Information Security Officer could remind his board about the possibility of their becoming HM's guests, and not at a garden party.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Extend this idea of restricting write privileges


You need to think outside current models. Here's one.

One admin user has the power to allocate blocks of storage for a specific application. It can neither read nor write to those blocks, just allocate them. The user has to log on specifically as that user to do that - no privilege escalation is allowed.

The specific application does nothing but provide access to specific clients. It has complete and exclusive control of the blocks allocated to it. Once a block is allocated no other application can read or write to that block; there is no super-user which can also do that, not file system which kernel routines handle. The application enforces access writes based on a combination of both client application and user. The server application starts on boot-up or has to be restarted by a specific log on - no escalation of privilege is allowed.

Write access can be tied down completely - the server can be configured at source to only accept requests from specific applications. If the server isn't so configured then control is devolved to a specific admin user who can grant write access to specific clients. This admin can also specify applications from which read requests are handled and can optionally grant this right to specific users. The admin user has to log in specifically, no escalation of privilege is allowed.

Software installs and updates are handled by a specific user ID which checks signatures of install/update files. The user has to log in specifically to do this, no privilege escalation is allowed.

Granting user credentials? You guessed it. A specific admin ID to be logged in, no privileged escallation allowed.

So Cryptolocker can neither read nor write your office files directly. It probably can't have read requests accepted and it certainly can't have write requests accepted. It can't escalate its privilege to reallocate the office storage space to itself nor can it escalate its privileges to install itself as the server for that space nor even escalate its privilege to allow itself access, even if the server accepted such grants of write access, all these actions require a specific login, each with their own credentials. On a privately owned machine the user may have the credentials for all these admin IDs but in a business environment this is unlikely. This would make it significantly more difficult to persuade a owner/user to compromise their own machine and in the case of properly administered business networks it would require the collusion of one of the admin team.

You say Windows can have compartmentalisation of admin rights. But can it have compartmentalisation of access to hardware resources?

It makes admin less convenient but in part we are currently victims of a trend to make admin more convenient at the cost of reducing security. That isn't a good trend.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: @Doctor Syntax

"Windows has much of this built in and has done for a long time."

So if, for instance, I installed MS Office on a Windows PC I could configure it so that only Word can write to Word documents and only Excel could write to spreadsheets and that either format could be read to email them but neither could be read to copy to a USB drive?

Barclays.net Bank Holiday outage leaves firms unable to process payments

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"Total number of customers or total number that tried to login?"

The total number who talk to each other at one time.

MongoDB on breaches: Software is secure, but some users are idiots

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If these are being used for BI then we know the users don't understand security as well as not understanding statistics - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/05/02/stats_the_problem_with_bi/ .

Ultra-cool dwarf throws planetary party

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Ultra-cool. Just the destination for a C ark with all the hipsters on it.

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