* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Microsoft's Windows 10 nagware storms live TV weather forecast

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Re: Oh, yeah...

"This. Its pretty obvious Microsoft don't see it that way, they see the your desktop as their advertising space and its steadily getting worse."

Just because that's the way they see it doesn't make it excusable.

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Selection bias?

A good many commentators here seem to work in large businesses, or even medium-sized businesses that are able to run specialised IT departments or market to such businesses.

For smaller businesses, and even some middle-sized businesses, this would be an inconceivable luxury. In such businesses the "IT guy", even if there is one, might be doing the job part time. He might simply be an application specialist. He might even be the business owner running routine backups along with all his other tasks (had this as a client). This is life in a large number of businesses. Just because the big-business-only group haven't experienced it they would be wrong to assume it doesn't happen.

For such businesses PCs are simply tools for staff to do their jobs, just as typewriters were in their day. They may be buying them one at a time as they need them so "enterprise" discounts don't apply, even if the eventual totals might suggest otherwise. In some instances they (and larger businesses) may be buying the PC and its operating system as an integral component of some larger bundle where specialist software is tied to the OS*. They may be buying a mixture of Windows and Macs for different purposes.

They have paid good money for such tools, just as they did for typewriters, just as they do for office furniture. As such they should be entitled to expect those tools to just get on with being used and not have minds of their own. If maintenance is required it should be able to fit the users' schedule and not the vendors. Nobody would, for example, expect the manufacturer to flag down a company car in the middle of a journey because an oil-filter change was due.

If the vendor that supplied those tools can't get them to work that way it's the vendor, that has failed and not the customer. And a vendor that not only fails in this way but is so arrogant as to continue blaming the customer is one that shouldn't expect to survive.

*I've seen this in a business which had its own large IT department. Processors were embedded in industrial printers and enveloping lines and their maintenance was outside the scope of the IT department. (For the enveloping lines, IIRC, the take-it-or-leave-it choice was a real-time Unix variant.) Similar considerations apply to laboratory equipment, scanners etc in the medical world and, no doubt to all manner of process control equipment.

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Re: Poor IT Standards at this outfit

"Computers have been a basic component of damned near ALL businesses for well over a generation now. There's no excuse for skimping on an IT department"

Chairs and desks have been basic components of damned near ALL businesses for well over a generation now. Is it your contention that they should all have a chair and desk department to make sure they're all working OK, set to the correct heights & so on?

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Re: Poor IT Standards at this outfit

"My parents and the rest of their 70-year old peer group have a problem with it"

You should help them out, install something better.

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Re: Oh, yeah...

"That was embarrassing. But it's a good way to learn for the future"

Yup. Microsoft, read and learn.

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Re: Oh, yeah...

"have what looks to be just under 150 members of staff. Deploying and maintaining the professional version of Windows Vista or 7 would be, in my opinion, the wrong choice in terms of administration and cost for an organisation of this size."

What size does an organisation have to be before, in your opinion, it takes on the extra overhead of specialised staff to run its IT system? Not that it matters, their finance department is likely to have the say over this.

"I would imagine that who ever is in charge of their IT function would have (or in this case should have) made use of Microsoft's volume licensing deals in order to get the best value out of the software that they are clearly using"

Whoever is in charge of their IT function might well have been told to keep their hands off studio kit. In fact, it may well have been bought in completely separately from any other IT in the business as a specialised hardware/software bundle for this purpose.

In any event there is no excuse whatsoever, zero, zilch, nil for a vendor overriding what the user is doing to display messages or initiate updates at arbitrary times. None.

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Re: Oh, yeah...

"That just doesn't make any sense to man nor beast."

We're talking about Microsoft here - oh, I see what you mean: beast.

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Re: @James 51 - Poor IT Standards at this outfit

"I periodically have a walk around Currys and spend a few seconds rebooting the systems from an USB stick with a live Linux distro."

You shouldn't do that. What happens when the customer gets home & finds that all he's bought is another W10 box?

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Last week a lecturer at the local Civic Society said that recently he'd been told that there was a PC available in a hall where he was to speak so he turned up with just his Powerpoint (probably on a thumb drive!). The PC spent 55 minutes downloading updates.

To forestall what seem to be usual comments: just a PC in a hall, no WSUS, no IT department to run a single PC. Yes, I know the organisers shouldn't have connected it to the net but they probably weren't Register readers who'd have known that.

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Re: @James 51 - Poor IT Standards at this outfit

"I periodically have a walk around Currys"

If you walk round Currys hoping to find Linux in any guise other than Android you must have time to waste.

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Re: Poor IT Standards at this outfit

"Any Computer running in a corporate environment that sees this message is an immediate red flag that your IT is not being managed correctly."

For some values of corporate. There are very many medium-sized businesses that can't afford a team of BOFHs to look after their systems.

They have been sold the idea of a small network of computers running Windows Professional as a cheap and simple way of meeting their computing needs. Maybe they should have known better. Maybe they should have known the salesman was lying because they could see his lips moving. Nevertheless they have bought this stuff in good faith and are now finding that faith misplaced. They are businesses in their own fields, not in computing; they should not be required to run the overhead of an IT department to deal with what they've been sold.

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"Win7 Professional certainly is home software if you choose to use it at home."

And by the same token it's professional software if you choose to use it professionally. As per my comment above, they've probably been using a set-up that's worked well for them over the years. Why should they be expected to have had the foresight to set it up differently so that their vendor couldn't do this to them years in the future?

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Re: GWX Control Panel might help here

"There are reasons not to?"

Yes, if you're just running on a VM for some occasional requirement W2K might do just as well.

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Re: Do what I've done

"Windows 7 at SP1 level only. No Internet access allowed (Network adapter disabled in Control Panel)."

They probably needed a connection to get the forecast maps onto the PC in the first place. One doesn't just install a PC nor install an OS on it just for the sake of it. One does it to perform a job and the job will have other requirements beyond the hardware & OS.

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Re: Oh, yeah...

"So, if this news station had been running an enterprise version of what looks like either Vista or 7, the popup would never have ruined their lovely weather report."

Disregarding for a moment the post which says your assumption isn't true, let's examine the implications a little further. At some point in the past, probably several years ago, they set up this system. They used what would at that time have been a perfectly appropriate version of Windows, Vista or 7, probably Professional. Now you're saying that they should have spent extra on Enterprise, even if they had no other reason to do so, because they should have predicted that Microsoft would do this and they should have protected themselves. They may be doing weather forecasting but that doesn't extend so far into the future.

The Internet of Things edges toward a practical reality

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Re: "number one biggest problem: standards"

"The 17 million shipping containers I can't imagine because he can't even imagine what kind of sensor they should be fitted with never mind what use they would be."

That's a use I can think of. Finding out where they've got to.

My brother in law used to be a mechanic for a skip hire company. The drivers each had their own locations up and down the county where they'd stash skips that had gone AWOL from the main business so they could do a few jobs on the side. I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing happened to containers.

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"One part of the solution is the launch of Artik Cloud"

Somebody else's computer. What happens when somebody else loses interest and wanders off to do something else? How do you Resolv that problem?

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Re: "There are countless problems" ... Indeed.

"[3] Standards"


Galileo in spaaace: France's 'equivalence principle' satellite

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"all objects ... should fall at the same speed"

Exhibit the same acceleration?

America edges closer to get-a-proper-warrant-to-read-my-email law

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"Not sure that applies as US law is rather big on exercising any leverage they can find."


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Presumably the TLAs will argue that because it's US legislation it won't apply to email held on servers in Ireland.

Dyson hair dryer

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Re: Measuring isn't controlling

"Thankfully common sense has triumphed and they've been ripped out and replaced with towels."

I saw a report recently how much more effective those high speed driers were at spreading bacteria - several orders of magnitude higher, in fact. Assuming your towels are disposable as opposed to being bits of cloth hung on the wall*, they're the best solution.

*Lab assignment from student days ($HOW_LONG??-ago). Take towel hanging above lab WHB. Press onto surface of nutrient agar. Close Petri dish lid. Incubate. Observe technicolour growth a few days later.

Apple will be grilled by Irish National Planning Board over €850m data centre plan

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Re: Sounds like the site is/was a tree farm

'since it is now a "forest" in name only if the trees aren't native and have probably been planted in rows.'

Calling non-native plantations forests is a prime example of getting rid of the difficult bit in the title.

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As a non-native (?Sitka spruce) plantation it would always have been intended to be harvested by clear felling after a number of years. From what I can see on Google maps a large portion of it has already been felled. If it was previously woodland the real environmental offence would have been the plantation itself. I wonder what the local objections were to the existing adjacent golf course.

Another failed merger, Carly? Ted Cruz to bring in ex-HP boss Fiorina as running mate

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"Cruz ... has no experience in business."

By comparison he should regard that as an advantage.

Apple man found dead at Cupertino HQ, gun discovered nearby

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'Sgt Andrea Urena of Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office described the death as "isolated incident,"'

No. A death is hardly ever an isolated incident. It affects a wider circle than the deceased.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise: Wanna walk the plank voluntarily? You got it

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The HP fragments must have remarkably able C-suite executives. Because as things are going at present they'll be the only ones left to fill the contracts. At which point they'll probably be hit with IR35.

Is Dublin becoming as unaffordable as San Francisco?

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Re: Housing shortage

"Dublin can't get enough skilled people"

Could the housing shortage have anything to do with that?

China's Dalek-like robots fear only one terrifying nemesis: Stairs

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"It's fitted with a stun weapon"

A robot BOFH.

Linux infosec outfit does a Torvalds, rageblocks innocent vuln spotter

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Shooting the messanger

Never a good idea.

Docker hired private detectives to pursue woman engineer's rape, death threat trolls

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"Yep, I reckon Docker should do the decent thing and release details of the harassment that was aimed at their employee."

You mean, in effect, repeat the harassment in public?

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Re: @Meldreth -- Utterly unacceptable

"Am I on a different planet?"

You seem to be.

"Why wouldn't tech journalists call out Docker to share what they found when investigating this?"

Because they're sufficiently well-informed to realise that (a) investigations proceed best when the subject isn't warned of progress and (b) if the investigation results in court action such action might have to be dropped if prior publication were to be ruled prejudicial.

Google can't hold back this malware running riot in its Play store

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Re: What chance ordinary users to stay safe?

"Sadly, they don't seem to have been taken further."

Maybe they'd not be backwards-compatible with their existing OS. That clean slate is a problem for everyone who's got an existing product. Just like Unix, MS has a heritage extending back into the '70s.

The 70s/early 80s had a big advantage. There was new hardware without any OS. Although Bell labs were working with hardware that did have an OS that was nullified because they'd been working on an abandoned line of OS research, Multics, so they also had a clean slate. It's going to be hard for anyone to push themselves back to that position and then try to compete against existing platforms with existing app-stores, however flawed.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Richard Branson will lead Sage's 'sexy accounting' shtick

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"Why do corporates pay for these celebs to attend their conferences?"

I think it's the execs' idea. It makes them feel important.

But celebs & beancounters - is it really a marriage made in heaven?

Thunderbird is GO: Mozilla prepares to jettison mail client

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'Last time I complained on a Thunderbird forum I got told "It's free, how can you complain about something you don't pay for"'

This is a common problem with FOSS forums. There's always a smattering of religious zealots who assume that because it's free in the Stallman sense that it must be beyond criticism - and will be even more beyond criticism in the next release. Alternatively you'll be told that there's the source, fix it up yourself. In reality the actual devs may well be aware of the problems but are too busy chasing something more demanding - such as chasing a changes in the libraries on which they depend.

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"This would be a terrible blow."

What would? The article discusses alternatives to enable Thunderbird to be better supported. I don't see that as a terrible blow, more like something to be welcomed.

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Re: Thunderbird needed resources better spent on Firefox,

"Under the hood, Firefox is racing flat out to keep up with Chrome implementing the standard. If Firefox so much as pulls in for a pit stop, it will fall behind catastrophically and be lost."

And the corollary seems to be that Thunderbird, by using the underpinnings of Firefox has exactly the same problem in relation to Firefox that Firefox has in relation to Chrome. As far as I'm aware Seamonkey also has the same problem and so does Palemoon.

I recall reading that Palemoon were considering writing their own rendering engine. Maybe there's scope for all the Mozilla spin-offs and splinter groups to get together and provide themselves with their own common core, either as a fork or from ground up.

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Re: Still around?

"So Thunderbird's a fully-fledged mail server now, is it?"

Read this carefully. Thunderbird allows you to download your mail from the server and keep, i.e. store, it anywhere you want, even with multiple copies in multiple locations. Was that too difficult to understand?

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Re: Still around?

"you need your own mail server as well"

Yes, but you don't need to run it yourself. In addition to the usual suspect there are paid for service providers. Your ISP may include an email service although using it makes it harder to jump ship if they have problems such as, let's say, three security breaches in less than a year.

My own solution is my own domain with both the registration and email server handled by a single hosting company. Several years advance payment didn't amount to much and I can set up multiple email addresses within the domain.

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Re: Thunderbird needed resources better spent on Firefox,

"Can someone else look after Firefox too?"


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Re: I use thunderbird, and don't want to see it go

"Seamonkey is still going strong for the truly nostalgic."

When re-homing Thunderbird with the Document Foundation was looked at some months ago one of the issues raised was the need to re-skin it to fit in with LibreOffice. In its Seamonkey guise the mail client wouldn't be a problem. Ironically it seems that LibreOffice (and OpenOffice?) had a good deal of Seamonkey code buried in it until fairly recently in order to have access to the address-book.

As a user of both Seamonkey and LibreOffice my preferred choice would be to see the Document Foundation look after the whole shooting match giving the option of anything between a free-standing email client and a complete package.

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Re: Still around?

Given the existence of good email clients why would anyone want to keep their email on someone else's computer?

F-35's dodgy software in the spotlight again

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Re: Just trust US. We've been flying by the seat of our pants for a long time

"the most incredible flying machine"

"Incredible" seems to be the operative word here.

Hackers so far ahead of defenders it's not even a game

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Re: Don't remind me!

"the CFO complains that his Windows is getting slower and no-one is upgrading his laptop."

Probably the best option would be to collect his laptop first thing every the morning for its daily update. The daily update would be so exhaustive that it would only be ready to return to him last thing at night.

Meet the malware that screwed a Bangladeshi bank out of $81m

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" SWIFT said that the attack didn't exploit a vulnerability in its security systems and was entirely dependent on an attacker compromising a local terminal."

Including your terminals within your security system boundaries might be a good idea. After all, they're the obvious points of attack.

FBI ends second iPhone fight after someone, um, 'remembers' the PIN

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Re: this whole unlocking thing kills their bluffs

"Making the cost of over $1 million public was probably not Comey's best move"

I hope they kept the receipt.

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Re: They'll keep trying

"They will likely pick another case in the same judicial district as the San Bernadino case, where they already had a favorable lower court ruling"

Reportedly when they got the initial ruling they'd told the court that it would be easy for Apple & Apple didn't get to say their piece. If that's the case there's probably a magistrate there now who's a little upset about the whole thing so I doubt another warrant would go through on the nod in that court.

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And what was found on the phone now it's unlocked? Will we be told?

What a difference a year makes: ICO tele-spam fines break £2m barrier

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"a £5,000 penalty issued to an MP"

I'm disappointed to read that. Telephone spam should have been sufficient to make them an ex-MP. What were the voters thinking of? I wonder if the fine should have been reported as part of their election costs.

Ad-blocker blocking websites face legal peril at hands of privacy bods

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Re: @FF22 no one pays attention to them??

'How many times have you said "I bet he drinks Carling Black Label"?'


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