* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16427 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Love our open API? Talk to our lawyers, says If This Then That

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Re: Seriously?

"Just what in hell's name do they (or their deranged lawyers) expect to profitably gain by this?"

They expect lots of users to sign up without reading the ToS. And they're probably right.

'No regrets' says chap who felled JavaScript's Jenga tower – as devs ask: Have we forgotten how to code?

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Well, hi there, Qix-. Are you going to comment on anything else?

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Re: Maybe the lazy in us expects...

"the implicit contract"

Implicit? As in not worth the paper it's not written on?

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Re: Are these dynamic dependencies really a good idea?

"the idea of versioning and micro-dependencies works fine in the javascript world"

Lots of thing work fine right up to the point where they hit the wall - as demonstrated here.

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Which was around first, Nik the messaging app or nik wot Koçulu wrote?

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Re: So, theft is better than failure?

"They are open source packages, once you release code open source you can't claim ownership over its use. That's the whole point of open source."

Maybe. It depends what, if any, licence is attached. A licence is permission to do something. Just because the source is published it doesn't mean a licence was granted.

Unless the ToCs of the site require the author to grant a licence or the author explicitly granted a licence then there isn't one which means there's actually no permission. Continued use then depends on the author's goodwill in not enforcing copyright and the author is entirely within his rights in withdrawing if he feels that's appropriate. So the relevant questions are was a licence granted by publication on the site and if so what were its terms?

Mal Men men hit LiveJournal with Angler exploit kit

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Re: Ad Blockers?

"Fix this sort of thing..."

It's beyond fixing.

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It's been obvious for some time now that this was likely to be final nail in the ad industry's coffin if the likes of Google didn't deal with it PDQ. All that's left now is for the ad blockers to fill in the hole.

The FBI lost this round against Apple – but it aims to win the war

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Re: End of the War

"For more than two centuries there has been a balance in the US between the government and citizens as to how far the government may intrude into citizens' personal and private matters, and on what basis....The basic arrangement, in which a government official must petition a judge for a search warrant, citing facts to support a claim of probable cause to believe a crime has been committed or is about to be, and describing the search target with reasonable precision, has not changed and is not likely to."

The first statement applies pretty widely to any legal system that inherits from the English. It was the second that was in danger here as success for the FBI would undoubtedly have been the first step in attempting to gain a chain of precedents that would end by compelling vendors to supply skeleton keys on demand.

If such a change were made it would require a wide consideration of public policy which includes considerations such as does the US (or any other specific country debating this) want a tech industry.

Apple's fruitless rootless security broken by code that fits in a tweet

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No magic bullet

Of course it isn't a magic bullet. Existing security in both the Windows and Unix-derived worlds is too close to being perimeter-only for safety. We need at least three things to make life difficult for malware and for ransomware in particular.

First, instead of accessing storage on their own user processes should go through a back-end with specific permissions. My particular experience of this is with Informix where normal usage is to assign one or more allocations of raw disk, chown informix:informix, chmod 660 but this idea isn't specific to a particular product.

Secondly, introduce a concept of application permissions that sits alongside user permissions. The backend might, for instance be run by user and group odf-storage and only accept read/write requests from odf-user which would own the likes of LibreOffice and OpenOffice applications and even then only honour requests that matched the user's permissions.

Thirdly, and this is where something like Apple's idea comes in, the kernel would lock root out from changing such storage on its own account; it would need to be authorised by a specific user, such as odf-admin for instance, to de-allocate odf storage.

There are a good many practical difficulties is this, primarily in maintaining the chain of authenticity through updates. But Unix security has been watered down over the years in the name of convenience and Windows, starting as a single user system, has found it difficult to build security in and their problems won't be addressed by simply wringing our hands when things get hard.

It would also help if email had signing built in as part of the core protocol, web-advertising would just die and web 2.0 designers didn't rely on hauling in bits of code from sites over which they have no control.

BMW complies with GPL by handing over i3 car code

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"or are told not to escalate things which I'd have thought unlikely."

ISTM that typical call centres today completely lack escalation. Queries just get bounced round between front line agents to fail repeatedly because front line is all there is.

Legal right to 10Mbps broadband is 'not enough', thunders KCOM chief

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Re: Faux Yorkshire subtitle

"Is regionally incorrect."

Is there any region in which it is correct?

Zombie SCO rises from the grave again

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A commentard here pointed out last time round that the terms of that judgement appeared to be clearing a way for an appeal so this should be no surprise.

Closing courts to fling £700m at digital stand-ins will fail, MPs snarl at UK.gov

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Re: Ah!

"Just another round of flogging off the nation's assets to cover the incompetence of the Chancellor."

Yes, but which chancellor? The current one, the previous one or the one before that who thought that the best way to manage interest rates was to exclude a housing bubble from his inflation measurements?

Ransomware now using disk-level encryption

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Re: Always a fool

"Because education isn't as effective as you think....And before you can suggest firing him, more often than not the idiot's up top."

Experience is a dear teacher but there are those who will learn from no other.

US govt says it has cracked killer's iPhone, legs it from Apple fight

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Re: Missing the big picture

"The bottom line is the FBI are now in a position to assert that Apple's unwillingness to help law enforcement endangered America and Americans."

They can & maybe will assert it. You can assert anything you want. Proving it is tricky. To prove it they'd have to arrest some previously unknown co-conspirator and introduce evidence from the phone, together with an account of how that evidence was obtained.

But you're right, they can assert it. That's easy.

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Re: Fingerprints

"I'm assuming the feds may have obtained the miscreants fingerprints at some point, perhaps during immigration?"

What's this with immigration? They had the bodies - fingerprints, toeprints, arseprints, anything they wanted. I think we can assume that that wasn't enough.

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Re: So what happens...

"when the FBI say they found important evidence"

And prove it.

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Re: Luggage telltale

"Except that after your side-cutters have been confiscated at security, you have no way to open your own luggage"

Don't they have shops that sell side cutters in the US?

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Re: We live in interesting times...

"Did the FBI actually get what they wanted or is this a face saving smokescreen."

Let's see what happens to all those other phones that are supposed to be in the queue. That might drop us a hint.

Another factor about this one - even if there was information in here it wouldn't be likely to end up as evidence in court so they can keep quiet about what, if anything, they did. If there is a technique that works and that actually produces evidence in the other cases they'll have to tell something about it in court.

As I said, let's see.

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Re: And now this is the worst

"What was being resisted was (a) a tool that could be routinely used (e.g. during police stop & search or temporary unauthorized access to a phone)...

That's not something that was ever being asked for, nor is it something that it would have been reasonable to believe was possible."

You don't think so? Not necessarily in the first place. But having got a precedent in the bast case they could come up with the next step would be to widen it a little. And then a little more. And so on.

The other issue could have been that there's a precedent which only applies if the suspect is dead. Well, that's a circumstance that could be arranged...

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Re: A Kick in the Nuts

"And 256 bit encryption CANNOT be brute forced. "

How many times do we have to have somebody trying to show us how smart they are by grasping the wrong end of the stick.

The FBI weren't trying to break 256 bit encryption by brute force.

They were trying to break a pass code.

A four digit pass code AIUI.

Now go away and work out how many bits that is. Big clue: it's a lot less than 256 bits.

Boffins urged to publish in free journals by science sugardaddy

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Re: Lead by example

@ rosso

"Wellcome does publish an Open Access journal. It is called eLife."

Wellcome is one of three supporters, whatever that might mean. The registered address is in Delaware & the UK address is in Cambridge. Without the Wellcome name it the title it'll have to make its own reputation - which I hope it does. What I had in mind would be something like The Wellcome Journal of $subject or Proceedings of the Wellcome Institute which would make direct use of the Wellcome's reputation along the lines of Proc.Roy.Soc.

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Lead by example

Perhaps the Trust should lead by example and publish its own open access journals. A journal with the Wellcome name behind it would to a great deal to raise the status of OA publication.

There'd possibly be a challenge on conflict of interest. At least in the first instance it might restrict papers to those reporting work it hadn't funded, possibly in areas that it doesn't fund at all.

Confused by crypto? Here's what that password hashing stuff means in English

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Re: "To obtain a certificate from a CA you have to convince them of your credentials"

"(taking a quick look at off-the-shelf pre-registered company suppliers) will set you back all of £60...."

That's inflation for you. IIRC they used to be a tenner.

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"Sorry David, but your explanation of password hashing is entirely wrong.

You cannot "decrypt" a hash. It's not enciphered, it's digested/hashed"

Which article were you reading? The one I read said nothing of the sort.

Let’s re-invent small phones! Small screens! And rubber buttons!

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Re: Random buttons

"just another bit of pointless electronics to go wrong."

I looked into this some time ago when the latest version of what I then drove had this monstrosity. It turned out that if the control failed & left the handbrake on you had to unseal the mechanism & release it by about 100 turns using some implement. Because you'd now unsealed the mechanism it would be susceptible to damage and needed to be replaced by a new, sealed unit at quite horrendous cost. Not explained was how, while you were doing this, you stopped the car rolling away if you'd trustingly used the "hand"brake to park on a hill nor did it explain how you were expected to deal with a failure to apply the brake if your only option was to park on a hill.

So that was a lost sale.

All this because nobody on the design team thought to wonder "what if?".

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"It’s like a car designer creating a feature that ejects all the wheels for maintenance, and then installing the button directly next to the on-off switch for the radio."

Or like installing a button which reduces the window to zero size (i.e. closes the program) right next to the one which maximises it. Generally W95 hit a sweet spot for user interface but this is one that was wrong. What made it particularly bad was that all the applications around at the time assumed you couldn't possibly hit "close" by mistake and didn't have a "did you really mean that" dialog.

Mud sticks: Microsoft, Windows 10 and reputational damage

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Re: Windows 10 is going well in corporates

Have they had their legal depts check the T&Cs?

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Re: Second verse! Same as the first!

"MS are primarily aiming at corporations."

But are the corporations going to buy?

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Re: This article doesn't make sense

NorthenCA - is that you?

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Re: Windows 10 is the best MSFT OS yet

"Nobody said Windows 10 is a dud except this article."

You're new here, aren't you? It shows. You need more briefing if you're going to shill convincingly.

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Re: Windows 10 is not cause of down trending PC sales

"Software is a means to an end, and that end is making the user's life easier, not harder."

Of course. Hence the preference for software that does just that and doesn't get in the way by, for instance, trying to force updates and even complete OS replacements on users irrespective of whether they want it or not. Software, that, in a dual boot system, lives nicely side by side with other OSs. Software that doesn't come with an agreement to let it harvest far more information than is needed to maintain a normal commercial relationship with the vendor. Software that doesn't push advertising at the user.

Which software do you think meets those requirements?

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Re: Windows 10 is not cause of down trending PC sales

"you might find that criticism of W10 is not, shall we say , unusual."

And that accounts of problems and of serious underlying concerns are quite ususal.

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Re: The roads always suck where the traffic is busiest

"W10 will install from a USB 3 stick to an SSD in about the same time."

And when it's done that, what have you got?

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Re: Where are the facts no one likes Win 10?

"Doesnt this have more to say about your software and your testing practices as opposed to the OS?"

ISTM it says a good deal about both. It says that the test, albeit accidentally, duplicated the environment in which his product would have had to run when shipped. It may have been an accidental test but it was a test whose outcome has probably saved his business a lot of grief and maybe more.

The only thing wrong with his test procedure is that it was an accidental test and not a deliberate one.

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Re: you don't even get that CHOICE...

"If I'm ever doing something that requires privacy/security above the level of an Investment Banker then I'll use something way more secure than Win7."

My last clients before I retired would have fit that spec.

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Re: I'm a bit confused

"I just bought a Lenevo Ideapad ($150) for my nephew who felt that smashing the gaming laptop I bought him during a hissy fit was a good idea."

If I couldn't have found a used Etch-a-Sketch on eBay I wouldn't have bought him anything.

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Re: @ AC: "It works scarily well..." @ paply

"People don't like change, but no change is no progress."

No change is also not breakage. Sorry to take the Bombastic Bob route but IF IT AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT.

Apart from that the real problem isn't in the interface, it's in what you don't see unless you go and read the privacy statement and try to find the limits MS impose on themselves.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

I tried the insider, mostly because I wanted to test dual boot & this was the easiest way to try it with a Windows OS. It demonstrated its user-contempt on the first install. It reset the H/W clock from UTC to BST.

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"They don't advertise or demonstrate how recent PCs are thousand times better than old ones."

It depends how old. The industry's real problem is that for most people their old PCs are good enough. There's nothing on the H/W side to require an update and, short of failure, they don't, therefore see any good reason to replace it.

Much the same thing applies on the S/W side as well. If MS had been able to come up with a must-have feature on W8 or W10 and made it a paid-for OS that might well not run on old hardware they might have sold a few extra boxes because of it. But they didn't. They came up with a couple of new versions which gained toxic reputations.

So, if the old box with its old OS is still doing what it was bought to do, why waste money.

And BTW, could you provide some quantified evidence for your "thousand times better".

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: What's the problem?

"Classic Shell won't turn Windows 8.2=10 into Windows7. Even using DoNotSpy10 or other utility to disable all currently known telemetry and malware in the OS is not enough to do that."

MS have a solution to that, add "telemetry" to W7 in the updates.

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Re: User feedback

"The hole they have dug is now much too deep to climb out of. Short of putting together a SMALL decision making team and designing a brand new, coherent OS from the ground up......."

I think it was a small decision making team that put together Gnome 3 which promptly gave rise to two new projects, one to fix all its deficiencies by making it look like Gnome 2 & one to continue Gnome 2. Mate and Cinnamon are popular, Gnome 3 not so much. Fortunately this response is possible with OSS.

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Re: Modularity and customers

"even though the word classic was patronising as 'old, keep up'"

I'm not sure about that. "Classic" often means "what we should have done in the first place". A "Classic Windows" 11 might save them providing they do enough back-pedalling on what they got wrong. That, however, means an accurate diagnosis of just what it was that they got wrong. The aggressiveness of the W10 project suggests a management completely and utterly determined that this is what they're going to do.

Wait... who broke that? Things you need to do to make your world diagnosable

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Pothole campaigner sprays Surrey street with phallic paintings

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Re: Operation Horizon

"Jesus, how much do you get paid to come up with such names?"

They probably mean that completion is just over it.

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Re: Councils

"We should organise a yearly use-the-car day where everybody leaves their bike on the side and comes by car. Worst traffic jams ever...."

If their driving is as bad as their riding it certainly would be,

Dodgy software will bork America's F-35 fighters until at least 2019

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Re: @Ledswinger


If your design schedule is such that technology that isn't available at the start of the process will be obsolete by the time you deliver you're doing it wrong.

Computers shouldn't smoke. Cigarettes aren't healthy for anyone

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Re: I've told this story before (sorry)

"May or may not be an urban myth, but those AS400 were certainly heavily engineered."

Back in the day there was a story about DEC being asked for a copy of VMS. Given that the enquirer wasn't a customer they asked why. He said he'd found a MicroVAX in a skip.

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