* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Millions menaced as ransomware-smuggling ads pollute top websites

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Checks for anti-virus?

"Are there any PCs without anti-virus products which are not already infected?"

Yup. They're running Mint or Ubuntu or Debian or Fedora or *BSD or......

Swedish publishers plan summer ‘Block Party’ to thwart ad blockers

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I'd love to turn off ad blocking

"This page has an ad at the top for some sort of network analyser."

Who'd have guessed?

Watch six tiny robo-ants weighing 100g in total pull a 1,769-kg family car

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Mighty tiny car?

"But the car is on wheels and is being pulled horizontally, reducing the actual resistance to pulling. If a car is on a flat surface and in neutral with the brakes off, a man can push a car or tow it via a rope and get it to roll."

The robots are also on wheels. On the face of it one would expect them to drag themselves backwards towards the car even if their brakes are on. The really remarkable thing here is the adhesion of the robot wheels which prevents this.

Virgin bins Webspace, tells customers they can cry to GoDaddy

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"I felt much the same when my ISP dropped usenet."

After a few takeovers my old ISP ended up in the hands of TalkTalk who didn't exactly drop Usenet, they just made it virtually unusable for a the times when I preferred to use it. Coupled with the inability to get a complaint through the chocolate fire-guard customer disservice department which had come in with a previous takeover I bit the bullet and moved, even though it involved changing email address. The solution there was to register my own domain which made it easier to jump ship when my next ISP was sold.

If an ISP offers these extras then they should maintain them or cut their rates if they drop them. However, it's something of a lock-in. It's amazing that ISPs haven't grasped that as dropping the service must promote customer churn.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"There really is no reaosn for an ISP to offer hosting, or even email come to think of it these days."

There's no reason for anyone to do so unless they're making a business out of it. But as ISPs are businesses there's no reason why they shouldn't choose to do so.

OTOH if you choose to go with an ISP as host for web or email services it ties your hands if they piss you off and you want to go elsewhere.

Microsoft SQL Server for Linux is a brilliant and logical idea

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Except no-one actually bought it!"

For good reasons. The preview was shipped with D7 so we got a chance to see what it was like. I remember trying to compile a perfectly correct bit of Delphi code. Kylix barfed on it throwing non-existent syntax errors. Cross-Kylix compiled it.

And it all ran on top of a hacked version of GPL Wine. I don't recall seeing anything about getting the source for that.

If that wasn't enough Linux switched to 2.6 at which point it threw a new crop of errors.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Why

"3. A gentle nudge in the direction of the differences in scale between global Goliath MS, and relatively minor player EDB."

The question to ask here would be "If I went for this would MS need me as much as I'd need MS?".

UK plans robo-car tests on motorways in 2017

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: One major difference between the US and UK

"the Magic Roundabout"

AFAICS this is very much like the arrangement at the bottom of Marlow Hill in High Wycombe which always seemed to me to be a non-threatening arrangement.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Think of "number of voters"

"a degree in Media Studies"

Maybe not the best choice to illustrate your argument.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"the potential for robo-cars to hit British roads"

And the road users.

Ironic: CCTV systems slide open a backdoor into your biz network

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Open Internet

"There's an awful lot of fuckwits on this planet, then."

I thought this was a news site.

Like masochism? Run a PC? These VXers want to help you pwn yourself

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: true story, here

"yet will follow anonymous instructions without taking a moment to think."

Of course. It's what the computer says so it must be right.

Polite, helpful? Stop it at once in the name of security

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Security helpful...?

"Dave must be new here."

No he isn't. Maybe you are.

Hey Windows 10, weren't you supposed to help PC sales?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Privacy Issue

'Provide a switch to "one stop" turn off the data sharing with servers'

Don't bother with a switch. Just strip the whole lot out.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The Purpose of 10

"Is someone now saying that it was intended to sell more hardware?"

If you were a H/W manufacturer this is exactly what you'd think it was for.

Microsoft's done a terrible job with its Windows 10 nagware

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: How to increase adoption rate for Windows 10

6. Call it Windows 11. W10 is now too toxic.

TBH they'd still face an uphill struggle. A big row with the FBI might help there.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The Terrible...

"Even Ubuntu beat them to this."

And got their arse in a sling for their efforts. The difference between them and MS is that they backed off PDQ.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: What users want ...

"Donating to an OSS project is a fine and socially useful thing, but what that user WANTS is to get functional tools THIS MONTH, and directly paying for a commercial package is the only effective way to get that."

No, installing a package that has the functions is the only effective way, irrespective of whether that package is commercial or OSS.

The question arises as to what happens if there's no such package. For a start "this month" is unlikely.

If a mass-market commercial package doesn't do what you want you're probably not going to see that change unless you pay humungous amounts to the vendor because only the vendor can fix it and they have their roadmap for development so aren't going to be diverted for anything less.

Specialised commercial packages might be more responsive. I've worked with such vendors. Features could be requested but, of course, such packages tend to be at least semi-bespoke so they're probably nothing like as cheap as the mass-market package in the first place.

If the OSS package doesn't have it one approach would be to use its bug/feature requesting page to make a request. This might or might not work as some projects are more responsive than others. If the need is worth it you could pay a sufficiently experienced developer to add them. The cost is likely to be similar to that of the feature request for the semi-bespoke package but you don't have the up-front cost in the first place.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: What users want ...

LibreOffice, of course, is in no way bound by the attitudes of its supporters here any more than Microsoft, Apple or Google are.

If you have a problem with LibreOffice log it with them. Does Microsoft Office have a Bugzilla account?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Outlook is like democracy:

"Thunderbird has a problem (which I expect is all on the Google side). When you move messages to the local folders it leaves them on GMail. "

Have you got the Leave messages on server box ticked? (Server settings in the account settings, not general preferences). If you have then it's definitely a GMail issue because I've never seen this happen on any other server.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The Terrible...

"I never meant TB and projects like it are clumsy and slow ...I just meant they are not very actively developed and improved, i.e. the Mozilla Foundation is letting TB go because it no longer fits its business"

TB is still being developed. You're right in that it no longer fits well within the Mozilla world. There seem to be moves to incorporate it into LibreOffice.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "By the way, professional and OSS are not mutually exclusive."

"Delivering a product users need, and supporting it properly, is professional, regardless if the code is proprietary or not."

This is true. But remember the fix-it-yourself response came from a commentard here, not from the LibreOffice devs.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: What users want ...

"When you're a paying customer, you do expect a very different level of support."

A while ago I had a problem with LO calc crashing when performing a particular operation. I reported the bug, it was verified, fixed and in the next update but one (there wasn't time to get in into the earlier release). You, I expect a different level of support as a paying customer, but not necessarily in a good way.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The Terrible...

"Pretending the majority of worldwide MS users share the sentiment of the Register readership is just absurd."

That self-evidently applies to the majority of W10 users. However, they're not the majority of MS users so your point is moot.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The Terrible...

"Ah, but you are assuming Windows is developed for you, which is not the case. Useful updates were Win95/98, Win XP and Win 7, but everything in between was just step changes to generate revenue."

In the long run the two are not incompatible. Fail to design the product for the customer and in the long run the customer isn't. And without customers you can't sell product.

MS had its long run of success because, for a long time, their direct customers were the H/W manufacturers. Now there's no particular need to upgrade H/W so H/W sales are now linked to replacement of failed kit or the limited growth of a mature market. If they want to sell upgrades direct to the end-user they have to make it more attractive and, as W7 was generally rated good enough, that would be fairly difficult.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The Terrible...

"Open Office is just not very good"

I think most of the OO devs went to LO. So (a) if your view of the .ods/.odt world is OO it's slightly out-of-date and (b) what are your issues?

Go ahead, build better security: it just makes crims try harder

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Downvoted for advertising your own blog - as on your previous posts here.

Obama puts down his encrypted phone long enough to tell us: Knock it off with the encryption

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"We have engaged the tech community aggressively"

We noticed. That wasn't a good start.

Linux fans may be in for disappointment with SQL Server 2016 port

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Maybe this is a trick question.

"It takes a long time to convert all the VBA code to LISP."

Sorry, I give up. Why would I want either?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Perfectly understandable (not)

'In the absence of an operating system feature, they rely on their customers to hire sysadmins who will code bash scripts that will shut down DB servers (or "quisce" them) during the backup operation, reach into VMs using ssh and perform similar functions, all to be maintained by the sysadmin with high job security.'

I assume you mean quiesce. Old Informix user here. It's an awfully long time since your contention was true. Archiving keeps track of data updates as they happen on the live database. At the end of the archive there's a checkpoint and on restore the database is correct up to that checkpoint. The only transactions to be rolled forwards are those from the end of the last archive.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Perfectly understandable

"He (J J) was joking...I think?"

No, just visiting from whatever planet it is that he spends most of his time on.

Steve Ballmer: Get the Facts. I 'love' SQL Server on Linux

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: What's the use case for this?

"Our customers with Linux DB's are all Oracle (insurance, finance), I'm sure some of them would love an alternative, at least at contract renewal time."

That doesn't seem likely. There have been alternatives all along so I don't see why they'd swap to SQL Server if they haven't already swapped to Informix, DB2, Postgres etc.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Windows on Linux next?

'Linux had a good kernel with a "meh" GUI'

Other GUIs were available.

You say I mustn’t write down my password? Let me make a note of that

Doctor Syntax Silver badge


"Which ALWAYS slides downwards because of Attacker's Advantage."

And User's Disadvantage.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge


An empty desk is the sign of an empty head.

Security is the ratio of the difficulty created for the bad guys versus the difficulty created for whoever has to do the work.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: No marks to the following:

"At that time the Teletype couldn't be programmed to not echo selectively."

IME they were set up to type only what came down the line so what you saw on the paper was what was echoed back to you. So it was up to the login program to send clear text, asterisks or whatever.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Clear Desk Policy

"So, like this?"

It reminds me of a quote from Len Deighton which goes something like "Bret's desk was like his women with shiny legs and see-through drawers".

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Clear desk policy

"This was the opportunity for said PHB to loudly deliver a security lecture to the whole office*, before grudgingly giving me my laptop back."

This was the point at which you should have said "So that explains it. It was running the remote server for the client demo...."

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: When I was your age...

No, real dinosaurs carved out the message on monoliths in runes with the phone handset beside them. The computer worked out what was being written from the sound of the tapping.

I beg you, please don't back up that secret directory full of photos!

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Unprofessional

"There is no obligation in the UK for any ordinary citizen to ... report a crime"

No, you can volunteer to become an accessory after the fact.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Unprofessional

There's a difference between stumbling across stuff inadvertently and going looking for whatever you can find.

That may be the answer to the Gary Glitter conundrum. If the techs simply stumbled across the material they did the right thing. But I'm sure a lot of potential commercial business left PC World after that, just in case they went looking.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Unprofessional

" I'll reference the Gary Glitter case as an example where had it not been for PC World sniffing about he wouldn't have been caught when he was which probably led to saving children from abuse."

OTOH if your PC was full of your business's financial data would you, post GG, have taken it to PC World for service?

How a Brexit could stop UK biz and Europe swapping personal data

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Which is a nice diversion from the reality that geographic location seems to be irrelevant where US law is concerned."

A couple of points here. Firstly, US law is undetermined on this and will remain so until the Microsoft NY case gets decided by the US Supreme Court.

Secondly, Microsoft seems to heave learned from its experience and its new German data centre is being constructed with a more effective legal firebreak than a simple EU subsidiary. Depending on the way they see the first case and challenges to Privacy Figleaf developing other US businesses may adopt the same approach. My guess is that the smart money won't wait to find out. My other guess is that there isn't sufficient smart money so that Privacy Figleaf will provide an excuse to do nothing followed by panic.

Feds tell court: Apple 'deliberately raised technological barriers' to thwart iPhone warrant

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Tim Cook belongs in jail until Apple unlocks the phone

"Apple and Tim Cook are doing nothing but supporting crime by refusing to unlock the phone of a mass murder."

No, what they're doing is protecting the right of any innocent person against unjustified invasion by the authorities. This is such a good idea that it's been part of the law of England and her colonies for 8 centuries. And everyone is entitled to be considered innocent until proven guilty. That, too, has been enshrined in our shared Common Law for a long time. This means that prosecution has to work harder to establish a case. I spent 14 years doing such work in the midst on an ongoing terrorist campaign a good deal more vigorous than the US is currently experiencing so I think I've seen a good deal more of it than the average A/C in these parts. And would I wish to see those protections weakened? No. Because those are the protections which benefit me, A/Cs and anyone else who values living in a free society.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: If code is free speech then Apple can't tell developer what to write...

"Basically you're saying free speech can be contracted and compelled by money and layoffs menaces"

Free speech can be contracted. How do you think films & plays get produced?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The mat and potatoes

" if a court orders them to do it (after the argument has gone to the highest possible)"

Indeed. But this is a long way from the highest court possible, in fact AFAIU it's still at the lowest court possible. And before the highest court possible rules it will hear argument and evidence from both sides. From what I've read not only was this writ issued by the lowest court possible but it was issued without hearing any argument from Apple. So the there's quite a way to go before it's worth even trying to double-guess what the eventual decision will be let again arguing what Apple might then do and what a court should then do about what Apple should do.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Wait....

"I am tempted to call you a shmuck you shmuck but that would be name calling. So I will resist the urge."

And an insult to real shmucks.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Single case Today --- ?? tomorrow...

"Just wait for one of your dears to be killed, and to know the name of the killer is only in a phone nobody can access..."

And if nobody can access it how would one know?

Even if you're going to create straw men as the basis for emotional arguments you still need to retain some traces of logic in there.

Continuous Lifecycle London: Less than eight weeks to go

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Still plugging away? Those tickets must be really hard to shift?

Still, I suppose these ads aren't popping up, playing videos or downloading malware so I suppose we should be grateful for small mercies.

David Cameron hints at Budget law change to end mobile not-spots

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: cue the Anti Mast campaigns

"If there is no signal then they can't use those precious mobes."

And if there's a weak signal the phone, situated next to the kiddie's brain, will turn up the wick on transmit. Did I read something about an inverse square law?

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019