* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

We’re not holding biz to ransom, says pay to play ad-blocking outfit

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The ad industry as presently constituted might just as well face facts. The party's over. We're just waiting fro everyone to collect their coats.

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Re: Here's an idea

"That might fix it."

I'm glad you put on the joke alert. The entire chain other then the user's computer and the IP network leading to it could be outside HMG's jurisdiction. The only point at which the user's computer can realistically be defended is at the computer itself. I doubt the ISPs would be able to perform DPI on all the traffic and even if they could it would require MiM of HTTPS sites - not, of course, a problem with our beloved elReg.

Everything bad in the world can be traced to crap Wi-Fi

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"Unfortunately, for the past few weeks my phone has decided that it likes the BT Fon connection better than my private home WiFi, so it always connects to it."

Back in the day when unsecured home access points weren't that unusual my laptop would manage to ignore my network and latch onto some unsecured one-bar job down the street at what felt like 10 bits per minute.

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Re: Shit coding

"(PS - showing my age, aren't I?)"

No, you missed out "on a teletype".

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Re: Shit Wi-Fi?

'my dead grandmother can understand the idea of "one off purchase"?'

Unfortunately your dead grandmother has more perspicacity than anyone in sales and marketing.

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Re: Shit Wi-Fi?

"My email was used for contact when delivery was due for the major items."

1. Own domain.

2. Set up mail address specifically for the vendor.

3. Tear down mail address when no longer needed.

4. Occasionally give a thought to all those spams being bounced.

Ad-blockers are a Mafia-style 'protection racket' – UK's Minister of Fun

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Re: Ridiculous

"The only reason why ads are everywhere, because you and people like you don't want to pay for content and services."

Citation needed.

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Re: Ridiculous

"The reason why advertising is everywhere is because, on a human psychological level, advertising works. It influences people, against their own will, to make various choices"

Sort of. It works because, on a human psychological level, the advertisers can't comprehend that their monotonous advertising will piss off so many people that they lose potential customers. When you're so utterly convinced that the sun shines out of your arse rational thinking becomes impossible.

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Re: imho

"Nope, not in his view."

In fact he seems to be rather ambivalent about it.

ISTM that he's been lobbied into making a speech in favour of the advertising industry but realises that users have made up their minds and it would be politically stupid not to go with the flow. So he's started off by saying what the industry wants to hear but then put the users' viewpoint and some meaningless dribble about being ready to help. When push comes to shove he's got his marker in which will enable him to take the popular line without being accused of a U-turn.

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Re: Ridiculous

"everywhere you go you are literally bombarded with advertising"

I wish those advertisers would make sure their hoardings were nailed up properly.

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Re: That speech in full

"I know the digital sector prides itself on [self-regulation and co-operation]"

Belief in that, at least as it applies to the advertising sector, can't be described as sensible.

At present we have the ASA as an advertising regulator, proof needed, if anything, that the advertising industry in the UK can't self-regulate. The ASA can only act after the event; good luck with using that as a means of cleaning up malware served up via an advertising network. And the ASA only has authority in the UK at best.

Ad-blockers are no longer an option for people who don't want ads, they're another part of the PC user's security toolkit.

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“We need the whole advertising sector to be smarter."

The heat death of the Universe will arrive before the advertising sector gets smarter. And there's absolutely no point in him trying to either encourage self-regulation or legislate in the only region where he has any influence. Someone needs to explain to him that the first two Ws stand for world-wide.

The only people who can regulate advertisers on this scale are the users and ad-blockers are the means they use.

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“Government stands ready to help in any way we can"

Doesn't he know that the most terrifying sentence in the English language is "I'm from the Government and I'm here to help."?

Converged PC and smartphone is the future, says Canonical's Mark Shuttleworth

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Yes, I know, commenting on my own post & all that.

I use a Mint netbook for visiting libraries and archives for research. As it happens I run Informix & a selection of its tools which enables me to knock up new data-taking forms as needed. It wouldn't, however, be difficult to implement something similar with a different RDBMS tool-set.

I also carry a USB stick to which I can download images from the library's computer.

So there I am, on the one hand collecting images on the stick & on the other taking notes and at some point the two have to be brought together.

What would be ideal would be to have an arrangement where a USB lead would allow the netbook to present itself as mass storage in just the same way as the USB stick. An Android tablet would allow this but wouldn't, AFAIK, allow for a full-blown RDBMS tool-set to be installed. But if a Ubuntu tablet provided the mass-storage simulation via USB and an RDBMS then combining this with a Bluetooth keyboard would be a winner for me. OTOH maybe the same thing could run on my existing netbook.

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Re: the problem with 'seamless' is that it never is

"So all these 'seamless' systems have to come up with some kind of clever software layer which knows or remembers what kind of layout we want for all sorts of things, and when."

If you're thinking in terms of a system that normally has a deep integration between the desktop and the rest of the OS then you'll undoubtedly need to think of some layer on top of that. However for any Unix-like system that's already a solved problem. The core OS is independent of the interface - it can even be run headless. The windowing system sits on top of that and the desktop, of which there is a choice, sits on top of the windowing system. There are even standards for storing info about desktop contents. It's possible to install several desktop packages on one device* & choose one at login. Swapping one for the other when connecting or disconnecting a docking unit wouldn't be a great step beyond this.

*Providing you're not using a device whose vendor's walled garden prevents this.

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@Dave 126

As per my previous post, what you envisage wouldn't be my use case. Nevertheless it's not difficult to see that there are several different ways of using expansion of a phone.

If you're targeting use at home or in an office you might have a docking unit permanently plugged in so if you need to revert to hand-held operation for some reason its simply a matter of picking it up from the dock.

If you want to use it with an hotel TV you might need to carry an HDMI lead along with a bluetooth or USB keyboard.

A business traveller, therefore, might pack a keyboard and lead for use in hotels but leave them in his luggage when returning to the office where a docking unit would be available.

As to the trade-off between a computing stick and a phone, the former is dependant on having a TV or monitor available whilst the phone is usable within the limits of its interface at any time. As to one standing in for a missing other, well all you're saying is if you start with two devices, of whatever nature, and lose one you've got one left. That's just simple arithmetic. However, if one has your data on it and the other doesn't and you lose the one that has you effectively have nothing left. You might also end up with half your data on each device and become dependant on using both; you're going to need to keep them in sync.

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A phone running Ubuntu could have an appeal. Being able to use it as a general purpose computing device wouldn't be the major part of the appeal. The appeal would be that I buy the phone and that's the end of matters. What runs on it, apart from the phone S/W itself, is my choice, not the vendors. What it reports back to the vendors is my choice (nothing as it happens). Whether Ubuntu and their vendors would be prepared to restrict themselves to that sort of deal remains to be seen.

Rejoice, sysadmins, there's a new glamour job nobody understands

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"shepherding of IoT solutions"

So herding cats might be a useful background.

Uncle Sam's boffins stumble upon battery storage holy grail

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"Which in real terms would mean cars travelling 300-500 miles on one charge for less than $10 – a fifth of the price of gasoline."

It's not just a matter of range and cost. It's also a matter of how quickly you could get the energy into the car. Can they achieve a charge rate equivalent to a petrol pump's delivery rate and as simple to operate?

Third of US banks OK with passwords even social networks reject

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Re: What's a "thruway item"?

It means someone wasn't using the spill chucker.

Dwolla dwamned for destroywing defwences: $100k fine for insecurity

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An appropriate measure would have been to have closed them down immediately and bar the principals from the financial industry, not run an investigation for a couple of years and then give them a minuscule fine. Actions need to protect the public and deter.

Good eye, Hubble! Space 'scope spots furthest-ever object

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"James Webb telescope ... would be able to see much farther than Hubble. Now, not even a week later, it turns out maybe not THAT much farther since Hubble can apparently see farther than ever imagined."

Of course if the James Webb telescope turned out to be able to see much further, say in excess of 14 billion, things could get really interesting...

Hillary Clinton private email server probe winding up – reports

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Re: "winding up"?

That depends. If there's lots of activity afterwards it's winding up. If nothing happens, it's winding down.

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Re: @AC @ AlexS

"because he made Blair look like a schoolboy in comparison"

That in itself wasn't too difficult. The WI made him look like a schoolboy and not even in comparison with anything.

UK biz fails to report two thirds of cyber attacks, says survey

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Re: But on the flip side of the coin...

"Businesses who do report these types of issues are beaten viciously and at length with a stick by our fine selves"

And rightly so if they have their customer database popped by teenager skiddies via an exploit older then themselves. If they get DDOSed that's a different matter.

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"just 43 per cent of the 1,000 businesses polled know where their data was physically stored"

More likely somebody in the business knows but nobody at director level is going to sully their hands talking to such plebs.

Bruce Schneier: We're sleepwalking towards digital disaster and are too dumb to stop

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Re: UL

"What we need is a digital version of Underwriters Laboratories"

You've got the right idea, but you're over-complicating it. Why have digital versions of existing laboratories? Why not just extend the scope of the ones we've got?

Forget data thieves, data sabotage will be your next IT nightmare

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Re: This could be as simple as adjusting credit scores ... but there's not a lot of money in that

"The bigger issue is with companies that are selling personal data besides credit information. There are no legal requirements for those companies to give somebody a copy of the data they hold about them and have no legal obligation to remove incorrect information."

That's one reason why we don't like personal data being sent to the US.

Hardcoded god-mode code found in RSA 2016 badge-scanning app

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"Just because an app is being used for one of the world's largest cyber security conferences doesn't automatically mean it's more secure."

In fact, it's more likely to be found insecure.

'Dominant' Facebook hauled over coals by German competition authority

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Re: "Dominant"

"When it dies its useful functionality can be replaced by something distributed that will work together with peer services in the same way that email does."


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Re: "Dominant"

"It's high time Facebook gets an anti-monopoly boot up its arse. (And a completely unrelated privacy boot up its other arse)."

I see them more as two halves of a single operation - like hammer & anvil. The privacy charge could be evaded on the basis of "they agreed" and the agreement argument gets nixed by "no they didn't because of the monopoly".

We survived a five-hour butt-numbing Congress hearing on FBI-Apple ... so you don't have to

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Re: Yes, you CAN remove the "non-volatile memory".

@ Richard 12 (and assorted others).

Read this very carefully. Read it several times if you don't understand it first go.

The FBI want to try brute force.

What they're trying to brute force isn't the encryption key.

What they're trying to brute force is a pass code of a few digits.

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"Comey also came across as sincere when he said that if anyone watching had any good ideas about how to break into the phone or to help resolve the broader issue about encryption and privacy, he was all ears."

I can help him in two words: accept limits.

It's the lesser of the two evils.

We suck at backups. So let's not have a single point of failure any more

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Re: The best way to defend against this

"There is always a bus out there with your name on it."

Clapham Junction, is that you?

$17 smartwatch sends something to random Chinese IP address

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Re: Optional

"I think he's suggesting that smart watches are fragmented"

It's surprising what you can achieve with even a small hammer.

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"when it was paired, it started communicating outbound over a random IP address to China. We don't know what the IP address is"

I think he means a specific IP address and that he hasn't heard of whois.

GDS gets it in the neck from MPs over Rural Payments Agency farce

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Re: dial up speeds...

'Yes you'd think so, but by the time the process has been bloated with "eye candy", large images, buttons that are images so must be downloaded before you can see what they are'


Not just testing on the dev's box sitting on the desk but build a prototype and go out into the field and test it from there on the sort of links that will be used in practice.

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Re: Internal IT

"Ahh, the joys of having to use internal IT resources rather than going out to the market for the best supplier."

I'm not sure about this. There would be a good argument for having real internal IT, namely internal to the individual departments who could work with the rest of the department on a regular basis and call in outside resources as and when needed. Part of the problem seems to be the lack of skills required to even communicate with outside suppliers or even to work out requirements in an orderly fashion.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

and fail repeatedly.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"typical power grabbing senior civil servant behaviour"

AIUI these were CEO types parachuted into top posts rather than having come up through the ranks. Maybe this is typical of senior civil servants these days. If so it tells us that recruitment to senior civil service posts is every bit as bad as recruitment into the top levels of corporations.

It's a consequence of seeing anyone who does the work as an expense to be outsourced to the cheapest bidder rather than the core of the operation and as a possibility for the next generation of managers. In fact they're likely to be seen as a threat to the current generation if they're any good. And that also applies far more widely than the civil service.

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"intended to be a GDS digital exemplar"

Well, it was, wasn't it. A good exemplar of GDS.

More and more Brits are using ad-blockers, says survey

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Re: Same here

"And yes, I did once work for an Ad agency"

Do you know if the industry has ever attempted to measure the net effect of advertising? They can easily say x% of people who saw an ad bought from it. But if y% were so pissed off that they made a mental note never to buy that product the net effect is actually x-y% and that could very easily be a negative number.

I doubt its something that could be easily researched. I also doubt that anyone with any sense in the ad industry would avoid doing that for fear of what they might find but there seems to be sufficient arrogance that the possibility of finding something to burst their bubble might never occur to them.

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Re: Right to choose

"I am obviously in the minority, because I would rather pay than see adverts online."

I'm not sure that that's properly tested. The number of sites one would pay for is always going to be less than those one might arrive at by a link from a paid for site. But that doesn't mean that there wouldn't be scope for worthwhile sites to earn paid subscriptions and - who knows? - maybe make more than they could through adverts.

I can't help feeling that the people who are really being ripped off in all this are the actual advertisers, the people with the products being pushed. The advertising industry is taking money from them and presumably they see some orders coming in but the industry's antics might well be losing them more potential customers than they bring simply by being so annoying. But then, as I've said before, the one thing you can be sure the advertising industry sells successfully is itself.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

'The IAB wants more consumer-friendly and “lighter” ads to fend off an “Adpocalypse”.'

They should have thought of that a few years ago and not just "wanted" but insisted. It's far too late now. Welcome to the Adpocalypse.

We're doing SETI the wrong and long way around, say boffins

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"knowing to an equal certainty that we could never even communicate in any meaningful way."

Has social networking demonstrated nothing to you?

Microsoft gets into the advanced intrusion sniffer game – but only for Windows 10

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Re: Cause for serious concern

"If you're not an enterprise, that is."

Good point. It's always been obvious that SOHO users were going to be beta testers guinea pigs. Now they're the miners' canaries as well.

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Re: Any informed opinions on:

"confers ... no rights, warranties or guarantees that it will even work ... as described by marketing."

To be fair that would probably have to apply to any company's products if the company is to stay in business.

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"incredible awareness about several critical security vulnerabilities in our network"

Translation: "I don't believe it".

NSA boss reveals top 3 security nightmares that keep him awake at night

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Re: Smart grid. For one thing.

"And realistically, building the infra for a dedicated secure network would bust the chops of most power companies."

It shouldn't bust the chops of most telecoms companies. What do you think the power companies used before they had the internet to do their coms?

Nevertheless something other than Windows wouldn't be a bad choice. Dependence on an OS that can be obsoleted at will by a vendor isn't good.

Gov opens consultation on how to best to use your data

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Re: Not exactly

"Let me put it another way: Cabinet Office gets told "no" a lot..."

The proposal suggests that this is what they're trying to avoid.

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