* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Investigatory Powers Bill lands in Parliament amid howls over breadth of spying powers

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: You show me yours, I'll show you mine?

Maybe a FIA request for Teresa May's internet communication records for the past year? Just as an illustration of what's intended, of course.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Put the word privicy in the title

As a piece of superb timing Yesterday is rebroadcasting the first ever Yes Minister programme tonight: Open Government. That's the phrase Sir Humphrey put in the title.

Wakey wakey, app developers. Mobile ad blocking will kill you all

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Re: Attack on Net Neutrality

See my previous post. Does your view of net neutrality involve customers paying network charges to receive crap they don't want? Wouldn't real neutrality means that whoever wants to use bandwidth pays for it and that includes advertisers?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Am I the only one that thinks this is a sinister move by networks?

"what happens when networks get the bright idea of selling ads themselves"

Given that they seem to have cottoned onto the fact that users don't want ads then if the other networks do provide ads themselves not doing so is a valuable differentiator.

There's a big difference between being ad-supported and providing a paid-for service. Ad-supported sites could suffer in the sort of thermonuclear war you suggest. Paid networks aren't going to nuke themselves unless they have very stupid managements.

BTW, re your prediction. How are Google going to send ads to Android devices if the networks are ad-blocking?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Net neutrality?

But should Net Neutrality mean that users pay for the advertisers' bandwidth? I'd suggest that whoever wants to use the bandwidth pays.

At present the objections to ads are (a) they're annoying (b) they may be malicious and (c) they steal bandwidth the user paid for. If the advertiser wants to sell something to me then stealing from me isn't exactly a good start.

So if the advertiser pays their share then that's one obstacle removed.

The next is that if advertisers are paying for their bandwidth then they may start paying attention to just how effective their ads are and realise that pissing off the potential customer by being annoying isn't a good idea either, not it wasting money sending out ads for something their tracking tells them the customer's bought already. So the ads might get less annoying.

The worry is that the only "ads" worth paying to send the user are ransomware or the like.

Safe Harbour v2.0 greenlights six bulk data collection excuses

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The responsibility of courts

"That would make the court a lawmaker."

Well, making case law is a role for the courts. But I don't think it's a matter of defining what's acceptable. It's already said that the pig wasn't for specific reasons. It will then have the job of deciding whether the pig with lipstick is any better depending on whether the specific reasons have gone away. Somehow, I think that lipstick or no, the pig's going to remain earth-bound.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

I prefer to call it the Privacy Fig Leaf.

Gov opens consultation on how to best to use your data

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Re: Clearly a Need

There's clearly a need to known how many. The neediness to know who is much more questionable. When we see statements such as "legislation to make it easier for local authorities and government departments to share citizen data without breaching the Data Protection Act" we really should be questioning this. Firstly is the DPA there for a reason? Secondly does the DPA allow for this sharing already? If it does why do we need extra legislatation? If it doesn't is this additional legislation intended to weaken the DPA so what's illegal now can become legal whilst still claiming to be not breaching it? And if so does it make a nonsense of the reasons we have the DPA?

Photographer hassled by Port of Tyne for filming a sign on a wall

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Training required and Twitter suspensions

"1) Security pays what? 6 - 7 quid an hour or thereabouts?

So, you are basically going to get either: Total monkeys "who like the uniform" or those people with other problems in their life (like being recently out of jail or supplementing their measly salary in ways that might land them in one). Neither character is going to be around for long, why train them? It's not like anything they do will come back to you (If it does, you can always sack them)."

If you're safeguarding important installations with international security regulations pertaining to them then these are not the people you should be hiring to do it, the people you're hiring should be trained and if 6 - 7 qph isn't enough to recruit and retain the people you should be hiring and training, then it's not the rate you should be paying.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Training required and Twitter suspensions

"All you need to do is tell them that you're being harassed and they'll do whatever you want."

That, of course, works both ways. Especially if you've video footage showing the harassment.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"The "old farts" are probably ex-police"

Ex-police are far more likely to be aware of the limits of their authority. For the most part they've spent a career de-fusing situations.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Unfortunately... you're wrong

"Theft is theft, there is no time limit or extenuating circumstances such as saying that you were going to return the item eventually."

Theft is indeed theft. It's taking with intent to permanently deprive. That's why the charge against a joyrider isn't theft, it's taking and driving away.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Who arrests the watchmen?

"as the photographer isn't pressing charges"

Are you saying the police shouldn't investigate a murder because the corpse doesn't press charges?

Google robo-car backs into bendy-bus in California

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"They will learn, adapt and in time drive those roads better than either of us ever could."

They'll have a lot to learn. The sheep might not be in the road yet. Given that they can recognise a sheep, can they still recognise it when it's standing on top of a wall. Can they recognise that the sheep on the wall is facing the road? Can they recognise that it's getting ready to jump and that when it does it will already be too late to break so break NOW?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Meatbags and bendy buses don't mix

Here's another interesting one: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Northumberland+St,+Huddersfield,+West+Yorkshire+HD1/@53.648938,-1.7805395,3a,66.8y,75.07h,73.98t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sUmncoXKNzFGnjA-AhaYgog!2e0!4m2!3m1!1s0x487bdc6d76aee929:0x84feda5b66e64326?hl=en

Bus (non bendy but see below) occupying the left hand lane opposite the side street waiting for the lights to change at the next junction with me behind. Smallish Volvo, (i.e.smallish in Volvo terms) exiting the street on the right (it wasn't one way back then) absolutely determined to butt in behind the bus crept forward until the rubber strip on his bumper was resting on the side of the bus half way along.

What I hadn't noticed until the bus started to move was that he'd actually pushed in what must have been an unsupported panel form in the skirt of the bus. I watched fascinated as the bus eased forward. The panel yielded as it came to the bumper, then sprung out again after it got past so a depression an inch or so deep ran past the bumper until the leading edge of the wheel arch cleared the bumper..

A second or so later the trailing edge of the wheel arch hit the bumper and tore it clean off. The bus drove on. I drove round the back of the Volvo into the side street and left the muppet, his wife, their car and its bumper to sort it out on their own.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Blind-sided?

"Plenty of airports also have automated trains between terminals"

I remember hearing of one incident where the system "lost" one of its units. It was discovered, still with passengers inside, going through the washing unit. Of course that might be apocryphal.

Nearly a million retail jobs will be destroyed by the march of tech, warns trade body

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Re: News just in...

"surrounded by empty property and tumbleweed"

In my local town property doesn't stay empty. It all gets converted to student flats.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"15 minutes later I'm yelling f**k off to them and just give me my bloody tablet."

15 minutes later? You must have had plenty time on your hands. Id have been 14 minutes away by then, with or without the tablet.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Hmmmm

"The death of the "high street" is due to the clone-a-shop retail outlets."

Motorist-hostile council policies don't help. Nobody there realises that money arrives by car. And out-of-town centres have let their car-parks to the parking vultures.

Institute of Directors: Make broadband speeds 1000x faster than today's puny 2020 target

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

'"Very high bandwidth and world-leading speeds in remote corners of the UK will never have the same positive dynamic impact as in a concentrated bustling city centre with thriving digital businesses," said the IoD report.'

Translation: Nobody who matters lives north of Watford.

Poor recruitment processes are causing the great security talent drought

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"it's beyond stupid"

Yes, but it's HR.

Mathletics promises security upgrades after parents' security gripes

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Facepalm

"a failure to support https"

Oh, the irony.

ICO fined cold-call firm £350k – so directors put it into liquidation

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"Unfortunately - unless you rewrite huge swathes of company law, you will have a problem."

Leave company law alone but amend insolvency law to prevent a company being liquidated whilst criminal proceedings or fines are pending with the body issuing the fines joining HMRC in getting first dibs at the assets.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

The leads were sold on. The liability should go with them.

Investigatory Powers Bill to be rushed into Parliament on Tuesday

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Took the oppotunity to raise a number of other issues"

That's a mistake. It gives him the opportunity to ignore your main point and reply to the most trivial or the one where he can give the most anodyne reply.

Worldpay outs self as provider of easy-to-crack payment services

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Big ships turn slowly

"Mozilla made the announcement about the phasing out of SHA-1 in 2014. For a company like WorldPay, with millions of terminals in use, that isn't enough time"

So how long should fraudsters allow WorldPay to update before they start using exploits?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: exactly...

"People forget that there is a business need with impact on revenue when you cut off obsolete devices"

Fraud also has an impact on revenue.

Keeping payment systems up-to-date with security should be seen as a normal business cost, just like physical security measures.

Gopher server revived after 15 years of downtime

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

I'm not sure why the downvote for x7. It's perfectly reasonable to ask if you don't know.

Perhaps it's time to consider whether there might be use cases better met by Gopher than by WWW - and if so, can adverts be kept out?

Microsoft scraps Android Windows 10 bridge, but says yes to Objective-C compiler

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Who wouldn't want 250,000,000 potential new buyers?

"almost all PCs still have slot-like 16:9 display aspect ratios"

So, you assume that everyone else ought to have your preferred aspect ratio? Why do we keep getting this stupid pattern of "I prefer/need $OPTION so everyone else ought to have it too"?

How will Ofcom reduce our reliance on BT if it won't break them up?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"How, then, did we afford to get electricity and water to just about anybody who wants it, even in our relatively impoverished past?"

Gradually. I grew up in a rural house that initially didn't have mains water (actually when we got it we still preferred the spring for drinking water anyway) nor electricity until after we left in 1958.

We're looking at a copper network that was installed over decades. Replacing that with FTTP would be a huge investment. Deciding who'll do that is secondary to finding the money. As you point out the cable installers lost money even though they were able to cherry pick the compact high density urban areas. Then there's the rate at which such a replacement might take happen; and hence working out how large a workforce might be or could be assembled for the task, how many roads could be dug up simultaneously etc.

And now we have muppets thinking that all it takes to roll out FTTP to the whole country is the right wording in an OFCOM report.

Samsung off the hook as $120m Apple patent verdict tossed

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Re: Geez!

"neither gains anything"

OTOH every time an obvious patent gets invalidate the world gains a little sanity. My only worry about this is that the invalidation process isn't keeping up with the USPO so the net effect is still negative.

Dead Steve Jobs owed $174 by San Francisco parking ticket wardens

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

I suppose refunding via the card was another concept too difficult for their s/w designers.

Science contest to get girls interested in STEM awards first prize to ... a boy

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Re: runner up - prior art

"A tablet for use in the bath requires a lens cover for the camera."

No. But it does require a lens that adapts to the fact that it's now operating in a medium of different RI.

BOFH: This laptop has ceased to be. And it's pub o'clock soon

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Today, at 4:30...

"the futility of doing something like this on a Friday"

This is actually OK. You just have to budget for spending your entire weekend fixing it. Providing you do that either (a) everything will work just fine or (b) you'll still not have everything fixed by 27:00 hours on Sunday evening. This is the consequence of the uncertainty principle running into time dilation.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "So you'd maim a security guard just to prove a point?"

" Security staff could get in the way to prevent the trolley going, but not stop him."

I find that odd.

Many years ago I met an ex-SOCO, now local station sergeant in the local supermarket. He told me he was following the store detective. He suspected she was slipping stock into customers' shopping baskets and then detaining them and getting them arrested for shop-lifting when they left the store. I think he eventually caught her.

My devil-possessed smartphone tried to emasculate me

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I can never understand what anyone's saying on my mobile nor, indeed, on my landline if the other end of the call's on a mobile. Except - when I get into my car the built-in phone does a remote SIM connection to the mobile and all calls are clear as crystal. Weird.

Also weird is the fact that I had "Home" as a phone-book entry and the carphone wouldn't recognise it. I got it to read out the phone book and it pronounced it as Hulme. Very odd. Do the manufacturers think that a lot of customers need to call people called Hulme-spelled-Home but rather fewer need to call home?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

" I found something even more amusing."

Sorry, can only give you one upvote for that. I passed this as a tip to elReg some time ago & they declined it because /. had already used it.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Then users happened."

Clearly it was beyond your abilities to find out in advance what your users actually wanted.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: best 4 weeks ever

" I have genuinely worked with people who told me if they do not get responses to texts within a few minutes (not work ones private how you doing sort of texts) they will be pissed off with that person."

The feeling's probably mutual.

Standing desks have no effect on productivity, boffins find

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"This made it possible to measure call handling time, time spent talking, time spent on hold and time spent wrapping up calls, metrics call centres love to harvest"

Metrics which have a common factor of being easy to measure. Calls closed to callers satisfaction? Far too difficult to measure, possibly too embarrassing for management to be aware of but the only real measure of a call centre's effectiveness.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Missed the point.

"anyone who says back pain doesn't affect productivity has never had back pain!"

Very true. My back pain was the result of a single ill-judged movement when stretching to lower my car off its jack and had dogged me on and off for years. It's aggravated by standing for any length of time. Standing desks & stand-up meetings would have resulted in a lot of time off sick followed by resignation.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"open plan may not be perfect but its got to be better than cube farm."

What? Cube farm partitions don't protect you from the voice of the braying marketroid in the next pig-pen or the un-muffled dot-matirix printer that someone insists they need on the other side. They're still open offices.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Better improvements can be gained by...

"Making email optional. I'll get to the email at the beginning / end of the day. If it's urgent, call me"

You started well. But you do realise, don't you, that everything will be "urgent"?

These Chicago teens can't graduate until they learn some compsci

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Wrong subject

"I think it's fucking pathetic that most people can't wire a plug, or do up a compression joint / taped thread."

Given the way plugs are moulded on to mains leads these days the first of those seems to be obsolete these days and sooner or later there'll probably be regulations preventing it. Knowing how to choose the correct replacement fuse is another matter although again that might be regulated into the hands of the sparkies.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It's a shame we don't see programming as a basic skill

I have serious reservations about making things compulsory. Maybe it's a hangover from compulsory games and Latin at school. Having said that I have to admit that my experience of programming was a much resented compulsory course in FORTRAN. Mind you it was only 5 days of which I managed to miss the first by being out of the country doing field work - whatever they did that day it can't have been much as I wasn't disadvantaged.

I don't think it takes much exposure to a subject to discover that it is or isn't something you'll be good at. The field work for which I missed that first day of the FORTRAN course had been in a subject that grabbed my attention on a single day on a field course whilst at school; a day when the weather precluded the scheduled activity and its replacement was largely a matter of luck.

In fact, longer suffering of a subject being badly taught may well be counter-productive and, as others have said here, where do you find the (good) teachers?

Maybe the best approach would be to start with short taster courses concentrating on structured problem solving as much as coding. Provide short teacher training courses for this. If necessary some of the best teachers could work on a peripatetic basis to get it off the ground. It would increase exposure of the subject to the teaching staff so that hopefully more would be drawn into the short course and some of the initial batch could be trained up to offer a fuller course to the pupils who have an interest and aptitude for it.

Cook moves iPhone debate to FBI's weak ground: The media

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: My question is: why Apple gave away the phone backups, but refuses to access the phone?

I refer the hon. gentleman to the answer I gave some moments ago. A summons requires a witness to produce some evidence they might have. Apple have the backup which might be evidence. This is a demand for Apple to produce something that they don't have and which isn't evidence.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: But who owns the device?

This is a good point and one on which maybe a compromise could have been reached which could have gained the sympathy of iThing owners. However AFAIK it's not the owners asking for this, it's the FBI and that creates a very different situation.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: alternatively

Your shift key has gone missing. Have a word with Bombastic Bob, he seems to have a spare.

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Re: Anyone heard of a "subpoena"?

Yes. I've had plenty of those. They're called witness summonses. A summons can also call on a witness to produce in court some item of evidence that they possess. What's being attempted here is to call on someone to produce something that (a) isn't evidence and (b) they don't possess. That's a radical departure from standard procedure.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It's not often I agree with Apple but...

"The big question is why the judge and FBI went to such great lengths to pretend this was a one off when they full well knew that was quite simply impossible in the US legal system."

According to a previous report here the answer to part one is that the FBI assured the magistrate that it was a reasonable demand and Apple's view wasn't asked for. The answer to the second part, why the FBI did it is pretty obvious to most of us.

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