* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Perfect timing for a two-bank TITSUP: Totally Inexcusable They've Stuffed Up Payday

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Re: Not a lot of point really..

"a hundred grand or more in their current account"

That explains it. Only about £90k and mostly in deposit. But that was Lloyds/TSB's attitude. It was a few years ago now so you might have expected the limit to have been less then. Anyway, I took their hint and did sod off; they'd already closed my preferred branch..

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The Treasury Committee should insist on banks reopenning branches instead of closing them until such time that they can demonstrate that their online options are secure and reliable. That way we can get back to good, permanent branch networks.

New theory: The space alien origins of vital bio-blueprints for dinosaurs. And cats. And humans. And everything else

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There's plenty of phosphorus in the Earth's crust so no need to look for extra-terrestrial origins. Oh, silly me. There is. Publications.

Your specialist subject? The bleedin' obvious... Feds warn of RDP woe

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"open to the WWW"

A web server?

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Re: Useful advice that won't help

"Then there's the older folks to whom computers, while fun and great for communications, planning vacations, etc. don't have a clue either."

If they're sitting behind an ISP supplied router then it ought to have been supplied with RDP and anything else they don't need already blocked. So prime targets for this message are the vendors and ISP techies responsible for specifying requirements to the vendors and checking they've been met.

A secondary problem here would be visiting children and grandchildren who want to open up a port for some other purpose and think they know what they're doing. Perhaps ISPs should run occasional pro-active scans for open ports.

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Re: Useful advice that won't help

"Anyone know a way to break this loop?"

Getting hacked.

Stable doors etc.

Linux kernel 'give me root, now' security hole sighted, dubbed 'Mutagen Astronomy'

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"local attacker can exploit this vulnerability via a SUID-root binary and obtain full root privileges,"

I find this a little odd unless the exploit can only be run from the console. I suspect they mean it needs command line access but that can be achieved via ssh.

OTOH kudos for the anagram name.

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Re: Thanks for clarifying.

" And who is General Failure and why is he reading my disk?"

I'm not sure but I think Major Error is one of his direct reports. Or is the Kernel Panic.

(Yes I do know but the sub-eds don't have a monopoly of bad puns round here.)

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Re: Thanks for clarifying.

"I expect most on this tech site won’t know that."

Maybe it needs explaining for the Microsoft marketing shills who keep coming along to downvote anything mildly critical of their masters.

WWII Bombe operator Ruth Bourne: I'd never heard of Enigma until long after the war

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Re: Partial truth, partial cover up ?

"Afterwards the letters were checked, and they had indeed be opened"

This bit was shown in "The man who never was".

Miles Malleson playing the boffin was given the envelope. "This has been in water...." snips a piece off, puts it in a test tube, adds water, gives it a shake, adds silver nitrate and gets a white precipitate "...seawater.". "But had it been opened?" (Dismissively) "Of course."

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Re: Partial truth, partial cover up ?

"Maybe this enigma stuff is made up to create a smoke screen."

Actually it was all the highly placed spies stuff that was made up to distract from the code-breaking. It seems to be working.

Trump's axing of cyber czar role has left gaping holes in US defence

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over 6 years later only 30% had been implemented.

FTFY

5% a year is probably quite good when top management (a) doesn't want to pay for it and (b) realises that they'll be expected to play by the security rules themselves.

A story of M, a failed retailer: We'll give you a clue – it rhymes with Charlie Chaplin

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Re: "So you take on debt and spend dozens of years paying off the debt,"

"More to the point why did the last buyer of Maplin (or their expert accountants and advisers) fail to see they were being stiffed?"

AIUI they were making a loan to Maplin with high interest rates (presumably financed at much lower interest rates). Providing they got the money back as "interest" it wouldn't really matter to them that the firm went bankrupt. I take it that "interest" was a more tax-efficient way of getting money out of the business than "profits".

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Debt = Bad

"And as Tom 38 answered, cheap credit wasn't the cause, inappropriate lending was. Mortgages being given to people who were at very high risk of not paying them back"

And the whole house price bubble which powered this was driven by cheap credit. Various govts., including HMG, were addicted to low interest rates. We had the utter stupidity of Brown setting BoE the task of setting interest rates to control a measure of inflation which excluded housing costs. As a lot of the prices contributing to that measure were of products whose manufacture was being outsourced to China etc. those elements were falling, measured inflation was low and interest rates were low. Low interest rates drove up house prices and people were remortgaging on the basis of their inflated house prices just to get their hands on "cheap" money.

Forget the risk of not paying the mortgage back. If the punter can't do that the lender takes the house and sells it to recoup. It produces a housing crisis but not a financial one. What really does the damage is if the house is no longer worth what was lent on it. If the house prices are overinflated when the loan is made it doesn't take that many repossessions to deflate them so the lenders can't get their money back.

Way before the crash it was clearly unsustainable to anyone who gave a thought to it. Unfortunately there were too many involved who weren't inclined to give a though to it

And we stll have a housing bubble.

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Re: Where does the money come from?

"Who fills the hole where the money was?"

Amongst other, suppliers who didn't get paid.

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Re: Debt = Bad

"So yeah, cheap credit anticipating house price rises was the cause, but between the end of the world and stuffing the banks full of cheap credit, we choose the latter."

And we've still got a house price bubble. Burst that and there are a lot of banks holding deeds to houses that are then worth less than the outstanding mortgages. As the A/C said, the [root] cause was cheap credit so why is cheap credit the answer?

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Re: Further reading

"Venture Capital is investing in startups who don't have much/any track record."

And the best term for 2 is Vulture Capital (with apologies to el Reg - actually, given the new front page, cancel the apologies).

America cooks up its flavor of GDPR – and Google's over the moon

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Re: What a shitshow

"I've personally been notified of two corporate breaches affecting my personal data since it became law"

Would you have been notified of such breaches pre-GDPR? If not then it's being effective as such notification is one of the the objectives.

Linux kernel's 'seat warmer' drops 4.19-rc5 with – wow – little drama

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"Wow - little drama". So, as the man said, it's a normal release. Things are getting bad when el Reg has to headline the normal.

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Re: Who are these people

"I mean someone working for Intel who gets a Linus blast might trot to HR for a chat about people being mean to them and that has implications for a corporate sponsor."

Someone driving a white van might get a blast from another road-user. What happens if they then go along to HR? They get told the bystander isn't an employee under control of of HR so they just have to lump it.

As Linus doesn't work for their employer he can't write their annual review, get them fired or get their bonus withheld for poor work. All he can do is blast them. They should consider themselves lucky.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Is a killswitch possible?

From the GPLv2:

1. You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's source code as you receive it....

2. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion of it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and distribute such modifications or work under the terms of Section 1...

AFAICS any contributor's code has been copied and incorporated into a derivative work as per these two sections. Having granted the permission to copy and modify it's difficult to see how any contributor's code can be ungranted. Although the license doesn't include any provision for forbidding this it certainly doesn;t make a provision for allowing it either. The nearest thing is

8. If the distribution and/or use of the Program is restricted in certain countries...the original copyright holder who places the Program under this License may add an explicit geographical distribution limitation...

which isn't the same thing.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: GPL v2 versus GPL v3

"Maybe a good time to move the Linux kernel to GPL v3 which explicitly removes the option to rescind contributions but unsure that is possible to apply retrospectively."

That would require getting confirmation from all contributors, including those you can't find and from the executors of those who no longer exist.

Aggregate this: NewsNow has spilt a bunch of 'encrypted' passwords

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"Industry best practice is to store only salted hash representations of passwords, which is not quite the same thing."

Close enough for a PR hack.

Contractors slam UK taxman's 'aggressive' IR35 tax reforms

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"On the plus side, there's now many an American co-worker who I've taught some new words and phrases to"

Ah. Missionary work.

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Re: What you would hope for...

"What you would hope to happen is that someone at HMRC now wakes up after realizing that they have now lost two key (and highly visible) court cases in a row"

They've lost more than those. LimeIT was quite a spectacular loss as the inspector concerned issued a 2-page apology and still insisted he was right. But as they're mostly well spaced out they keep insisting they're right. It would take a whole series of failures to change that.

A really spectacular change would be if they extend that to the private sector and a couple of private sector engagers get successfully sued for either benefits or, preferably, damages for an incorrect assessment. That would lead to out-of IR35 assessments, with supporting documentation, being the norm.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Do the right thing

In general you're right but:

"can be dismissed without notice (in real terms, you're often on what is effectively a 0-hour contract)."

No, It's your company's contract that can be terminated without notice. It's this confusion between the individual and company that may be at the root of the entire problem and certainly enables HMRC to get away with it. The very first thing to do when going freelance is to get clear in your head what appertains to your company and what to you. The fees your company collects are not your income. They're the company's income. It can pay you a regular salary out of them and dividends at intervals, say half-yearly, but allowing the company to build up a reserve to allow salary to continue being paid when there are no engagements or you, the copmany's employee or off sick or on holiday.

Just dumping the whole thing straight from the company's bank account into yours is just asking for trouble from HMRC.

ISTR that Red Dawn's original justification for IR35 was to cut down on abuses such as zero-hours. Oddly enough they don't seem to be pursuing that with any great vigour. Could it be that they don't see great returns for effort?

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"I say this as a company of one who pays tax as I have indicated."

No you haven't indicated it. You're posting A/C so there's no indication of what your previous posts were.

That scary old system with 'do not touch' on it? Your boss very much wants you to touch it. Now what do you do?

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Re: Insurers, banks, board of trade, government...

"Unfortunately the full benefits will only be known a decade down the line, which the higher echelons will not like: it has no tangible immediate benefit for the shareholder value, costs (now) only money, so it will decrease their fat bonus payments."

However, apply this to the TSB fiasco. What they thought was that running on the old Lloyds platform was costing them too much money and the dis-benefits of screwing up the migration became instantly well known.

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Re: But what about...

"How do you migrate the unknown?"

You switch it off, hoping you can successfully switch it on again. If nobody complains you can leave it switched off (but don't skip it before the end of the accounting year). If someone does you're now know what it does.

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Re: 6 point plan?

"In my experience most of these old systems are still in place because there has never been budget to replace them"

And because they're what the business uses to earn its money.

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“In your greenfield you can introduce a microservice architecture so that the developers and new applications can use the latest technologies, build tools, frameworks, and methodologies to help the business innovate and adapt quickly.”

More likely they'll develop a minimal set of apps which do what marketing wanted but don't deal with everything marketing didn't think about such as invoicing end user customers when you've always dealt with distributors before or handling returns.

Brexit campaigner AggregateIQ challenges UK's first GDPR notice

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Re: So this is punishment for supporting Brexit

"Brexit took place on June 23 2016"

No it didn't. I think you may be deluding yourself.

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Re: So this is punishment for supporting Brexit

"Besides anyone who thinks their personal data is private on facebook is deluding themselves."

That's why we have GDPR - to protect the deluded inter alia.

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Re: They screaming, me smiling

".. you never know when it might be useful in future. Eg all those landing cards for West Indian migrants"

From the PoV of the HO trying to build a hostile environment they were indeed a toxic asset. That's why they were destroyed. They turned out to be even more toxic in their absence, hence the HO is now rudderless.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Serious question but how are the ICO going to enforce the GDPR against a Canadian company?"

Start by serving a notice on their bank to freeze their account. The company may or may not have assets in the UK. It's very likely their bank does. On the whole a bank is more likely to be prepared to throw a customer under the bus rather than tangle with the government of a country where it has assests and, presumably, a banking license.

Barclays and RBS on naughty step: Banks told to explain service meltdown to UK politicos

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Re: MPs are not Knowledgeable enough to ask these questions

"banks are IT with a layer of marketing"

Don't forget the casino bolted onto the side.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"They just took it out of the wages of the delivery riders."

In the case of banks, take it out of the bonus fund as a regulatory requirement. Performance will increase amazingly.

How an over-zealous yank took down the trading floor of a US bank

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Re: "over-zealous yank"

"Am I the only person who read that title totally differently to the way the author intended?"

What way did you think the author intended you to read it.? This is el Reg, not /.

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Re: I can trump that !

He put down with the phone, turned to me with a grin and said "We've just brought down the whole trading floor at XXX bank."

Does that still work? It could explain quite a lot.

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Re: ANY Unplugging the keyboard = kernel panic ?

"press any out of keys"

Obvious response: which are the "out of" keys?

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Re: Unplugging the keyboard = kernel panic ?

"Plug in a keyboard and press F1 to continue booting"

I think it more likely to have been the result of a specific error message and the automatic concatenation of a standard phrase to any boot-time non-fatal error message.

The Intel board on my Mythtv box does something similar. It has a setting in the BIOS for running keyboard-less but on boot still reports that there's no keyboard and that the error is "logged" (where? - no don't tell me I'm not really interested) but carries on booting which seems to be the only effect of the BIOS setting.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: DevOps?

"It may not have been called "DevOps", but we most certainly used the same concepts and methods in the mid 90s."

One of the joys of being a grey-beard is that you can watch all the young folk [re]discovering so much stuff. All we need is a buzzy name and we can get waterfall development back in fashion.

HMRC contractor scores IR35 payout after yet another taxman blunder

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Re: "HMRC settled the tribunal case immediately before it was due to start"

"always assume incompetence first and maliciousness second"

This is HMRC. Assume the tax inspector has financial targets to meet. Neither incompetence nor maliciousness need be assumed when self-interest enters the picture.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "HMRC settled the tribunal case immediately before it was due to start"

"Settling at the last minute should be seen as a form of willful obstruction."

"Steps of the court" settlements are fairly common in civil cases. Quite likely either this is their first meeting with their barrister after he's had a chance to review the case fully and to negotiate with the palintiff's lawyers. I know it's usual here to condemn lawyers but they can be more amenable to negotiating than their principals.

You're alone in a room with the Windows 10 out-of-the-box apps. What do you do?

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Is the old cardfile still a thing in there?

Dead retailer's 'customer data' turns up on seized kit, unencrypted and very much for sale

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Re: Until such a time as

"I mean, it's already pretty risky, but who's going to put their time and money into a business if they can go to jail over their employees screwing up?"

The directors remain responsible for the company being run legally. Limited liability protects against debts. It's just that TPTB are reluctant to enforce it, presumably for the reasons you suggest. They need to use their powers more often if the actions are carried out in bad faith. At present the maximum extent seems to be to disqualify a director.

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Re: Until such a time as

"Company Directors are personally held liable"

Yet another of these things we have to repeat from time to time. GDPR and its UK embodiment in the new DPA has just such provisions.

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Re: How's this different than normal?

"Adding responsibility for the data to the process adds additional costs no one wants."

Wanted or not the responsibility exists.

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Re: How's this different than normal?

"Make it a penalty on the liquidator to allow customer data to leak from a company they've closed down."

It would have been under DPA, it is now with knobs on under GDPR.

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Re: How's this different than normal?

"Not many liquidators would have the means, knowledge or time to make sure things are securely wiped, and if it has come down to the end, its doubtful anybody still left at a company does either."

Once one of them has been hit with a big GDPR fine they'll all make the time and acquire the knowledge. Either that or send the disk for secure destruction.

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