* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

No escape: Microsoft injects 'Get Windows 10' nagware into biz PCs

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Linux, Linux, Linux, Linux,

"Linux: "Good morning, only 15,473 software updates so far today."

Thank you for your informed comment. Now let's look at reality.

First, and I can't speak for other versions, but with Debian updates arrive as they're ready. You can install them when you wish but it would be silly to not offer an important update promptly because today's the first Wednesday in the month & we only release on the first Tuesday.

Today brought 5 updates. I can tell the system to update. It tells me what's to be done including the following:

"Need to get 2,560 kB of archives.

After this operation, 1,024 B disk space will be freed."

but then asks for confirmation to go ahead rather than just doing it.

It took a second to download and a few more seconds to install. But look again at the second of those lines I quoted. Not only does the upgrade process tell you what the impact on the file system is going to be, sometimes it actually releases space.

The Linux upgrade process these days is in a universe Microsoft hasn't even thought about visiting.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Microsoft claims it's doing this...

"After a long weekend, come to work to find Win 10 has installed itself on most of a company's PCs"

Well, at least it would tell you which users ignored your instructions to turn them off when they're not in use. You did tell them that,didn't you?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"if you are not in the deb camp and want rpms then fedora is UEFI compatible as well."

It's a very long time since I used Fedora but AFAICR I found it to be release often, break often. Maybe a derivative of RH, say Centos or Scientific Linux, would be better; I'm sure they're UEFI compatible.

But as a stepping stone it might also be worth looking at one of the Ubuntu derivatives such as Zorin that set out to provide a user interface as close to W7 as possible.

Learn you Func Prog on five minute quick!

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"And not a moment too soon!!!"

The problems you complain about with OO stem from standard operating practice. Take an existing idea - in this case existing ideas about data structures, add something - in this case glue the procedural stuff onto it, wrap the whole thing up in new nomenclature to disguise what you've borrowed, add some over-the-top stuff - e.g. your example about wheels, and tell the world you've invented something completely new.

Between them the new nomenclature and OOT stuff is enough to put many of us off for years.

OK, I left out inheritance but the basic principle is "data structures on steroids" but calling it that wouldn't have brought the same kudos.

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Re: That Went right over my head...

"Sometimes I think if you want to learn something, the last thing your should do is read a book."

If all else fails, read the manual. Or maybe that's not quite what you meant.

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Welcome back Verity

We've missed you.

But could we have an introduction to functional programming with Object Pascal. Or vice versa.

Nest thermostat owners out in the cold after software update cockup

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" Like many companies these days, the Nest terms and conditions explicitly forbid customers from entering into class-action lawsuits against the company. Instead, all disputes are to be settled by arbitration on a case by case basis."

Whether this is a valid term or a meaningless jumble of letters could depend on local consumer protection law.

Er, what sort of Docker experience were you expecting?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"less than 3,000 per cent back in January 2008"

Last time I looked zero was indeed less than 3,000.

We know this isn't about PRISM, Matt Warman MP. But do you?

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Re: @Doctor Syntax The quicker this bill is passed the better

"I like your optimism"

Optimism? That was pessimism.

"I suspect that the EU courts will no longer have any jurisdiction over human rights in the UK before the year is out."

In that case HMG will end up with similar problems the US has re Safe Harbour when it comes to doing business with the rest of Europe. Then they find a few large companies deciding to migrate their HQs to other parts of the EU.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

The quicker this bill is passed the better

Because then it'll be a quicker trip to the ECHR or ECJ to get a drubbing.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"democratic and judicial oversight"

I think you're confusing political with democratic.

What this bill does is attempt to legitimise the abolition of the presumption of innocence and to redefine "due" in the concept of "due process of law". Last year we celebrated the presence of that latter concept in the last 8 centuries of English law. We celebrated it by abolishing it.

Council of Europe gets tough on net neutrality

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"With the exception of traffic management, network security or a court order, the council says that there should be no interference with data traffic flowing across the internet. The wording is precise, strong and unambiguous."

So whatever chokes one service relative to another will be "traffic management". Got it. No ambiguity at all.

Microsoft’s Revolution Analytics buy pays off, Linux-based R Server launched

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"All of which will start displaying GWX nagware."

Or "telemetry".

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"The reason vendors are racing to improve support for data analytics is that the IoT era already generates (and will continue to do so) huge amounts of data which is otherwise useless."

Does this mean that data analytics will stop the IoT era generating huge amounts of data?

Intel Skylake delays, Win10 and stock glut blamed for Q4 PC sales shrinkage

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"I'm not really getting why Windows 10 could be responsible. ... Does HP think that buyers of their Win8/8.1 machines hate the OS so much that they would be willing to buy a whole new PC?"

AIUI HP were complaining that the final [sic] production build of W10 was made available to them too close to release date & this blocked production. But that doesn't seem to tally with tales of unsold stock clogging the warehouses.

Windows 10 shattered Remote Desktop's security defaults – so get patching

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Re: Best KB article in this update batch

'"Translates some functionalities in multiple languages for the accuracy of the meaning and to avoid duplicity"

Not quite the Queen's English.'

Maybe something was lost in translation.

Brazilian whacks: as economy tanks, cyber-crooks samba

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The problem is that it involves handing $70 to someone who professes to expertise in fraud. Or is there honour among theives?

$30 webcam spun into persistent network backdoor

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"The attacks are useful as an alternative backdoor for targeted attackers who already have access to a machine"

A WiFi camera might well be installed outside the premises it's supposed to be guarding so it access could be possible.

Not good enough, VW: California nixes toxic mix fix in strict interdict

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'mitigation for "past and future environmental harm"'

If CARB's actions delay fixing the offending vehicles are they going to hold themselves responsible for "future environmental harm" during the delay?

One Ring to pwn them all: IoT doorbell can reveal your Wi-Fi key

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Re: Doorbells? Who needs doorbells?

"Delivery people send you a text and then knock."

Hereabouts they ring the bell & ask for such & such house. It's a consequence of most houses not having numbers & looking for the nameplate being too hard.

Microsoft’s Get Windows 10 nagware shows signs of sentience

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Re: When

"Sadly my win 7 box here has had updates turned off"

Strange choice of adverb.

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Re: Well, if it wants to jump species...

"I have just bought a GPS that REQUIRES Windows (or a Mac) to upgrade the maps. Imagine my disappointment"

Always read the small print.

But check if Wine will do the trick. Or Vista in a VM.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: GWX isn't the problem.

"Before 10 came out I could update a clean 7 build in around a hour or two. Hit update, a minute later the list of 200 updates would appear, click install and go get on with something else for an hour or two."

The fact that this was considered acceptable, or at least normal, is a sad comment on the extent to which MS had brainwashed admins.

Come in Internet Explorers, your time is up. Or not. Up to you

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Stuck with old IE?

" Anyone who decides not to do so is just putting off the inevitable."

This is true but it's unlikely to be anyone prepared to listen to a sysadmin let alone working as one.

Boffins switch on pinchfist incandescent bulb

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Re: LED and CRI

"t's sometimes more cost-effective to replace the light fitting than to retro-fit LEDs. Or at least it is if you are your own electrician."

Going shopping with SWMBO for light fittings? Not worth it!

Southend-on-Sea splashes £1.5m on hybrid cloud data centre

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"The council is re-locating a data centre"

Which council? Solihull? Are you padding out a very short story with quotes from a previous one?

What's going on with X.org? Desktop software body could lose domain

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Re: "reached out"... no. Just No.

'What's wrong with "We contacted..." ?'

"We asked..." is simpler.

Future Snowden hunt starts with audit of NSA spooks' privileges

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They seem to assume that staff would be doing this via their normal work machines. Have they forgotten that these include people who install backdoors & tap networks?

Turkish carder scores record 332-year jail term

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"and seven months"

Nice to see courts giving such attention to detail.

Hacks rebel after bosses secretly install motion sensors under desks

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Re: Becoming all too common...

"I hope I can get out before they decide to play their stupid games with my job."

That would be missing an opportunity. If the timing's just right you have an opportunity to tell them what to do with their job rather than quietly disappear.

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Re: Telegraph not unique

"too many managers who are more internally directed rather than looking externally and selling or delivering stuff that adds value to the bottom line"

too many managers


Anyone using M-DISC to archive snaps?

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Re: Just encrypt your data and email it

But where will you archive the key?

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Re: Data =/= Information

My aunt and mother were both great hoarders of photographs. But not great labellers. So I have problems of who were these Edwardian ladies staring at the camera and who were the children with them? And what was the building all these people were standing beside? A few labelled pictures are a useful archive; a few Tb of unlabelled jpegs are so many random bits.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Media works … DVD a bit tight for all you snaps.

"I don't have time to be picky about what is stored"

Maybe best to delete it all. If you don't have time to review it now you're never going to have time to look at it all or to find the one picture which you seem to remember you have somewhere if only you can find it...

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Media works … DVD a bit tight for all you snaps.

"More to the point perhaps is the use for family histories; family trees including pictures,, scans of certificates and other historic addenda."

Print out on good quality paper. Your descendants might not be bothered to work out how to use your digital version but hard copy won't be a problem. Unless they burn it, of course; maybe you should print a large threat to come back & haunt them on the cover.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Solves only the easy problem

"DVD drives are so common today that finding one in 50 years time (if only to reverse-engineer a non-functioning one) is likely to be easy."

It's not so long ago that 5 1/4" floppies were common. And 8" before that. There aren't too many about now. And good luck reverse engineering a non-functioning DVD drive.

You just have to keep migrating to new media.

Investigatory Powers Bill: A force for good – if done right?

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Re: Secret law is anathema to democracy...

"When you Brits are being shafted (and in many ways, the rest of the world) you're very calm."

At present the matter is before Parliament. Despite what happens in PMQs florid displays of anger are likely to be counter-productive. A better tactic is presenting reasoned and reasonable arguments as ammunition for any sympathetic politicians who might be listening (as I hope Lord Strasburger still is despite the reception he was given).

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Add another thing - a judge can only grant a maximum of X warrants in any 24 month period. This is to stop a judge that is overly sympathetic to bullshit or probe to rubber stamping."

What concerns you here is what's sometimes called regulatory capture, the judges being the first layer of regulation. If you look at point 5 you'll see that this is also checked for. The approach I've suggested is to check for outcomes.

One could easily envisage a situation where a case has a large number of suspects The judge is presented with a request for warrants against all of them. I'm assuming that individual warrants would be issued for each suspect. This could eat up an undue proportion of your X without the judge being overly sympathetic to bullshit or rubber stamping. In fact, by having to read the background to the case once he could concentrate on wanting to know why there are so many suspects and requiring warrants to be vacated as soon as it became clear that a suspect was eliminated.

Rationing the inputs wouldn't be as effective as reviewing the outcomes.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: @Doctor Syntax

"You missed one key thing."


From point 5: "this would be to check for attempts to slip unjustified, overbroad requests through the system"

One of the purposes of the checking layer would be to prevent what you're concerned about.

A well-informed commentard on a thread some time ago pointed out than in some cases multiple warrants had to be sought to follow up on an initial warrant - IIRC an example was discovering that a suspect had a second mobile & another warrant had to be issued to cover that. It's likely that a warrant system that required undue follow-ups would be counter-productive - the judges would be overwhelmed with requests & not able to give due scrutiny. An effective system would need a sufficient degree of flexibility which is why I didn't suggest a specific granularity but a system of checks to countermand abuse.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"The new Bill must close all the old loopholes, and the new overly-broad powers that are in the current draft of the Bill must be eliminated if we are to avoid repeating this scandal of the Executive writing its own powers."

That's an overly-broad statement. We need more specific requirements. Here's my suggestion.

1. The presumption of innocence is an important principle in English law. A corollary of that is that, whilst an investigator will necessarily regard individuals as suspects prior to conviction, the population as a whole must not be treated as suspects. Mass surveillance is not an unacceptable means of investigation.

2. Any interception must require a warrant.

3. It is unacceptable that a warrant be granted by a politician or by an official of the investigating body. It must be granted by a judge or magistrate.

4. There must be a regulatory oversight of the process over and above that provided by the independent granting of warrants

5. The regulatory oversight should review the outcomes of intercepts. The percentage of significant outcomes should be compared against the sources of requests for warrants and against the granters of warrants. In the first case this would be to check for attempts to slip unjustified, overbroad requests through the system and in the second to check for regulatory capture. Suitable action should be taken in the event of the discovery of anomalies including withdrawal of the ability to make requests or to grant warrants. There should also be spot checks on the returns made for this statistical review.

6. The regulator should also respond to complaints from members of the public in regard to abuse of the interception powers.

7. The regulator should have the power to act when abuses are discovered. Available actions should include requiring agencies to take disciplinary action, criminal proceedings and ordering public apologies and compensation to victims of such abuse.

8. The regulator should publish regular reports including summaries of the statistical reporting, complaints and all actions taken in the event of abuse.

If the regulator needs a motto "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" seems appropriate.

Clinton Group to Violin: What do we want? Sale. When do we want it? Allegro

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

And the threat of being taken over with possible discontinuation of product lines will do what for sales?

UK energy minister rejects 'waste of money' smart meters claim

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"But interested to know what exactly you think is so special about the UK electricity supply sector that makes you think it is so different from others like Australia and NZ?"

I don't know about your environment but here we've had a stupid charge to "renewables"* which means supply is increasingly unpredictable.

In consequence the responsible govt dept, rather than admitting it's got things wrong & needs to take action to keep the lights on, wants to be able to balance the system by remotely switching the lights off. And we don't actually like the idea that someone in Whitehall or wherever should be able to remotely switch off our washing machine mid-cycle or our freezer or our fridge or our lights.

Given that smart meters are, in effect, remote switches, we see them as an essential element of achieving that. The irony, of course, is that when they start to exercise that ability, should they get it into their hands, the political consequences will finally dawn on the govt. with the result that there'll be a panic programme to build nuclear capacity at whatever cost.

"other than the government mandate"

That in itself is sufficient basis for mistrust whatever the colour of the govt. If anything the other lot would be even worse.

* Renewables here don't include much hydro nor, as far as I'm aware, any geo-thermal. And this comes on top of generations of technophobe politicians and administrators who have thrown away our early lead in nuclear generation.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"as there's already a severe shortage of good embedded systems bods."

Do you really think this has been worked out in sufficient detail to appreciate the need for good engineers?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Definition of success - going OT


Engaged! More marketwanker-speak.

After I'd renewed my house insurance recently, my insurers decided to start spamming me except it's not called "spam", its "part of our customer engagement". (We'd had words about spam a couple of years ago after I found the email address of someone senior in their marketing.)

Using your own domain for email has benefits. Last summer I sorted out my email to give individual addresses to people I'm a regular customer of. So they've quickly found themselves disengaged when I deleted their address. They'll find themselves even more disengaged next time renewal's due.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I think it *will* be a ghastly mess

"Then again, could things be any worse than the current performance of people like npower, coop energy, and first utility?"

You're an optimist aren't you?

There's always room for worse.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: @dcluley

"Also different leccy suppliers use different meters, different software... so if you dance to that other favourite gubmint tune and SWITCH - then your spiffy new smart meter immediately becomes a good old-fashioned dumb meter."

Sounds interesting should they ever try to insist on installing one here.

How hard can it be to kick terrorists off the web? Tech bosses, US govt bods thrash it out

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@Charles 9

There doesn't seem to be any effective mechanism for reforming them. That's why the internet services businesses such as Apple are under pressure from their customers to keep as much as possible out of the agencies mitts.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Trust

"The intelligence community is coming to the tech companies and saying sorry (not publicly, that would be too much) "

If you're right it's a good start but publicly is not too much, it's what's needed. However I don't see the tech companies being able to help the community out of their hole. If they were to try they'd simply find their customers turning against them and looking elsewhere for secure apps.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Missed the edit window.

The security community also need to accept that there is no magic bullet to solve their encryption problems. Code for strong encryption has been generally available for a couple of decades. It's not going to become suddenly unavailable.

Mandating weak encryption or key escrow systems are not going to satisfy public needs. If such restriction on strong encryption were imposed on suppliers in their jurisdiction the public would simply turn to suppliers from outside. If such external software were made illegal then the general public would suffer but anyone wanting to use strong encryption for illegal purposes would not be affected. As I've written here previously, you do not dissuade people who are or are planning to break laws by furnishing them with more laws to break.

The security community has a real problem with widespread use of strong encryption. It's a problem entirely of their own making. They can't blame anyone else. And frankly I don't see what they can do about it now except live with it.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Admit what exactly?"

Exactly what I said: that they have lost the trust of the people.

The people who object to being spied on. The people who are the customers demanding end-to-end encryption of Apple etc's services. The people who are the demos in democracy. The people whose taxes pay their salaries. The people for whom they are supposed to work.

Clear enough?

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