* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Yahoo! Mail! is! still! a! thing!, tries! blocking! Adblock! users!

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Are Yahoo! Experienced? Have Yahoo! Ever Been Experienced?

"Please note, sysadmins everywhere."

I'm sure sysadmins everywhere are with you on that. It's the hipsters who want to provide you with experience.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Yahoo is Over

"or if you are a customer so don't report it as spam"


Do you really think reporting spam has any effect?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Yahoo is Over

"It take some work to switch to another less intrusive and spammy email, considering all the sites I have registered at using the Yahoo address."

It does but it's worth it. I used to have two addresses, a hotmail one for places likely to result in spam & an ISP one. The ISP one survived several buyouts until TalkTalk bought it out. As part of the ISP migration I registered a domain still with a single address on it until that must have leaked and started to get spam.

The current arrangement is that every company I deal with regularly has their own address so if any leak I can (a) identify where the leak came from and (b) replace the address. The hard work is in going through all the different address change mechanisms, some of whom can be a pain. It's also an opportunity to re-evaluate all the businesses to whom you've given an address & cull a few. Finally, every month or so I set up a new temporary address for circumstances where I might need to give out an address for a single transaction and then I kill that after a few weeks. All the live addresses go into a single account and so into a single inbox on Seamonkey. That's been the arrangement for a few months & seems to be working OK. In the long term the work will have paid off.

The Hotmail account receives almost nothing but spam now (the exception are usenet users who simply can't read the instructions in a sig.) and as I never kept an address book online no contacts who used it can get spammed from the Hotmail me apart, possibly, via the occasional numpty who included it in a cc: list. I really should get round to closing it and changing the one registration left using it - el Reg.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Its only the best all round solution if you don't have any significant delays in loading ads, and they are not poisoned flash files or similar that then infect your PC."

You'd need to have an overall limit, volume and time, on what could be downloaded. And as it would all be sent to /dev/null or whatever equivalent you OS provides poisoned flash files would be no more of a problem than the noisy ones or the animated gifs.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It's not about spam, it's about /security/

You're quite right. It's rapidly getting the the stage where the general public realises that basic internet access security requires 3 things: anti-virus, noscript and an adblocker. As soon as the adblocker becomes universal it's game over for the entire advertising chain. They need to tackle malvertising urgently if they hope to survive. I'm surprised Google haven't done something about this already although as soon as they do, hoping that adblockers will whitelist them, the rest of the industry will make the usual monopoly complaints while ignoring the fact that it was their own arrogant sloppiness that brought the situation about.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Give us ad-masking instead"

I don't understand the downvotes. This is the best all-round solution. The website gets paid. The user doesn't get pissed off. The ad networks also get paid. The advertiser? Well, as they haven't succeeded in pissing off the user they haven't lost potential or real customers and their direct costs are no more than they would have been had they paid to lose those customers.

Malware caught checking out credit cards in 54 luxury hotels

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Cash

Their problem. Cash is on the counter, demand a receipt or failing that a written statement that they won't take your cash. If in doubt record the incident.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge


Just pay by cash. But don't get cash from the in-house ATM.

What, they don't want to take cash? Their problem. There's the bill and there's cash being tendered to pay it. You've done your part.

Hillary Clinton: Stop helping terrorists, Silicon Valley – weaken your encryption

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

A counter-suggestion

Government should stop treating Silicon Valley (and the rest of the tech world) as an adversary. Get them to explain the issues to you. Listen to them. If you can't understand what they say (which is quite likely) just accept that what they say is true. The hardest thing for you, as a politician, will be to break your normal habits and disregard the Yes Men because inevitably there will be a few trying to sell you snake oil. It might not be what you want to hear but it will be real and real is what you have to live with.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "...we were told bluntly: No compromise exists..."

"- give us the square root of -1,"


Many UK ecommerce sites allow ‘password’ for logins – report

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Re: Account Fetish hurts online retailers


Suitable alternatives are





and for an email address chairman@domain of company

Even better if you can get a direct email address of someone in the marketing dept.

For situations where a real email address may be needed for the transaction I generate a temporary email address every month or so & close it down when the transactions are complete so their spam will bounce.

I offer the following free of charge to anyone looking for a business idea. A service which will provide an email address forwarded to a real address for a preset time but will thereafter bounce further mails with a very pointed message explaining why it's been bounced. Or alternatively forward them cc: (not bcc:) to the reply to addresses of several other such mails. Let the spammers spam each other.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: On the other hand.

"Been in this situation before, and someone above me decided that they would attend the KPMG IT audit, without letting me know, until after the auditors had been in. Said person simply lied throughout it."

What sort of auditor would simply see one person instead of insisting on checking with a number of other members of staff? (Answers on a postcard)

Who's running dozens of top-secret unpatched databases? The Dept of Homeland Security

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"The report details ... a seemingly bureaucratic effort to delay a report announcing the flaws in its systems."

Next time, don't piss off the auditors. They get the last word.

One-armed bandit steals four hours of engineer's busy day

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"while trying to take a sick day with stomach flu"

What? You didn't throw up over her keyboard?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: A quick trip to Cyprus

"It all looked quite normal to him."

That was the problem. It could all look quite normal but unless you knew the area you couldn't be sure. I remember driving along some country roads with a couple of SOCOs who started getting quite nervous. Seeing that these were roads I'd happily driven along quite often taking the wife & kids out at weekends I started to worry. In the end I decided it was just that they were from the other side of Belfast & didn't know where they were.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: hit pump to get it working again

"I remember hanging out the back of a Mini (45 years ago) banging the fuel pump - was on the Marylebone Rd in London - in rush hour."

A bit earlier than that I had a field trip in N Ireland. I had the hired van with all the kit in it but no heater. A few others were supposed to be following in the departmental Mini. After a very long while they got there. Having spent a few miles periodically driving over the roadside verges to jolt the pump into operation they'd given in and taken it into a garage to get it fixed. Whilst it was up on the lift they could see where lumps of the cooling fins were missing from the sump. That would be where we'd driven it up another mountain a few weeks earlier.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: To Australia.

"and thought hardware"

So did I. I had no doubts it was a hardware problem from the start. But the clients (allegedly) hadn't experienced any problems before. And you don't argue with Italians so close to Naples...

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Epson

A bit closer to Hooton Pagnell

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

hit pump to get it working again

Back in the sixties an aunt of mine had an old car - Morris 8 I think. When it stopped she knew she had to get out & hit a specific piece of mechanism to get it started but she didn't know why.

|Does anyone remember the SU fuel pump?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

To Australia.

Not Australia but Italy. I had a contract to write some reporting S/W for my client's industrial control system running in their client's factory in Italy. The development was in my client's office in England but I had to go out to install it.

Once I got there I couldn't get through a run of the reports without random crashes. On reboot fsck kept leaving files in lost+found containing random fragments of memory contents. The end-user client didn't want me to leave until it was seen to run and it was still crashing when I should have left - and I was running out of Lira. I'd also had a call from an agent to see a new client on the following Monday with a view to starting contract on Tuesday. Finally the suite ran & so did I. I was told the consequent hardware call identified a bad memory stick; maybe without the extra S/W running the machine never used that area of memory.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: In days of yore...

"my customers were as happy as Larry- I was well chuffed.

My manager wasn't happy - because we weren't running running around like blue-arsed flies"

It's outputs that matter, not inputs. Politicians reminding us about how much they (they? - we!!) spend on whatever are amongst the worst for failing to grasp this simple fact.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Trivial

'Why do I STILL see and hear "techies" saying they've turned something on then off again'?

That's easy. You turn it on to make sure it's working & then turn it off again because users will only mess things up if you leave it switched on.

Short weekend break: Skegness or exoplanet HD 189733b?

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Re: Skeggie? Why oh why?

I refuse to go to Scarborough since they wrecked the North Bay corner to build that monstrosity.

Looking for a council house in Sheffield City? Meet your fellow tenants

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"The Register? The bastion of good IT practice? Surely not?"

You mean the register that uses https addresses? That one?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: As Scott Adams nearly said...

Dilbert was seriously overweight 20 years ago.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Fault of the mail program

No, the fault of HR. It's all too simple to assume that everyone they recruit has been trained in the basics by someone else. Their induction procedures should cover the basics of data protection including misuse of cc: and make breaches a disciplinary matter. But given the fact that in this case someone then sent out an attempt to recall and in doing so did exactly the same thing makes you wonder about the way they go about recruiting in the first place.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"The Register understands the Information Commissioner's Office has not received any complaints about the incident."

Shouldn't the council have notified the ICO themselves?

Ofcom asks: Do kids believe anything they read on the internet?

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"In 2009 Ofcom found that one-third of children believe Google ranks its search results in order of truthfulness."

I wish they'd rank them in order of usefulness.

Rdio's collapse another nail in the coffin of the 'digital economy'

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Re: As the Specials once sang "What a load of Bo**ocks"

"I'm sitting at my keyboard crying, no, sobbing as Andrew Orlowski tells me I owe him a living."

You sound like the sort of person who shoots the messenger.

France's 3-month state of emergency lets govt censor the web

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Re: They had this ready?

Bad laws can be written very quickly.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It's just like a bad French remake of the US 2001 bullshit

"Maybe I'm remembering through rose tinted glasses but the UK endured an active 20 year bombing campaign with less restrictions on our liberty"

Not really although it was NI which took the brunt. However the response there was internment without trial which was rather counter-productive. Spine or not, oh for one of our representatives to show an ability to learn from past mistakes.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

3 months?

Be careful what you give away. You might not get it back.

Remember Windows 1.0? It's been 30 years (and you're officially old)

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

I remember Windows 286 & 386. Visionware in Leeds distributed a package with one or both, an Ethernet card (coax, of course) and an X server. Multiple sessions on the Unix box! Was there anything else you could do with Windows?

How TV ads silently ping commands to phones: Sneaky SilverPush code reverse-engineered

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Android 6 Permissions

"Those written for previous versions of Android still take the all-or-nothing approach when being installed on an Android 6 device."

Presumably it would be feasible to direct these requests to /dev/null or a stub function that would just make null returns.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Surreptitious DMTF?

"Or stop watching television."

Just mute the sound when watching live or FF if recorded.

Uncle Sam's IT bods find 2,000 data centers they FORGOT about

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Re: 500 sqft +

"Not surprisingly, Dept of Defense has the most lost ones."

Maybe they told someone but then had to shoot them.

Tech goliaths stand firm against demands for weaker encryption after Paris terror attacks

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Re: How come I never hear...

"commercially available encryption software"

Or the open source encryption that's been available for nearly as long.

MPs to assess tech feasibility of requirements under draft surveillance laws

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Yup, I knew of the Clarkson example but I don't think he was trying to justify some action with "nothing to hide". He is of enormous value in pointing out what can go wrong.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: A=B=C=D

Before they went 0845 a local travel agent had a phone number similar to ours and we'd get the occasional wrong number call intended for them.

Now suppose someone rightly or wrongly suspected of being of interest made one of those when he was wanting to book a flight to visit his granny in Pakistan/go to a jihad training camp/take his kids to Disney. Should I then have become of interest? And what would that have done to my SC clearance?

That's the trouble with meta-data. Not only does it not specifically identify a person as opposed to an address or whatever, it doesn't even tell you why the communication was made or even if it was completed correctly.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"and I would say I have nothing to hide"

You almost certainly do have something to hide and at least some of it you will be contractually bound to hide: login credentials to any internet banking you use, internet merchants you buy from or internet services you use. I doubt anyone who's tried to justify their actions with the "nothing to hide" line has actually lived up to their words & published such information about themselves.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Perhaps a better solution would be to make it easier for them to get targeted powers to record communications."

Not easier, but properly regulated. A sign-off by a senior officer or a politician is not proper regulation. Neither is a system which does not require justification for the sign-off. Nor a system which doesn't incorporate and use feedback to check that requests were well-targeted and not just fishing expeditions.

eBay scammer steals identity of special agent investigating him

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

It's not unusual to find criminals who think they're brighter than they are but this seems to be an outstanding example.

OTOH am I alone in being worried by the idea of "a web portal which provides access to criminal intelligence and other highly privileged information for law enforcement officials" which can be accessed by a bit of social engineering?

Microsoft chief Satya drops an S bomb in Windows 10, cloud talk

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'WTF is an "infused consultant"?'

One that's been brewed up?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The problem is not trust, but direction

"I don't believe that Microsoft are deliberately snooping actual user data for malicious intent, in any case."

Assuming that to be true then why are their T&Cs written in such a way as to grant themselves the right to all the user's log-in credentials and transactions? It would have been quite easy to specify that it was only the user's credentials and transactions with Microsoft. Are we simply looking at sloppy drafting here? Or are they covering themselves against bugs that wouldn't be able to discriminate between what they need to see and what they don't?

Behold, the fantasy of infinite cloud compute elasticity

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

The flaw in the argument is the assumption that the 10,000 instances have a server array to themselves whilst they're running. What's more likely is that rather than have a big server farm with 1,000 spare servers sitting around you have 10,000 servers all active running 9 VMs each or 5,000 running 8 and the 10,000 VMs just get spun up as additional jobs in each server.

Eric S Raymond releases hardened, slimmer NTP beta

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: OpenNTP?

"Insert old saw concerning the wonderful thing about standards here"

AFAICS the old saw doesn't apply here. One standard, multiple implementations, rather like HTTP, SMTP etc.

Microsoft working hard to unify its code base, all the way down to the IoT

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"a starting point that now positions Redmond well to respond to the Internet of Things."

"Well" isn't a word I associate with the IoT unless it's a deep hole in the ground into which to drop them.

Hey Cortana, how about you hide my app from the user?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Voice assistants

"Hate to think what it's like for folk in crowded offices."

Loud shout of "Cortana format c:"

Just as effective as shouting "fire".

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: This is going to be a whole new Helldesk paradigm

New intern: We have another complaint from this customer. What shall I do?

Supervisor: Tell him to get stuffed but politely.

New intern: Cortana tell him to get stuffed politely.

Email to customer: Get stuffed politely.

'Shut down the parts of internet used by Islamic State masterminds'

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "We need to do something"

This is known as the politicians syllogism. Something must be done. This is something therefore we must do it.

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