* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Next year's Windows 10 auto-upgrade is MSFT's worst idea since Vista

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: 110 million PCs can’t be wrong?

" I suspect MS will not strenuously try to find them out"

s/not strenuously/strenuously not/

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Then why use Windows at all?

"And if your software is designed for controlling low-level hardware and therefore requires direct hardware access (which neither WINE nor a VM can provide) AND requires Internet access?"

Buying internet-connected smart fridges is not a good idea. And you're probably out of luck if you're trying to find a W10 driver for it.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Then why use Windows at all?

"TurboTax and TaxCut are two of the big seller around the beginning of each year?"

Dunno about those two but there is a very simple decision tree:

If it runs under Wine run it under Wine else run it in a VM specifically set up for that with updates off.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Until *ALL* websites can do without flash

" no other browser can do Flash on Linux without incompatibilities and open security holes."

I'm not sure about the incompatibilities but IFAIK Adobe are OS agnostic in their supply of open security holes. However the the Mozilla browser family makes it possible to run Flash on a case-by-case basis so if you want it for some site you're reasonably confident about you can just turn it on as you need it. This is on Linux, of course, I'm not familiar with the situation on Windows.

But for iPlayer I prefer to run get_iplayer which downloads and saves to mp4 which I can the punt over to a box connected to the big screen.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Get Stuffed!

"and other paranoid widows users"

I'm a bit concerned about your use of paranoid widows.

Use Skype if you want to report a crime, say cops

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

'Officers in the east-of-England city, population 185,000, will grapple with Microsoft's video-chat software in lieu of face-to-face visits.

Meeting people in their homes takes up too much valuable police time, we're told.


"It will allow officers, who use a large proportion of their time traveling[sic] across the city to and from appointments, more time to patrol their neighbourhoods."'

Why not just get them to visit whilst they're patrolling the area. They are actually patrolling the area aren't they?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: @a_yank_lurker

'crime solvency rates'.

So crime does pay!

UK watchdog offers 'safe harbor' advice on US data transfers

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Now that the hard work has been done it seems likely that all the model clauses & the like will start to get chipped away by more referrals to the ECJ or by lower courts as these start building on the ECJ's precedents. Next in line will be GCHQ....

The only GOOD DRONE is a DEAD DRONE. Y'hear me, scumbags?!

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Something to add to all the CCTV cameras - all the appurtenances of the so-called smart motorways. The name itself, of course, is classic Sir Humphrey, getting rid of the difficult bit in the title.

Hacked TalkTalk CEO: Dead as a Dido? Nope, she refuses to quit

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: She should stay for the time being

"At least she had fronted up and faced the press. A lot of CEO's woul hide behind some faceless PR Hack."

No, she should have been clearing her desk & leaving a replacement CEO to deal with it. Being the CEO in place before the hack should have been an opportunity for any media interviewer to rip her to shreds the morning after.

Having the head of an organisation accept responsibility & quit after such a balls up is the first step to avoiding the balls up in the first place. It provides a massive incentive to understand what's happening day-to-day and avoid a culture that doesn't pass stuff that should be need-to-know up the line. At worst it eliminates the muppets by Darwinian selection. She has overall responsibility. It's what she's paid for. Accepting that responsibility for what goes wrong goes with the territory. So far her contribution seems to be being in denial of the magnitude of what's gone wrong.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Women on top

"They can't fire her now, it'll look bad for the 'more women on the board' campaign."

OTOH it doesn't look good anyway.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"I think they need to leave her in place right now. She's the lightning rod and drawing the ire and fire."

No, had she taken responsibility & quit she'd have taken some of the heat off the company.

The CEO's job isn't management of avoidable crises, it's avoiding those crises in the first place. By not going she's showing that she doesn't know what her job was or that she doesn't realise that the crises were avoidable which in turn shows that she's not up to her job.

She shouldn't go now for the simple reason that she shouldn't still be in post.

UK finance sector: IT security testing 'becoming close to mandatory'

Doctor Syntax Silver badge


What makes anybody think they have time for testing? None of them even seem to have the resources to maintain uptime let alone testing?

Has Voyager 1 escaped the Sun yet? Yes, but also no, say boffins

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Still getting parentheses out of my mind."

Maybe that's that the pay rate's for.

What upgrade cycle? Tablet sales crater for fourth straight quarter

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"the market appears to be in transition."

Maybe the word they were looking for is "mature" or maybe "saturated".

'Profoundly stupid' Dubliner's hoax call lost Intel 6,000 hours of production

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Phoning it in

"alienating their sympathisers, apologists, and funders in America."

Ah, yes. America. The scourge of terrorists everywhere.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Phoning it in

Yes. And here's one where they tried and failed: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Mon_restaurant_bombing

Time Lords set for three-week battle over leap seconds

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

This conference...

...what time does it start?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Why stop there?

"But base 10 is a dreadful system"

Quite true. The metric enthusiasts mock our old ponds and ounces. But given a pair of scales (just scales, no weights) would you prefer the task of dividing a pound of sugar into 16 ounces or a kilo of sugar into 10 lots of 100gm?

Metric is so nineteenth century.

Burned: British Gas customer info hits Pastebiin

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Slightly on a tangent...

"Not a single article ive found has had the balls to link to the pastebin dump."

Did you read the Beeb article that says the dump has been removed? It's my guess that that might be why there are no links to it.

Government Gateway online hack claims 'nonsense', say multiple folk in the know

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Pilger's law: 'If it's been officially denied, then it's probably true'"

Or the Yes Minister version: never believe a rumour until it's been officially denied.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"At any one time it only has the details of anyone who is in the early part of the registration process."

So an ongoing compromise gets everybody who registers.

RoboVM: Open source? Sorry, it's not working for us

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"The company is also offering "every single external contributor" a free, lifetime licence

Again, they are not obligated to do that."

OTOH unless those external contributors agree to its being closed surely they have an obligation to either continue to provide source for their contributions, assuming they can sensibly disentangle them from the rest of the code or to remove them.

UK ministers, not judges, to sign off on Brit spies' surveillance

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"the Attorney General's advice was very clear. It would be totally irresponsible of government to allow the legal system to dictate to us on matters as important as terrorism. Not only would they tie things in knots very quickly, but they are not elected and answerable to nobody."

Translation: "We're above the law"

Finally, with W10, Microsoft’s device strategy makes sense

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: A question (dumb maybe)

"> But the question was about Win10, not Windows Phone.

The question was about phones."

The question was about Windows 10 on phones.

And MS is positioning W10 as being the same on all its platforms so the question was a good one.

Of course in practical terms running Windows on different PC hardware often requires the hardware manufacturers to ensure drivers are available so the same thing would apply with phones so such an idea would still require MS & Sammy to cooperate.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: A question (dumb maybe)

"> Is there any practical reason why Microsoft can't do a deal with all of the major phone suppliers to allow Win10 to be installed as an alternative to Android?

Yes. Each model of phone is unique in having one of a large variety of SoCs complemented by different system components such as screens, audio, buttons, etc. This is not a problem for Android because the source code is available and the integrator can modify as required to suit.

Windows Phone is built by Microsoft to suit a limited set of SoCs"

But the question was about Win10, not Windows Phone. And Windows 10, like their other desk top OSs runs an a wide range of hardware by having installable drivers. If they are really set on providing this platform agnostic user experience than Win10 should surely work the same way. In fact it should be a test case for how well they've done that or whether they've simply applied the same interface over different foundations.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: But...

"Why not? It's been working well with Linux for years."

The interfaces differ and that's the layer which needs to respond to form factor. My laptop runs KDE4 with keyboard & mouse. My MythTV box interface is menu based with a remote control. My router has a web interface or alternatively a command line for better customisation.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

First there's an assumption that computing is now in a post-PC phase. This is the view from people who sell stuff as opposed to people who use stuff. If you've got a PC that works you use it but tough for the people who want to sell you another. The market is more or less saturated so people flogging PCs and their bundled software have either got to put up with it or offer something new and desirable. In order for it to be desirable they really need to pay attention to the users and I'm not convinced they're doing that.

As to the idea of a unified experience that reminds me of icons on a lot of consumer hardware - designed to be equally incomprehensible in all languages.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Makes sense, does it? (If the original article can state the obvious, so will I)

"Eventually the chickens are coming back to roast."

Nice one.

Insurance companies must start buying security companies

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

There's an implicit assumption here is that if you want to build expertise in a big company you buy in a company that already has that expertise. What about just going out and recruiting people? apart from anything else the people you recruit must have at least a vague preference for working for you. The people you buy in? not necessarily.

That great sucking sound? It's data going into the public cloud

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

ORT (Overall Response Time)

As it's cloud surely they could have arranged an acronym with an extra O in it.

I left mine at Comet

Pop-up Kiwi CERT a shepherd for helpless hacked SMB flock

Doctor Syntax Silver badge


Did the headline writer do so much as to glance at the first line of the article?

Get James Bond in here: 13 million account passwords plundered from 000webhost

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"We removed all illegally uploaded pages as soon as we became aware of the breach. Next, we changed all the passwords and increased their encryption to avoid such mishaps in the future. A thorough investigation to make sure the breach does not exist anymore is in progress."

Translation: we bolted the stable door.

Safe Harbor 2.0: Judges to keep NSA spying in check – EU justice boss

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

If this comes to pass I'll expect it to get in front of the ECJ a lot quicker than v1.0 now that that route has been established. No doubt the effect will be the same.

US Senate approves CISA cyber-spy-law, axes privacy safeguards

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Goodbye Cloud

"there's still the question mark over what happens with non-US hosted systems owned by US companies."

I think the solution there would be to arrange for EU owned and managed companies to run these as franchises with strict hands-off franchise contracts under EU law.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Goodbye Cloud

There are ownCloud and Kolab services hosted there: https://owncloud.org/providers/ and https://kolabnow.com/

TalkTalk attack: UK digi minister recommends security badges for websites

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Well, I'm not sure it's tactful for a minister to say that it was actually his prime minister who was responsible for the said misinformation, which is probably why he did not elaborate further."

There you are, you see. You've been misinformed. The Prime Minister never said such a thing. On the contrary he's been following the TalkTalk saga and is quite adamant that if his strong recommendation for encryption had been followed it wouldn't have happened. And anybody who said anything different has been spreading misinformation.

Now do you understand?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Read the PCI DSS and weep

"So the question for any such kitemark is how does it compare to PCI"

As per my other post. There needs to be 3rd party audit/testing and insurance cover.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"A kitemark says that way back when it was awarded, no obvious security holes were found. It does not mean that the site is secure."

Could it be made meaningful?

1. Requires regular 3rd party checking to a given standard, preferably including pen testing. Regular as at mandated intervals, say 6 monthly.

2. Date of last test shown on site.

3. Covered by insurance. Preferably no limit to amount insured.

4. Expiry date of current insurance shown on site. If the amount of insurance is limited this should also be shown.

This would mean that there would be at least two parties, the testing company and the insurers and maybe also the testing company's insurers standing behind the site's certification.

It could work, it wouldn't be cheap but it would mean that you'd be able to identify a site that took security seriously.

Self-certification? ROFLMAO

Deutsche Bank's creaking IT systems nervously eyeing bins

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Vaguely related

Or at least draw some artistic patterns on the edges with a felt-tip.

Teenage boy bailed until November over TalkTalk incident

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

I hope it is just one 15 yr old script kiddie, just to show up all the guff that Talk Talk have been spouting.

QLogic looks like it's running on empty

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

I was just thinking there may be a CEO on the market before long.

Feds in America very excited about new global privacy alert system

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Privacy & the US

They've learned how to spell it.

TalkTalk attack: Lad, 15, cuffed by UK cyber-cops

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

In other news

There's going to be an MPs' enquiry: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34635583

Let's hope someone manages to brief an MP to ask pointed questions about encryption and why it's a Good Thing.

Lawyers harrumph at TalkTalk's 'no obligation to encrypt' blurt

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Change the law then?


TPP stands for Trans-Pacific Partnership. I'm not sure which is the Pacific coast of the UK.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"I'd have more sympathy if she'd had to explain to a group of idiots (as I'm sure we've all had to, even if only hypothetically) that the data was encrypted, but they got the keys because the web service needs to be able to decrypt the data to use it."

Maybe that's how someone explained it to her.

TalkTalk plays 'no legal obligation' card on encryption – fails to think of the children (read: its customers)

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Class Action Lawsuits

Death by 1000 cuts - or maybe 4,000,000 - in the small claims court might actually be more effective.

Further confusion at TalkTalk claims it was hit by 'sequential attack'

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

I wish some of the media would find a tech literate journo to do the interview with her.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Didn't Dido used to be a singer?"

Sorry, but if you want to do song related jokes about her name the winner is whoever quoted a chunk of "Dido's Lament" a few days ago.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Maybe they were going for Sequel

"newly hired"

She doesn't even have that excuse.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019