* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

UK MPs have right old whinge about ‘defunct’ Wilson Doctrine

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Well said, Danny. It's nice to see that somebody else sees it.

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Re: Maybe

"The Wilson Doctrine falls into this poisonous category, as it makes Parliamentarians into a privileged elite."

So if you raise a matter with your MP are you saying that it should be open to GCHQ to snoop on them as you deal with it?

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Re: Whining bastards !

"Example: libel law. It does not apply on to MPs within the Parliament's building."

Think that one through. Let's way you have an issue about something but you lack the proof which would stand up in a court of law or, even if you have proof, you couldn't afford to defend yourself against libel. So what do you do? You can take it to your MP. Would you really think it a good situation if they were to respond that they're bound by the same rules as you? As things stand they can raise such issues in Parliament or with a minister and not be stuck with the limits you have.

It's part of the toolkit that enables a good constituency MP to work on behalf of constituents.

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Re: Surprise, surprise

"David Davis ... has a track record of being against surveillance and government snooping"

He was front runner as Tory leader but they chose a Blair-alike instead. A big missed opportunity.

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It takes time

It may be slow but realisation of what's happening is gradually spreading. At some point it will become unsustainable to maintain indiscriminate surveillance contrary to the weight of public opinion. Now that MPs in general are included in the weight of public opinion that point might have become a good deal closer. We're getting there, one step at a time.

Oh, OK then: Ireland will probe Max Schrems' Facebook complaints

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Re: Highly suspicious refusal

The Safe Harbour agreement was a product of the Commission and one of the matters the ECJ had to rule on was whether a national authority could investigate it at all or whether the Commission's decision prevented that. See the court's press release on the matter at http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/P_180250/

I don't see anything suspicious at all about this. If the DPC were not allowed to investigate but had done so in spite of that they would presumably have been facing action from Facebook. The matter had to be pushed up to a level which was able to give a definitive ruling which was a level capable of over-ruling the Commission at the same time. Don't complain; not only has this clarified procedure in general it's given us the ruling that Safe Harbour wasn't.

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Waiting for the other shoe(s) to fall

According to the site linked in the article there are further complaints against Apple (Ireland), Skype & Microsoft (Luxembourg) and Yahoo (Germany). Presumably the judgement will get the Apple case moving again. What happens with the others remains to be seen.

Online pharmacy slapped with £130,000 fine for flogging customer data

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Re: Chemist Direct?

"The one I used with ChemistDirect ... now gets spammed"

So just discontinue it & let the spam get bounced. It's one of the reasons for using separate addresses.

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It sounds like a case of failure to engage brain before setting the mouth in motion,

WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

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I tried these new IoT wearables and now I've been hacked.

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New for 2016: Windows Password now use Faecal Recognition

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That's £2-68p in loose change, a fluffy Polo mint and my car key but no sign of my USB drive.

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"Phantom Furniture Thief of Old London Town"

Upvote for Two Ronnies reference.

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Whatever angle I look at it from the £100 Microsoft cashback offer hasn't persuaded me.

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Despite all her efforts Emma couldn't quite get to look through the front grille to see if the rumours about a miniature Difference Engine were true.

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English is such an odd language. F'r instance my head isn't really over my heels at all.

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From this angle the winner of the obfuscated C competition made sense.

Your one-minute guide to IBM's financial future – or just imagine a skier tumbling down a slope

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"or 27 per cent if you take into account ... the missing System x cash"

So, having sold the business they sort of pretend it's still there for accounting purposes?

Ireland moves to scrap 1 and 2 cent coins

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Re: How does this work?

"HI remember a study showing that the psychological value most people give to 1c coins is actually negative, meaning that they are more trouble than they are worth."

Maybe they should have repeated the study in Yorkshire.

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Re: Your either too young or too stupid

"And learn the difference between your and you're before you quit university to become a coder."

I agree with the first part but a little thought would sow that someone who remembers decimalisation in the UK is probably a little old to be at University. It may help you work this out if I point out that my kids, neither or whom was born at the time, have been out of University for nigh on a couple of decades.

GCHQ to pore over blueprints of Chinese built Brit nuke plants

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"We're really good at this shit"

Increasingly the tense is wrong. Try "we were".

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Re: Maybe a stupid question...

"Very amusing if Toshiba really owns Westinghouse now."

IIRC it was that smirking nuppit Blair that allowed that to happen.

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Re: Maybe a stupid question...

"How on Earth Britain squandered decades worth of knowledge and world-leading development only to end up with a mere reprocessing capability, I don't know."

Stupidity at all levels from Green & CND activists to the top of govt for several decades. Especially a predilection for having non-scitech graduates as senior civil servants and MPs.

Standards body wants standards for IoT. Vendors don't care

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Cause for hope

If they can't agree on common standards the whole thing might collapse by not giving users what they're daft enough to want. And good riddance.

Reg reader escapes four-month lightning-struck Windows Vista farm nightmare

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Re: But the MD knows everything and is always right

"but they REFUSE to implement it, or even consider it"

Why has he got in the position of being refused. He should have just dropped it into place. Or let a crisis eventuate for which it would have been the heroic solution.

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Re: Winning formula

'But you wouldn't have taken that job with a startup called "Apple".'

Well, look what the boss was like.

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Re: But the MD knows everything and is always right

"Why's this 25 year old (I'm not 25 now but I was back then) telling me the 55 year old with all these years mgmt experience that I'm wrong?"

I suspect age is only one factor. Price is another. This is where consultants come into play. Jim on the shop floor knows exactly what the problem is and how to solve it but he's paid orders of magnitude less than a manager so his input is proportionately worth less. The consultant asks Jim, writes up the answer in suitable jargon & presents it along with a large bill. Because the consultant is being paid something of the same order as the manager his input is clearly worth listening to.

Big Blue lets Chinese government eyeball source code – report

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Re: Not enough

"Not enough time and not enough eyeballs to check"

Plus you'd need to build it and check that that's the executable that's being provided to run.

Self-driving vehicles might be autonomous but insurance pay-outs probably won't be

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"suicidal Herdwick sheep"

Other breeds of sheep are available and none of them have road sense.

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Re: Forget the techies, ask professional drivers

"unless you feel like nit-picking"

Nit-picking on ElReg? Surely not!

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Re: Snow, Rain, Slightly cloudy?

"The road's still there, though, unless you're saying road crews routinely realign roads 20 meters to either side without notice and on short order."

They're called road works. And yes, sometimes without notice and on short order if there's been damage to the carriageway.

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"I suspect that this will lead away from car ownership and much more towards a business model where people simply hire or lease a vehicle when they need it."

The snag with this is that people generally seem to need vehicles at more or less the same time to get to & from work. A hire model is going to have one of two outcomes. There probably won't be a vehicle when and where you need it or the investment needed to provide sufficient vehicles is going to make using them about as expensive as owning your own anyway.

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Re: Hmm, air travel or autonomous vehicles

"At this point most air travel is accomplished, for the most part, in autonomous vehicles."

What's the minimum separation between aircraft in flight?

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"Thinking about it though Volvos position of accepting liability is just crazy. We have to assume that some self driving cars will have accidents and some of the time it will be the cars fault."

No, it will never be the car's fault. Lawyers are not only are they more effective than engineers at avoiding accidents, they can do so after the event.

Euro privacy warriors: You've got until January to fix safe harbor mess – or we unleash hell

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Re: Simply move or consolidate the servers to Europe

"But then how do you sell the information to US advertisers?"

There's no problem selling info on US residents to US advertisers. There's nothing in the DPA that offers out of country data subjects greater protection than they'd have at home.

"But it doesn't help if the US govt can order the US parent corp to hand over the data held by european subsiduaries"

It might need a more effective firewall than that. Not EU subsidiaries but EU franchisees with strict contract terms. Alternatively a new Safe Harbour framework might require the US to warrant that it will not make such demands on subsidiaries but go through the appropriate legal procedure in the country in which the data is held. I suspect the latter would have to have some pretty effective guarantees built in to avoid being beat up by the ECJ. A good gesture to make right now would be to drop the MS case and seek a warrant in Ireland.

At some point the posturing will stop - and the sooner the better - and a practical solution will be worked out that satisfies EU data protection principles. I'm sure a solution will be found PDQ; I understand there's an election coming up in the US & there'll be candidates looking for contributions.

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Re: Reality

"And the US authorities will simply demand the data anyway and offer the US parent CEO a choice"

The US company is parent of nothing. The US company has no ability to obtain information from the franchisee. What's the USian for "nothing to do with me, squire."?

Google wins book scan battle. Again. Can post pages online. Again

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Re: Shockingly bad scans

"If people want to buy them, they will look me up"

Look you up where? Let me guess - Google.

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Re: Another Viewpoint

"That is a copyright violation in and of itself."

The court has said otherwise. It's their opinion that counts.

So just what is the third Great Invention of all time?

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I view language as handling and conveying symbolic information rather than just a repertoire of sounds which have distinct meaning but aren't connected to express more complex ideas. That, as far as I know, is unique to us.

The three I listed are the foundation of our means of working symbolically, mechanically and chemically. They've been with us since we evolved. Certainly other animals have the ability to communicate and to use tools to a limited extent but our abilities outstrip any other species.

I suppose I should have added domestication of other species but that came relatively recently and adds biological methods to our toolbox. As far as I can tell it's also something that's been developed separately in different environments as different cultures have domesticated different species depending on what was locally available. Nevertheless it does seem to have been the spur for a much wider range of inventions, probably because it facilitated diversification of skills and enabled us to live in larger communities.

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Re: @Doctor Syntax - Writing?

Pre-literate societies have succeeded in transmitting information for many generations. Writing is also vulnerable; think of the library of Alexandria. WoM also has the advantage of speed: "Houston we have a problem" was spoken, not written. The two have different but overlapping roles.

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The big 3, in no particular order:

Language. Facilitates cooperation so humans can achieve more collectively than individually. Animals that hunt in packs or defend themselves in herds can cooperate but only by observing what each other are doing and adjust their behaviour accordingly. Language enables actions to be planned in advance and the actions to be directed in a coordinated manner in real time as a situation develops.

Tool making and use. Extends humans' physical attributes so an individual can achieve more with a cutting edge, a lever etc than with bare hands.

Fire: Extends humans' abilities to manipulate the world down to a molecular level, transforming food by cooking it, hardening soft materials, breaking up hard materials and eventually refining metals. Also clears land for hunting and later agriculture and drives animals for hunting.

I say in no particular order because it's difficult to say which came first or to separate them in importance. Everything else, writing, agriculture, metallurgy, ceramics, science or whatever is built on them.

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Re: Writing?

Don't denigrate word of mouth as a means of passing on information.

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'The concept of "data" as an entity in itself wasn't really understood before the printing press.'

No way. The concept of data goes at least as far back as the notion if recording things by impressing marks in clay tablets. And probably before that with cutting notches in pieces of wood. And before that as oral tradition. You can't really separate it from language itself.

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Re: The first great invention

"As far as can be determined, language evolved. The brain processing implementation necessary for this certainly supports this"

You'd have to include the evolution of the vocal tract along with that. You could make similar arguments about adaptations for tool use which is another candidate for significant invention.

Despite the biological evolution involved I think there must have been an inventive element to both although you could then argue that there is a biological underpinning to invention itself. You can't really separate the biological from the mental development.

Microsoft offers to PAY YOU to trade in your old computer for a Windows 10 device

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Re: Oh my!

"all it does is sit on the back porch playing fitness videos"

Shudder.

If that were mine I'd upgrade it with a hammer.

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Re: realistic picture of a MS retail location at least...

"These articles are clickbait for Linux zealots designed to draw their disdain."

If you actually look at the responses they seem to be clickbait for newly ex-Microsoft zealots for whom W10 has been the last straw.

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"something else is in play here, what that is I don't know"

That's easy. They want to minimise what they support. Getting everyone onto 10 ASAP is part of it. The other part is compulsory updates for consumer stuff - they know they can't get away with that with enterprise as a significant proportion will insist on testing updates.

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Re: Holdouts - throwing s**t at a fan....

"Or are you arguing that MS produce a particularly sticky and difficult-to-get-rid-of type of shit?"

Or one that won't stick given Dan55's suggested demographic.

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Re: So I can get £100 each?

"That's £100 minus the cost of posting your existing machine to Microsoft and the amount of your time that it takes to do so."

There's also the risk that they'll turn round & say it's too old or otherwise unacceptable.

Virgin Media filters are still eating our email – Ntlworlders

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Re: Yeah, right...

@ Gordan

Banks don't email? Worse. They employ marketing companies to email on their behalf with the From: field set to look as if it's the bank's domain when a quick chase through the headers reveals that it's not. Often there are embedded links which aren't to the banks emails. They've been teaching their customers to fall for phishing scams for years. Retail banking is run by marketing wonks who wouldn't recognise security if it came up to them & bit them in the arse.

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