* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Rise of der Maschinen: Daimler trials ROBOT LORRY in Germany

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"So on the motorway the driver is just there to be blamed ?"

No, he's there to call the tow-truck when the GPS navigated automated system gets firmly wedged round a tight corner in a narrow lane.

Pocket mobe butt dialing clogs up 911 emergency calls, says Google

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"The other component is the particular digits selected"

In that respect 911 might be better than 999.

US tries one last time to sway EU court on data-slurping deal

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" the European Parliament called for it to be suspended.

However, the EU executive, the European Commission, was reluctant to do so and instead pinned its hopes on renegotiating the terms of the arrangement."

If the court follows Bot's advice renegotiation will be a lot easier & faster. Wasn't it one of Tricky Dicky's henchmen who said "when you've got them by the balls their hearts and minds will follow"?

UK gets the Ashley Madison fear: Data privacy moans on the up

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Re: "over-reliance on toothless decision notices"

' "Lessons Have Been Learned" is *not* a valid response!'

And "We take your privacy seriously" is on a par with "your call is important to us".

Only a CNUT would hold back the waves of the sharing economy

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Re: King Cnut reference misleading.

"The same could be said of Luddites too"

I think it was a fairly complicated situation. It was a movement which took place in different parts of the country so that the nature of the industries varied. What was happening was that various industries were moving from a domestic to a factory system, a move facilitated and, indeed, required by new technology (the new machines were often driven by non-human power sources, initially water wheels, which required them to be aggregated around the power sources).

The owners of the new factories were, in many cases, some of the more successful domestic operators. Clearly not everyone who operated a domestic business could set up a factory - there'd have been neither the work-force nor the markets available. The end result was undoubtedly increased employment in those industries that lasted for many generations.

The protests came from those who objected to becoming factory employees and were being put out of business by the more efficient machines in the factories but who didn't make the alternative transition to becoming factory owners themselves. At least that's what I make out of the evidence I've looked at.

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Re: Repeated Typo!

"I think it's extremely relevant, because it goes to the heart of the sort of society we want to have."

A mature economy or society, much like a mature ecological community should surely have many different niches so there should be room for settled employment, freelancing and casual employment. Each has its advantages (to both engagers and workers) in the appropriate situation. What we need, as a society, is to ensure that all those niches are recognised, understood and kept in balance.

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@ graeme leggett

Maybe you missed the earlier article where TNT was defined.

What is money? A rabid free marketeer puts his foot in lots of notes

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"what did they actually buy with that money?"

And when they spent it all where it the money go?

Ten years on: Ronnie Barker, Pismonouncers Unanimous founder, remembered

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Re: Good write up but...

Take a moment to remember that other, natural stutterer, Patrick Campbell https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Campbell,_3rd_Baron_Glenavy

The collections of his articles include a couple of items about his encounters with another stutterer in Dublin. It's probably essential to have heard the man himself to appreciate them but they always have me laughing uncontrollably whenever I read them.

Edit. The two encounters with Theo I'm thinking of are the dinner party & the one set up by his editor about archaeological remains. If anyone has a reference to any others I'd love to hear of it.

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Re: RIP ronnie

"sitting in a Starbucks (sheltering from the rain)"

OK, you're excused.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

The 2005 series was very sad. In the new intros it was clear that the impeccable timing had been lost. They should just have re-run the originals.

And Peter Hall was wrong. Ronnie Barker's concentration on comedy was anything but a loss.

Mold whine: Soylent superfood shipments stopped by spore scare

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"try a hamburger and do your stomach a favor"

Everything's relative.

T-Mobile US hires someone other than bungling Experian to offer ID theft monitoring to hack victims

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What were they thinking?

It's beyond belief that T-Mobile would even think of handing the ritual fraud monitoring gig to Experian. It may well be that the latter offered to do it cut price or even for free as it was their problem in the first place. But surely the likely reaction should have been predictable. What were they thinking - no, were they even thinking?

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Re: Good move on T-Mobile's part.

"The victims signed the contract with -and entrusted their data to- T-Mobile."

Worse than that. They only had to apply for a contract. They got pwned whether they eventually had a contract or not.

Hey techies! Ever wanted to adopt a Congresscritter? Now's your chance

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Re: we all know

"It's an election."

And as the saying goes, it doesn't matter who you vote for you always get a politician.

With our unelected upper house in the UK there should be an opportunity to fix this. Instead of the usual political appointees there should be ex officio places for representatives of the chartered professional bodies, Royal Society etc. As things stand there are a few members of the HoL who have real world qualifications and experience but largely because they also have political affiliations. Having ex officio representation would ensure that there would be far more systematic provision.

Five million people exposed in Scottrade brokerage hack

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"The IT staff at Scottrade will be getting a boot up the backside from management, one imagines"

They may well have spent a lot of time & energy fighting management to try to get proper security into place. Not that that will necessarily stop them getting the blame.

Is the world ready for a Raspberry Pi-powered Lego Babbage Engine?

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Re: Adder

'if calling it "art" isn't too pretentious'

If it isn't too pretentious it isn't art.

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Re: Sorry but..

Kids today. We had to cut out the holes in punch cards with knapped flint. And we had to make the cards out of newspaper and starch paste....

Apple CEO Tim Cook: Email keyword sniffing? We'd NEVER do that!

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For some values of "all" and "every".

Junk patent ditched in EAST TEXAS

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Re: USPTO is the real problem.

"Never mind the Quality feel those lovely $$$$$ we get for every application."

And they should be liable for $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ costs and damages for every duff patent they let through. If you're going to expect profits you've got to share the risk.

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Re: Someone missed a big point:

Now that's an interesting twist.

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Re: Good idea, but that still allows the troll to start the procedure

"I have been repeating for years now that the only surefire way to prevent patent trolling from even starting is to tie the amount claimable to the revenue of the company."

No. It's a perfectly legitimate business model to develop something and licence it to others providing that the something is a genuine innovation. The problem here is the granting of patents to something that isn't innovative or that is obvious.

As far as S/W patents go, given any particular problem to be solved most of the time most developers will come up with the same solution or, at worst, one of a few alternatives and move on to the next line of code. Then along comes some smartarse who applies for a patent to do what a stack of others have done already. The patent offices should require evidence that the proposed patent solves something for which is recognised as a previously unsolved problem; such evidence might be peer-reviewed papers discussing the problem (and not strawman papers published by the proposed patent's claimants).

And the patent office that lets crap patents through should be liable for costs along with the troll.

Five things that doomed the big and brilliant BlackBerry 10

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"Yet no matter how much people say they care about privacy and security, (or insist that they do on the internets), in practice, they just don't put their money where their mouths are."

Some people still take security seriously. When my daughter started a new job a few months ago she was issued with a company laptop and phone. The laptop was all set up with a VPN (she lives & works about 200 miles from the office and spends much of her time on site) which is used not only to access the office computer networks but is also used for conference calls. I've no doubt its drive is encrypted. And the phone is a BB of some variety. But then she handles a good deal of data which will be subject to a whole series of different regulatory regimes.

Whatever the mass-market might want there's a serious business need for devices made where security is taken seriously. There's even a possibility that the mass market could flip and make security a must-have; NSA & GCHQ are doing a good marketing job in this respect.

Amazon blocks lab-only key-stealing neighbour attack

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Re: Why?

This isn't caching at the S/W level, it's the CPU caching data between its registers and the memory. In other words, about as close to the metal as you can get without leaving stuff lying about in the actual registers.

Bezos' BAN-HAMMER batters Chromecast, Apple TV

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Retaliation?

If they annoy Google sufficiently there could be scope for some really interesting moves here. Such as Amazon first appearing on the 200th page of a Google search for any product or an online Google store.

In fact, if you add this to the rise of ad blockers a change of direction could suit Google very well.

Apple might be a different matter. I can't see them wanting to sell competing products but for non-competing products there could well be scope for order online, collect from the Apple store.

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Re: Toucan play

"Amazon probably have a million different patents on every possible online shopping method"

AFAICS even the US patent courts are starting to get a handle on reality.

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Re: Their store, their rules

Not necessarily. I can see this running into problems in the EU.

15 MILLION T-Mobile US customer records swiped by hackers

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"And why wasn't the T-Mobile DB cleaned up after the credit checks were run? That would ensure minimal customer exposure to attack?"

Exactly this. Or are they trying to tell us that they handled nearly a million applications a day (the breach is said to have run for about 16 days and there were 15 million records stolen).

175,000 whinge to Microsoft about phone tech support scams

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Re: I outsource the annoyance

"I'm afraid that I just hang up"

That's anti-social. The least you can do is tell them to hold the line for a moment & then put the phone aside and hang up a few minutes later. Hanging up immediately just gives them a chance to try someone else.

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Re: Education...but by who?

"You can prove that you are the bank by getting them to phone you back on your bank number. It's pretty certain that if you phone a bank, the person you end up speaking to works for the bank."

There's actually a well-known scam based on this. The scammer puts a recording of a dial tone on the line to fake having hung up and then an accomplice takes over the call after the mark has gone through the motions of calling back. Ring-back verification only works if you call back on a different line.

"There really is no answer to this one, as eventually one side has to trust the other, but the banks are aware of this"

They show no indication of such awareness. The proof that they expect you to offer is the sort of information a scammer would need to impersonate you. It's no different to a faux website at www.somebnk.com collecting passwords from a mistyped URL. The onus has to be on the originator of the call.

As to your challenge there are three responses to this

(a) it's the banks' problem - they should have solved it before they started making the calls;

(b) you have an agreed set of information which they will use to identify themselves and which is different to that which you use to identify yourself, a solution so blindingly obvious that even the USPO should be able to reject a patent application;

(c) absent any such arrangement a few moment's thought should reveal to you an obvious technique which you can apply unilaterally, which works equally well with passwords if you're not sure the site is genuine and which will actually impede the fraudster so long as everybody doesn't start using it.

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Re: Education...but by who?

"My wife works in a high street bank"

Stop!

You have the answer right there.

High street banks should be training their customers to resist frauds.

But do they? No they train them to fall for frauds.

They have digital marketing companies <spit/> send out emails which bear all the signs of phishing emails by purporting to be from the bank but are clearly not from the bank's domain and which include links which are also not to the bank's domain.

They phone customers and expect the customer they phoned to prove their identity without making the slightest provision to authenticate that they really are the bank.

And yet they, of all people, have most to lose. The marketing people are in charge which is another way of saying the lunatics have taken over the asylum.

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Re: And the real problem?

"complaining to Microsoft won't help"

You know that, I know that. We also know not to fall for the scam. But we're talking about people who did fall for it so it's not surprising that they complain to Microsoft. They're probably the people who call 999 or 911 when their interwebs go down & they can't twat or facebitch.

Mars water discovery is a liberal-muslim plot, cry moist conspiracy theorists

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Re: Just goes to show

"Stupidity is alive and well"

It's enough to make you wonder about the efficacy of natural selection.

BTW, is there a whoosh icon? I bet we'll need it.

Woman makes app that lets people rate and review you, Yelp-style. Now SHE'S upset people are 'reviewing' her

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"Just pay $100 to be deleted."

At least partially.

Slurp data in a Eurozone country? Play by their DPA's rules – EU court

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Possible implication for safe harbour. Stuff redress in the US courts if the company you're dealing with has establishment in the EU.

Behind the curve: How not to be a technology laggard

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Updates

You know the noise the TV used to make just before the mobile rang? A couple of weeks ago we were in the pub & that noise kept coming over the speakers. The landlord said it was because he was using his phone to play the music. He normally used his iPad but it turned out he'd been one of the early adopters of the borked update. I reminded him of the saying: the early bird catches the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Accenture extends tentacles with €25m Dublin R&D centre

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'Irish prime minister Enda Kenny said the announcement was a "welcome endorsement of the government's strategy on ICT".

The country also has one of the lowest corporation tax rates in Europe, at 12.5 per cent. '

Wadya mean "also"? That is the strategy.

Tucci’s terrible dilemma: Unlock EMC value without destroying the Federation

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Re: They do!

Elliott Management isn't a business like EMC. EMC makes things.

What does EU farm subsidy get spent on? Yes, broadband for Irish farmers

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"So-called next generation access in Ireland is at around 71 per cent, but in rural areas that figure is only around 8 per cent."

I'm wondering about the basis on which access is measured. There's an awful lot of rural Ireland. If access there is only 8% how can the national average be 71%?

Massive global cooling process discovered as Paris climate deal looms

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@Symon

I know they're emitted by trees and shrubs in nature; I'm a botanist by training. The point of this paper is that they've discovered abiotic isoprenes being generated at the ocean surface. Short of an hitherto unknown abiotic photosynthetic process they must be derived from some organic material. What might that be?

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Re: Let me be the first to say..

"The Northern hemisphere jet stream is being disrupted by something"

Disrupted from what? How long has the existence of the jet stream been known? What records exist to show what its "normal" pattern might be?

Most of the things which we can measure now are so recently discovered that our total knowledge of them in relation to the length of the current interglacial amounts to buggerall and yet people keep making this sort of statement.

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Re: So-

"The interesting thing is that climate isn't chaotic. Weather, of course, is, but climate isn't."

Hmmm. On the right scale weather isn't chaotic in that a weather system will follow a predicted track, more or less, at a predicted speed, more or less but such predictions fail if you try to extend them out more than a few days on the one hand and you can't tell who will get hit by a shower at one time on the other.

When we look at palaeoclimates we have very few variables we can measure and measurements tend to represent quite long periods of time so the long term changes look fairly steady yet do bounce around quite a bit on time scales of millennia. Do we really have sufficient data to say that they aren't to some extent chaotic apart from some forcing due to orbital factors?

The thing about paleoclimatology is that because the measurements cover extended periods of time they smooth out variations on the scale that warmists/non-warmists are arguing about. Even taking the longest data sets directly observed measurements only cover a tiny fraction of the current interglacial.

SaaS biz 'made up 99% of sales and defrauded investors of millions'

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My goodness, they were busy boys.

Weird garbled Windows 7 update baffles world – now Microsoft reveals the truth

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Re: I hate to say this, but...

A W2K system should be relatively safe. It isn't going to get updates.

Solar panel spammer hit by UK’s biggest ever nuisance calls fine

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Re: A thought...

"how about a code you can dial on your phone which causes the phone company to log the source of the last incoming call and simply blocks calls from that underlying source number (so it includes withheld and non-geographical numbers, possibly also international numbers?) to the customer in question"

You're not taking it far enough. The callee gets their account credited with a fee for taking the call and that gets transferred back. Accepting calls from another telecoms business without making arrangements to do the transfer charge? Then you get to pay it. It needs some means of checking that a given source is making enough logged calls to a variety of numbers to ensure that someone doesn't get the idea of just logging every call irrespective of who calls.

Of course this might have the entirely unexpected side-effect of killing the outbound calling industry stone dead. Wouldn't that be a shame?

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Re: A thought...

@ ckm5

Someone in the phone system knows where the call comes from otherwise they can't bill for it. It needs to be mandatory to pass the action back. If some business in the chain fails then they catch the penalty.

Arabic-speaking cyberspies targeting BOFHs with crude but effective attacks

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BOFH

Not really BOFHs. They wouldn't dare. That would be likely to result in a DDoS attack by return. With all the packets strangely elevated to 5Kv (the remote cattle prod).

Share-crazy millennials spaff passwords ALL OVER the workplace

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Re: I'm confused

It may be that these are for active accounts of employees still working there which have been shared. Neither should be possible of course.

Lies from VW: 'Our staff acted criminally but board didn't know'

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@Badvok

You're saying it didn't take considerable time and effort to draw up a 2nd engine profile to meet the required spec?

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Re: Dieselgate

"Unless you're taking the piss, of course :-)"

Of course they're taking the piss. As Oscar Wilde put it, "sole purpose of visit".

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