* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Palaeoboffins discover 500 MILLION year old ARMOURED WORM

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"no living direct ancestors"

Given that they themselves lived so long ago it would be a bit surprising if there ancestors were still alive.

No more customisation? Cloud Security Alliance calls for Open APIs

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"protect PII (personally identifiable information) and sensitive data across" several other people's computers.


Revive the Nathan Barley Quango – former Downing Street wonk

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Public or private?

If it's to be public money then definitely not. If he's looking for private money then he's going to have to join all those Nigerian princes and others in competition for the attention of the gullible.

Get READY: Scientists set to make TIME STAND STILL tonight

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"Both firms will implement a policy of cutting up the second and feeding it into the clocks on tens of thousands of their servers 12 hours either side of midnight."

The don't need to do this with leap-year days so why do they do it for leap seconds. Just allow an occasional 61 second minute.

Australian government demands signoff on telco network designs

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"However, Stanton noted the government's indication that the laws won't be used against specific vendors."

I the laws aren't used against specific vendors then against whom are they to be used. AFAICS "against specific vendors" makes no sense at all so let's delete it.

"the government's indication that the laws won't be used"

So why have laws that won't be used? Because "we" (i.e. the govt.) can?

Why OH WHY did Blighty privatise EVERYTHING?

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Re: We don't have a free market !!!!

PFI was largely just Brown up to his usual trick of making the future pay for his present.

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Re: The Purpose of Government.

"after the public paid for the infrastructure"

The problem was that the public via the government wasn't paying anything like enough tor the infrastructure, hadn't done for years and wasn't likely to. By selling stuff off the government could get back of the value left in the historic investment and make the future Somebody Else's Problem - except when they totally muffed it.

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Re: But public money...

At the time the railways were being privatised I was one of their victims AKA commuter. It struck me then that it was being done in a completely arse-about-face manner unlikely to improve my daily life. There was no reason at all to suppose that the infra-structure company would have any reason to align its plans, or lack thereof, with the requirements of the operating companies. Regional franchises removed scope for competition and the length of those franchises tended to inhibit all but the most essential investment.

The result was the same, largely ageing, hardware being operated but the same staff with, for the most part the same management with even less alignment between customer need and service provision.

It would have made sense to sell off whole lines, infra-structure & operations as a whole. It would have made sense to keep infra-structure separate but to allow multiple operating companies to run competing services over them. It would have made even more sense to have done the latter but split the infra-structure into regional companies so as to concentrate each management's attention on getting its own bit right.

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Re: If you are old enough to remember

"The march of technology"

Ah yes, the saviour of us all. But only if someone has the money to invest in it. And the GPO didn't. The new chief executive who took over the newly separated but not yet privatised BT is supposed to have said that he found himself in charge of the black telephone rationing company.

BOFH: Don't go changing on Friday evenings, I don't wanna work that hard

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Re: It's all in the plan

"rather than descend and climb 4 flights of stairs"

They could use the lift. But there have been a few nasty accidents with lift shafts. And the basement is so handy for the quicklime and carpet...

Gates: Renewable energy can't do the job. Gov should switch green subsidies into R&D

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“Innovation really does bend the curve.”

Is that to straighten it out again or put a knot in it?

GCHQ heard you liked spying, so spied on itself spying on you

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"correct legal basis"

There seems to be an assumption here that the current legal basis is correct. If the warrants are not granted by a proper judicial process it can't really qualify.

Capita: Call centre workers, can you fall on your swords? Please?

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Re: Get out while you can

Seconded. But it looks as if the money is much less than I got.

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'A Capita spokesman sent us a statement, saying more customers are using digital channels "rather than traditional customer service telephone channels" to log issues.'

My one experience of this was before the Crapita take-over so I can only imagine it's got worse. All I wanted to do was change a number from contract to PAYG. I tried the email route which was clearly handled in India. After several weeks I gave up & phoned for a PAC. Leeds arrange the PAYG on the spot. But I wish I'd got an email address for any of my old colleagues there, if any of them had survived, to send them an archive of 21 emails to and from the incapables.

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The history of variously pissing on and pissing off staff by this business extends right back to BT Mobile days and "We're relocating from Euston to King's Langley. Oh, 80% of you still want to work for us. OK, we're not relocating there, we're going to Leeds instead. And by the way 'we' doesn't include most of us in the top team that made the decision."

Vegan eats BeEf, gets hooked

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Re: It would be nice if banks were made aware

"The bank teller at the branch"

You've managed to find a branch that hasn't been closed?

Hi-res audio folk to introduce new rules and weed out impure noises

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"an industry group to create new production guidelines"

Will these guidelines mandate new technology encumbered by patents held by the same industry group or their backers?

'Backronym' crowdfunds itself into Oxford English Dictionary

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How long do we have to wait for "Total Inability To Support Usual Performance" to make the grade?

D-Wave promises chip that could search the whole universe

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Re: Still can't write a fucking sentence though

Far be it from me to do down a bit of pedantry but in the context 'Oh, and it's "integrated circuit" not circuits' is wrong. The context is that the sentence starts with "The processors". So circuits needs to be plural to match.

10 things you need to avoid SNAFUs in your data centre

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And a magnet

In addition to a torch, include a magnet on a telescopic handle, maybe one of those with a torch in it. It WILL be the only nut you've got with that obscure left-handed thread that rolls under UPS.

Indiana Jones whips Bond in greatest movie character poll

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Re: Winkle-heavy list

"what no [insert name], you must be joking"

[Insert name]? What's he in?

Online gov services are mostly time-wasting duplicates, says EU

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"users are still asked to fill in forms with information already available to bureaucrats more than half the time"

If you need to enter the data multiple times it seems to indicate that it's not being shared by different departments. And they're saying that's wrong?

SPICEWORKS FAIL: Are we ready for ‘social’ network administration?

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Re: If it's not on your network ...

"fscs protects our money ... who protects our data?"


A brief introduction to converged infrastructure

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"Bundling different IT components together into a single unit may just solve some of your computing problems"

What goes around comes around. They used to call it a mainframe.

GCHQ: Security software? We'll soon see about THAT

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What part of the word "could" did you fail to understand?

RBS sticks it to customers once again as IT woes continue

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Re: Should be shutting down soon

"every last company has some customers who have experienced a horror story"

A. Some companies have more than others.

B. Zero would be a good number to aim for.

Amazon enrages authors as it switches to 'pay-per-page' model

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"each page individual customers read of your book, the first time they read it"

So, you write a technical manual. 60% of it deals with corner cases that few people ever need to read but if anyone needs to read up on one of those they really, really need it. But about 10% is valuable reference stuff that readers keep going back to. So most readers read 30% of the book once and pay for it once, they read 10% a lot but still only pay for it once and have the reassurance that the other 60% is there and that has value for them but they pay for little or any of it. Somehow that doesn't seem like a fair basis for payment, at least not for a reference work.

National Archives finds OPM-style intrusion: No data theft found, though

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Re: @Mark 85 -- Oh boy... one more time with more probably in the wings...


I'd come to the same personal experience based conclusion as you - except that when I read the headline I thought it applied to the UK National Archives.

THEY WANTED OUR WOMEN: Neanderthals lusted after modern humans

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Re: Interspecies DNA exchange

"When I was at school we learned that one of the markers of speciation was that you didn't have fertile offspring between different species"

As you've gathered, it's not as simple as that. We're dealing with continuities in time & sometimes in space. Your two non-interbreeding species will be the end points - or more correctly, current points - in separate lines of descent from a common ancestor with the degree of hybrid fertility decreasing with time. But much the same thing can happen in space where a species has an extended range but individuals from populations at the ends of the range can't interbreed although members of adjacent populations within the range can. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_species In such circumstances all it would take would be a loss of habitat somewhere in the middle for such a species to split and this may well be the origin of closely related species inhabiting similar environments separated by some distance, e.g. mountains or islands.

It's this fuzziness that gives rise to what you might call metataxonomy - taxonomists are divided into lumpers & splitters.

Mum fails to nuke killer spider nest from orbit

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Re: Which as we all know is the only way to be sure

Vale of York? What about here in the Pennines? It's still like November but our November makes VoY look balmy.

Tower of BT Bubbly: Fancy nibbling atop a strategic data hub?

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"They use it for some BT events."

Back in my BT days I got in to work one morning to find customer services a bit agitated.

Sales had got a good contract and they needed to ship product out to hotels where the customer was holding courses for their staff. For various reasons this didn't fit with order processing but they'd overlooked that & now had several temps who should have been entering the data standing about. I quickly set up a table and data entry form on the development database to get the data entry there & spent the rest of the morning working out how to get the data processed into acceptable orders.

All the stuff got shipped on time & at the end of the exercise I discovered that sales had organised an event for themselves, customers and other BT management concerned - except it was preplanned & had no provision for anyone who'd dug them out of the hole of their own making. My own fault, I suppose; I usually kept my ear close enough to the ground to be aware of those things ahead of time.

This time we really are all doomed, famous doomsayer prof says

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Never make a prediction which doesn't allow you to say "I told you so" if you were right.

Post Office launches mobe service for aged greybeards

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Do they still pay out pensions at the Post Office. AFAICR pension book printing stopped years ago (used to be one of my clients that printed them).

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Re: TV remotes won't make calls?

Upvotes for both of you for classical references.

Oi, UK.gov, your Verify system looks like a MASS SPY NETWORK

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Re: Looks like, walks like, talks like...

"You have now failed to be only 10 years behind Bulgaria (as their service ... was not backdoored)."

I think you've spotted the reason why they consider themselves in advance of Bulgaria.

Why is it that women are consistently paid less than men?

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Re: for the benefit of women

'"House husbands do exist, the choice is open, and it's a rare enough choice."

The choice is not open though.'

What part of the words "open" and "rare" did you not understand? The fact that a choice is made rarely doesn't mean that it is never made.

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Re: He's got a point.

"now try getting a new mortgage. Freelancer? sorry, computer says nope."

You're doing it in the wrong order. Get the mortgage & then go freelance.

Assange™ celebrates third year in Ecuadorian embassy broom closet

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"how vindictive the US establishment can be"

The most vindictive thing they could do is ignore him completely. How could his ego deal with that?

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"but what's stopping them making him a diplomat"

He's not an Ecuadoran national.

Connected Data's Transporter private-cloud-in-a-box hooks up with the office NASties

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I'm not clear what this piece of kit does that would be different from a small box running Owncloud.

Brace yourself, planet Earth, says Nokia CEO – our phones ARE coming back from mid-2016

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Re: Philips


If the translation can be trusted (any German speakers out there to confirm?) then that's a degree of reassurance. What would be even better is if they can also keep firm control of build quality.

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Re: Philips


If the article correctly represents the original report they're just licensing the name. It says nothing about the design or anything else. If Foxconn build a phone to Apple's design branded as Apple on contract to Apple it's an Apple. If Whoever just license the Nokia name & build their own design of phone branded as Nokia it wouldn't be a Nokia as you & I think of it, it would be a Whoever.

Heinz cockup sees Ketchup's QR codes spurt saucy sites

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"The safer thing to do..."

This QR code problem is just a sub-set of a wider problem. Marketing engage "specialist" digital marketing companies to handle this for them. These companies are never going to get access to the client's domain so they either set up a domain that includes their client's name or just use their own. And that applies not just to promotional websites but also email shots, surveys - anything and everything. This trains the general public into accepting anything that claims to come from their bank, their govt, their sauce maker or anyone else actually is from them and clicking without a second thought.

It really needs to be a sackable offence to commit any digital marketing initiative without getting sign-off from IT security.

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"Does anyone else see the folly here?"

Of course we do. But we're not the ones making the decisions.

California über alles? Is MEP Reda flushing Euro copyright tradition down the pan?

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"and of course it's a standard contract clause that all copyright on work done on company time belongs to the company"

This is something to look at carefully if you're about to sign a contract. The company may well try to use wording that copyright on anything done during the period of the engagement belongs to the company without limiting it to work done on the company time. Of course this may simply a mistake and they don't really mean that. Anybody can make a simple mistake like that, can't they?

If you're faced with that get the wording changed, not just a verbal assurance, otherwise you could be seriously screwed if you happen to write a best-seller or something in your spare time.

FBI says in secret that secret spy Cessnas aren't secret

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Given that they refused to answer questions it seems they have something to hide.

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Re: Works 4 me

" I've got nothing to hide"

OK then, go ahead with your not hiding anything. SSN, name, address. Bank details, log-on credentials, security answers. Same again for any other on-line services you use. Post it all here so as not to hide it.

What's that? You've just discovered you have something to hide after all?

Farewell then, Mr Elop: It wasn't actually your fault

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It's OK with hindsight to say that Android vendors aren't making money in 2015. But Nokia's problem wasn't 2015, it was "right now" back in 2010-11 and the only "right now" option seems to have been Android. An Android line back then would have bought them time and time would have given them chance to decide what to do - finish Meego, wait for Windows to mature or even continue with Android - and do it. It's the facts that he eschewed that option, made the long term choice in the short term, made the long term choice that he did and also the Ratnerish way in which he did it all that laid the foundation for the conspiracy theory.

Chrome, Debian Linux, and the secret binary blob download riddle

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Re: Ban Hammer

Still running Wheezy here & 37 is the latest build. Yet another reason to stay put.

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"come on over to *BSD and Lumina"

Lumina I'm not sure of. Reading the designer's comments at http://blog.pcbsd.org/2014/04/quick-lumina-desktop-faq/ it looks as if he's in the "we'll decide what you put on your desktop" camp like Gnome & Unity. I'll stock to KDE.

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