* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Hardcore creationist finds 60-million-year-old fossils in backyard ... 'No, it hasn’t changed my mind about the Bible'

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Re: Evidence.

I think we have two definitions of dark age here. AIUI modern historians apply it to a time for which we have few or no sources to tell us what happened. From an English PoV Britannia dropped out of the Western Empire in the early C5th and the external forces at that time were German. Without the Imperial administration only the Church would have been in a position to provide any links with the continent likely to have resulted in surviving documents and the British Church seems to have lost contact before the end of the century. So in these terms the dark age started in the C5th which means that although we know that the Anglo-Saxon settlement followed we have no good account of how it came about. In fact there was no prospect of any records from the Anglo-Saxon side until they were Christianised which mostly fell to the Irish rather than the British (Welsh) Church.

Contact with Rome started to be re-established about 600AD with Augustine's mission & I suppose we can consider it completely established with the Synod of Whitby in 664AD so we have a period of about 200 years with little or no recorded contact with the Mediterranean and for which there was very limited contemporary evidence.

With Bede & Alcuin a recovery was definitely under way. Under Alfred in the C9th there was a well organised administration which, like the Roman, used writing and had a silver coinage so access to gold was of less significance.

As to recovery starting in 1100 an elderly Englishman looking back at that time would have concluded that far from recovering, and Romanesque cathedrals notwithstanding, things had got much worse in his lifetime. And his grandchildren, during the two decades of the Anarchy, would think that they had got worse still.

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Re: Evidence.

"The Islamic expansion in the 600s caused the Dark Ages in Europe"

As far as Western Europe is concerned the Germanic expansion was more important which was well before the 600s.

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Re: Evidence.

...and varve dating. As with dendrochronology you can sit there & count the years.

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Re: Evidence.

"In my opinion the Universe was created 5 minutes ago"

I suppose you sank a few jars last night.

The rare metals debate: Only trace elements of sanity found

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Re: Future mineral reserve creation

"But thulium I hadn't heard about"

The more security features you put in the more difficult they are to forge.

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Re: USGS server down?

Even worse - Dilbert is also down. Has The Big One hit?

Fedora 22: Don't be glum about the demise of Yum – this is a welcome update

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I can't help reading that as an acronym for "Did Not Find"

I assume the notification for terminal processes has some sort of minimum time. Otherwise

cd wherever




ls|grep foo


could get a bit tedious.

Taming the Thames – The place that plugged London's Great Stink

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Re: Embankment

"if Prince Albert had lived, instead of being killed by cholera"

And there's an irony.

Tossed all your snaps into the new Google Photos? You read the terms, right? ... RIGHT?

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Re: re: update


You're quite right, of course, in that all these things are intrinsic to what they're ostensibly doing. But you'd require some restriction to say they're limited to just providing that specific service. And look, there is a restriction:

"The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones."

So does that seem OK? Look carefully. In my first paragraph I said "specific service". In the restriction service is now in the plural and not even restricted to what currently exists. And promoting is added to what's allowed and that isn't in your list of what's reasonable.

The oracle knows all. Not THAT Oracle, of course

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What computer to buy?

One that you can get from a shop near enough to take it back to (so I don't have to fix it for you).

UK.gov opens kimono to SMEs in Tech Services framework cash spaff

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Re: Capita?

I think the "such as" will include them.

Fumbling Feds lose control of seized MegaUpload domains – to saucy vid slingers

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"CIRFU stands for the Feds' Cyber Initiative and Resource Fusion Unit"

I think the "Fusion Unit" part might have to be changed.

Google spins up 'FREE, unlimited' cloud photo storage 4 years before ad giant nixes it

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Re: @ diodesign Nonplussed

"You travel? Now we know to send you more ads about travel. "

Of course the likeliest ads will be those for places you've been to, not those you're going to go to next. Isn't Big Data clever?

Aye-aye Eyeo, go safely on your way-o, says German judge

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No need for mute. These days practically anything I watch is watched via MythTV. Just hit fast forward a few times & go through at x10. Muting is just a by-product.

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"They'd consider YOU nonconvertible and safe to ignore."

It's not just hit vs ignore. If I'm looking for, say, car insurance the fact then initially I'll consider any insurer unless it has a bad reputation. But if some particular company has been throwing annoying ads at me I'll strike it off the list of possibles. What's more, if it's my current insurer I'll take my business elsewhere next time renewal comes round. I have changed various suppliers for letter-box litter, spam or whatever.

Recent example: I bought a new car about 18 months ago. I'd scarcely got it home when the dealer started text spam. Did they think I'd be trading it in already? My wife's car will be replaced before next winter but that's one dealer I won't be looking at. In their eagerness to sling advertising at me they've lost a possible sale.

So there's a potential negative effect and advertisers have no measure of it at all. They can measure the positive response but they have no way of knowing what the net effect it and yet it's the net effect that determines profit and loss.

As I said, the real success of admen is advertising themselves to their customers.

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The two page colour spread can be easily flicked over. The jiggling animated gif not so ... oh, of course it can; just install Adblock. And it was exactly such an ad on Streetmap that drove me to installing Adblock.

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Yes, that may be the way to get attention. But for many of us that attention simply results in hate for whatever-it-is they're plugging. That one hit out of a million isn't worthwhile if the other potential or actual 99 customers are sufficiently pissed off to decide they'll never touch whatever-it-is again in their lives. It's actually to the benefit of the vendors of whatever-it-is that the ads get blocked.

The real success of admen is in selling themselves to their clients.

The 'echo chamber' effect misleading people on climate change

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"US National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center"

Is that really a thing?

White House forced to wade into Oracle vs Google Java bickerfest

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" they probably aren't thinking through the ramifications of this ill-considered stance."

I think maybe they are by pointing out fair use provisions.

Shuttleworth delivers death blow in Umbongoland dispute

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Re: It's a Trademark Dispute

As far as I'm aware the core issues are as per thames' excellent summary. However, like a snowball turning into an avalanche sever the core has accreted a number of subsidiary issues about how it was handled, whether the CC followed Ubuntu's own rules on dispute resolution, whether Riddell was acting on his own account or on behalf of Kubuntu's own council, the Kubuntu community, the entire Ubuntu community or possible life, the universe and everything.

A commentator over on LWN put in the disclaimer that he didn't have a dog in this fight which seems to me to sum up the whole situation. Neither do I as I migrated from Kubuntu to Debian some time ago and will migrate again by the time the version I consider to be sufficiently Unix-like ceases to be supported.

Queen's Speech: Snoopers' Charter RETURNS amid 'modernisation' push

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Re: Well...

"It's hard enough to find 1 Tory MP with a conscience"

My MP voted against the govt a number of times in the last parliament. And he'll be getting his ear bent about this.

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Re: Tools

And here's another:

"If you think you've nothing to hide what are your internet banking logon credentials?"

Why are all the visual special effects studios going bust?

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there's plenty of people willing to see ads

Spot the wrong word.

RAF Eurofighter gets a Battle of Britain makeover

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Did fighter command really only get one VC in WWII?

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Re: Secret Technology

Shhh It's a typo for gravy tank.

Torvalds: decisions, decisions, top up sun tan or release Linux 4.1?

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Re: Typing as a two+ decade Linux user & contributer ...

I'm not sure about that. There's a distinct risk that when he gets back he'll find the systemd crowd have taken over the kernel & pushed him out.

Web tracking puts lead in your saddlebags, finds Mozilla study

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The blocker blocked

" the Disconnect blocklist"

I don't know how good Disconnect is but on visiting their home page Ghostery finds one item to block. But that's an improvement on this page which has three.

Windows and OS X are malware, claims Richard Stallman

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Re: Online Indy's catching it up…

Maybe back in '61 he played a president in some film?

NEVER MIND the B*LLOCKS Osbo peddles, deficits don't really matter

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Re: @Richard 12 - It seems to me...

Second suggestion: Fix the sense of entitlement that leads parties with even fewer votes to claim that they've been robbed.

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Re: Final salary pensions

"the number of jobs where that's a realistic expectation is vanishingly small"

To some extent deferred inflation-linked rights will help to some extent although that assumes that you not only stay in the same job but never get promoted. And CPI rather than RPI linking doesn't help either (remind me who do we have to thank for that). Of course moving job could well be a response to never getting promoted so that may cancel out the problem.

However with the move to defined contribution the future tax still applies but now it falls wholly on the employees. I got both my final salary pensions; I'm not too sure how the kids will fare.

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Re: Impulsive voting

Nice rant, John, but it does ignore the fact that Brown (& like-minded finance ministers elsewhere) managed to tax the future to a considerable degree & it's going to take more than one parliament to unpick the damage.

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Re: Accumulated debt

And not just PFI.

There was the abolition of tax relief for pensions funds. No, dammit, let's call it a tax on pension funds - if the left can get away with calling reduced benefits a bedroom tax then we can certainly refer to a pension tax. That's left a pension deficit that big companies are going to be paying off for years to come and an end to final salary pensions for the foreseeable future.

Then there was all the personal debt encouraged by keeping interest rates artificially low (ignore a housing bubble so as to get a false measure of inflation). That left a whole lot of personal debt to be paid off at some time in the future - or written off if it couldn't be paid off. And when it couldn't be paid we had QE lowering interest rates well below inflation devaluing the savings of those who hadn't fallen for the original scam. Meanwhile the govt had spent the VAT & Stamp Duty collected from the spending that the debt had financed.

Gordon Brown's genius, if I can call it that, was to find hidden ways of making the future pay for his now. Tony Blair's genius, if I can call it that, was to step aside just as the first traces of that future were about to hit the fan.

Nominet new CEO opens giant can of worms, sticks head in

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"It's a bold but possibly foolhardy move on Haworth's part to poke at what has been Nominet's biggest sore point within just months of taking over the job."

Maybe it's what he was appointed to do.

Land Rover's return: Last orders and leather seats for Defender nerds

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As I understand it the critical factor isn't emissions but crash safety for pedestrians. That's not going to be fixed by an engine swap.

It looks as if they're going to build a replacement in eastern Europe with a monocoque body on a steel chassis. I can't quite see how that's going to lend itself to all the military versions.

Putting your schlong into the reel-to-reel tape machine is a bad idea

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Re: Reel-Reel was fun in those days

"People made the same mistake with computer papertape"

Forget paper tape. I had a friend who had a slight misunderstanding with Fortran print control characters. The sort of misunderstanding that leaves you with a single line of print on a page. On the pages that have anything printed on them at all. So he decided to take this huge stack of fanfold home to work his way through it. He put it on the pillion on the back of his motor bike....

HP: you know we said we were done with cost cutting...

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Reductio ad absurbum

Will Meg Whitman know how to run a data centre when she's the only one left?

Vietnam-lovin' VoIP man's 50-nation tally couldn't hold him back

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Re: Do the math?

Switzerland was nearly half a year so even less for the rest. More a tourist than an expat.

PCI council gives up, dumbs down PCI DSS for small business

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Re: Disabling security to allow security tests

Maybe it's a social engineering test question.

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Re: based on experience of SMEs

"Since when has a call centre agent ever used a notebook which they take home with them."

Any time they want to steal customer data!!!

Is the concept of a fraudulent employee too difficult to grasp?

Edited to add:

Assuming both comments to which I replied are from the same A/C who has some responsibility for back office operations I find this rather worrying. We're often told that insiders are a major source of security issues and yet these comments display an absurd degree of complacency and/or lack of imagination. If this reflects supervisory thinking it's not surprising that data goes AWOL.

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Re: based on experience of SMEs

"As long as there is no call recording or the recording system they have is PCI compliant"

Is the notebook that the agent takes away at the end of the shift PCI compliant?

UK data watchdog: Massive fines won't keep data safe

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Re: In other words...

I think I'd prefer "you spend the half million and here's a quarter of a million fine just to remind you of what'll happen if you have a relapse".

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IIRC the original DPA had a sanction to forbid the offender from processing data. That's what I call an effective sanction.

City of birth? Why password questions are a terrible idea

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What is it with S/W writers that assume we always live/work/were born in cities? It's an inevitable field in addresses - even genealogical S/W which can reasonably be expected to collect location data from times when relatively few people lived in towns let alone cities.

And then there's the 2FA gadget that my bank gave me. I tried to use it to change my email address and the website simply refused to accept the answer it gave. It's going to be a real benefit of I ever need it to authenticate some financial transaction.

Hacker launches ransomware rescue kit

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New OS approach needed

ISTM that it's time to rethink the whole architecture of applications and OS.

What I have in mind is that permissions would be based on a combination of user ID and application ID. For instance only Twitbook would be able to write to Twitbook storage. If Facegram needed to read something from Twitbook's storage it would have had to have been given permission as to what it could read, it would only be able to read from a specific user's storage and it wouldn't be allowed to write back.

A way of implementing this would be to separate applications into front-end and back-end with back-end being something along the lines of a kernel module. The actual kernel itself would have much reduced facilities; it might be able to enforce quotas but it wouldn't be able to duplicate or over-ride the back-end kernel modules' reading and writing privileges. In some respects a micro-kernel architecture would fit but any existing micro-kernel would have to be enhanced with the extended permissions.

Ideally this should prevent any rogue app getting in and over-writing everything. At worst if, for instance, a rogue managed to pass itself off as Instanter it wouldn't be able to encrypt Twitbook & Facegram data.

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Did you follow the link in the article? The one that tells you what the kit does including -. No, look it up for yourself.

Google DOG WHISTLING fails to send URLs across the room

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Google sending audible URLs

We need a name for that. Gurgle?

NASA plots interplanetary cubesat swarms

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Dropping a brick

It's a 10cm cube & they need to test its aerodynamics?

A good effort, if a bit odd: Windows 10 IoT Core on Raspberry Pi 2

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Ask not why Raspberry Pi needs Windows 10

Ask why Windows 10 needs Raspberry Pi.

I think Voland's right hand may have answered that.

If IT isn’t careful, marketing will soon be telling us what to do

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"Marketing ... needs to be social, integrated, responsive, open, honest."

Who writes this stuff?

Robocalling Americans? That'll cost you $1.7m

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Re: I think it's easier than that

" but as there is an actual origin available there should be a method by which you can flag a certain call (or time/date) as malicious."

I'll go one better than that. The flagged caller is charged a fee for the callee's time and trouble credited to the callee's telco account. Callee's telco charges the caller if they're on the same network - plus an additional fee for the time & trouble in operating the system*. If the caller is on a different network they charge that network instead. If several networks are involved the charges just keep getting passed up, accumulating additional telco fees each time. If a telco doesn't keep track of where the calls are coming from they are in the barrel for the entire set of fees, an arrangement which should concentrate their minds to do better in future. It would, of course, need some precautions to stop subscribers from gaming the system by flagging every call.

It by-passes the current (at least in the UK) tests for the severity of the distress caused as it simply becomes a commercial transaction - you call me & pay me a fee for taking the call.

*In particular the up-front costs to add the functionality in the first place.

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