* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

US plans to apply export controls to 0-days put out for comment

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Shooting the messenger..

..to become a legal requirement.

BT's taxpayer-funded broadband monopoly may lock out rivals, says independent report

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Re: BT spent the money


I take it you're too young to remember the privatisation. One of the problems with being subsidised by the tax payer was that there was never enough money for investment. The telephone branch of the GPO was otherwise known as the black telephone rationing company.

Russia will fork Sailfish OS to shut out pesky Western spooks

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Re: Paranoia over NSA tampering spurs de-Westernisation drive


Did you hear a whoosh sound?

Blocking mobile adverts just became that little bit easier

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Re: Conundrum

"compensation to the businesses whose (paid-for) ads are being blocked"

If a business pesters me with ads then I'm much, MUCH less likely to buy from them. Less as in "if there's an alternative I'll go for it". Less as in "I've taken my business elsewhere from services who thought that my being their customer entitled them to pester me".

It's to the advantage of any business that thinks it wants to sell to me to have ads that I might otherwise get being blocked. So maybe "compensation" should be negative and such businesses should pay the ad-blocker a fee to block them.

The truth of the matter is that I'm far from alone in this attitude. The situation is that the advertising industry makes money by charging advertisers to piss off potential customers.

Welsh police force fined £160,000 after losing sensitive video interview

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Re: Victim Compensation


As it was lost, inevitably. If it hadn't been, in theory, yes. But very likely there'd have been an impeccable paper trail for it.

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The more things change...

...the more they stay the same.

Back in the days when we were trying to train police officers about preserving evidence from contamination by stray fibres I walked into a CID office & found a jacket which was part of the evidence (in a murder investigation!) hanging on the back of a chair. Forty years later and the nature of the evidence may have changed but it still takes time for proper handling procedures to be taken on board. In answer to Lost all faith's questions - that message has probably got through by now; it's this new-fangled stuff that causes problems.

ALIBABA Vs AMAZON: Let the Global Tat Bazaar war begin

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Re: Is it better in Chinese?

"Their English site is so bad"..."I'm scared topic my credit card number in."


Use your Apple gizmos only for good, says Tim Cook

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"If you don't have an iPhone, please pass it to the centre aisle"

Pass something you don't have to the centre aisle?

So why the hell do we bail banks out?

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Re: But uncle Tim, I want to hear them pigs squeak!

"A way to claw back bonuses, and to structure bonus incentives better, would also be good. But it's notoriously hard to do."

Just thinking out loud but...

Say we have a special share class that is used for share options. The only way to exercise such options is to buy this class of share. When the govt takes new shares for a bailout more shares of this class get issued but the proportion of dividends allocated to such shares doesn't get expanded in proportion so it's only the share option holders who get their shareholdings diluted and devalued. Could this have any traction?

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Re: Longer Term Impact

"the zombification of of many companies with the misfortune to have been running final-salary schemes"

Gordon Brown had done a lot of damage to final-salary and private pension schemes way before this. I reckon the pension companies could and should have raised the profile of this: every year when they sent out projections they could have added another projection - what the pension would have been without the tax raid.

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Re: Maybe another reason?

"Inflation means cash loses value over time."

Indeed it does. But if people are concerned that they could lose the entire deposit they'd prefer to lose some of the value. In fact at today's interest rates bank deposits are losing value.

Or to look at it another way, if someone you'd never met emailed you from Nigeria to offer you 10x bank interest rates would you lend him money?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Maybe another reason?

If we make the banks small-enough-to-fail we don't have to bail them out for the damage a failure could do to the overall system. But if such a bank does fail then it takes the deposits of its savers with it. From a saver's point of view any bank is too big to fail.

So if I'm a saver then I might consider keeping my cash under the mattress instead of putting it in a bank. I might also draw out my salary or pension as soon as it's paid in - look, no float. Neither response is good for the economy as a whole.

This can be handled in two ways, first a deposit guarantee scheme, which is to some extent a bail-out mechanism, or far more draconian regulation. And while the latter might sound a good idea it does seem liable to an out of control regulator trying to micro-manage everything and everyone.

Ofcom: Oi, BT! Don't be greedy – feed dark fibre to your rivals

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the ducting, exchange buildings and other infrastructure which investors bought from HMG when BT became a private company.


Feds: Bloke 'HACKED PLANE controls' – from his PASSENGER seat

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@ DryBones

Yes shooting the messenger is always such a good idea.

Never trust a developer who says 'I can fix this in a few minutes'

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"At least the amount of damage they can inflict is limited to a single project"

Don't be too sure. Ever heard of multi-tasking?

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Re: Project manager?

I take it that you've inside knowledge of this particular situation as you seem to know that the codebase is a mess, that it was written in a hurry, that they're following scrum etc.

I can think of several alternative ways in which this could have gone wrong. For instance a salesman having sold the client a product that didn't fit with assurances that it could be adapted (I've quit as a developer over having that dumped on me). Or, for instance, the development team, or a good chunk of it, having been pulled off to work on something else, leaving them insufficient time to complete what was, originally, a well estimated project.

Microsoft: Free Windows 10 for THIEVES and PIRATES? They can GET STUFFED

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Re: Worse case scenario...

"will be herded towards a subscription model."

For a moment I read that as "a suspicion model"

Jeb Bush: Repeal Obamacare and replace it with APPLE WATCHES

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"On this device in five years will be applications that will allow me to manage my healthcare"

So in 5 years an Apple watch will be able to do brain transplants?

Right Dabbsy my old son, you can cram this job right up your BLEEEARRGH

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Re: Post-It note? Miserable amateur!

Upvote for "The ones with messy desks are generally the go-to guys."

Californians get first chance to be run over by a Google robot

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Re: No need to worry

@ JamesPond

If the car is making all these other journeys during the day it will be clocking up more miles per day & thus depreciating faster. A hire-car company would include that factor in its sums so your hire charges might be more than you're hoping for.

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Re: No need to worry

Downvoted for making unwarranted assumptions about pensioners. Why would pensioners not expect cars limited to 25mph to be overtaken?

The Internet of Things: a jumbled mess or a jumbled mess?

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"The big advantage of Thread is that it is an IP protocol and so can work with the vast internet infrastructure that already exists"

Is it just me that sees this as a DISadvantage?

BUZZKILL. Honeybees are dying in DROVES - and here's a reason why

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Re: The sharp increase in the fall of bee numbers

The sharp increase in the rate of decline in bee numbers...


Home routers co-opted into self-sustaining DDoS botnet

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Re: BT with the stickers

The plastic thingies, at least the PlusNet ones, appear to be individually printed so I assume that the passwords are individually set so it wouldn't be a problem. However I reset mine anyway. But if you do that don't throw the card away; if you reset the router it goes back to the factory settings & you'll need the card again.

RAF radar station crew begs public for cash to buy gaming LAN kit

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Look before you leap

"keep the skies safe 24-hours a day 365-days a year"

Next February - be afraid; be very afraid.

Forced sale of Openreach division would put BT broadband investment at risk, says CEO

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I think you've missed the point here. The BT Chairman is speaking for the BT Board. In the event of a spin-off it would fall to the spin-off to roll out broadband. It's no business of his (literally!) as to what that board may do unless, of course, he expects to be its chairman as well. If the latter he's making a damn poor job application.

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'"would be difficult to convince the board of BT to invest" in broadband infrastructure improvements if the regulator took such action'

This is meaningless. It would be a decision for the spin-off's board, not BT's.

Microsoft's run Azure on Nano server since late 2013

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Well, well

"Cloud-first, it seems, only gets you so far on-premises."

So you really need to use Azure?

Colour me surprised.

Chill, luvvies. The ‘unsustainable’ BBC Telly Tax stays – for now

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"Moving to a subscription service would in theory force the BBC to produce high quality output"

I suspect it would lead to even more dumbing down.

Google cloud: rubbish at updates, world-class at rapid rollbacks

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" totally greenfield, except for the fact there were a bunch of mainframes, minis, and hundreds of desktops, thousands of peripherals, and I never even got a handle on the number of laptops wandering in and out the gate."

Your idea of "totally" or "greenfield" seems somewhat different to mine.

Like a Dell factory but what comes out is a LOT more fun: We visit Aston Martin

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It's possible that if you were paying that much for a car you might expect the bodywork to be hand-crafted using delicate taps of a skilled hammer.

So tablets, if you want to get anything done travelling get a ... yes, a laptop

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Re: : Wrong Memory Card

"By eckers, lad, you have a good memory."

It's all done with punched cards.

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Re: The last thing I want to see

"I'm also in my 40s and can read..."

I'm in my 70s & can still read if I've got the right glasses.

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Re: : Wrong Memory Card

"the early lead that Yorkshire had in programmable loom technology"

Actually, we nicked it from the Frogs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Marie_Jacquard

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Re: Paranormal activity? Just another natural resource ripe for exploitation!

@Dave 126

Did you try replacing the user?

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Re: : Wrong Memory Card

"And all they want in return is loads of money!"

There's the problem. If I remember some of his earlier offerings correctly Mr Dabbs is from Yorkshire where paying loads of money is against our religion.

Ding-dong, the cloud calling: The Ring Video Doorbell

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Re: Whazzat?

'Like all PIR, it uses infra red heat and the sudden appearance of to register "movement".'

Yup. It's probably PIR. So why didn't the review just say that instead of something which is self contradictory?

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The other day my doorbell gave a single ding which indicates the back door bell push had been pushed (back door ?"NSA calling"). There was nobody at either door. I then realised the bell mechanism was making a buzzing noise. A little investigation showed that the front door bell push had finally succumbed to a mixture of spider introduced grot, moisture & old age.

A little though showed that the bell, transformer and front door wiring had probably been fitted about 50 years ago. The bell push might not have been original - there's a cut-out in the door frame which suggests a larger one was intended - but must have been installed at least 30 years ago. A few minutes searching indicates that identically sized & styled bell pushes are still available.

I wonder if a Ring bought now still be in operation in 30 years time.

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"The motion detectors work off heat, not movement"

A motion detector that doesn't work off movement?

So what would the economic effect of leaving the EU be?

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Re: Blah blah free trade blah

That's the whole problem. The entire democratic basis of membership, at least as far as the UK is concerned, is a referendum about 40 years ago on membership of an organisation which is very different from the present set-up, especially the ever closer union bit.

Each time the organisation has changed the issue of popular approval has been ducked so a huge democratic deficit has been built up. Even worse, when the Republic of Ireland voted against the Lisbon Treaty they were told to go back & vote again until they came up with the right answer. And I think that in a lot of people's minds that is so objectionable that they'd be prepared to vote for an exit as a matter of principle even if the economic consequences meant going back to living in Iron Age round houses.

This situation could have been avoided. It would have meant getting popular approval for each stage of change across all the member countries. That would have been hard work. At each stage the negotiators would have had to come up with something which could have gained that approval. The end result might have been something rather different to what we have now. The membership might have been smaller. The role of MEPs might have been greater. But if an in/out vote were now being proposed against such a background the Europhiles would be quite laid back about it because there'd be a history of repeated approval over several decades.

The task for the EU is to get rid of that democratic deficit and retain the membership intact - give or take Greece.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The UK can leave

'Also - sorry - because I cannot help the grammar correction: "more easier" should be just "easier".'

In that case let me correct yours. "everyone who's anybody".

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"Britain's not in the euro (one of the very few things that Gordon Brown got right under the Terror)"

There was something else?

The next Nest? We talk to Ring, the doorbell-come-security system

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Re: A general problem with IoT devices

"A $200 device attached to your front door with 2 small screws will get nicked or maybe vandalised."

I know I'm sceptical of this device but at least I'm capable of following the links & scrolling down the page to where it says:

"The Ring Doorbell attaches to its mounting plate using a proprietary screw for security."

OK, screws start off proprietary but given time the drivers do tend to end up in cheap sets at B&Q. But it then says:

"If your doorbell gets stolen, don’t worry - we’ll replace it. For free."

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Nice puff piece, leaves out some rather obvious questions..

"Until we have IPv6, all devices involved in house security have to go through an external server, because most home setups run NAT to offer internal devices access to the Net."

I'm not sure I follow this argument.

Scenario 1. Internal sensors, internal responders. There's no need to even get beyond the internal lan.

Scenario 2. Internal sensors, external responders, e.g. owner's phone as in this example. No need for an external server. PCs manage to go online with no external resources other then the ISPs. Why should security kit be different?

Scenario 3. Single internal sensor externally interrogated (e.g. from phone). Would need router to provide access via some specific port. Yes, as soon as you start opening the firewall you have a security risk but if that access is to a security device then you'd hope the security device is secure. Otherwise it isn't fit for purpose.

Scenario 4. Multiple internal sensors externally interrogated. Either punch multiple holes in the firewall, one for each, or, much better, a single hole to contact an internal server.

None of these scenarios require an external server. Granted 3 & 4 introduce trade-offs that some of us might not be comfortable with but not more so than an external server provided by a service company. And they're not dependant on the service provider remaining solvent.

Scenarios where external servers become essential involve one or more of marketing ("because cloud"), continued revenue stream or big data (you're not the user, you're the product). In other words they're there for the interests of the vendor and if the vendor goes out of business then the device becomes more electronic land-fill.

Theresa May: Right, THIS time we're getting the Snoopers' Charter in

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Magna Carta

Does the PM have anything planned for the 8th centenary on 15 June? Is he going to use the occasion to announce the revocation of one of its key clauses, due process of law? Or is he going to ignore it as if it never existed?

Citizens denied chance to vote in local-government IT cockup

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Re: No representation without taxation

'"local government" has gotten above its station'

It certainly has. If asked about failure to grit roads adequately or run public libraries it regularly pleads poverty. And yet it has money to spaff on vanity projects such as cycle races where it pays foreign organisers to run them over local roads which it blocks residents from using.

HORDES OF CLING-ONS menace UK.gov IT estate as special WinXP support ends

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Re: "the ability to isolate devices from external connection"

It might not be so trivial if the PC needs to continue to need a LAN connection, even if it's only to a shared printer, whilst other PCs on the premises need an internet connection.

Keurig to drop coffee DRM after boss admits 'we were wrong'

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"One hopes this will be a lesson, perhaps not of Ratner-esque proportions"

Never assume that some manglements will learn from anything less than a Ratner-esque lesson. And one that actually happens to them.

Fake Cisco box pushers cuffed by Intellectual Property Police

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"An estimated $1m (£656m) in suspected counterfeit goods was seized."

How do you value counterfeit goods? At the price of the real thing? At the "back of a lorry" price they were being flogged at? The market price you'd get for them as not the real thing? Or do you just think of a nice round number call it job done?

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