* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Switch it off and on again: How peers failed to sneak Snoopers' Charter into terror bill

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Lord King of Bridgwater

AKA Tom King. It looks like wonkpedia's account may need to be rewritten:

"King's career in the Cabinet may appear odd to some observers due to his many quick moves between departments. The moves were a reflection of his ability to 'master his brief' quickly, and as successive crises hit the government it was King who was moved to fill the gap. King never had a strong public profile compared to other members of the Cabinet, but neither did he draw attention to himself by elementary errors or public gaffes."

Of course there's an alternative explanation of why he got moved round so much...

VDI is heading for a minor DAAS-aster

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Or am I missing something?"

Standby processor to do the job when somebody else's computer, or the connection to it, goes down.

Landlines: The tech that just won't die

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Living with Landline

Similar experience except, being a bit more public spirited I asked them to hang on and then put the phone to one side. I reckon that whilst they were hanging on they weren't pestering anyone else. But I'm sure there's a don't-even-bother list that gets sold to spammers.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Call filtering

" I simply don't answer."

Not necessarily a good approach. Our GP doesn't give CLI. It's easier to answer the Withheld calls than find a new GP.

I get very few - almost disappointing few - nuisance calls these days. I think I must have got myself on a do-no-call list....

Oi, Aussie sports fans! Take that selfie stick and stick it

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Wouldn't this problem take care of itself?

Alternatively, how about a selfie with that nice croc over there?

FROSTY MISTRESS of the Outer System: Pluto yields to probe snapper

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Billion

"Is that a scientific billion or an American short billion."


It's the traditional British 10^12 that's the odd one out.

YOU. Your women are mine. Give them to me. I want to sell them

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: This is the end, beautiful friend <RANT>

"businesses demanding your contact details"


In the case of UK registered businesses Companies House is your friend - Webcheck will give you their registered office which is an excellent contact address to use. Unfortunately it's had the .gov.uk makeunder & isn't as easy to find as it used to be.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Cunning plan

1. Post bait - er masterpiece.

2. Wait for takedowns

3. Issue counterclaims

4. When someone ignores counterclaims lob ginormeous sueball alleging defamation, fraud, ingrowing toenail & anything else

5. Accept much reduced but still profitable sum in settlement.

'People ACTUALLY CONFUSE Facebook and the internet in some places'

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"users (sorry, people)"


Uber isn't limited by the taxi market: It's limited by the Electronic Thumb market

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Wasn't it Robert Maxwell who said there is no such thing as money?"

I think his actual view was that there was no such thing as other people's money.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Uber limits

"Well no, then again, the absolutely last thing you want to do is bring professional extortionists into a business model."

Let's examine that a little.

Maybe you haven't had the experience I've had of being in a taxi that's crashed*. If you had & had been injured then you'd need some compensation for loss of earnings or any out-of-pocket costs arising from that. As the taxi driver himself might not be able to afford this you'd rely on the driver's insurance.

The driver's insurance costs will in turn be based on certain assumptions. If the driver is assumed to be involved in the sort of mileage and passenger carrying levels of a private motorist then the insurance company will be rating the risk as much less than that to which they were really carrying**. And in that case they may refuse to pay and you'd be seriously out of pocket. That may be a risk you wish to take but most taxi passengers probably won't agree with you.

*No injuries to me or the other passengers. I'm not sure about the car he T-boned; it was amazing how quickly another taxi arrived to remove all possible witnesses.

**The alternative, of course, is that the insurance companies spread the taxi drivers' risks across all motorists so that the many of us who aren't taxi drivers subsidise those who are.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Economy

"It's not something that many people think about when they're chucking something out."

This observation isn't necessarily true in Yorkshire. And maybe not in Scotland but we Tykes tend to look on Scots as amateurs.

SUPERHANDS! Fossils of early human ancestors reveal a GRIPPING development

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

The comment on the New Scientist report at http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn26844-human-ancestors-got-a-grip-on-tools-3-million-years-ago.html#.VMIwqv6sXTo give this a different slant. The squeeze grip is related to climbing (my first reaction to reading the report here was much the same) and the precision grip has a possible alternative origin in peeling fruit.

Bloke claims someone paid him 85,000 for a web glitter bomb factory

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

What's new?

"So pay us money, provide an address anywhere in the world & we'll send them so much glitter in an envelope that they'll be finding that shit everywhere for weeks,"

The grandchildren do something similar with angel hair every Christmas.

Developers, developers, developers! But WILL they support Windows 10?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: we're already developing for Windows 10

"So you're already committing to a platform that isn't released, stabilised, proven or even gained a mentionable user base?"

It makes sense. His company's customers are looking at kit with an EoL in, say 2030.* W2K has EoL in 2020. 8.* has EoL when? Of course they're going to want something that has a long life in front of it.

* Industrial kit has to run for a long time, that's why folk are finding it difficult to get away from XP and when I retired in 2006 my client had industrial printers still going strong which, as far as I could make out, had W95 embedded.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: “WPF is not quite to the done state yet,”

"Paid to communicate, and produces a sentence with more misses than hits."

It's a valuable skill. It can obfuscate bad news & make no news sound impressive.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: we're already developing for Windows 10

"So the only reason is it's required."

Yup. Writing software to customer requirements. What an old-fashioned notion.

What was Tim Cook worth to Apple in 2014? $9 MILLION, apparently

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: how does this compare to the heads of ... say,

"Not a penny of my Tax money has gone to apple"

How do you know? Are you sure none of the various levels of govt. where you live buy Apple products with your taxes?

Why so tax-shy, big tech firms? – Bank of England governor

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "the challenge will be for people to develop skills that cannot be displaced by machines"

"Why bother using labour-saving technology in the first place if we don't want to save people from labour?"

The problem then is how to distribute the products of the technology. The employment route achieves this by paying employees who use the payments to buy the products and services which they and other employees produced.

Hola HoloLens: Reg man gets face time with Microsoft's holographic headset

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The most screamingly obvious use for augmented reality...

That was the thought that struck me as well.

Admen - a greater plague than lawyers.

FIVE Things (NOT 10: these are REAL) from the WINDOWS 10 event

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Nobody talks to Cortana

"Cortana is a virtual assistant"

So was that paper-clip.

Free Windows 10 could mean the END for Microsoft and the PC biz

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Oh no!!!

'"""Windows 7 doesn’t work with Microsoft app-store apps."""

They say it like it's a bad thing.'

Or as if they couldn't provide an app-store for W7 apps.

What is this app-store thing anyway? Is it something like Synaptic which I can run to install most of the stuff I need on Debian?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Exact wording @ AceRimmer

True. But the sentence before the one you quoted reads "Windows 10 will be delivered as a service to offer a safer, innovative and updated experience for the supported lifetime of the device." This is the one that introduces two doubts.

1. What does "as a service" mean? As long as you keep paying us?

2. What does "supported lifetime" mean?

Until these are clarified people are not going to drop their long-held habit of distrusting Microsoft and all the suits who sail in her.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

'The problem is that tricky phrase, "for the supported lifetime of the device".'

I have a VM running W7. It started off as what seemed a reasonable size for a VM which only runs one application for which I don't have as good a substitute on Linux. However every time it got patched it grew and grew. Now, despite applying the "clean system files" option (or whatever it's called) firing up the VM brings up error messages about not having enough room for swap files.

So maybe "the supported lifetime of the device" means "the time it takes to bloat over all the drive it was installed on".

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

"EULA != the law, consumer rights trump EULAs"

This may be so for consumer rights depending on your jurisdiction. But consumer rights don't necessarily apply to business purchases. So read the EULA just in case.

Tat bazaar eBay confirms: THOUSANDS of workers will be AXED

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Should have done it years ago

Specifically they should have got rid of the developers who kept making tweaks to what started out as a reasonable interface and introduced lots of minor annoyances.

SECRETS of the LOST SCROLLS unlocked by key to HEALTHY BOOBS

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

The way things are going with libraries hereabouts it might turn out to be easier to read books from the Herculaneum library than from the local one.

Will fondleslab's fickle finger of fate help Windows 10?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I think I'm getting old :(

"A Microsoft account will be and currently is, optional."

"Currently is" seems to be the case. But "will be"? Do you have some cast-iron assurance on this?

Facebook worth more than Portugal? Hell, it's worth a LOT more than THAT

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Congrats to Tim...

...for crafting a cunningly disguised version of the broken windows fallacy.

Pull up the Windows 10 duvet and pretend Win8 and Vista were BAD DREAMS

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Post Windows World

"Read and digest: http://philstephens.com.au/security-for-google-drive-businesses/"

I had a quick look. I came across this "Instead of documents being emailed around the company, they can be shared via email. This means that all that is sent is a link."

What's to stop emailing links being done if the storage is in-house? Alternatively, what's to stop complete docs being emailed if storage is on someone else's computer?

Whilst not wishing to cast aspersions on Google's security measures (other, of course, than the fact that they're open to hidden NSA demands in a way that an in-house system isn't, a major consideration if you're in the EU) the generic issue still exists. You're now dealing with three attack surfaces, the in-house one which may now be smaller; someone else's which, as another commentator has pointed out, you can't visit or audit its physical security; and the connections between the two.

It's not Luddism to point out the smoke and mirrors. Nevertheless, maybe I'll adopt "and Enoch shall break them" as a sig.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Post Windows World

"Most businesses could move their entire organisation to the cloud storage and web apps, and get themselves some proper security. (with cloud storage, users don't email docs, all the security is handled serverside with 2 factor auth)."

s/cloud storage/someone else's computer/g

What's this "security" of which you write?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Linux.


You'd be much more convincing if you wrote as if you knew what you were writing about.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Hellooooo UBUNTU...

'What *most people" want is ... a PC that ... smells like the one they're used to.'


Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "..stopped retailers and PC makers from selling .."

"A good marketing person makes you think YOU came up with the idea of NEEDING it"

Meanwhile, back in the real world, real marketing people make me realise that they're trying to make me think that I came up with the idea of needing whatever it is. And succeed in pissing me off to the extent that even if, by some remote chance, I actually need whatever it is I'll buy it from someone else.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It's not difficult you know

"Ethel who works in HR"



Oxymoron detected.

Whisper keeping schtum over abuse of user data

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Surely a typo?

'an internal review... had "found no wrongdoing".'

The usual wording is "found no evidence of wrongdoing" as Sir Humphrey explained.

Facebook is MORE IMPORTANT to humanity than PORTUGAL

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Self Importance?

I was with you as far as Port. But I'd need considerably more than one bottle to reconcile me to watching a bunch of kids kick a bag of wind up and down a field.

'If you see a stylus, they BLEW it' – Steve Jobs. REMEMBER, Apple?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Who wants Handwriting Recognition anyway?

So you've never had a delivery which you were asked to "sign" for on some sort of electronic pad which converted your signature to a series of straight lines joined at odd angles?

Buggy? Angry? LET IT ALL OUT says Linus Torvalds

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Middle finger

"it doesn't mean that El Reg has to plaster the picture of him"

But it doesn't mean you have to see it. Just block all images from regmedia.co.uk until they get over this redesign nonsense. You'll lose one or two meaningful things from time to time but on the whole the signal to noise ratio will be greatly enhanced.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

" look at the tie die"

Really! Professional shills ought at least to be literate. The correct spelling is "dye".

Dongle bingle makes two MEELLION cars open to exploit

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Wouldn't connecting something like this invalidate the car's warranty and the construction & use approval (or equivalent in the jurisdiction concerned)?

'Our AI systems must do what we want them to do'

Doctor Syntax Silver badge


"Do NOT re-elect him. We need to send a signal to western leaders that we're not willing to trade privacy for some illusion of security."

Elect someone else who'll do the exact same thing? That's the problem.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge


Just get the BOFH to deliver it. With the cattle prod.

The Year of Living Danishly, The Internet is Not the Answer and Classical Literature

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Fact checking - a pedant speaks

"I could truly care less"

So you do care?

'It's NOT FAIR!' yell RICH KIDS ... and that's a GOOD THING

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Unexplained detail

"Two students .. are given $100.

The first is allowed to split the money any way they wish and offer, say, $40 to the second. The second student then decides whether to accept the offer. If it's rejected, then neither student gets anything, if it's accepted, they get to keep the $60 and $40"

So what happens to the $100 given to the 2nd student?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Experimental design

"They quickly found that in poor, pretty much non-market societies"

Economists! Can't they learn to change one variable at a time?

‘Whatever happened to Vladimir Putin?’ and other crap New Year prophesies

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Y2K @ Jack of Shadows


Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Y2k

"Many (mostly) mainframe (mostly) Cobol programs held the year portion of dates as a 2-digit field."

I don't remember the language - it was a bought-in package - but the boxes were Unix.

The client had 2 of them. The newer one could have run a Y2K version of the package but the older one, a warm standby, couldn't so they bought a couple of new boxes. My gig was getting them set up, tested, cut over in the slack days between Xmas & new year and babysitting for a few weeks.

As a side issue I discovered something about the backup. Apart from tapes they backed up the main box to the standby by running cp overnight using an NFS mount. The previous admin had inserted a cron job to knock the cp process on the head if it was still running just before start of business the next day. It was ALWAYS still running just before start of business the next day. I don't know how long it had been since they had had a complete backup.

Anyway, everything was installed and tested ready to go in time. The bean counters insisted that as their financial year ended on 31 Dec we couldn't cut over at such a critical time until all their year end procedures had been run which took a couple of weeks. And yes, the Y2K bug certainly existed; we had to have the package vendors dial in several times a week to fix the problems before we could move the job over in mid-January.

Prez Obama snubs UK PM's tough anti-encryption crusade at White House meet

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Change of tune?

In another place there's a link to http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2015/01/16/obama-sides-with-cameron-in-encryption-fight/ where he seems to have made another statement. Maybe the NSA twisted his arm.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019