* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Ever wanted to strangle Microsoft? Now Outlook, Skype 'throttle' users amid storm cloud drama

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Re: Who needs a test department?

"The folks that would test changes before they were released."

Couple that with releasing a change whilst trying to remediate a power/hardware problem.

Google is 20, Chrome is 10, and Microsoft would rather ignore the Nokia deal's 5th birthday

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Re: Maybe...

Microsoft has learned the lesson of late, but they're frankly overdoing it with their "niceness" and "informality" of messages, actually

I think you - and they - confuse "information free" with "user friendly".

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Re: Maybe...

"leaving the OS and desktop applications sides of the business apparently bereft of all adult supervision."

Have you no idea how much it costs to pay adults?

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Re: For all your searching

"If I want something relevant, then it's Google."

It depends on what you find relevant. Searching on a place name inevitably brings up a load of estate agents, especially if combined with the name of a family that had a significant presence in the area (they feature in street names). Relevant if you're looking a buy a house. If you're doing historical research, a complete and utter waste of time.

Cock-ups, rather than conspiracies, top self-reported data breaches

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"All advertising, customer communications, etc. must go through a third-party mass-spammer"

And did those customers give explicit consent for their PII, i.e. email address, to be sent to a mass-spammer?

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"There is legislation and then there’s the corporate reality of ignoring legislation unless you get caught, at which point you plead ignorance or successfully blame a junior."

You don't say how long ago this was but if it was recent the COO should have been aware that the legislators who put together GDPR are wise to such tricks. That's why there there's a higher tier of fines for for this sort of thing. A plea of ignorance wouldn't help and they'd have to pay a junior a hell of a lot to take the blame for that. Realistically a proper investigation by a regulator is going to show that they did monitor and then stopped. There'll probably be a paper trail for costs of monitoring S/W.

Microsoft Germany emerging from behind Deutsche Telekom cloud

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Re: Not just GDPR

"Microsoft US might even *go to jail* for not complying with the US order. But it's an order that's impossible to fulfill for them. Literally, any employee of Microsoft Eire who allowed, facilitated, permitted, assisted or even provided an avenue for Microsoft US to get such data is breaking the law in the country they live in."

The US court's position seemed to be that a US employee sitting in Redmond could directly access the Irish data centre without involving any Irish staff at all. They seemed to think that it could be mounted as an I: drive or something. The likelihood is that under the CLOUD Act they will assume that to be the case for the German data centre as well. I very much doubt that it will have done anything that makes customers of Microsoft or any other US-owned business safer; more likely just the opposite.

Go Pester someone else: TSB ditches CEO over bank's IT meltdown

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Re: thats not neoliberal

"Mill owners in the industrial revolution"

Mill owners in the industrial revolution quite often went bust; after all they were inventing it as they went along. It was a later generation that coined it when all the problems had been worked out.

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That's just a word you read on the net and decided to use isn't it? It doesn't really have to mean anything.

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Re: still expected to take away about £1.7m

"those accounts will experience random periods of 'unavailability'."

Better still, random fleeting periods of availability.

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Re: still expected to take away about £1.7m

It's "Reward For Failure".

It is indeed. Just a thought - if you're prepared to reward failure what do you expect to get?

TSB goes TITSUP: Total Inability To Surprise Users, Probably

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Re: The Apocalypse Gathers Steam

"as long as it works and delivers correct input/output"

But only when the input falls into the range defined in the spec. Always assuming there was a spec.

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Re: banks should charge fees like any other business

"A monthly fee of 5 to 8 quid would mean they could offer a better service"

Yes, in theory they could. But it would take a lot of months to get to that point if they actually tried to. But the most likely outcome would be 5 to 8 quid a month down the drain and no better services however long you waited.

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Re: How long...

surely they must be asking "how many accounts have we lost over this?" at some point

They don't need to. They gain as many from others as they lose because they've dead-heated in the race to the bottom. It needs one of them to realise there are net gains for being better.

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"Current account switch guarantee."

Seven words for you:

Now find a bank worth switching to.

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Re: what's the problem?

"I don't know anyone in UI who could write something so crap."

It does bear a resemblance to GDS stuff.

Europe's GDPR, Whois shakeup was supposed to trigger spam tsunami – so, er, where is it?

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Re: Whois: It's what the lawyers want though...

"It might affect the their bottom line as it will take a bit longer and some more costs."

That's what confuses them. They expect other people to give them money. They don't understand when it works the other way round.

No do-overs! Appeals court won’t hear $8.8bn Oracle v Google rehash

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Re: On the one hand

"Yes, but the files containing the declarations were also copyrighted too I presume."

The point at issue isn't whether it's copyright, it's whether using the API is fair use. That's been the assumption in the past. If an API can't be incorporated into applications without infringement the library it supports is useless.

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Re: "with one of the usual activist investor"

"As for copying APIs, it's a damage only for lazy companies unable to innovate and desperately need to piggyback on someone else's work."

Do you write S/W? Maybe not. But if you do go and look again at your source code. Does it have includes or the like according to language? Where does the included material come from? Some of it might be your own but a lot of it will be the APIs of standard libraries that are part of the system S/W. This is how the S/W industry works. It uses standard APIs, even if, like Google did here, it reimplements the API (with, in this case, the exception of a few lines). This is the danger of this precedent - it drives a coach and horses through a basic working assumption of the entire development process.

What work did Google save by using the Java API? Id didn't save the work of implementing a Java byte-code interpreter nor a compiler. It didn't save the work of implementing anything other than a trivial amount of the library behind the API. What's lazy about implementing all that? It didn't really save much work of devising its own API as all these APIs, C, C++, Java & the rest all follow much the same lines.

What it did save was the need for huge numbers of non-Google, repeat non-Google, independent application developers having to learn a new API.

But to return to my tongue in cheek proposal, one interpretation of the SCO suit was that IBM, being so much bigger than SCO, could just have taken them over to end the suit and that provoking this was the intention. Put that together with the fact that someone pointed out the disparity in size between Oracle and Alphabet and the possibility that an asset stripper might be able to make money breaking up something with as many lines of business as Oracle and you have an intriguing possibility - Alphabet could possibility save itself $8.8bn and make a bit of extra money as well.

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Re: SQL, however..... How would you like that, Oracle?

It's been revised by https://www.iso.org/standard/63555.html. Go and look at that page. You can't just download the standard, you have to buy it, CHF 178. So the copy of the standard costs money. As I haven't bought it I don't know what the status of IBM's contribution is, whether it's assigned to ISO or licensed to them. But the fact that it's a standard doesn't mean it's not in copyright.

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Re: "some patent troll will sue for using one of the C languages?"

"C/C++ are ISO/IEC standards, so that is impossible."

The issues would be more with the standard library definitions. Just because it's a standard doesn't mean it's free. Standards can and do incorporate proprietary technology but this has to be covered by FRAND licences although this normally applies to patentable material rather than copyright.

APIs in standards could be contributed by a 3rd party. If not they're going to be copyright of the standards body and that doesn't guarantee they're royalty free.

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Re: "the only thing that forces things like Linux to be open"

"I do not care what copyright law says, if someone says : this is free, then I can take it and nobody can complain."

Actually, as someone else has pointed out, the GPL is a licence granted under copyright law with certain conditions attached. The BSD licence is similarly a grant under copyright law with rather fewer conditions. But both depend on copyright law to keep them free (for different values of "free"). So you should care what copyright law says.

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Re: On the one hand

"Whereas Google simply lifted parts of Oracle's code, admitting as such as part of this case."

AIUI only a few lines of implementation were copied, the rest was simply the declarations.

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Re: 8 billion dollars?

"Yet it is only 1% of Google's market cap, and about 4% of Oracle's."

So Google Alphabet is about 4 times the value of Oracle at market valuation.

In that case here's an idea for Alphabet. Get together with one of the usual activist investor suspects and buy Oracle. Break it up and sell the bits off at a profit. Preferably in the course of this go back to court as the complainant in the original case and ask for a ruling to overturn the decision on the grounds that copying an API is fair use and a precedent to the contrary would impose overwhelming damage on the whole S/W industry.

As the ultimate insult I wonder what CA would pay for the database business.

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"It's way too specific to be of any interest to them."

The bad news is that they might see it that way but it's far from specific. The precedent it sets is frighteningly wide ranging.

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"Maybe IBM can enforce copyright on everything that looks vaguely like a PC or C style API"

What rights do IBM have over C. That came from Bell Labs. SQL, however..... How would you like that, Oracle?

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"The has all the look and feel of Oracle being a patent troll."

Yet another of those things we have to repeat over and over again. Patents and copyrights are not the same thing.

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Re: On the one hand

"Personally speaking I believe copyright laws should be strict; a grey area on that matter won't serve anyone."

The only thing worse than a grey area here is placing APIs under copyright.

There is a grey area in copyright and that's the idea of fair usage. The assumption which has been fundamental to S/W development in general, not just open source, is that use of the code that defines an API is fair use. If the line is drawn on the other side of that then part of almost every body of code are infringing copies of someone else's code. Oracle are probably as vulnerable as anyone else here: inter alia who owns the copyright to SQL?

This decision is dangerous to anyone in S/W development wherever the decision is binding. It's not too hard to envisage development driven out of the US altogether and any S/W sold into the US carrying a copyright surcharge.

No need to code your webpage yourself, says Microsoft – draw it and our AI will do the rest

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Re: Hilarious

blame those odious "User Experience" folks for that more than actual web developers.

You'll get no argument from me for blaming them from anything. but implementation has to take a share of the blame. And do we have some left over for manglements demanding DRM?

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Re: Hilarious

"Witness how terrible most software developers are at web development. "

And considering the bloated, browser dependent mess that's so often presented as a web page, witness how terrible some web developers are at web development.

Russian volcanoes fingered for Earth's largest mass extinction

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"As all right-thinking Christians know, the world was created in 4004 BC."

I wish Archbishop Alan Harper, who was an archaeologist earlier in his career, had made an ex cathedra statement contradicting his predecessor.

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How would this affect aquatic species? They have extra filtering. I suppose it could also have affected the pH of water but if their were substantial changes to water chemistry one might expect extra halides to turn up in later sedimentary rocks.

We've found another problem with IPv6: It's sparked a punch-up between top networks

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""These telecoms may have different reasons for their conflicts"

This sounds like the root of the problem. The existing IPV4 arrangements have tied their hands. Anything new gives them a basis for resumption of hostilities.

Net neutrality haters spam Californians with annoying robocalls

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Bring it on

I can't think of anything more likely to turn anyone against something than pestering them in this way.

The only way this works in sales is that it gets a small percentage of takers at the expense of pissing off a large majority.

If there are a large number of competing alternatives (e.g. double glazing, the obvious example) there's no way of knowing whether those pissed off would have bought from the caller, the competition or, indeed, not bought anything. In that case the salesmen can, with no fear of contradiction, believe they've made a gain. When the choices are limited - for, against or ignore - the cumulative risk of turning ignore into against makes it a pretty dumb proposition.

Defense Distributed starts selling gun CAD files amid court drama

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Re: I'll never understand Americans and their fetish for guns

Agreed. And it's yet another reason I wouldn't want to go there.

It poses an interesting question. Does the US represent the end-point of civilisation or is it that civilisation has yet to reach it?

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Re: oath.wav

"He's fighting for our First Amendment rights."

AKA the right to get shot. Why would anyone want that?

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Re: Magical thinking

"But banning hacksaws is the only way to prevent bank robberies with sawn-off shotguns"

Close but no cigar. Banning shotguns would be another way. If you don't have a shotgun to saw off your hacksaw is harmless.

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Re: Ghost Gunner

"The products that Wilson sells earn him money to fund the legal fights that inevitably ensue. "

Will it also be able to fund him when the inevitable happens: someone is killed or injured by one of these weapons and he gets sued to oblivion?

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Re: Cute, but not for long

"mine can handle tolerances around 150 microns"

It depends on the area of application but would 1/8 mm count as a close tolerance in small arms manufacture?

Huawei elbows aside Apple to claim number-two phone maker spot

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Re: "a 10% rise in food prices due to the weather"

"because the sizes of the foodstuffs keep decreasing"

Except Toblerone seem to have seen the error of their ways.

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Re: "a 10% rise in food prices due to the weather"

"But 5% is not 10%"

Always allow for optimism in economic forecasts. As long as I can remember Treasury forecasts for annual growth a few years ahead were always at least twice those of the forecasts for the next few years. By the time those actual years were the next few years they'd fallen to next few years level.

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Re: There's noticeable value ... upgrading from a $200 or $300 smartphone

"I'd need some considerable persuasion to be convinced that a £900 phone offered me a more-than-sixfold increase in utility."

The people who spend that much aren't looking for a six-fold increase in utility, they're looking for a six-fold increase in self-image.

Campaigners call for immigration exemption in UK's Data Protection Act to be scrapped

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Re: What will actually happen ...

The government will have this exemption confirmed in the act, by amending the GDPR

They can't. It's not exclusively their legislation and soon they'll have no input into any amendments (it's called taking back control). They'll also need to be judged to have equivalent legislation in order for a lot of the business UK companies will want to conduct with the EU.

and withdrawing from the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights

This would bring yet another problem with the Good Friday agreement.

AI image recognition systems can be tricked by copying and pasting random objects

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"Even then, even with decades of training and human-matching capabilities... it's as good as a minimum wage employee."


No, eight characters, some capital letters and numbers is not a good password policy

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None of this is helped by web sites that insist on having a user account where none should be needed. Those get a password which expresses my view of the site. I live in hope that they store them in plain text (it wouldn't surprise me) and sometimes read them.

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Re: Obligatory Dilbert

There's also the Dilbert user ID policy.


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Re: Over Your Head

"Users should be following the policy, and the policy should have the backing of senior management."

The only thing that would ensure such backing, short of a massive breach costing money for compensations and fines along with a loss of reputation, would be board level insistence. That insistence would need to be backed up with loss of bonuses and/or promotion as appropriate in the face of an audit report such as this.

UK.gov's love-in with big biz for digital services continues, as does claim of boosting small firms

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The best chance for SMEs is probably sub- or sub-sub-contracting to the usual suspects.

Don't let Google dox me on Lumen Database, nameless man begs

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Re: the hearing, which ended at about 6pm on a Bank Holiday Friday.

"No wonder the Judge was getting annoyed"

Not that annoyed. He didn't actually send him down for a long weekend for contempt of court.

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It doesn't seem clear what he wants from Google but if he wants them to keep his name out of searches they can't do that if they don't know it.

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