* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

ZX Spectrum reboot latest: Some Vega+s arrive, Sky pulls plug, Clive drops ball

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"But they've just been stripped of the IP by Sky, so there's nothing to realise."

They've been stripped of the Sinclair name and games. The H/W & firmware are still theirs. Whether that's of value or not is a different matter.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"On the other, such moves would also hammer a stake into the corpse of the Vega+."

It depends. The IP would be one of the assets the administrators would want to realise cash on. If there's perceived to be a market for the device someone might be interested in buying it and goinf into production. Not that that would help those who've already paid.

Salesforce cloud glitch blurted customer data at unauthorised users

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"Customers who may have been impacted by this issue were notified."

Which customers are these? Salesforce's customers or the customers who had their misfortune to have their data spaffed to someone not entitled to have it? Are any of them in the EU and if so have the appropriate regulators been informed? What was that about 72 hours?

'Can you just pop in to the office and hit the power button?' 'Not really... the G8 is on'

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"some impatient woman ramming my car because we weren't moving, neither was the car in front, or the police offering stood in front of them!"

Years ago, in the queue for security checks leaving the ferry port at Larne the driver in the car behind was flashing lights and gesturing impatiently. I was strongly tempted to flash my official pass at the police checkpoint and suggest the driver behind was acting suspiciously.

I later wished I had as a means of getting retaliation in early. Many years later my wife worked in QC for an Anglo-Italian firm which had a plant in Larne and in retrospect the driver looked very like her then Italian boss. He didn't like some of the figures she produced about a batch of product and "adjusted" them. When it turned out the batch was indeed substandard it was she who got fired for producing an erroneous analysis.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: That sinking feeling

"Ahhh yes, the all familiar dread that creeps up your spine and tickles the brain stem after you've pressed a button."

And the spitting of a spilling era jest after clocking submit.

Click this link and you can get The Register banned in China

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Travesty...

"I would like to have it on record that Disney's representation of Pooh is an utter travesty of the character as written by AA Milne and as drawn by EH Shepherd."

I wouldn't have expected otherwise.

Alaskan borough dusts off the typewriters after ransomware crims pwn entire network

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"We immediately started to isolate servers, took workstations off the network"

The implication is that this happened after they tried to clean machines. If so it looks as if they were doing things in the wrong order.

Grad sends warning to manager: Be nice to our kit and it'll be nice to you

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Re: Sometimes violence is the only answer

"When he had trudged downstairs and retrieved it from the flowerbed it was occupying, he emptied out the soil and plugged it in, and it worked first time."

Did he also intone the magic words "Next time you're staying there."?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Need an IT equivalent of mechanical sympathy....

"They've evolved to the point where they can recognise a tech' who actually knows what they are doing, so behave properly in fear of being molested."

This can even happen remotely. Only this week SWMBO's sister rang to say could I come and look at her laptop on Thursday afternoon and described a catalogue of woes leading me to wonder if it was malware (quietly wondering what sites her husband might have visited if he'd borrowed it). Oh, no, it was the cat that had walked across the keys.

On Thursday morning she rung to say it had "fixed itself". Probably fear of being molested by somebody who didn't know what they were doing (it runs Windows) and might have taken the step of installing Linux.

Amazon meets the incredible SHRINKING UK taxman

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Re: Turkeys stage a referendum on Christmas.

"who all enjoy a decent, index linked final-salary pension"

People keep saying this. It's actually a smaller proportion of final salary than I encountered in the private sector. Every time HMG decided there should be a freeze on pay rises it was to their own staff they could apply that. Until I got out I had every expectation of retiring in penury.

Porn parking, livid lockers and botched blenders: The nightmare IoT world come true

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Re: Parking kiosk

"so you go to out of town superstore to shop instead as it has free parking"

The "free" parking is funded by letting it out to parking vultures who hand out fines to people who might only have driven through to drop off a passenger. And yet the chains who rent premises there don't seem to mind being treated as bait.

And yet both town centre and out-of-town venues wonder why they lose business to the net.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Parking kiosk

"Presumably the hack gave free parking by knocking out the payment system?"

Or it was working some scam clicking through adverts?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Internet of Idiots

"IOT has it's place"

The exact place depends on whether it's recyclable or not.

And, in your particular use case, door phones have been a thing for a very long time now.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: What exactly is the Internet-of-Things?

"the very next Alexa / eavesdropping smart-speaker"


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Re: You're Doing Corporate WiFi Wrong

"If this is all it takes to get a device on your corporate WiFi network then you're doing WiFi security wrong."

Probably more a case of the line manager insisting on you doing WiFi security right (from the point of view of his convenience).

Did you know: Lawyers can certify web domain ownership? Well, not no more they ain't

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"email from the same domain name"

I doubt, however, I'd be able to get a certificate for Hotmail or Gmail.

Amazon, ditch us? But they can't do without us – Oracle

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Re: Oracle is historic legacy software for Amazon

"you now have to maintain an inhouse solution for non-core software."

The software that runs your day-to-day business is core. Is the greater risk relying on an in-house supplier or an external vendor? The answer to than might change with scale.

Now that's a dodgy Giza: Eggheads claim Great Pyramid can focus electromagnetic waves

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Re: An attitude based on unfounded snobbery

"while it has been shown that adding an abrasive material such as sand and lubrication can indeed help to cut using copper, this again, is just a possible theory that is unlikely to ever be proved."

Nowadays if you want to cut stone with a smooth surface you use a diamond saw. My uncles who ran a quarry retired without even installing one. They did a lot of stone cutting, however. Their reciprocating "saw" didn't actually have teeth or anything like that, all it did was move sand back and forward. If you have plenty of man-hours available it's surprising what you can do with simple means. Technology allows you to do things faster and more cheaply but if you don't rate those attributes highly you don't necessarily need the technology.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Therefore, by definition, they are batteries."

"Are" and "were" are two different things.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Correlation, causation, and all that

"That used to worry me too so for safety's sake we had an earthenware Belfast sink fitted instead"

Our Belfast sink in a Belfast lab leaked badly despite all attempts to tighten up the joints on the drain. I only realised later it was the effect of the hydrofluoric acid on the glaze.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Puh!! Visit Dublin and try out their 121m whip antenna

"drilling just a wee little pilot hole into the side of their 121m tall stainless steel Dublin Spire. All I wanted to do was firmly attach my monopole feed point"

Never heard of crock clips?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Mystery?

"Newgrange (much older!)"

And yet you get at least one nutcase who still pops up from time to time on genealogy newsgroups propounding ex oriente lux crap. At least I think that's what he thinks he's doing.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: A wavelength of 200 ... metres

"Which of course has a frequency of 200kHz"

frequency and wavelength are related? It just goes to show it's a conspiracy.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The Woo is strong in this one.

"Still, the nutters who are certain to collect around it have a certain amusing quality about them."

But they get boring so quickly.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Correlation, causation, and all that

" think I'd prefer to investigate the scattering effects of a glass of Martini instead"

A tad early in the day here. Maybe later.

Oooooh! Fashion! Yes, 1m-plus accounts on clothes, trinket websites exposed by lax security

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Re: I think...

"It's to send you a voucher on your birthday."

In which case, provided you're actually interested in the product, the more birthdays you have registered the better.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Is there a free template online somewhere for breach announcements?"

I think it's a standard question in PR job interview scripts. They're not required to know what it means.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Yet again...

... PR-speak is allowed to get away with the "we take it seriously" line without being challenged.

Come on, el Reg, you can do better than this: either they get challenged to prove it and the reply also gets published or that bit of the statement doesn't get published at all.

Irish Supremes make shock decision to hear Facebook's appeal in Schrems II

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It could be that taking on Facebook has suddenly become fashionable and the Irish courts don't want to miss out.

UK cyber security boffins dispense Ubuntu 18.04 wisdom

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"Do they still have that amazing feature?"

They were fairly quickly disabused of that as a good idea.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Good idea.

"When you have 20+ servers, changing the administrator password because Joe Admin left the company is not so simple."

I think the word you were looking for was "convenient". Do not trade security for convenience.

"Passwords can be cracked or leaked, so a security compromise of one server quickly becomes a site-wide problem (unless you use unique passwords, which complicates the distribution issue further)."

Just so. If an admin's personal password is cracked what stands between the cracker and root? If you have multiple admin users the cracker only has to get lucky with one of them.

"In other words, think about how you implement security instead of just bashing some random tool based on a 7 year old forum post."

I don't have to base my dislike of sudo on any thing as recent as a 7 year old forum post. I can make up my own mind.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Good idea.

"Firstly, sudo logs all its invocations. Secondly, sudo can be configured to only allow a user to run a certain subset of commands."

Those, in my view are because sudo is a kludge to overcome:

"su is an all or nothing command."

Which it has become as a kudge because root is now used for a great many purposes which could and should have separate administrators: e.g lpadmin to manage printers, bin to install and upgrade S/W. But that was too inconvenient so root got handed all the powers.

"Finally, su requires the destination user's password (e.g. root) whereas sudo requires the current user's password (or not at all). "

You say that as if it's an advantage. If the user has adopted a weak password that's all that stands between anybody who cracks it and root permissions. Requiring a second password provides an extra layer of protection.

"One benefit of this, is that when an employee leaves, you don't have to change all the root passwords, you just delete their account."

Again, it's the convenience thing.

I harbour suspicions about that (convenient)option to enter further sudo commands within a given period. It opens the door to an exploit.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"in an unusual step for a Government agency, does a pretty good job of dispensing sensible security advice."

I don't know how you can say that. HMRC did a pretty good job of finding an email address I'd never given them and, only yesterday, wrote to tell me I'd got a tax rebate.

Microsoft devises new way of making you feel old: Windows NT is 25

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"we had a weird January thunderstorm and lightning strike which nailed my apartment building, resulting in a massive hardware failure the same damned day Vista came out."

So that's where it happened. The heavens had to protest somehow and thunderbolts are the standard way.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Just out of interest, does ReactOS run the software?"

Not tried but probably not. It actually fails to install properly as far as I can tell and the bastard vendors had no interest whatsoever in fixing it. It needs to contact their servers to register although IIRC there was a means to register it by contacting them off-net. But it's a long time since I bought it and I don't know if I could even register a re-install so the easiest thing is simply to keep it on a VM where it's registered and working.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: NT

"21 3.5" disks, and the installer insisted on *every single one*."

I don't remember what Xenix used but I don't think it was quite that many.

I had a SCO install which came on a CD but needed a sloppy to boot. It wouldn't install on Virtual box even if you could get a copy of the floppy onto it - it didn't like the emulation. I had a few clients with Informix on SCO (the staple of a lot of small businesses at one time) so having that on a laptop was quite useful. About the time laptops no longer had floppies Linux became mature enough to use without spending more time fiddling with it than doing actual work (KDE 5 is making me start thinking that things are going backwards).

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Obviously...

I can tell you when my hatred started. Late '90s some complete and utter eejit in their advertising pestering department decided on a gimmick. They would get a magazine pubilisher to put a gob of the sticky stuff used to attach floppies between two pages with the slogan "Don't get stuck with Microsoft".

I suppose said eejit in his idiocy thought it would simply peel off with no harm done. It didn't always do that on magazine covers and stood no chance of being got off the flimsy pages without tearing. The eejit also hadn't realised the slogan was ambiguous. As a reward for such an arrogant tampering with what I'd paid good money for (and to the other advertisers who'd paid good money to buy space on the same pages) I decided to take the meaning they didn't intend and avoid getting stuck with them as far as possible in the future.

Back in the early days I had their FORTRAN for CP/M which seemed a bit of a miracle although I suppose even a Z80 box had more memory and storage than I was allotted on the University mainframe a few years earlier. And Windows itself was quite welcome when it first arrived: I could run an X-server on it to connect to the HP-UX boxes I was responsible for or, later, just multiple terminal sessions.

But Microsoft, over the years, have brought the hate on themselves through the sheer arrogance of their behaviour.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: 25 years and still a PITA

"Everything after Windows 7 is a step backwards if you ask me."

I'd go back to W2K. Missed XP. W7 just filled up its VM space doing almost nothing but updates and I couldn't be bothered to give it more.

Beam me up, UK.gov: 'Extra-terrestrial markup language' booted off G-Cloud

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"A51 Technologies stopped offering this service on Tuesday 31 July 2018,"

When did they start offering it? The first Sunday in April?

Dixons Carphone: Yeah, so, about that hack we said hit 1.2m records? Multiply that by 8.3

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"I want to assure them that we remain fully committed to making their personal data safe with us."

Look here, el Reg. I'm fed up with you just rolling this sort of statement out like that.

Will you please ask their PR people why, if they meant that, they allowed it to happen and tell them you won't publish their boilerplate at all unless they provide an answer to that question to publish alongside it.

They shouldn't be allowed to get away with that crap. The only reason they do is that the media allow them to get away with it. Being allowed to get away with it just encourages them more to the point where Pester thought he could whitewash a major meltdown with some anodyne guff.

Think tank calls for post-Brexit national ID cards: The kids have phones so what's the difference?

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Even with a thing like Brexit there's nothing so bad that a determined politician can't make it worse.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Isn't it illegal (or should be) to require one group of people that are citizens of the UK to have ID cards without requiring all citizens of the UK to have ID cards?"

The ID card phase 1 proposal is that those who are not UK citizens have them. Those who are don't. No discrimination between citizens.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It's quite funny

"I would argue that by this point, people are in so many database systems"

Why do you think they want the ID scheme? To tie all those records together. It would make it so much easier...

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Tax

"It's certainly the main reason that Blunkett wanted them."

Not his department. The reason he wanted them is that he was Home Sec, i.e. under the control of the Home Office who want them because they're control freaks.

Yes Minister never properly tackled the Home Office but essentially Home Office policy very much like Foreign Office policy was explained there: ministers come and go and they each want their own policy so it's much simpler to just have on policy, the department's. HO is very, very skilled at brainwashing new Home Secs very quickly.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: ...citing the Windrush scandal as justification.

Given that it was the result of policy (hostile environment) as much as cock-up that's a hard one to believe. And even the cock-up included ignoring the staff who used the records telling them they were still needed.

The Solar System's oldest minerals reveal the Sun's violent past

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: but 1/10th mm isn't really that small to a microscopist

You can view some bacteria with a "toy" microscope.

With the toy microscope that started me off that's more likely to be a bunch of fringes and other optical artefacts round a bacterium. It sounds as if Intel are having similar problems but at smaller scales.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

100microns is small? It all depends on what you're used to working with but 1/10th mm isn't really that small to a microscopist. By standard definitions it's within the range for sand grains.

The internet's very own Muslim ban continues: DNS overlord insists it can freeze dot-words

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: DNS Terror

"Countries should just start their own DNS servers and fracture the root server system."

Not the solution. Let countries (by which I wake it you mean national governments) get involved and you'll end up handing it to the ITU. What needs to happen is for the registrars (who, I believe are supposed to be ICANN "stakeholders" but not, apparently, treated as such) to do it in a coordinated fashion. The root server has a number of mirrors around the world; all they have to do is agree to treat one of those - and has to be just one - as the new definitive server and ICANN is on a downward slide as fast as you can say "fait accompli".

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"and nation.of. "

Point of information. That would just be a subdomain of of.islam

India mulls ban on probes into anonymized data use – with GDPR-style privacy laws

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"exemptions granted to government in the bill."

Sounds familiar. Not so much like the GDPR, more like the UK's new DPA.

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