* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

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

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.

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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.

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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.

UK cyber security boffins dispense Ubuntu 18.04 wisdom

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"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.

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

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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.

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.

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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.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: 16MB?

"which is conveniently 3 bytes when using the usual 8-bits/byte"

And even more conveniently 4 bytes if you have 6-bit bytes. ICL 1900 anyone?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"NT 4, in 1996, is peak Windows as far as this grizzled hack is concerned, before NT was retooled for consumers with the launch of Windows XP in 2001."

You missed W2K?

I migrated my W2K VM from my old to new laptop this morning. It runs the one application I can't get running under Wine and couldn't find a decent replacement for under Linux. I'm trying to decide whether to migrate the W7 VM. Probably not.

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

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"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.

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"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...

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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

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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

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"exemptions granted to government in the bill."

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

UK 'fake news' inquiry calls for end to tech middleman excuses, election law overhaul

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Chickens coming home to roost.

I've commented here a couple of times that Zuk could come to regret it if he needs to lobby HMG and his lobbyists get treated with the same disdain as he treated Parliament. This could well be such an occasion. The CA affair has given MPs motivation enough. Zuk's behaviour will have compounded that.

Sysadmin trained his offshore replacements, sat back, watched ex-employer's world burn

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Re: Four into one

"shifted from a proprietary software package to SAP"

SAP is open source? Who knew?

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Re: Employee to consultant...

"the company came to their wits and asked if they would like to simply come back on-staff."

And he didn't come to his wits & say no? If this was the UK going back on contract to an ex-employer would be IR35 bait. Going back permie with the same client even more so.

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Re: Karma can be tough

"I politely decline the offer."

Without even quoting a figure?

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Re: "How to use a barometer to measure the height of a building."

"3) (with stopwatch) swing barometer from top on a rope - time periodicity"

Not so easy. With a tall building the mass of the rope might exceed that of the barometer.

Early experiment in mass email ends with mad dash across office to unplug mail gateway

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To err is human..

.. and sometimes you don't need a computer. Well, not make the actual error.

End to end testing of a snail mail system.

The client sent us a life-sized test file of correspondence which would have been sent had the system been live. I'm not sure how they generated it, maybe from their own training exercises but it used real postal addresses. The arrangement was that it would be run right through the system, including the enveloping line, a sample of the results checked and the rest shredded.

That was the computer part and it worked perfectly. The human bit came when the trolley was wheeled over to the outbound post area instead of the shredder.

It was publicly explained as "someone pressed the wrong button".

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Net send

Just checking...

man write

man wall

Yup, still there after all these years.

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Let me try: is it the "c" being some sort of a "sh" instead of a "c"?

No, it's pronouncing the "ces" as a distinct syllable.

Nah, it won't install: The return of the ad-blocker-blocker

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Re: Nine out of ten idiots deliver free advertising.

"The logo-laden shirt of your favourite football club is tolerable."

Only if you really believe that, if you turn up at a match wearing it and they're in need of a a last minute substitute, they're going to pick you because you came prepared.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"My plastic carrier bag from Waitrose is a walking advert."

It wouldn't be much use having Waitrose advertise to me. I don't even know where there's a Waitrose near enough to where I live to avoid it.

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"the person being interviewed ... what I do remember is Wogan mentioning"

That was the Wogan programme. He talked and his guests listened.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Nobody looks at them, nobody clicks on them

"Otherwise, the ad spamming would have been long dead."

You forgot one thing. The advertising industry is very, very good at selling. They sell advertising. Nothing else; advertising. They sell it to advertisers who are going to be pre-disposed to buy it because it strokes their egos by having their companies' "messages" "out there". The PT Barnum effect works.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: haven't ad's died yet?

@ Martin Summers

One advert worked for you some years ago? It's not exactly a ringing endorsement of advertising.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: How about ...

"Of course, that would still leave one subject to the tracking, the slow page load times, and the threat of the ad network being used to deliver malware. "

It would stop some of that. The cookies and malware just go to /dev/null. Page load times? Maybe there would be possibilities of capping the volume or speeds of the advertising sites providing the main site keeps loading, otherwise just go to a different site instead.

I've advocated this for some time. The publisher gets paid so they're happy. The ad networks get pais so they're happy. The malware flingers don't get paid so everybody else is happy. The advertisers' crap doesn't alienate the viewers they're trying to pester so they should also be happy but probably wouldn't be if they knew it was going on. The trouble is that the advertising networks get paid, ultimately, by the advertiser's customers who should be unhappy.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Advertising from mobile 'phones

"Sent from my iPad"

Are they boasting, confessing or complaining?

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Re: I'm seriously thinking about charging Coca Cola rent.

"Because it isn't McDonald's fault that their customers are stupid fucks who litter because its easier than thinking."

Oh yes it is. Without McDonalds the stupid fucks would have to provide their own litter to drop.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Not Ads, but chuggers

"then drink the infusion."


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Re: Not Ads, but chuggers

"How about when they knock on your front door every six weeks or so at half-past seven in the evening when you're trying to eat your tea?"

They usually have some laminated ID badge they wave in your face. It puzzles them then I point out it means nothing because I could knock one up with a camera and colour printer and buy the laminating stuff off eBay so it means they could have done so as well.

What is is with ID badges? They mean nothing out of a particular context - the premises of the organisation that issued them.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Subscription

I hate it when it is called the "Advertising Industry". It doesn't make anything.

Oh, but it does. And it sells it. It makes advertising. Totally useless for those who ultimately pay for it, of course.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Unpaid walking advert for someone else's company

"How do you transport your wealth in a hurry if it needs five trucks to move it?"

Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: They Live....

"And close up work, who needs magnifying glasses."

Time fixes that. As you get older your range of accommodation shrinks and some of that is at the close-up end.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: They Live....

"Do not buy"

Or at least wait until your eyes stop changing. Years ago my employer decided to fit us out with safety glasses, prescription if needed. Being short-sighted and astigmatic I got the prescription glasses. I always thought it was suspicious that on every re-test I needed a slightly different prescription - and possibly it was. But now my prescription hardly, if ever, changes but if I hunt up one of those old pairs of safety glasses that were worn for just walking around* are now ideal for close-up work.

* When I wanted to examine something closely I took them off. Now that doesn't work either, I can't focus as close-up as I used to.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: They Live....

"blocked by the polarised sunglasses attachment."

It sounds as if your polarisers were cut out of a misaligned sheet. Either that or, as Big John says, there's something wrong with your dashboard. The two should work together.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"I never have more than one odd sock hanging around."

It's the sequence from odd to progressively smaller even numbers that's the problem. Where do they go?

Microsoft celebrates a bumper financial year ... by making stuff pricier

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Re: I predict more of this with the cloud

"once the first one blinks"

I was with you until this. But blinking implies they never intended to hike prices. You didn't really believe that, did you?

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