* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

UK privacy watchdog to fine Facebook 18 mins of profit (£500,000) for Cambridge Analytica

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Re: 'Don't understand ...

"your insurer, your bank, your telco"

As I'm in the UK all these entities will be getting attention under GDPR if they try that.

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Re: Conclusions?

"It's worth noting that FB have shouldered the maximum possible fine under the existing legislation (£0.5M). GDPR has provision for far greater fines (4% of annual global turnover)."

Yup. Was going to say the same thing. Unlike many comments and the article FB should read this as a warning of what happens next time. We could also end up with the ICO and at least one EU regulator handing out 4% fines. A billion here, a billion there and it soon adds up to real money.

Infrastructure wonks: Tear up Britain's copper phone networks by 2025

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Rural areas should receive full-fibre connections as a priority, said the report, which noted that "long copper lines" cause signal degradation over great distances and "effectively render full fibre as the only viable infrastructure upgrade option for most rural areas".

Let's examine that carefully.

I live in a rural area. There's an FTTC installation in the centre of the village and has been for a few years We're about a couple of miles from the swtich (or exchange if you prefer) and there's and FTTC cabinet at most road junctions where a branch of the POTS network is taken off; say about once every half mile. Once that was installed it was easy to connect any premises that needed faster broadband by simply hooking up their line to that cabinet. We're a few hundred metres from the cabinet and the FTTC speeds are good. Our distance clearly isn't great enough to cause deterioration.

We're one of the last reasonably closely spaced houses, after that it's fields and a few houses every few hundred metres in a network of lanes They probably do have a deteriorating signal. There's underground ducting leading from the village past the house up to a point a few hundred metres further on past the next road junction with a manhole just at the corner of out property and in the last couple of weeks there was a team preparing that ducting to blow fibre in as far as the ducting goes.

I don't know what they propose to do with that but I suppose one option is another FTTC cabinet at that point. Whatever it is they can make provision for the more difficult set of premises out there. It may even be that it's as convenient to connect some of the more remote premises direct by fibre.

But consider what the situation would have been if they'd decided to build out an FTTP network to replace the FTTC. To get to the point where the fibre reaches our house they'd have had to install it in about 80 premises that don't really need it before getting to those that do - they'd probably still be working on it. And if the FTTC had never been used and FTTP had been the approach from the outset I doubt it would have reached our village yet because we'd probably be a few million houses down the list as the network got built out. Not only is full fibre not only not "the only viable infrastructure upgrade" it's a good deal less viable for many purposes than continuing to extend the FTTC and make use of the copper network for individual premises because it will just add to the waiting time to get the benefits of fibre to where they're most needed.

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Re: Time to nationalise OverReach

"Ammend the housing act to require Fibre communications (or atleast the ducting for it)"

No need to nationalise it to achieve that, not do you need to amend any Housing Acts. Just add it to building regs. for new build.

Of course if you want to go back to the decades of under-investment that preceded privatisation you could nationalise it to do that.

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Re: Germany is the workshop of the world

"Although Bittorrent is very illegal here, so I'm not sure what people will do with all the bandwidth!"

Commonly known as a solution in search of a problem.

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Re: Ummm

Well but then only one phone would work, and only if you unplugged it, plugged it directly into the NTBA (which depending on the type of your line your phone may not support) and configured it to work with the "emergency power" mode which not all phones support.

I think we're at cross purposes here. The UPS at the switch (or exchange if that's what you prefer to call it) powers the entire local POTS network. True if you only have cordless the base station will die without a local UPS. But it's simple and easy to have a POTS phone plugged directly into the line as well as the cordless set-up. Provided you don't exceed the REN you can have multiple phones plugged in.

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Re: Every Telephone Pole Resembled The Mess Associated With Wire Frames

On my road almost every house except mine is cabled overhead although the main distribution is underground and ducted.

But on estates built since, say the '60s like my daughter's the entire telecoms network is buried. Unless the houses have individual ducts into which the cables can be blown there's going to be a choice: dig up every drive and garden, dig a trench into the street at every house at least on one side of the street and reinstate it all properly or tkae the cheap and nasty option of installing a mess of overhead cables.

I wonder which it will be.

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Re: Rolling in cash

"Money-tree policy?"

That's right, the money trees are fertilised by the unicorns cocking their legs against them.

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Re: Ummm

"They cant even fit a smart meter"

Not all bad, then?

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Re: Ummm

"Well just like you do with copper lines, have an UPS on your PBX."

One humongous one at the switch, regularly checked and maintained rather than a lot of little ones, probably costing n times as much to get the same capacity, fitted and forgotten and half of them dead when needed.

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"labour cost are not needed to be calculated into the initial build if you go the Co-op route (pay them back with the profits)"

ITYF that if you try to do that on a national scale you'll need a labour force that needs to be paid as they go.

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dispense Gin Black Bush instead of water

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"The money's there - its just it is being wasted on other poorly conceived infrastructure programmes."

So switch it from one poorly conceived infrastructure programme to another. Right. It'll make us all better off or something.

Dudes. Blockchain. In a phone. It's gonna smash the 'commoditization of humanity' or something

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There's something to be said for this decentralisation stuff. If I rely on credit cards to finance transactions from a centralised bank they only work if everything in the entire payment chain doesn't have a TITSUP - card network, bank, everything. The possibility of that ideal state of affairs these days seems to be getting more remote. So, my lords, ladies and gentlemen I present my own, novel solution: Compensation Asymmetrically Serverless Hosted.

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"All in all, Chen and HTC have set a very high bar for Strategy Boutique entries – it is hard to imagine this combination being surpassed."

Shouldn't that be Boutique Strategy? BS for short?


We shall call him Mini-U – Ubuntu reveals tiny cloudy server

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"Ubuntu’s a little late to the game with this release, as the two versions of Windows mentioned above have been around for many months"

And Turnkey Linux has been around for years.

BGP hijacker booted off the Internet's backbone

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" It is however, the least broken worldwide communication system we have managed to come up with."

But there are plenty of people working on that.

Up in arms! Arm kills off its anti-RISC-V smear site after own staff revolt

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They wanted a debate. They got a debate, it didn't go quite the way they anticipated. Be careful what you ask for - you might get it.

Google offers to leave robocallers hanging on the telephone

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Most of the cold calls I get are a CLI of "International".

The other week I got an "International" call. It turned out not to be Indian. It was my gas fitter who was on holiday returning my call to his mobile. I suppose Ibiza was respite from the temperature here.

Former wig-wearing Twitterphobe replaces Hancock as UK.gov's Secretary of Fun

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Re: Lawyer?

"I thought all lawyers were, by definition, criminals?"

IME most of the criminal lawyers I met were quite civil. Civil lawyers Ambulance chasers, however, could be reckoned to be criminal.

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Re: Brexiteers jump ship

"Not Clarkson?"

With two Jeremies in the hunt already, so to speak, we don't need another and one May is surely enough. Many would argue more than enough.

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Re: Brexiteers jump ship

"My money is on a new PM before Parliament returns after the summer recess."

You could be right and my money would be on it being Hammond.

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Re: Brexiteers jump ship

"Capt May has hit the iceberg but continues to order full steam ahead"

As reality sinks in I think it's slow astern to the only reasonable Brexit; one where we keep just about everything intact in trading terms to minimise damage but, not actually being in the EU, have no say over the rules. It's called taking back control.

I think it was Matthew Parris who said reality will do the heavy lifting.

BoJo was right for once. The compromise was turd polishing but I don't think he'd quite cottoned on to the fact that the turd is Brexit itself.

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"Hancock's departure from DCMS will be a loss of consistency for a department that has now had four secretaries of state in two years."

That seems pretty consistent to me. Staff are probably already setting up the sweepstake for who's next and when.

Insurers hurl sueball at Trustwave over 2008 Heartland megabreach

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Who provides Trustwave's insurance? Presumably these two have done due diligence to make sure it's not themselves.

Thomas Cook website spills personal info – and it's fine with that

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So you have the option to report to the ICO and look like a good boy or not report and line yourself up for the top tier of fines for not doing so if the ICO disagrees with your risk assessment of the breach. Deciding whether to report or not is also a risk assessment, of course. Does the quality of assessment on whether to report indicate anything about the quality of assessment of the breach?

Basho investor to pay up $20m in damages for campaign that put biz on 'greased slide to failure'

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Re: People worked at Basho

"the taxman will get the scraps."

If that's so the US taxmen have a lot to learn. In the UK they're usually first in line, then secured creditors then anybody else. True the line will form behind the lawyers but even then the taxman will be looking at what they take.

An $18m supercomputer to simulate brains of mice in the land of Swiss cheese. How apt, HPE

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All that to simulate a portion of a mouse's brain. And yet it's claimed something small enough to be fitted in your car will be able to drive it better than a whole human brain?

GitHub given Windows 9x's awesome and so very modern look

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Re: Slow news day?


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Re: Now, if only Git could work under Windows...

"In fact, isn't this exactly why Linux has such a hard time on desktop? Written by nerds for nerds."

You've never used a Linux GUI, have you?

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Re: And this is bad?

"Anyone else think UX peaked back around 2000 or so and has degraded slowly since?"

Lots of us. Now will somebody please do the same thing for a KDE 5 decoration theme.

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Re: UI elements that make it obvious what they do?

"What's wrong with coloured rectangles"

Other shapes are available for additional confusion.

And don't also forget the lack of state information to tell you that this control has been clicked or is currently inactive.

Tired sysadmin plugged cable into wrong port, unleashed a 'virus'

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We have a projector at work which hands out DHCP even though its address is configured manually and the DHCP function shows "off" in all the relevant menus. Panasonic just deny it's possible.

Had the same problem with an extra wireless access point at home. DHCP off but still handing out addresses. No, can't happen according to vendor.

Open plan offices flop – you talk less, IM more, if forced to flee a cubicle

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Re: unqualified, stupid or one of those zen starting points?

"Is that the collective 'we' of humanity or the ditto scientists who carried out this waste of time."

Complain to HR, manglement or whoever about what almost every office dweller knows and you'll be told you're wrong. They'll tell you that "studies show" you're wrong.

The "studies" are almost certainly going to be unreferreed reports by consultants who'll charge to come out and re-plan your workspace into an open office or office furniture manufacturers who'll sell you the hardware to do that. Having something with the intellectual weight of Proc. Roy. Soc. B behind it should strengthen your arm - unless, of course you're dealing with PHBs who don't know the reputation that journal bears.

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Re: "Interaction" != work

"it was based on a badly designed experiment"

I'm sure the eds and referees of Proc. Roy. Soc. B will, in future, defer to your superior wisdom in matters of experimental design.

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Re: Is it just me?

"You never see the PHBs cramming themselves into these open plan offices."

In general, no. But I do recall one instance where this happened so that senior management toys out of pram shouting matches were a spectator sport for everyone else.

Nostalgic social network 'Timehop' loses data from 21 million users

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Re: Be nice if it happens....

"since GDPR is eurocentric legislation I doubt anything will be said or done"

Pay attention at the back there. If the site has EU-resident users it applies no matter where the owning company is based nor where the site is hosted.

Fitness app Polar even better at revealing secrets than Strava

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Re: Working as intended

"Deliberate publication with the intent of being seen by other people is not a data leak."

How about deliberate publication to draw attention of possible consequences for people whose only idea seems to be "Look at me!!!!"?

Spidey sense is literally tingling! Arachnids detect Earth's electric field, use it to fly away

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Re: Human analogue ?

"Sometimes I wonder why people - especially scientists - seem surprised by findings like this."

Who said they were surprised? It was scientists who did the work. It's doing the work (and being prepared to be surprised but enlightened if the work had shown the hypothesis to be wrong) that makes it science.

Banks told: Look, your systems WILL fail. What is your backup plan?

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Re: Back up plan? What planet are they on?

"It also shows just how out of touch the regulatory bodies are to suggest modern banking could switch over to manual! There is no plan B - rapid recovery of the service is the only feasible course of action and is where the focus should remain."

It's not necessarily so simple.

What the TSB incident shows - or at least what we're told - is that the core systems were OK but that it was the surrounding access layers were the problem and that that affected online, telephone and the branch systems. If the were various access routes (from the customer perspective) didn't depend on a common access layer the system would have been more resilient in that if the online access failed telephone service would have been possible and if ATMs didn't work cash could be obtained over the counter.

If a bank's customers are left effectively destitute "it's too complicated" isn't an acceptable answer.

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Re: I could do with a list of banks that actually consider IT important enough to keep in house

Here it is:

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Re: Wrong Question!!

"Murphy syrikes"

Yup ;)

Imagine a patent on organizing computer files being used against online shopping sites. Oh, it's still happening

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I'm considering a patent for a method of reading a book. It consists of (a) reading the first page (b) reading the second and subsequent pages in the order in which they occur in the book (c) stopping on reading to the end of the last page.

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Re: Move on please, there's nothing to see here.

<em.We created this problem when it was decided that patenting software "methods" was a good idea.</em>

Who's this "we" of whom you write?

'Toxic' Whitehall power culture fingered for GDS's fall from grace

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"but it's a refreshing change to see someone talking about this stuff with sufficient bluntness to cut through the bullshit."

Were we reading the same article? These are the bullshitters.

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Re: Globular clusterfuck

"Do they just string words together and hope there is a message therein?"

Or just string words together and hope people will think there's a message therein?

And do they really believe their own words?

Sysadmin cracked military PC’s security by reading the manual

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"It took me less than 10 minutes to build my own exlicense.dll that always returned TRUE"

That's Windows for you. Always making you do things the long way round.

ln true CheckLicense

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Re: a sort of oversized Meccano.

Or what real engineers call "Dexian".

OK, oversized Dexion.

There used to be a Dexion shop in N London, long gone, of course. It's right what they say: the variety has gone out of the High Street these days.

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Re: Only cracking I have done is

"it turned out that their gates simply lifted off the hinges."

The comms team had a big cabling job to do at the warehouse over a weekend. The warehouse was near a football ground. When they got there they found some local wide boys had lifted the locked gates off the hinges and were selling car parking to match goers.

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Re: Only cracking I have done is

"stone castles were reasonably impregnable to direct attack."

A bit more laborious but you could also undermine the walls. It needed some sort of shelter unless to approach. You shored up the excavation with wooden props until a enough length of wall was undermined and then light a fire to burn the props out. I think this how "mine" also came to be used for an explosive device.

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