* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Bank of England to set new standards for when IT goes bad

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Re: Government Infrastructure as a Service.

Right. The team will be with you to start on that as soon as they've finished Universal Credit.

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Re: So basically

"All to do with slack lending, the thing at the core of retail banks."

And all to do with low interest rates set by the BoE on the basis of a fallacious inflation figure. Personal debt just kept on climbing because when it's so cheap why not borrow a bit more?

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Re: Banks too big to fail ...

"before a bank merger is allowed to go ahead"

Or demerger as TSB has shown us.

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Re: So basically

"This is the org that let 80% of the UKs banks blow up."

By following a definition of inflation laid down by the then PM, former Chancellor. A definition that said increasing house prices didn't count as inflation when setting interest rates because low interst rate buy votes as well as keeping the cost of govt. borrowing down. That definitely wasn't a housing bubble you were betting the bank on. Definitely not, right up to the time it burst.

Meet the Frenchman masterminding a Google-free Android

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Re: Pipe dream

"Also, apple and microsoft both have maps applications of their own."

I don't know about Apple but in the UK Microsoft, at least on the desktop uses the OS which, compared to Google Maps is ... what's the word? ... ah, yes... better.

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Re: Pipe dream

"try living with out...Google Maps"

Google maps is, as far as I'm concerned, not the first choice for mapping. Their actual maps, even at small scale, are just street maps. Ironically it's streetmap.co.uk that has the real Ordnance Survey maps. Oh, and Bing has them too. No Google is not the sole provider of good stuff; in fact it can be the provider of somewhat less good stuff.

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Re: Get a grip

"How did you open a bank account? How did you get a credit card?"

So you have a bank account and a credit card? Have you looked at their T&Cs? Does it say anything about keeping your access credentials secret? Yes?

No tell us; if your phone allows - encourages even - apps to take information from unrelated bits of the system how do you know one of those apps isn't slurping those credentials when you use them? How do you know it's not aiding abetting your breaking of those contractual obligations?

You think you've nothing to hide? Wrong!! You've got plenty to hide, not only out of self interest but also because you're contractually obliged to.

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Re: Get a grip

"However, if I'm running a calculator app, it doesn't need to know where I live, and I have no reason to give it that. If it goes about getting it anyway, there is reason for me to dislike that"

I'd go a step beyond that. If it wants access to something it doesn't need I'd suspect it of being up to no good and the reaction to that is a bit stringer than dislike.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"the ad companies have been taking the piss - in order to be able to extract more money from you, they gather all sort of shit."

The ad companies do not extract more money from you, at least not directly. The advertising industry only sells one product, advertising. They sell it to advertisers. The shit they gather is part of the product. The reason you see the pointless ads for what you bought is that the advertising industry has conned their mugs into believing that you're interested in buying 200 toilet seats and 100 new cars - or at least they've conned them into believing that their analytics indicate that you're in the market for one of these even if you're not.

They do, however, extract money from you indirectly because that advertising adds to the vendors' costs and all of us, whether we saw the adverts or not, pay the advertising tax.

Indiegogo lawyer asks ZX Spectrum reboot firm: Where's the cash?

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Perhaps Indiegogo and similar sited need to monitor the firms who use their facilities to keep track of where the money's going and what it's bought.

User spent 20 minutes trying to move mouse cursor, without success

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Re: Not Millennials!

"finished school after Eternal September had already ended"

Oh no it hasn't. There's a new infestation of newsgroups from Google Groupies who think they're posting a reply direct to their OP despite the fact that the OP hasn't been heard of in the group this side of Y2K.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Keyboard ecosystems

"An old recipe for Elderflower Champagne^W sparkling wine doesn't use added yeast - there's enough on the flowers and in the air to do the job - results can be somewhat... inconsistent though."

Explosive, even. And that was cordial which isn't even supposed to ferment.

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Re: Keyboard ecosystems

"Now they're a consumable item."

What flavours do they come in? A choice of coffee or Tango?

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Re: Keyboard ecosystems

"And every year the winner was... keyboards."

In my student days it was hand towels but I don't think we tried the keyboards of the Marchant calculators.

"Alcohol any one?"

Don't mind if I do, even if it is a tad early.

Universal Credit has never delivered bang for buck, but now there's no turning back – watchdog

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"Consequently the benefits that people have often paid years of national insurance for are unfairly denied."

National Insurance was an exercise in getting rid of the difficult bit in the title. What you pay in doesn't go into insuring you against anything nor into a fund for your pension. It's just a form of tax. The benefits are paid out of current taxation.

There seems to have been a campaign against ring-fencing it recently with the H word being paraded round. The Treasury must be getting worried that there'll be pressure for ring-fencing NI. You can tell how much the Treasury hates ring-fenced by the fact that they coined the alarming-sounding word "hypothecated" to describe them. What's actually wrong with them, in the Treasury's eyes, is that it's money the Treasury doesn't get to control.

I suppose in the case of NI they do have a point but that's only because the DWP would be controlling it instead.

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"And NO! I DON'T count being a barrister as a qualification to be an effective administrator.....!"

The effective administrators are supposed to be the Civil Servants but in this case they're DWP.

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Years ago a client of mine dealt with several govt. departments including DWP. A colleagues considered opinion? "Not the sharpest knives in the box." Nothing has changed.

In fact nothing has changed since the days when I was a "client" when I was redeployed* and the erk behind the counter had difficulty understanding that not being able to sign on because I had a job interview at the other end of the country was incompatible with the notion of "not being available for work".

* HMG's then current jargon, back in that weasel Harold Wilson's time.

ICANN pays to push Whois case to European Court of Justice

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"The answer is simple: the organization has more money than sense."

A few GDPR-max fines will correct that ratio. Meanwhile I suppose their lawyers are assisting them on a slightly smaller scale.

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Re: This one could run and run

"Are they trying to outdo the SCO / Linux case for extended legal farting about?"

Given that they're trying to accelerate its progress to the top court, maybe not. Unless they want to take it on to the UN or something when they've failed comprehensively in Europe.

Keep your hands on the f*cking wheel! New Tesla update like being taught to drive by your dad

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Re: Pedant Alert

"There are many "A" roads that are 3 lanes in each direction with a central reservation and barrier."

And a few with just 3 lanes, one each way and a suicide lane in the middle.

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Re: Crash Test Dummies.

"The computer would eliminate accidents through inattention. inc drink/drugs."

They'd eliminate a sub-set of those accidents - those that arise from things they're programmed to deal with such as keeping lane. The drunk, drugged or over-tired driver will find accident opportunities other than those they've been spared.

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Re: Crash Test Dummies.

"Sad fact of life really..."

All true but with cars it's more like life and death.

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Re: Crash Test Dummies.

"Still, once we get over this hump it's going to be super safe"

There's an assumption built into that statement.

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Re: Auto-crash-pilot

"Just have two seconds between you and the car in front."

When I learned to drive (an probably for a long time before that) the rule was a car length per 10 miles an hour. That turned out to be a reasonable approximation for 1 second. Given that brakes and tyres were less efficient than nowadays it seems that the advice then was a good deal more optimistic.

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Re: Auto-crash-pilot

"The radar is used to detect other moving objects, not stationary ones."

What about an object crossing the road perpendicular to the line of travel? It's moving but not with a component in the direction the radar's looking.

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Re: Sigh ...

It's actually called "culling the herd" and maybe should be added to the Darwin Awards as added incentive.

It's likely to cull innocent bystanders, AKA collateral damage.

Creepy software knows what you are about to do... to that poor salad

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"Predicting entire video frames will be at some point in the future possible"

How did they predict this?

Apple will throw forensics cops off the iPhone Lightning port every hour

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Re: 5-dollar wrench

Doesn't work if: suspect is dead cf San Bernadino, have phone but suspect has escaped, want to unlock phone without suspect knowing etc.

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Re: Aiding and Abetting

"I wonder what would happen to Apple's policy if their executives were hauled before the courts for aiding and abetting criminal and terrorist activities."

That would require going to court to prove that such activities did actually depend on the phones being lockable. The risk would be failure to prove that to a court's satisfaction, blowing up all the PTB's arguments in their face. That's a risk they're unlikely to take.

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Re: Easy good passwords, here I go again...

"What we've got here is failure to communicate"

Or was it "a failure"? or did I expand "we've" to "we have"? So many things to remember...

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Apple isn't backing down from a move to lock down the iPhone’s data port to increase security for users, even though it means thwarting some of the password-cracking tools used by forensics experts.

"Even though" doesn't seem quite the way to express it.

The only way is ethics: UK.gov emphasises moral compass amid deluge of data plans

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Re: Blind keeping the public in the dark

"Why isn't the question the other way round, e.g. any reason why your project should not be spoken about openly?"

Because it doesn't work the other way round. If you speak about it openly and then discover you shouldn't have it's too late and you might find yourself having to dob yourself into the ICO for having led to half a million people's PII turning up on haveibeenpwned.

... Aaaand that's a fifth Brit Army Watchkeeper drone to crash in Wales

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Perhaps we need our own global positioning system so we don't have to rely on foreigners.

Where's the stirrer icon?

Scrapping Brit cap on nurses, doctors means more room for IT folk

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Re: More job displacement, yay

"Why can't we recruit and retain the necessary medical staff?"

Because we don't train enough and were capped from bringing in enough from outside to cover the difference.

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Re: Fishy logic

"Different types of workers obviously aren't equivalent or interchangeable."

Manglement everywhere doesn't believe you.

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"among my friends who work in advertising there has been a serious exodus"

So it's not all bad.

No fandango for you: EU boots UK off Galileo satellite project

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Re: Well

"I identified it seems to be the way the negotiations are being conducted. And as I point out it is unproductive."

If you recognised the reality that negotiations would be unproductive why did you support Leave?

"The UK doesnt want a border. So its the EU's problem if they do."

The UK's position is that it doesn't want to be in the EU. That means that there will be a border between the UK and the EU because that's what borders are: demarcations between one political entity and another. The RoI is part of the EU. So inevitably there will be a border between the RoI and the UK. NI is in the UK so that means that the border is between the RoI and NI. But the UK has commitments arising out of the Good Friday Agreement. Resolving the nature of the border that must necessarily exist between the UK and EU arising from Brexit and those commitments is inescapably a problem for the UK; it may be a problem for others but it isn't one that the UK can duck.

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Re: Well

"That would make the RoI/NI border an EU issue then, not a UK one."

And negotiations between the EU and the UK make it a UK one.

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Re: Well

"We are a small country."

It's widespread failure to realise this that's the crux of the whole issue.

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Re: Well

"That is a very 'zero sum' view of negotiating. It is also a very unproductive way of looking at negotiation which is pretty harmful. Unfortunately it does seem the negotiations may be being carried out that way."

In other words, it's the reality. We've always said that. You didn't believe it. You can see it happening. You still don't believe it. Why?

"freedom to do as we please regarding borders (think Ireland)"

Indeed, think Ireland. Think also of a separate but associated matter: the Good Friday Agreement. And if you wish to wind back to pre-Common Market/EU days you then need to reconstruct the previous arrangement which allowed free movement of citizens between Ireland and the UK.

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Re: Well

"And yes, I know that building a hard border in Northern Ireland would piss off the Irish (ex?-)terrorists"

For some, vanishingly small, value of "know".

Tech firms, come to Blighty! Everything is brill! Brexit schmexit, Galileo schmalileo

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Re: Its the Will of the People!!

"where people rather want become journalist than engineer I don't think paying more will help alleviate a skills shortage."

If being an engineer doesn't pay well, partly because of off-shore competition, then paying more would help.

Going slightly OT could the numbers of media studies/arts students reflect the numbers of places available and could that in turn reflect the relative cost of providing such places? There's an argument that the media studies students are subsidising the provision of STEM courses.

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Re: Its the Will of the People!!

"Pay more and people WILL flock."

Only if they're allowed to.

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Re: Services

"But then how do you propose to keep the roads, army and NHS?"

I'm assuming he forgot the joke icon.

Astroboffins 'sprinkle iron filings' over remnant supernova

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Re: Not too shabby indeed

"Just in time to fly to the supermarket to pick up pancakes and hoisin sauce."

But won't the crispy duck have got cold by the time he gets back?

Microsoft tries cutting the Ribbon in Office UI upgrade

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Re: it is not the customer's job to adapt

"Muscle memory is not currently part of UI designers list of concerns as far as my experience goes."

AFAICS the only concerns are keeping up with fashion set by other designers or possibly being lucky enough to be amongst those who set the fashion.

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Re: it is not the customer's job to adapt

"People stayed with the older Office versions for many years (because of their superior usability)"

Or simply because they didn't see why they should pay MS money to upgrade something with which they were content. That would be a valid reason even if the interface hadn't changed at all.

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"For professionals who actually want to work with the products, it was quite frustrating and painful."

Don't you realise those are bad, bad people? They haven't got with the programme. They were supposed to buy upgrades for all their old products. Not doing so means they've deprived MS of their rightful extra income. Next thing, you'll be telling us some of them even use LibreOffice as well.

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Re: Why do I smell...

"... a change merely because of the change?"

Not merely because of the change.

It's because they backed themselves into a corner years ago by getting their file formats made into an ISO standard (add your own comments on the whys & hows of that). That prevented them from forcing upgrades every time a new format was introduced and users of old versions found themselves unable to open files from newer versions. It also meant that compatibility stopped being a moving target for other S/W, particularly open source. So how to lock users into MS products and upgrades?

Enter the ribbon. New users get forced to learn the ribbon interface (all those educational deals) so wouldn't be able to use either old versions of Office or the competition. But now LibreOffice have started introducing a ribbon interface into their products so ribbon-habituated MS users can feel at home.

Is it surprising that we get another interface change?

Microsoft loves Linux so much its R Open install script rm'd /bin/sh

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Re: Today's story...

"Developer wrote bad code, was immediately fixed when found."

This sounds reasonable until you take into account that it was a user who found it and not an in-house tester.

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