* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Privacy group asks UK politicos to pinky swear not to use personal data for electioneering

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an exemption that allows registered parties to process personal data "revealing political opinions" for the purposes of their political activities.

Coming up soon: the registration of the Cambridge Analytica Party and others.

Agile development exposed as techie superstition

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Re: Agile is b*llocks. Any non-idiot knows this.

" you think that going to a conference like this is actually making you a better person, then you're simply not very good and should be in another industry. "

To be fair, discovering the pointlessness of this is a rite of passage. If you don't grok what's wrong after the second conference that convincingly contradicts everything that was so convincing in the first then you really should be in another industry; probably management consultancy.

Void Linux gave itself to the void, Korora needs a long siesta – life is hard for small distros

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That list at the beginning: you missed Debian. That's one of the most important distros. However it doesn't, AFAIK, have a multi-million dollar company behind it.

Julian Assange said to have racked up $5m security bill for Ecuador

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Re: Stupid Question Time

Plus, the UK can deem the embassy "not an embassy" any time they like, totally legally.

But not without causing an international incident.

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Re: It would have cost them something

"or #UK"

A hashtag? Are you Amber Rudd?

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Re: Suing would backfire, badly

"Courts use video links for witnesses who cannot make it to the courtroom for whatever reason."

It depends on whether they accept the reason. Being a fugitive from an arrest warrant for skipping bail might not be a good enough reason.

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"Under the Computer Misuse Act, such an action would be illegal without authorisation."

It doesn't apply within the Ecuadoran embassy although they may have their own legislation about that. If they were to charge him they'd probably have to take him to Ecuador to stand trial. The trip might go via a British court and possibly jail here. Sweden might get involved as well.

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Eventually "Operation Saga"

Heat death of the Universe?

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The scheme was first named "Operation Guest" before changing to Hotel, which may reflect the length of Assange's stay at the embassy.

Shortly to be renamed "Long Lease" and eventually "Here's the deeds".

Hey cool, you went serverless. Now you just have to worry about all those stale functions

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Re: Who'll thnk of the data?

"You put the code the developers write on the same system as your data"

You put the code on some 3rd party "serverless" server. Now where do you put the data? In some other location? Then you expose the data directly to the internet so the serverless server can access it. Let's think of all the ways that could go wrong.

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Re: BaaS

"There will always be vulnerabilities, just make sure they're somebody else's fault."

Scapegoat as a Service.

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Who'll thnk of the data?

In the "serverful" world, deploying code has significant costs – you need to work harder to deploy the code (which takes time), allocate ongoing compute resources (which costs money), set up constant capacity monitoring (more time), and on top of that you need to continuously patch these servers and secure them against the bad people out there. These costs mean you only deploy code that is worth deploying, providing enough value to justify the price.

Has anyone noticed there's a word missing in there?


The servers that those allegedly all too expensive admins look after don't just keep the developers' code running, they also house the data. If, in this developer centric world, the "Ops" bit of DevOps is just seen as deploying code, then we can continue to see more and more TITSUP events resulting in data loss.

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"While it clearly employs servers behind the scenes"

It's servers all the way down.

Oh Capita! Thirsty outsourcing titan finds small oasis in contract desert

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Re: Oh God!

Conflict of interest?

You've been Zucked: Facebook boss refuses to face-off with Brit MPs

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Re: It's the politics, stupid

"Send a subpoena or STFU"

Under what authority would they be able to serve a subpoena in the US? That stamping of feet you heard - have you looked down at the end of your legs?

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"We were disappointed after providing a very significant amount of information to the committee at the last hearing that the committee declared our response insufficient,"

Not half as disappointed as the committee were with the response.

US judge to Facebook: Nope, facial recognition lawsuit has to go to jury

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"I love seeing big data slurpers on the hook"

And meanwhile all the lawyers' children avoid starvation for a few more weeks.

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"Should the UK police ask Facebook for help since their own face recognition software sucks?"

I was thinking the opposite. FB could try claiming its facial recognition doesn't work because it has 98% false positives.

Zero arrests, 2 correct matches, no criminals: London cops' facial recog tech slammed

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Re: Surely though

"This system would might identify 50 people, one of which would be me."

It depends on the rate of false negatives but given your figures, what happens to the other 49? How many of them get picked up, held for a few hours, searched, miss trains, get locked up because they refuse to give anyone the password to their phone?

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Re: Surely though

"It's a prefilter."

That was my reaction. If it was doing a good job at that it would be worthwhile. But even for a prefilter that rate of false positives is very high and raises the question of how many false negatives there are. Is there adequate reason to suppose it's doing a better job than picking faces out at random?

Openreach consults on shift of 16 MEEELLION phone lines to VoIP by 2025

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" If the phone service were not provided that maintenance costs that are currently chaged to your phone line will simply be added to your broadband charges."

Let me amend that. In the fibre future you'll still be charged for the upkeep of the line and it may indeed at some point be less than it costs OR to maintain the current structure. However you'll also have to contribute your share to pay off OR's loans for the cost of rolling out the new system plus the interest charges on those loans.

So will the rest of us, irrespective of whether or not we wanted anything more than FTTC. The chorus of "FTTC is not enough" have done their work. Now OR have got a means of getting a price increase past OFCOM.

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So we decide to do something and then try to find out how to do it. Have I heard of that somewhere else?

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"If OFCOM drop the need for BT to maintain the copper OR may finally be able to replace copper with fibre and have a happy ending?"

Does this replacement happen automagically without any cost?

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"I've no use for a voice line in the house but I've got to bloody have one to get broadband."

You may not have noticed that the broadband arrives in your house via the same set of wires as your phone. If the phone service were not provided that maintenance costs that are currently chaged to your phone line will simply be added to your broadband charges.

Get over yourselves: Life in the multiverse could be commonplace

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Re: And I always thought it was Dark 'cos we can't see it

"It is attracted by ordinary matter - its gravity - but goes straight through it and out the other side. Why? because it is the electrostatic forces that present surfaces, that repel things when they get close."

On a cosmological scale it's gravity that counts. It's gravity that holds galaxies together, not electrostatic forces. Electrostatic forces come into play at smaller scales. Electrostatic forces stop your hands passing through each other but when we see galaxies interacting it's gravitational forces that determine the outcome.

We're also told that dark matter, like ordinary matter, forms its own structures on cosmological scales. What's not clear is why ordinary and dark matter cosmological structures don't coincide given that they have a mutual attraction. I'd expect to see a single set of structures with dark and ordinary matter being similarly distributed.

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Re: And I always thought it was Dark 'cos we can't see it

"Your other option is something like MOND that says that things are different at the Solar system scale and on the galactic scale (effectively, gravity is not quite M/R^2 at large Rs). It has to make sure that you explain everything we know, and we have not observed any deviations from 1/R^2"

Aren't the observations that dark matter etc are invoked to explain just such deviations?

The problem I have with the idea of dark matter is that if it exists it should be very easy to detect. It (allegedly) interacts with ordinary matter by gravity so it should be attracted to ordinary matter (or vice versa seeing as how we're told there's a lot more of it). So it ought to be right here, where we are, and not somewhere out there where we can't see it.

UK's Rural Payments Agency is 'failing on multiple levels' – report

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Re: What's the problem?

UK farmers receive about €3 billion a year in EU subsidies, there is no way the country can afford such an amount in the next decade so the total will have to come down we'll have to add more food imports to the (im)balance of trade.


Airbus windscreen fell out at 32,000 feet

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The article suggests the sequence crack seen, window disintegrates, pilot starts descent. Wouldn't it have been better to swap the last two around?

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Re: Blown or sucked....

"blown out or sucked out. High to low pressure would suggest blown"

I suppose it depends which way you look at it.

How could the Facebook data slurping scandal get worse? Glad you asked

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"If anyone ever thinks for a moment that Facebook won't stop collecting"

I think they won't stop, at least not voluntarily, which is why I'm not buying your bridge.

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Re: On curves, and being behind them.

"By evolutionary principles, of course: anti-malware, like the immune system, can so far not respond to a threat until it appears."

OTOH if system designers built in security by design the bad guys would be lagging a long way behind the good guys.

Of course when it comes to something like FB the concept of "good guys" doesn't apply. We have to think in terms of bad and worse.

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Is he related to Steve? We need to know.

How many ways can a PDF mess up your PC? 47 in this Adobe update alone

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Doesn't Okular have any of these CVE thingies? I'm feeling deprived.

FTC names its dirty half-dozen half-assed tech warranty bandits

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"the federal agency was reduced to staff searching websites for infringing language, rather than a more serious (but expensive and time-consuming) investigation of illegal practices."

It's the same mindset as "we can't investigate crime because of encryption".

S/MIME artists: EFAIL email app flaws menace PGP-encrypted chats

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Re: Who relies on this stuff?

I think the main reason encrypted email isn't used routinely is that nobody* knows anyone who uses it so nobody* uses it themselves and hence nobody* knows anyone who uses it. If we had a new version of SMTP that made it default it would take off. In the meantime those who need it really need it but, if they're focussed on their security they're likely to have HTML-enabled email turned off.

*Well, hardly anyone.

PGP and S/MIME decryptors can leak plaintext from emails, says infosec professor

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Re: Defensive programming

"Well there is no actual use for HTML-E-Mail."

Certainly no good uses. AFAICS it was put together for B-Ark passengers who have so little confidence in being able to express themselves in words that they feel a need to put their message in fancy dress.

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Re: "...exposure of the contents of past messages.”

"Then then evil regimes decrypt their stockpile of old PGP email intercepts from suspected dissidents."

Easily avoided. Don't enable HTML rendering in your email client and don't, of course, use webmail. But if you were being careful these would have been as basic as blocking ads and running NoScript in your browser.

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Re: Especially stop reading...

"Doesn't sound very side channel."

Apparently it requires the attacker to have intercepted the encrypted version and then wrapped it up in a multi-part email which persuades the victim's client to wrap the decrypt as an HTML request to the attacker's domain - providing the victim has been daft enough to enable HTML rendering.

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Re: Especially stop reading...

"It seems to be how the MUAs deal with HTML email and referencing external links."

If you're concerned about security surely you've turned off rendering HTML even before your got round to installing a PGP add-in.

You're in charge of change, and now you need to talk about DevOps hater Robin

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"Regarding stand up meetings, they are just as boring as the old fashioned sort, but more uncomfortable."

With my bad back a stand-up meeting would have been followed by an industrial injury claim.

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Re: DevOps - nearly a decade old already?


Please Google the newfangled-term "paragraph".

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I'm sure one of the reasons why businesses prefer young recruits to experienced old hands is that they're easier to impress. After a few "latest things", each insisting that the previous things were wrong, experience brings scepticism.

Management doesn't like its newest, brightest idea to be greeted with "Oh no, not another one." or "Meh". Even less do they like to be told "That's what we were doing in the '80s, all gussied up with new names. However little they charged you for that you were done.".

Wah, encryption makes policing hard, cries UK's National Crime Agency

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"How did that "apparent" get in there?"

Her lack of understanding was very apparent indeed.

Navy names new attack sub HMS Agincourt

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Re: Dear France

"and then running it with rather notable efficiency"

It was largely run post-Conquest by the same A/S who'd run it previously.

Ubuntu sends crypto-mining apps out of its store and into a tomb

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"aside from being a popular thing to complain about"

Or an unpopular thing depending on how you look at it.

Family Planning office warns customers private parts may be exposed

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The provision in GDPR about not keeping data longer than you need it: there's a reason for that and it's not just to comply with some bureaucratic red tape.

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Re: On the plus side...


Your moniker seems strangely appropriate for the thread.

Your software hates you and your devices think you're stupid

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Re: Older stuff WAS simplier...

"Back when I first got a microwave oven (late 1970's) it had 3 controls."

Only 3? Nothing to open the door?

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Re: Non determinism

"When I cut a cheque with it and pressed Go, the cheque image scrolled slowly upward to reveal a new cheque underneath, instead of the entry just blanking as in the previous version."

I once worked with a guy who spent an afternoon animating the replacement of one message by another. The new one appeared to slide out from behind and then in front of the old one. I suppose it was an afternoon well spent. It kept him from harming some other piece of code.

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Re: Please don't kill me with downvotes...

"I won't even get started on the marketing department"

I think you should. With extreme prejudice.

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