* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Oh cool, the Bluetooth 5.1 specification is out. Nice. *control-F* master-slave... 2,000 results

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

I grew up within a couple or so miles of an area that had coal mines. Although I don't, so far as I know, have any actual miners in my direct ancestry some of my C18th and C19th relatives were. I also have ancestors with the surname Collier which probably means that somewhere along the line I'm descended from charcoal burners who would have been just as blackened by their occupation.

On these counts I find the blogger's failure to respect the occupations of those relatives and ancestors of mine to be deeply offensive. The article should be taken down forthwith.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Technical terminology has specific meanings. Irrespective of how the diligent umbrage takers may dislike terms adopted as technical (a) need to remain and retain that technical meaning and (b) should be seen as having a context of their own in which they are understood irrespective of their meanings in other contexts.

(a) For one thing existing technical documentation isn't going to be rewritten to accommodate feelings of some third party unless that third party is prepared to pay for it and the economic cost of scrapping it instead would be too huge to bear. For another as soon as the grip on strict terminology is loosened marketing are likely to muscle in, change meanings to suit themselves and suddenly we lose all ability to express anything with adequate precision.

(b) There really is no necessity, and sometimes even no possibility, to connect a term with any other context. For instance we all know what a right hand thread is but how does that meaning connect to one's right hand? Or even depend on having a right hand? Indeed, if someone finds any of these terms the OP lists as offensive they can only do so by thinking of them in some other context where they would be offensive but they shouldn't be thinking like that as it's an entirely unacceptable way of thinking to their way of thinking. They should wash their minds with soap and water.

Bug-hunter faces jail for vulnerability reports, DuckDuckPwn (almost), family spied on via Nest gizmo, and more

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

I'm sure crackers everywhere will welcome the news that Magyar Telecom doesn't care about its security. That may not have been the message they intended to send but it'll be the message that's received and as a communications business I'm sure they know that the message that's communicated is the one that's received.

Kwik-Fit hit by MOT fail, that's Malware On Target

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: re: Too bad they couldn't continue operating as normal with paper records,

"They've been replaced by... a direct electronic emulation of paper flight strips (EXCDS)."

So it the system goes down they could use paper strips to emulate the system that emulates paper strips.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: re: Too bad they couldn't continue operating as normal with paper records,

Reverting to a manual paper process therefore means that staff are at absolute best capable of running at about 10% of normal capacity. Using an unfamiliar process that a good three quarters of the staff need training on probably means they are running about a third to half of the speed that is theoretically attainable, so real world you'd probably actually be down to about 3%-5% of normal productivity.

Then train them. Make it part of the business continuity plan.

Even if your in a low impact industry where IT has "only" doubled the productivity of all staff, your still looking at only being able to get one half of the jobs done.

So you have the choice of getting half the jobs done or no jobs done. Ever heard the saying "half a loaf is better than no bread"?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"they did a high pressure sell on a new set of 4 tyres"

Similar experience many years ago. I had a tyre replaced. A few days later they phoned for a "customer satisfaction survey" which turned out to be a few perfunctory questions by an attempt to sell insurance. Another customer lost.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"having first jemmied the til open"

Did they put the jemmy back in stock?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: re: Too bad they couldn't continue operating as normal with paper records,

"For most companies apart from man+dog outfits, loss of system is loss of everything."

You're probably correct in that many businesses don't have anything to take over. Others, however, have plans under headings such as disaster recovery, business continuity or just plain contingency planning.

Those that don't and survive are quite likely to have such plans in the future once they've learned that hard way that it can happen to them. It's possible that these plans will be dropped when a new, younger manager comes along and thinks the plans are an old-gittish waste of money.

Jammy dodgers: Boffin warns of auto autos congesting cities to avoid parking fees

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Because cruising is less costly at lower speeds, a game theoretic framework shows that AVs also have the incentive to implicitly coordinate with each other in order to generate congestion."

Why would they need to coordinate with each other? All it needs is for the manufacturer to provide an economical parking alternative mode and off it goes on its own.

I'm a crime-fighter, says FamilyTreeDNA boss after being caught giving folks' DNA data to FBI

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Yep

"As usual the Democrats and leftwits instinctively side with the criminal"

There's always somebody who doesn't get it.

Carter, hasn't it dawned on you that all the rules about evidence and criminal procedure are there to protect you? Not just you, of course. Me, all the rest of the elReg commentards and the public in general.

If you still don't get it, think about this. If your local law enforcement turned up at your door and arrested you for something you didn't do would you voluntarily give up all your rights to due process of law because those rights "side with the criminal" and you're not a criminal?

The lack of short cuts mean that law enforcement has to put in the work to make sure they get it right. As one who, in his time, was one of those who had to put in that work I wouldn't have had it any other way. The possibility of finding I'd taken part in a wrongful conviction was something I dreaded.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"You pay your money, submit your DNA, then get access to the database to see matches."

You get access to matches with your DNA. The FBI agents aren't submitting their own DNA, they're submitting somebody else's.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge


I don't think it really is crowdsourcing. AIUI the term means that the resource is built collaboratively. The FBI would be searching for individual records and any individual record is lights on hasn't been sourced by the crowd, it's been sourced by the individual who submitted it. It's no more crowdsourcing than a bank's accounts are.

Our vulture listened to four hours of obtuse net neutrality legal blah-blah so you don't have to: Here's what's happening

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: So where is Congress in all this?

"litigation is The American Way."

It's a bit more complex than that. The whole system, I believe, has its roots in the English* system.

The courts sit at the sharp end. The legislature makes the laws but the courts have to interpret them. Whatever's new hits the courts first because it hits individuals (and individual businesses) first and it's the courts to which those individuals have access. The courts will attempt to fit the new reality and law together by setting precedents. They have a lot of experience in that. It's up to the legislature to come along when things have settled a bit and replace what the courts have put together with new law.

In short, courts tackle things bottom up and legislatures tackle things top down; the first is more responsive and the latter, hopefully, a more general solution. Then the cycle starts all over again.

The difference between the UK and the US seems to lie in unelected bodies such as the FCC being able to make what are effectively laws without any of the procedures that apply to normal legislatures.

* English because the system goes way back before the Act of Union, let alone the founding of the US.

Techie finds himself telling caller there is no safe depth of water for operating computers

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Annoying pedantry

"From what I understand there will soon be a lot more places around the world, mainly coastlines and large capital cities that will need more than IP68."

The relationship between land and sea is never stable unless you have a short term view. Raised beaches (Antrim coast), peat buried under the beach (Portrush), major port disappeared beneath the sea (Dunwich), major port now a couple of miles from the sea (Rye), ancient city sinking into the sea because its groundwater has been pumped out (Venice). If you think land/sea changes won't happen or if you think you can prevent them you're going to be disappointed.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Design deficiencies

I had a gig near Gatwick and stayed in a new hotel. So new they hadn't finished the snagging. I went into the bathroom of the first room I was put in and discovered water coming through the bath overflow. Nothing through the main drain, just the overflow. I don't know how they managed that.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Annoying pedantry

"because its nobody's job to say if its reasonable"

Maybe this is the case where stuff is centrally sourced. If you're running a lab. in the Civil Service and you have an annual budget you do - or at least I did - take good care to get value for money. For instance discovering that one of our more expensive biochemicals had a much cheaper source than the usual supplier and that a useful test strip worked perfectly well for our purposes when bought cheap beyond its use-by date as a medical diagnostic.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Design deficiencies

"Floor drains? What floor drains"

The drains the water comes in by if you're unlucky.

Ca-caw-caw: Pigeon poops on tot's face as tempers fray at siege of Lincoln flats

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Bicarbonate of soda"

Back in the day calcium carbide used to be readily available.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Humans are a blight on this planet and will soon destroy all but the Tardigrades"

I doubt it. The woodlice (pill-bugs for left-pondians) and cockroaches are also indestructible.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"From what I hear, you can eat pigeon and supposedly it is quite tasty"

It is but can get quite tough. The squabs are better.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"We haven't really asked what he does with them"

You haven't bought any pies from him either?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Hawks

"It's a numbers game"

Too many pigeons eaten and the peregrines starve.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge


Too small. Our local kestrel, however, does a very thorough job on pigeons. No half-eaten carcases, not even the odd bone, just a few feathers scattered on the grass.

UK spy overseer: Snooper's Charter cockups are still getting innocents arrested

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

At least I have no fears of my council appearing on the creepiest list. They wouldn't be able to manage anything like that.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Accountability? Responsibility?

"There was nothing in the IPCO report to suggest that any State worker or agency was held to legal account for getting things wrong or not complying with the law."

Or any other action taken. Many years ago a colleague had some run-in with a constable exceeding his duty. The result was that the constable turned up at his door, cap in hand as my colleague put it, to apologise in person. What brought this about was that my colleague was in forensic science and knew enough people far higher up the food chain than a constable. Nevertheless it would be a useful principle to apply. Get it wrong with an innocent member of the public and you personally have to apologise.

And on the subject of forensic science I was never in doubt when giving evidence that it was me personally responsible for the evidence I gave.

I seem to have used the words "person" and "personally" a few times here. This is what's significant - those taking decisions are personally responsible for what they do and should be held to account.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Is that all?

"If the police say he's guilty, then he's guilty."

West of the Bann the exact opposite seems to apply fairly often.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Is that all?

Also notice "once Lang identified who was responsible" means that they had to go to the effort of showing that the police made a mistake

I read that as identifying who was responsible for making the mistake. Even so, it shouldn't have been down to him.

Mobile network Three UK's customer details exposed in homepage blunder

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Three UK wanted to make it known that only four people had complained"

It's those that didn't complain they need to worry about.

You got a smart speaker but you're worried about privacy. First off, why'd you buy one? Secondly, check out Project Alias

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

I'm sure the more creatively minded can manage alternatives to a 3-D printed cover. Knitting? Macramé? Crochet? If - whch isn't going to happen - we had one SWMBO would probably make one out of patchwork.

I remain convinced, however, that a large hammer would nail it.

Using WhatsApp for your business comms? It's either that or reinstall Lotus Notes

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Oh deary dear...

"credit cards?"

Let alone all sorts of other personal data if they're taking bookings. And we wonder how we got where we are.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Is Alister paid per word?

"I remembered why I don’t bother reading this now."

Memory getting a little shaky these days? Otherwise why would you have read it today?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"without any way of controlling it"

A pair of wire cutters suffices. A former colleague was said to carry a pair in her handbag but this was supposed to be to deal with pub sound systems.

Apple yoinks enterprise certs from Facebook, Google, killing internal apps, to show its power

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Privacy and safety?

"This has absolutely nothing to do with privacy and safety. It is solely a breech of contract terms"

Both, I think. Firstly, it's likely to have been the reported privacy and safety consequences that got Apple's attention in the first place. Secondly, assuming that new certificates have been issued with the old ones revoked, the distributed apps will remain dead.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"the consequences you knew could befall you"

They couldn't have known. Consequences befalling them is an entirely beyond their comprehension.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "As a consumer, you also enter into an agreement with Apple"

"You can't enforce contract clauses that do violate user (or any other party) rights - as the Law is above any contract."

As these were business to business contracts the law offers much less protection than business to consumer contracts. If this impacted any B2C contracts by FB or Google it's their problem for essentially trying to provide something they didn't own in the first place.

Wednesday: Facebook sparks another privacy brouhaha. Thursday: Facebook axes Iranian disinfo bods. Fancy that!

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"not any of the other scandals reporters might be inclined to ask about"

Maybe he didn't have any info about anything else. Their internal communication apps have inexplicably stopped working.

Smaller tech firms just aren't ready for a no-deal Brexit, MPs told

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Incompetence where incompetence is due

Camermoron should had the balls to say "Ok I lost... lets get everyone together, see what we want in terms of a future relationship with the EU. then informally sent those ideas to the EU, come up jointly with a deal that benefits both sides, signed/passed it and then activated A50.

What he should have done was a feasibility study. It was about the most that an advisory vote would have justified in the first instance. It should have been his plan B before the vote. If he'd had any plan B at all he wouldn't have panicked and quit.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Incompetence

"Any business worth its salt should have been planning for a no-deal Brexit over 2 years ago."

Some politician tried telling that to the farmers in the Irish border region a few months back. It was explained that this would involve spending a few million on a new processing plant just on spec.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: SMEs in other EU countries have the same problem

"Where's Farage in all this?"

I heard he was looking for a new party to join in case Brexit gets postponed beyond the EU elections and he can get another chance for and EU Parliamentary salary.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Inadaquacy and disagreement

What you're missing is that this gives them rights to work in the UK and the whole of the EU, not just Ireland. The Common Travel Area includes the UK. Those born in NI can have Irish (i.e. EU citizenship) and UK citizenship.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: VAT People

"Where's that fence I need to sit on?"

Ask Corbyn to move over.

Ad-tech industry: GDPR complaint is like holding road builders to account for traffic violations

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Highway authority? More like the highwaymen's trade association.

It's Shodan embarrassing: Red-faced Rubrik blames public-facing DB on developer ballsup

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"I think the lesson is that you can never leave configuration up to humans."

Another lesson is that you use dummy data for development and test. And also, of course, doing development on a public cloud is an opportunity to make your mistakes bigger.

Romford Station, smile! You're in London cops' final facial recog 'trial'

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: How does one decline to be scanned?

You shouldn't need to decline. You shouldn't be scanned unless you have given specific consent. There are exceptions in the DPA to cover police usage but I don't remember anything about exceptions for "just testing" for anybody.

Japanese astronomers find tiniest Kuiper Belt object yet – using cheap 'scopes and off-the-shelf CMOS cameras

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

They don't have much separation as they're on a small island - only a few km across. Their sampling rate is only 15.4 Hz. I suppose, however, they could extend to a bigger baseline having proved the system but a continent sized baseline would need something other than faint meteors to synchronize.

How big is the UK space industry? It hauled in £14.8bn for 2016/2017 – report

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Brex-shit

I'm going to enjoy saying "Told you so" and "You f***ing voted for it!" over and over for many many years.

I'm starting to suspect you might not have very long to say it. IIRC the ECJ ruled that Brexit could be cancelled within the implementation period. Couple that with projections of empty supermarket shelves (even if it's panic buying responsible) and the fact that experience is a dear teacher but there are those who will learn by no other I wonder if the failure to mandate a no non-deal Brexit was a bit of sly thinking. Crash out, a few days of empty shelves and civil unrest and May gets sacked as party leader someone - Hammond? - steps in as PM to restore the backup as it were and Boris et al get the whip withdrawn. In fact Boris et al might have to be taken into protective custody.

If that's what happens you'll only have a few days to say "Told you so" and it won't help because everyone you say it to will tell you they voted remain.

Furious Apple revokes Facebook's enty app cert after Zuck's crew abused it to slurp private data

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: tasty, real tasty

"Really, they used the same cert for many different needs?"

Maybe Apple only lets a company have one. If it's only for developers why would they need more?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: FFS!!

their data being flogged to the first any company with a cheque book


Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Do these "scandals" have any adverse affect though?

"A lot of people won't delete it because it is their only link to a lot of people"

T'other way round. It's their only link because they won't delete it.

Iceland starts planning for new undersea internet cable to Europe

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Mainland Europe

Only as far as the Urals.

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