* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Adobe, 'hyper personalisation' and your privacy

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Why do they all have such lame examples of personalisation

"Personally, when I'm pressed for time and need fuel, any forecourt I'm passing is perfectly acceptable"

And you certainly don't want to waste time getting your car washed. The fact that they thought their scenario meaningful tells us a good deal about their thought processes.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "People are buying experiences, not products"

Just this. It's marketroids who think selling products is beneath them; "experiences" sounds so much more prestigious (or something).

Customers, OTOH, just want products which are fit for purpose. If they get an experience it's likely to be the bad one of discovering the product wasn't fit for purpose.

Admin needed server fast, skipped factory config … then bricked it

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Re: C'mon, Dr. S, this kind of trolling is beneath you.

"Clearly there was something wrong with the unit."

Isn't that what I've been saying? But not Japan/Taiwan in the 70s but the US in the '60s. Although it was a "product" it was probably a built to order job, maybe even a one-off. It's at least 40 years since I set eyes on the beast and I'm trying to rack my brains as to what the handle was actually on. I think it might have been a component that we eventually replaced with our own design, in part because it was the weakest link in terms of trying to get it to hold a vacuum.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: C'mon, Dr. S, this kind of trolling is beneath you.

If any part of the external chassis is "hot", for any reason, there is a flaw in either the design or the implementation.

Not necessarily hot but definitely giving a tingle that shouldn't have been there, hence the extra insulation. Having a satisfactory solution - and enough other problems - we never investigated further but put it down to insulation good enough for US mains not being good enough for UK.

In elfin safety terms in that lab it was relatively minor. One research student nearly burned down the lab twice. SMBO made analar meringues - at least the sucrose was analar - in the same oven we used in the open lab for evaporating benzene off of samples. Another drying oven ended up with no fan blades: the HCl content of what was being dried had eroded them. And it took me years to realise why one sink had always leaked: the HF that was sometimes disposed of in it had dissolved the glaze.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Lightning icon required =========>

"A red anode was a warning from which you could recover."

We had a valve PA system (mono) in our hall of residence using a pair of 807s. Periodically it would go unstable with the familiar red anode syndrome. Simply swapping them round didn't work 807s were expensive on student finance in the early '60s so I bought an extra one. I then swapped one of the old ones for the new one. Periodically the same problem would reoccur and I then swapped them round again to get a stable combination.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"With proper controls, 240V AC is not a problem."

We had a piece of lab kit - a radiocarbon dating system, not less - that was made in the US. All the power supplies etc. were specced for 240V so no problem there. Insulation however... A piece of steel rod, part of a handle, acquired a length of rubber gas tubing solved that.

Equifax reveals full horror of that monstrous cyber-heist of its servers

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Medical records also

"When the Government fines these big companies why don't they have to split the fines with the people who suffered damages?"

Because the fines are part of criminal law and damages are part of civil law.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: And how...

There is a "Legitimate Interests" loophole under Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (47) which will allow them to reply with a nice "Go away and pester us no more" letter I'm afraid.

And if the interests they cite aren't legitimate that's a letter that gets forwarded straight to the ICO or whatever you local regulator is.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: And how...

"If anyone wants to feel a bit sad, have a look at the AA's new GDPR terms and see what they consider legitimate interest."

Any company who decides that what they consider legitimate interest is going to have to persuade the relevant regulator that they agree. Remember that it's trying to bend the rules that brings the really big fines.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: And how...

"Have people not been to burger king lately? I went the other day and it was £7.15 for a burger meal"

And why should you need Equifax or its lookalikes for that? There are totally anonymous credit reference services you can use provided by the Bank of England and the Royal Mint.

Social networks have already violated the spirit of GDPR

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"I wuld love to see a EU law using GDPR"

"A EU law using GDPR"? That's meaningless. GDPR is an EU law.

"to force all companies to wipe out all existing data"

It does that in that it gives you the right to be forgotten. You can go to any corporation and demand (within limits) that they delete any information about you. There are limits. These include any information which is held by statute so if you're the director of a business you can't tell Companies House to forget you. They also include information necessary for performance of a contract so if something was sold to you with a maintenance contract* you can't tell the vendor to forget you without giving up the contract.

"Too much palm greasing going on in politics"

It's out of the hands of politics now: it's primarily in your hands with the regulators watching your back. And recent news suggests that in the UK the regulator will be very keen to do just that.

*However I don't see that registering something for guarantee entitles passing on the data to someone trying to flog maintenance contracts. If Homeserve try once more....

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The test of GDPR will come

"IMHO, simply moving the domain where your data supposedly resides to somewhere outside of Europe is not enough to 'get around' the GDPR."

Close. GDPR, by design, makes it irrelevant where the data is. It's where the data subject is that matters.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Next-gen to the rescue

"We, by which I mean most non-millennials, do not yet understand the problem that they have created"

We do, however, realise there's a problem. The Facebook generation, maybe don't so it's we who have to do the heavy lifting here.

Zombie Cambridge Analytica told 'death' can't save it from the law

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"the ICO must give 5 business days notice to the subject of a data warrant as the subject has a right to appear in court when the ICO makes an application to a judge to oppose the warrant."

Thanks for the detail.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Pass out the torches and pitchforks!

"But I'm seeing a uniformity of posts here so far that seem kinda vicious, as if CA was staffed by actual demons in human form rather than living, breathing fellow humans."

I think there's more variance than that. Some of us are more interested in the enforcement of the actual C21st law rather than reversion to medieval practices.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Directors claim data has been destroyed as per the request of Facebook before ICO were involved"

Contract - even if this was involved - does not override law. If they were destroying evidence having been told to do so by Facebook doesn't excuse them.

"nice delay the ICO provided btw, nothing suspicious in that at all"

I'm not sure of the law here off the top of ny head and CBA to go & read it but commentary on subsequent changes to the new DP Bill passing through Parliament suggests that their hand were tied by the current DPA. So no, nothing suspicious, but a need to get the forthcoming DPA right. Entitlement to turn up at 5am with a sledgehammer and preferably a few uniformed bobbies would be ideal.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Who would you hold criminally responsible as there is more than one director?"

All of them.

"Will SCL now close?"

ICO has already said it won't make any difference. That was plainly stated in the headline.

"If it does what legal rights do the ICO have?"

It's not so much rights as authority. It has the authority to go after those who were officers of the company when the offence occurred.

"Would a judge side with the ICO?"

Side isn't the right word. Judges are impartial and will impartially conduct the relevant tribunal. If the defence haven't a leg to stand on (or, indeed, f they have) they'll proceed according to the law.

"What if they claim they don't have the data to give?"

They'll need to prove that they never had it, difficult given what they already supplied, so either they give it or they admit to having destroyed evidence which would be an offence in itself.

"I don't think they'll get anything."

Who's they? I think SCL or its directors are going to get what's coming to them.

IT systems still in limbo as UK.gov departments await Brexit policy – MPs

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Re: The Agri & Horticultural Development Board impact study reckons most british farmers..

"But hey maybe the fishermen won't have to abide by the hated fishing quota system?"

And those who depend on the hated EU as a market for their catch (because we're only really keen on a limited range of species) aren't going to be able to sell what they do catch.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Whatever deal was negotiated with the EU was, it was always going to mean massive changes to lots of IT systems."

And it was always going to be on the EU's terms because beggars can't be choosers.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Shock

This fairly simple situation has been turned into a mess met reality.

Yes, I knew you'd come out with the "no true Scotsman" line but maybe not quite so soon.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Excuses Excuses.........

"indeed the key administrative change that caused the problem was authorised while Labour were in power"

As the Home Sec of the time confirmed (maybe the brainwashing does wear off sometimes).

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Excuses Excuses.........

"The mess that is the negotiation is just a convent excuse to plaster over the militant incompetence that is a government IT project."

I think you'll find it was the other way around in a year or so's time. The militant incompetence of a govt IT project will be used to explain the mess that was the negotiation.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"I was talking about the civil service not wanting to do Brexit"

Of course not. Whatever's said about the Civil Service they have a much better grasp of reality than do politicians.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"To put it bluntly, if they had even the faintest clue of how much REAL work it is to execute successfully on this one, they would have never been waving the BrExit banner."

They probably would still have been waving it. Why should the amount of REAL work matter? Somebody else does that.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Clearly those in government don't want to do Brexit"

There seem to be plenty who do.

"so we are going to be left with a big steaming turd when/if we leave."

No argument there. But it's not because the government don't want Brexit, it's because they want it so much that they just charged on without impact assessment, planning or anything else which might have been relevant.

My PC is on fire! Can you back it up really, really fast?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"We[1] have a Morris Minor car"

We had an MGB back in the days when it wasn't classic, not really old, just very second hand. It was prone to the occasional pre-detonation until the time when, for some reason, I had my FiL as passenger and the pre-detonation resulted in smoke from under the bonnet. The backfire had set the air-filter on a carb. on fire. Time to replace the exhaust valves and get the seats re-cut.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Also the reminder not to get the fire between you and the exit."

We shared a greenhouse building with a company whose support number for some reason, occasionally got bomb threats phoned through. That mean both businesses had to evacuate the building on an alarm. Our procedure was laid down as leave by the nearest door and if that was at the back of the building walk round the end of the building to the muster area at the front. I had to make it abundantly clear that however likely it was that the call was a hoax I was not going to walk past the glass wall of a building that was alleged to contain a bomb nor should anyone else.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I recall even my mum (a bit like Dilmom) telling me a fire story

"To demonstrate this we were led outside, with a similar, oil filled jar of cork sized potassium chunks"

Next up: caesium.

BOFH: But I did log in to the portal, Dave

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Quicklime and bodies??

"How about sulfuric acid and hydrogen peroxide"

Chromic acid made, IIRC, with conc. sulphuric and potassium chromate. Dissolves organic matter more or less instantly. Used to clean microbiological glassware. It was essential to warn new technicians by the disappearing filter-paper trick: dip a circle of filter paper into the acid.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Also, I'm a bit surprised that the boss gets to lend a hand in the carpet roll and quicklime routine (instead of being the body in the carpet roll)."

It sounds as if the boss who had the accident on the balcony last time wasn't after all the new boss of the previous few episodes.

TSB's middleware nightmare: Execs grilled on Total Sh*tshow at Bank

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Re: Why everything is always a "success"

"some rules to codify how IT management receive bonuses"

And that's all the management except those in the investment casino side of the business.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: To be honest, I'm rather fond of them

"They seem quite humble and don't take me for granted. They don't try and sell you stuff."

If "they" refers to TSB this is directly contrary to my experience of the local formerly TSB branch of Lloyds. It left me wondering what size of account is worth less to a bank than the £20 the arrogant so-and-so behind the counter tried to extract from me.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It's TSB. This time around...

"I believe TSB should lose their banking licence"

TSB was hived off from the Lloyds group to provide customer choice. You can't achieve that by closing it down, at least not until the customers have exercised their choice and gone elsewhere.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Talk to the techies

"doubtful that they'd understand the techies."

That's true but having the answers out in public would mean that they'd be accessible to a lot of people who would understand. Nevertheless this is not the time to be asking them; they've got better things to do.

In any case the generic answer to "What's wrong?" is "If I knew it wouldn't be wrong and when I find out it won't be.".

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: yep, lying

"No, not at all, and the compute and memory cost of rejecting them is very small."

But what about the customer reaction?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Obligatory Dilbert. (From more than 20 years ago, nothing changes!)"

Quite so. Look at today's.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: yep, lying

"I have designed big systems and the underlying auth system should also control the number of active users."

Don't you then have customers complaining that they can't get access and then overwhelming the auth system with repeated retries?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

the main "challenger"

Close. Just a letter astray. "Challenged".

Time to ditch the Facebook login: If customers' data should be protected, why hand it over to Zuckerberg?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Does the site you're planning to use have a log in with Facebook option? If so treat it as a warning even if you're not going to use it because you never had a Facebook account.

It's World (Terrible) Password (Advice) Day!

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: By some strange coincidence

"Has henceforth become Mary Sue Day."

Who's Mary and who is she suing?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: What's the point?

"There's just been two articles about very popular sites writing passwords in plain text, so what's the point of the complexity when the website writes it out in plain text, stores it in plain text, and sometimes spafs it all to world+dog+gerbil"

In both cases the suggestion is that the password is stored in hashed form but that a log grabbed the plain-text password before it was hashed. I didn't read up on the details of the first instance but the second was that the logs were internal so no splashed to world with or without dog but only to the sysadmin gerbils who had sufficient integrity to flag up the problem rather than try to hide it.

That is not sufficient reason to give up on complexity.

Microsoft's latest Windows 10 update downs Chrome, Cortana

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Try Linux. - Or DON'T! (My love/hate Linux rant.)

"As well as having to settle for slightly older hardware to ensure best operation"

There's the opposite side to this coin. If you have some particularly aged piece of H/W that needs to be supported you're apt to find that someone else with the same H/W has made sure the drivers are kept going in more recent kernels. Users have a motivation to do that whilst manufacturers don't once it's gone out of production.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Try Linux. - Or DON'T! (My love/hate Linux rant.)

"I will NEVER build a PC for a friend or family member that uses Linux. I will ALWAYS pay the MS tax. Not because I want to. ONLY because I do not want to spend the rest of my life ADMINISTERING the PCs of my friends and family members."

Oddly enough I take exactly the opposite course of action but for the same reason.

E.g. I managed to recover a cousin-in-law's files from ransomware but I'm not going to rely on all ransomware authors to make the daft mistake of that one. She now runs Zorin and the Windows partition was left there as a frozen relic in case there's some needed file there that didn't get transferred to her home directory.

Twitter: No big deal, but everyone needs to change their password

Doctor Syntax Silver badge


"platform coder."

Could we both be thinking of the same code and the same coder?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"What, did they use the same code as Github?"

Once is an accident, twice is coincidence. If there's a third then we definitely need to start asking questions because it would suggest that there's a problem in some common piece of platform code.

Whoa, Gartner drops a truth bomb: Blockchain is overhyped and top IT bods don't want it

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Your all missing the point.

"But one thing to remember, a business that has a working system is not going to implement a new, mostly unproven, system if they have any sense."

Are you sure? Oh, sorry, the bit about sense probably rules out the example I was thinking of.

Texas residents start naming adopted drains

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Re: Community in Action!

"RE the potholes ... there are standards that are supposed to be followed"

Councils are pretty efficient at providing British Standard Potholes.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Or, if somebody adopts more than 1, they could be The Man With Two Drains.

Or Willetts?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

And they used to laugh at the communist countries and their "neighbourhood obligations"

Communist countries? This is straight out of the middle ages. E.g. Wakefield manorial court Oct 3rd 1433: " James Norres <8d> and John Thomson did not scour defective ditches at Norreskerr so were pained 12d"

Well, that went well: Withings founder buys biz back from Nokia

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Closed Systems

"So I end up with Withings (weight/blood pressure), Polar for rowing, Garmin for cycling, Sleeptracker for steps(walking), and Beddit for sleeping."

Do you actually need all these things?

I suppose they're good for weight loss. One's wallet would be much lighter after buying them all.

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