* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

A dog DNA database? You must be barking

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Laws only stop dogs who follow the law.

So many communities already forbid "dangerous" breeds like German Shepards, Pit Bulls, Chows, Rottweilers, etc

I'm not sure this has been very effective. There are still reports of dog attacks on children and even adults being seriously injured or even killed. Perhaps compulsory insurance would be the best approach. This becomes practical with compulsory micro-shipping. If you want a dog that looks like it's a breed that's associated with attacks (and the insurance companies will build up the statistics on that) then it will be up to you to pay an appropriate premium of persuade the insurers that looks can be deceptive.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Fuck livestock


Whilst I have every sympathy with your wife that's no reason for you to consider that worrying of livestock isn't a problem.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Laws only stop dogs who follow the law.

"And maybe it's different in the UK, but wouldn't the primary culprit be feral dogs?"

Not so many feral dogs in the countryside.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Fuck livestock

"Have you considered building a fence?"

Just think of all those 60s/70s housing estates where the architects thought the place looked wonderful without fences or hedges so there are covenants in the deeds or leases against putting any up.

Nobody expects the social media inquisition! OK, everybody did, UK politicos

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"all bar MPs Bill Grant and Graham Stringer having at least a Twitter account"

Perhaps Grant and Stringer have a better understanding of the issues than the rest of the committee.

US state legal supremos show lots of love for proposed CLOUD Act (a law to snoop on citizens' info stored abroad)

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Both outfits are EU based, but how do I know where their servers are?"

Time to start asking specific questions of your supplier. And not just about where the servers are but who owns them. And who owns who owns them. Apart from anything else your customers will be asking you.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Not really. They will be happy to fill their coffers with fines from US companies"

It raises the question of what will the fines be charged on. If it's general activity in breach of the GDPR in the course of a year they stand to be fined a maximum of 4% global turnover and can just look on it as an annual turnover tax. If it's per incident then there could be multiple fines & it will start to hurt.

Meanwhile, just get rid of the privacy figleaf.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Wow.... just... wow!

"Are you really sure there is nothing in the contract between T-Systems and Microsoft allowing Microsoft to access any customer data?"

AIUI the contract specifically avoids allowing Microsoft access to the data. That's the entire purpose of the arrangement.

The Gemini pocket PC is shipping and we've got one. This is what it's like

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Far from complete

"cutting yourself off from a whole ecosystem of apps."

Would that be a whole ecosystem of data slurping apps wanting access to every subsystem on the device irrespective of whether their relevance to the alleged purpose of the app?

Careful with the 'virtual hugs' says new FreeBSD Code of Conduct

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: As an insider...

To quote one forum member "If a Joe wants to be called Jane, then call him Jane."

Calling him Jane is likely to get you into trouble for not calling her Jane. It's a tricky world we seem to have invented for ourselves - or at least someone has invented it for us.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: What is a 'hug' ?

"With our canine friends ... friendly individuals will bound up to me and introduce themselves."

Unfriendly ones can also bound up and take a piece out of you.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

" not ... to look for offence"

Or manufacture it when merely looking for it fails to find an adequate supply.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: What is a 'hug' ?

This big problem with this code of conduct is that it places too much weight on the perception of the 'listener' of the comments; a code of conduct should deal with the intent of the 'speaker'.

Careful!! The message conveyed is what's received, not what's transmitted, otherwise the spam I receive can be justified as "valuable marketing messages" by the spammer.

who use words that have different subtleties of meaning in different cultures.

Indeed. What's a back rub, virtual or real, and why would I even want one?

Windows slithers on to Arm, legless?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Satnad remains the problem

"It's a policy of permanent retrenchment, and it's hampering Microsoft's ability to grow or innovate, leaving them mostly just iterating yesterdays cash cows rather than pushing forward with new ideas."

A little unfair. What he's doing is moving to a subscription model. That's the future's cash cow. Yesterday's enforced re-buying of products based on lock-in and periodic introduction of changes to data formats wasn't as predictable.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "However it is really difficult for them to change"

"Backward binary compatibility has always been excellent, unlike some Unix where you can't run applications on a newer system unless your recompile them because binaries won't work."

Yup. It was an absolute scandal that Solaris binaries wouldn't run on HPUX.

Wasn't part of WIndows' problem that sometimes they had backwards bug compatibility because stuff like use-after-free was used in "important" applications?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Suez, did you say? Never heard of it. Is it a fish?"

No, it's a waste disposal company. French but operating in the UK. Come Brexit will we have to tidy up our own waste?

This job Win-blows! Microsoft made me pull '75-hour weeks' in a shopping mall kiosk

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: To be honest...

"You wouldn't have had to do that if Windows wasn't so crap, would you?"

There are at least a couple of answers to that.

One is that I've been using computers, including and preferring Unix or the Unix-like, since before Windows existed so it's not so much a matter of opting out as not opting in any more than was unavoidable.

Another was a gem of Microsoft's arrogance: they had adhesive inserted between the pages of a magazine with the tag line "Don't get stuck with Microsoft". For that arrogance I've always preferred to obey that ambiguous suggestion in the way they didn't intend.

UK.gov calls on the Big Man – GOD – to boost rural broadband

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Good stuff but a sticking plaster fix ...

"but if you're going through the faff of stringing new anything, you might as well make it fibre"

That's the one justifiable use case. I can think of a few places so far off the beaten track that copper isn't going to be useful at all although, given that they're few in number I wonder if a point-to-point microwave link might work just as well, be cheaper and less of an eye-sore (those swags of wire between poles look fine in Ashley Jackson paintings, not so much in real landscape).

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Location, location, location


Thanks for the link. I'd assumed the reasoning was that they're built out of flint and flint doesn't do corners very well so making them round saves having to buy bricks or masonry for the quoins. And then part way down the page is some show-off who built a round tower part way up and stuck a hexagonal or octagonal tower on top of that!

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"that was bad"

Certainly was. Have an upvote.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I may be missing something

"But doesn't this require running expensive backhaul from rural church buildings to the main network?"

Yes, and that could just as easily be run to a cabinet. What's the effective range and bandwidth of a cabinet compared to whatever it it that's running through Hancock's mind?

"Given that a large part of the Church estate was built to support a massive rural agricultural labour force that has sinced moved to the cities, the majority of the buildings are now probably just sitting on their own in the middle of massive fields and fuck all else."

You must be joking. The townies are moving out to the country. The farm buildings, barns, pigsties, anything are being converted into housing, the exception being where the outbuildings are being converted to stabling for horses.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Location, location, location

"So which one gets the mast?"

The one with the spire instead of the square tower (or round tower - I think some Norfolk churches have those).

Iiyama reanimates LCD cartel lawsuit corpse, swings it at Samsung

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"16 x 9 just does not cut it."

And still it keeps coming. Almost any time this can be insinuated into comments it gets dragged out. Because when it's looked at what the actual demand is for is a 1600 pixel height. Would you really complain that a screen of about 2850 x 1600 pixels? And even if you did, maybe you should remember that there are use cases that fit a wide screen very well. Ever looked at a graphics design program? In the middle of the screen there's usually a rectangle of more ore less 4:3 surrounded by palettes of lines, fills and what not. The wider the better for those guys. And then there are those of us who work with a page of reference material on one side of the screen and a page we're writing on the other. 4:3 doesn't cut it for that job.

How frequently do we complain of users who can't specify their requirements properly? Well, demanding narrow screens when what you really want is more pixels in height is a prime example of that. So lets agitate for something that would help us all: 1600 high screens. And wide ones.

*Wakes up in Chrome's post-adblockalyptic landscape* Wow, hardly anything's changed!

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Any group including taboola is instantly irrelevant

What is this Taboola thing anyway? Is it something I'd come across if I didn't have an ad blocker?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: As expected...

"The advertising industry is probably one of the few entities with enough cash and connections to take Google on in a legal battle"

The amazing thing is that they still haven't realised that public resistance is their worst enemy. They really need together with Google and work out just what they need to do to make themselves acceptable. For most of us, of course, dying would be an acceptable solution.

UK.gov's Brexiteers warned not to push for divergence on data protection laws

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: @ Halcin

"Actually the EU are dictating that leaving the EU (voted for) requires leaving the single market."

Beggars can't be chooses. We've said (allegedly) what we (thought) we wanted. They're telling us what it will cost. To most of us here that was obvious all along although there seem to be exceptions such as yourself.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: @ Halcin

As one bloke revealed on the telly the whole world is waiting for Britain to lead the new global world of free trade sell us stuff they already produce. Buying from us - not necessarily, they may make what we'd want to sell already.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"but without the ability to effect what said regulations are?"

It's called taking back control.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"If the UK had more lax data protection rules than the EU it wouldn't make a difference. Anyone wanting to do business in Europe has to comply with GDPR no matter where in the world they are based so UK businesses would end up with two different data protection schemes"

?????? If we had more lax data regulations in the UK than GDPR we'd then have two schemes, out own and GDPR. If we stick with GDPR we have one.

And do you want to have less good protection of your personal data? If so, why?

Good luck, have fun: Thanks Xeon SP, now SPEC benchmarks blurt out hundreds of results

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Xeon SP

"meant to make (Intel) CPU selection/comparison easier?"

When vendors think of making things easier they're probably thinking of making things easier for themselves. The more confused the buyer is the easier it is to sell the most proftable item.

Developer recovered deleted data with his face – his Poker face

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

A salesman finding himself moved over onto the delivery side. Karma.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I can't remember why I was part of the conversation

"I shuffled myself sideways onto a different project sharpish"

In similar circumstances I shuffled out of the entire company. It was quicker and paid better.

Microsoft reveals 'limitations of apps and experiences on Arm' – then deletes from view

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Just adding Razor Wire

" let developers find out [the limitations] for themselves."


Mueller bombshell: 13 Russian 'troll factory' staffers charged with allegedly meddling in US presidential election

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Re: A quiet refrain

Let's limit the emphasis here:

"The United States Of America [ ... ] regulates the activities of foreign individuals and entities in and affecting the United States in order to prevent, disclose, and counteract improper foreign influence on U.S. elections and on the U.S. political system."

They may be affecting the US but they're not in it. For your argument to succeed that needs to be an or. I think I've found your bug.

"Tell your boss at the Internet Research Agency to change the script. You are much more transparent than you think you are."

Perhaps I should point out that I'm a Brit with quite a bit of experience in the witness box, called by the Crown (i.e. prosecution), back in the day. I'm a strong believer in due process of law and not at all convinced territorial over-reach is due process.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: A quiet refrain

"An indictment serves a very limited purpose: obtain an arrest warrant."

So who are they going to send to Russia to arrest them? On what authority would an arrest warrant be executed in Russia? If they don't arrest them are they going to try them in absentia? And if they're found guilty are they going to have to serve jail sentences in absentia?

These guys are going to be laughing their heads off.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: A quiet refrain

"it not being a crime in Russia is not exculpatory"

Not relevant. The relevant factor is that it's outside US jurisdiction.

What are the court going to do? Apply for extradition?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"And here I was thinking that US elections take place inside the borders of the US."

Election may have been in US. Russians indicted for doing stuff in Russia. Is it so difficult to grasp that Russian is not in the US, not in US jurisdiction and that however much US doesn't like it, it's out of their control?

As I said, just theatre but I see you're one of the audience.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Espionage against the US for Russia's benefit is a crime in the US."

Point missed, apparently. The actions, as far as I can make out, took place in Russia. This may come as a surprise to many in the US but US jurisdiction stops a few miles off-shore from the US coast. Therefore the US has no jurisdiction in Russia. It might be a crime in the US if it had taken place in the US but it didn't. There's no chance they can get extraditions.

Without US co-conspirators it's just theatre and one which invites counter theatre although Putin could gain the moral high ground (!!!) by ignoring it. The only possible reason for indulging in this would be if US co-conspirators were to be pulled in later but if that were in prospect, why not wait?

Nevertheless, judging by a lot of comments here, it may be theatre but he has an audience.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Would the activities have been considered conspiracy against the US in the jurisdiction in which they were carried out? If not why are they being charged? And on what basis does the US believe it has any jurisdiction for charging them? If they were charged with conspiring with named US citizens it might make sense but the best they can come up with is "unwitting Americans".

This seems to me an unbelievably stupid move. It simply opens the door for Russia to respond by charging the entire staff of the CIA if they were to feel like it.

Facebook told to stop stalking Belgians or face fines of €250k – a day

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: If it's free then you are the product

These days you're still the product, even if you pay.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Appeals.

"That's a very bad idea, the start of a slippery slope, the thin end of the wedge [SFX: riffling through a thesaurus],"

I think "Bennite" came next.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"So am I until March 2019, then I am f*****d"

Probably, but for lack of GDPR. It should be incorporated into UK by then as the new DPA.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Facebook's shadow database of info on you.

"I don't think that's been answered"

It's been answered by a couple of courts within a week.

Hands up who HASN'T sued Intel over Spectre, Meltdown chip flaws

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Intel do not accept that they have done anything wrong or the need to compensate their customers."

That's why people are suing. When the case is over then they'll know whether they need to compensate their customers. They may not accept they've done anything wrong if a court tells them they have but that would be between themselves and their sense of their own importance and of no significance to anyone else.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Fork in the road far back

"dBASE IV on MSDOS 3.3 and a 386 chip at 8MHZ and 640K memory (limit 1 billion records)(1989)"

Did anyone actually try it at a billion records?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Software next?

"That does stop frivolous legal action, but equally it makes large companies essentially immune to legal action unless the claim is very high value."

If the claim is low enough to fit in the small claims route then large companies are vulnerable to individual claims as they can't claim back their fees if they lose. They then have to make a decision as to whether it's worth fighting a case at all. If the circumstances are that there could be a flood of claims then it probably would be, if not then it would be cheaper to write off the case and settle.

In the current situation I think the claim would have to be against the retailer not Intel. This makes small retailers (if there are any left!) vulnerable. Against a big company? Best let someone else go through the expense of fighting Intel first so it's easier to point to established facts rather than risk being the first in line and crushed by a strong defence aiming to stop further claims.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Software next?

"I believe US EULA's are not enforcible in the UK/EU, due to different legal wording or some rubbish like that"

I'm not sure whether you were referring to the wording being rubbish but if it's contrary to the law where the product was sold then that would indeed be an apt description because a court would just strike it out.

"but haven't heard of any class action in the UK, yet ?"

Class actions haven't normally been a part of UK law. There is, however, recent legislation to this effect: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34402483

It doesn't seem to me the best way to go about gaining redress if the amount to be claimed is within the limits of the small claims court (or small claims track of the county court in England & Wales). AFAICS class action in the US seems to be basically a money-making scheme for lawyers. What's left over, from some reports here, doesn't even go to the claimants. Small claims courts take out the financial risk of losing as there's no facility for BigCo's lawyers fees to be dumped on the litigant. That, in turn, makes it not worth while for BigCo to put a lot into defending the claim as it would cost them more than they'd save if they lost. In a case like this, however, it would be best to leave someone else to get a case on record establishing liability as otherwise a judge might decide it's too complicated for a small claim.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"By not returning your CPU, you accepted the EULA."

At best a EULA is a contract. Contract terms can't breach the law in the appropriate jurisdiction. For consumer products, at least in Europe (yes that includes the UK) and maybe other places there's strong consumer protection legislation. If some words purporting to be a term on a contract are contrary to that legislation (assuming we're talking about consumer sales) then they might as well not there as far as the contract is concerned because any court would strike that term out.

Reinforcement learning woes, robot doggos, Amazon's homegrown AI chips, and more

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Sometimes when it’s just trying to maximize its reward, the model learns to game the system by finding tricks to get around a problem rather than solve it."

A bit like the horse that could do arithmetic except that it was picking up cues from humans when to stop tapping out the answer.

How long has it taken for this insight to dawn on them when it's been in plain site for a century or so?

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