* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Bloke sues Microsoft: Give me $600m – or my copy of Windows 7 back

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"What about the gamers, especially the high-enders?"

Their problem. For the rest of the world, it's getting work done that matters. Legacy S/W like Office is the problem.

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Re: KB2952664 rears ugly head again

"Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program."

AKA telemetry.

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Re: how long ago was this?

"They could just post him a retail Windows 7 CD"

Haven't they all been buried in the desert along with those game cartridges?

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Re: *Ducks* @bigfoot780

"It also tends not to brick hardware that it updates"

ISTR there have been issues of that nature.

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Re: Re:Figure out your next step...

"Depends on your purpose. LibreOffice isn't fit for purpose for delivering my coursework, because LibreOffice docs don't render the same on my examiner's copy of Word."


On the save dialog do you see a drop-down box labelled Filetype? Click the down arrow. Select your examiner's version of Word.

Alternatively, you really need an examiner who values content over appearance.

Hate to ruin your day, but... Boffins cook up fresh Meltdown, Spectre CPU design flaw exploits

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Re: Don't panic, "No exploit code has been released."

"Y2K could have been a big problem except for the years of effort that went into rewriting and testing a whole bunch of code all over the world."

Perhaps one outcome of this would be a few man-years of effort in trimming bloat to mitigate the performance loss in mitigating meltdown.

US govt staffers use personal gear on work networks, handle biz docs on the reg – study

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This survey - did Lookout have official sanction to conduct it and did the respondents have clearance to give their answers?

You're decorating it wrong: Apple HomePod gives wood ring of death

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Re: One ring to rule them all ...

"Der Ring des Nibelungen"

The winner. It neatly encapsulates the Apple view of their position in the world. We're just waiting for the final scenes.

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Re: Apple home furnishings range.

"The solution would be for Apple to produce its own range of coasters to be compatible with its devices."

But the coasters might stain the furniture.

Crypto-gurus: Which idiots told the FBI that Feds-only backdoors in encryption are possible?

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Re: Lead by Example

"Before setting laws for the general public, the government should encrypt all government owned devices with security that has a back door only they can access."

No. They should be prepared to publish their own online credentials to their bank accounts, online shopping or other services because that's what, in effect, they're expecting of the rest of us. If they're not prepared to do that they can shut up. If they don't see the problem they can find out - and then shut up.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Governments are quite capable of keeping secrets if they want to."

They have a problem with greed. If you look at the list of "government" bodies who crop up in every iteration of RIP/DRIP etc. can you realistically believe that that isn't a sieve?

Similarly, there's a fairly regular stream of news reports of disciplinary action or prosecution for wrongful access to the PNC, usually people checking on their ex or their child's latest boy/girl friend.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Please also ask T May

"If they know, and like Amber R, getting rather pissed at the pitying looks from technical people over the insistent demands for the impossible, why continue?"

It doesn't matter that they're repeatedly told it's not possible. They don't believe that. They've reached positions of power (or what they think to be power) and know that they can command whatever they want because they have power.

They should have paid more attention to Shakespeare at school: "'I can call spirits from the vasty deep', ''Why, so can I, or so can any man;/But will they come when you do call for them?'"

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: And so it goes....

I'm in favour of 2). There's nothing remarkable about govt. IT projects that fail to deliver. The politicians continue to believe that they're going to succeed and it keeps them happy because they're Doing Something. The sooner they head of in that direction the better. They'll stop bleating, someone will get dosh that would inevitably be spent on something worthless and the rest of us would get a break from this endless whining. I might even consider coming out of retirement to work on it; I'm not a cryptographer but I could fail at it as successfully and expensively as someone who is.

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Re: Straightforward Enough

"And make sure the contract deliverables are exactly those things : not an actual working application."

You're too pessimistic. I'm sure we can all think of big projects which consume money without producing anything that remotely resembles a working application. A work in progress is just fine.

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Re: Anyone want to make a lot of money?

"Lets take a shitton of public funds and line our pockets!"

No chance, we'd have to leave it to the professionals at eating public funds. In the UK that would be the likes of Crapita.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Anyone want to make a lot of money?

"With sufficient funds, we could subcontract the job to GCHQ and let them get into systems using more conventional, but tried and tested methods, such as social engineering."

That wouldn't work because it's not what the numpties in government want. It's something they have already. What they want is something new and magical that doesn't take any effort to apply. GCHQ know as well as anyone that a load of bollocks that is.

The answer, as ever, lies with Sir Humphrey's explanations to Hacker that seeing money being spent means that everyone's happy because something's being seen to be done. So, just let out a contract to develop this magic with GCHQ, maybe in conjunction with some independent experts, being the arbiters of whether it works without any risks.

That way, with some utterly rudderless guidance from themselves, HMG can persuade themselves that they're setting out to achieve this goal and maybe keep quiet about it - and even quieter about the ultimate failure. For good measure perhaps IDS can be put in charge; he has just the right track record for it.

Stop calling, stop calling... ICO goes gaga after home improvement biz ignores warnings

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Re: Bigger teeth

"They'll just start the next one in the name of their wife/boyfriend/dog."

That really is serious territory. I think it carries the risk of jail time.

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"The ICO and insolvency service need more powers to not only veto liquidiation of such companies but also to ensure company directors are prevented from phoenixing anything."

ITYF the insolvency service has those powers.

Also, it's about time that directors were tried directly. I'm pretty sure that while a Ltd company limits shareholders risk it doesn't shield against criminal behaviour.

While Western Union wired customers' money, hackers transferred their personal deets

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Re: Blaming 3rd party data storage. Which vendor could it be?

"Sure, you have reduced your risk of IT hardware failure"

You've introduced a new one: the comms between yourself and the provider(s).

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

So host it locally, administered by recent graduates paid $24k PA? by administrators who know their jobs and their colleagues jobs depend on its security.

A business's data is its life-blood. Guard it accordingly. If that means paying an appropriate salary, pay it.

"Times have changed"

You say that as if it's a good thing. Evidence says not.

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Repeat after me: "It isn't a cloud, it's someone else's computer that you don't control".

Roses are red, are you single, we wonder? 'Cos this moth-brain AI can read your phone number

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Re: Y'think we're stretching this Valentine's date thing too far?


IBM declares it's the 'backbone of the world's economy'

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"in a start-of-year team-building video"

That explains it. These team-building things are always an excuse to insult the employees' intelligence. Either that or an embarrassing display of senior management's intelligence.

Roses are red, revenge is so sweet. Microsoft extracts a few quid from Corel Office Suite

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Re: Well...

"Especially since it looks the main reason to introduce the Ribbon was exactly to have a patented UI"

After they got forced into the corner of having to use open (sort of) standards for file formats they needed some other approach to lock in users. This was it.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

You'd think Microsoft never bothered to adopt standard interfaces. Or perhaps they think they invented CUA back in the day when they decided that confusing users with the unfamiliar wasn't a good idea.

We already give up our privacy to use phones, why not with cars too?

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"Some see big opportunities in making connected cars work like smartphones, in particular targeted advertising."

Has the use of ad-blockers taught them nothing?

Six things I learned from using the iPad Pro for Real Work™

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"To be honest, 1024 x 768 – the iPad's original resolution at launch – would have sufficed for browsing, email, writing, and IM. "

A frequent complaint of commentards is that wide-screen laptops don't cut it. When you actually pin down the cause of the complaint it's nothing to do with the aspect ratio; it's that they're only 1080 vertical resolution. For actual work - and by that I think they mean writing as many other tasks and applications benefit from a wide screen - they want 1600 minimum. So I don't think your contention that 1024 x 768 would find much favour there.

Rogue IT admin goes off the rails, shuts down Canadian train switches

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Re: I said bye to an employee recently

"You were deputising for a day and fired someone?"

He didn't actually write that unless "saying bye" was a euphemism. People leave without being fired and managers, even deputising managers may even say goodbye to them.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge


Which post were you referring to? Without quoting what you think is bollocks your post becomes self-describing.

Despite the headlines, Rudd's online terror takedown tool is only part of the solution

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"He said that the biz had balanced false positives with performance to tune the algorithm to be able to detect 94 per cent of Daesh propaganda with a 99.995 per cent accuracy."

Did you ask him what he meant by this? AFAICS if it correctly detects 94% of videos it's 94% accurate. What, then, if anything, is this 99.995% figure? Unless he has a sensible explanation for this then I wouldn't trust any figure he provides. It's simply marketing gobbledgook and deserves to be treated an the same way as any other garbage spewed by marketing mouthpieces.

Yes, Assange, we'll still nick you for skipping bail, rules court

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Re: Good.

"Skipping bail does not excuse you from going to jail for skipping bail just because the original offence that you've been placed on bail for has gone away."

Which, with all appropriate detail, is what the court said. It's amazing how many commentards, mostly anon (is that you, Julian) fail to grasp that.

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Re: Great news

"I'm pretty sure that's not in the sentencing guidelines for bail-jumping."

Maybe Jove misread it. These sans-serif fonts can be tricky.

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Re: Sheltering Criminals.

He's granted political asylum. It pleases Ecuador - or at least it did at the time - to believe his claims. In general asylum overrides criminal charges. One option available to Ecuador would be to review his case, decide it has no merit and chuck him out.

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"I think they'll probably go for the maximum"

If he was arrested, charged and pleaded guilty he'd be unlikely to get the maximum. I still think there's scope for a bit of negotiation, "come out, surrender to bail, plead guilty and we'll ask for a suspended sentence if you give an undertaking to leave the country forthwith". And heigh, ho, off to a new life in his new country, Ecuador. They made him a citizen didn't they? Could they revoke that the moment he's out of the door?

Icahn't get right Xerox Fuji merger spoils, cries activist investor Carl

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Sadly, it's not all good news: "Fujifilm has already announced that it is sacking 10,000 workers at Fuji-Xerox"

The strange case of the data breach that stayed online for a month

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"Nor have we used the names of the companies involved"

So he didn't find it on Google? Maybe it was Bing.

UK Home Sec Amber Rudd unveils extremism blocking tool

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Re: Different Configuration

"We need more options/variation."

Such as "Don't ever put this one on a ballot sheet again".

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Re: detects 94 per cent of Daesh propaganda with 99.995 per cent accuracy

What does that actually mean? Either it detects something as what it's looking for or it doesn't. If it detects 94% than that's a meaningful figure. But what does "with 99.99f% accuracy" mean? Unless it's a means of saying it has 0.005% false positives - which they could say more explicitly - I can't see that it has any meaning at all. I would instinctively distrust anyone who produces a statement like that. OTOH I suppose there might have been something meaningful that went into the Rudd "I don't really understand it but it went something like this" regurgitation mill.

I wish she and Davis would swap jobs. He seems to have his head screwed on right about the Home Office and its doings while she seems sound on Brexit.

IBM's chief diversity officer knows too much and must be stopped!

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Re: Chief Diversity Officer?

" I make sure we don't hire too many straight white men."

At IBM her role is probably the converse: "I make sure we're not firing too few straight white men".

Oracle: We've stuffed automation in 'pretty much' all our services

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Re: I read the headline differently

You and me both, Tim. It seems they mean "into", not "in".

Corpse! of! Yahoo! drags! emails! of! the! dead! case! to! US! Supreme! Court!

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Re: Deep trust

I'm suspicious of the wording "court-appointed estate administrators" who might not be working in the interests of the heirs.

I'd expect it to mean that the deceased died intestate. In the absence of a Will appointing executors there'd need to be a court order to appoint them. They should work in the interests of the heirs, indeed, they may be the heirs themselves, but as this seems to be in the US, who knows?

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Re: Yahoo mail deceased account

"I wonder why inheritance laws should not apply to such contents as well."

They may well do so. It might require test cases until this is made explicit by statute and vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Cryakl ransomware antidote released after servers seized

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Re: "But but but, Kaspersky is one of Putins goons, in'it?"

"he just isn't very good at assembling words into coherent sentences."

The definition of a sentence I was taught, back in the days of Eng. Lang. O-level was something along the lines of "A sentence expresses a thought.". Hmmmm.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Kaspersky Lab provided technical expertise to the Belgian authorities."

So if any US govt users got hit they won't be availing themselves of this option because Russians?

UK ICO, USCourts.gov... Thousands of websites hijacked by hidden crypto-mining code after popular plugin pwned

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Re: Don't load third-party scripts


5. If it's marketing driving this adopt some combination of 1 and 2 and charge the work to their budget.

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Re: Don't load third-party scripts

"but they are undeniably good at keeping their jobs and budgets."

They're going to need their budget if the GDPR fines they bring down are charged to it.

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Re: Don't load third-party scripts

now you spend your whole life saying "no" to the marketing department.

Definitely a good idea. Every business should appoint someone full time to do just this. Come GDPR time, now only a few months away, they're the ones most likely to bring big fines down on your company.

Are you an open-sorcerer or free software warrior? Let us do battle

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Re: "But the latest version is incompatible with the one you've got."

"And what's wrong with that?"

Thus speaks the Stockholm Syndrome.

Meltdown's Linux patches alone add big load to CPUs, and that's just one of four fixes

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Re: Patches applied yet?

"I'm not really getting this, any explanations would be welcomed."

It depends on what you're doing. If you're busy typing a document, reading mail or commenting on el Reg there'll be a burst of activity every time you hit a key. The waiting time until you hit the next key will be an age in terms of CPU cycles so that you'll not notice that the brief burst of activity was slightly less brief. Even the time spend dragging the next mail or page from the net doesn't disturb the CPU's peace that much. If you look at the processes running on a modern OS you'll see there's other stuff running beside what you think of as your application but they only typically consume a few % or less.

If you're doing something more compute-intensive, especially something that involves a lot of /IO such as streaming lots of data from the network or disk then you might well see a slow-down. The reason for the I/O effect is that it's the OS that handles the I/O and it's the switches between application and OS kernel that are affected by the mitigation. In there's still some slack time on your CPU you might not notice but you're likely to find the fan running faster because more work is being done and more heat generated. If the extra work is sufficient to push you from having some idle CPU time to being 100% all the time then you'll find the system slowing down somewhat. If your CPU was running flat out before the mitigation you'll find it a lot slower because it's now trying to do the original work plus the extra and the only way it can achieve that is by taking longer.

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Re: For procurement...

"In modest size postgresql virtualized servers I see 18% loss."

It would be interesting to see the effects on well tuned examples of different database engines.

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