* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Lloyds Bank bans Bitcoin purchases by credit card customers

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Re: Accessorize...

So the credit card companies admit that they can control what people buy or don't buy with their productmoney?

And for avoidance of doubt "their" refers to the credit card companies. Until you clear the account it's their money loaned to you. When it's stated like that does it seem a little more reasonable to you? If not maybe you'd let me buy some Bitcoin with some of your money. At your risk, of course.

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Re: "banks telling their customers what they can and cannot buy?

After all they will make money untiless the bubble bursts.


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Re: The folly of individuals notwithstanding...

"When did banks get to tell their customers what they can and cannot buy?"

They're not. They're just saying you have to use your own money. A credit card is an unsecured loan. Until you settle your credit card bill it's the bank's money. It's not unreasonable to say you can't use their money to make what they consider a risky investment.

GCHQ unit claims it has 'objectively' made the UK a less desirable target to cybercrims

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Is this just like we're safer from terrorist attacks; we have to believe it but they can't disclose the evidence because of security?

Open source turns 20 years old, looks to attract normal people

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Re: Scope creep

The sad fact of life is that if anything has a political aspect it becomes a magnet for people more interested in politics than whatever the original thing was. From the start the very choice of the word "Free" introduced such an aspect.

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Re: Theres only

"one reason I can think of that people run linux."

You should think some more. Some of us have been using Unix-based stuff since before MS got bought into OSs and Linux still fits that bill providing nobody potters about with it.

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Humpty Dumpty

Does anyone else, however committed to FOSS, have an uncomfortable feeling this narrow redefining of words to suit some agenda?

At the same time as Open Source was being defined in this way I was taking on a gig where the vendor provided most of their code to us (just not quite enough to be able to edit it and recompile).

In appropriate open source manner we were able to find some of their bugs. And explain to them how to fix them. After all, somebody had to.

Nevertheless it was still proprietary code and we couldn't just disseminate it how we wanted.

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Re: Open source is leading to single source

"AC, You're just a dinosaur."

Not necessarily. Maybe an actor paid to dress up in a dinosaur suit.

Accused Brit hacker Lauri Love will NOT be extradited to America

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"So there will be no UK court case."

Why not? The US must have provided sufficient prima facie evidence for the extradition. The CPS could then use that as the basis for a prosecution here. It would then be up to the US to respond to the resulting witness summonses, provide additional evidence or even withdraw the complaint. Their choice. If they don't enable the CPS to produce a credible case in court he gets found not guilty.

You're the IT worker in charge of securing the cloud for your company. Welcome to Hell

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Re: ..Osborne, you were spoilt!

"Try a TI Silent 700 for size."

Thanks for the memory. Not.

But relative weight? A mere 13.5 lb vs 24.5 lb.

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"IT workers have been lugging home the on-call laptop since the dial-up modem was invented."

Laptop? Luxury: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osborne_1 With Kermit, of course.

Epic spacewalk, epic FAIL: Cosmonauts point new antenna in the wrong direction

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Re: Deorbit throw

"The slipper run-up would be a bit of a problem."

Dammit! Slippery.

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Re: Deorbit throw

"A fast bowler has enough delta-v to put a cricket ball into a 330-160km orbit from 330km circular."

The slipper run-up would be a bit of a problem.

‘I crashed a rack full of servers with my butt’

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Muggins was then expected to recover their data when they had a problem....My friends laugh at me for having at least an idea of the potential "Plan B" (C,D,....) when I do things.

They do have a plan B. You.

Web searching died the day they invented SEO

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Re: Unreasonable expectations

"Basically, it is and always has been the case that for Google or other search program to find a web page containing the information you're looking for, some human being has to create that web page."

That's fair enough. But the problem arises when, instead of simply telling you it doesn't exist, it persists in throwing up thousands of pages of "hits" that are misses.

"Not found" is a perfectly valid search result. A search engine that can't return this when appropriate has failed.

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Re: "next three pages are full of TornadoGuard (https://xkcd.com/937/) quality reviews."

"From the same developers of the Hawaii Alert System!"

Just the opposite.

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Re: The one thing SEO is good for...

"SEO companies are literally the only thing where if you do a search for one you are presented with a list in the order of how good they are."

They never include the ones who email you to tell you how good they are, primarily because although "we are a company" but never manage to tell you their company name or domain name. Let alone the URL of your web site they're emailing to tell you they can optimise.

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Re: Hmmmmm...

@Jason & Teiwaz

It's the Principle of Inverse Temporal Relevance. Whatever you search for you always get the answer from the time-frame you didn't want. Whatever you do don't include the date you wanted it for. That gives the search engine the clue as to what to ignore.

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Re: I think you forgot one

"-pinterest.* -ebay.* -shutterstock.* search term"

It still requires a generic -estate agent -fast food -hotel variant if the search term contains anything vaguely resembling a place name.

Shopper f-bombed PC shop staff, so they mocked her with too-polite tech tutorial

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Re: ATT drone

"He response was to scream and shot like a spoiled 6 year old that was just told he can not have cake for dinner."

Probably worked in sales and marketing. 4 to 6 is their mentality. They expect pestering will get what they want and won't take no for ananswer.

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Re: Not a UK plug, but a useless Continental one.

"You can get a Global 'Anything to Anything' Adapter pack that allows you to make the thing you need from standardised interconnecting sub-assemblies."

Back when square-pin fused plugs were just coming in it was quite common to find round-pin sockets. Not only that but there were several sizes of them with different diameters of pin depending on the current they were supposed to support.

I acquired a wonderful plug to deal with this situation. It had various pins, round and square - the gem was the round earth pin which was coaxial, you could slide the correct diameter pin out and push the rest back. A little plastic lever could be adjusted to uncover the various other slots to let the appropriate combination of pins slot out. It was a wonderful idea except for one little detail. The cable grip screws were a bit too long and all too easily bridged the live, upstream of the fuse, with the earth. Bang!

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Re: Not a UK plug, but a useless Continental one.

"Yes, there's always one."

You must be unique. Surely the more common situation is that however many adapters you have, you never have the right one. Also applies to USB leads.

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"One time we had stock of mains adapters incorrectly packed with Euro plugs/leads instead of UK ones. One customer demanded that we send replacement leads in a taxi to his house, which was a 10 minute walk from the store."

Well, it wasn't the customer's fault you'd supplied something inappropriate. If, by the time he was supplied, you were aware of the error you really should have either supplied the correct lead gratis (correct option) or advised them that they'd need an extra lead.

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Re: Tesco kettles

"Customers bring them back complaining there's no power lead, often very loudly. He simply takes the kettle, opens the lid, shows them the lead inside the kettle, hands the kettle back and walks off."

What does he do when they complained they only found the lead after they'd filled the kettle with water?

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Re: The worst customers...

When they firmly told him that wasn't possible, he said that they should treat his problem more seriously because, and I quote, "I drive an Audi."

"Of course you do, you didn't need to tell me that."

Disengage, disengage! Cali DMV reports show how often human drivers override robot cars

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Re: AI seldom makes mistakes, people do

"How about we just teach people how to drive properly? It's not that hard, I do it all the time, and none of my trainees has ever had a collision that was their fault since, for over 20 years. A computer can mess things up, it is humans who excel at making it unfixeable."

Perhaps you should re-read this and ask yourself it the first sentence contradicts the second and, indeed, the entire thesis.

Also ask yourself if, given, as you say, it's possible to train human beings to drive safely, why isn't it possible to build a machine that can be trained in the same way as a human with equally good results*. Because it's quite clear that that's not the way self-driving cars are being taught.

* And, unlike a human, have the taught state cloned into all the other cars.

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Re: GPS NIghtmares Made Worse?

"Sounds like you bought from a manufacturer who cheaped out on a proprietary satnav instead of licensing one that gets updates."

And if your car is useless without the frequent updates the vendor of those updates will have you by the balls every time your subscription is due.

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Re: Paradoxically, yes

"So long as the rate of disengagements is less than the rate of crashes of the driver, the self driving car is still safer."

That means we have a very long time to go before the self driving car reaches the standard of an inexperienced driver.

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Re: Optimistic

"Tesla is Big-Brothering their cars and can conduct a Delphi Poll on what a good driver does in very, very many circumstances."

What it can't do is record why the driver did it if the Tesla system didn't register the problem. e.g. the driver recognises from the behaviour of a pedestrian that they're about to side-step off the curb and breaks in anticipation. The system will record the pre-emptive breaking followed by the entry of the pedestrian onto the roadway but the actual movement of the pedestrian will only be recorded as a random action at the time it actually happened. The driver, being a sentient being like the pedestrian, can see that the pedestrian is unsteady, is being confronted by another aggressive pedestrian or whatever and has sufficient understanding to realise what they, the driver, would do if they were in that situation.

The critical word in the previous sentence is "understanding". That's the difference between man and machine.

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Re: Override Idiotic Wetware Drivers Option Please

"At a very minimum, automatic speed limiters would improve compliance and reduce driver stress"

And cause accidents every time a driver needed to accelerate out of a situation.

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You are right to point out that a manual intervention is not the same as the control system flinging its hands in the air and screaming for the meatsack to take over. Intervention implies the control system was about to do something bad and had to be stopped from doing it as opposed to "realising" it might not be able to handle an upcoming situation and requesting help.

Both your cases point to the fact that when the going gets tough the AI can't cope. As long as that remains the case perhaps you should reverse your vocabulary and refer to "bag of spanners" and "capable human driver"

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"Second was General Motors' Cruise. However, GM's fleet was involved in 22 collisions last year, and two already this year"

Perhaps the better figure to have quote was the number of disengagements that oughtto have happened rather than those that did happen.

Capita contract probed after thousands of clinical letters stuffed in a drawer somewhere

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Re: ICO angle

"the proverbial tonne of bricks."

The proverbial version is a ton. 112 hundredweight.

On the NHS tech team? Weep at ugly WannaCry post-mortem, smile as Health dept outlines plan

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I've spent more time than I'd have liked hanging about NHS outpatient waiting rooms over the last few days. Having nothing better to do (I wasn't the one being treated, just to lay your concerns at rest) I wandered up to look at some of the large message boards scattered lavishly around the hospitals of this particular trust. The applications being run are: a digital clock in the top left hand corner, the trust's name and NHS logo in the top right, a rolling display about booking in and waiting for your turn to be announced across the bottom, a list of who's been called recently in the centre overlaid as required by a large pop-up making a new announcement. It's not exactly a taxing job.

Out of the 5 I had opportunity to observe three had small alerts announcing that they couldn't find their network drives, click here to fix that. Of these three two were displaying the top of a menu bar at the bottom of the screen, identifiable as some sort of Windows by the top of an IE logo being visible. A fourth display for some reason had the mouse pointer visible in the middle of the screen. The fifth had problems all of its own. The digital clock took a second or two to refresh the figures each minute, the refresh was a variable number of seconds later than its neighbour and the alerts were also a bit later. It looked as if it had something chewing up CPU cycles. Bitcoin mining?

So the trust, which is, BTW, in dire financial straights having been sunk by a large PFIed new build some years ago, has spent the price of a Windows licence on these and the many other similar displays across multiple outpatient clinics across two hospitals. And running Windows means that they also have some sort of Intel or AMD board bolted on behind them. Even a Mk 1 Pi would scarcely be stretched to do this task at a fair saving on both H/W and S/W.

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Re: The NHS

"Turns out the old clunker was certified as an integral part of some medical kit, and it was cheaper to round up second hand machines than re-certify them with new kit."

OTOH while it might have been certified when new after 6 years it might have been heading for FCS (Fat Capacitor Syndrome) or some other ailment of ageing IT kit. Maybe a H/W certification should be time limited to reasonable life after which it should be replaced. It would build the recertification with a new model and replacement of the installed units into the financial planning of the system.

In fact, although I was thinking only in terms of hardware reliability when I wrote that building recertification of the computer element into the life of a system would also make provision for updating the OS as well as the H/W.

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I think there's a problem here which isn't unique to the NHS. In fact its endemic through just about every business and government body that uses IT.

It's "we're a medical/banking/insurance/manufacturing/..... organisation, not IT".

And yet IT is central to whatever they try to do but, because "we're not an IT organisation", they try to outsource everything to the lowest bidder. The essential awareness of risks and opportunities alike is lost. At least it's lost at the top of the organisation, it might not be lost at the coal face but, because those coal face people are on low pay grades and their opinions are worth what they're paid, and because any large organisation has a built-in reality distortion field to ensure cries of distress from below arrive at the top as messages that all's well, that awareness stays at the bottom.

A Wannacry, a DC outage for a few days or whatever has no effect. It's not perceived as a consequence of top-level decisions or of the corporate culture. It's an external problem, a cleverly contrived attack or a one-off failure of a piece of kit that "we can't plan for". No, you can't plan for it because you've lost the ability to do so. You need to get that ability back because, whether you like it or not, it's one of those things you need to do and do well.

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Re: The NHS

"It resolves the problem of not being able to disentangle security patches from other updates and puts you (the device vendor) in complete control of the patch deployment process."

It doesn't help if the security patches affect system stability. We've had a recent demonstration with Intel's firmware patches being rolled out over both Windows and Linux and then rolled back again.

There's no silver bullet.

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Re: The NHS

"Presumably, this means that you discontinued new product development using embedded Windows a decade or so ago and this is a legacy tail problem that will diminish as your newer Linux/OpenBSD/FreeRTOS replacements progressively come online?"

In this context the OS doesn't alter things. If the regulatory framework ties knots in operation the knots will strangle any OS or other S/W component.

The regulatory framework needs to be fit for purpose.

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Re: "To properly fix this problem needs central governance"

"other elements including but not limited to strategy, finance, standardisation, planning and oversight"

Throw accountability and transparency into the mix as well.

A tiny Ohio village turned itself into a $3m speed-cam trap. Now it has to pay back the fines

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"Presumably at some point everyone in New Miami will realize that they are only costing themselves money and maybe the council should raise property taxes slightly to cover the work it needs to do."

They could just dump it on Optotraffic.

Morrisons launches bizarre Yorkshire Pudding pizza thing

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I'm getting seriously worried about Morrisons. They're not the same without owd Ken to keep 'em in line.

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Re: The Universal Food

"Honey is the only way to go"

There are many paths to enlightenment.

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Re: The Universal Food

"My grandmother added raisins to the batter"

That's a novelty.

I wonder...

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Re: The Universal Food

"one to be consumed with the roast beef"

With the roast beef? With?

She must have been a comer-in. You eat it before the roast beef (other roasts are available).

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Re: They're copying Greggs, that's all

"Hint: it's not remotely bread-like."

Is pizza these days?

Our canteen lady back in Belfast came up with a sort of Irish pizza using a soda farl as the base.

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Re: If there was ever any doubt ...

".. that England was the place that good ingredients go to die"

You need to remember that England starts outside the boundaries of Yorkshire. That's the pre-1974 boundaries.

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Re: Not only would i eat it

"Being bred and born in Yorkshire, I'd demolish it."

Ditto but I have to admit to having been defeated by the Old Bridge in Holmfirth's offering. My excuse is that it wasn't a real Yorkshire pudding, it was a Toad in the Hole. A real Yorkshire pudding is eaten with nothing but gravy as a starter or with sugar or jam as a dessert.

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Re: Cast iron.

"Ask yer gran. I use mine immediately"

Doesn't she complain?

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"not as seriously as milk in tea"

Milk in tea is indeed a serious matter. It's an abomination that must be stamped out.

Facebook-basher Schrems raises enough dosh to get his Noyb out

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"the kind of people who REFUSE to learn"

And, indeed, are proud of their ignorance. The sort of people who'll tell you they know nothing about computers, science, whatever in the tone of voice that they'd consider themselves as lesser people if they did. And they consider you a lesser person if you do know about it.

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