* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16427 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Cold calling director struck off for ‘flagrant’ breach of duties

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Struck off as a director

"Have you any idea how inconvenient it is to get a partner to set up a business for you?"

It's not an area of company law that ever impinged on my activities but might using 3rd party directors actually be included in the ban given, I assume, that beneficial ownership could be proved?

£60m, five years late... Tag criminal tagging as a 'catastrophic waste' of taxpayers' cash

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Re: Radical Suggestion...

"I doubt that locking the bastards up would be cheaper. And since crims put little value on their own liberty, it's an ineffective punishment."

Do you have any evidence for that central assumption of value on liberty?

Looking at court reports in my local paper it seems that yet another suspended sentence has been handed out to someone who's already had several "chances", such as tagging, in previous cases. And yet another set of offences committed while on remand awaiting trial.

AFAICS this adds up to training offenders to expect no real curtailment of liberty, no effective deterrence. By the time they get a custodial sentence they've been thoroughly trained in recidivism. I wonder if a change of direction would be more effective: rapid escalation to a short sentence of imprisonment, maybe only a few days. Would it lead to a situation where there were fewer long term prisoners because they'd been deterred early on?

Death notice: Moore’s Law. 19 April 1965 – 2 January 2018

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Re: Just wondering

"Ok - in that case why can't supposed designers and coders who *should* care about security not provide speed, stability and security?"

Because they're being paid to produce more features sooner. An iron triangle's at work here - features, speed, quality, pick any two.

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Re: Just wondering

"What proportion of machines are likely to need more raw power than we have now?"

It depends on what sort of machine you're talking about and what tasks it's running.

Servers? Have you seen pictures of typical server halls? If you impose a 30% penalty on those so they need to add 30% capacity right now how are they going to cope?

PCs? Sitting there writing comments on el Reg - very little of the available power being used. Watching video - quite a lot. Gaming - those guys never seem to have enough.

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Re: You do know that Moore’s law says nothing about speed?

"If the applications scale well on highly parallel systems, for a given chip size more system performance can be had from many simple cores than a smaller number of more sophisticated cores."

That's a big if. OTOH a modern desktop system seems to have several things running at the same time and a server, where Meltdown will really be hurting, will have lots so the load can be highly parallel even if the application isn't. That implies context switching can be made cheaper. Rather than throwing all the transistors at more cores throw some of them at that and more cache so there's less chance of all the processes waiting on cache faults at the same time.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"The slowdown happened because the IT industry has grown far faster than the ability to train competent software engineers."

To say nothing of the ability to find candidates capable of becoming software engineers. However there's the equivalent of Moores Law at work here. You just add more cheaper, part trained, not necessarily talented engineers.

Electric cars to create new peak hour when they all need a charge

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"But EV owners charge their cars overnight when electricity is cheap"

Replace all ICE cars by EVs.

1. Overnight electricity won't be cheap.

2. The VED which EVs are currently avoiding would be ramped up to replace the taxation on fuel which EVs are also currently avoiding.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: This:

"your car returns some of that energy back to the grid during the 7pm peak"

At 7pm it's newly returned from a day's commuting. It doesn't have power to return to the grid. It needs charging.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"because of course, there is no way to charge a vehicle at the other end of the trip."

Could you provide a fully worked example of how a car park with, say, 100 spaces in it could be adapted to provide a charging point for each space, with a connection to the grid for, say 2/3 of them to be charging at any one time?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"The grid infrastructure needs updating in most western countries."

Grids are continually getting updated, partly to replace end-of-life components and partly to add extra capacity. The cost of that is built into existing electricity pricing.

However adding even more capacity to replace a pre-existing system (liquid fuel distribution) over a relatively short term adds costs entirely outside that built into existing pricing. Could that be recovered from the scrap value of the system being replaced?

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Re: problem is real but pretty easily solvable

"Better still, auction off those slots to the highest bidder and earmark all profits t from those auctions to distribution network improvements."

Wrong order. You need to make the improvements first.

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Re: Phil

"Or we could build massive Holland-style windmills on the roof and harness the wind energy."

Right now the domestic hydro generation seems the best bet. I wonder if I could source some little turbines to fit on the down-pipes.

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Re: Answering a few points in the comments...

"So taking all that into account has already been done."

You still haven't taken into account VED subsidies and the fact that as EV use increases the tax on road fuels will have to be picked up elsewhere. Your savings are in the avoidance of tax due to successive governments' social engineering. That can't last.

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Re: Off peak?

The whole point of the article was that charging generates its own peak.

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Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

"The wind doesn't stop at night."

But sometimes it stops for several days.

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Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

it just requires reengineering and upgrading of grid infrastructure huge investments


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Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

" power shortage will be fixed by you implementing your own power cut."

As in "We'll have to wait till midnight to cook dinner".

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Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

"if smart meters return to their original imagined function - negotiating the best deal with multiple companies for high, non time-sensitive loads."

I think the key word here is "imagined".

Samba 4.8 to squish scaling bug that Tridge himself coded in 2009

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Re: Samba is still relevant?

" Every single company out there has Microsoft OneDrive for business."

Citation needed.

Info Commish tells UK.gov we shouldn't let artificial ignorance make all our decisions

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Re: Yeay. AI. The 21st century version of "Computer says no."

"At least software can be updated. Try doing that with a judge's mind."

I take it you're not familiar with courts and what happens in them.

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Re: Credit reference agencies need reigning in too.

"A visit to the branch and an internal call to their appraisal team discovered the reference agency didn't have my correct previous address."

It's good that you sorted it out. But in the event that an adverse decision with a demonstrable financial loss were to be made on demonstrably incorrect information from a credit reference agency wouldn't it be a basis for a libel suit?

Stripe in Bitcoin hype flight while fans blindly gobble up crypto-cash

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Peak cryptocurrency

Looks like we're on the other side by now.

Aut-doh!-pilot: Driver jams 65mph Tesla Model S under fire truck, walks away from crash

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Re: The Nasty Little Truth About Deep Learning

" the number of unanticipated conditions likely enough to occur during the vehicle's lifetime drops off exponentially. No?"

But is that how it works? Come to that, how does it work? Does the human driver's response of "I don't like the look of that" derive from sorting through a growing list of things they've encountered previously or simply an appreciation that it's big, it looks solid and the distance is closing too fast? Other than inattention how does a human driver fail to handle a bad situation? Is it just down to there being no way it can be handled (e.g. vehicle emerges at speed from blind entry side road without stopping) or is it information overload with an over complex situation? What would an AI system do? In the side road case it would be no better but would it be better or worse at handling the information overload? Does the brain's architecture, essentially parallel, process information better than a computer, faster but essentially serial?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: 2018: "But it was on Autopilot!"

"Consarn it, Sheriff, I'm drunk but the horse is sober!"

You can, of course, kill yourself by falling from a horse while drunk. I had an ancestor killed that way. History doesn't record whether he was drunk but he was coming back from market.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: of course you could

"And the insurers are already punishing the owners with monstrous premiums because of the high cost of repairs"

Probably why he turned down medical attention. He can't afford that and the premiums.

President Trump turns out the lights on solar panel imports into US

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Re: Sunshine needed

"The Chinese KNOW that greedy westerners buy their cheap subsidised panels so the subsidised money flows back into the government through sales tax, corporate (25%) and personal taxes (45%) and social security rates (48%). Many of these taxes are based on personal or company income and because these Chinese companies have higher revenues they pay more taxes and thus the subsidy turns into profit."

All fine except for one little detail: if these panels are being dumped below cost it's gradually draining money out of the system.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Once upon a time the govt. thought it would be a good idea to encourage a local semi-conductor manufacturing industry. So they imposed a tariff on imported components. Just on components, not on assemblies which included such components.

Looking at any PCB manufactured back then it had a lot of components stamped with all sorts of countries as source of origin. It would have been quite infeasible to build a product locally which would have avoided paying tariffs on such components. It was cheaper, therefore, to buy in stuff assembled abroad. All it did was damage the local electronics industry.

We still have that tariff. We still don't have that big semi-conductor manufacturing industry. We buy stuff fully assembled from China.

Something I read recently reminded me of this.

Serverless: Should we be scared? Maybe. Is it a silly name? Possibly

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Re: Everything old is new again

"It's time for career counselors in high schools to once again steer kids away from computing as a career."


"It's all going to be obsolete Real Soon Now."

But not for that reason. See the discussion on the ITC apprenticeships article.

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Re: I worry the author is bluring Capabilites and Serverless Environments

" the environment we are running our code in is so great that it is no longer something we need to maintain or spend much time concerning ourselves with."

And that, folks, is how you end up with a security nightmare.

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"Firstly they have to learn...Then...Then..."

The somebody forgets to secure one of these multiple points of failure and all the data ends up on haveibeenpwned.

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Re: Problematic

"It isn't completely out of your control, there are a number of things you can do to control costs in a cloud environment,... applying limits etc."

And then the limits get hit just before month end.

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Re: Problematic

"And it is the missing part that converts it into hell, as these blackboxes tend not to play well with other parts."

It raises thoughts of the bill for successful percussive maintenance: £1 for hitting it, £999 for knowing where to hit.

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"Isn't that what 80% of developers currently do...?"

Your hand seems to have accidentally slipped and added a joke icon.

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Re: "Serverless" is a marketing term. No more, no less.

"ideal for SME's"

Maybe not even them. I had an occasional client who had an engineering supplies business - store-room, several counter terminals and printers, office PCs and more printers, all running on an in-house server. As a customer, I can go to a branch of a national chain of builders' merchants and the transaction is handled through a server sitting there in the office. If their comms went down how would they manage with the data on somebody else's computer? The small business, maybe, but a catching up after a couple of outages wouldn't leave them very pleased. The national chain - maybe the beancounter says No - must record it properly.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"I've taken my own stab at defining serverless here on El Reg."

Maybe another stab is needed. I went back on the link. I didn't see anything that looked like a definition. It just moved rapidly into discussion AWS Lambda which I take to be an example but didn't offer anything I could recognise as a definition. If it can't be defined then it's not surprising we regard it as just another buzzword trying to sell us the idea that running something on somebody else's computer is a better idea than having control of what's essential to running one's own business.

'There was no monetary incentive for this' = not what you want to hear about your tattoo

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"El Reg just hopes Oracle doesn’t buy Redgate because Landrum might then be accused of copyright theft and that only ever ends well."

It'd cost him an arm and a leg.

Optimus multi-prime is the new rule as OpenSSL transforms crypto policies again

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Re: Errors all over this

I'm not a huge fan of OpenSLL "Management Committee", since all they do is jump on to an encryption standard

Jumping onto standards is vastly better than jumping off them. In fact, it's the right thing to do. Just make sure your chosen standard doesn't involve an magic constants provided by the NSA.

NASA is sniffing jet fuel over Germany

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Re: Biofuels?

"Biofuels grown on land which could/should be growing food - very very bad, no matter how cheap it is."

And clearing rainforest to grow biofuels - even worse.

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Re: contrails / chemtrails @FlamingDeath

"The problem most lay-people have is that they think that the Earth's climate should be unchanging if we did nothing."

And we then have two types of not-quite so lay people. Those who think we should do nothing so it won't change and those who think it isn't changing whatever we do. Both are doomed to disappointment: the climate will change irrespective of whatever we do and sea levels relative to land (which I think underlies a lot of concerns) will also change, not necessarily the same way in different places.

Sack the Xerox CEO 'immediately', yell activist investors

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Re: Back seat driver

"his is only an opinionated observer's view"

And boy, is he opinionated!

It's quite simple. If he knows how to run a photocopying (or anything else) company better than anyone else why doesn't he just do a start-up, put his own money into it and run it himself. I'm sure we'll all follow the results with interest.

Blockheads changing company names to surf crypto wave get a warning from the SEC

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Re: A bit like job ads with 5 years experience wanted of a 2 year old technology

"suddenly decides its now going to be a block chain company"

Have they actually changed the nature of the company or just its name?

Curse of Woz strikes again – first Fusion-io fizzles out, now Primary Data goes down

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Re: Update

"As of 11:30 PM EST US the website was up and appears to be functioning normally."

It's one of those sites which is blank unless you allow access to a load of 3rd party javascript sites. If you do that then, 10:30 AM GMT it's still there. With somebody claiming that what they do is "magic".

'WHAT THE F*CK IS GOING ON?' Linus Torvalds explodes at Intel spinning Spectre fix as a security feature

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"I don't want to have to choose between performance and security."

Neither does anyone else, not even Intel. But we are where we are and not where we want to be. What are the best options for now? Taking care of that and the future are two different tasks.

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"where in order to do fucking anything you have to go to fucking terminal command prompt"

Let me guess. You've never even seen a modern (say less than 20 year old) Unix-based OS let alone ever used one.

That doesn't mean I'm not about to fire up a terminal emulator to run the 10 updates KDE has just alerted me to. I do that because it's about an order of magnitude faster to do that than faff about with a GUI which, under Linux, is still about an order or magnitude than the Windows equivalent with all those reboots and so on.

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Re: difficulty of microcode (Why are the patches so late?)

"Even if not, it could be done by different engineers, so it should not affect the elapsed time."

Providing they have enough microcoding engineers to do it.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

" Intel on the other hand is wanting the security fix to be opt-in, which as Linus rightfully states as insane."

AFAICS Intel seem to be saying that, at least in the short term, their only option is a performance-draining one which they want to make opt-in. That doesn't preclude them having a better option in the long term, even if they have no present intention and are forced into it. A flag which says "I'm fixed" could mean fixed by having opted in on the immediate option but fixed by a redesign in the better, long term version.

The boot-time, user-settable flag would be the choice of speed vs security. With a fixed design this would become a no-op because the user would have security and speed.

The run-time, read-only flag would simply tell, if clear, that any mitigation needed would have to be in S/W. If set the S/W itself would have any indication of whether it was set as a user choice or by the redesign.

This would only work if, speed issue apart, the microcode and hardware fixes were equivalent from the user point of view. Intel clearly aren't going to be able to deliver the full, no speed penalty fix that Linus - and the rest of us - want in the short term via microcode changes. If, however, they were able to deliver the "I'm fixed" flag that Linus asks for as part of the short term microcode fix then they'd be wise to listen to him. In the meantime Linus - and the rest of us - are going to have to live with what can be delivered in firmware changes to microcode.

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I wonder if there's a compromise. Introduce another flag that shows it's not broken, as Linus put it but in the short term is toggled by Intel's boot time flag setting and in the longer term is permanently set to show that it's a properly fixed design.

Firms pushing devices at teachers that let kids draw... on a screen? You BETT

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Re: All part of their 'grand' plan

Sadly, this is a first class précis of Lee's post.

Playboy is suing Boing Boing over Imgur centrefold link

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<Produces several pages of HTML>

Here's a complete printout of the web page your honour. I'm sure the plaintiffs will be able to point to all the pictures on it.

Nominations open for comp restoration gong, the Tony Sale Award

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Any who manages to prevent the final IBM implosion must surely stand a good chance.

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