* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

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

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

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.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"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.

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

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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?

'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

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

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?

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

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.

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.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

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.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

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.

NHS OKs offshoring patient data to cloud providers stateside

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"That deal, which allows firms to sign up by self-certifying to the US Department of Commerce"

Self-certify what? That they're wide open to any US official that wants access? Until the DoJ/Microsoft case is resolved we can't even be sure that data is safe with US providers even if it's never off-shored.

The NHS needs an effective data guardian.

Linux 4.15 becomes slowest release since 2011

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Re: Now THAT is how it's done.

"what functionality they want to remove to hit the original date."

Starting with security, of course.

Take a former NSA head hacker, a Raspberry Pi, weird Kiwi radios and what do you get?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Driving Led's


Why do they have to use Wix, AKA MultipleJavascripts'R'Us?

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"former head of the NSA's hacking squad and now White House cybersecurity coordinator"

Is he recommending that the White House security measures have back doors or is it a case of "do as I say, not as I do"?

Crappy Christmas! Dixons Carphone dials back profit expectations

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Re: Spot the error

"people only have so much money to spend"

This is a foreign concept to a certain breed of sales type. I offer as an example the numpties who sold me my last* car and within weeks were sending me marketing texts.

*Most recent but quite possibly also ultimate. Being retired I do relatively low mileages so the car might outlast my driving career, miserable thought that it might be.

HMRC dev support team cc blurtfest: Over 1,400 email addresses blabbed

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Re: Irregular verbs

Is this an import from the U.S.? Like "train station"?

What's wrong with train station? It's a place where trains go to become stationary. Do you normally take trains from the bus station?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Fining HMRC or any other government bodies for breaches under GDPR doesn't really work as fines go to the government anyway. So what means exist for disciplining government bodies? There's clearly a need for them.

How digitalisation will change your storage culture

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Digitalisation vs digitisation? It's like envision vs envisage - an apparently more impressive word to replace a perfectly good existing word. Either just rings alarm bells to indicate that the writer has nothing to say and needs to tart it up with spray-finished words.

Tax Google and Facebook for a job subsidy scheme? Sigh

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a much more effective idea would be to implement a large-scale government IT contract.

"Effective" and large-scale "government IT contract". OK, what was in the glass?

Hey American business, here's how to use blockch ... sorry – we've been shut down

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"the agency endorsed the Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator, seemingly at the behest of the National Security Agency. She said that processes have been put in place to ensure such slip-ups do not happen again."

AIUI the generator was weakened by the use of specific "magic" parameters. What procedures would protect against that in the future, short of never trusting a word the NSA says?

Squeezing more out of slippery big tech may even take tax reforms

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Re: Italy ... announced a 3 per cent "web tax" on digital advertising

"Presumably there is some reason why simply slapping VAT on digital advertising doesn't work?"

VAT is collected by the vendor (free of charge to the tax authority) but paid by the buyer. If the buyer is a VAT collecting business they reclaim the VAT they paid by deducting it from the VAT they collected before passing that on to the tax man. Ultimately VAT is paid by the consumer.

I've no direct knowledge of VAT on digital advertising but I'd expect it to be charged already; assuming it is it will work in just the same way as VAT does elsewhere. If you buy something that's VATable and digitally advertised you'll be paying your share of the VAT on the advertising, even if you never saw the advert.

'The capacitors exploded, showering the lab in flaming confetti'

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Re: Improbable


Please keep away from hardware design.

Smut site fingered as 'source' of a million US net neutrality comments

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Re: American democracy

"the weird electoral collage system (paint by numbers)"

I don't know whether that was a Freudian slip but I like it.

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Re: I weep for my country...

"He is a badly needed purgative"

Purgatives work by being somewhat toxic.

Meltdown/Spectre week three: World still knee-deep in something nasty

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"Looks like MS are up to their tricks again with gullible users."


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"Because it is now trivial"

A bald statement that it's trivial doesn't really answer the OPs request for enlightenment. If it's trivial how about appending a few lines of code that show just how trivial it is?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"the main remaining challenge is locking down interpreters that download crap over the internet without conventional installation procedures (principally, JavaScript engines)."

Could this induce web designers to turn their backs on JavaScript?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Google and Intel;

"Intel (or anybody else) shouldn't be selling CPUs still at this point that are still vulnerable"

So what are they going to sell instead? What system level products are ready to take it? And who's going to roll out software recompiled for this mythical product?

The reality is that users still need to get kit installed and can't wait several years for redesigned products to become available.

There are other, legal ways to nab Microsoft emails, privacy groups remind Supremes

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Sue the judge, maybe?

"Only if they think they can survive in the Rest of the World market without the US market."

Companies already based in the rest of the world survive; the rest of the world is bigger than you think. There'd be nothing to stop an ex-US company setting up a US subsidiary to deal with that market or just coming to a franchise arrangement with some little locally owned outfit.

Is the writing on the wall for on-premises IT? This survey seems to say so

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The cloud will get bigger

"The Amazon auction site is a different company to Amazon Web Services so the auction site is run on somebody else's computer on hosts shared by many, many others ?"

Are you trying to tell me me that they're owned by two different corporations?

You may not be a software company, but that isn't an excuse to lame-out at computering

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Sure, I'll concede that you can get all intellectually crafty and point out that money is, largely, just numbers in a spreadsheet somewhere, but it'd be odd to call these banks "software companies".

AFAICS with banks, at least in the UK, closing branches hand over fist software companies are exactly what they're becoming and they're nowhere near good enough at it.

Cyber-coin crackdown continues: Commission charges couple crypto-currency company chiefs concerning 'conned' customers

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Aren't all Crypto Currencies

"Generally things like pensions or social security are not considered to be a Ponzi"

That's because governments are running them and prosecuting themselves would be so embarrassing. The consequent problems are political rather than legal.

Why did I buy a gadget I know I'll never use?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Please don't mention spiders in atics

"I was grinning along as I read this until I got to the bit about the drum of telephone cable."

On one of our house moves one of the juniors in the removal team admitted to being an apprentice joiner. And that he was scared off spiders and even disliked their webs. I think he was training for the wrong job.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"I was grinning along as I read this until I got to the bit about the drum of telephone cable."

I have a drum of Cat 4 (yes, that's right) if you need it.

The best stock of telephone cable was taken when a manual switchboard was decommissioned in 1976. Not very long but a really thick bundle of tinned single cores with all sorts of different coloured insulation. It solders beautifully. I've been snipping bits off to hook odds together, repair PCBs with broken tracks etc. ever since.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Misty-eyed

"Does no-one else have a big box, lined with anti-static bags, full of every SIMM and DIMM module from every computer that you ever broke up and scrapped?"

Does anyone not have one?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Mystery of packed office solved.

"a full height 5 1/4" EDSI hard disk"

That reminds me - what did happen to the full height 5 1/4" floppy drives? Are they still in the garage?

BTW sheds are for beginners. Triple garage, cars live outside.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Bags full of the stuff

"If you don't unpack something within a year of moving"

Unpacking means you can actually find it. My experience was that stuff disappeared after a move and reappeared after the next one.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Five varieties of Firewire cables

"There is a large plastic container in the garage full of serial comms cables"

Don't forget the breakout box.

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