* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16427 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

PC lab in remote leper colony had wrong cables, no licences, and not much hope

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Ré causing, not curing chaos

"The idea was to try and do away with the circuitry and expensive transformer required to step down from 240v to 5v by using ultra low current devices and a simple resister to drop the unwanted 235v."

I took apart a defunct PIR detector. The power supply? A bridge of 1Nsomething-or-other diodes, a fractional watt resistor, a capacitor and a zener.

Ecuador tried to make Julian Assange a diplomat

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Re: It's a weird world...

"I honestly think it will at this point be a million times more likely and a thousand times more embarrassing for him to come out, be arrested, sent to jail for skipping bail, six months without press, gets out of that and... literally nothing happens. Nobody cares enough to bother to chase him any more. A couple of press conferences and then fades into obscurity."

That would certainly have been the smart thing to have done and could have been the situation a year a so back. However he's now met his match in the White House.

Brace yourselves for the 'terabyte (sic) of death', warns US army IT boss

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"The Military is connected to the Internet ?"

Remember all those early three letter top domains? .edu, .com and ..... .mil?

Cryptocurrencies to end in tears, says investor wizard Warren Buffett

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"take a bunch of flowers they grow in the ground for free"

Would you care to elaborate on that. How is growing them in the ground free? Remember your explanation needs to cover the fact that if the flowers weren't being grown something else would be. It also needs to explain how the flowers are grown with zero effort in propagating, ground preparation, planting, weeding, pest control and harvesting. It also needs to explain how the flowers got to be looking pretty without any cost, given that it will have taken generations of careful hybridisation and selection to get them to that state.

Have you ever actually tried growing flowers or anything else?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Easy to understand

"1. I have to work (mine) therefore the item should have some value more then the effort I have put in."

I can work at, say, making mud pies. If I do that I've put effort in. But that effort creates no value at all. What would create value would be that someone finds mud pies useful. All the rest of your items could be applied to finding the person to whom they are useful. If no such person is found then they indeed worthless and the entire mud pie economy collapses - rather like the mud pies themselves.

See also - The Emperor's New Clothes.

Cisco can now sniff out malware inside encrypted traffic

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Re: Content Filters?

"'ve used Websense (Forcepoint) for several years, it has the ability to un-encrypt, analyse, and re-encrypt traffic to see if something is malicious....What am I missing here?"

That it doesn't do that. it looks at the characteristics of the traffic instead.

Intel top brass smacked with sueball for keeping schtum about chip flaws

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Re: What Inflation

"The most likely causes for the shares to drop will be in shareholders having class action lawsuits against the company"

Given that the shareholders are the company what we have here is shareholders suing themselves - at least in part. What they're trying to do is take money from their fellow shareholders. It's always seemed to me an extremely dubious proposition. In this particular case things would have been a lot worse if the fault had been disclosed before mitigations were ready for release and there had been several weeks of exploitation in the wild. It's likely that not disclosing earlier has protected the share price.

Heart of darkness: Inside the Osówka underground city

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Re: Outsourcing

"He cut two Fiat X19s apart and welded the front end onto the other back end."

That brought back a memory of the two front ends (of a BMC 1100, I think) welded together. Maybe that's up on Youtube somewhere.

Worst-case Brexit could kill 92,000 science, tech jobs across UK – report

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The whole point of Brexit is to deregulate the British economy by decoupling it from the nonsensical, Euro-centric and near-socialist view of regulation on the Continent a large part of what's currently its home market and its supply chain.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Reports like this will have little effect. By and large the people affected, if they didn't regard Remain as a foregone conclusion and didn't vote, would have worked it out for themselves and voted remain.

What I'd like to see is a report on employment on industries where substantial employers are foreign investors who set up factories in the UK as EU manufacturing bases. AFAICS these tend to be in places that voted leave. They should at least have a chance to know what they voted for before they discover it the hard way.

Think tank: Never mind WannaCry, update NHS IT systems for RoboDoc

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Re: Facepalm

"I think the NHS needs to get its shit together on its IT foundations before getting hot and wet over bleeding edge AI and robotics."

And by the time that happens there'll be AI that actually works.

UK watchdog dishes out fines totaling £600k to four spam-spewers

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" I guess texts can be sent from outside the jurisdiction so are not per se illegal."

The principals on whose behalf the texts were sent are likely to be inside the jurisdiction. They need to be hit.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Good

"But the fines should be higher."

They seem to be trending that way.

1 in 5 STEM bros whinge they can't catch a break in tech world they run

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"my experience is that the best candidate gets the job, and I’ve never come across any instance of selection on criteria other than ability to successfully navigate the interview and CV process."

So you're basing "best" on the ability to navigate the interview and CV process rather then the ability to do the job when they get it.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The smug, dismissive way this article is written kinda proves their point

"You have to address the number of the targeted group at the beginning of the pipeline before you start dictating the output."

The start of that pipeline is a long way back. Maybe in school, maybe in the peer group, maybe in the home and maybe in the individual.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The smug, dismissive way this article is written kinda proves their point

"I'd much rather have a black heart surgeon operating upon me if she was the best applicant at interview"

I take your general point but I'd prefer it if she was the best in outcomes rather than interview.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Had I not been a white male

"quite well suited for the job I had, but would have been a disaster had I been promoted to management...clueless bosses and other jerks promoted for some reason other than they'd be good at their new job."

One of the problems I've seen for the whole of my career has been the lack of progression other then into management. Nobody gets rewarded in the long term for being good at their job except by being promoted to a management role for which ability may well correlate negatively with that needed for their current job. We thus end up with work being done badly by those who have either shown themselves unfit to do it or too inexperienced to be assessed and badly managed by those who could have actually done the job well and been underpaid.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Slight typo

"She better be good if she's doing 19% of the entire company's leadership work!"

Maybe effective leadership was meant. After all, it's Microsoft.

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Re: Ignoring the gender element

"Some are arseholes, some are not."

The former seem to be most likely to get to positions of authority.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Isn't it a small minority - Bear me out please - two things..

Their girl peer groups appear to be relentless in their view of science and tech as "uncool"

Sadly there seems to be a peer group which regards any educational achievement as uncool. I read recently that the lowest achieving group in the UK are white working class males.

Brit transport pundit Christian Wolmar on why the driverless car is on a 'road to nowhere'

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Public transport is already self-driving

"Good public transport would probably be more efficient and cheaper."

My last gig before I retired was about 40 - 45 minutes commuting by car door-to-door. I had to go in a few weeks later to sign some documents. This prompted me to work out what the the journey would be by public transport. As far as I can remember it went something like this.

5 minutes to walk to the bus stop. The bus only runs at hourly intervals, it used to be 4 an hour and more in rush hour.

40 minutes to town. It used to be 30 but the the bus now makes a diversion to try to cover two old routes instead of one and does neither satisfactorily.

20 minutes wait for the next bus which is also on an hourly schedule.

60 minutes journey. Along one of the country's many overcrowded and unpredictable stretches of motorway.

4 minutes to change to the next bus. Not long in terms of the unpredictable nature of the previous leg.

12 minutes journey by bus arriving about 10 minutes after the target arrival time.

2 minutes walk to the gig. Say 2 1/2 hours if all went well

Anyone who thinks public transport is more efficient is someone who lives on a route where a single journey takes them directly between home and work and back with a frequent service.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

The comparison is basically saying, "It would be a stretch."

I've driven on motorways. I know what a convoy of 3 trucks looks like: short*

Football fields, however, are something I've successfully avoided for the whole of my adult life and as much as possible of my schooldays. Therefore the only thing such a stupid comparison tells me is something I don't want to know and isn't germane to the discussion in terms of something that I do know and is. It seems to be a reflex of journalists - or possibly something they've been taught as essential in journalist school.

Actually the more germane distance isn't the length of the line of trucks but the distance needed to pass it in terms of the distance to the junction at which I need to leave the motorway.

* In relation to the length of actual convoys!

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: And of course the moral issue...

"the motorcyclist. He's at least seventy years old."

Is this an evidence-based generalisation?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Missing the point

"our cognitive abilities are never as good as we think they are: we find it very, very difficult to concentrate on things for a sustained period but this is something that computers excel at."

OTOH our cognitive abilities are driven by massively parallel processing. In a non-routine situation (and accidents are not routine) they might be able to out-perform a computer which don't necessarily cope well with edge cases. The trade-off isn't necessarily as clear-cut as you might think.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"at the end of the day it's just about the money."

The money aspect is indeed easily dealt with. It's passed onto the manufacturer who in turn will distribute it back to the owners just as insurance does. But liability isn't just about money, it's about responsibility which, at present, can result in criminal prosecution. How does that aspect of liability get dealt with? If a manufacturer has a choice of spending money or cutting a corner how do you bring that responsibility home to the individual(s) who made that choice?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"I think, that the problem with driverless cars will always be liability.

If I as the driver will always have to be liable for the actions the car takes"

If it's driverless then you won't be the driver.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"One of the benefits of the 20mph limits is the increase in survivability. Your chances of surviving are lot higher than being hit by something traveling at 30mph."

Your chances of surviving are much worse than being missed by someone travelling at 30mph concentrating on the road rather than on staying within a 20mph speed limit. A driver's concentration is finite; don't misuse it.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I bet

"Given that locks aren't automated"

A far more easily solvable problem than automating driving.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It appears from the article that Mr. Wolmar is a railway enthusiast...

"Why in God's name would I want to spend £20,000+ on something I'm not going to use much?"

Is that the best you can manage? You'd spend it for exactly the same reason as you do with a non-autonomous car: it's there when you need it. If you're expecting to use an automated cab then you should also expect to spend a long time waiting for it because everyone else who thought the same way as you would be wanting to use the limited pool of cars at the same time. One in N times you'd be the lucky one to get prompt service and block out N others, otherwise, just stand there and wait.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It appears from the article that Mr. Wolmar is a railway enthusiast...

"After dropping you at home the car works the taxi night shift"

And your next day starts with cleaning out the various organic remains last night's passengers left in it. Or do you wait up to do that as soon as it returns from its night shift?

"I don't think The Holborn Effect will stand in the way of that."

Why not? If the Holborn Effect is operational it might be waiting miles away when you want to pick you up from work.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It's too Black and White

"I find the worst part of motorway driving - and the most potentially lethal - is getting bored driving long straight roads with little or no interest to stop you from nodding off"

This is a solved problem. All those "smart" motorways with their close spaced speed cameras and changeable, arbitrary speed limits are guaranteed to impose sufficient stress to keep you awake.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It's too Black and White

"Surely that's called a taxi (black, mini or uber flavoured) or one of the gang doesn't drink."

The one time we resorted to booking a cab for that purpose after a company do I had the experience of being fully alert and watching our driver T-bone a car that had slowly pulled out of a side road, initially some hundreds ahead, most of which we travelled before said driver though it might be an idea to brake.

To give the driver his due he was very efficient after the crash. He got on the blower and got a colleague to come and remove all witnesses his passengers from the scene of the accident PDQ.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It's too Black and White

" Lets have roadways (motorways) that are fully automated"

And when the automation goes TITSUP?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: They will never work in an urban environment.

" just yesterday, a Audi twat mobile... actually stopped when faced with a large puddle and waited for me to pass, so they could go round it"

Well it's a big lump, it would take ages to wash if it got splashed with a bit of mud.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: They will never work in an urban environment.

"And I bet you're paying for the privilege and it costs the taxpayer more"

Who's "you" and what's the privilege?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Three trucks are almost the length of a football field"

Comparisons such as this would be useful if my curiosity extended to wanting to know how long a football field is. It doesn't.

Leaky credit report biz face massive fines if US senators get their way

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So they've finally begin to notice.

I wonder how long it will take before they start to think in wider terms than credit reference agencies. I suppose there's a factor limiting that. Given the number of breaches with US Gov't agencies if they made it a blanket law they might have to build in exemptions for gov't and that mightn't look too good. It might even start the plebs thinking about all the data gov't collects and that could be a really scary outcome for them.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Sure it will, it will make companies more willing to invest in covering up breaches and obfuscating the number of affected individuals."

No change there, then.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: No chance

"give the C-suiters a personal multiyear, all-expense paid, vacation courtesy of Club Fed with a personal massive 'donation' to the feral treasury."

You're talking about job titles. Job titles are what the company chooses to make them. They're just strings of letters. Unless you actually define the roles in your legislation then you have a massive loophole in it. Much easier to go for the directors. Those are already defined in company legislation.

Swiss cheesed off after Apple store iPhone does Samsung Galaxy Note 7 impersonation

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Re: No one else picked up on this?

"So they just happened to have some quartz sand in a bucket"

It's the easiest sort of sand to buy. I'd guess the Swiss have regulations about having fire-fighting equipment in business premisses.

Tata for now: Marks & Spencer transfers 250 tech jobs to outsourcer

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Re: Bankruptcy Soon?

"1) Real success is about fashion sense (for their target market), quality, value and store service.

2) IT is an evil necessity, and a cost. Being mediocre or worse is not going to harm them, whereas failing to manage purchasing, style, logistics, supply chains, and store stock levels will."

To the extent that IT supports store service, logistics, supply chains and store level it would be best just to regard it as a necessity rather than an evil one. Let it drift and all the things it supports also drift a bit.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

The Beeb's report pointed out that M&S are having problems competing with other online retainers. Outsourcing your operation seems a really, really good idea in the circumstances.

Beer hall putz: Regulator slaps northern pub over Nazi-themed ad

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Heaven forbid the ASA should encounter any genuine wartime (I or II) cartoons.

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Re: Parmo

"chips and scraps."

You mean wi'bits?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Don't mention the war

Being of such low intelligence, he fails to realise that that episode is actually a hilarious demolition job from start to finish of just the sort of Fawltyish ignorance he himself is displaying. But no, all he remembers is the "silly walk" bit.

Have you dismissed out of hand the possibility that you're not the only one who realises that, that the landlord himself realises it, that his customers also realise it and that something hilarious is a good way to promote a pub event?

Cabinet reshuffle leaves UK digital policy and GDS rudderless. And now the news...

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Re: re: PPE Grads

"unless they have done a real job for at least 10 years"

Agreed. And banking doesn't count as a real job.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Digital what?

"aren't these people meant to be smart?"

It's optional. The only skill actually required is self-advancement. It's been like that for years.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

his first task was "solving" the Y2K bug using "Cobalt".

It's a pity he didn't extend this into a learning about character sets.

In the meantime, let's consider the new Minister for Universities and Science. Sam Gyimah who, according to the Beeb, is ex Goldman Sachs and read - you've guessed it - PPE. So really well qualified for the job.

Adrift on a sea of data: Architecting for GDPR

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Re: Does anyone know what GDPR compliance looks like yet?

Yes. It's doing things the way you should have been doing them all along.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"By defining rigid data retention policies and destroying data when the policy says you should."

Even before you get to data retention you should only collect the data you actually require. This may be rather less than manglement, particularly marketing, insist they want.

In fact, a good place to start would be by taking away all marketing's toys: their PCs, mobiles, network shares or whatever and only give them back after auditing for PII that shouldn't be there. Also, take away their budget and only give it back to them as required for projects signed off by your data protection compliance officer. Because marketing's culture is almost certainly antithetical to that you're trying to build.

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