* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Brrr! It's a snow day and someone has pwned the chuffin' school heating

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Presumably all these installations are specified by a consulting engineer, architect or whoever.

Is it not their responsibility to specify that they be installed securely and to inspect them before signing them off for final payment of the contract? The finger should be pointing there, not at manufacturers or installers. If they find manufacturers incompetent they stop specifying their products, if they find installers incompetent they remove them from future short lists.

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Re: lax installers who have disregarded installation advice

they then tell them how to set it up appropriately.

Wouldn't this version have been better?

Pickaxe chops cable, KOs UKFast data centre

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Re: What a joke

"Which means their big clients are being ignored so that they can get the bulk of the smaller clients working."

It might be the other way around and you're not as big in their terms as you thought. It might also be that they're working alphabetically or even randomly.

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Re: Would you?

"I really hope that the people who supplied and fitted the UPS do not get involved in commercial air travel"

You mean something like, say, a BA data centre?

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"Gas mains are no more impervious to pickaxes than power cables are."

In both cases the results are - err - illuminating but gas illuminates for longer.

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either no DR plan, or one which we never test just tested

Walk with me... through a billion files. Slow down – admire the subset

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"Whether you wish them to or not, many people have users that create file systems with billions of files, and then struggle with the management of said data."

Database Management System. The clue's in the name.

If you're going to create data on that scale you should work out the management scheme from the start or, at worst, as soon as you realise that you're creating more than you intended. When you do that you'll find that there's a choice of engines available off the shelf, commercial and FOSS. The database can hold the metadata that your application needs, which is probably going to be more than the file system provides and the data itself. If your data is in file system files anyone with the right (or wrong!) permissions can just delete some of them irrespective of the metadata saying, via business rules, that it should be kept.

Example: upstream provides files containing up to 1,000 documents in XML format* to be printed on an industrial scale. Any XML file can contain different sorts of documents than require different base stock or printing hardware, some running to 10s of pages. S/W splits them up into the individual documents, transforms each into a form ready for the print formatter and stores it as a database blob. The batching engine gathers up documents of common properties (base stock and printer) ready for the print room operators. Only when a batch is selected for printing is a file system file generated and it contains 1,000 documents or whatever the batch parameters call for. Spoiled documents have their database record sent back for re-batching. Once despatched documents can be purged from the database. The system might have thousands of documents going through it at any one time but there are few actual bulk files involved and only at the input and output. Multiply that a few times for different contracts being handled.

* Yes, technically the file is a document in XML terminology. As each file contains multiple documents in the application domain technology it's easier to stick with the latter and call the file an XML file.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Look at how you're DB handles itself. Very few files"

And preferably, at least in the Unix world, those few files are in /dev. After all, everything's a file.

Signing up for the RAF? Don't bother – you've been Capita'd

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

The MoD told El Reg that “a short term drop in numbers was expected as the new system is bedding in” and that the Armed Forces “continue to manage and support an active pipeline of candidates.”

Another head in the sand statement from the MoD.

"Bedding in" means "lying down on the job".

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Re: Did the 23 000 strong MoD Procurement Force have anything to do with this?

Mission Statements? We all know Mission Statements are just places where good intentions go to die. They have no relationship to anything that actually happens.

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Re: Another resounding Crapita success

"we can't all live on a civil service pension"

I certainly couldn't on mine. Contrary to what's commonly believed it's not that great, at least not for the other ranks. I've certainly been in better.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

The Crap of Death.

Berners-Lee, Woz, Cerf: Cancel flawed net neutrality vote

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Re: Entirely the wrong model?

"In the UK we have seen frankly appalling things happen since the privatisation of energy, public transport and communications."

It varies across the board but public investment has a very poor record overall.

A large part of the privatisation of BT was to enable the private sector to make the levels of investment that governments of all colour had been unable or unwilling to make. What would the mobile or internet provision be like in the UK if left to government investment?

The privatisation model of the railways was stupid. The infrastructure and the operators were separate and, therefore, had separate, likely conflicting interests and relatively short franchises weren't going to lead to long-term investments whilst also avoiding any competition between destinations. I can't see how it could have been expected to work out well and I can't see any government making investments except in high profile vanity projects.

On roads we have the cheapskate addition of lanes by taking out the safety measure of the hard shoulder and such gimmicks. New roads such as M6 Brum bypass? - revert to the C18th turnpike financing despite having collected huge sums from road taxes in the form of VED, fuel duty, insurance premium taxes and VAT.

Big tech wants the ICO on EU data protection board in Brexit fallout

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

They're up to something - but what?

I can only imagine that they hope that the ICO will be HMG's poodle when it comes to voting on the "adequacy" of the "oversight" of the universal surveillance. In turn that would enable them to keep the Privacy Figleaf in place because if it's allowed for the UK it has to be allowed for the US.

Millions of moaners vindicated: Man flu is 'a thing', says researcher, and big TVs are cure

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Re: Expect better than this from the reg

"Being really PC and right-on"

I'm so glad you're PC and right-on and wouldn't do a thing like that.

Developers, developers, developers: How 'serverless' crowd dropped ops like it's hot

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"Consider a facial recognition function for a security system."

And how does it handle loss of internet connection?

Trump to NASA: Fly me (or some other guys) to the Moon

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Re: Mars one way?

Is it important that the occupant arrives alive?

It's better to travel hopefully than arrive.

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Re: Caveat

"it's whether or not humankind can [survive]"

Probably not even that. It's just that there's a lot of money invested in the assumption that the coastlines stay where they are. The other long term assumption that's worrying is that we'll be able to keep doing things like reduce metal oxides despite shoving the potential reducing material up power-station chimneys.

Archive of 1.4 billion credentials in clear text found in dark web archive

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Re: 12345? That's amazing, I've got the same combination on my luggage!

"123 here for me."

No problem. If you have a two lock case you can go one better - the other can be 456.

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Re: Has an analysis of the types of accounts been done?

"pretty well impossible for a human to remember so it gets written down somewhere"

No, it gets generated and stored in Keepass. The only password phrase to remember is that for Keepass.

US authorities issue strongly worded warnings about crypto-investments

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As a social experiment, it's almost unbelievable.

I think I missed out a strike-through.

UK lacks engineering and tech skills to make government's industrial strategy work – report

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Re: The liberal myth

"appreciation of all arts"

Literature and music were, of course, written to be enjoyed, not studied (I'm not sure if that applies universally to what's written today) so it's not surprising that those who didn't study them can still appreciate them. It's odd that those who did study them never seem to widen their experience into science and technology out of general interest.

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Re: "concrete over the greenbelt"

"planning police"

Planning policy, dammit. But police doesn't seem entirely wrong.

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Re: Universities and schools

An interesting couple of A/C posts. We had streaming (into 4 forms) but after the first term. There was also a facility for sec. mod. to grammar transfer, I'm not sure if it was at a specific year and can't actually remember anyone who did but there must have been some.

We had the same "skip a year" idea. It wasn't a good one. It involved not sitting the subjects you were going to take at A level so you ended up with a rather diminished crop of Os and, in the real world, nobody noticed the A level coverage complemented them; they just counted the number.

Eventually, as with the account above, the school lost its 6th form to a specialised college, it became a comprehensive and is now viewed as considerably weaker than the former sec. mod. turned comp. which my granddaughter attends.

There were a considerably number of primaries feeding the school & have no idea how their pass rates compared but there were 4 of us from my small school who passed in my year - I should think it must have been getting on for a third of the year but, of course, the statistics of such small numbers don't mean very much. Nevertheless AFAICS it was a mechanism of social mobility - I don't know what modern sociologists would make of a 3 generation household, including two unmarried aunts, with no electricity, no mains drainage (handy river) and, initially, no mains water (even when we got it we preferred our spring water for drinking, these days we could have bottled it and made a fortune).

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Your lip service is all very well"

Interestingly ambiguous subtitle. To whom does "your" refer. employers or government? Probably both.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "concrete over the greenbelt"

"Furthermore that "empty space" would need water, sewers, electricity, roads, rail, hospitals and so on and so on."

Well, some of them. Enough roads to get the building materials in. Commuter transport? Hospitals? Schools? Someone else's problem, different department and all that. Jobs? no chance, planning police dictates that we can't have industry anywhere near housing. Jobs belong in the big conurbations and we have to stop people travelling there because they cause congestion? Joined up planning? We started an inter-departmental enquiry 30 years ago; it hasn't reported yet.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Seems to me..Parliament is dominated by the fruits of our "rounded and rewarding society".

"certain 80s comedies (Yes Minister, New Statesman) turned out to be documentaries."

Turned out to be? We knew it at the time.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Universities and schools

"There is a weird politically-correct idea in schools nowadays that all kids are equally bright."

Political correctness might not be the only factor. Subjects are (one hopes) taught by people who are good at them end enjoy them. Too many then assume that being good at and enjoying their particular subject is normal throughout the population. They fail to grasp that some pupils find it difficult and believe that those who don't conform to expectations are being lazy or deliberately obtuse. Even if they do grasp that they then fail to realise where the difficulties lie for those not so gifted (after all, it's all equally easy isn't it?), what parts of a lesson need to be taken more slowly and better explained.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "concrete over the greenbelt"

"I hear a lot of people telling me the UK is overcrowded: mostly people who live in overcrowded places."

The trouble is that the PPEs in government think it can all be solved by telling local councils how many houses they have to build. This is done in isolation from any other consideration such as where the people who are to live in them are to work and how they're to get there. And similar daftnesses.

So my area at the head of a valley is supposed to have X number new homes.

Fair enough, we sit in the middle of a number of conurbations. Any shouts of joy from such conurbations about how many new jobs they're attracted are mixed with howls of complaint about congestion. Councillors and officials haven;t worked out that if people are going to work in those jobs they're going to have to travel there.

Several of the routes out of here are high level routes. It won't take much more snow than we've just had to close those completely because they might, if we're lucky, get them gritted but will a heavier fall be cleared? Not usually; they'll be blocked for several days.

Then there's the hair-raising junction between here and the motorway. Years ago it was slightly modified to make it, in my view, more dangerous. It needs some creative remodelling with roundabouts to make it safe and provide a better throughput. It's needed that for years.

Why don't they encourage development of more employment in the area? Because to sites where that could happen were called brown-field and released for housing - the extra job-needers were imported by removing jobs.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: All the jobs were sent offshore to get it for cheap....

Fund FE Colleges (if they still exist), not schools, which are inadequate baby-minding services. ... those who suffered secondary education in areas like Suffolk t"

If Suffolk schools were inadequate wouldn't it make sense to fund them to improve and not remain as baby-minding services?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: All the jobs were sent offshore to get it for cheap....

"As far as I know... they've mostly been discontinued"

They became "polyversities" and now offer full degree courses at full degree prices.

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Re: All the jobs were sent offshore to get it for cheap....

"Money motivates very few people."

Lack of money, however...

Hitchcock cameo steals opening of Oracle v Google Java spat

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Re: Well, it's clear infringement

It amazing how when small companies grow to be big companies countries they complain about the same thing which allowed them to grow in the 1st place

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Re: Well, it's clear infringement

"There would have been no MSDOS (CP/M) clone"

No CP/M - PDP8 clone. Maybe DEC would still have been riding high.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Nostalgia

"And whatever happened to SCO?"

They got taken over by a company that decided litigation was more productive than writing solid software and selling it at a price that could compete against the rather more incomplete offering that Linux was at the time. If the original SCO product hadn't been priced as a Veblen good, Linux would never have been more than a curiosity we'd now be striving to remember.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

I guess I hope Slurp* looses the dogs of war on Oracle. I certainly don't hope Google loses because if they do then all code written now or in future that needs to recite the declarations from the libraries that it uses is in breach of copyright.

*Isn't Slurp supposed to be Microsoft?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"The problem is shysters generally do not care to learn about how anything works"

Don't forget that their fees depend on not demonstrating understanding of how it works. The reality is probably different.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Concur

"The way java is structured any sufficiently large project needs to have API contracts and APIs and SPIs portion."

Should Oracle win, however, they have the tricky task of doing so in a way that ensures that anyone writing a Java application (which they presumably still want people to do) can do so legitimately whilst preventing Google from legitimately implementing the run-time. If they fail in that they must surely kill Java stone dead.

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"One of Big Red's arguments is that Android destroyed the market opportunity for Sun to license a decent mobile Java."

I thought the reason Google went for a roll-your-own approach was their view that Sun had a decent* Java and a mobile Java and they weren't the same thing.

*Argue amongst yourselves about about "decent" if you want to.

Tired of despairing of Trump and Brexit? Why not despair about YouTube stars instead?

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"If YT paid creators based a viewers ability to buy the products being advertised then none of these guys would get a look in as their viewers are 3-9 year olds."

3-9 yos don't need to handle the money themselves. The advertisers will rely on pester power, just as they always have with products aimed at that age group.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Sod clickbait gamers appealing to the masses, what I really hate is all the people who now view it as a legitimate way to make money."

To restore karma take a look at the series restoring a Xerox Alto. It's still hand-held camera and sometimes dubious sound but it involves people who know what they're doing. In some cases seriously what they're doing; big clue, remember where Ethernet was invented.

Leftover Synaptics debugger puts a keylogger on HP laptops

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Re: Can anyone explain

"Why is a key logger in any way useful in a mouse or audio driver?"

The same general purpose debugging code dropped into all of them?

It's a decade since DevOps became a 'thing' – and people still don't know what it means

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Back in the 80s a small group of us handled development and system management. We had to do it all because at that time we were the only people in the business who knew this strange Unix and RDBMS stuff. The tools needed were part of the OS and RDBMS packages. Because we handled it as a whole we knew not to write something we couldn't support and providing support kept us in touch with what the business needed written.

We didn't have a special name for it. It was just what we did.

Now, not only is everything old new again, it also has to have a special name, lots of tools and courses and all the rest of it.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: DevOps is way you organize work

"No, you do not need paid for tools for this, you can do it yourself with FOSS"

Of course you can't. Unless you're paying wedges for tools, lots and lots of consultancy and conferences (did you notice the bit at the bottom of TFA) you're not Doing It Right.

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"Cloud Garage Method? They have those flying cars we keep hearing about at IBM?"

No, they have a random word string assembly system.

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Re: DevOps is still snake oil

"> This is what banks used to do

Banks? Like the ones that are having constant unplanned outages?"


Sloppy coding + huge PSD2 changes = Lots of late nights for banking devs next year

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Legacy Systems

" The other two are problematic for any legacy system because people will eventually retire and vendors will stop providing support"

The cheaper option will probably be to train new people to take over. And, who knows, those people will eventually know enough to direct the re-write. When a piece of software is at the core of your business it's false economy not to take care of it and that includes spending on people.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Legacy Systems

"I think the only viable way to replace any legacy system is for developers to become domain experts."

That's what the original developers probably were.

New Capita system has left British Army recruits unable to register online

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Re: How bloody typical.

"We elect the politicians (where we are lucky enough to have the opportunity)- it's our fault if we elect idiots."

You know what they say - whoever you vote for you always get a politician.

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