291 posts • joined Wednesday 10th June 2009 14:06 GMT
Re: Don't forget...
The home of powered flight - Chard in Somerset. (Possibly also the beginning of steampunk?)
Re: Who'd have thunk it?
>>If GDP grows by 2%, and inflation is also 2% then your economy has got 4% bigger<<
That is exactly the kind of thinking that has got us into the state that we are in - and it's nonsense. On that basis, the Weimar Republic had an economic growth in excess of 1 million percent.
>>and your national debt has stayed the same<<
As for the national debt remaining the same, it is currently increasing at around £500 million per day and that figure will continue to increase in size. The only way that this will change is if we stop running a budget deficit; and there is no sign of that happening any time soon.
True, some debt can be of value; but only if you have a record of paying it off (which currently we do). However, as soon as it looks likely that you will default, the lines of credit will vanish and the government of the day (whoever they are) will have to be prepared to pay much higher rates of interest in order to borrow the money.
Re: Who'd have thunk it?
>>Right now is the time (with interest rates near rock bottom) to borrow money to spend on stimulus <<
Except that we already owe so much money that it will take many decades to repay it; in fact, the chances are that it won't even be repaid at any time in the working life of anyone reading this article; possibly during the working life of their children, but I wouldn't bet on it.
Quote from Mr Micawber;
"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."
Multiply that by about 50 billion and that's the situation the country is in; although it should be highlighted that the budget deficit is well over 100 Billion each year and the National Debt is now over 1 Trillion (and that will increase by a further 140 Billion this year alone). The current interest payments on that are now 45 Billion a year; just a little less than is spent on Education (note that figure doesn't pay off any of the capital owed).
A number of people have commented elsewhere about tinkering with various taxes, cutting benefits; in most cases, they don't bother to check just how much those specifics will actually generate or save. In most cases, the amounts involved are just a few billion here or there; that's a lot for an indvidual, but in context of how much is actually owed by the country, these are just small amounts that will actually save nothing and are more about making it look like the politicians are in control and trying to do something.
Re: Well Obviously...
.. Mornington Crescent?
Check the numbers
1 dollar a message?
How much is stamp in the USA these days?
It probably included women dancing around without their knickers on.
It is actually working. However, they have a message on the front page advising that:
"Launch day - high web traffic
We are currently experiencing a very high volume of traffic due to the popularity of the site on launch day - today, 25 June. We apologise if you are having any difficulties accessing our web pages. Please try again later, when the problems should be resolved"
Re: Personally i'm happy
Had a similar problem. A number of the standard letters arrived plus 2 "appointment" cards, that had fairly snotty messages saying that someone had arrived at the premises to check on the use of a TV, but couldn't gain access.
This despite me phoning them 5 times to confirm that the house was empty and unfurnished!
The last one was the funniest - "I am unable to confirm that the premises are empty, as no-one answered the door".
Civil servants; in a class of their own.
Welcome to the modern world
It's easy to scream at the banks for problems like this; and I have nothing but sympathy for all of those affected, both customers and staff.
But this is the sort of problem that could happen at a lot of places and as more and more business has moved to computerised systems, and then online as well, it means that we are all much more exposed as individuals and as a society.
Those of us not with RBS group could feel quite smug; until you realise that perhaps your company uses them to process wages or maybe the travel agent for your summer holiday. These things are all getting more and more entwined and what affects one affects all; and ultimately all of society.
It's really easy to say that they should have BC / DR plans and that these should be tested regularly. But the reality is that sometimes, shit happens. How will you buy fuel if the credit card stops being accepted; or groceries?
People used to be pretty resilient and local communities would work together. But that is much less likely to happen these days.
Re: Cheap Flights song
There is also a video available. Lolled until the tears ran down my trouser legs!
For what it's worth..
I was actually considering a project for a dissertation on the topic of mobile use. I get the feeling that in most cases, people get more stressed when they don't have access to their mobiles; for example, if they lose signal, if they have to turn it off when on a plane, in a cinema / theatre, etc. I think the observational evidence is pretty strong and some research might well confirm this.
Mark Weiser of PARC first put forward the idea of "Ubiquitous" computing back in the 1980s; and he then subsequently proposed the concept of "Calm" computing where the technology is modified to make life easier. But although we see the growth of ubiquitous computing, there hasn't been as much work in the calm computing area.
I would argue that the problem lies within the individual; most of the people that claim to be working in those later hours probably didn't get their work done when they should. In many cases, they don't understand how to use the tech to get it done more efficiently which is why they end up doing longer hours.
Perhaps this highlights the need for better training?
Re: Good for them
"all I mentioned was the way in which that concept works. "
Sorry, but that is not what you said. The entire sentence was "Well I'm afraid the entire concept of money relies on robbing Peter to pay Paul but I really can't fix that issue so I await your solution to that problem."
In this case, perhaps it would be better if you thought more carefully before you then write your thoughts down. If you believe that it's my responsibility to understand what you meant, rather than what you wrote, then I am sorry but you are totally wrong - it is your responsibility to make your comments cogent, clear and unambiguous.
Re: Good for them
"entire concept of money relies on robbing Peter to pay Paul "
Actually, no it doesn't. The basis behind the concept of money is to provide a means of comparison. What is an hour of my time worth? One chicken and a dozen eggs; or a half a side of beef?
If you don't understand that fairly basic concept, then I'm not sure that any of your comments have any real value.
Re: "I bet the lunches at the council offices are better than they serve the kids."
I was getting school dinners in the 60s and it was good, solid, wholesome food; although seldom any choice.
Minced meat on Mondays (local butchers getting rid of unsold meat from previous week) usually in the form of cottage pie or similar. Very occasionally lasagne (twice a year?).
Tuesdays would be chicken; usually roasted, very occasionally they would produce a stange watery tomato sauce and vegetables.
Roast Beef / Pork / Lamb on a Wednesday; served with roast potatoes and mixed veg. Sometimes with yorkshire puddings.
Stew normally on Thursdays, usually with dumplings that could be used in hand to hand combat; solid little lumps that really filled you up. I also remember having some Toad in the hole that was actually really good.
Fish on Fridays, normally steamed, very occasionally deep fried, sometimes with chips, otherwise boiled potatoes.
We were offered salads during the summer, but they were very basic; lettuce cucumber and tomato. No dressing or coleslaw. Normally with sliced cold meat, and my favourite was corned beef which most other kids turned their noses up at.
Almost every day we were offered a sweet pie or pudding for afters; and almost without exception it would be smothered in custard (which I hated). The only drink offered was water, which was supplied in large dull coloured aluminium jugs, which we drank from matching dull coloured aluminium cups.
Like yours, our dinner ladies took a pride in their work, and produced good food on a tight budget. But locally produced and sourced food.
Re: Calm down..
Really? And admit that they responded because of a campaign by a 9 year old? = doubledoubledoubledoubledoubledoubledoubledoubledoubledoubleplusungood
No council would ever want to put themselves in that position, whatever the rights or wrongs. Remember that these people do not see the world in the same way as you and I
I saw the blog several weeks ago, and thought that she had a valid point to make; still not entirely sure how much she wrote and much was her parents, but even so, well worth reading.
However, I also suspected that it wouldn't be long before the minions of orthodoxy made their play and put a stop to it. The problem is that whatever the LEA did, they were onto a hiding.
Preventing creative thought in a youngster = ungood
Stifling free speech = plusungood
Being seen trying to hide what garbage is served up to youngsters = doubleplusungood
For the council, it is a PR nightmare, made worse by current allegation about their "Communications Staff" http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/council-chief-goes-online-to-spy-on-critics. (2012021377)
A lot of people are jumping up and down in outrage (possibly for quite valid reasons) but sometimes it might be worth taking a deep breath and then thinking about the bigger picture before overly outraged. No doubt there are those that will have seen the photo of her on her blog and would be outraged about the council allowing that.
I hope that "Veg" (Martha) decides to continue to write about the food she is being served, and just leaves off the pictures to comply with the council diktat. She has the opportunity to bring about some useful discussion and perhaps to influence a change for the better.
What could possibly go wrong?
We can trust the politicians; they are fully honourable and only ever look out for our best interests.
We can trust the civil servants; they are totally up to speed on the various laws & technology and would never dream of abusing the powers they are given, or assuming powers that the law does not give them.
We can trust the police; their only goal is to ensure that they catch the real criminals.
We can trust the lawyers; to them the law is sacred and inviolate.
We can trust the lobbyists and political "advisors"; because they are nice people
This has been going on for a very long time. I saw a programme on TV last week where they were talking about the Blue Streak and Black Arrow rockets; part of Britain's venture into space in the 50s, 60s and early 70s.
Comment from Wikipedia:
As of 2011, the United Kingdom is the only country to have successfully developed and then abandoned a satellite launch capability. All other countries that have developed such a capability have either retained it through their own space programme or, in the case of France, through its involvement in the Ariane programme.
Politicians don't understand technology of any kind. Not what it is for, what the benefits are, not what it could become. For any of them to try to say that they support it it in any way shape or form is utterly laughable.
Perhaps all of the staff involved in this should be given the clap!
= "Build Absolutely Not Anywhere Near Anything"
Re: These accusations sound best
When I first read that, I thought it said "Jackie Chan" - now that would be funny!
The Sad, the Mad and the Bad
I used to have to deal with various types of theft. I undertook some specialist training on how to handle this correctly to remain within the law and be able to get the perpetrator to court. The person running the course was an ex Met Chief Super; one of the most cynical barstewards going.
I've used the title of the course for this comment. He maintained that there were only 3 types of people in the world, and everyone fell into at least one of these categories. Unfortunately, from bitter experience, I have to now accept that he was right.
Over the years, I've seen people from all walks of life carry out some of the most ridiculously stupid thefts; magistrates, doctors, police, senior army officers, MPs, high paid execs amongst others. Many of these people often carried more cash on them than the cost of the item that they were stealing.
Many of them pleaded various excuses; old age, onset of health problems, change of life, stress, use of new medication etc, etc. Heard it all, got the t-shirt. Nothing surprises me anymore.
In many cases, it is just the thrill of doing something that they know is wrong.
Re: Whilst I would love to smile ...
"Pensions and funds are not normally looking for high risk "
True - but they often buy shares in those institutions suchs as investment banks, funds etc that DO buy the more high risk stuff. The whole financial market is still very incestuous, with all of the various institutions buying little chunks of each other. This is why things got so sticky a few years ago; and they haven't learned anything from the problems that they had then.
There was a mad dash by people hoping to buy up shares purely to quickly re-sell and make a killing. Basically the ticket touts of the financial world. This has pushed the price of Facebook up to levels that are just not sustainable.
It looks like many of the initial investors will lose out; I could chuckle at their distress, (OK, maybe I will) but I also worry that this will result in the media declaring another "dot com bubble" and predicting anotehr crash. This could then become a self fulfilling prophecy as others over react.
The problem is that we all have pensions, savings etc. that are affected by the twerps who make these poor decisions.
Just to clarify - I used to work for a supplier of meat that went to the manufacturer of McDonalds burgers in the UK. We provided about 20% of their total intake of beef each year.
None of the meat supplied was mechanically recovered. It was all of two varieties; 75% VL and 85% VL (VL = Visually Lean). This mostly came from the forequarter (flank, neck and upper shin) and was usually in quite large pieces; very few were less than a kg in size. The meat was placed in large containers that were 1 cubic metre, and we shipped 12 - 18 of these, 3 - 4 times a week.
The meat concerned was a really high quality product; it all came from beef animals (no milk cows) that were less than 18 months old at time of slaughter. In all cases, we had access to their complete life history, feed regime, innoculations etc. and even had information of the sire and dam going back 3 generations.
(Of course, I have no way of knowing what they did after...)
Re: Soapbox time.
I'm disappointed that people didn't see the humour in your reply - I thought that it was quite funny. Oh well...
"Eating less meat and wasting less food can play a big part in helping to keep a lid on greenhouse gas emissions as the world's population increases," asserts Reay.
Here's the thing; for a very large proportion (about 40% to 50%) of the world's population, there is little choice - meat is just too expensive to eat and the people rely upon grains or pulses for their diet. Those same people won't throw ANY food away, because even if it is totally rotten, it will still be better than the alternative (which for the hard of thinking is starvation).
Those of us in the Western World have the option to buy whatever we want, at any time of year, as we have access to food at a reasonable cost through supermarkets that encourage us to buy large quantities, and obscene amounts of this then end up in landfill. I've said this before, but I am sometimes embarrassed at the amount of food produced that is wasted compared to what some people in the third world actually get to eat.
On one occasion when I was on holiday abroad in a third world country , I spent some time haggling with a shop keeper (spent quite a bit of money but really tied him down on price). Afterwards, he invited me to his house eat with his family; I couldn't refuse as this would have been an insult in that culture.
His wife was delightful, and his children were incredible; the food was really well prepared, but it was a basic salad with some rice, and the amount each had was reduced because I was their guest. Each plate had about two thirds the amount of a normal plateful full that I would have prepared. I felt awful as I was literally taking food out of the mouths of the children. (I went back the next day with some bags of sweets which I gave to the shop keeper as a thank you for the children).
I have no issue with people eating well; i just think that people in the west don't realise just how damn lucky we are. As the world's population increases, we may one day find that we are in a position where we simply cannot afford to buy meat.
I grew up in the period just after the war, and even if rationing had ended, there was still a culture of being careful about what you ate and especially what you threw away. Perhaps we should return to being a little more sensible about what we eat.
In my day...
If it made a bad smell or a loud noise, it was chemistry.
If it was green or it wriggled, it was biology.
It it didn't work, it was physics.
It it involved letters from the alphabet instead of numbers, it was pure maths.
The reality is that over the last ?? number of years, the various politicos have all wanted to have a hand in education, to prove that "they are doing something". So the culture within education has shifted; and it is all about meeting targets, and "improving" over previous targets, and people get rewarded by these "improvements".
And under that culture, it is inevitable that things will then focus on making sure that each year's crop of newly qualified students are doing better than their predecessors.
RIP Phil Phillips - a teacher of science and maths, a lover of G + S operas, a genius and a complete fruitbat that set himself alight in class at least twice a term. A wonderful teacher; if only more could be like him.
"Rupert Murdoch is "not fit" to run a multinational corporation ... MPs concluded today."
Pot - kettle; kettle - pot.
I wonder how many of these same MP's were previously more than happy to accept invites to meet from Murdoch in order to help them bolster their self worth / political career? Not that I think that would excuse him or his actions; but neither side have clean hands.
"why isn't he disciplined for NOT TURNING HIS PHONE OFF, like I would be if I was to vocally refuse to do so on an aircraft?"
I've flown a dozen times in the last 12 months, and although the safety messages clearly state "please turn off", I appear to be the only person doing so. I've seen people with iPads just flip the cover over, and one character took the earphones from his iPad and then plugged them into his iPhone so he could listen to music whilst landing. He just turned his head and ignored the cabin staff completely.
As for actually landing, it's usully accompanied by various pinging noises as people text, check email, etc. I even raised the issue once with a stewardess and she told me that they had been instructed NOT to challenge passengers in case the person started to get snotty with them and caused a rumpus.
Mind you there was one arrogant twat that also was the first out of his seat before the seat belts light went off, was almost trying to get the aircraft door open himself in his hurry. When he got to the baggage reclaim, his bag wasn't there; I openly laughed at him which didn't go down too well - especially when mine was second out and I was able to stroll nonchantly off to the exit.
I need a "Mr Cynical" icon
Like the AC, I wonder if the number of IT staff has been cut, but the number of "consultants" has increased. Are we seeing more people being used as part of outsourcing which doesn't appear as "IT Staff"?
Just because I am cynical, doesn't mean they are not manipulating the figures to suit their own ends.
Re: Actually you know you're really over the hill
..if you can remember when Muffin the Mule was a kids programme, not pr0n!
It looks (and seems to perform) a bit like my mother's mobility scooter. She was bloody lethal on it, mowing people down in the supermarkets. I had planned to get a set of cow horns to stick on the front to encourage people to get out of her way. Had also thought about getting a leather jacket for her and put studs on the back saying "Born to Gran". 8-)
I like the idea, but think that it seems too expensive for what you get. Still, anything to start encouraging people to move away from reliance on current modes of transport.
Where to start?
Part of the issue is that we don't yet know exactly what is going to be in the proposed legislation - it might not be as bad as we think. (Which of course also means that it could be far worse)
It's easy to complain in Internet forums or use Twitter to make various comments, but those things are unlikely to have any real impact especially given that most MPs appear to be so technologically naive.
I'm certainly going to write to my MP (letter is about half way through) and highlight my concerns; I will also send a copy to the Home Office, although I think that they will do little good. But then once the details are available, I will write again to challenge all of the key points that they make. If they get enough letters they may start to take notice (or they may just ignore us plebs). But at least I know that I will have done something to try to stop this godawful plan.
"IT projects will be allowed to exceed £100m on the grounds of national security or to ensure the continuity of a critical government service."
On that basis, you can bet that every single project will be classified as being either related to National Security or being a critical government service. So the limit is meaningless; simples!
Meme merde, jour different!
I remember a comment made (many years ago) by a manager that he "was going to the top and didn't care who he stepped on to get there". He was dumped about a year later and couldn't get a job anywhere; in those days people were less circumspect about what they put in a reference. I believe that he was still out of work about 2 years after that.
As for me, I still believe in the concept of not burning bridges; just in case. It's far better to go out as a person of integrity even if the people on the other side are less concerned about their own professionalism.
Re: Mr cynical again
In Cornwall, they'll do it drekkly.
It means the same as Mañana; only it doesn't convey quite the same sense of urgency.
Mr cynical again
"Nobody entered there because it was very secret"
More likely that they couldn't find the key, and no-one could be arsed to go and get a new one or break the door down.
Just too damned depressed for words.
I think that someone recorded a conversation I had earlier in the week, and has changed the names to protect the innocent, then put it out as fiction.
BTW, the box referred to was sat on the corner of the IT workbench this morning; it also contained 2 PS2 extension cables, an HP scanjet scanner missing its power lead, and a couple of floppy disks.
Re: Dominic responds...
I would suggest that you are mistaken - the whole point of Maslow is that money is NOT the answer. Yes you need a certain level to meet the basic needs, but once past that, as you say yourself it provides no extra benefit.
As for money getting you more action; I know someone that is getting a lot more than Bernie and he doesn't have to spend in a year what Bernie spends in a night. Why; possibly because he treats the women right (or he is hung like a horse, don't want to ask!) Sarkozy is another one; money and power are great aphrodesiacs, but eventually, you will want someone that you can actually having a decent conversation with. How do you measure love? Damned if I know, but I can say for sure that money won't play a huge part.
If your esteem is bolstered by cars / houses great; but these things can become of less value after a certain point. If you are keeping "score", then good for you, but what is important to you might not be to others; you could be chasing a rainbow.
As for self-actualisation; money can help, but it won't guarantee you achieve it. And the problem is that if you spend too much effort chasing money, you won't have time to achieve anything else. I know of many people just over the breadline who are doing exactly what they want and are pleased with their lot - and they wouldn't change anything for a fortune.
Look around the world and see who the happiest and most contented people are. And yes, each to his own, and good luck to everyone in their search for happiness.
Re: Dominic responds...
Dominic, it's interesting to see that you have been following the comments; is this because you are proving Maslow's hierarchy? You've put togther an article which is outside of your normal remit (I presume that you are not being paid for it?) and you are keen to get the recognition for your efforts.
It is hard to put a value on some things; that is why sometimes all we can do is go back to the money. But that will only ever have a limited efficacy; at some point, the money matters so much less than the satisfaction that comes from a good job, well done. Perhaps that could be the principle behind your next article?
As it happens, I am my own harshest critic; I know exactly when I have done a good job, and you had better believe, I can self-flagellate like a 12th century monk when I don't get it quite right. The company will not know and probably won't care; that's OK, because I will know. I will do what I can to make sure that they know, but I won't blow my brains out if they simply will not do things the way that I want. And if they don't think that I am worth the extra few pounds, then fine. At some point, I will move on, and they will then have to take a chance on a replacement.
That is life.
A couple of points worth noting. Dominic's article is predicated on the assumption that everyone wants to get more money because that is the only thing that motivates them. This is actually not the case. Abraham Maslow wasn't 100% correct, but his hierarchy of needs is still one of the best ways of defining what motivates people. Once you have sufficient money to pay your bills with some left over, and you feel secure in your job, then the pay becomes less relevant than the need to feel that you are achieving something of value; Maslow referred to it as "Self-actualisation".
Whilst it is necessary to walk the line between doing the right thing and using a "pile of bullshit words" as he indicates, I would refer to Wm Shakespeare "To thine own self be true". It doesn't matter how much bollocks you spout, if you are no damn good at the work, you will get found out and your arse will be toast. If you do a good job, you can go home at the end of the day and sleep well. If the employer doesn't appreciate it, that's just life.
"you want to live in a house as big as mine" - Dominic, I don't know how big it is and to be blunt, I don't give a toss. Dick swinging is for emotionally stunted people; it doesn't matter how many toys you have, you can't take them with you. What is more likely to happen is that the tax man will take a huge chunk, and then the relatives will fight over the scraps like wild dingos. The real things of value cannot be paid for in cash. Hearing your child's first words, watching your son's first game of football, or taking your 16 year old daughter to her first formal prom; these are things beyond the dreams of avarice, worth more than all of the bonuses, expense accounts, fast cars and pointless titles. The problem is that quite often people do not realise this until it is too late; and you NEVER get a second chance.
Re: Pearl Harbor Sucked...
"At least with Peal Harbor there was little chance of a sequel."
You know that you have just thrown down the gauntlet to the suits in Hollywood right?
Quite frankly, with the way that they have been re-making, re-imaging & creating sequels by the bucket load, I'd actually give fair odds for a re-make of Pearl Harbor within the next 5 years.
Re: Well, that would be illegal.
A case yes; a strong case, no.
Unfortunately, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff. Anyone making a claim would have to provide documentary evidence to support their assertion. Such a claim can be successful, but I would suggest that you be prepared for a fight; if they have a half decent lawyer, most evidence would probably be inadmissable. For comparisons, look at the results of cases where women have sued for sexual harrasment at work.
Perhaps this will change in years to come, but I wouldn't hold my breath in the mean time.
A survey on behalf of a training company, finds that there is a gap between training done and training needed. What a surprise. I suspect that even if they found that 80% of companies were getting staff trained, they would still find a way to modify the figures to support their view that more training is required (especially if it is in areas that they provide training). They been singing this song for as long as I can remember.
Having said that, training is important and not just for IT staff. Companies are willing to spend millions on ERP systems, 1,000s per day on consultants, but balk at paying any money at all to get their staff trained to use the systems properly, so they don't get the best out of their investment. They believe that training is "not necessary" as the staff can "learn on the job". This is a symptom of wishful thinking triumphing over reality.
Think back to your days in school; did you enjoy all of the classes? Probably not, and many will have not done that well academically as a result. Those classes that you enjoyed, you will probably have done better in. The same will be true with IT training. If you are a network specialist, you might well enjoy doing a Cisco course, but probably not a course in scripting.
Unfortunately, too many companies expect their IT staff to be generalists that can turn their hands to anything. This would have been possible a decade or so ago, but these days we need people to be much more specialised, even in the quite small departments.
Re: Pi Day
If you want to be a real pedant, this year is actually 2017. There was a mistake made way back in the 1st millenium when they were converting form Roman Numerals to Arabic numerals. As a result, they think that JC was actually born in the year 5 BC (Possibly 6 BC, they are still arguing over that).
And of course, we all know that December is actually the tenth month, because the new year wasn't always January 1st.
Plus when we moved from Julian to Gregorian calendars, we lost 11 days. But even worse, when they started moving the number of days between months (Julius wanted his month of July to have more days than the others, and Augustus thought that a good plan so copied him). That has resulted in a fair amount of confusion over dates and the scholars are still coming to blows over it.
And of course of all of that is only relevant if you use the Western calendar. For those of the Hebrew faith, it is 5772 - for Moslems it is 1433. For the Thai people it is 2555. For some, it is the year AE 67 (Atomic Era), while in the Brave New World, it is AF 110 (After Ford). Those that cling to the French Republican calendar would insist it is 218.
Yes - I have too much time on my hands.
Well written, thoughtful, good analysis.
We started down the path of private cloud a couple of years ago. Still only really toe-in-the-water, but it has not been too expensive and surprisingly easy to manage; very little stress in the process. There are lots of reasons for us to continue, most of which were highlighted in the article.
However, we now have a marketing manager that wants to move everything out "into the cloud" and as far as he is concerned, that means externally. Going to have to do a BOFH on him!