1648 posts • joined Wednesday 10th June 2009 14:47 GMT
Re: Too crap to keep, too expensive to sack
> Wally from Dilbert
Good point. Though Wally appears to want to be kept on. He lies, cheats and deceives his incompetent boss. Whereas some TCTK-ers would quite like to be let-go (and apply for VR, but get turned down). They neither feel the need, nor have the motivation to give their bosses reasons to keep them on. Another way to look at it is that both sides (the employers and the employees) are trapped in a situation neither one wants: the company would like to get rid of the expensive but unproductive employees, the TCTK-ers would like to take early retirement or VR, but can't, or don't qualify, or get turned down - for whatever reason. Although some of the TCTK-ers realise that they are on the gravy train and quite like the prospect of doing almost nothing each day (just as if they were at home, retired) but still getting paid for it AND building up their pension pots, too.
Too crap to keep, too expensive to sack
There's a certain "type" of individual - most often seen in ex-nationalised industries. They've been there since the year dot. Often it was their first, and only job. They started out as an apprentoid: 2 'O' levels and a budgerigar, and in the following decades rose up through the ranks to their current position: team member.
However, in their forty years of wearing a hole in the same chair, they have amassed one single, solitary, asset: their severance package. Based on years of employment and seniority for time served, even at the statutory minimum, they are hellishly expensive to get rid of. Given how much it would cost to axe one of these old-timers, you could reduce your headcount by four or five fresh-faced newbies.
And so they stay on. Not because they are actually any use, have any skills, or do any work. But because they are cheaper to continue paying than to fire - and salaries come from a different budget, too. They only occupy one desk (and can often be persuaded to "work" from home, so even that desk can be hot-desked to someone useful), keep their mouths shut during meetings and sometimes take the occasional phone message when you're unavailable.
So when companies make the calculation of how to achieve the maximum headcount reduction (i.e. ruin the greatest number of peoples' lives) for the minimum amount of money, these guys are untouchable. The moral of the story: being old isn't always the path to redundancy. If you can somehow survive and stay off HR's radar, you may, just, be able to live our your twilight years doing next to nothing, being paid for it and keeping your job security.
Right idea, wrong way round
It's not that Google or any other multi-national superpower is in thrall with the american government. Rather that the USA-ian government is there primarily to enable the mega-corps and provide them with a nice, safe, profitable, legally friendly environment.
Although companies don't get to vote for which individual gets to sit in the big chair, that's the smallest part of "democracy" so far as they are concerned. Their influence is much more under-the-table and since money speaks all languages, their influence is omnipresent and non-partisan.
Just because you only see the puppet, that doesn't mean there isn't someone with their hand up it's bum.
Loose talk costs
> it’s rational to prep your CV and start talking to agents
And as soon as you do mention to an agent that you might be considering the possibility of testing the water, they're straight on to your boss with the statement "we're working with one of your team who will be leaving soon, and thought you'd like to start recruiting their successor ... "
The one thing we can say about the current system (everything goes through recruitment agents) is that it's a bad, bad system. They only have one goal: to maximise their own income, and in the current climate every possibility needs to be fully explored with their own needs foremost and everybody else's a long, long way behind.
Face piles of trials with smiles
> 4G telephony, but the standard has aspirations to fulfil just about every radio need
That's great for a trial, but when happens when everybody tries to use their 4G connection to stream the Superbowl (other sporting occasions are available) in HD at the same time?.
The nice thing about broadcast transmissions is that they scale beautifully.
Re: Must get in on this scam
> Where does one sign up to be the provider of such "services" ?Where does one sign up to be the provider of such "services" ?
Ahhh, but to get to pole position you have to sit through endless meetings with BBC luvvies who have risen far beyond their competency, yet whom have a vastly inflated opinion of themselves and their abilities ... and vision. You have to listen to their half-arsed descriptions of what they think they need, or just want. You have to nod sagely at the most ridiculous suggestions and ideas. But worst of all you have to keep quiet and NOT tell them what a bunch of inept, clueless WASTERS they all are.
The only time I got involved at a Beeb-meet, I had to excuse myself for a cooling down 5 minute break. £100 Meg is probably a small price to pay if it keeps them in the institution and stops them escaping into the real world where they could do untold damage.
Never speak truth to power
Of course the BBC told people what they wanted to hear - to do otherwise has (historically) never been a good way to keep your head on your shoulders.
However the problem goes deeper. Whether Mark Thompson "lied" to parliament is a multi-layered question. Did he lie like a car salesperson does when he/she/it claims the car has only done 30,000 miles - while knowing full-well that it's done treble that mileage. Or did he lie like a computer manager lies - by simply not having a clue what he's talking about and being reliant on minions to feed him the truth (see above).
We all know that if you want to find the truth about an IT project (though, in reality few people ever want THAT much truth) you ask the programmers. I would suggest that if those people had been quizzed, either by the BBC trust or by the parliamentary committee they would have heard more truth than they could possibly deal with - and been told exactly how borked the project was - even when it had only been running a month or two.
> everything churned out by a big-name publisher has to be the absolute height of literary perfection
When you get 1,000 manuscripts a year coming in to the building and you are able to publish (say) 5 - and maybe 1 by a first time author, you look for ways to filter the load.
It doesn't matter how arbitrary the filter is, but you've got to operate some sort of process to get the amount of paper you deal with down to a sensible level and then focus your attention on the remainder.
Hence the dismissal of poor grammar, spelling, sentence construction, style, content and subject matter. It may not be the best system, but like when you have to deal with CVs, it's objective and is better than throwing them all in to the air and selecting the one that sticks to the ceiling, on the premise that the applicant is lucky - and luck is better than skills.
The Pi's best feature
was its price. It established a market for small computers as components for home users and really can be thought of as the "Mark 1" for anything more capable than an Arduino-level device.
As happens with Mk1's something better soon comes along. Not always cheaper unless cost has been a factor, but with a more usable design, more capable hardware and occasionally even better documentation. That we now have a whole slew of computer components is largely down to the Pi - and a jolly good thing it was, too. However whether you choose it, this offering as a Mk2, or any of the others - it's worth remembering that without these innovatory products we'd still be paying $200 a shout at 1-off prices for tiddly little computers to run our home projects.
The lottery effect
Even with "normal" publishing, getting success is a hit and miss affair - but mostly miss. In fact almost completely miss. You have to get your words in front of someone influential (and by influential, these days that means a big twitter following). They have to have enough of an attention span to read at least the first few lines and then for it to remain somewhere in their consciousness for long enough that they can string a few txt-spk phrases and your title together for their followers to eagerly devour. After that, the world is your lobster - even with a small percentage of their gullible and impressionable followers remembering the title for as long as it takes them to call up Amazon and order it, before they forget and move on to the next instant fad.
All e-pubishing does is remove one delay-centre and a level of filtration from the process. Instead of having to get 90+++ rejections before someone puts you on their year long wait-list for publication, you can go instantly to Lulu and spew your words out to the waiting world immediately. And then wait ... and wait ... and wait (repeat until you croak) for a single lone individual to stumble upon your masterpiece, read the precis and move on.
It's still simply a numbers game - but with e-publishing, the numbers are just larger. Instead of 1 chance in 10,000 of "making it" (i.e. seelling more copies than you have relatives), the odds against are now in the millions - but you can probably knock out a dozen or more pieces of work in a month. Like with the lottery, one of them might just come up.
Turning around a successful company?
>" important inflection point in its development"
Inflection point The point on a curve where it's curvature changes sign. E.g. from negative to positive, or from positive to negative
So presuming that until now VM has been on the up (as it's 6 month share price history would indicate), it sounds like this guy has realised it's peaked and now is planning to manage it into the ground.
Odd way to do business,
Actually, having developers use less than fast kit sounds like a very good idea. It will encourage them to design efficient software and to write tight code.
No more would we hear: "Well, it runs fine on my 3GHz quad-core machine with 16GB of RAM!"
Re: Yeah, right
> Also: rent for my desk & chair
How about paying your share of the electricity bill, doing your share of the office cleaning, making your own drinks with your own machine and tea/coffee you'd bought yourself?
If you work at home - either for yourself or as a WAH employee of a larger company - the chances are you already do all of these things for free. There are a few enlightened employers who make a token payment for your household expenses, but they are the exception rather than the norm.
Where's the off switch?
On your PC - where is should be and always has been
If Windows™ taught us anything ...
> and chose [sic] from a list of operating systems they wish to run
... it would be that new users don't want choice. They want simplicity. Just switch the puppy on and up it comes - no questions, no decisions (if they are that new, how can they make an informed choice about O/S's anyway), none of that nasty configuration and numbers with dots in them. In fact, it's better to not even ask them what timezone they are in - considering the number of emails I get from friends in the UK with an american "default" timezone in the header.
Now that's not to say the system shouldn't be configurable., Just that it shouldn't need to be configured.
If you want to teach people to be programmers that's different from teaching them to be a sys-admin - as pay scales illustrate all too well (as does the mess a lot of programmers make when they try to administer their own machines). Don't put barriers up, just provide an environment that boots with no fuss and leads 'em by the nose into their first program.
> "No government follows you as much as a social network,"
The thing about democratic governments is that they have institutions that are meant to protect citizens (whether from the government, other citizens or other institutions is a point worth debating over at least 4 pints). Social networks haven't even evolved a fully developed sense of mob rule yet - though I'm sure it's on its way.
The time to get worried is when an online group starts to wield significant influence and therefore gets courted by "real" politicians. Mumsnet is a possible example. Until something like Facebook can declare itself a state, use it's cash pile to finance hard or soft power (it probably already has more soft power than the majority of countries) and comes up with a political agenda, we're probably OK. Fortunately none of the internet power brokers have any natural resources, so they are all kept under control by their advertisers. Even more fortunately, their users are a fickle lot. So it's unlikely that any particular social website will ever last long enough to do any serious damage - except to the generation of children who were innocent enough to tell it all their secrets.
Let's hope none of those kids ever stumbles in to a position of power.
From a historical perspective
> his up-to-date version of Microsoft Word can't read Powerpoint files created in 1997
... nothing of any consequence has ever appeared on a PP presentation.
Unlike present day archaeology, where making a "find" is a rare event due to the scarcity of old artefacts, I expect the researchers of tomorrow will have the opposite problem: trying to work out which is THE ONE significant piece of work amongst the hundreds of billions of pieces of crap, spam, tweets and pr0n. After that, decoding the format (surely just stripping out all the non-ASCII is 99% of the job) will be a trivial matter.
Who needs progress?
The first ideas are usually the most obvious and therefore the longest lasting.
So the basic concept of see a target and shoot it (before it shoots you) is still the dominant feature of most games today. While the graphics has improved vastly and the "immersion", too. Most video games are still essentially the same as they were back in the 70's
> allow "a viewer to have the programme content tailored to their taste or mood"
Surely the way to do this would be a combination of features inside the telly?
It would start with image and voice recognition and end up with real-time video editing / substitution. That would allow users (or viewers, in old-fashioned parlance) to choose what attributes the individuals on their TV programmes had. So if they didn't like the voice of a particular "star" they could access a menu and change the pitch, gender or accent (maybe even language, too) of the speech that issues forth from their gob. It wouldn't be a huge step to do the same with the video, so actors clothes could be changed (or removed, or covered up - the "fig-leaf" filter) and themes added. Likewise with their faces and physical attributes.
From the broadcasters' side, this would make complaints a thing of the past. If you didn't like a programme - they it's your own fault for not tailoring it to something more palatable. Offended by the language - why didn't you use a *beep* filter?
For the users, the possibilities are endless. Not only could you substitute Her Maj. in to do the weather forecast, but you could buy add-ons and customisations and maybe even third party mashups and reworkings.
However, the best feature would be that there would never be the need to make an original programme ever again. Gone would be repeats in the orthodox sense. Yes, it would still be Dad's Army (special centenary anniversary edition) but Captain Mainwaring could be replaced with Arnie, Corporal Jones with Catherine Tate's Lauren and so on ...
Of course, you'd never be able to trust a news broadcast - or any other factual programme, ever again. But the downfall of democracy is a small price to pay for a limitless supply of crappy TV.
I think the material would have to be very, very taut to stop the bullet. The material's property is that it won't tear - but it could still deform and allow a bullet to puncture the skin and cause internal injuries. Although the bullet in question would be wrapped in (untorn) graphene when it did kill you.
> perched precariously on
might I humbly suggest:
Page provided perfect prose pondering performing pachyderms perched precariously, providing pencil proof planar products prove purported properties.
Another SF scenario in the making
The possibility of stringing an invisibly thin thread of incredibly strong material across a doorway at neck height has been the subject of some SF (possibly Pournelle, mercenaries stories?). If graphene can be made into threads then I can see a whole new area of terror opening up.
Tells us more
> "bondage-discipline, dominance-submission, sadism-masochism (BDSM)"
... about the researchers¹.
And doing a Chi squared test doesn't impress anyone.
 Psychology: The study of people who don't need studying by those who do
Years of experience
The sort of experience that IS valuable isn't so much to do with languages or technical skills. After all, languages come and go, development environments likewise and programming fashions, too. Plus, it's never too difficult to pick up the latest fad since there's very little that's actually new or novel in most of them. Added to which, most interviewers can't distinguish whether "6 years experience of XYZ" means 6 years of implementing new and ever-expanding techniques - or just 1 year of experience, repeated 5 times over.
The sort of experience that good people accumulate is knowing which of a list of requirements should be implemented first, which are difficult and which are wrong. Also being able to spot a project that's going off the rails (and knowing how to get it back - or whether to just let it go) and how to handle work issues like conflicting priorities, how to meet you targets and still keep your weekends free and how to tell the boss, in the nicest possible way, that he/she is a complete 'kwit and you're going to do the project YOUR way as that's the right way to do it.
The problem is that none of this is ever brought up at interview and is difficult to put into a CV in a way that a callow, just-appointed team leader, trying to recruit for the first time would recognise as a good thing.
There'll always be a future in security
In the good times companies spend more, so security budgets go up
In the bad times there's more crime about - so security budgets go up
The only problem is that if you're too successful, all the threats get dealt with swiftly and silently. That leads your boss, or whoever doles out the money, to assume that there are no security issues so they are likely to cut your job. The trick seems to be to stoke their paranoia and to find new and serious threats in every change the company makes. If you're really lucky, the MD will already be paranoid and will just need to hear good news stories about "the one that nearly got past you"
Re: Taxes strangling the high street
> stop the giant retail businesses (Tesco etc) swamping the town with their shops
Actually I like Tesco and the other supermarkets.
The thing about shops is that you can't buy what you want - you can only buy what they stock. Small shops carry small ranges and small quantities. Go into a small shop and ask for a "number 6 widget" and they'll tell you: sorry, we've only got a number 2 or a number 4, there's no call for a number 6, If you do find a shop with a number 6 widget, the price will be much higher due to the cost of the capital tied up in (unsold) stock and the square footage of the storage space they need to keep it.
Go to a large supermarket and they have 50,000 different widgets, and by selling lots of each sort each day, they are cheaper (and maybe fresher, too).
Where the internet is concerned, it's not much of a stretch to consider all online stores put together to be one, single retail entity. Since it makes little difference to your shopping "pleasure" whether you buy from cheepogoods.com betterstuff,com specialistwidgets.co.uk or imcheapbutinchina.cn - the only differences are cost, delivery times, (possibly) security and the methods of payment.
That makes internet shopping like supermarket shopping, but more so. More choice, lower costs and even the possibility (if you add expert forums into the mix) of getting knowledgeable advice on what you should buy, or avoid.
A nation of shop closers
> the proliferation of e-commerce means retailers need only 70 stores to build a national presence
That sounds a bit high, roughly 70 stores too high, when you consider the likes of Amazon as already having a "national presence".
There may be an argument for a few high-profile vanity stores, in central London, for example. But otherwise the whole point of online shopping is to NOT have the expense and hassle of maintaining actual shops.
Otherwise, the prognostications of this retail body seem blindingly obvious to anyone who's ever done any online shopping. Hopefully all the out of work shop assistants can get jobs as delivery drivers, instead. You never know, that might even lead to home delivery companies starting to deliver at convenient times - like evenings and weekends, when (those who still have jobs that require their presence) people are actually at home.
Opens up the market
> Chinese spies have allegedly hacked into the designs of many of the United States' advanced weapons systems and platforms
Great! So we'll soon be able to buy these from the usual websites of chinese goods. Presumably at a tiny fraction of what the americans would charge and delivered in wrappers that say "Gift. Value $5" on the customs declaration.
> the annual consumer surplus of free services such as Facebook and Gmail at €100bn a year
This is the economics of the record companies. Assuming that a "thing" that someone downloads for free would be a "thing" they would have paid full price for and therefore the lost revenue is whatever they say it is. We all know (except the lawyers in record companies and the judges they own) that there's not a single shred of reality in this argument and that the difference between giving (or getting) something for 0 pence and having to pay 1p for it is huge, massive, enormous, possibly infinite!
So no, I don't buy the idea that Google and its ilk are blocking a more profitable internet market - one where people would pay for what they now get for free. If everything that Google "gives" away had a fee attached, the internet would be back in the 1990's, with a level of e-commerce to match. Now that might suit the bricks and mortar shops, with their unsustainable overheads and staff levels. But for consumers the internet is the best thing since slicedbread.com (although as websites go, that one is pretty poor, and noisy).
Google might not pay much tax directly - though it does pay what it's requireed to by law. However the amount of tax revenue it has enabled through internet buying and all the online businesses that have grown up simply by being successful and satisfying searches for whatever goods or services they sell, is huge, massive, enormous, possibly infinite. It's justa shame that so few of those companies are in the UK.
Knowing everything about nothing
> Everything is going to be known about you
What a load of self-important cobblers.
Having a few snippets of information about when someone using my CC last bought some teabags online, or whether I sent my aunt an email on her birthday means nothing. Even if these sorts of items can be linked back to an individual - so what? It tells people nothing about what I want, my goals, desires or fears.
At best it just presents some slightly-less-than-irrelevant information for my ad-blocker to ignore and sends a few irrelevant emails to a spam-dump email address - never to be seen by anyone.
This "knowing everything" meme is the same as stating that white noise contains all the answers to all the questions in the universe. It may well be true, but the cost of sifting through it all to find those answers is extremely high - much higher than the value that results. Plus, like white noise, there is no guarantee that what seems like the correct answer (gleaned from an online transaction 10 or 20 years ago - and yes, I have some from 1993) is either still relevant or has made the correct inferences.
War ... what is it good for?
> What does the concept of victory mean?
Same as it's always meant - to be able to impose your will on others.
This guy does seem to be on a bit of a rant - asking questions that any sixth-form debating team would have got bored with years ago. Cyber war, Economic war ... who cares? It's a conflict and the people in charge like to call it a "war" because that means they can suspend the usual civil liberties: "Don't you realise ... we're at WAR!" and not have to worry about due process, legality or any of the other attributes of civilised living that gets in the way of achieving their goals (whether those goals are worthy, just or desirable - or not).
As for who wins? Jeez, talk about asking the easy questions. The winners are the arms (or IT) suppliers, duh!
The email spells DOOM from the start
There are simply too many buzzwords and trendy cliches. That tells you it was written by someone with no firm grasp (or even a single clue) what it was meant to achieve - or what problem it was supposed to solve.
The final paragraph contains this gem: essential for the BBC to remain relevant to our ever evolving audience. Well, I don't know if the BBC audience is evolving, or what it is evolving in to, but to make that claim when the Beeb is still screening 40 year old repeats of Dad's Army - and that they're getting better viewing figures than a lot of contemporary programming - shows a level of disconnection with reality that only an organisation with no concern for where it's finance comes from could ever get away with.
Re: Seems to me
> Why make a gun look like a gun
Because the greatest power that a gun has is that people recognise it as dangerous and the owners hope that they will get respect as a consequence. [ Though it's worth noting that gun owners never get respect, they only ever get fear - which they like to kid themselves is the same thing. ]
If you made a bullet firing device that was accurate, deadly, but looked like something else: a teapot for example, it wouldn't have the same effect, as your intended victims would only laugh at you. To demonstrate what a "man" you were, you'd actually have to shoot someone, which although is the only purpose of a gun, mostly defeats the purpose of carrying - which is to intimidate.
Re: Wait for the first "hacked" printable gun
> The same as we shouldn't trust open source software?
You can restore files from your backup ...
Wait for the first "hacked" printable gun
All these stories about downloading the plans for a plastic gun make the (basic, and if we know anything about the internet: wrong) assumption that the plans were drawn up by someone who's intention was to create a working gun.
We know from the internet's experience of viruses, and malware that not everyone's intentions are honourable. Sooner or later, someone is going to produce plans for a printable gun that is designed to kill or maim the user, not the intended victim. Whether that will be as stupid as shooting the bullet backwards, or something more subtle (purposely weakened parts?) is something only time will tell.
The key point is that we should not trust stuff we download from the internet. Especially when it has the potential not just to delete some files off a PC, but to do actual, serious, physical harm to a person.
Any day now ...
I'm still waiting for the last small business floatation I "invested" in to show a profit - or just a break-even, that was in 1983.
Re: The one basic attribute ...
> who puts Age/D.O.B on a CV anyway?
There are three routes:
I've frequently submitted CVs with no age, or indication of age (such as graduated in 19xx) and found that I get called back by agencies very quickly. The conversation usually goes: "Yes you seem to have exactly what the client is looking for. By the way, you forgot to put your age on the form ... " followed quickly by "Ah!".
Alternatively by putting an age on the CV you save the less enlightened agencies from the cost of the call or any further contact. You could always lie, but is that any way to start a business relationship?
Or just go direct to someone from your long list of previous, satisfied, clients.
The one basic attribute ...
If your CV says you're over 40, then every contract becomes 10x harder to get.
Not because the end-company, who will be using your services necessarily has any problem with "oldies" (they may even have one or two of their own), but because the agencies won't put you forward - unless they have literally no other option.
Phrases like "I don't think you'd fit in", or "The client wants a dynamic team" will be stock replies to your enquires as to why you haven't heard back from the latest application, that was a perfect fit to your CV and what you can actually do.
Whether the client did brief the agencies to "lose" all the applications from
more experienced older applicants , or whether they took it upon themselves to perform this extra service for free is something that will never be made known. But if challenged they'll tell you that contracting is a young-person's game. While this is patently bollocks, the hardest part of getting a contract for anyone with a grey hair is getting past the gatekeeper and actually making it to the client interview.
Surely it's cheaper for Apple to
buy contribute towards the campaigns of a few american politicians who will "revise" their tax laws than it is for them to stump up on the billions they want to repatriate from foreign profits.
Over inflated sense of entitlement
The reason that Google execs have better access to the Prime Minister than some little copyright minister is because they are far more important than he is. The fact that he doesn't realise this is sad, but inconsequential - as is he.
5G? It will come
> There will NEVER be a 5G network
It's a marketing term and as such will be rolled out whenever the marketing people think it will help them sell more phones.
Just as most O/S's today are, to all intents and purposes, virtually identical to the ones that preceded them ... and them ... and them - going back at least 10 years and a good case could be made for longer, too. So 5G will become the "thing" as soon as 4G sales start to stagnate. There might be some insignificant new feature, that all the journos who make their living from hyping up such insignificant features <ahem>! will hail as being the best thing since sliced bread.
However, these new, more expensive, 5G phones will still be used mainly to talk to people and send them text messages - just like mobiles were used for 20 years ago.
Re: @Pete 2
> Good. Let them go.
Maybe I wasn't explicit enough:
The companies would bugger off to somewhere more "sympathetic" making thousands of people redundant, and terminating the contracts they had with ALL the local service companies and suppliers they use, causing even greater knock-on redundancies.
As for the companies who would replace them, if those companies wanted to be in the UK, they would already be here. It's not a case of the UK can have (say) Google, or Exxon and somehow choose who they'd like to come here. All multinationals make their own, independent, decisions of where they choose to have offices. By making the UK financially unattractive to some, it's not very likely that others would see an opportunity and pile in, instead.
Re: Shouldn't the UK Gov start upping it's game then?
> Why can they not do what they do with the rest of the populace and just take the money?
Simple. The companies would bugger off to somewhere more "sympathetic". Governments can tax their citizens into oblivion, safe in the knowledge that few (not even the rich ones - for they have better means of avoiding taxes) , very few, of those people will up-sticks and leave.
Companies however, are not so sticky. That's why they can negotiate beneficial tax terms (what: you thought they just paid up and didn't do deals with HMRC?) and grants in order to do countries the favour of setting up on their patch of land - as opposed to some higher-taxed country.
> blocking based on the source IP address
That's what I do.
My main home machine runs Linux and I used to find my logs showed several attacks - mainly against SSH - daily. These were generally trivial attempts to guess passwords (none of which ever worked). Over a period of time I logged the IP address of the attacker and made a list of 23 */8 address blocks that seemed to account for pretty much all the unwanted attention. A cursory check showed that these were all located in the far east, not just China.
Adding lines in to /etc/hosts.deny, of the form ALL:58. ... seems to have cured the problem almost entirely.
> Boys are not the most natural writers.
It's apologists like this guy, who are willing to accept low standards that is the main cause of british kids' academic decline. Lowering the level of acceptable behaviour to include the worst performers (whether due to lack of natural talent, opportunities or parental/educational indifference is a separate problem that should be dealt with) does a huge disservice to those children who DO pay attention in school. Who DO do what they are told and who spend time on academic exercises rather than sitting (or being sat) in front of the TV all their waking hours.
> ITV? Are they still going?
Despite their best efforts at repelling viewers, I'm informed that they are.
> While "chat" is great for some things ...
Chat does have some advantages: everything "said" is on the record - there's no denying what each person committed to. It is also useful for the timid and "quiet" people, who would not normally speak up in meetings - and conversely chat tends to moderate the loudmouthed git who dominates meetings. Also, it's great for people who don't share the same native language, or accents.
Just one feature
I want a desk phone that can detect when nobody is at the desk, and won't ring ... incessantly ... until someone else gets up, disconnects the call and either unplugs the phone from it's socket (without telling the desk's absent occupant - anger ensues) or sticks it in a drawer.
Buy a book
Going on courses is a bore. You sit in a class with other people who are not important to the day-to-day running of their employers. The instruction will always proceed at the pace of the slowest attendee (if you think otherwise, that person is you). At the end you get a binder, a certificate and a week's worth of email and backlogged work to catch up on.
You also never get to use the stuff the course was about. Or you forget it all until the boss comes by, 6 months later, and says "you went on the XYZ course, get this done by tomorrow .... please".
If all you want is some time away from the office (and lots of courses are held in London and the pricey ones are in the run up to christmas) then that's great - and we all love the company paying for a little jolly now and then. But if you want a new skill, then you need to learn it, practice it and understand it - a few days listening to someone drone on won't do it.
The best way to get training is to have a project that requires your intended skill. Do some (book based, web based, whatever you prefer) research. Read the Idiot's guide - not hard to find: the internet is full of them (idiots, that is) and start DOING it. You'll not only learn faster, but you'll get practical knowledge - or experience, as it's called on CVs - and something useful at the end of the time. It's also far more enjoyable than sitting around listening to lecturers. The only downside is that you don't get a certificate - and you still have to catch up on all that email.