* Posts by sandman

494 posts • joined 8 Jul 2009

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When asked 'What's a .CNT file?' there's a polite way to answer

sandman

Everyone's a User

Unless you have a complete understanding of all the software you use and how it interacts with everything else, ditto with all your hardware, and the ability to put right any problem, you too are a "user" to someone else... I've just had to contact support because I've found a bug in our own software and I'm pleased to say they were very good about it ;-) Having done the same job, I'm always very polite to any poor bastard support person - having been on the end of some foaming-mouthed moron's rants once or twice.

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Microsoft hits the gas in drive to recruit autistic techies

sandman

It's a broad spectrum

I was once asked by the father of an autistic university student if I could assist him with some work. The lad was very bright, cynical and had an evil sense of humour. His explanations of the social awkwardness, desire for routine and exactitude were fascinating. I felt almost flattered, albeit slightly worried, when he said to me. "I like you, you think like one of us". Well, as I said, it's a broad spectrum ;-)

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Ballmer schools SatNad on Microsoft's mobile strategy: You need one

sandman

Thanks!

I now have a vile mental image of Ballmer having a massage. I think I'll go and scrub my brain clean with bleach and wire wool!

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Brit boffins get green light to edit human genome

sandman

Re: Progress

Eradicating various genetic diseases really will save a lot of heartache - although the regulators will need to keep on eye out for potential abuses, e.g.... More volts Igor, more volts!

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Why the Sun is setting on the Boeing 747

sandman

Awe inspiring

I was quite young when I first saw one. I was lying in the grass just beyond the runway boundary fence at Düsseldorf airport and one took off right over me - wow! When I flew into Heathrow I saw one parked next to a Concord, which looked like the plane equivalent of a lifeboat in comparison. After the 707 it became my favourite plane to fly on (various dodgy Ilyushins operated by equally dodgy airlines being my least favourite)!

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Sorry slacktivists: The Man is shredding your robo responses

sandman

Sliding Scale

If you really want to change things here's a scale of effectiveness:

1. All out revolution - pretty effective, although may have undesired consequences.

2. Strikes - may work, may result in long-term unemployment.

3. Voting - for or against, your choice, it might even work.

4. Demonstrating - may be ineffective - see Iraq War demo.

# unknown: Sitting on your arse pressing a button. (Unless button is red, in which case 1. and then some).

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Europe: Go on. Ask us to probe the £130m 'sweetheart' deal HMRC made with Google

sandman

He's been "chillaxed" for all those years ;-)

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Apple growth flatlines ... Tim Cook thinks, hey, $80bn is still $80bn

sandman

It's not about "real" business - it's all about the expectations of the various stock markets. You can do as well as you like, but if there is no expectation of continuous growth your share value will decline. There's a good book on the subject - The City: Inside the Great Expectation Machine, by Tony Golding. It's well worth reading if you have any interest about how the financial markets actually work.

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Gov must hire 'thousands' of techies to rescue failing projects

sandman

Re: Nope

Agreed. I used to work with a small group of very experienced contractors who basically went from company to company to get projects working that one (or more) of the big consultancies had screwed up. In the end there isn't a substitute for experience, the problem is that it costs more.

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Full of fear at work: Blame the boss, or yourself?

sandman

Corporate Culture

I've worked in several companies where failure was simply never admitted to or discussed. I happily remember one meeting where I realised I'd made an error and said "Oops, I've screwed up". The effect was something like I imagine farting loudly in church would be like, I've never seen so many shocked faces. :-)

I also had the "pleasure" of working in one organisation where the predominant corporate culture was one of fear. Everybody, apart from a couple of people at the top, were terrified of losing their jobs and the whole atmosphere was poisonous, a foetid mix of blame, recrimination and denial of responsibility. I was very glad I was contracting there and could just ignore the internal strife.

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Foetuses offered vaginal music streaming service

sandman

Re: Musical vibrator?

THAT'S what Ace of Spades is for ;-)

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UK digital minister asks for input on strategy, lauds 'sharing economy' biz success

sandman

I have plenty of ideas

Lot's, blue sky thinking, purple prose, you name it I'll provide it. My normal consultancy rates (not jacked up at all, honest) apply.

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Death Stars are a waste of time – here's the best way to take over the galaxy

sandman

Ships building ships

Pretty much the way that the large Culture ships produce other ships/drones/knife missiles for all occasions. ((Ian M Banks books for those who're thinking "What the hell is he talking about). I've never understood why you would want to destroy perfectly inhabitable planets though. If I was Emperor I would want to add them to my ever-expanding domains, BWAHAHAHA!

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There's an epidemic of idiots who can't find power switches

sandman

More than one plug

My favourite was being called over by an irate user with the classic "My computer doesn't work"! We know the next step, inquire if it was turned on and get abusive confirmation ending in "do you think I'm stupid?" (DO NOT ANSWER, really, just don't). Machine is whirring and lights are blinking, but no picture. Diffidently enquire if they have turned the thing that looks like a TV on at the mains. Relish sight of scarlet-faced user and confirm opinion (silently, obviously) that they are indeed a bear of little brain.

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Skilled workers, not cost, lured Apple to China says Tim Cook

sandman

Small World Problem

After all the tech companies have set up in South Sudan or refugee camps in Jordan (because of their tool and die skills of course) where will be left for them to go. Oooh, just had a thought, the US of course, there'll be plenty of low paid or unemployed people there by then. (I'd put a joke alert icon on this, but on second thoughts it's not really a joke, is it)?

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Grim-faced cosmonaut in ISS manual docking nail-biter

sandman

Commuting

Look, this guy has done it all before - he's just taking a risky commute to work. How many of you smile like a loon on the way to work? Particularly when work makes a 6 month contract in Luton with cheap hotel accommodation look comfortable ;-)

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Revealed: Mystery 7-year cyberspy campaign in Latin America

sandman

You know where your enemies stand, it's your friends you can't be sure of. Paranoia: a game for everybody. ;)

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If it still works six months from now, count yourself lucky

sandman

Hmm, I must be lucky. I've been buying PCs, laptops and Macbooks for, well, just about ever and none of them has broken. It's not that I treat them well either - particularly the laptops. It's quite annoying really, because if I see a new shiny that I lust after I'm firmly told by herself that I don't need it (true). I have to wait until they become so obsolete that there's no other choice.

To be fair the machines are usually from manufacturers people have actually heard of - as are their internal bits, which possibly helps.

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Report fingers China for assault on Australian weather supercomputer

sandman

Re: And yet

That's a really unfair way to describe Australians ;-)

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IT pros are a bunch of wedding and funeral-dodging sickos

sandman

Funeral dodging

There's only one funeral I'd want to miss for work reasons.....

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Oracle confesses to quietly axing its UK software support centre

sandman

Re: The reason?

I'm sorry, it's against policy to send unsterilised bacteria to Mars.

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Short weekend break: Skegness or exoplanet HD 189733b?

sandman

Re: Viz had it right

Ken Holland, Mayor of Skegness, also leapt to the town's defence, saying: "There are not many better places than Skegness, and I've travelled all over the world."

Where the hell has he been? I'm guessing North Korea, Somalia, the Central African Republic and the shittier parts of Philadelphia (you need a smaller UN Peacekeeping force in the first three).

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Royal Mail mulls drones for rural deliveries

sandman

"Back on the ground, the founders of Skype recently announced a wheeled robodelivery fleet, due to enter pilot service in 2016". Surely that should be "enter pilotless service". ;-)

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UK ministers, not judges, to sign off on Brit spies' surveillance

sandman

It all makes sense now

As part of our deal with China, we'll employ the same sort of snooping set-up with the same level of accountability. I wonder if Theresa May has any outfits with Mandarin collars?

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TalkTalk incident management: A timeline

sandman

Re: Have I understood correctly?

"A potentially more responsible provider." If you can find one! How would you know?

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We can't all live by taking in each others' washing

sandman

Damn!

Well, that should get past the mods, what I really wanted to write wouldn't. Haven't always totally agreed with Tim (I am a Socialist after all) but have always enjoyed his thought-provoking articles.

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Terror, terror everywhere: Call the filter police, there's a madman (or two) in town

sandman

Business opportunity

Anyone interested in forming an agency composed of ex-Stasi guys to bid for this work? After all, they do have similar mass-surveillance experience.

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Elderly? Disabled? You clearly need a .38" Palm Pistol

sandman

Oops

Um, sorry, I had a senior moment and thought my spouse/nurse/carer/child I've always disliked/assistance dog (delete where applicable) was an intruder.

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BLABBERGEDDON BEGINS! Twitter lays off 8% of its workforce

sandman

Re: RSS feed that lets you post replies

No

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Woman makes app that lets people rate and review you, Yelp-style. Now SHE'S upset people are 'reviewing' her

sandman

Great money making opportunity

Persuade all your friends to slag you off on the app then ask for a takedown of your profile. On refusal contact your favourite lawyer and say "MONEY" to them. Share proceeds with lawyer. You can reciprocate for your friends.

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BOFH: Press 1. Press 2. Press whatever you damn well LIKE

sandman

Cheap desktops

Oh, yes, I remember that policy. The organisation I worked for at the time got a whole bunch of them. Unfortunately I had the task of installing modem cards in them. At the end, each one had bloodstains on the inside of the case and sometimes on the board - my blood. They were so cheaply built the manufacturers hadn't ground down the internal case component edges.

Eventually they became very good desktops because we replaced all the working bits with branded products at a cost of approximately three times that of buying decent machines in the first place.

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Google: Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am – stuck in the middle of EU

sandman

You are being all techie elitist here - the vast majority of people will never have heard of Ad Block. It's not being dumb, just not knowing it exists. Given that most web use is now over phones and tablets I'd suggest that an even smaller percentage of people are using it. Wouldn't be without it personally and always get a shock when I use a naked browser!

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'Web brothel' CEO, staff cuffed on prostitution rap – clue: the website is called Rentboy.com

sandman

Purely Business

You have to wait for an illegal activity to make decent profits before it's worth fining them and closing them down.

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Euro X-ray 'scope snaps Milky Way's 'tumultuous heart'

sandman

Fire up another spliff

Wow man, I last saw lights like that at a Hawkwind gig in 19** - freakin cosmic ;-)

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Enjoy vaping while you still can, warns Public Health England

sandman

Just about anything is better than smoking

Having been a smoker since I was 13, I managed to quit after about - ooh, let's say 30 years or so - thanks to nicotine lozenges (by the way, I find them enjoyable, expensive and addictive, but enjoyable). If e-cigs help people more and do little harm then in the name of Beelzebub, encourage the use, don't ban it. We recently spent a holiday touring with someone who vaped - it didn't give the non-smokers any problem, even in a minibus with the windows closed (aircon on).

I've been on one or two chest wards (non-smoking related problems) and believe me, you really, really don't want to go there.

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BOFH: Why, I LOVE work courses. Please tell me more, o wise one!

sandman

Been there, done that

I remember a "team bonding" exercise in the US where we had to say which historical leader we most identified with and which living person we most admired. The Americans took it very seriously, but the UK contingent not so much ;-) Personally my answers were Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler) and, since we were in the US, Fidel Castro...

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What a shower: METEORS will BLAZE a FIERY TRAIL across our skies

sandman

Halley's Comet

Agog with anticipation we queued for a couple of freezing hours in 1986 to get a look at it through an observatory telescope. You all know the punchline - yep, just a fuzzy dot against a lot of black. I thought about getting a t-shirt printed with just that and a big arrow pointing at it. You can make up the slogan yourselves ;-)

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Sane people, I BEG you: Stop the software defined moronocalypse

sandman

Might take a while

Drink driving is single-point stupidity - easy to identify and offering a simple (albeit) tough nut to crack. Poor software development on the other hand is polymorphous stupidity - tricky to define and hard to legislate against. Also, let's face it, developers are usually highly intelligent people, quite capable of inventing 6 new and impossible forms of stupidity before breakfast. Why yes, I have done testing and QA, how did you guess?

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UK.gov issues internal 'ditch Oracle NOW' edict to end pricey addiction

sandman

Please, please get rid of Oracle

Then I'll be able to make a fortune contracting to create training for the new systems. After that I'll be able to do the same again when half of them move back to Oracle because the new systems don't do what they wanted. Retirement plan sorted!

"How can you be too cynical?"

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BAD things happen to GOOD robots in America: hitchBot DECAPITATED

sandman

Strange City

I had the pleasure (it genuinely was, great people and mostly a fun time) of working there for a few weeks. It's quite an interesting place, there's a strip extending right through the centre as far as the amazing art museum which is historic, beautiful in places and pretty safe. The only downside being a very large number of homeless people, some of whom are pretty aggressive. I was strongly advised not to go to some of the other bits under any conceivable circumstances. On my last day before flying home another of the hotel guests was murdered in their room, which was then set on fire. As I said, an interesting place...

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So just WHO ARE the 15 per cent of Americans still not online?

sandman

Re: forgot the paranoid

Given what we know about data collection by our esteemed security organisations, that seems more like common sense than paranoia. The porch, rocking chair and beer sounds pretty sensible too. (if you were really paranoid you'd want to add motion detectors to stop the men in black sneaking up on you. Oh, possibly some really good radar, those black helicopters are a bugger to detect).

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W3C's failed Do Not Track crusade tumbles to ad-blockers' Vietnam

sandman

I take it the joke icon is ironic ;-) ? I'm thinking suing for restriction of trade would also be another possibility (particularly in the US).

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sandman

Irony

Well, yes, but I read this article on the Reg, which does seem to rely on advertising - which I don't see because I'm using Adblock. The question is, am I standing up to "The Man" or helping destroy the provision of free content which I enjoy reading?

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New study into lack of women in Tech: It's NOT the men's fault

sandman

Re: Media stereotypes?

My experience is rather different from yours, before I got involved in IT I spent many years as an archaeologist. Now that's a profession with a high percentage of women in it and they do get their hands dirty (and just about every other part of their anatomy). Being an idle sod I can't be bothered to find any stats, but again in my experience they also form a large part of the more scientific sectors of the archaeological world.

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Google robo-car in rear-end smash – but cack-handed human blamed

sandman

Re: What do the statistics tell us?

"What is different about the behaviour of these vehicles which contradicts the following drivers' expectations?"

They actually obey the rules of the road? ;-)

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Uninstalled Google Photos? Thought your pics safe from slurping? WRONG, bozo

sandman

Re: Nice...

Good point. It's all right for us la di da techie types to pontificate but the majority of users will just install an app, find out they don't want it any more and then (perhaps) uninstall it. They won't expect parts of it to continue working or the last permissions set to carry on regardless via another app.

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That man told me to stuff a ROLE up my USER ENTRY!

sandman

Can be a laugh

I worked for one company that had a very simple-brained HR system. Because my role (Project Manager) was a standard one it gave me a charge-out rate of 2k a day. My boss was grandly titled "Head of Technology", a non-standard role, therefore the system gave him the minimum charge-out rate of 1k a day. Obviously I couldn't help but point out our respective worth ;-)

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Humongous headsets and virtual insanity

sandman

Been there, done that

"Even something as simple as allowing people to become familiar with hazardous environments before they enter them in the flesh".

Back in the 90's I had the "pleasure" of a taking part in a demo IBM ran at Hursley - escaping a fire on an oil rig. With immersive VR and an angry foreman with Scottish accent shouting at you it was pretty damned realistic.

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The insidious danger of the lone wolf control freak sysadmin

sandman

Re: Internal wikis - do they ever live up to expectations?

We must have worked for the same companies ;-)

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Cops turn Download Festival into an ORWELLIAN SPY PARADISE

sandman

Re: What will the police do with the images they collect?

Being pedantic, we in the UK are not citizens, we are subjects (of the Crown) - not far from subjugation eh, and getting closer every year.

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