Please, In My Back Yard
20 posts • joined 10 Mar 2010
Please, In My Back Yard
A few years back I used the DWP's new online system to register as unemployed. Filled in all the information and clicked OK. I got a message saying that everything was fine and that my claim had been registered. Some weeks later having heard nothing from DWP I checked the claim online and it showed a status of pending. Assuming I had forgotten to click on the commit button I submitted it again. Again I got a message saying that the claim had been accepted.
Later I registered my claim by phone in the usual way. Did they backdate my claim, did they fuck. Apparently believing the DWP computer is not a sufficient reason for failing to file a claim by phone.
Turned out that the system was silently returning all of the applications to "pending" status after they had been submitted and acknowledged. Seems to me that a system that can send a false acceptance message probably has architecture issues.
I suspect that the system went live without ever being seen by a competent architect. So I'm sure that DWP management doesn't have any competent development staff because it doesn't know how to hire competent people. It doesn't know how to hire people who can identify competent people.
I assume that Ireland has some equivalent to the UK laws on conspiracy. The Irish government could file a European arrest warrant for judge Loretta Preska on charges of conspiracy to breach the data protection legislation. This would be largely symbolic, unless the judge is then foolish enough to book a romantic holiday in gay Paris.
Traditionally IT departments have a reputation for stifling innovation. There is some truth in that. But of the projects that get past them 75% will fail. The problem isn't that IT kills too many ideas. The problem is that they don't stop enough and too many dumb ideas get past.
"A terrible vision of some distant future in which the BBC filled its schedules with cheap cooking shows and talent contests filled the room."
Believe me without the BBC the quality of TV programming would be vastly different. There would be no need for the commercial TV companies to produce anything as exciting as Masterchef. We wouldn't even be able to import better stuff from the US because the only think that keeps their dismal output viewable is the need to compete with BBC's exports. Without the BBC television quality around the world would be in freefall.
Nice concept but the name is already taken. Social enterprises are commercial operations run to achieve worthy objectives. They are often run by charities or nonprofits.
Vanilla beans will be cheaper than castoreum but still too expensive for most purposes. Commercially vanillin is made from wood pulp. It's a by-product of the paper-making industry. So you should only expect castoreum in very high-end organic foods and the most expensive perfumes. The most expensive perfumes also use musk collected from the scent-glands of musk-oxen and civet cats. You definitely won't find musk in a vanilla protein shake.
I hope they aren't going to try to patent this. I came up with the idea years ago and posted it online.
Any half-way competent English teacher, or hack, would realise that the "sentence" has no subject although it has far, far too many adjectives.
The decline of the high-street is going to go a lot further before the retail industry wakes up and smells the rot. The traditional retail business is dying and most of the names you now see on shop-fronts will be history in ten years. Some of the "shops" will still be occupied but they won't be there to sell anything. They will be showrooms where manufacturers pay to display their products and perhaps accept orders for delivery. The showroom function is still necessary but it is expensive and the cost of supporting it will have to be paid by the web-only retailers.
What happened to GEC is that Lord Weinstock left. Maggie then allowed a law to be passed enabling creditors to demand interest on late payments. As this was the core of GEC's business model they collapsed. GEC relied on government contracts that it would complete and get paid for before it paid any of its subcontractors. A memorable event in my career was putting the whole of the GEC group on stop-shipment until they biked over a cheque. They did so immediately. I was hoping that their buyer would demand to escalate it to my management. The European General Manager was standing by my left shoulder when I made the phone call.
At an advertising industry conference in the late nineties I told some ITV executives about ad-skipping technology in video recorders. Someone else gave a talk about "Ad Avoiders." The words rabbit and headlights came to mind. I said that the 30-second spot was dying. It's still twitching though.
Time for another prediction. The next step will be for broadcast TV to switch almost exclusively to pay-per-view. Lots of people will turn off so PPV prices will climb and audiences will drop further. Eventually the only new material being produced will be advertorials.
The current sign-on page is an advertising opportunity for the venue providing the hotspot. This system takes that away. Who will pay for that?
Over the last few years I've spoken to senior managers in several middling-sized organisations. Without exception they said that they were trying to perform a cost/benefit analysis on their IT department. They wanted their IT Manager to justify his extortionate budget. (I've been here before. I insourced a service because its owners were perceived to be raking in cash. The owners sold us the company for a few percent above what they were charging us as an annual fee, I'm sure if we had more Chutzpah we could have had them pay us to take it away.)
The senior managers I referred to above were not exactly lying, although what they said was certainly not true. They really expected a new IT Manager who would cut the spending on IT services without impacting services. They also believed that it was the IT Manager's job to measure the benefits his department generated and that failure to do so was probably an attempt to hide profligacy. My response was somewhat more tactful than Churchill's when faced with a similar situation: "The answer is in the plural, and they bounce!"
The job of identifying the benefits produced by the IT department, as for every other department, belongs to the Chief Executive. Until CEOs take that on board then any attempt to measure return on investment is pointless.
I built a BI suite from my desktop thirty years ago. It wasn't difficult once I added the data warehouse. So yes there's no doubt that desktop BI is possible.
There are two questions that I still don't understand. The first is why any company would hire an executive who isn't capable of desktop BI. The second is why the universities would award a degree to anyone who couldn't do it.
Before September, usenet news was an invaluable source of information for those in the know. That hasn't changed much. It's still the best communications technology for fact-based communications, and not a few virtual communities. It's not going to die completely, but if the big servers go it will be balkanized. If necessary I'll hang a server off of my home broadband system to carry a handful of groups that interest me.
Maybe it's time to resurrect Fidonet?
I've used mind-maps for many years and I've found them to be perfect for building structured documents and lesson-plans for training sessions. I set out the mind-map on a large sheet of plain paper then, using a different colour, I draw a contiguous path through the topics. Where the path goes through a topic more than once it is a logical place to recap on it, and this gives added weighting to more important concepts.
I have never found any computer software that is remotely helpful in doing this. By far the best technology is paper. If you really need this in electronic format buy a Smartboard.
If there's no exchange of consideration then there's no contract. If there's no contract there's no license agreement.
The government's plan to give 50% of the population degrees will backfire. Because the probability of having a degree now correlates with age, it's no longer legal to use a degree as a selection criterion in employment. Anyone without a degree who thinks they have been discriminated against in recruitment or promotion has the option to take the employer to a tribunal.