377 posts • joined 5 May 2011
Re: Infinite monkeys
"So if an infinite number of monkeys did manage to type out a brand new Shakespeare play, Shakespeare would lose out on all the royalties? How fair is that?"
Then by definition it wouldn't BE a Shakespeare play - how could it be by him if he didn't write it himself?
A touch unfair surely? Having worked on large government projects I can assure you that once you get below a certain level in the hierarchy people have zero influence on the decisions being made, and by definition their grade means anything they say must be worthless (according to the senior managers). Good luck with the industrial tribunal after sacking the filing clerk for a bad decision by someone they've never even seen or spoken to.
Plus you may not realise what salaries civil servants get in central government - how many £15-25k a year people do you need to lose to pay back a 9 figure loss?
Re: Toughen up?
A rape threat is a terrifying thing for a woman, it's not the kind of thing that can just be ignored! Always looking over your shoulder, having to adjust all your normal behaviour to be on the defensive "just in case". Even ending up not daring to step out of your own house because some psycho is stalking you.
Or are you one of those guys who think women should be covered up at all times because daring to show 2 inches of leg above the knee, or wearing makeup & heels (expected in many occupations) means they are "asking for it"? Or one of the guys who think that if a woman attends a fan convention then sexual harassment & groping should just be accepted?
They talk about the amount that torrent downloading has dropped, but do they state anywhere that there has been any increase at all in legal purchase of downloads? Because the whole argument for blocking all the torrents (despite them having perfectly legal uses) was that people were downloading music illegally instead of buying it.
All these comments suggesting its all what IT wants vs what the user wants, nothing in there about the needs of the business?
I still don't get this recent idea that all users of a company system should be treated like individual customers, as though their desires were the most important aspect. Surely the company as a whole is the customer, so what that needs from an IT system should be the priority? In many jobs there are restrictive requirements that may not suit all individual employees but you never hear of suggestions that say, the building trade needs to find ways of letting people work in nice clothing without it getting ruined, or that food manufacturers should find ways of letting their workers not have to wear overalls & hairnets, or that people working in the nuclear industry "prefer" not to have to take all the necessary precautions.
I do a job, I expect the employer to supply me with the appropriate tools for doing that particular job. If it isn't to my personal preference then sad, if I worked in a uniformed field then I'd have to wear the specified uniform & not choose whatever colour or cut that I happened to like.
Re: they won't need these 70k in equipment anyway
"Of course the bit of me that's run budgets knows that the equipment budget is likely capital (and thus subject to amortisation over a number of years) and any consultancy would be revenue (which is booked straight to costs)."
Not in the old days in the Civil Service - consultancy was always capital costs. So contract staff could come out of capital rather than current, meaning you could have more staff that weren't included in running costs (which permy staff were).
Re: Deiberately missing the point???
"(I suggest a fair figure would be 75% of the equivalent interest, excluding capital repayment, on a 25 year mortgage on the property"
So it would be fair for the property owner to have to pay 25% of the interest, and pay all the maintenance and legal requirements (not insubstantial) and still pay off all the capital themselves? It would actually COST them a large amount of money every year for the privilege of renting a property, so there would be absolutely no reason to own a rental property.
Maybe you think that would be A Good Thing, but plenty of people prefer to rent or may have the kind of job where they move around a lot so renting is the best option for them. Or just can't borrow the money from the banks to buy their own property. But no, there won't BE any rental properties because your lovely idealistic idea of limiting rents to under the interest payments would stop anyone from being a landlord.
Re: Erm... really?
Similar thing with me, I quit being a union rep in my youth because I thought that the purpose of the local union committee was to look after the needs of the members in that area - instead, we'd spend the whole of the union meeting discussing things like fair trade coffee & whether we should go on a work to rule to support some totally unrelated industry sector who were striking over "only" getting an 18% pay rise that year (this was in the days before sympathy striking was banned, we'd had a rise of around 5% that year)
Re: Maybe this will incentivise operators
"And don't get me started about machines that don't give change - if I ever have any time left on a ticket I always try to give it to a new arrival."
Doesn't work round my way at the Council car parks - they've all switched over to the ones where you have to put your car registration number into the machine & it's printed onto the ticket. Bearing in mind that to park for anything over 4 hours there currently costs £6.50 (it's £2 or less for under that, not exactly central London out here in the sticks) I think that's a tiny bit stingy.
Then again, half the machines went through a phase of not liking 50p pieces a while back, and whenever the Treasury slightly reduce the weight of coins - both 10p and 5p are definitely thinner than they used to be, visibly so in the case of 10p - then the parking machines always take weeks or months to catch up.
And they still don't take £2 coins either (sigh)
Please try to get just a FEW facts right before generalising and laying into the entire body of public servants.
Police, armed forces, health workers, local government and central government employees all have different packages and T&Cs, you can't assume that because one type gets a particular benefit then all the others will.
Police may retire at 55, normal retirement age for most civil servants is 67 and likely to increase soon.
Lots of money? Typical central government clerical pay in central London is about £15k - £17.5k, outside London it ranges from £14k - £16.5k.
"Gold plated" final salary type pensions are fine - provided the final salary is half decent. 40% of £17k isn't exactly what I would call excellent.
Actually "twat" has for an awfully long time meant a certain part of the female anatomy, so "you fat twat" means the same as "you fat cunt". There are few people today who accept cunt as "nice" language so why should twat be considered OK?
The Cloud =/ just iTunes for many
From what I can work out, the heirs are after access to data held on the deceased mother's Apple account. There is so much pushing these days for people to upload all their data to "The Cloud" and to use their on-line accounts as their prime data storage facility that I would guess that the mother had stored plenty of non-iTunes stuff there e.g. family photos.
The drive to get everything mobile these days is such that many people no longer have a PC, laptop or any other device than their tablet so they can't back up to anything other than the Cloud, and storage limitations mean they may not have the room on their device to keep everything on it.
Me? I'm paranoid about letting all my valuable data be the responsibility of some external service provider where I have no control over it or them, and tend to store everything on one of those old fashioned PC thingumijigs which I back up to a portable drive.
I used to play WOW as a casual player - by that I mean I didn't belong to a raid guild that had mandatory raiding nights, and I would "only" play a couple of evenings & most days at the weekend. I would enjoy levelling and working towards things. Now it's a just a grind, the quests start to be boring after a couple of toons have been levelled, and there's virtually no diversity when you spec & very little for gems, enchants etc. I suddenly realised a few months back that I hadn't been bothered to log on for at least 4 weeks, and had no inclination to do so.
Diablo II was fun, and for me more importantly was my game of choice if the internet was down. I would have bought & tried Diablo III IF it was available in non-connected mode, but always-connected totally killed the idea for me.
Re: Test subject
"We celebrated his 80th birthday in December"
Average UK lifespan is 81 --- so he's currently, err, less than average.
Maybe - but is that the overall average lifespan in the UK. Women live on average about 4 years longer than men, so he's already above the MALE average lifespan.
Re: "legacy systems effectively impose a debt on an organisation"
Which is why you do a CBA for any proposed change. I hate change for the sake of it, there has to be a genuine reason why you do it other than "but it's the new trendy in thing this month" or "everyone else is doing it".
In the case of the industrial control systems or the claw hammer, the existing tool is fit for purpose and you wouldn't get any benefit from changing it. In the case of somewhere like a retail environment, if the competition has carried out an upgrade that has brought them more customers then chances are the change is worth doing. So all very dependant on the circumstances like so many things.
Re: "legacy systems effectively impose a debt on an organisation"
"The older an app is, the longer you've had to amortise the cost leaving you debt-free. Once you've paid for the app, you have a sunk cost, but not debt."
Not strictly true. The older an app is, the more chance that it's no longer fit for purpose because a) there may be legislative changes (think financial services) or b) the world has moved on. To update or add to the legacy apps can be a tricky business as usually the underlying OS and/or supporting software have been changed over the years, so everything needs to be updated to the latest version. Which usually has it's own quirks that have to be allowed for leading to a complete rewrite. Even minor updates can be troublesome as for very old software there are fewer and fewer people who are experts.
Add in to that the complexity of a system that's been added to and tweaked multiple times over the years to allow for necessary changes, or even things some marketing wonk thought were a good idea at the time, with maybe imperfect documentation of the changes, and suddenly you can have a complete nightmare on your hands.
"..... is a recognition that legacy systems effectively impose a debt on an organisation. The overheads associated with keeping old apps alive impose costs on a business and also hinder its ability to change quickly.
“If you implement a major piece of physical infrastructure, full lifecycle costs are in the accounting treatment,” he said. “We don't do that in IT so we use misleading return on investment calculations.”
I'd quite like to know what projects he's been working on, as I never found this. In my experience organisations fall into 2 camps - projects that must pay for themselves in cold hard financial terms, and those who don't.
Those who don't may track project costs, but haven't done a full CBA at the start of the project at all, just a costs estimate. Those who DO require financial payback from a project perform a proper full Cost Benefit Analysis right from the start which usually has a section on lifetime running costs including maintenance, and a comparison with the "do nothing" option which should always be part of a project proposal or feasibility study. This isn't just a tool for big monolithic projects, but can be scaled right down for even the most piddling little projects - only time it isn't really worthwhile is for stuff coming in under about £50k.
Re: Worst job adverts
Hmm, I wonder which the of these types the advert was that dropped into my inbox the other day. The requirements included must have a 2:1 Bachelor's degree, and must have less than 3 years working experience.
Worst job adverts
I've seen some pretty awful job adverts in my time as I'm sure we all have, and thought it might be amusing if we recorded some of the best/worst (depending on your viewpoint). There are various types that have their own characteristics, I have some favorites.
The ones where the advert was clearly written by either an HR drone or the recruitment agency, with zero understanding of the subject matter. This has sub-categories of requiring impossible experience, or consisting of a long list of buzz words and not much else.
Those where the employer wants someone with a very mixed bag of unrelated skills like 1st line help desk, project planning and technical DBA/application support. The 2 main reasons for this are a) they are too stingy to pay for 2 people to do 2 unrelated jobs or b) they had someone who for whatever reason picked up lots of unrelated bits & pieces over the years and the employer then demands a clone of that person.
The advert is so very specific that whoever wrote it has one particular person in mind, so they wrote the advert to suit that person - I call this "the MD's nephew" as much of the time the chosen person is a relative of someone with clout.
Adverts where the rate/salary quoted is so incredibly low compared to typical rates for that role that you know the employer really has no sense of reality at all. There can be a number of reasons for these adverts e.g. there was someone doing the job for years, who took on higher level work but never received promotion or a decent pay rise, or the accountants think that a fair contract rate is to take the annual salary and divide it by the number of working days in a year (this is common with public bodies. Or those who just think that in the current economic climate they can offer half what was the going rate (or less) and still get good quality candidates.
Re: Cheers Reg!
The vast majority of the junk mail I receive (bar Virgin Bloody Media) is pushed through the door by people other than the postman, I reckon maybe 8-10% only of the leaflets arrive via the Post Office, the rest is either leaflet distribution companies or people employed by the one company to leaflet the area. Opting out would make very little difference to me sadly.
Re: faulty premise no.1
I think that's to a degree what Trevor is saying, he can't see any compelling reason to take advantage of this upgrade right now and if he was in the UK where sim only contracts are significantly cheaper than phone+sim contracts, then he wouldn't be upgrading but saving the money. Only difference is (assuming I read it right) that there are few cost savings in Canada by going sim only, and he may as well get a free brand new device to replace his current year old one.
Re: "He used my access to make you a domain admin?!"
When I worked for a Financial Services company, my boss was very fussy about locking the screen even if we just went to the loo or for a glass of water. If he saw any of us hadn't locked theirs, he would send a spoof email to the rest of the team from that account - usually a resignation notice with a really silly reason given.
That was, up until the day he left his own PC unlocked and his PA sent us all an email from him. I would repeat the reasons given for his "resignation", but there are laws regarding obscene publications!
Lee D I am very sorry that you had such a dreadful experience, and in your situation I would probably do the same as you. However in the specifics under discussion here, it's very much a case of your word against theirs whether they demanded or requested the info (unless of course it's in writing) and there's a massive difference between being dismissed from an existing job and obtaining a new one.
An employer doesn't have to give any particular reason why they take on one candidate rather than another, so there would be no case for a tribunal.
I've been to interviews where I've been asked to bring examples of work I'd produced for previous employers and refused, pointing out that as it was a highly confidential project they wanted me for then surely they could respect that I was keeping the confidentiality of previous employers. I was turned down for one job "because they felt I wouldn't be as dedicated to the company as another candidate" despite it being a contract role!
All very good standing by your principles but in the long run it means you don't get the job, it goes to someone who was willing to hand over the data. Maybe if you have skills that are in short supply that's fine, but for the majority of jobs these days there are many people applying for every decent job and employers can pick & choose on a whim who they take on.
Re: The three rules for wanna-be feral dogs, AKA "the three `S`es":
Chances are that these dogs don't have an owner as such, - either run-aways, dumped by owners, or bred from existing un-owned dogs.
Unfortunately these days I would guess there's a good chance that a fair number were bought as fashion accessories (especially as they seem to be mostly small "handbag" dogs) then dumped when the owners realised that dogs aren't dolls and do crap, need feeding, cost vets bills, bite people when treated badly etc.
I've noticed that as a generalisation people who own very small dogs have a greater tendency to fail to discipline them, probably because for many people they are baby substitutes (think old dear with yappy bad mannered toy poodle or King Charles spaniel). They also seem to think that because they are small it isn't as important as with big dogs to make them behave, though the 2 worst injuries I've ever received from dogs were from a Chihuahua and a Yorkshire terrier and I've had a LOT to do with bigger dogs too.
"Digital recording revenue first overtook physical in 2012."
Is this some new definition of "digital" I hadn't heard about? Back in the days when CDs were first introduced the argument was always that the sound quality on these "digital" recordings was different to that on the analogue vinyl albums. Have CDs suddenly become analogue recordings? Or are people being lazy & using the word "digital" to describe downloaded, virtual copies?
Re: Only Half?
"I know once we got management to allow us to actually interview people before they shipped over from india, not a single person has sucessfully shown any of the abilities they claimed"
This, ten times over. I worked on a programme a little while back where the service manager insisted on interviewing all the off shore people who would be working for him. A 3 day visit overseas to confirm the recommended appointments (mostly internal transferees) ended up being about 4 week-long trips to try to find people who were barely adequate let alone good at the job.
A bit confused here
I've scanned the Patent which is claiming an invention (so not a design patent), and references a number of related patents filed by the same company on the same day which are summarised in the patent. Between them they seem to have patented ANY "electronic device" that has any form of I/O control set into the housing that isn't an obvious inset device e.g. a keyboard or mouse/tracker.
So ignoring all the cases of Prior Art that exist (TVs, PC screens, Kindle, even remote control car keys) , they seem to have tried to patent every possibly permutation of controls embedded into the housing of "an electronic device".
But they also list a load of other patents which are referenced, many of which seem to already cover things claimed in the Apple patent. Hence my confusion - they seem to be patenting a general idea rather than a specific application of an idea (which I thought wasn't supposed to happen anyway, but I may be wrong there) , while there have already been a number of other patents under the same USPO system that use the same idea.
Oh and Dave126 - that's really only the same as calling any e-book reader a Kindle, or even any vacuum cleaner a Hoover. In general people tend to refer to many device types by the brand of the most famous version of it
Just about all my spam these days is boring. A nephew got quite excited a few weeks ago when I received an email telling me the my video had topped the charts on a particular site, until I pointed out that I've never even posted a single photo on the web let alone a video to the 5-6 different hosts that keep telling me how popular it is.
But we DO know that dogs exist, they are not just hypothetical. We DO know they can be made, it isn't just a guess that if such a thing DOES exist then they may be brought into being by this particular method. And we DO know they have sharp teeth & have been known to bite. This case is closer to saying you want to get some alien life form from the next galaxy as a pet!
Must admit it was a while ago (about 7 years) since I last worked in a place that logged actual hours, but there have been a few places that did. Interestingly, the employers who were best at requiring this weren't companies that were charging a customer but for people doing in-house development e.g. a financial services company, the Civil Service.
A big element of inaccurate estimating is not breaking a task down into it's component parts. I would ask a developer how long an activity would take, and get "about a week" back from them. I would then ask them about each individual task & how long THAT would take, and that tended to add up to well over 40 hours. Feed in any dependency time (amazing how many people think a code review can be done instantaneously with no resources used!) and you'd end up with a more realistic estimate nearer 2-3 weeks.
But a lot of the failure to estimate & track time spent on a project properly I blame on MS Project and lazy project managers. Nowadays PMs only seem to want to do "quick & dirty" planning & tracking with the nice & easy MS tool, which used to be incapable of true effort tracking and even now that is a pain to do. But it's quick and easy to produce an outline plan in, lets you do % based tracking (notoriously inaccurate) and produces pretty charts for senior management
Re: Few CIOs or VP ITs can code
From the other side of the table, I was planning and estimating projects when I worked in the Civil Service. It would be virtually guaranteed that whatever estimate you gave for cost, you would be told to deliver the project for around 20-40% less money. This obviously meant you would automatically "pad" the estimates so you'd (hopefully) have enough money to complete. And employ the tightest & most painful Change Control process seen to mankind!
Sandman I don't suppose this director was a believer in "Agile" was he? I've noticed that with many (especially smaller) software development companies the term is used to avoid any types of control whatsoever.
An example of this is where my nephew works, they have their "scrum meeting" every morning lead by the so-called project manager. Everyone working on the project verbally reports progress and blockers, however the PM doesn't even take any notes or actions so every day the same problems come up as no-one has done anything about them. They have no change control, no proper plans, no progress reporting, no risk & issue tracking etc. This is because they do "agile" development so controls just get in the way (sigh).
There's a little technique from the Project Management world that can be applied here called Change Control. Once something is signed off, every change needs to go through Change Control & have an impact assessment carried out which details cost and time impact of the change - this assessed change request needs to be signed off by management. It's amazing just how many "critical" changes are suddenly dropped when senior management need to sign off a large delay or chunk of cash to implement it.
Re: Too late
MrDamage Nokia had a perfectly good operating system pre-windows, in fact they had about 3 either in use or under development. They just had the crappiest UI imaginable. A decent UI stuck on any of their selection of available OSs would have made a very nice smartphone indeed.
Bearing in mind the budget cuts all round on government spend, the money to pay for this will have to come from somewhere - most likely the "traditional" IT budget. As one of the complains of coppers these days is the hours every day they have to spend writing up reports which they will now be expected to do on their shiny new iPad minis, I foresee an awful lot of claims for sick leave & compensation due to RSI related conditions in the future
Re: Did I just read a thinly veiled mysogynistic rant or what?
"But obviously map-reading/asking for directions is another one"
You forgot suggesting that they RTFM, exacerbated by when it goes wrong showing them exactly where it says in aforementioned manual where they went wrong. Must admit I tend to do that one with the prime intent of triggering The Crazy
Re: Did I just read a thinly veiled mysogynistic rant or what?
"even though their basis of disagreement was (it turned out) provably incorrect..."
Actually proving this type of guy incorrect is if anything MORE likely to trigger The Crazy. My favourite one was a guy who knew Everything There Is To Know About Cars who literally wouldn't talk to me for weeks (after shouting at me for a bit) when he found out I was right after a discussion about the favoured donor chassis for Davrian kit cars.
Re: Did I just read a thinly veiled mysogynistic rant or what?
Waking up The Crazy in certain men can be very easy. Anything that suggests they aren't super strong physically. Anything that suggests they don't know everything there is to know about cars/trains/boats (insert vehicle of choice or all). Anything that suggests that you know more than them on any technical subject. Anything that suggests they aren't exceedingly attractive to the opposite sex even if they have a beer belly, flobbly backside, thinning hair & look about 50 when they are 30. Basically anything that touches on this type of man's enormous but fragile ego.
Callam that's a bit unfair - very little electrical equipment can be left switched on & completely covered up, they need to be able to cool somehow. Throw something like a winter coat over any router so heat can't escape and it will get hot enough so it either stops completely, or actually catches fire.
Re: This is confusing
Oh gods no not the National Trust! I know a fair number of stories about them (some experienced first hand) which basically show them as money grabbing and completely insensitive to the very things they should be preserving e.g. bulldozing a 400 year old hedge to replace it with something "neater", or asking 3rd and 4th generation tenants to pay holiday let type rates for their homes.
Surely it depends on what kind of "modern life" you have? My next door neighbour is 70, her daughter recently bought her a very simple "dumb" mobile in case of emergencies and she doesn't even have internet access in her house but she seems to survive very well. If you work in a service industry chances are you aren't even allowed to carry a mobile during work hours (think shop assistants, bus drivers).
In the case of the author of this article, the requirements of his job have developed around having the latest technology available at all times; as a tech author that's right & proper. But for someone who isn't in that kind of a job, or in a support role, the tech isn't necessary. Yes it can be more convenient, but for the majority of people it isn't a necessity as such.
Re: Phoneless Phreedom @DiViDeD
"Plus if you get into trouble the SAR guys can concentrate on people who came prepared for emergencies and merit the help more"
So you missed the bit that said how "one of the husbands drove 86km round trip every morning and evening to get a signal" - where they were having a mobile phone on him would have been pointless as there was zero reception
Re: Happy Solstice, all :-)
Oooh yes Swarthy, even the name of that holiday is Christian - from All Hallows Eve i.e. the day before All Saints Day.
One of my favourite laughs is when devout Christians use a 5 pointed star or fairy (as opposed to angel) on the top of their tree and really don't see the irony while they denounce pagans.
Re: Happy Solstice, all :-)
I missed the Solstice on here, but happy Yuletide in general to you Jake.
One version I heard about why the date of the 25th ended up being used rather than the actual solstice is that it takes approximately 3-4 days to be absolutely sure the sun is rising earlier each morning (allowing for things like cloud cover etc.).
I'm feeling a bit morning after-ish right now, but could happily go on for ages about just how many aspects of Christian symbolism are borrowed from other religions - Easter is even more fun than Christmas, with even the name having pagan origins :)
Re: Rent Control wont work either
Commuting further is fine if you have a decently paid job with half reasonable working hours, but many people in service industries are on or close to minimum wage so additional commuting costs can make a massive impact on net income. Add in maybe working unsociable hours so public transport isn't really an option & suddenly you don't have office cleaners, early morning or late night café workers etc.
Re: Damn those Condem slimeballs
Do you really, honestly think that the other lot would be any better - the bunch that was going to impose ID cards on us? Even worse control-freakery from them than the current ones.
ICT Professional != proper "techy"
From what I've seen & heard over recent years, the term "ICT professional" doesn't just cover technical people (coders, architects etc) but also includes Hell Desk people, project/programme managers & BAs, and even in some cases anyone who works in a call centre & is therefore chained to a PC during working hours.
Re: "£91m in IT assets will be worthless five years from now"
Nearly all the terminals have all been closed down at my local jobcentre, so anyone who doesn't have internet access at home for whatever reason has to find some other place to go.
I really hope that the new system is light years ahead of the existing Universal Jobmatch web site, as that's one of the worst sites I've ever visited in so many ways.
Re: Why? easy peasy
I was a civil servant for a long time many years ago, and I've worked on Government projects that delivered on time and to budget - I've also worked on some total failures. In general the projects that worked were clearly defined and had a strong senior manager that pushed back on any requests for major spec changes, and the failures were those where that didn't happen. Interestingly I don't think it made much difference whether the work was done in-house or outsourced.
But saying its "The Civil Servants" who cause function creep is a bit disingenuous, suggesting that all civil servants are the same and all have the ability to do this. Yes you do get change requests coming in all the time, usually from the end user section who think it might be useful/fun to have some enhanced functionality they hadn't asked for previously - I found that well run change request management including cost and time impact analysis stopped the majority of those from going through.
More often the requirements were changed by either a minister wanting the enhancement, or legislative change; in one project I worked on back in the massive mainframe system days we were told of a pretty fundamental (to the function) legislative change & were told we had 3 months to implement it.
I got the impression that what happened to the UKBA was something else I've seen and heard about a few times in government programmes. Don't know about now but back in the day all government IT HAD to be financially viable i.e. must pay back in cost savings over a defined period of time, and usually the only way to cost justify the work was to reduce jobs. So the work would be planned, then all time contingency (and usually much more) squeezed out by command from above. The job cuts would then be planned according to the rather ambitious timescales. If the work was delivered late or not at all, or the very optimistic benefits were found to have been over estimated it made no difference - the jobs would still be cut. This would leave the department short of staff as they were still using the old system.
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