* Posts by Corinne

427 posts • joined 5 May 2011

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Okay IT pros, change happens. But here's your Reg guide to staying in control

Corinne

In a number of previous lives, I've had to write and manage change control processes. The first thing I try to make the PHBs understand is that there really isn't a "one size fits all" option, you need different processes for "if this doesn't happen now, the live system is bust" to "we would quite like this expensive brand new functionality". Obviously in the first case you need to just have some form of sanity check then one responsible person sign it off, in the second case you need to go through full impact assessment (both positive & negative), costings, & consultation with various stakeholders.

At one organisation we ended up having 3 levels of change request process as we were working on a (broken) inherited system that needed immediate bug fixes to the live system, plus urgent functionality changes, and the replacement system being built from scratch.

I would tend to find the best cure for unnecessary scope creep would be the results of a proper impact assessment; "if you want this change it will cost you £mega, and put the whole thing back at least 6 months" can mean something that was absolutely critical suddenly becomes something they can easily do without.

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Vendor rep 'Stinky Sam' told to wash and brush teeth or lose job

Corinne

A few years ago I was recruiting for a PMO trainee. We had one candidate in his early 20's with exactly the right skills on his CV and had a decent telephone interview.

Come the day of the Face to Face, it's mid-summer with no aircon and we're in a small meeting room. This guy STANK of BO, very stale smelling and definitely not just fresh sweat from the hot day, and we ended up cutting the interview as short as we could politely. He also had so much ear wax that it was literally poking out of his ears, which is a more vomit inducing sight than you'd think unless you'd seen it.

When the agency called an hour later to see how it had gone, she was also a bit shocked. She said with school leaver candidates they tended to mention hygiene as part of the interview prep, but this guy had had 3 other jobs and been in his current role for over 2 years.

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Yesterday: Openreach boss quits. Today: BT network goes TITSUP

Corinne

Re: Thieves helping Openreach to go all superfast everywhere

That can't be the reason for my outage this morning - no copper here, bloody aluminium :(

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IT contractors raise alarm over HMRC mulling 'one-month' nudge onto payrolls

Corinne

Re: Huge backfire

Last earned income pension sounds great - until you realise what that "last earned" salary actually is and how it compares with real world salaries (hint: I increased my salary by 50% by moving to a private company years ago to do an almost identical job).

Core hours != hours worked. Flexi time works by you still having to work your 37.5 hours a week, just that it doesn't absolutely HAVE to be 9 - 5:30 each day. Core hours means you HAVE to start by 10:00am, and you CAN'T finish before 15:00pm. If you start every day at 10:00am you have to work until 18:30pm; if you want to leave by 15:00 every day then you need to start at 06:30am - assuming your building is open at that time which most aren't. And the availability of flexi working depends very much on what department you work for, the type of job, grade, and management discretion. Once you get to a half decent level of pay the expectation is the same now as in private industry, you work silly long hours for no extra.

I'm at a loss where you get the idea that civil servants get any paid time off apart from annual leave/bank holidays, compassionate leave when someone dies (discretionary, pray you have a decent manager if a close relative passes away), or sick leave.

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175,000 whinge to Microsoft about phone tech support scams

Corinne

Depends on how bored I am when they call, usually ask them which of my Windows machines it is as I have 4 devices running different versions. Often they aren't even smart enough to hazard a guess at any common version, though one did once & guessed Vista (which I don't have). If I'm round visiting my neighbour I often take calls when her phone rings as she's old & rather deaf and have fun with these as she doesn't have any form of computer in the house.

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You want the poor to have more money? Well, doh! Splash the cash

Corinne

Re: Vacation time!

You've just put all the street cleaners, park attendants, all other "menial" workers, nursery workers etc onto that unemployed list by replacing them with unpaid benefits claimants.

The Government has actually started doing as you suggest, making certain groups of unemployed people work for their benefit payments. Places like supermarkets are queuing up to employ people for virtually nothing rather than having to pay a legal wage, so any vacancies are being filled by the people on this scheme rather than taking them off the unemployment list. It actually costs slightly more to work than to not work - not just in any consumables but stuff like clothes having to be clean and presentable every day, hair (for those who have it) always looking clean and not greasy, wear and tear on outer clothing etc, without considering fares. Meanwhile these people are working full time, so can't take time to go to job interviews.

Also, once anyone has been claiming Jobseekers benefit for a while (think it's a couple of years) they have to attend the jobcentre for 8 hours a day anyway sitting there getting bored "job hunting".

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Ahmed's clock wasn't a bomb, but it blew up the 'net and Zuckerberg, Obama want to meet him

Corinne

Re: @Bluto Nash

Another one here, a couple come to mind immediately. The one where I went home early with flu & they blew up my office in South Quay - we worked out from the photos that if I'd been at my desk (as I would have been at that time normally) my old style VDU would have gone through my head. When they blew up a platform at London Bridge Station & I was on the train stopped at that platform; that one I was slightly hurt being thrown off my seat onto the ground. And of course Victoria Station when I left the station around 2 mins before the bomb went off right by the gates I used that day.

Never stopped me commuting into London daily for many years after, it took spinal problems to put an end to that.

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All hail Ikabai-Sital! Destroyer of worlds and mender of toilets

Corinne

I had this dilemma a couple of times recently. My somewhat elderly shower died, on a Sunday morning (of course), so I went next door & spoke to my neighbours son who is quite handy but not an "expert". He advised me on what to get, then came in & fitted the new shower unit for me. I then had to almost force some money on him for doing the work.

My other neighbour asked to borrow a corner of my garage to store his recently bought vintage motorcycle while he built suitable housing for it. I was very embarrassed when he asked me what I wanted for the storage, and after he forced me into giving him a figure he doubled it!

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Osbo PRINTS first Tory budget in 19 years with his BARE HANDS

Corinne

Re: It's like the sixth form common room

I wasn't going to get sucked into this but...

My sister, a well educated and experienced person, has been struggling for a long time to find a permanent, full time job. She's managed a few temping roles, and some part time work, but has lost out to people who have been in the exact industry sector of the job, or have experience of specialist (or often not so specialist) fields. She, like I have in the past, has been turned down as "over qualified". Plus not everyone is part of a couple. So your assumption that anyone who wants can work a 40 hour week, then double that income up , is completely unrealistic.

An hour a week overtime adding up to £5k a year? If both do that, at minimum wage you're looking at well under £1k a year.

Not everyone can move at will either. Assuming there ARE 2 people in the equation, if you move to get one of them a job then the other one is a bit stuck until they can find something. And what if they have children, to take out of school etc? Please don't try the old "they shouldn't have kids if they can't afford them" thing, maybe they could until one (or both) partners were made redundant - there's a lot of it about.

Cost of living is an interesting one. If you do manage to scrape together the deposit and buy, you need to also find lighting, heating, council tax, buildings and contents insurance, phone, internet access etc. Then you have travel, either by car or public transport - where I live, a return ticket for an under 3 mile journey is well over £5 by bus, so would be well over £100 a month just for that. Your scenario of commuting from a cheaper area really does show a lack of thought - I live JUST outside the M25 and commuting to London would be £4-5k a year for me - once I'd got to the station either by bus or paid £6 a day parking.

Add in unessential things like food, drinks, clothing (it does eventually wear out you know), toilet roll, shower gel & shampoo etc, cleaning products, any medications (no free prescriptions if you work, no matter how low paid).

Do come back with a detailed list of the costs of all these things, and show us just how much is left to pay that mortgage off (if they can get one at all)

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Kobo Glo HD vs Amazon Kindle Paperwhite: Which one's best?

Corinne

Re: Try Libraries

That's fine, if a) you have a decent local library you can get to when they are open, b) you don't re-read books and c) you don't mind using up half your luggage allowance with books when you go on holiday.

I like real books made of paper and have many hundreds in my home, but the convenience of having an e-reader for travel and holidays means I use that as well

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Why is it that women are consistently paid less than men?

Corinne

Re: Statistics, etc.

However there's a big difference between spending more and costing more.

In many households, the woman (especially if she is the main carer/housekeeper) does the majority of the regular shopping. And as they often do the majority of the cooking/cleaning etc, they tend to be the ones who choose what to buy even the larger cost items like white goods. As they tend to have more interest in decor they tend to be the ones to choose new larger household items like furniture too.

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Corinne

Re: for the benefit of women

You sound more bitter with every post I read from you. Believe it or not, but a woman needs to take at least a minimum amount of time off after giving birth to a) care for the baby in a way a man can't (e.g. breastfeeding) and b) for her own body to recover from pregnancy and birth.

Many women go back to work pretty quickly after this despite still being sore, probably knackered, maybe expressing milk every day for the baby's feeds, and most likely with their hormones still a bit weird. In general though it tends to be the woman staying at home to care for the children because they were in a lower earning job than their partner, so the higher earner keeps earning.

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Corinne

Re: Statistics, etc.

I'm sorry, but I can't quite understand what you mean by "spending gap". Are you implying that women spend more money than men in a family situation or something, 'cause that's how it reads.

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UK.gov to 'overhaul' hated digital services framework

Corinne

Re: Body shop

Unfortunately I think they mean the opposite, Government are going to consultancy companies to supply individual team members rather than hiring independent contractors - which can cost up to three times as much. I know I was being charged out at £1200 a day once (permy staff, salary in the mid £40k range), when the usual contractor rate for that role was a bit under £400 day rate.

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Fire, flood and vomit: Defeating the Great White Whale of Fail

Corinne

"You wouldn't test a new IT system before putting it live, would you?"

Erm I think that may be the wrong way round, i.e. "you wouldn't put a new IT system live before testing it"?

Otherwise all good common sense stuff - which I see far too infrequently!

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Naked cyclists take a hard line on 'aroused' protest participant

Corinne

Re: Same with women's bodies

It was a chilly day - nipples get erect in the cold (opposite effect on a penis usually). Plus some women have nipples that stick out all the time, as do some men.

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Trial halted as Kartoon defence attorney arrested after warrant discovery

Corinne

Re: IT angle?

"The trial of a man accused of fraudulently purchasing more than 150 fondleslabs..."

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OMFG – Emojis are killing off traditional 'net slang

Corinne

Re: Panic?

Should read "If FEWER people", not less /pedant

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Bone-tastic boffins' breakthrough BRINGS BACK BRONTOSAURUS

Corinne

Re: Biological accuracy

Being (mostly) serious replying to Dr Holdsworth above, I would consider elephants to be fully adapted to land yet they love wading into water & playing there. Who's to say that Brontosaurii weren't inclined the same way?

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UK's National Museum of Computing celebrates 10 glorious years

Corinne

Re: Background on RAF Eastcote - the orginal site for GCHQ!

Hmm, not 100% sure they have all their dates right in the history of Eastcote bit. I'm pretty sure there was at least 1 mainframe running George3 around 1984/5, running alongside the 2900 series machines. I worked for the DTI (as was) at that time, and everyone had to spend a couple of weeks there when they joined the IT department. Most of the mainframes ran from massive disc platters that needed to be swapped out, but the George 3 machine still used paper tape and I think there were still a couple of jobs then that used punched card too. I'm a bit vague on the actual details on how these big beasts ran - it WAS over 30 years ago & I was never into the big hardware tech!

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Winning a brand new BOFH T-Shirt is as simple as...

Corinne
Unhappy

Sigh - another competition where they demand your current work details. What about us poor people between contracts?

And why has nobody from El Reg told us why they need this info, despite some people asking?

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Watching porn makes men BETTER in bed, say trick-cyclists

Corinne

Re: Data or hearsay?

Yep totally agree that asking the men if they were "better" is a pretty pathetic bit of research. Did anyone think to ask the partners of these men, for example?

From personal experience & talking to many friends, men who watch lots of porn tend to have rather unrealistic ideas of what most women enjoy, and therefore are definitely not "better" in bed!

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UK government says goodbye sat navs, hello Xbox, e-cigs and Spotify

Corinne

Re: Pegging inflation to irrelevant consumer goods...

Don't forget travel as another outlier - train fares go up be more than inflation every single year, and fuel for cars the same.

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UK call centre linked to ‘millions’ of nuisance robo-calls raided by ICO

Corinne

Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

I had similar once, 3 calls in a day about PPIs. My response was "yes, the outcome has been that I've already reported your company as this number is TPI registered". They did try to tell me that TPI registration only lasts 3 months then you have to renew it, which I told them was a load of male cattle waste and did they want to discuss this in court. Didn't get ANY unsolicited calls on that number for weeks after...

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Scotland to get National ID system 'by the backdoor', campaigners mull challenge

Corinne

I thought everyone DID have a National Identity number, aka a National Insurance number (NINO)? What would they need another one for?

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Give biometrics the FINGER: Horror tales from the ENCRYPT

Corinne
Happy

The wonderful 1992 film "Sneakers" has the heroes breaking in to a secure building controlled by voice passwords, with the phrase "my voice is my passport" - I think that was a few years before the release of MAC OS 9 so probably where Steve Jobs got the idea from.

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Win! El Reg exceedingly fine mug collection

Corinne
Unhappy

Re: Ummm

Same - why on earth is my current employer a MANDATORY question??? This is the second ElReg competition I've not entered recently due to the IMO unnecessary and intrusive questions I need to answer to enter.

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'Hi, I'm from Microsoft and I am GOING TO KILL YOU'

Corinne

I had loads of fun with one of those calls recently from a guy who apparently worked for "the Windows company". I sounded worried and asked him which device was the one with the problem, which confused him a bit. I said that if he could tell me what version of Windows was causing the problem I would know which computer was having difficulties as I have more than 1 windows machine in the house.

He got quite irritated with me when I explained I couldn't let him have access to the right computer until I knew which one it was, and telling me what operating system it was using would let me do that. He kept telling me it was the "Windows" one. I got bored after around 20 minutes of talking in circles and tying him in knots, & told him where to go.

They also call my neighbour quite often - she's well into her 70's and slightly deaf, and still gets her daughter to use the cash machine for her and has never had a computer in the house...

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I, ROBOT ~ YOU, MORON. How else will automated news work?

Corinne

"Don't think I've got past the first paragraph of any of his pieces without thinking "Jeez, what a moron!""

So why do you keep on reading, and spend even more effort in posting that you think this?

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Britain needs more tech immigrants, quango tells UK.gov

Corinne

As far as I can see there are plenty of techs available in the UK - just not willing to work for the pittance that many of these companies are offering.

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Philip Morris seeks pay-per-puff patent to help you STOP smoking

Corinne

Re: Better hurry

"BTW, you owe me a new keyboard because of the stupidity of the idea that e-cigarettes could be allowed indoors"

Can you give any good reason (other than being an ignorant killjoy) why something that is legal & causes no harm to others should be banned anywhere indoors? I can completely understand why smoking cigarettes, which give off harmful smoke, should be banned in enclosed places due to the effects of "passive smoking". E-cigs don't give off any harmful smoke just a harmless vapour, and they don't smell like cigarettes either - despite someone trying to persuade me they could smell "fags" on me when I was using apple liquid!

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Corinne
Facepalm

Re: Don't forget

"Nicotine is one of the most addictive and lethal narcotics going"

I'll accept the "addictive" part of that, but one of the most lethal? Yes it CAN be lethal if you drink comparatively large quantities, like many things available. But suggesting that nicotine on it's own as used in vaping is inherently harmful is bullshit. If it was that harmful, do you think that any other form of NRT on the market today would be legal? There's very little difference between the nicotine sprays people who are trying to give up can buy, and how do you think patches etc work if not giving a smoker their nicotine in another form?

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Lies, damn pies and obesity statistics: We're NOT a nation of fatties

Corinne

Re: Moving the goals? @Tom38

BMI is, as Ledswinger says, only useful as a generalisation for large numbers, and "outliers" are possibly more common than those who fit the "average" mould.

I have broad shoulders, big hips, large rib cage. Someone can be the same height as me, and have a significantly higher level of fat but slimmer shoulders, rib cage & hips, and have a lower BMI. Muscle is denser than fat, so for 2 people with the same dimensions the more muscular one will have a higher BMI than the one with more body fat. There is so much variation in body types that a simple calculation based purely on height vs weight IS virtually useless.

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Stonehenge's HUMAN ABATTOIR was just a prehistoric Burning Man hippyfest site

Corinne
FAIL

Re: Not bad enough...

While you may be irritated by Trevor Potts in general, at least you could rant about him:

A) in the proper approved Rant of the Week style (vast amounts of capitals, exclamation marks etc). Though you do score points for the triple question mark

B) in the comments section for an article that has anything whatsoever to do with Trevor, e.g. comments for Trevor's own article or for the CoTW you are referring to. NOT in the comments for an article about Stonehenge where Trevor hadn't even commented.

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Starship Troopers beat Aliens, Robots AND Chuck Norris to WIN in a FIGHT

Corinne

Re: Just wondering

We'd have to be careful it wasn't a Pyrrhic victory - no point defeating the invading aliens if the method wipes out everyone with a brain on Earth!

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Boffins hunch over steaming cups of coffee to find HIDDEN SECRETS of caffeine

Corinne
FAIL

It slightly worries me that someone who reads El Reg doesn't seem capable of using a search engine to look up the definition of a word they don't know!

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Alien Ninja Fembot Pirates vs the Jedi SAS Chuck Norris startroopers: RUMBLE

Corinne

I think with many of the groups it depends on who is fighting who, and whether there's any alliances going on. Daleks will likely beat plucky civilians with improvised weapons (numbers dependant of course), but I don't see them matching up to some of the advanced weaponry of e.g. Mobile Infantry or Predators. We know from the film of the same name that Predators can beat the "Aliens" aliens with the help of a Plucky Civilian or two, but would they beat them on their own and again this is number dependant.

The thought I'm putting in to this suggests I have way too much time on my hands!

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Blighty's mighty tech skills shortage drives best job growth in years

Corinne

Re: Unsustainable and unrealistic my a**e

"If working for .gov.uk is so shit why don't you get a job in the private sector?"

Because civil servants are all lumped together by people like you, so they can't get a job in the private sector due to that bias.

All civil servants leave laptops in the pub or on the train? Not an awful lot of civil servants even have the use of a laptop, most use clapped out desktops - assuming they get in early enough to even use one as many buildings are hot-desk with only 60-70% capacity compared to staff & the desks have run out by 7:30am.

It's like when people talk about massive civil service wages; top management both centrally & in local government may get good salaries, but lower level staff definitely don't.

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Corinne

Would help the employers if they didn't seem to want only people who are experts in 3-4 different areas. A Junior PM/PMO role the other day wanted all the usual including stature to influence senior management whilst being happy to be the team dogsbody (travel, expenses, room bookings etc) plus be a specialist in complex finance, to be a SharePoint developer, do some BA work, and know VBA and SQL. So did they want an admin, a Programme analyst, a PM, a BA, an accountant, or a developer? Was paying £200-250 a day btw.

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NASA finds ancient films that extend Arctic ice record by 15 years

Corinne

I'm sorry to rain on their parade, but an extra 15 years of data extending the records to a whole FIFTY years means very little when it comes to climate change. For that matter, 500 years wouldn't mean that much. 50,000 would mean something...

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Boiling point: Tech and the perfect cuppa

Corinne

Re: Next week... the teapot review?

Try one of the old Brown Betty style teapots - much better flavour than any metal one

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Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000

Corinne

Re: Why not somewhere else in Yurope?

"Or hire a boat and launch it from International waters!"

Sadly that would make a) following it and b) the actual retrieval just a little bit hard. The last mission was a complete success apart from the little issue of it ending up somewhere in the English Channel, never to be recovered.

We mourn the loss of the playmonaut deeply, & would prefer to not lose another in a similar tragedy. Plus there's some expensive equipment going to be on board!

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IT blokes: would you say that lewd comment to a man? Then don't say it to a woman

Corinne

Re: Sceptical.

Richard I'm assuming from your name that you're a man, so would never have experienced this first hand. Another thing to consider is that predatory men will choose their moment to carry out their bad behaviours - the groping and bum pinching when no-one is looking, the obscene comments during a one on one conversation, knowing full well that many women won't make a loud and obvious fuss as they've learned that they will be accused of over-reacting, or told they should take it as a compliment.

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Corinne

" I think it's a bit harsh for people to be saying that these guys need to be fired when clearly they just don't know how to pick up "some" women."

These guys haven't just been clumsy in how they flirt, in some cases they have committed an offence (assault) while representing their company. That tends to be an instant dismissal offence in any company, and they are lucky not to have the police called and criminal charges laid.

I'm not a prissy prudish woman, I have been known to flirt in the office, I can out-swear half the men I know, and I fully accept that different people have different tolerance levels for this kind of thing. So what I and the vast majority of people do is start from the basis that everyone else IS someone who will take offence, then very slowly test the water to see what the tolerance levels are there. What I don't do is walk straight into a new environment & start swearing & making suggestive comments on day 1.

These men have crossed a line in both socially acceptable behaviour and the law.

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Corinne

@JustNiz

Next you'll be saying that women are asking to be raped because they are wearing high heels & short skirts (sigh).

Sexual harassment cannot be dismissed as "clumsily implemented" approaches! It is highly offensive, illegal in some cases, and often frightening for the victim. We aren't just talking about men who think "how about it then?" after a few drinks is a good chat up line, we're talking about obscene and crude comments to total strangers and in many cases physical assault - yes groping the body of a stranger does class as assault.

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Corinne

Re: Corinne

I'm very sorry to hear that Matt, and have a lot of sympathy for your gay colleague.

However cases like these are pretty rare, whereas men treating women in this kind of way are still far too common. The odd case of a woman acting in a predatory way towards men tends to be noticed BECAUSE it's so uncommon. Men treating women like this is barely noticeable because it still happens all too frequently.

Both the OP and myself have said that we definitely do not tar all male IT workers with the same brush, and that the majority are absolutely fine. However there is still a significant minority out there who seem to regard any woman as available and prey, and as a short and lame (so not physically imposing and can't really run away) woman I can find that very scary in a way that most men would have a problem in understanding.

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Corinne

Not quite sure what you're getting at here AC?

1: The gay guys I've met in IT don't act like sexual predators and make crude suggestive comments to the other men.

2: Objectionable women I have met. But women who make crude suggestive comments to all the reasonably attractive men (illegal), sexually harass them (illegal), grab their crotches (also illegal), denigrate their intelligence & suggest they can't know anything tech because they are men? Nope not met any of those.

On the other hand, the vast majority of guys I've known in IT are absolutely fine, nice guys, often exceptionally well behaved & gentlemanly.

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Corinne

I've read a lot lately about the steps F&SF Fan cons have taken in recent years to stamp out this kind of behaviour. That is the kind of environment where you DO get stereotypical spotty 18 year olds, often the basement dwelling nerd types, all over the place, and at the same time women dressed in costumes which can be erm "interesting" - yet they seem to manage to be getting better behaviour there the last few years than at these supposedly "professional" work conferences!

I probably wouldn't have avoided those companies booths, rather I would have gone there specifically to give a formal complaint followed up by a letter to the company HR. As said above, sexual harassment is a criminal offence and there's likely to be plenty of witnesses at an event of that kind.

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iPhone owners EARN MORE THAN YOU, says mobile report

Corinne

Not quite sure where any prejudice comes into this, I don't even own a smart phone and currently have no preference which I'll eventually get when my existing mobile dies.

I don't "make up" anecdotal evidence either, I was just commenting on what I'd noticed in my town (south east, bit of a crappy area) and what people I know have told me?

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Corinne

Hmm, from the (admittedly small) example of people entering & exiting my local JobCentre, it seems to be the opposite around my way. And going on friends and family evidence the higher income people seem to use android smartphones citing value for money for their required functionality, whereas the lower income tend more towards iPhones and quote hype to me as their reason for having them.

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