21 posts • joined 21 Sep 2012
... they don't churn enough shit into the world as it is.
A heavenly fellow named Jesus
Does with food what he bloody well pleases
Though what he really oughta
Add to wine made from water
Is a varied selection of cheeses.
Re: British Intelligence
Upvote for the comment and the mention of "Most Secret War", a book that has enthralled and inspired me all the many times I've read it!
Re: Languages? Its not just that
Re: Never extrapolate a curve close to a turning point
Nicely put, another big ol' thumbs-up! Next management meeting I attend, I need somebody like you with me ;-)
Re: Never extrapolate a curve close to a turning point
I (hope and) think maybe you're right, although my own experience suggests that the golden age of casual programming is not yet passed. I'm certain that your points 1 and 3 will prove your point 2, but it's not a universal truth quite yet.
Upvote because I'm a dreamer and eternal optimist as well :-)
First of all, an interesting and insightful article, thank you!
Like the author, I have around 25 years commercial IT experience: software development, training and support. I also look back fondly to the days when genuine skill was appreciated and paid at (admittedly) a very generous rate. My pay rate hasn't changed in years, and this isn't something I'd complain about, given that it started off way above the average for the hours and effort expended, but some things certainly have changed.
In the late 1990s I was a technical trainer, loving the experience of having a room full of geeks eager to learn the ins and outs of (e.g.) NetWare, TCP/IP, etc. but in the space of a few months, a quite astonishing and noticeable change meant it became much more common to have an audience concerned only with passing a specific exam, with no interest in what had been learned from experience, and much less in sharing any (often limited) experience of their own.
Whereas at one time it was a novelty for enthusiastic but amateur programmers (yes, Office developers usually) to be able to pick up tips, it is now with monotonous regularity that I am asked to help out with projects undertaken by people who have little or no genuine interest in programming, but don't think it's worth their while employing experts to write applications when they can cobble something together from scripts downloaded from the web.
I'm not talking about home users who want make an address book in Access or use mail merge to send out party invitations, but 'professionals', for whom building an application is one of their many varied IT roles.
Amongst the questions I've (genuinely) been asked in the past fortnight alone by 'IT professionals': "How long would it take me to write an app?" and "Would it be easier to write this without using variables?".
So, of the million or so 'IT professionals', which presumably includes support staff, network engineers, designers, developers et al, how many are doing what they're actually good at, and (more to the point) how many are appreciated for it?
Re: learn2economy, ffs!
Yes, the only other place I can think of is Mars, and that's surely neither European nor sufficiently connected to support oursourced IT services yet?
Galaxy would be a bit too non-specific and Milky Way just ridiculous.
Re: @Lunatik re Tesco haters
Fair enough. I can't disagree with anything you have said, and I'm not trying to idealise HMV any more than I'm trying to demonise Tesco. In fact I agree with more-or-less everything you've said as stated fact, but I'm (perhaps very simply) making the observation that the growth of Tesco towards sole provider for a large proportion of us is worrying.
Not being able to walk the length of a high street, pay unnecessarily high prices or endure second-rate service are good reasons for abandoning old-style (we might call them) outlets... I do make informed decisions of my own based on the same criteria.
I'm not wistful for some fictional past golden age, nor do I think everybody should abandon supermarket shopping. I'm just saying that, in my view, we're allowing ourselves to become willing -- enthusiastic even -- participants in a way of life that will make an ever-smaller number of ever-larger companies the sole means for us to obtain what we need.
The context of the thread, of course, is less to do with whether a local butcher goes out of business on account of a new Tesco store, or a brownfield site is paved over to make way for a three-acre car park: Amazon doesn't exactly qualify as a small fish in this argument, neither Spotify... but the upshot of this trend is that people who are squeezed already become more squeezed, individuals and companies that take risks are the small ones, and the ones who get to make the largest amount of money from those efforts are the biggest ones.
@Lunatik re Tesco haters
A 'hatred' (morbid dislike?) of Tesco isn't some psychotic condition, but for the most part a concern about how so much now passes through their hands into ours: food, clothing, music, electrical goods, etc.
I have no problem with companies becoming successful, and I don't think that sole-trader boutiques are the answer to everything, but when one company has so much control over the pricing and distribution of so many types of product, how can we think that's a good thing?
Yes, I understand the temptation to buy a CD for £5.99 when it would cost £7.99 elsewhere, and I know too that it's less easy to find other outlets, but this is all part of the same problem: high-street shops, even big names like HMV, are at the mercy of shoppers' whims, and it's our own collective predilection for out-of-town mega-store shopping that has put paid to many of them.
I'm not pointing fingers, and I'm don't want to come across as condascending or judgemental, but if the masses who bemoan the loss of HMV and the like had recognised the cumulative effect of their choice to buy pretty much everything from one single retailer, would it have made them choose to buy elsewhere instead?
Tesco can afford to sell anything it wants to at almost any price because once it has the footfall, its customers will generally stock up on everything they need, and what you really need is rarely priced any better than other retailers, even outdoor markets and independent traders, though the margins may be significantly higher on account of dictatorial deals with farmers and suppliers and relatively low costs (economy of scale, in comparison with running a smaller outfit).
Perceived convenience and cheapness may feel like the number-one priority, but if that's the case, we should be brave enough to confess it and to admit that everything else -- the failure of small businesses, the stifling of choice and creative enterprise, the increasing amount of power over us in the hands of a small number of ultra-powerful corporations and the undoubted back-room deals that allow planning permission against the will of communities up and down the country -- is of no importance.
And, if we do admit that, then we have essentially given up on any sense of belonging to a greater community, a nation of people, in favour of instant gratification. We do have the power to shape our own future, but only if we don't shit every morsel that's fed to us.
If this sounds like a mad left-wing rant then I'm sorry... I'm a modestly successful businessman myself and have no axe to grind -- my concern is that, in thinking that 'Tesco haters' is a term by which these concerns can be dismissed (like 'commie' or 'tree-hugger'), it may be that a gigantic swathe of the population just can't see the wood for the trees.
Inference without evidence
"After a bit of a stroll, we caught up with the man she fingered..."
Nothing in the picture suggests that anything of the kind went on.
@Mike G Re: Burn him!
Yes, but what do you really think?
I don't mind being compared by age...
... if that's all that's being compared.
I know how the internal combustion engine works, am quite at home with all kinds of technology and work with a fine and varied selection of programming languages, old and new.
That I have anything more than greying hair in common with the dundus who does more than most to make the celebration of wilful ignorance 'fun' would be a slur, to put it mildly.
I'd be inclined to agree...
... if 'broad adoption' of IE10 meant we could effectively ignore the various shambolic incarnations that went before it, but I fear this is unlikely to be the case for a long time.
Upvote for the reminder that optimism is the cheerful upside to weary cynicism.
Bah, horsemeat in burgers?
What about the countless camel toes in Primark leggings?
Re: Out of the two.
No, they're all completely standalone and have their own unrelated storylines.
What about the Wales?
Isn't Wales the simplest standard of measurement? As in "would fit 100 times into Wales" or "is three times the size of Wales"... just re-adapt to "is four times as long as the word 'Wales' printed in 12pt Times or "is six times faster than an object that could reach Cardiff from Swansea in the time it takes the average tourist to learn how to pronounce that place that ends with gogogoth".
Much simpler, and no different between UK and US units because there's (luckily) only one Wales.
Re: Go ahead
Unless you like Guinness 'Original' (the non-widgety version), which has been sold almost universally as '500ml' but with '13% extra free' for the past few years...
Makes me wonder if maybe there's a loophole that can be exploited... sell half a pint of beer at full rates of duty, but put it into full-pint glasses that must be 'rented' at, say, 25p per drink... you get your half-pint at full price, pay 25p on top to rent the glass, and have it filled to the brim with 50% extra 'free'!
Everybody wins, except George Osborne... so everybody wins!
I don't come to work on a drab, grey Monday expecting to chuckly my way through the afternoon... that's normally reserved for post-lunch Friday hours!
Whilst the individual(s) at Microsoft will likely be feeling suitably emsmallened* by this experience, on the positive side for them, it's not as though any of them are in a position to broadcast the news beyond the relatively tight-knit geek community of El Reg.
It's not as if we're talking about the BBC's technology news department, CNN or The Huffington Post.
*If 'embiggened' is a perfectly cromulent word, then so must this be.
Just as long...
... as we're all pissing on the same fireworks.
- Analysis Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
- Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
- OK, we get the message, Microsoft: Windows Defender splats 1000s of WinXP, Server 2k3 PCs
- Spanish village called 'Kill the Jews' mulls rebranding exercise
- NASA finds first Earth-sized planet in a habitable zone around star