back to article Any questions? No, not you again at the back, please God no

Toy bears and model aeroplanes. Mini tubs of Pringles. Super-expensive watches that look like rusty bicycle parts adorned with a mashed insects. [sings] These are a few of my faaaavourite thiiiiings. Yes indeed, every modern luxury that Western capitalism can conjure are to be found on board this no-frills flight across the …

  1. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Trollface

    Apple paying their providers a pittence? I'm shocked.

    I remember it for the ridiculous Parisian five-star hotel hosting the event, which served no food on day one and, on day two, a curiously strict diet in Spartan quantities comprising three types of soggy vol-au-vent at each meal, including breakfast.

    Hopefully the chambermaids weren't throwing themselves off the balconies.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dead elephant. MS-Office ripoff

    Thanks for being an ambassador for typical el reg readers at press events. Totally what I would have said in the same situation.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Dead elephant. MS-Office ripoff

      I can't resist asking those sort of questions. My last boss deliberately took me to foreign vendor meetings when he wanted to unsettle the vendor before signing (or not signing) the contract.

      Engineers are not so welcome at meetings when their own company is selling.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah...

    So that's why el reg is not invited to Apple launches any more.

    1. Havin_it
      Windows

      Re: Ah...

      Don't think Dabbsy was El Reg's cross to bear back in 2003. Legend has it the snub was sparked by a Reg hack mocking Jobs's pronunciation of "Jaguar".

      God, but I have been here too long.

  4. Dr_N Silver badge

    Fear of flying

    Good thing you weren't on the flight I took on Wednesday, Mr Dabbs.

    Three guys got vomitted on by some poor woman.

    That's enough to put anyone off the whole experience.

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: Fear of flying

      Three guys got vomited on by some poor woman

      If I had been one of the vomitees I think I would have phrased it "Three poor guys got vomited on by some poor woman".

    2. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Fear of flying

      >> Three guys got vomitted on by some poor woman.

      I hear that some men will pay for that sort of thing.

      1. Michael Thibault

        Re: Fear of flying

        >I hear that some men will pay for that sort of thing.

        Corollary: some of their vendors will do it for free. For the shits.

      2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Fear of flying

        I was on the very last row of a 747 going through turbulence. Unfortunately, in the next seat to me was a nervous flyer in the guise of a young Frenchman who kept grabbing my arm whenever there was jolt. If only it was a young Frenchwoman...

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Arctic fox
        Happy

        @Alistair Dabbs Re"I hear that some men will pay for that sort of thing."

        Am I allowed to describe that as a sick joke?

    3. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Fear of flying

      I don't have a fear of flying, I just hate it.

      I do occasionally have a slight nervousness about take-off or landing when they seem unusual.

      I've occasionally bought a ticket, but always had the expense refunded. I hate flying so much, I can't see why I'd ever want to spend my own money on it.

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Fear of flying

        For you guys that are afraid of flying. I am an Aerospace Engineer, i design the bloody things for a living. And I continue to be happy to fly in the wonderful man made birds even after knowing the shit that can go on in this industry. Trust me, you can relax and enjoy your flight (unless your flying Air France in which case prepare to have an absolutely sh*t flight, but that has nothing to do with the aircraft!)

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Fear of flying

          "For you guys that are afraid of flying. I am an Aerospace Engineer, i design the bloody things for a living. And I continue to be happy to fly"

          Many of us write or have written software for a living and are far from happy about being driven or flown about by software.

        2. fajensen Silver badge

          Re: Fear of flying

          Trust me, you can relax and enjoy your flight

          You were doing OK up till this point ;-)

          No, We don't trust. We don't exactly relax either. What I did to overcome my debilitating fear of flying was to study as much as possible about aircraft, aircraft design, procedures, try out some flying lessons - and - most importantly: Enjoy The Flight.

          I always go to the airport early to get a few drinks and some food in the lounge (ENJOY that merely by having a credit card there is a nice lounge provided for me, with servants), I always have a window seat to ENJOY the view, take-off and turbulence I re-imagine as an Enjoyable roller coaster. I check the luggage so I don't have to stand like a dork waiting for the doors to open (I enjoy the thought that there is an underground village JUST to move my luggage).

          I never travel Ryanair and Co - I do not enjoy the feeling of being on a Mexican bus service complete with hawkers trying to sell shit every 30 minutes. And I don't think its funny to make people treat themselves as shit for saving 30 quid or so.

          PS:

          The lounge in Heathrow is Epic, another reason not to "save money" by flying with some cheap ass cattle transport that will dump you on some derelict airfield where you now have to blow whatever you thought you saved on the cheap flight on transportation to where you really needed to go.

      2. tony2heads

        Re: Fear of flying

        I LIKE the takeoff and landing - they are the good bits.

        What I hate is being stuck in a seat designed for anorexic hobbits; being unable to afford (or get the boss to pay for) business class, I am stuck in immediate danger of deep vein thrombosis.

        1. Mage Silver badge
          Alien

          Re: I LIKE the takeoff and landing - they are the good bits.

          Yes, at least mildly interesting, the rest is uncomfortable and boring. It doesn't help those with chronic congestion, skin conditions, breathing issues etc that the aircraft are not fully pressurised. You need to drink stuff with water to avoid dehydration, with risk of drinking too much or not enough.

          Wiki stuff on cabin pressure

          "In a typical commercial passenger flight, the cabin altitude is programmed to rise gradually from the altitude of the airport of origin to a regulatory maximum of 8,000 ft (2,400 m). This cabin altitude is maintained while the aircraft is cruising at its maximum altitude and then reduced gradually during descent until the cabin pressure matches the ambient air pressure at the destination.[citation needed]"

          IMO this little mentioned fact (apart from how little space there is and insufficient humidity for those used to the Emerald Isle, and how horrid airports and airport security is) goes a long way to explain why I hate air travel. I don't worry about safety, my car trip to the supermarket may be more dangerous.

          1. stu 4

            Re: I LIKE the takeoff and landing - they are the good bits.

            FFS it's 8000 feet not everest.

      3. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: I love flying

        Flying is GREAT!

        It's the guys in uniforms feeling up my balls and my knees against the seat in front of me that I hate.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: I love flying

          >It's the guys in uniforms feeling up my balls and my knees against the seat in front of me that I hate.

          The person in the seat in front of you really shouldn't be feeling your knees and balls whatever uniform they are wearing

        2. elDog Silver badge

          Re: I love flying

          "It's the guys in uniforms feeling up my balls and my knees against the seat in front of me that I hate."

          I dunno. The last pat down/up was a far more thorough job than I get in my yearly physical in the Dr's office. Plus I get to get swiped and prodded in front of 100's of curious eyes. At my age it's one of my few jollies.

      4. Montreal Sean

        Re: Fear of flying

        @Mage

        I get your unease with takeoff and landing.

        The first time I took a plane anywhere was almost the last.

        The pilot must have been ex-Navy and used to short runways with steep climbs to altitude.

        That L1011 used very little runway and climbed fast and hard, and descended the same way.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fear of flying

          or regularly flew into and out of San Diego International. Good training for carrier landings.

        2. Yesnomaybe

          Re: Fear of flying

          That L1011 used very little runway and climbed fast and hard, and descended the same way."

          My first ever flight was on a Twin-Otter in some mountainous terrain, the day after a storm had passed. The pilot must have been pretty shit-hot, he threw the thing around in the air like a rally-car. Having no previous flying experience, I had no particular way of knowing if this was unusual, but the rest of the passengers were very quiet and white-knuckled. I loved it, and still like flying.

          1. Baldy50

            Re: Fear of flying

            Try a twin engined prop to Dublin in bad weather, aged twelve and travelling unaccompanied.

            First flight ever and loved every minute, as a kid, not so sure I'd have liked it as my first flight when an adult.

      5. Michael Thibault

        Re: Fear of flying

        >I do occasionally have a slight nervousness about take-off or landing when they seem unusual.

        You can get used to anything. Apparently.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know that feeling

    Not the free flights, never had one. And not just in the techie part of my job, though there were a good few of those. But in the education ( the main) part of my job too. I used to get the brass angry by asking those awkward questions. Like the launch of the borough wide anti-bullying policy. I simply asked how they were going to follow it up once the publicity and campaign leaflets were over. Cue hissing, intakes of breath and angry looks from people in shiny suits. Or the Healthy Eating when I asked why they were setting the initial target at every child eating 5-a-day, which seemed unlikely since some of our kids never ate any, instead of aiming it at the ones who ate none a day first. More intakes of breath Or the complicated plans for the roll-out of a new broadband contract that had lots of time scales, but no underlying explanation of how they could be met. No intakes of breath that time. Just patronising smiles and reassurances by " people who knew".

    (The bullying policy did fade, so did the healthy eating: And the broadband targets? They weren't met either).

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: I know that feeling

      It never does in these kind of things to differentiate between those who are making the promises and those who will have to deliver them.

      From personal experience (almost exclusively being part of the latter group) addressing such questions to members of the former group can be a severely career limiting move. It's less asking stupid questions than asking awkward ones...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I know that feeling

        You now you have hit the nail on the head when you ask a question iand there is either a ripple of applause or a sudden air of anticipation in the audience. One of my bosses said "you say what everyone else only dares to think". He then offered me a grade promotion - emphasising that I would then be bound by the silence of collective responsibility. I refused it.

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: I know that feeling

        From personal experience (almost exclusively being part of the latter group) addressing such questions to members of the former group can be a severely career limiting move. It's less asking stupid questions than asking awkward ones...

        And for <$DEITY> sake, never, ever tell the head marketing/sales droid to "not make promises that engineering can't keep". Seems they love to surprise engineering types in meetings with customers about some product that a) may be impossible to design and build*, b) can be designed and built but not in the timeframe they want or the budget.

        *My favorite was a rather complex piece of electronic equipment and with only one control: the Wonderful knob because everyone wants more "wonderful" and "oh.. it only turns one way which will be to increase the wonderful".

        1. Yesnomaybe

          Re: I know that feeling

          "...."not make promises that engineering can't keep". Seems they love to surprise engineering types in meetings with customers about some product......"

          We invented a way of dealing with that. In a meeting with customers, being ambushed by a rather ambitious scope-creep, and being asked if we could do it, we would turn palms upwards, shrug exaggeratedly and say : "...yes???..."

        2. Havin_it

          Re: I know that feeling

          So you're the spoilsport, eh?

          Damn your eyes, I was really looking forward to my wonderful knob.

    2. Chris King Silver badge

      Re: I know that feeling

      Councils and stupid policies... why is that so familiar ?

      One morning, I'm accosted by some numpty handing out little composting bins, and he refused to take "No" for an answer.

      "Look, I live in an upstairs flat with no garden, and I don't even have enough space for window boxes - what the hell am I going to do with compost ?"

      "Errr, I don't know, but Composting Is Good" (yes, "Composting Is Good" was the catch phrase)

      After going round this argument in circles for several minutes, I accepted the box and sent him on his way. Once he was out of sight, I threw it into my green wheelie bin, because "Recycling is good".

      Turns out everyone else had the same idea, and on the next collection day the bin men had a bit of a surprise... That green wheelie bin was completely full to the brim of these little composting bins !

      Thinking back, I know I did a very bad thing, throwing it away in the green garden waste bin like that... being plastic, I should have stuffed it into a green recycling bag.

      1. PNGuinn
        Big Brother

        Re: I know that feeling - recycling

        Me, after declining once with a sensible observation like "It's got bloody holes in it - I can't keep fish in this" - I'd have accepted it with profuse gratitude and put the bloody thing into the nearest weelie bin in front of him - the recycling bin as a last resort.

        Any objection would have been met by me saying sweetly "I could use it as an incinerator it on my balcony up there if you prefer. Is it fireproof?"

      2. JimC Silver badge

        Re: Councils and stupid policies... why is that so familiar ?

        Mainly, perhaps, because every council has the same aims and targets handed to it by central government, and any council expressing a suggestion that these targets and aims are somewhat lacking in the clothes department will find themselves labelled as a BAD COUNCIL and at the back of the queue when the grants are being handed out.

        Of course its also true that those most enthusiastic at both supporting the latest daft initiative and quietly dropping it when the next one comes along are those most likely to elbow their way to the top of the greasy pole, but hey ho, that's democracy...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Councils and stupid policies... why is that so familiar ?

          God yes. I've met any number of these types. Jumping from one bloody stupid, shiny, high profile new programme to the next. Success in local authorities ( and I've seen enough to at least suspect some large companies) is about knowing when to get in on some popular new strategy (however barmy), but then knowing when and how to jump ship so that some other poor bugger is left trying to hold it together/explain why there's nothing to show for all the money spent after it all falls flat.

      3. veti Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: I know that feeling

        Ah, recycling...

        A couple of years ago, my council got the brilliant idea of spot-checking people's rubbish bins to make sure they weren't throwing out recyclables in the trash. The plan was, if they found more than 5% recyclables in your rubbish, they'd send you a nastygram that might potentially escalate to a fine. (No mention of how they'd measure the "5%" threshold.)

        Of course, there was no question of checking people's recycling bins for the reverse error. So the obvious solution was to stop trying to sort, and just throw everything in the recycling bin.

        1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
          Pirate

          Re: I know that feeling

          Concerning the meetings and promises made by sales to be kept by engineers, especially in front of customers

          Personally I find the best cure is to silently stand up, walk over to the sales droid and then without a word place a screwdriver on the desk in front of them, and then silently return to your seat.

          Normally it passes the message quite succinctly and without causing a major fuss, at least until afterwards when you can let rip in private and tell them to keep the promises they made.

          1. Pete B
            Coffee/keyboard

            Re: I know that feeling

            "Personally I find the best cure is to silently stand up, walk over to the sales droid and then without a word place a screwdriver on the desk in front of them, and then silently return to your seat."

            Think a spanner's more appropriate in this case.

    3. cambsukguy

      Re: I know that feeling

      I recall well the best testimonial I ever had that had the phrase "[He] can be relied upon to raise uncomfortable truths when other remain silent".

      Surely, the most supportive comment for one of the awkward squad.

      I have worked in other countries (northern climes particularly) where raising all these issues was considered a positive character trait, the earlier the better.

      No doubt why I have to be a soon-to-be-retired contractor, although I have mellowed, down to mere Dabbs level these days, probably a good thing.

  6. cklammer

    Incontinent Flyer

    Dabbsy wrote: "By preference, I'd be the proud member of an Infrequent Flyer programme."

    Are mixing up "infrequent" with "incontinent"?

    Image being an incontinent flyer on an intercontinental flight from the UK to Europe :-)

    1. A K Stiles
      Joke

      Re: Incontinent Flyer

      So that would be an "all-too-frequent" flyer then?

      1. chivo243 Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Incontinent Flyer

        @A K Stiles

        "So that would be an "all-too-frequent" flyer then?"

        Those are the users who rack up the most Helldesk tickets...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Incontinent Flyer

      I suspect you wouldn't be a proud member - it's not exactly a nice problem to have although Billy Connolly had a solution.

    3. Havin_it
      Coat

      Re: Incontinent Flyer

      >an intercontinental flight from the UK to Europe

      Christ, I'm not looking forward to Brexit either but I hadn't heard we'd be classified as a different continent!

      I vote we name it "Justenoughrope" :(

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BTDT all too often...

    The easiest way to stop the stupid questions is to pass out tasers to all the guests & encourage them to use them on any twit that asks a stupid question. You won't have much of a Q&A session after your talk is done since the very first questioner will end up getting zapped & starting a taser war. You can then slip out the side in the ensuing melee & laugh all the way to the pub afterwards!

    On a related note, if you get handed a taser at a lecture & encouraged to tase people, do yourself a favor & run like hell.

    1. tfewster Silver badge

      Re: BTDT all too often...

      I'd take that risk, and still ask my "stupid" question - 90% of the time it's followed by nods from the rest of the audience & comments like "Yeah, I was wondering that too, but was afraid to ask for fear of sounding stupid".

      9% of the time people sigh, but I get a reasonable reply and and least one person learned something new.

      1% of the time everyone just glares at me. You can't win 'em all, but a 99% success rate ain't bad

  8. DJV Silver badge

    although I imagine Ryanair might yet put this idea under consideration

    You mean they don't do this already?

    1. Chris King Silver badge

      Re: although I imagine Ryanair might yet put this idea under consideration

      Don't give them any ideas now - with the exchange rates being what they are, how many kidneys would they demand for the Excess Luggage Fee ?

  9. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken
    Coffee/keyboard

    PLT

    "Press Launch Tourette's"

    See icon.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: PLT

      An apt description of my behaviour in any audience with senior managers up front.

      I seem to have a knack of asking the question they were dreading. One senior manager immediately started to walk silently in circles with his head down for what seemed like several minutes. Another member of the audience then impatiently asked a less pointed question - to which the manager immediately gave a long waffle answer.

  10. Seajay#

    Tell us then

    Surely you can mention the product in the comments without anyone getting upset (except commentards, but you'll upset some of us whatever you do).

  11. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Annoying questions

    There's something at least as bad as the stupid question, and that's the too-well-informed question.

    Almost any tech presentation's Q&A is liable to feature an interminable question from an audience member who's only asking a question to prove that he knows much more about the subject than the presenter. Often, the question will be distinctly off-topic, because the subject about which he is omniscient isn't really the subject of the presentation. During the ten minutes it takes him to ask the question, the more sensitive members of the audience are trying to crawl under their seats.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Annoying questions

      On our machine code training course three of us on the back row kept asking the awkward questions.

      Came the day of our test assignment programs being run on the machine. The lecturer cheerfully handed out our results - remarking that although we had managed to get first time clean compilations - our programs' logic had not produced any output.

      We scratched our heads - looked at the compilation listings - then pointed out that he had forgotten to include I/O macro substitution resources for the run. Crestfallen he then admitted that he never included them the first time as it was a waste of his budget - as students' programs never compiled cleanly the first time.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Annoying questions

      "Almost any tech presentation's Q&A is liable to feature an interminable question from an audience member who's only asking a question to prove that he knows much more about the subject than the presenter."

      Answer to that one: "you're wrong of course but it would take too long to explain why."

    3. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Annoying questions

      asking a question to prove that he knows much more about the subject than the presenter

      There's also the bloke asking the question that, while on-topic, is obviously the problem he's been asked to do in his current work assignment.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Annoying questions

        Send him to Stackoverflow!

        (Where he will be told to use jQuery)

  12. lglethal Silver badge
    Happy

    Back when I was at uni we had one annoying idiot that, any time there was a guest presenter, would ask a long and interminable question to try and win brownie points with the course director for participation. Right up unitl the point, where someone dived 5 rows down the steeply sloping lecture hall in order to whack them on the back of the head when they put there hand up at question time. Cue a loud cheer from the entire lecture hall and one very bemused looking presenter.

    Ahh the good ol days...

    1. Chris King Silver badge

      So you didn't bother with that perfectly good stand-by, the rolled-up piece of paper...

      ...wrapped around a half-brick ? (or a full brick for the more bone-headed types)

    2. Wensleydale Cheese
      Thumb Up

      "Right up unitl the point, where someone dived 5 rows down the steeply sloping lecture hall in order to whack them on the back of the head..."

      Oh how I wish I'd read that suggestion half a dozen years ago.

      We had someone precisely like you describe but we we too polite to do anything so drastic.

  13. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Why Safari?

    because it's like Microsoft Internet Explorer, but obviously the name "Explorer" is taken. And I haven't counted all the problems with "Missionary".

    And why a compass - because an explorer needs one.

    Ah.

    Obviously then the name was "Apple Internet Explorer" until quite late. (Maybe.)

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Why Safari?

      The compass icon idea was ripped off Netscape Navigator but Apple knew by then Netscape was too irrelevant to fight back.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Why Safari?

        Dave Hyatt left Netscape and joined Apple so probably decided that the compass could be used since it was only an easter egg in Netscape.

    2. tfewster Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Why Safari?

      Steve Jobs: So, is our new web browser working OK?

      Tech: Safari, so good!

  14. Adam Hartfield

    What's worse: asking withering questions or being Cassandra and saying "I told you so" later?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      'What's worse: asking withering questions or being Cassandra and saying "I told you so" later?'

      Why limit yourself to just one?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "[...] or being Cassandra and saying "I told you so" later?"

      The gods gave Cassandra the power to forecast disasters. They then put the usual spin on it - explaining that she would also be fated to suffer the disasters as well.

      When the forewarned IT disasters strike there is no one about to whom you can say "I told you so". You are the only one with your fingers in the dyke - while everyone else attends a blame avoidancecrisis management meeting.

      1. Vinyl-Junkie

        ,,,she would also be fated to suffer the disasters as well.

        Actually that wasn't quite the case. She was granted the gift of prophecy but cursed that no-one would ever believe her. A fate increasingly reserved for all subject matter experts in the UK.

        I'm very careful to keep all my pre-implementation emails that say "have you thought of this...?" and "what will happen if...?" along with the project manager's replies telling me not to rock the boat. I have found that this has kept me in employment after the project went TITSUP; the same cannot always be said of the PMs...

  15. Teiwaz Silver badge

    RyanAir

    Do get somewat justifiable flak.

    One Aerlingus flight I was on from Dublin to Italy, the safety message was played in English and Irish, but not Italian....could never get my head 'round that.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: RyanAir

      Because you were going from Dublin TO Italy and they speak English and Irish in Dublin .....

      1. Red Bren

        Re: RyanAir

        So every Italian who travels TO Dublin loses the ability to speak their native tongue on arrival?

        I would love to be proved wrong but I suspect there could be more native Italian speakers in Dublin than native Gaelic speakers. I'd be prepared to put hard currency (so € not £) that there are more native Polish speakers.

        My Dad has taught Irish language* classes for most of the 40ish years I've been alive, and his response when local Irish newspapers that started printing articles in Polish, having refused to print in Gaelic was acerbic, to say the least.

        * But not to his own children. If someone said to me "Cén chaoi a bhfuil tú?" I would probably respond "Póg mo thóin!"

  16. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Windows

    Dat Shutterstock photo!

    Classroom attendants are perfectly groomed (do they impose a mandatory coiffeur visit before the office entry turnstyle can be, er, turned?), youthful, somewhat smug, all the males metrosexual with a ridiculous early-21s-centuryt beard and clearly everyone genetically enhanced and purified.

    Oh Brave New World!

    I imagine the photo was taken just as a question was being asked about the historical significance of his fordship, Mustapha Mond.

    1. herman Silver badge

      Re: Dat Shutterstock photo!

      "Classroom attendants are perfectly groomed" - The typical super unrealistic USAsian college soapy, where the men are all androgenous with weird hairdos (and beardos?), while all the women are strangely beautiful lingerie models.

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